Thursday 28 April 2011

Another 1930's blouse

A few weeks ago, whilst on a wonderful blogger meet-up with Karen, Shivani, Zoe and Stevie, I had the pleasure of visiting Ditto Fabrics in Brighton.  I’ve bought a few things from Ditto online before, but the actual shop holds way more exciting and reasonably priced fabric than is decent.  Whilst I was in there, I found the perfect bluey/green cotton fabric for my second 1930's blouse, here's a reminder of the first one, the rabbit blouse.  

And here's the second one..

For some reason I’ve been desperate to make this blouse - I’ve been trying to sneak the odd hour in here and there but my children have been on school holidays, so I’ve had very little opportunity to sew. I finally finished it when I had my first free day yesterday.  

I used the same 1930’s pattern that I used for my rabbit blouse (Simplicity 2844) and it was as straightforward as I remember to sew together.  The big difference between this version and the rabbit version is the fabric.  There’s lots of catch stitching in this pattern.  This wasn’t a problem with the first blouse as I used a double gauze fabric, so there’s an entire extra layer to catch.  The bluey/green fabric was too tightly woven to catch stitch without it showing through on the outside, so I improvised and topstitched the facing to the front edges and collar.  

Because there’s already top stitching on the yoke and shoulders, I think it works pretty well.  To finish off, I used some of the vintage buttons I picked up in Bath – a perfect match.  I already like the shape and fit of this blouse, so didn’t bother messing about with the pattern.  This version does seem a little baggier than the first version, but I think that’s more to do with the lighter coloured, plain fabric making it seem bigger. I really love the colour though – it’s so 1930’s.  

Trying to look 1930's and blending in with the wall
I had to match it with these white sailor trousers for the photos as I needed a high waist - and I couldn’t subject you to yet another shot of my 1940’s navy strides!   On a final, gleeful note, I had enough fabric left to make something else, which isn’t quite finished yet.  More on that in the next post….

Happy Thursday. x

Saturday 23 April 2011

It’s my birthday….and a giveaway!

Hip hip hoorah, today is my birthday.

I’m honoured to share my special day with the following luminaries:

The Big O
The Bard himself
The lovely John Hannah
And last, but by no means least, Lee Majors (the bionic man)

I’ve reached the great age of (mumbling into hand)….42.  Apparently 42 is the answer to everything, according to The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (or something like that, I never read/watched it). I wait with bated breath…

Anyway, I digress.  Here’s a jaw dropping fact: I appear to have amassed 200+ followers since I started this blog!!! I’m both gobsmacked and delighted by this, and would just like to say a huge, gigantic thank you to each and every one of you for your support and encouragement.  Your comments, suggestions and back patting have really spurred me on to bigger and better sewing. As a mark of appreciation (and because it’s my birthday), I’ve got a pretty special giveaway for you. 

If you’ve been reading my blog awhile, you’ll know I’m a fan of Colette patterns.  I love the vintage-inspired styling of the garments, the fact that the patterns look like little books and the idiot-proof instructions. So the prize for my giveaway is a bit of a no-brainer - a Colette pattern of your own.  Yippee!

One lucky sewer will get to choose the Colette pattern of their choice from M is for Make. M is for Make stocks a great range of Colette patterns, including the two new ones: the Violet blouse and the Ginger skirt. You can browse the collection here and check out the gorgeous fabrics whilst you’re at it.  Massive thanks to Kate at M is for Make for so generously supplying the winning pattern.

So, back to the giveaway…. all you have to do is be a follower of my blog and leave a comment on this post, letting me know which Colette pattern you’d choose if you won. That’s
it!  The giveaway is open worldwide and closes at midnight GMT on April 30th 2011.  The lucky winner will be chosen at random after this date and notified by e-mail.  Good luck everybody, and have a great Easter.  xx

Friday 15 April 2011

New purchases

It’s the school holidays, so sadly, there’s not much time for sewing.  I have to get my fix somehow though, and this usually involves new fabric and/or patterns.  We had a very rare day and night away this week – we left the children with my in-laws in Cheltenham and sped off to Bath to be tourists.  I must say a BIG thank you to Scruffy Badger (Winnie) who, as a Bath resident provided me with a fantastic list of places to eat and drink, most of which we sampled.  Here’s what else I managed to sniff out whilst we were away:

Lovely polka dot fabric, destined for this pattern.

