Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stars and Stripes for the Yachting Fan, c. 1948

Today's free vintage knitting pattern comes from the Australian Women's Weekly Knitting Book 1948, and from the quality of the photo you can tell there were still war-time restrictions in place.
The model looks really fresh and elegant though, I like her headband and those shorts are lovely!

I think navy, red and white is my favourite colour combination, and this jaunty little jumper is a great way to show those colours off (or any other combination you prefer). How cute is that little star?

Sized for a 34-36 inch bust.
Knitted in fingering weight yarn, and requires 3.25mm and 2.75mm needles.

I hope your weekend is jaunty too!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I can't afford a real Shaheen... (Butterick B6019)

So I made my own!

First up - apologies for the rushed nature of the photos (yep, there's still some pins on the straps) but it was about to pour down with rain and this was my only chance to get photos for a while!

1950s alfred shaheen plus size large gertie butterick B6019 review

The Gertie/Butterick B6019 is finally done, and what a journey. This pattern is not for the faint-hearted.
I nearly gave up twice, but in the end it's a lovely dress.

It really needed a bolero, so I made the this cute little one from Butterick 6087, circa 1952. The bolero was the exact opposite of the dress - super easy and fit perfectly out of the envelope.


  • Difficulty - bloody hard! This dress was the most fiddly thing I have ever made.
  • The Pattern - I don't think it was written very well. A lot of the instructions are counter-intuitive to an experienced sewer, and I still can't figure out why I was asked to do certain things.
  • The Fit - I went by the finished measurements on the printed pattern, and not the envelope measurements (i.e. the envelope was telling me to make a size 18 bust and 22 hip - I made a 16 bust and 20 hip). I do think the final fit is flattering, and if I followed the envelope sizes I would be swimming in this dress.

The good?
The lined bra cups - that was a neat idea!
I also liked the shirring, it was my first time and I didn't know it was that easy to do.

The meh?
Where do I start...
1. There's no way two bits of flimsy boning are going to keep a D-cup up. Ever. 
2. The skirt was really short! I added two inches to the hem, and wished I added four instead.
3. The skirt doesn't offer enough coverage for my liking, i.e. the split is a tad revealing.
4. My skirt pleat doesn't look as dramatic as the pattern's example.
5. I had to unpick certain parts (the skirt + bodice, the sash etc) and re-sew a few times to get the fit or shape right. 

Lengthened the skirt by two inches.
Added crossover straps.
Sway back adjustment.

Here's some close ups, firstly the front:

You can see the bust cups really stand up on their own.

The back:

The shirring worked really well.

Here's a close up of the bolero:

The fabric made me think of an Alfred Shaheen tiki-dress when I saw it. 
It's from Spotlight, and is a traditional hand-printed cotton from the Babbarra Women's Centre. They're empowering indigenous artists by printing their fabric designs commercially and giving them money from the sales. 

Mine is a lovely brown, ochre and cream design called Waterlily Flower, by Deborah Wurrkidj.
The fabric was really tricky to pattern match, and I think it took me two hours to get it right.

I'm also going to let you in on a little secret - I sew these little bra clips (from Spotlight too) into my dresses so I can wear strapless bras without them falling down. Shhhh, don't tell anyone!

Well, I'm glad it's finally finished, and this outfit is coming to Viva Las Vegas with me.
If you've been thinking of sewing this pattern, definitely give it a go but don't get down-hearted if it's a bit of a struggle. Unpick, resew, keep going - you'll have a killer dress in the end.

Thanks guys!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

New Zealand

On the weekend, Jakk and I flew to New Zealand for my dad's wedding, and I was really excited that we were able to hang out with my sister and her little family for the weekend as well!

I don't get to see my nieces enough, and they are both adorable.

1950s miss l fire review tortuga

I had my heart set on wearing a certain dress, when a parcel arrived the day before we flew out - and this lovely number was inside.

vintage wedding dress 1950s 1940s pin up rockabilly red hair

I originally bought it as a dancing dress, but after trying it on it seemed too nice - don't you love it when a purchase exceeds your expectations?
This 1950's dress is simply cut - dolman sleeves with cuffs, mandarin neckline, princess seams - but it's beautifully made and really shows.

Jakk wore Retrospec'd California trousers, vintage vest and a 1940's scarf - she's such a snazzy dresser, I love it!

1940s butch boi dyke vintage rockabilly style

Unfortunately there's a media blackout on all photos during the wedding, so I can't show you what my step-mother wore, but here's a shot of my nervous dad just before we left.

The wedding was in a place called Whanganui, and our first trip to New Zealand. I wish we had the time (and money) to make it a mini-holiday but Viva is just around the corner.

We had a few hours on the morning of the wedding to take a trip into Whanganui town, and visited the Durie Hill War Memorial. To get to the summit you take a very ricketty old elevator that the locals use regularly as a form of transport. I understand why, as the stairs are a killer!

The next day, we hopped on a plane back to Sydney - it felt very strange to visit a country for just three days!
My outfit:
1950's dress - SimplicityIsBliss on Etsy
Shoes - Miss L Fire 'Tortuga'
1950s rhinestone brooch - gift from Jakk
Bracelet - Mimco Love and Loss bracelet
Lurex handbag - Op-Shop (Vinnies in West Ryde).
I hope you liked the sneak peek into our weekend...
Coming up shortly - updates on the Butterick/Gertie Sarong Dress, altering a modern dress to make it more 'vintage' and more free patterns of course!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Sportswear for Every Season (Golfing Jacket), c. 1940s

Hands up who loves Lumber Jackets? (Me, me!).

free vintage knitting patterns 1940s knitted lumber jacket golf womens

This cute little golfing jacket comes from Lincoln Book 687, Handknit Sportswear for Every Season.
I particularly love the little pockets (for your tees) and the cables running down each arm.
Very smart!

Knitting in fingering weight yarn on 3.25mm and 3mm needles, this jacket fits a 33-35 inch bust.
I hope you like it!

(as always, right click on the image to open in a new window for the larger version).

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Happy Mardi Gras 2014!

Another year, and another Mardi Gras month of madness over.

This year was extra special (for me), as Jakk was able to borrow a scooter to ride with me in Dykes on Bikes. She loved it so much she's going to take motorcycle lessons so she can ride a bigger bike next year.

Jakk was a sailor (in her WWII outfit) and I was a WOW (Woman Ordinance Worker).
It was a bit overcast, so Freddies Dungarees and a 1940's blouse (Smooth Sailing) seemed the practical outfit choice.

To complete the "We Can Do It" look, I made this sign for my bike...

femmes femme visibility dykes on bikes honda gb250 gay mardi gras

Getting ready to wait with a few of our friends from swing-dancing.

If you want to know how it went, I think the grin on Jakk's face says it all!

Happy Mardi Gras, and I promised I'll be back to vintage posting shortly...
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