Yard Sale

>> Thursday, June 10, 2010

I've been getting ready for the latest Trunk Show at the Workroom which is this Sunday. I'm excited about this one, lots of talented folks will be there indoors and in the backyard and as usual lots of temptation, I'm sure, for me to bring home a few things myself..

I'll be bringing bags - along with some clearance bags - pouches, needle books, pincushions, wool embroidered brooches, cosies, bird cards and jewellery.  For my rummage/craft supplies I have a few vintage sewing odds and ends, fabric packs and the covered button sets pictured above.

For pictures of the goods (from lots of the vendors) that will be on sale and for details (where? when?) you can visit the Flickr page here.

Hope to see you guys there!


Dressing up

>> Thursday, June 03, 2010

This is my latest dress I've sewn. I made a few before this one but this is the first one I'm really happy with. When I started making my own dresses I made up my own patterns. I cut apart a simple dress I liked and used that as a starting point. I made changes to the shaping, added a waistband and neck band, moved the zipper and made the skirt more flared. I liked this new basic shape so much I made a few dresses with that design but it wasn't perfect so I wanted to try using a pattern.
I've found that vintage patterns have lots of good details that have helped me learn a lot about dress construction. I particularly love 1950s and early 1960s dresses with their pretty shaping, charming details and swishy skirts. Fortunately thanks to the glorious Mad Men, so does everyone else and there are lots of great vintage patterns on offer.

So I picked a basic vintage pattern (Simplicity 5022) to start creating my new dress pattern. I found it in an etsy shop called Sew This Patterns, here.
It had a basic fitted bodice which I adjusted for size. Vintage patterns don't need to be exactly the right size, if you're patient you can tweak the pattern to fit you perfectly. My vintage sewing books recommended making a muslin sample of the bodice using your pattern and then make adjustments until it fits perfectly. I actually did that. It's extra work to start with but it's worth it in the end. Once you've perfected the shaping on the sample you can go ahead and cut fearlessly into your fine fabrics!

So this dress has the bodice made from the pattern, combined with a 6-gore skirt pattern I created myself using instructions I found online. (Gores are just the separate panels that make up a skirt). Creating your own pattern means that you're using your own measurements and you can customize the skirt to fit you perfectly. I made my gore pattern flare a bit more so that the skirt would be wider. I do love a swishy skirt.

Then to complete the pattern I added some cap sleeves. I used the original dress I had taken apart as a starting point then made the sleeves a bit shorter.

The outer fabric for this dress is a white dotted swiss with blue floral clusters which is quite sheer. So I gave the dress a full white cotton lining. To do this, you basically sew up the dress twice, once in the outer fabric, then again in the lining fabric.

Sewing the lining to the outer fabric was not as easy as I expected. I sewed the lining to the neckline, turned it right side out and everything was fine. But when I sewed around the armholes I couldn't turn the dress right side out again. As Bradley explained, it was a topological problem and we couldn't figure out a solution. I ended up sewing around the armholes by hand. Any sewers out there with suggestions?
 The final touch for this dress was a handmade belt using a buckle kit. You can cover the buckle with any fabric you like. I also used grommets for the belt - another new skill!



>> Tuesday, June 01, 2010

I made it to Quilt Sunday at the Workroom last week but got there late. Lately I'm obsessed with sewing dresses from vintage patterns so I was happy to pick up a few more patterns while I was there. The more clothes I make the more I can see a pattern clearly. I've been practising looking beyond the styling on the front to see the shape of the garment. I'm still planning to show you some dresses I've made soon..

Quilt Sunday is great for quilters but you can bring anything you like to work on. I was making some fabric covered buttons, using some precious little scraps from my stash. When I cut up special fabric such as feedsack prints, I can't bear to throw away the leftover little pieces, so this is what I do with them.
I made some extra special buttons from an elegant vintage hankie with delicate little floral embroidery. I didn't like to cut it up but it had some spots on it that made it easier..

Lately I've also been working on some small projects for the home. I was offered the chance to do a review for CSN Stores. I had a choice from lots of wares from bathroom vanities to cookware. I was thinking it would be nice to have a fresh accessory for the kitchen so I chose a trivet made by Le Creuset. I didn't know they made them so I can't wait to try it out. I'll let you know what I think!


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