Sunday, 11 October 2015

I built a house!

Yeeaaahhh, so I haven't really quite been doing much sewing lately. I've kind of been distracted by my latest interest - building miniatures (read: adult dolls house obsession). So in lieu of sewing adventures, here's a few pics of what I've been up to lately instead:

The place still needs furnishing, and the chimney-top constructed, but doesn't it look fricken awesome?! It's a 'half scale' dollhouse, which means its only about 30cm high. I've bought two other 'full scale' dollhouses as well, one made up which I'm going to renovate, and the other which only has about two walls up so I can start that one almost from scratch. (Thank heaven for Trademe. Buying full-scale new would be thousands of dollars...)

I will get the nurse's uniform finished one day, I promise. Also, I took advantage of a pattern sale at Shitlight (I mean Spotlight) and picked up these scrummy 'Archive Collection' McCalls patterns from the 1930s. Maybe they will help get me back in the saddle.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

WWI Nurse's Uniform: The Dress

It wasn't only soldiers that went to war a hundred years ago. Thousands of New Zealand and Australian nurses went as well, serving anywhere from convalescent hospitals in England, to casualty clearing stations not 100 yards from the front line. Most nurses served through the New Zealand Army Nursing Service (NZANS) and the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS), but some served through Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service and the Red Cross.

I have focused on making an AANS uniform, as thanks to the mini-series Anzac Girls, based on the book The Other Anzacs by Peter Reese, I managed to make a detailed study of the costumes made for it.

 The cast of Anzac Girls

The rest of my research showed a lot of variation in uniform styling, and I am yet to find a set of actual uniform guidelines for any of the nursing services, so as far as I know it was anything goes as long as it was tidy.

I had hoped to have the entire uniform finished by this Anzac Day, but working six days a week for the past two months hasn't left a lot of extra time for sewing. What I do have today though, is the finished underdress. It should be a darker shade of grey and the skirt isn't quite long enough due to fabric restrictions, but here we are. I ended up using Simplicity 9723 as a general base.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Getting there!

Four weeks later and it still only looks like this... but it's wearable now and only needs hemming so that's something. Now just to make the apron, capelet, and preferably a petticoat or two. But that is SO not going to get done before Anzac Day, as that's only six days away.

Well, the Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa is going for four years to commemorate the duration of the war, so I guess I've got some time yet before I've completely missed the boat. Looking forward to going to see that actually.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

I've started!

See, I've started the nurse's uniform! I'm not completely full of it!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Let's get this party started

THREE MONTHS?! Has it really been three months?? Right, that's it. I'm vowing to update this baby way more often than I have been. My day-job is boooooring and no one is hiring me for what I actually want to do, so I need another outlet for something I actually care about. Cue blog update!

Haven't actually made much lately, just one dress which I wore to a hen's party last weekend but didn't end up getting a decent photo of me in it, so will get on to that soon, promise. Also making the bridesmaid's dresses for wedding relating to said hen's party so that will be coming up on the blog soon too.

In the meantime though, I'm going to put something out to the universe. Every morning I walk through the construction site of Wellington's WW1 centenary Memorial Park on my way to work, and every morning I think "I would like to do something to mark this too". I love the Edwardian era, I love practical clothing, and I admire the working class of all ages. I'm going to make a WW1 nurse's uniform.

Inspired by the story Glory Days magazine did on the up-coming Anzac Girls mini-series to mark the Anzac Day Centenary, I bought the book the series is based on and started coveting the uniforms.

Judging by what I've researched so far, I reckon McCall's pattern M4548 will be a good base. 

A lot of the old photos of the nurses have high collars, but that would be so uncomfortable and I've seen enough photos will flat collars that I reckon it'll still be legit. Here are some of my favourite images: 

The famous Violet Jessop

Queen Mary with Princess Mary

"A New Zealand Army nurse wearing an indoor uniform", Australian War Memorial archives

Some of the cast of Anzac Girls

The cast of Anzac Sisters, a play by Geoff Allen

It's just a pity I can't study the costumes in action from the series itself, as I'm pretty sure it probably doesn't screen until Anzac Day.

Monday, 27 October 2014

6 eras in 6 months - Abort Mission

I'm clearly too productive for this mission. In the space of twelve hours yesterday, fueled by spontaneous motivation and no need to shower or leave the house, I got inspired by this image I found on my Pinterest board (among others):

Callot Soeurs c.1926

And went from this conceptualised-drapery-and-accessories-match:

To this pretty-much-finished-dress-that-just-needs-hemming and refashioned-hat-that-just-needs-a-few-stitches.

This may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I ended up making the blue 1950s dress too small and it won't fit over my ass. I swear they're doing funky things with the sizings every time I try a new pattern. Yep, that's the reason. 

Anyway, screw the mission, I'ma sew whatever I want, whenever I want. And I'm NOT bitter that the blue dress doesn't fit. Really I'm not. 

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Finished ages ago, I swear

I did actually finish the 1940s dress a couple of weeks ago, but was hanging out for an opportunity to photograph myself actually IN it. And after a long stint of weeding down in the garden on a hot sunny morning, I figured enjoying a well-deserved beer on the deck in my summer dress would do the trick.

And damn was it sunny. Even my new prescription shades weren't enough. Forgive the choice of beer, we were feeling poor when we bought that box of Export Gold. Anyway here's a better view on the mannequin: 

Very 'sweetheart' 1940s, I must say, which is not usually my style, but it still came out quite nicely. Especially considering the amount of guesstimating that went into expanding the seam allowances to make it slightly bigger. Now, this month (of which there's really only two weeks left) I figured I'd follow the trend and do 1950s - a blue brocade cocktail dress from 1951. 

It's going to be sweeeeet. Going to have to fudge it a little as I laid the pieces out on the fabric and it's not qquiiiiiite enough, but of course I'm never one to shy away from a challenge. Thought of perhaps wearing it to my work's end of year christmas party as - get this - the theme is 'Christmas'. And I would love to turn up in something as least christmassy as possible.