Thursday, May 30, 2013

FO: The Picnics and Parties Dress

At long last!

I'm apologising now for the headless photos, but it's 7am in the morning, cold, misty and I had a very unattractive sleepy face. Unfortunately this was the only time I could get photos before I fly to Darwin this weekend.
Here is the original inspiration from ButchWax Vintage - a 1950s gathered waist skirt, with over sized collar. The collar is gathered at the bust line, with tassel trim around the edges.
And here's mine.
novelty mexican inspired vintage dress 1950s gingham
 I'm over the moon with how it turned out! I used the Billie Jean pattern from Bluegingerdoll, and only made a few changes from the original.

- raising the back neck line a bit to make it easier to attach the collar.
- deepening the arm holes (I found them a bit small).
- doing a lower start back zip (similar to how you would do a side zip, but centre back - photo below).
- completely lining the dress in poplin, as the gingham was very soft.
- pleated the lining skirt, instead of gathering.
- drafting an oversize collar with novelty trim!
1950s gingham party dress plus size plaid
The pattern is fairly easy to follow, and I sewed the pattern up pretty much as directed (size 16).
I didn't need nearly as much fabric as requested on the pattern - without the collar I think I used 3.5m? It's probably due to me cutting the skirt pieces differently.
A long time was spent making muslins (four in total) before I was happy with the fit. Billie Jean is a princess seamed dress, and I always have issues getting them to fit my large bust/small waist.
I'm glad I did take the time to do several muslins - the fit is fabulous! And for once I didn't have to shorten the bodice, the waist is exactly where it should be.
The collar was pretty painful to draft - I ended up pulling out my pattern drafting books to get a better idea of where I needed to add fullness etc for the bust gather but in the end it was worth it.
I simply draped the finished collar piece over the dress, and adjusted it to suit. The whole thing is securely (and invisibly) sewn on by hand.
If anyone is planning to sew the same dress and would like a quick copy of the collar let me know.
Pockets! Of course!
I cannot wait to wear this dress out to a rockabilly gig!
Outfit extras:
1940s Rayen Shoes - Surry Hills Markets
Maine Lobster Brooch - Williamsburg Flea Markets
Hair Flower - Viva Las Vegas

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Energy sapping to energy zapping!

I'm sure every sewer knows what I mean - you're trying to get a sewing project to work, and the effort is sucking the life out of you. So you put it in the 'One Day' pile and leave it for a couple of years.

Which is what I had planned for my ButchWax-inspired dress as four muslins for the bodice, and another four for the collar was really draining me.

I'm really glad I gave it a final go as it's come out perfect! Even Jakk was really suprised at how good the dress looks. Unfortunately I ran out of pompom trim, so heres a sneak boob-shot of its unfinished state. (I'm full of energy at the moment, really buzzing about how cute it looks).

I'm ducking down to Spotlight tomorrow to get more trim so hopefully in the next few days it'll be ready for proper photos...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

1940s Fair Isle Beret and Mittens, Bestway 1226

I know it's been a bit silent here at the moment - but believe me, I've been working my little heart out trying to get the Billie Jean dress to fit the way I want! Four muslins down, and I'm finally happy with the fit.  (large bust size + princess seams = trouble for me).

More about that later.

It so cold here in Sydney at the moment, I love it! Rugging up, electric blankets on, pulling out the wool coats. It's also reminded me that I meant to sew a new coat last year and completely forgot.

I wish I had time to make this little fair-isle set from Bestway, its adorable. Maybe you might have the time?

Hope you like it!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Weddings, parties, anything?

You know that perfect dress, the one you can wear anywhere: picnic in the park, a date, a wedding, drinks with friends?

Could it be this dress?

1950s dress pattern plaid picnic gingham plus size xl femme

It's from the fabulous Butchwax Vintage - plaid and tassels yes please.

I think I prefer the modesty panel version on the right though.

Sadly, since it's not my size this means I must make my own, and I'm using the Billie Jean pattern from BlueGingerDoll as a starting point.

Cross your fingers for me!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Tropical Bird Jumper, Stitchcraft Magazine June 1950

As requested by Elsa, the Tropical Bird Jumper.

1950s stitchcraft magazine, free vintage knitting pattern

Don't be put off by the small sizing, the intarsia design is charted and could be used on any basic 4-ply jumper pattern easily.

To fit  32-34 inch bust, using fingering weight yarn on 3.25mm and 2.75mm needles.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

FO: A Shirt Dress with a Difference, McCall's 9635

This dress has been sitting in my Must-Sew list for a long time - McCall's 9635, circa 1953. I call it the shirt dress with a difference, because, well, its a little bit different!

It's got some wonderful elements, like a peter-pan collar and pleating around the neckline. The only thing I wasn't happy with was the pleated wiggle skirt - I had a suspicion it wasn't going to be flattering on anyone with a tummy!

And here's my version with the standard 1950s pose...
miss l fire shoes boardwalk
The pattern itself is really straight forward (I didn't do bound buttonholes though, I find them too fiddly).  I admit to cheating a little bit - I used a stretch cotton sateen from my stash! I just wanted something quick and easy, and didnt want to mess around with making two or three muslins to get the fit perfect.
1950s sewing pattern mccalls
I'm not normally a fan of polka-dots, as they just feel over-used in the Rockabilly scene.
This black and pink one from my stash was just crying out to be used on something, and I think I can cope with polka-dot trim.
I'm planning on making a belt out of the leftovers as well. Eventually.
- used stretch fabric (zero to negative 1 inch ease all over).
- self covered buttons.
- normal sewn button holes
- self drafted circle skirt instead of pleated wiggle skirt in the pattern.
- cut the bodice shorter by half an inch (I'm short waisted).
Next time:
- cut the bodice shorter (1 inch in total) still a bit long.
- very light shoulder pads might be nice.
Yes! Perfect transition dress for work to dinner plans. Really, really happy. The blouse is going to be my go-to pattern for stretch fabrics (there's some amazing mid-century-inspired stretch sateen in Spotlight at the moment) and I really want to try it with a fitted skirt next.
I was trying to get my cat, Calamity, to give it her seal of approval but she was more interested in bugs.
Shoes - Miss L Fire Boardwalk
Telephone Cord Bag - Belmont Army Vintage
Belt - ASOS
Scarf - Opshop
Earrings - Etsy

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Jack-Tar (Sailor) Jumper, from Stitchcraft June 1951

I think 1951 is my favourite year for Stitchcraft jumper design during the 50s - the jumpers are just so interesting to look at!

This cute ribbed jumper features a contrast yoke with an intarsia design of a sailor on the front. I love the styling, but not sure about her hat - what do you think?

To fit a 33-34 inch bust, using fingering weight yarn on 3.25mm and 2.75mm needles. The suggested colourway is wine red and white, with scraps of blue and black for the sailor.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

An unexpected find!

How about a nearly complete set of Stitchcraft Magazines, dates 1947 - 1965?

Last weekend a friend pointed me to a garage sale that made mention of Stitchcraft Magazines from the 40s-70s.

It was crazy! I got there 5 minutes after the garage sale began, and it was elbow deep. The woman in front of me scooped up all the vintage sewing patterns in one arm, and the vintage buttons in the other - damn!

When I asked the owner about the Stitchcrafts - she said she had put them inside, and bought them back out for me.

Needless to say I bought the lot - much to the other woman's disappointment!

I'll show you a quick snap shot, and definitely expect to see some of the knitting patterns appearing on here!


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