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1930's Fashion Predictions...

Saturday, June 29, 2013
David sent me a link to this video a long long time ago - 1930's futuristic fashion predictions AKA what they thought we'd be wearing in 2000.

It's a hair-raisingly brilliant video. Some real eye candy for you lovely cuties...

Oooh, swish!!


Who Wears the Pants...?

Monday, June 24, 2013
Well, I do.

Actually, so does David. I'm not sure I've ever seen him in a skirt or a dress or anything. But you guys - I MADE PANTS!

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Finally, after many years of sewing, I tackled my sewing nemesis. 

Sure, they aren't fitted pants or anything - I wanted big, wide, swing-y 40's styled pants. But I made them. And they fit. And there isn't any - ahem - wrinkling where there shouldn't be.

While it did take me 3 muslin attempts, I finally managed to wrangle this 40's pants pattern into submission. But it wasn't easy.

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Oh dear, this pattern...

The cover image makes them look so sleek and Katherine Hepburn-esque. Even the pattern outlines on the back promise this exact outcome. But in actuality, the paper pattern tapers, majorly, towards the bottom of the pant leg. Leaving you with ballooning hips and skinny ankles. Not a good look people. It's a little Fresh Prince-Harem-Pant gone wrong (was that ever right?). Oh, and they taper on both the back and front pant pieces, in both the inner and outer leg.

And the annoying thing was that I could see this when I was cutting out my first muslin, but I ignorantly thought that it would be fine! The front cover image doesn't taper, so maybe by some miraculous happening, this paper pattern won't taper either (yeah. No magical-un-tapering-ness happened here. Surprise surprise...).

That first muslin made me really question my friendship with this pattern and making pants and so we took a break. We both needed some time apart. I needed to make patterns that weren't completely different to the front and back cover images. And the pants pattern needed some time alone to think about what it had done.

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After a few weeks, we sat down together, sort of made up, and muslin 2 came into being. I made a completely new muslin, straightened out the outer leg taper on both front and back pieces (at this point, I hadn't connected the dots to realise that the inner leg tapered as well, because it didn't taper quite as much as the outer). I also added some extra hip and waist room. I tried them on, and to my surprise, we were nearly there.

Onto muslin 3 and I unpicked the inner legs, basted on some extra muslin and straightened out the slight taper there. Now the legs were pretty much perfect. Looking much more Katherine Hepburn than Fresh Prince.

I wanted a fancy button up side fastening, so I drafted 2 extra button plackets (which, less face it, were just 2 rectangles of interfaced fabric), sewed one each onto the front and back side, ironed them down and joined them at the botton on the inside. Then I added my button holes, sewed on my buttons and et voila! PANTS!

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Oh, these pants I'm wearing? Yeah, I made them.

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Did I tell you that I made these pants????

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I'm so glad I kept going with these. They have just the right amount of swing in the leg, but not so much that it's annoying. They fall nice and straight, and the green wool I used is just such a lovely shade of sage green. I really like the slight contrast stitching I used and the deep green buttons, which are also glittery in the sunlight (I bought them for my green version of the Afternoon Blouse).

I am now going to make them up in a black pinwhale cord. Cord is obviously much stiffer than my swingy green wool, and it has some stretch in it as well, so I'll need to play around with the fitting of the waist and hips, but I'm hoping they'll turn out just as lovely as these ones are.

Do you guys have any sewing nemeses? Have you tackled them? Did you have any success?


Winter-time Sewing...

Thursday, June 20, 2013
While I still have a hankering to sew florals and summery dresses (thanks to all of you in the Northern Hemisphere) there are a few winter essentials that are calling my name at the moment. Since we'll be moving back to NZ in a few months, and it will be very much colder than our Sydney winter, I need to put my summer-dress dreams on the back burner and concentrate on more practical (but no less pretty) garments.

1) Cerulean Blue Shirt

I haven't made many shirts in my life, but this one seems like a pretty, sweet and easy 'first shirt' pattern.

The buttons I'm going to use are clear vintage glass buttons that I saved from another vintage short sleeved shirt that, sadly, was not wearable any more. Every time I thought about getting rid of the shirt, the buttons caught my eye and I couldn't do it. I'm so glad I saved them. They are so pretty and sparkly in the light.

