Monday, December 21, 2009
Now I'm back I'm trying to put together some summer and corporate clothes for me.
I made this dress very quickly as a trial run for Simplicity 2622 using very cheap $1 a metre fabric from the stash. The fit is fine, but this style is not recommended for anyone over a B cup. Having the bodice cut off cut below the bust point and drop straight is "stoutening" (a lovely word found in my 1950s dressmaking instruction book). Definitely just a house frock. But I do like the lace insert on the hem - I'll do this again when I find the right sundress pattern.
If anyone would like to swap this uncut project runway pattern for another uncut dress or blouse pattern contact me.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
1) invisible zip inserted - too tight to do up. Tears, teenager tanti "Practice your @@##$ sewing on someone else..My formal is days away and I don't have an @@##$$#dress!"
2) applied black tape and handsewed zip onto this. Still tight and at risk of popping.
3) uppicked all of the above and tried unsuccessfully to use hook and eye tape. Pop, pop, pop - hopeless disaster both visually and practically.
4) sought professional advice - added two panels of the purple fabric to create a new area to apply the zip. Created a 1 cm channel of fabric on either side of the zip. Visually this looked good, but still a little tight.
5) unpicked other side seam and let out they .5cm. - and it fits!
6) complete handstitching of linings, stitching beaded waistband and machining the hems.
7) have a gin and tonic and swear never again.
Having fixed all this up, ready to get on with my paid work and my @@@###*** computer has broken down. No pictures until after the big night on Wednesday.
Thank you all for your supportive comments. I would not have completed without you all cheering from the sidelines. I have two years to recover before my younger DD's first formal.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
SECOND QUESTION: Embellish the waistband ro not? To me this waistband screams home made and is my least favourite part of the garment. I've seen some very high quality diamante trim in Tessutis and Bollywood Trims also has some interesting trims in purple and silver.
Next up, I'm refashioning my 80s vintage pencil skirt in this beautiful black French ribbon lace into a strapless cocktail mini for DD's other leaving school function. The top half in in black Thai silk and I'm trying to integrate some of the lace cut from the top of the skirt. We're using the same pattern as the formal dress but with a higher back. Straps may or may not be added depending on how different the two dresses look.
Monday, November 16, 2009
I decided to check if they had any sewing books and found an absolute treasure trove of 82 sewing books from the 1890s to 1921 that were sourced from Harvard Library. My favourite and by far the most useful is the Butterick Publishing Company's 1921 edition of The New Dressmaker. It is 176 pages of text and illustrations covering every conceivable hand stitch and machine sewing technique (albeit invisible zips and knits weren't invented yet) as well as complete pattern drafting instructions.
If you are teaching anyone to sew, the site has school sewing manuals from throughout this period. I think I'm doing sewing at the level of the 6th grade based on these books!
The best part is that they can be downloaded as PDFs or epubs free of charge.
Will post shortly on my sewing away weekend and update on the formal dress (nearly there!)...but just had to share my excitement about this.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Each row is set individually with tiny handstitches which add to the ruffly marshmallow effect. I love the waves that have formed. The other side will run upwards in the other direction.
Next big decision...to embellish the waist band or not? What do you guys think?
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
And the cryptic title of this post? Comes from a piece of Cup fashion advice from the early 70s that my friend Di and I still giggle about.
And here are a few more work in progress shots of the formal dress. I am getting faster.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
My Chanel jacket is nearly finished. I am hand stitching the lining and the trims. I had hoped to complete the jacket this weekend, but Mini-Me and I did the Seven Bridges Walk, a 25km saunter around Sydney's beautiful harbour instead. It is an annual event - unfortunately this year the weather conditions were not favourable. For most of the course we walked in heavy tropical rain and thunder but it didn't dampen our spirits. The walk took us through so many foreshore parks and high street villages that we had never visited before. Mini-Me is a good distance runner and she urged me on to complete the course. I was so deliriously weary by the end that all I was up for on Sunday night was a BBC adaptation of Wuthering Heights. Surprisingly I'm not sore, but have a shocking 'wet socks' blister on the sole of my foot.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
DD also wished for a "quick 'n dirty" dress to be made from some pretty floral in my stash. Mother duly complied and whipped it into shape despite her misgivings about the design. I really wanted to make BWOF 07/09 116 but she as insistent as only a teenage girl can be that she wanted a tank style top with a high waisted gathered skirt. Well, as she tripped out the front door wearing it, she announced that it needs splits in the sides so that she can walk properly in it!
Monday, October 5, 2009
I also went to Newtown and wondered all the way down King Street to Bollywood Trims in the Indian Quarter. The fellow I spoke to on the phone assured me they had Chanel style trims. Yes Memsahib we have whatever trims you are looking for. No such luck, but if you are looking for bling, 589 King Street is the place to be. Hidden among the hideous were some abolutely beautiful embellishments. I may go back for the formal dress. I ended up going to Spotlight and buying the standard trim that I was trying to avoid using on the Chanel jacket.
