Friday 27 January 2012

Kimono Sleeve Replacement: Vote on your favourite

My dear readers, I have struggled hard to come to this decision, but I have made up my mind. I'm giving up working on the kimono sleeve dress whilst there's time. Part of me saw this as an admittance of failure but my rational side knows it's not quite that. The gussets are not the issue anymore as what I have managed to sew is not that bad. However the whole process made other aspects of this dress that I don't particularly love gain more strength. I fell in love with the pattern envelope but the dress instructions surprised me with a few details and designs that are not as nice, but at the time was ready to overlook:

  • The pockets are fake. They are just a decorative touch. I know it could be easily changed.
  • The back skirt falls quite oddly, possibly because of the V point. It's not bad at all but it's also not my favourite shape.
  • The sleeves are just crazy drafted. I tried re-designing them with my pattern making knowledge but wasn't very successful. We did a lot of set in sleeve and raglan sleeve work on the course but no kimono sleeve. After seeing Gertie GORGEOUS kimono sleeves with gussets I really can't bear to do these.

Bottom line, I do not love it! And after all the gusset drama I am close to hating it. So instead of beating myself up I'm going to move on and use the sumptuous wool flannel to sew something else. (I have just cut the bodice pieces so have lots left.)
I have two patterns in mind and would like you to vote for the one you want me to sew. It will likely have to wait for Autumn now, as soon it'll be too warm for wool, but it will be made. And can I just say: they both have set in sleeves. Woohoo!!

Pattern 1: A similar design to original. View C, button down dress with princess line panels and long sleeves.
Pattern 2: A gorgeous Vogue Couturier. A touch more serious but still gorgeous. The only scary bit in this pattern are the welt pockets.

Ready, steady, cast your votes!

Thursday 26 January 2012

Knitting fashions continue

Knitwear fashions continues this week with Vogue Knitting Book 49 (number 50 is missing). Presumably from late 1956, we are getting closer and closer to when fashions change. Don't forget I'm going backwards with these scans so we'll soon be in the darling 1940s.
I absolutely LOVE the dress below! Yes, another knitted dress but look at those stitches! They are big and chunky, yet she still looks beautifully and very fitting for the 50s. Now one day I might have to try this dress.
But what about my cardigan, you might be thinking!! I did say I had finished it so where's the proof? Well it is finished. I stitched the last seam yesterday. I should be able to take some good photos at the weekend so for sure you'll see it here next Thursday!

Monday 23 January 2012

My Ruby Slip finished

I finished this project a few weeks back but have been trying to devise a way to take photos of me wearing it that do not look too indecent. However, after a few attempts I gave up and photographed on my form. It doesn't flatter or help it look good. Please take my work for it, it looks better on me.
So onto the project itself! It's a design by the talented and gorgeous Sherry, who blogs over at Pattern Scissors Cloth and it couldn't be easier to follow. Matching the scalloped lace edges is not difficult, just tedious and the bias cutting and sewing experience wasn't too bad. My fabric was in my stash, a remnant of something satiny but definitely polyester my mum gave me. The lace was also in my stash, part of the fabric I bought in Hungary last year. The straps gave me a bit of a headache and although I ordered some bra straps, as a plan B, I managed to get them done.
You can also see the hem looks a bit dodgy. I attempted my narrow hem foot for first time and it's not perfect.
Thank you so much Sherry for this great project!

Saturday 21 January 2012

My article in Handmade Living magazine!

Me and my blog have been featured in Handmade Living Magazine issue 8 from January! I am very, very chuffed with this. If you want to learn a bit more about me, click on image below and have a read, and if you have any questions, fire away.
This issue came out December last year, I believe, and I kept my eyes peeled on shops around me but none of them have this magazine (which is a shame as it is such a lovely all round handmade gorgeousness magazine). I knew I was due to receive one from the publishers so didn't worry to much. Mail services have disappointed me and the magazine never arrived. The lovely lady I spoke with at the publishers promised to send me a new copy and I got it today! Hurrah!!