2) 40's Wide Legged Pants

In both green wool and black pinwhale cord. I've finally got the muslin fitting right (after 3 attempts!). So these pants should be ready soon (in fact, the green pair nearly are!!). But my goodness, that post will be a loooong one. 

Warning - that pattern, made up with no changes, looks nothing like the pattern cover! Just sayin'.

3) Long-sleeved Knit Dress

This knit fabric is part wool and has some amazing stretch-y qualities. After my 40's knit dress, I am ready to tackle more knits!

My goal with this dress is to make something along the lines of Kate Middleton's blue engagement dress with a few tweaks for good measure. I thought this vintage Vogue pattern would give me a good base to make a similar dress - what do you think? I'll have to be careful with it since the pattern isn't designed for a knit, but I think it should work out okay...

4) Wool Pencil Skirt

Isn't this fabric just the most loveliest wool you've ever seen? And it's so gosh darn soft! Oh, and warm. Oh and did I mention soft???

5) 40's Floral Cotton Dress

Well, I needed at least one pretty summery floral dress right? Because isn't this pattern just the most gorgeous 40's dress you've ever seen? All drape-y and gather-y and lovely. If ever I was in love with a pattern, it's this one.

And that is my list. While it's a small list, I think it should be achievable. All of those garments have been in my mind for a while now and with my impending deadline, it also leaves room for some much needed travel sewing (more knit Vogue 8728's) and some other fun sewing that will be revealed in a few weeks time :)


It's Official...

Monday, June 17, 2013
Bon Voyage
I posted this photo the day we left NZ for Sydney in February 2010...

We're moving back home. Back to The Land of the Long White Cloud, Aotearoa, New Zealand.

It's been official for a while now but it's become even more official over these past few weeks as I've been preparing for it. Flights are booked (30th August), Kitties flights and NZ accommodation is booked (they're leaving a few days earlier), quotes are coming for moving all our things back over the ditch and the time is flying by.

We are leaving for a few reasons, the major one being that David has nearly finished his PhD and our lease is up at the end of August where we are currently living. It's expensive living in Sydney and so we decided it would be best to move back home while we figure out the next step in the road.

It's exciting and stressful. David is racing to get his thesis completed and I am planning some awesome travels to Italy and the UK in October/November at the same time (more on that later!!).

I'm also trying to get as much sewing done as I can before my sewing machine boards a ship. I have things to make people! Like more comfy travel Vogue 8728's!

Once my machine has gone, if I don't prepare sewing posts in advance, I fear my blog will turn into a wasteland of granny squares and granny triangles... there is no escaping them... I even have an evil scheming plan to make a granny square in every city we visit on our big trip...

So, it's onwards and upwards!


The Crazy Granny Square Lady...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Okay, I can explain...

About a week and a half ago I taught myself how to crochet a granny square (and by taught myself, I watched a youtube video). I've now officially gone a bit crazy and have crocheted a grand total of 72 (and counting...) granny squares, including one accidental triangle when I wasn't paying attention (which I actually really quite like, so I am seeing some granny-triangles in my future as well...).

The pattern I'm using isn't the one from the youtube video though. Once I had got the hang of the granny square, I ended up playing around with the stitch count and placement of stitches, presented the 5 different designs I had come up with to David and we both agreed on our favourite. I'm fairly sure the pattern is not new to anyone who crochets, but I am happy to give it to you if you want it (and once I figure out how exactly to write a crochet pattern...).

So, what am I making with all these granny squares? Well, some cushion covers are first on my list and then a blanket. After that, probably some more cushion covers and then perhaps another blanket. I don't foresee my granny square craze stopping anytime soon. They are too cute and quick to make!

And oh the colour combinations you could have! I've changed my mind about the colour combinations for my pillows so many times already, I just can't decide!

I'll get back to you with my finished cushions just as soon as they are done (probably in the next week or so).


The Autumn Apples in Winter Dress...

Monday, June 10, 2013
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You can't beat a Sydney winter. No long sleeves and only light stockings on a lovely Sunday afternoon - yes please! Don't get me wrong, we've had a few cold days, but nothing like a Dunedin winter day (that happened 2 weeks ago on my birthday by the way).

This early 60's pattern from Advance was a dream to sew up. I really really enjoyed making this dress. It was easy, quick and it has no darts. Let me repeat: No Darts! All of the shaping comes from the gathers at the neckline on both the front and back and the bias cut across the bodice.

