Tuesday, August 26, 2014

FO: The Emergency Bolero (Pauline Pattern 2217, c. 1940s)

How many times have you opened your wardrobe, and realised that you don't have X,Y or Z to complete your outfit?

1940s 1950s wardobe style idea miss l fire shoes
What a mess! And I think I have a 'Miss L Fire shoes' problem...

That was me, the day before the Fifties Fair - even after ransacking my wardrobe twice.
I was looking for the perfect jacket, bolero or cardigan to match my 1940's rayon dress, and everything was either the wrong colour or the wrong cut.

I had Pauline 2217 sitting on my sewing table to make up shortly, and thought it might solve my bolero-emergency.

I love all the details on this bolero - the winged collar, the strong shoulders, the faux pockets. The pattern is from the later part of WW2, with the focus on the military-inspired shoulders. It's economy standard, i.e. no seam allowance, no facing pieces provided, instructions printed on the back of the packet.

Pauline sewing patterns are by far my favourite brand - I wish I could find more out about the company though.

The pattern only took 1.3 yards (1.2m) for the bolero, and I had some spare navy gabardine laying around - perfect!

Ouch, this pattern was hard to put together.
The instructions consist of two sentences, basically: sew the pocket flaps on, sew the side seams together, attach the collar, set in the sleeves, face the edges.
Not a pattern for the faint-hearted!

My first step was to make a muslin, and put it together how I thought it should go.
It fit perfectly straight from the start, so there was no need to do any adjustment mods (that's rare for me).

I used purchased shoulder pads instead of making them as I was running out of time, made self-covered buttons and lined the bolero to give it some body.

If you do decide to add a lining to an unlined jacket don't forget to add your ease pleats to the centre back, or you may have trouble lifting your arms. You can see in the photo below at the lower centre, I've stitched down an ease pleat.

1940s repro sewing pattern free lining navy gaberdine jacket bolero

I also hand-stitched the pocket flaps to the body to make them sit nicely (otherwise they stuck out strangely).

And that's it!
The bolero complemented my outfit perfectly!

Will you see this bolero pattern again? Yes indeed!

I'm about half way through sewing a 1940's Wearable Wardrobe - complimentary 1940's pieces (jacket, dress, skirt, bolero and blouse) that work well together - so you'll be sure to see it again in a different incarnation.

Hope you have a fabulous week!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fifties Fair 2014, having fun at the Rose Seidler House!

Oh, how much do we love the annual Fifties Fair?

1950s 1940s fifties fair rose seidler house navy red plus size dress rayon xl telephone cord bag miss l fire review rosita

1940s carded lucite brooch crab novelty rakuten sunsurf sun surf rayon repro hawaiian shirt dykes butch femme vintage

Everyone who came had a blast!

End of the day, and we're exhausted!

I'm kicking myself that I forget to get a photo of Trish from Quiet Vintage Sewing in her outfit - she made it herself and the colours were awesome. Hopefully she has some photos coming too.

I'll only share a few shots, but the whole Flickr Set is here if you'd like to see.
I didn't get the chance to take a lot of photos this year, as we were busy winning 'Best Couple 2014'! (blush)

Photo from Sydney Broadsheet

I keep trying to get Jakk to enter 'Best Gent', and somehow we ended up entering 'Best Couple'.
I'm so excited that we won again, and we're looking forwards to eating our way through the prize  - dinner at the very fancy Portenos!

(It might not be a big deal for other people, but it's nerve-wracking for a same-sex couple to enter a competition like that...)

Swingtime Australia

The numbers felt down from last year - I think the rain + high ticket price kept some people away. Normally the event is packet by 11am, but by 12pm it was pretty crowded.

And this year they had an ATM onsite - at last!

Having a break from dancing

I dressed more for comfort this year (no girdle, bullet bra and petticoat) as most times I've overheated when  we dance.

I had a last minute panic the day before when I realised that I didn't have a jacket to match my dress - so I spent the day before hurriedly making something to match (post coming about it shortly, it's from a 1940's pattern).

Jakk's Outfit:
Shirt - 1940's repro rayon shirt, Sun Surf
Jacket - 1950's repro from Retrospec'd
Pants - 1950's vintage, Donnaland
Shoes - Bass

My Outfit
Dress - 1940's rayon dress, 'Mynette', from SmallEarthVintage
Bolero - 1940's, made by me! Pauline 2217
Handbag - 1940's telephone cord bag
Hat - 1950's molded straw, Puck and Puck Fifth Ave. Chicago Vintage Underground.
Shoes - Miss L Fire Rosita
Crab Brooch - 1940's carved Lucite, gift from Jakk
Jewellery - various, Etsy

You might have noticed that my hair is styled differently too - my hairdresser and I were trying for a Vivian Leigh type set. I think I like the centre part!

miss l fire review rosita navy telephone cord bag 1940s bolero gaberdine plus size xl bakelite bangle lucite brooch straw hat fifth ave
Well, I'm sad that the Fair is over for another year and I can't wait to see what they have planned for 2015.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fifties Fair Day 24 August 2014, Rose Siedler House

Eep - it's only two days away!
Our pal Christine from Classic Vintage is the cover model!

We're really looking forward to the fashionable crowds and the music (Pat Capocci and Rusty Pinto are playing), fingers are crossed for no rain this weekend.

This Fifties Fair may be our last for a while, if they put the ticket prices up again ($50 this year compared to $30 last year) we won't be able to afford it. But I think we say this every year...