Thursday 19 January 2012

Knitwear of 1957

The more astute in you might have noticed there was no Thursday's Knitting last week. I do apologise but I found out rather late that I hadn't scanned anything else from my Vogue Knitting Book pile. Alas, I have now scanned a bunch.
For those of you that might get a bit fed up with scans I can proudly say that I finished my first knitted garment. I have to now follow the blocking and sewing process (which is making me rather nervous) but should be able to share within the next couple of weeks.
There are two things that jump out when looking at late 50s/ early 60s Vogue Knitting magazines. Lots and lots of dogs (which I do not oppose as they are cute) and lots and lots of smoking (not so keen on that but it was seen as very good and fashionable back then).
Love this cardigan, the print is a bit crazy. Would love to knit it but not sure I would love to wear it. If you are a knitter tell me: do you only knit functional pieces that you know you'll wear or are you attracted by crazy patterns and itchy yarns that looks nice but you now you won't wear?

Saturday 14 January 2012

Gusset Love/Hate!

I do love gussets, or should I say the way gussets look with a nice and sleek kimono sleeve. They were widely used in the 50s and I have many sewing patterns from that time that use them. That is why I decided to go ahead and sew my kimono sleeve dress as it was with the gusset  (after some trouble fitting I seriously considered altering the bodice pattern to use a set in sleeve). The problem is I cannot sew them! I fully admit, the problem is skill, namely skill at sewing sharp points. I cannot tell you how many times I have fiddled with these gussets. Gertie posted a timely tutorial on how to sew a 2 piece gusset but even with such brilliant help I did not manage. I confess I cried many times in the process, out of frustration of not being able to do this. I am close to giving up!
After more tears this morning I decided to have one more go at it and achieved a half decent half gusset. My concern is the pivot point. I was unable to do it on the machine so hand sewn it. It feels sturdy but I'm not 100% happy with it. Should I persist but risk a somewhat dodgy job which I won't be happy with?

There's three options, as far as I'm concerned:

  1. I keep on trying and in that case do you have any tips, tricks or solutions to sew a gusset/ sharp point?
  2. I declare it UFO, attend some SOS sewing clinics to work on my gussets and have another go at it next Autumn?
  3. Purely and simply ditch it and use the wool flannel with another gorgeous dress pattern (one with easier sleeve insertion). My love for this pattern has dwindled so it wouldn't completely break my heart)
Which option should I choose, my dear readers?

Monday 9 January 2012

Rock Chick Clovers

I have done my second pair of Colette Clovers, this time in the originally intended fabric (the first ones were a wearable muslin). The choice of fabric and the styling on the photos below take me back to my late teens/ early twenties when I was a full on rock chick. Not goth, not  rock n'roll, more like good old heavy and trash metal.
I'm still a rock chick, but I don't dress like one anymore. I don't think my employer would appreciate my style. I think the progressing towards vintage inspired is a natural one and definitely more "acceptable" for certain employers.
But on to the trousers! This time I had to take in the side seams in about an inch, the stretch of this material is different from the first one. But there is a huge problem with this fabric that might render these trousers unwearable. Whist adding the invisible zipper (a challenge on it's own, especially in bulky areas) the fabric on that side stretched and has not returned to it's original position. Boohoo!! It's not too visible on the photos but believe me, it is there. I knew from the start the material was not good quality, but it was the only animal print napped fabric I found with stretch.
And now I want to know if I'm alone. So tell me, do you, or did you ever feel restricted in what you can or cannot wear because of work? And if so, as your style changed because go it?