My next projects are to: to finish a long dress I've been making for Rachel (very quick and dirty!); start my Chanel jacket and work on the pattern and muslin for Rachel's formal dress. A chance meeting through a mutual friend has led me to an old Jewish pattern maker and tailor who is willing to help me with pattern for formal dress. I hope that he may be interested in teaching me some tailoring techniques too. My father-in-law also was a tailor, but unfortunately he died in 1986 and had not interest in passing on his skills to me.
PS...I'm doing 1 hour of exercise a day now and feel so much better for it.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
With the eternal dusting and Jewish High Holidays I have been doing more reflecting than sewing. The DVK dress is beautifully made, but too tight across the bust. It was so stupid not to make a muslin first. I used a tried and trusted pattern for knits, but it didn't have enough ease for a woven fabric.
The HHs are a time of reflection and resolution. My resolution - to look after my body more. I've been piling on the weight since my 50th and I hate it. So I say to myself, lose 10kgs. I will feel better and will have an entirely 'new' wardrobe of clothes that currently don't fit. Dianne's blouse still is not finished. I've been tired and busy and hope that she will understand. Will post pictures of the DVK soon - it is worth showing off, just not on me!
PS today I went to the gym!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
While it looks rather simple in this picture, the one I tried on was in a beautiful floral silk and worn unbelted, looked very elegant and understated. At $545 I couldn't contemplate buying it, but will make my own. I have a gorgeous piece of silk in beige, red and pink that I will use. I am drafting the pattern at the moment. Interestingly the workmanship wasn't too great for a garment of that price. While it was lined, the sleeves were attached only with an overlock stitch. I will wear the dress with my Sophie Kyron necklace that I wore at my youngest daughter's Bat Mitzvah.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I used BWOF June 2009 115 and added sleeves from dress 129 - all Burda sleeves seem to be cut the same and can be interchanged with sleeveless dresses. There is nothing fancy in the sewing but the end result is fine. The seams are overlocked and it is lined with stretch jersey that I bought for $1 a metre. The fabric is from my bargain pile from the Remant Warehouse. It is black with flecks of blue in the lace. The total cost $7.95!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I must thank the person who gave me the award and list their blog and link it.I must list 10 honest things about myself.I must put a copy of The Honest Scrap Logo on my blog.I must select at least 7 other worthy bloggers & list their links.I must notify the bloggers of the award and hopefully they will follow the above three requirements also.
2. I first left home at 16. By the time I was 19 I was working in London. Two years later I drew Israel out of a hat. I didn't want to go there, but it came out of the magic hat three times in a row. Rather than heading for Africa (where my heart was sending me) I went with the fates and met my future husband there.
3. My husband and I spent two years hitchhiking across Europe and Asia to Australia. We maintained a long distance love affair for several years before settling in Sydney. We did not marry for 11 years.
4. I did not realize that I was a high school drop out until I met Americans in Europe who told me that I was. I knew that I was smarter than them so I did something about it. I now have more degrees than a summer’s day.
5. I am no longer a hippie and am embarrassed about some of my youthful ideals. I did inhale.
6. I am a bit of a helicopter mother, overcompensating for my own childhood and youth. I want my two girls to have a better start than I did. Sometimes they don’t appreciate my concerns about making the most of your opportunities
7. I love New York. No I LOVE New York.
8. But I also love the feel of the sand between my toes, and swimming in warm, clear seas so Australia is not a bad place to live.
9. I dislike religious fundamentalism of any creed, but I am religious. I find racism and jingoistic patriotism abhorrent.
10. I’m worried that I don’t read as much as I used to.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Recently I posted a comment raising reservations about anachronistic 50s fashion on Gertie's blog that brought forth an avalanche of comments making me feel like the judgemental and humourless boiler suit feminists of my university days. The jist of my comment was that I am concerned about the return to 50s fashion because it was not a great time for women and why would we want to go back there. While these fashions are extremely glamourous (and presented so in the equally ambiguous Mad Men TV show), they are also physically restricting and convey messages about women as frivolous, decorative and perhaps submissive. A theme among the retorts was that women still experience discrimination today so why focus on 50s fashion.
My instinctive response is why make it worse for ourselves? Virtually all of the women who wear these frocks in Mad Men are wives, secretaries, models, or waitresses. The one professional woman in the piece, Peggy, is at the bottom of Sterling Cooper’s white-collar hierarchy and knows it. Today's professional woman didn’t merely reject this world. She burned it to the ground and danced on its ashes. But there are many who would welcome 1950s values and discriminations to rise phoenix like from these ashes.
Then there are those who took the view that whatever feels good is ok. But is it? I've been mulling over this last point for a week now and have concluded that it is not. I'm not confining my thoughts to vintage fashion. Rather than doing any more 'tub thumping', I just want to put forward some questions that I've been discussing with my daughters and my friends.
- How can we enjoy fashion and glamour without being overtly sexualised in what we wear?
- Are stratispheric stilleto heels or wedges the modern equivalent of foot binding?
- Should we consider not just what a store bought garment looks like and costs , but where it is made and by whom?
- If we make garments, what should we know about the environmental and social impacts of the fabrics that we buy?
- How many clothes do we really need? Just because we make them ourselves is it ok to be so acquisitive?
Well that's enough for one day from the old boilersuit. And if you don't agree, don't kick too hard...It hurts.