I have an appointment at Stirlings the day before for a vintage set, but alas I still have no idea what to wear!

Hopefully we get to see some other Sydney bloggers floating around, and be prepared for lots of photos to share with you after the weekend... hope yours is enjoyable too!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Make Do and Mend: Wartime Crafts, Australian Maritime Museum (Darling Harbour, Sydney)

I've just heard the news - the ANMM is holding a three-part series on wartime crafts and 'making-do' in Australia during WW1 and WW2.

The first talk is on 14 September, and is called 'Knit for Victory':

"Celebrate History Week as we look back over life on the home front one stitch at a time. ANMM Curator Kim Tao shares the story of the amazing “flying knitting needles” of Australian’s across both world war eras- from millions of socks for the troops to scarves, vests and mittens, uncover the story of craft for the war effort. Join in a workshop in knitting from vintage wartime patterns and craft your own creations to keep. "

The second talk on 12 October is called 'Thrifty Fashions' - no blurb yet, but just from the title I know it will be right up any vintage-lovers alley.

The final session is Wartime Foods and Recipes, but it's been post-poned for the moment.

The cost is $30 for a session, and you can book by calling +61 2 9298 3655 or emailing bookings@anmm.gov.au (it's definitely in my calendar!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Why not knit your Swagger? Free pattern c. 1930s

Why not indeed?

I really adore this Swagger Coat pattern, its from the Woman's Journal 11th Book of Knitting (early 1930s) and the styling is amazing!
"Extremely smart, and really simple to knit is this short swagger coat, beautifully shaped with the fashionable back swing."

free knitting pattern 1930s swagger coat swing knitted 30s 1940s war era feather hat blouse polka dots smart 34 36

I'd have no issues rocking the above outfit, it's such a wearable 1930's ensemble.
The pattern is sized for a 34-36 inch bust, but it's pretty free-size and would probably do up to a 40-42 easily.

Requires worsted/10 ply weight yarn  on 5mm needles.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Tutorial 2: A new pocket variation for the Smooth Sailing blouse

Do you love pockets? Even just decorative ones that don't hold anything?
Well, I have the pocket pattern just for you!

Simplicity 4094

I spotted this pocket design on a vintage pattern, and knew that it would work really well on the Smooth Sailing blouse (or any blouse pattern, honestly).

Here's what it looks like in the flesh...

smooth sailing wearing history mods sleeves pockets silk sewing pattern 1940s 40s plus size
The long sleeve version Tutorial is coming soon!

The pocket is purely decorative, and really simple to make - I've made the pattern piece available to download at the end of the Tutorial. I drafted it to fit the SS blouse, but you could use it on any pattern you like by just adding some placement lines.

Step 1: On your Smooth Sailing pattern, square out the bottom corners of the pocket placement lines, and transfer the placement to your fabric. (It's easier to attach the pockets before sewing darts, seams etc).

Step 2: Cut 4 of the pocket pieces on the fold.  With right sides together, stitch down the curved edge only (yes, I did stitch the wrong seam and had to unpick them, ouch). Seam allowance is 1.5mm or 5/8". Clip the curve, and turn right-side out.

Step 3: Press! You can also add any trim if desired at this point.

Step 4: Lay two of the pocket pieces together matching the bottom edges and corners. Pin in the centre to hold them together.
Turn up the seam allowance on the bottom edges, pin and press. Trim the corners diagonally.

Note: I like to have my pockets opposite each other (one opening left, the other right) and this is where you would decide how you want them.

Step 5: Pin the pocket piece to the blouse, matching the bottom corners to the placement lines. Stitch carefully around the outside approx 1mm in from the edge (i.e. very close).

Step 6: Finish sewing up the rest of your blouse!

As you can see, it's a piece of cake!
To get your own pattern piece, right click on the below image and select 'Open in a new Tab or Window'. You'll need to print at a size that matches the measurements in the test square for accuracy.
I hope you enjoyed this Tutorial, and I still have some more to come!

Saturday, August 02, 2014

FO: A Tuscan Summer Dress (Vogue 8789, c. 1957)

I'd been saving this 1950's border print fabric for exactly one pattern - Vogue 8789.

vogue 8789 plus size 1950s rockabilly sewing pattern review novelty border print fabric

And it's perfection!

Initially I was really scared when I was cutting up the fabric - no going back to get more from the store... The printed cotton seems to be farmers in Tuscany (I think?), lots of sheep, fields and manor houses.

The pattern is very easy, although I do recommend making a muslin of the bodice first - the bias allows a lot of ease. I ended up cutting a 16 bust and waist - normally I'd taper out to an 18-20 at the waist.

And don't forget to stay the waist! I disregarded the pattern instructions for a loose petersham ribbon stay, and opted for a sewing down a ribbon in the seam allowance instead. All my vintage dresses have this kind of stay, and it's less fiddly to do in my opinion.

Stitched belt carriers

Besides cutting the skirt in one piece, the only 'mod' I made was a small sway back adjustment (pinching the back out slightly) - easy as pie! I think it took me 3-4 hours to sew the finished version.

I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear it dancing!

Dress: Vogue 8789 (fabric from Stella Dallas Living, NYC)
Shoes: Miss L Fire Norma
Jewellery: various, all from Etsy
Bamboo Handbag: present from Jakk

miss l fire shoes review norma red mexican 1950s 50s bambhoo handbag retro vintage novelty print fabric

If you've been thinking of making it up, you won't be disappointed!
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