Thursday, June 30, 2016

Curvy Month Pattern 1 - Nautical Topper in Thick Wool (c. 1955)

Welcome to Curvy Month!!! A month of curvy sized vintage knitting patterns for busts greater than 34 inches.

I'd like to start the month off with something cute and easy to make - a gorgeous nautical inspired topper in a quick-to-knit yarn.

free vintage knitting patterns pattern 1950s cardigan subversive femme
The pattern comes from Bernat Handicrafter Book No. 44, printed 1955

This saucy little number has a great multicolour slipped stitch design, nipped waist and front button closure.
Sized to fit: 34-36-38 inch busts
Yarn: worsted weight
Needles: 4mm and 6.5mm

(as always, right click the image to open in a new tab for easier printing)

I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Coming on 1 July - Curvy Month!

That's right - Curvy Month is back for 2016!
A whole month devoted to free vintage knitting patterns, sized for busts greater than 34 inches.

I'll hope you'll join me for some luscious larger vintage knits from the 1930s to the 1950s, starting on 1 July.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

FO: Simply red sheath dress (Butterick 6308, c. 1952)

Have you ever thought long and hard about how many hours a week you spend at work (and the percentage of waking hours)? I had a moment last week, realising that I need more vintage clothing for work thats easy to wear and clean - the vintage handwashing is getting overwhelming.

Recently, I was lucky enough to grab some cheap but gorgeous rusty bengaline at my local fabric store and realised how perfect it would be for Butterick 6308, a repro from 1952.

1950s dress vintage butterick 6308 sheath dress sewing

The pattern itself was super easy to sew - I didn't even need a zip as the fabric was so stretchy.

 The faux chest pockets and button detailing were directly inspired from a 1950's dress I had seen online.

Probably my favourite detail is the pointed cuffs - I didnt interface anything on the dress except these as I needed them to stick out slightly.

The back has some lovely double kick pleats, which I admit are painful to press into bengaline. I may try starching them to see if they'll stay put.

miss l fire

  • Cut a size smaller all over to allow for the stretch fabric
  • Lengthened the hem by an inch
  • Shortened the bodice by half an inch (short waist)
  • Lowered the under bust darts so they wern't so pointy.
Overall, very happy and super comfortable for work. I'm not sure I would make this again, as it's so distinctive, but maybe use it as a base for another dress.

  • Shoes - Miss L Fire Lanai
  • Hair Clip - Mimco
  • Belt - my own
  • 1940's sweetheart necklace - gift from Jakk
Enjpy your weekend, and don't forget, Curvy Month starts on 1 July!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Part 5 - Idaho to Hawaii - and SWAG!

The last holiday post, I promise!

The final leg of our Vintage Road Trip was driving across the plains of Idaho (through Boise), down to Pendleton (Oregon) and ending up in Portland.

Southern Idaho seemed like miles and miles of flat farms, until we reached Pocatello.

We had no idea there would be this amazing bridge and canyon in the middle of nowhere!

Jakk is deathly afraid of heights, so I don't have any photos of her near the edge.
Onwards to Pendleton, Oregon.

Yes, THE Pendleton, home of the Pendleton Woolen Mills and the classic 49er jackets.

Wearing an original 49er to the mill!

Unfortunately we were seriously running out of room in our bags by now, so no blankets to bring home.

And our last city - Portland!

I'm of mixed minds about Portland.

I think we had such high expectations because everyone raves about the city, but in reality I was a bit disappointed. Good food, but not the vintage mecca everyone told me it would be.

Well, I did find two lucite handbags and handpainted Mexican tourist skirt so it wasn't that bad.

I would suggest crossing the river and going to Vancouver (Washington) for some serious vintage shopping.

The great thing about Portland though  was how close to nature it was (and no sales tax!)
We took a day trip over to Mount St Helens, and co-incidentally were there on the 36th anniversary of the erruption.

You can really see the impact of the blast - the trees haven't grown back in places, and bits still remain embedded in the soil.

I really recommend the drive up there, and make sure you stop at all the kitschy attractions on the side of the road!

Columbia Inn Restaurant, Kalama WA americana
Columbia Inn Restaurant, Kalama WA
With our Vintage Road Trip over (3 weeks of driving, over 2,100 miles or 3,360 kilometers) it was time to say goodbye to mainland USA and head to Hawaii for some rest.

I had no idea we'd enjoy Hawaii (Waikiki) as much as we did!


The weather is warm, the people are lovely and the vintage shopping was good as well!
Make sure you check out Barrio Vintage in downtown Honolulu - those boys are awesome.

I bought this deadstock 1960's hawaiian waterfall dress from them, and felt like a James Bond villaness swanning around the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

We also made a trip to out to the Pearl Harbour monument.

I had no idea of the size of the USS Arizona, it really is massive.

The bodies of the crewmen are still down there, and so is the oil and petrol. It slowly bubbles to the surface of the water in drops and looks very surreal.

The final must-see place we went to was La Mariana! The last remaining true tiki-bar on the island.

La Mariana Sailing Club has been around since the fifties and it definitely feels like it! Cheap drinks and moderately priced food.

The bar is not anywhere near the tourist strip - I would highly recommend catching an Uber or Lyft out there (and back) as it was much, much cheaper than a taxi.

Well, that was our trip in a nutshell - 10 states, two month.


Yes, it's true, we did come home with three checked bags each (eep), but boy did we get some really great stuff.

I'll start with what we were most proud to get home unscathed -  a pair of Midcentury ceramic lamp bases, with fibreglass lamp shades!

They stand about two feet high, and took some seriously creative packing to fit into our bags.

I also found a pair of Midcentury lady-head vases in Montana that  made it home in my carry-on.

But what about clothes?
I didn't seem to find as many clothes this time, I have a feeling that vintage is getting harder and harder to find. We did find a great store in Butte Montana (called ReDiscoveries) and I would definitely pay them a visit again.

But, I did buy a tonne of handbags, including three 1940's telephone cord bags.

A heap of jewellery - including about 20 bakelite bangles, two clampers and two carved lucite brooches.

And finally, a pair of red and a pair of green saddle shoes from Muffy's in Vernonia Washington.

Top Picks for Vintage Shopping:
We love the USA, and are already keeping our eyes peeled for some cheap flights back to Hawaii (just in case). It is definitely goo to be home though.

Coming up very soon on my blog - more sewing, and Curvy Month starts on 1 July!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Part 4 - Yellowstone National Park

Bears, geysers, bison, rivers - Yellowstone has always sounded like nature's Disneyland to me!

Yellowstone was everything I thought it would be - better in fact!


The park itself is massive and we spent a good three days exploring everything we could access to (some roads were still closed due to snow).

The thermal pools and bubbling geysers are a bit scary if you stop to think about it too much - you're standing inside a volcano basically!

We kept seeing bison prints really close to the edge of geysers, and then finally found this guy having a snooze on the hot sands - not something I would recommend!

Nope I didnt get close to this guy, thank goodness for zoom
Something that really amazes Aussies - frozen lakes! Lake Yellowstone still had ice on top - not something you see down here in Australia.

And of course we had to scramble down there and check it out.

Craziness. Jakk and I are already talking about coming back in a couple of years if we're lucky.

It was a very sad morning when we had to leave for rest of the Vintage Road Trip - heading across Idaho to Oregon...

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