Saturday 7 January 2012

Fabric Stash

Fabric Stash... and a wonderful combination of words, don't you think? Many have written about their self professed fabric addiction and stash volume so I won't elaborate on those issues. It's really straight forward. I love sewing, hence I love fabric! I just can't see how the two cannot be connected.
My own fabric stash is not humongous, at least compared to others I've seen on the blogosphere but I sort of aim to only have a fabric amount that fits in my sewing cabinet.
It's not full to the brim but late last year (after our car broke down for the 100th time and we decided to buy a new one) I sort of decided to use from my stash. This is not uncommon and many of you may share this view. I am not making a pledge or a resolution because I know the moment it's "official" I'm out there buying fabric. And to be honest, I like feeling free to buy if I want. So far it's working as all the projects I've done in last month or so and the ones I have planned have used or will use stash fabrics. But if I need to buy I'll buy!

I also have lots of scraps and 0.5 mtr pieces that I don't want to throw away but cannot really do much with them. Craftsy announced a free quilting course running throughout the year and I decided to get in there and use only from my scraps stash (with the exception of background fabric which I had to buy). I think it will be a very random quilt, but I would have used most bits I have lying around. And you know what the good thing is about that? Is that once those scraps free some space and my cupboard looks emptier I can splurge on more fabric!

Thursday 5 January 2012

A Knitted Summer

I never use to associate knitwear with Summer, but that is probably my Southern Portugal person talking. With temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius you really don't want it on you. Here in UK, however, I can totally see myself using knits in Summer. And according to Vogue Knitting Book n.52 from 1958 (presumed) why not have a knitted Summer!
Despite this being a late 50s issue the designs are gorgeous and it was difficult to select my favourites!
Just take this gorgeous lace dress. It looks so beautiful with the jewellery and accessories. The magazine calls it The late-day dress and I think it would look smashing for afternoon tea.
I'm not a fan of pink but the cardigan below is so pretty. It would look wicked in navy blue or even black with purple roses.
My favourite of this issue has to be the cardigan below. How stunning would that look with a full circle skirted dress. And it doesn't look too complicated to knit (even though I have super limited experience knitting). They call it The cardigan- blouse (understandably so) and suggest a blend of wool and rayon in a pastel colour. Apparently "pastels are knitting headlines on the Continent."

Sunday 1 January 2012

1940s New Years Day Dress

On Boxing Day I learned that my local town centre was putting up an New Years Day event called Vintage Stony. I do like a good vintage event and there aren't many where I am so I was keen to spend the first day of the year looking at pretty old cars. I convinced F and decided to make a dress to suit the occasion. A bit of a crazy plan, especially as I've had a cold for the last week but I managed. I chose Simplicity 4867 and although I bought it for the pretty scalloped dress i decided to do the other version as it would be easier.
The dress was fairly easy to construct. Saying that I had to undo the yoke about three times but that was all due to my poor attention spam. The first time I sewed it the wrong way up as I didn't read instructions sheet properly. Second time I thought I had sewed it wrong because the back bodice was just to big for the yoke piece. I unpicked it and cut new pieces and then read on the pattern piece that the back was to be half gathered. So, it wasn't wrong after all but I had already ripped it off.
Whilst I'm not aiming to be genuine 1940s I think this dress feels very 1940s. I used a cheap linen blend from my stash and used a brooch my future MIL gave me for Christmas to add a bit of dazzle. My gorgeous shoes are from Miss L Fire.
The event was full of gorgeous cars but understandably so full of people as well so photos are not that great. To add to that the light was poor and Fs camera decided to add grain and blur every detail.
The dress fits fine. It's not perfect but taking in consideration I didn't do a muslin I think it worked well. I think the fact the waist is gathered not darted also gives it a looser look. I cheated on the sleeves as they were intended to be set in but I couldn't cope with it so gathered them. And because I had 4 days to complete this (and I worked between Christmas and New Years) the inside is a bit horrendous.
I hope you all had a fantastic time celebrating the New Year and I wish you all a great, great 2012! I would also like to thank you all for being a part of my blog. It is truly appreciated and makes me very happy! I have some wild plans for 2012 but knowing myself I might change them so no resolutions for me.


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