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. 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

6 eras September: 1940s

The lovely sunny spring day we're having today must have influenced me, as I've picked a flowery 1940s number. Should be easily accomplished, now that I'm back at work and really only have the weekends.

I do, however have an epic outfit in mind. Very similar in style to the blue wedding dress I made last year, but there'll be more adornments and also a day and evening wear option. I made cute little miniatures to help visualise my concept: 

I'll be using a combination of Burda 7880: 

Simplicity 5457: 

And Truly Victorian patterns TV361 and TV170, which Rebecca graciously let me keep after finishing her dress. 



So, the idea is that they'll come out looking somthing like this: 

Hous of Worth, 1880s

And this: 

Mme, D Michaux, 1880s

I imagine this will take months and months, and I'll probably make a practise bodice or two, so this is definitely a long term project. Wish me luck!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

6 eras: August

A week late, but ended up so busy last weekend that I couldn't do the finishing touches on the skirt like I wanted to. Many lessons learnt from this outfit - didn't quite get the blouse tie sitting right, but I saw a similar blouse in an op-shop recently and had a lightbulb moment as to how I would do it next time; the lining fabric I used for the skirt is too thick, and makes the seams look massively bulky; got over-zealous and trimmed the hem far too much and made the skirt too short - remember, less is MORE!; don't like how the hem of the pleats are sitting but I know what caused that and will do it differently next time.

I will have a rifle through my pattern stash tomorrow and hopefully come up with an idea for September. Also have an epic idea for some gigantic gold and cream striped curtains I acquired recently. Might treat you to that as well :)

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Easy peasy.

So I smooshed together two patterns - one from the 1940s and one from the 1960s - to reach my desired design.

However I didn't alter the yolk properly so the neckline sits a little funny, and the ties aren't quite long enough. Not bad, though. I have a similar texture fabric with cats printed on it that I might use to make another :)

Since I got this made so promptly, I'm going to try and make a skirt to go with it too. The challenge WAS to make an outfit from each era, so a blouse alone isn't quite going to cut it. 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

August: 1930s blouse

I have twelve days to complete a project for August, so I've chosen a realistic item for that time - a 1930s blouse with bow-tied neckline a-la Upstairs Downstairs:




It's going to be made from a chiffon-type maroon fabric, so working with something that flimsy is going to be interesting...

Thursday, 14 August 2014

July: Regency-ish, not-quite Victorian

Yes, it's two weeks late, but better late then never, right? Here is my late-Regency/early-Victorian mish-mosh of a dress. As mentioned previously, it's from Butterick 5832, although I took some liberties with it. Love how the match of the contrast fabric worked, and I also refined my piping-construction skills. I have enough of this material to make another dress too. Love when that happens, means you're not putting all your creative eggs in one basket.

Will have to pick a less complicated era for August...I've only got two weeks left...

Monday, 4 August 2014

Getting there...

So I haven't delivered a finished project by the end of July but to be fair this is a very fiddly dress and I have got this far:

In contrast to the piped, pleated, gathered, and bias-bound bodice, the skirt will be relatively easy, so the early-Victorian-ish creation should be finished shortly. August's era may have to be an easy one. 1950s I'm thinking. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

6 eras in 6 months

Yes, yes, I know, my efforts have been pretty rubbish lately. However, to try and spark things up a bit, I've decided to set myself a challenge - 6 eras in 6 months. Each month I will make an outfit from a different era, and that will take me to the end of the year. That's doable, isn't it? And I'll start with a project I didn't quite get round to last year - a not-quite late Regency/early Victorian pattern that I fell in love with. With 9 days into July already I better get a move-on.

Maybe by the end of the 6 months I'll do a more authentic Victorian get-up. One sort of like this: 

We'll see. Have to deliver the first month first! In the meantime, here's my cat in a hoodie: 

Monday, 12 May 2014


I'm not a HUGE fan of these photos. We went all round the house looking for somewhere suitable to take them that had enough light suitable for portraits and didn't really find one. Nevertheless, I promised them, so here they are.

1935 day dress

1938 suit

1934 blouse

The conclusion I came to while making these was that women in the 1930s had ridiculously skinny arms. Or maybe I just need to go on a depression-era diet. 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

A little morsel to tide you over

Right, so, okay, it's somehow May already and I promised that it wouldn't be three months before my next post but it's closer to four. What the Jesus, Mary and Joseph?? Man the transition into a new career is a bitch, isn't it? Some major hiccups in my course, plus a weekend job in the industry that turned out to be more stress and ridiculousness than it was worth, plus feeling guilty whenever I did any sewing has resulted in bugger all to show you.

However, I'm still in semi-1930s mode thanks to Upstairs Downstairs, and have finished a dress from a 1935 pattern, and have almost-finished a 1934 blouse. Pictures to come. In the meantime though, you'll have to manage with a small tidbit from my exploration into Cat Couture. It's something Better Half and I always thought would be hilarious to try, and since mentioning it to friends they've all agreed it's a great idea. The other day everything was all getting a bit too much, so Better Half suggested I sew to relax, as it's the best way I get my flow on. So I thought "Fuck it! Let's do this!" and I spent a solid three hours making this little gem for our five-month-old:

We could NOT stop laughing

Doesn't he look smart?! As usual, camera's rubbish, but you get the idea. It's made from a heavily altered version of Simplicity 2695. We got two other patterns as well to cover all sizes of cat and dog to cater for friend's needs. This is just the beginning, folks. Just wait and see what costume I've got in mind for our prim three-year-old feline. She's going to love hate it. 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

The sewing black hole is over

Nearly three months?? THREE MONTHS?! Three months since my last post?? WTF! Granted, I moved house, went back to work for the summer (ew), and got a new kitten (I know, right?!) so between all that and the obligatory social engagements of the christmas/new year period, I had bugger all time for creativity.

However, since I was recently given a shout-out on for their wedding of the week (thanks Becs xx) I thought I should brush off the cobwebs of this ol' thang.

First, ANOTHER non-white wedding dress, for two friends of mine who got married in November. We used Butterick 5419 in a red delustred satin and the brides have kindly provided some photos for me to show off.

Thanks Marika and Kelly!

And just for good measure, here is me with them. Man it was windy that evening. 

I'm wearing the maroon cocktail dress I made out of the rest of the embroidered fabric from Samoa. It was bloody uncomfortable and it didn't fit my shape well so I'm selling it. That will teach me to alter a neckline without checking it first, I made it way too deep. The straps kept falling down 'cause I 'ain't got much going on in the chestal area to push out the front of the bodice and hold them in place. So to Trademe it goes, if anybody wants it. 

In other news, I've been volunteering at the SPCA a lot in preparation for the second half of my course, and it transpired that they needed a whole bunch of new surgical drapes to take out with their desexing caravan. Naturally, I put up my hand. I only had time to make 8 plain drapes and 5 cat spey drapes (the ones with holes in them) before the deadline - they take a lot longer to make than you might think! I'll keep making more with the extra fabric I have and hand them in as and when they're done. Here's the pile I made: 

And here's one in use. (Puppies obviously require the smaller cat spey drapes). 

Penultimately for this post, I have yet another wedding to attend next month, for which I will be wearing the following almost-finished dress: 

And last but not least, here's the beer I've been drinking while working on it today. It does indeed taste like christmas, and reminds me of Monteith's Summer Ale and fruit mince tarts. 

I sincerely promise it won't be another three months before I post again.