Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mimco Campaign Photos

The finished shots have finally been launched!

 I still can't get over how great everyone looks.

It was such a great experience to be part of the Lovers Campaign, Jakk and I still reminisce about it!
Emma asked how we won - I sent in a photo of us from Las Vegas, with a short description of why our love rocks.
Cos it does.

Jakk - vintage repro shirt from Retrospec'd, Me - vintage mexican handpaint skirt, Portmans top

Boom - we were one of the lucky couples!
I'll be honest and say I didn't think we had a chance, we're a butch/femme dyke couple and I don't look like a typical Mimco model (plus-sized and tattoos).

The Mimco people were an amazing bunch, and it turned out they were looking for diverse representations of women for their campaign - yep, we're pretty diverse!

Part of the prize included being put up in The Olsen Art Hotel in South Yarra, Melbourne (fancy), getting hair and makeup done everyday for the shoots and a $2000 voucher to spend on Mimco stuff.

I liked Mimco before - but their company's approach towards their customers has made me huge fan!

I hope you got a giggle out of the photos too,

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Yarrrrr.... Pirates!

Cowboi and I went op-shopping in Liverpool last week, and found five meters of a border print cotton fabric - with pirates!

Pirates, pirate ships, parrots and buried treasure!

Cowboi and I couldn't figure out if this was vintage, or a modern vintage-inspired print. The ships look mid-century-modern, but the colours seem a bit too contemporary. (One day I shall take a photo of some of the vintage fabrics I've found in op-shops).

Have you ever made a dirndl?

I was always a bit put off, thinking they could make a pleasantly plump girl look a bit bigger than she really was - but to heck with, I love them!

Plus dirndls literally take an hour to sew - make a waist band, sew a zip into the skirt fabric to make a large tube, hand pleat fabric to fit waist band - sew.

I'm really happy, as you can probably tell! Plus, my Miss L Fire Bonnies match the orange and blue accents perfectly! (Amazon UK has a lot on sale at the moment if any Aussies are looking for them cheap).

Hello Sailor!

Shoes: Miss L Fire Bonnie
Top: Portmans
1940s Brooch : Etsy

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Puck, a Fashionable Blouse c. 1935

Firstly I'm apologising in advance - its getting into crazy Mardi Gras season right now and I'm trying to organise events for two different community organisations which doesn't leave much blog time!

Life will be back to normal late February when I can resume normal posting...
I'm also planning to do a giveaway shortly, so keep your eyes peeled.

In the meantime, I hope you like this sweet little blouse from 'Fashionable Knits' by the American Thread Company (1935). Size 16 fits a 32" bust, but the rib would be stretchy enough up to a 35" I believe.

A great way to use up some pretty ribbon you have stashed away!

Monday, January 14, 2013

FO: 1950's Jumper Dress, another Gertie variation

I know what you're saying - three dresses sewn in two weeks? Am I on drugs?

Nope, but I'm on an amazing sewing roll (makes up for the four despairing toiles I made late last year, I was too embarrassed to show you all).

I was really taken with the pattern below, but I'm afraid I didn't save the full image so I have no idea what pattern number or year it is! (Maybe someone has it in their collection and can tell me?). The original was much too small, I remember that much...

I really like the cut in detail at the neckline - and it was a cinch to do it to my Gertie Sultry Sheath dress mod from earlier.

I used black cotton drill again, but this time drafted a half circle skirt to fit the bodice.

- drafted a half circle skirt instead of pleated dirndl
- bought the shoulder straps in a bit more as they still slipped a little in the last dress
- sewed little 'inset' details where the horizontal bodice met the shoulder straps

A bit creased from sitting on my bum at work all day

This dress is a-may-zing. Its everything I could want in a dress - it fits well, the skirt is flowy but flattering, the fabric isnt too hot but still holds its shape.

Overall Happiness Factor:
I'd like to adjust the shoulder straps a fraction on the next one I make - and there will definitely be more versions!
BTW Lincraft has 50% off all fabric until this weekend, so its a good time to stock up!

PS - don't just love Miss L Fire shoes?

Well, Calamity doesn't really look impressed but I love my new Roxys that came last week!

Shoes: Miss L Fire Roxy
Blouse : Portmans
Stockings : Basque at Myers
Sailor Necklace : Vintage celluloid, Etsy
Headband : Mimco

Saturday, January 05, 2013

FO: Butterick 6815, circa 1954

I had plans on making this dress all the way back in January 2011 - funny how time flies! This year I'm continuing my focus on vintage for day wear (i.e. work) so it was time to give this pattern a go.