The most gorgeous 1930’s style greeny/blue fabric.  

The lady in the shop pointed out that it was actually lining fabric, but I ignored her and bought it anyway.  I really want to make another version of my 1930’s rabbit blouse using this colour fabric, so I can pretend to be Miss Sarah Burton from South Riding.  

Image: BBC
With hindsight, and after several dreams about it (yes, seriously) I think it probably does look like lining fabric (doh).  Never mind, I shall use it to line something fabulous so you just get a flash of the gorgeous colour.  My search for the South Riding fabric continues…

Whilst we were looking round an antiques market, I found a whole stall devoted to vintage buttons.  

I bought these lovelies, all of which could be used for a South Riding blouse.  Obsessed?  Me?  No chance.

On the way back to Cheltenham, we stopped off in Stroud.  An hour later I had my grubby mitts on this lot.  

I’ve already planned the fabric for two versions of this A-line skirt (red wool crepe left over from my Swing dress and black gabardine if you’re interested).

The last one looks like a great pattern if I can tone down the collar so it doesn't make me look  like the scary queen from Snow White.  

The 1960’s pattern with the Go-Go boots may be pushing it a bit, but I can always keep it up my sleeve for a giveaway.

Definitely enough booty to keep me quiet for a few days...

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Blue Rose Drawstring Top

After my recent flutter with Japanese pattern books, I felt in need of an old fashioned pattern with instructions and lots of print on the pattern pieces.  My vintage patterns have been winking at me from their shelf for a few weeks, so I thought I’d sew one of them - meet Advance 8589.  

This is from 1958 and I made the straightforward sleeveless top on the right with the drawstring waist.  Lots of lovely detailed instructions (in English) and everything printed on the pattern pieces, even the seam allowances, hoorah. 

I made a muslin and decided it needed a few tiny tweaks:  I took the side seams in by half an inch and the bagging across the back needed taking in by three quarters of an inch.  I have this baggy back problem all the time because of my narrow back and it’s only recently that I’ve discovered a quick solution.  Previously I’d pinned a tuck right down the back, then laboriously flattened out the muslin and re-traced the new pattern piece etc etc.  After flicking through one of my favourite reads - Fit for Real People (which my husband thinks is hilarious because of the front cover), I discovered I could narrow the back width by simply placing the pattern centre back over the edge of the fold. The simplest discoveries make me so happy.  I also lengthened the blouse by an inch.

The neck seemed high, which I am not a fan of (see here for evidence) but because I hadn’t bothered incorporating the neck facing into the muslin (because I’m too lazy) I figured it would go slightly lower once the facing was in place. Wrong. I finished the blouse, but then whilst I was showing it off to my family I started feeling like I was being choked. Even when I took it off, I could still feel pressure round my neck (perhaps I have a weird strangling phobia?) So I carefully unpicked the centre front neck section and re-sewed it slightly lower.  Not much, as I think the style demands a high-ish neck, but just enough to stop me freaking out. 


The pattern is very simple and there’s a bit of clever trickery involving half turning the facings inside out, then taking out some basting stitches and cunningly turning them the right way round (or something like that).  Difficult to explain but it does make the inside look super neat doesn’t it?  

I used a printed poplin I picked up in a rare fabric sale at John Lewis.  This has a similar feel to a quilting cotton but is a lighter, silkier weight and doesn’t have the starched stiffness of quilting cotton.  I absolutely love the vintage rose print.

I do like the top (it was the top which drew me to the pattern rather than the suit) but I think it will take a while for me to get used to the drawstring style.  It reminds me of those maternity tops which tie with a drawstring under the bump!  I’m too used to most of my clothes being super fitted.  Worn with my ‘ever faithful, go with everything I own’ high waisted trousers though and I’m a bit more convinced.  
Magic trousers making my legs look 20 ft long (which they're not)
I’ve come to the conclusion that occasionally it’s good to sew something slightly out of your comfort zone.  I’ve got a feeling this top will grow on me…


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