I made the dress with a printed cotton seersucker and really like the way the stripes in the fabric lend a subtle chevron detail up the middle of the bodice. I think this would look great in a more striking stripey or plaid fabric.

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And look at them there set in sleeves!

I generally try to avoid set in sleeves because I seem to believe that they are harder than they actually are. Using my new dress form, I managed to get the sleeve sitting perfectly at the edge of my shoulder and my tailors ham also came in mighty handy for shaping and ironing those little beauties into place once sewn on. Much better than a rolled up tea towel. So if you don't have one, I suggest you make one toot sweet!

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And as is always my problem (because I buy fabric without knowing what I'll make with it most of the time...) I couldn't do the full circle skirt. So I made it a 3/4 skirt and added two tiny little pleats (one to each side) at the front of the skirt to give it a little bit more pouf.

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And those spots on the fabric are apples, but there was some debate about that the other night. I knew all along that they were apples, but the conversation went something like this -

Skyping with my cousin:
A - What are those spots on the fabric you put on Instagram?
Me - Apples.
David - Really? I thought they were trees.
Me - Nope. They are Apples.
David - Are you sure?
*Gets up to inspect fabric*
Me - Yes, they are apples!
David - Yep, they are apples.
A - So, they are apples?
Me - Yes! They are Apples!!!!!!!
David - Yes, they are apples.
A - You'll need to put a close up shot of those on your blog so we all know they really are apples...

So, here is the close up shot (including a close up of the neckline and sleeves) - please feel free to agree with me in the comments that they are apples...

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If you have a hankering to make this little dress, I have seen this pattern pop up on Etsy a few times, so look out for it.


She's a Lady...

Friday, June 7, 2013
A sneaky peek of my latest creation. Photos coming next week!

For my birthday/christmas present my parents gave me a Lady Valet adjustable dress form. I really needed to replace my first dress form (a flaming red Singer) after the part that holds the torso to the hips broke. I tried several times to get in touch with them to find out if I could buy a new part, but to no avail.

Anyway, the Lady... she's lovely. All vintage-y looking and pretty. She was easy to put together, easy to adjust to my measurements and displays my garments so well.

She also looks pretty sitting in my little sewing corner in our living room...


Me Made May - The Final Week

Monday, June 3, 2013
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 Mochy makes an appearance on the final day...

I did it! Me Made May is over and I stuck to my pledge to wear one me-made garment everyday for the month of May, post my outfit to flickr and instagram daily and have a weekly round up on my blog.

How did you guys go?

Like many others, I really struggled towards the end. But it was a great exercise in making me go through all of my me mades, wear them and find out why I maybe hadn't worn some of them since they were finished. It was also great for figuring out the gaps in my wardrobe that really need filling.

Pants are my number one must make at the moment (after I've finished a little early-60s number I began last week). I made a muslin a few weeks back of a pair of 40s pants and we didn't hit it off. I knew when I was cutting the muslin that they didn't look right and that they looked almost nothing like the front cover, but I didn't trust my gut to make some very basic changes to that initial muslin and low and behold, they looked awful!

Don't you hate that? When you know things aren't looking right but you charge on ahead because the pattern must be right! You would think I'd know better by now...

Any way, a new sewing list will be coming up soon to replace my Summer one. I ended up making quite a few items on that list (and also started but didn't finish a few more) and found that having it really did help to keep me focused on what I really wanted to make and what I really needed to make.

Day 28 - 
My birthday! A new MacBook Air and a huge box of chocolates.

Wearing - Billie Jean Polka Dot Dress

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Day 29 - 
Plaid and bonus glasses today!

Wearing - Mad at the Plaid Dress

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Day 30 - 
My little 50s Sailor Sweater deserves a post all of it's own!

Wearing - Self-drafted Black Circle Skirt

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Day 31 - 
Freaking out and trying to get everything ready for my first market the next day.

Wearing - 40s knit dress aka Vogue 8728

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And what did I wear on June 1st when the challenge was over and I didn't need to wear a me made? I wore the exact same outfit from Day 23. It was comfy, warm and 'put together' enough for my first market (which was fun by the way, I made new crafty friends and sold out of my bird tea towel!).


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