Here is the lovely original Butterick 6815 (I made only the dress, far left).
A fairly fitted dress, with split kimono sleeves, turn back collar and gored skirt with box-pleat at the front.
From the Vintage Patterns Wiki

My delay in sewing this pattern up was the issues I might face grading from a 34 inch bust to a 39 - turns out I needn't have worried.
Once I measured out the pattern pieces I could see the finished bust size would sew up to 37 inches (3 inches of ease) so I only added .75 inch to the side of the bust, lowered the arm holes and lowered the bust dart points too.
It fit perfectly on the first toile!
The fabric I used was oxblood-red quilter's homespun (I wanted something I could wear in this 35 degree heat we're having). It has a great body - not too crisp, not too drapey.
I wore it dancing last night and it has a great swing to the skirt!
My Mods:
Only small alterations to get it to fit my larger bust and waist. Pretty much sewn as per instructions.
Overall Happiness Factor:
I will definitely use this pattern again, maybe in a gingham with contrast collar and belt. Or the taffeta like originally planned.
I think I can also use the bodice as a base to upsize other vintage patterns too.
Mental note - Next time interface the sleeve facings and try to add in-seam pockets.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Book Review : Knit Back in Time

I was really excited when I heard about this book on Ravelry - I pre-ordered straight away and it arrived (early) last night!
Knit Back in Time (or Vintage Design Workshop, if you're in the US) is written by blog author Gerry Warner from Skiff Vintage, and she definitely knows what she's talking about.

Firstly, what this book isn't.
This book isn't a pattern book like ASIT, it doesn't contain any knitting patterns (unfortunately). That's my only disappointment with the book, as the examples she gives would be wonderful to knit up yourself (although I have half of them in my collection already, yippee!).

What this book is.
A vintage knitting bible!
I wish this book was around 3-4 years ago as it has EVERYTHING you need to know about re-sizing, altering and reconstructing vintage knitting patterns.

I'll show you some of my favourite sections:
Changing a sleeve head to be puffed, pleated or box shaped (and a section on knitted shoulder pads).

Traditional embroidery and fair-isle patterns.

Making a toile from a t-shirt to check the fit first - what a great idea! I'm definitely giving this a try when I knit something tricky.

My overall thoughts.
This book is perfect for someone who wants to knit vintage, and isn't sure where to start. I would recommend it to you without a doubt.

The layout is pleasant on the eye, and complex techniques are explained really clearly. The wording is encouraging without being patronising or too 'chummy', which I personally like.
Even though I would describe myself as an 'experienced intermediate' knitter, this book has all the technical information I could ever want, in one place. 

The only parts I wasn't happy with were the tiny photos of the vintage patterns that inspired the author (it's hard to see the detail) and there not being any patterns included. Maybe it's because I've been spoilt by other vintage knitting books?

It would have been nice to see a basic sweater pattern, and then her walk through the changes she made to get to her vintage-inspired piece (the pale blue sweater with the peter pan collar in my fifth photo is a great example). All those pretty designs and jumpers were a cruel tease!
On the other hand, her book does tell you how to do it all yourself ...

Novice Knitters - if you have any interest at all in knitting from vintage patterns, then this is the book for you.
Experienced Knitters - finally, a book with tricky construction techniques broken down. A perfect reference for when you need to upsize complex vintage patterns.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

FO: Gertie's Sultry Sundress (or, my Apple Dress)

Huzzah for public holidays and huzzah for sewing!

After much trial and error, may I present my version of the Gertie Sultry Sheath/Sundress!

Belt, op-shop; Shoes, Miss L Fire at Asos; Jewellery, Etsy

I really needed a plain but retro-styled dress for work in summer - something I could jazz up with vintage brooches or cute jewellery. This dress fits the bill perfectly!

The fabric is an amazing apple-green cotton drill from a friend's stash, and I got the whole thing out of three meters. Not sure why it looks so creased in the photos though - its just been ironed.

The pattern took four goes to get the bodice fit right, and I nearly gave up but am very glad I stuck with it.
I didnt need to do a FBA, but there were a few quirks in the pattern that needed fixing (I would say its sized for tall, big busted football players!).

- shortened the bodice length by 1.5 inches,
- lowered dart points as they came up well over my bust line
- re-drafted the shoulder straps to actually stay on my shoulder - the original pattern is almost an off the shoulder number
- changed the sweetheart neckline to a more v-shape
- the darts under the bust looked a bit loose, so I did a shaped dart like the picture below

Normal dart on the left, shaped dart on the right

- changed the dirndl skirt to be a more flattering box pleat instead, using my favourite instructions from Enid Gilchrist right here
- made a matching belt (after I took the photo, of course!)

Overall Happiness Factor:

I'm definitely going to make this dress again, I want to give a black square neck version a try. I think the best part of this pattern is the fit - normally I have some gaping around the front arm hole due to my large bust, but this fits like a dream.

I'd recommend this dress, but make a couple of muslins first...
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