Thursday, September 29, 2011

Is this Heaven???

For anyone (like me) who likes to sew AND likes to rummage around in bargain stores, thrift stores, and yard sales, this place has to be heaven.

On Tuesday I had a day out with Mum. She had heard about this place a couple of hours drive away that bought up stock from fabric shops that have gone bust, and sold it at bargain discount prices. So we thought we'd go! And I tell you, it was UNBELIEVABLE!

I love rummaging through things, and there was a lot of things to rummage through! Imagine a big shed like an aircraft hangar FILLED with rows and rows of fabric! There was some crap, but you get that anywhere. There was also some unbelieveable bargains! Take this for example:

Isn't this the most amazing retro print EVER!!! Its on a silky microfibre type fabric which will be lovely in summer. I bought 5 metres at $5/metre. I have bought this pattern to turn it into a dress:

I also bought a lovely teal blue/green curtain fabric (no rubber backing though!) to make into a dress or maybe a coat... I'll worry about that later... and it was $7.50/metre. I also bought some white sheeting to make mock-ups of patterns from and it was $3/metre.

It was a very worthwhile trip - much enjoyed by both of us! And I tell you, I will DEFINITELY be going back!

Thanks for reading


Monday, September 26, 2011

Can I sew two dresses at once???

Of course I can!!!

After the success of my Dusty Pink Dress I thought I would make two more dresses in the same pattern. I got so many compliments when I wore it - it was lovely to be told that something you made was beautiful :) Unfortunately I don't have any photos - I think I need to set up a photo shoot to have someone take photos of me in all the dresses I have made. Hey, thats a pretty good idea!!!

Anyway! The weather ended up being not the best on the weekend, so along with a few other things I worked on two new dresses - the first one being the long awaited (by me anyway) Sheet Dress!!!

I purchased the above original 1950/60s twin bed sheet in its original unopened packaging on etsy (of course) and as soon as I saw the listing my brain exploded with ideas! I love it when I am inspired by something like that - has that ever happened to you? See how the flowers are densely packed at the top and bottom and sparse in the middle? Well I imagined a dress with lots of flowers at the hem, fading up to virtually no flowers on the bodice, with a little pink self-covered belt, and a pink jacket!!! Just imagine the entire look - complete with pink gloves, pink hat, pink shoes, and a pink bag!!!!! I'm getting excited again just thinking about it!!!!!!

Here is a close-up of the sweet little flowers:

Its going to look so beautiful!!!

Because I wanted the flowers a particular way on the pattern pieces I had to lay the sheet on the floor. My 18mth old puppy Stella thought she might be able to help:

She couldn't, just got in the way really... but I appreciated the effort :)

For those of you who can't imagine what I mean about the flower placement, I have outlined the pattern pieces on this photo in yellow:

The pieces on the right are the front and back of the dress. See how there aren't many flowers on the bodice???

Stella gave up trying to help after a while and instead sat in her beanbag and supervised:

So - for my second dress that I will make at the same time as the Sheet Dress I chose this lovely fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics - a sheer-ish green with laser cut, white edged eyelets in a flowery pattern:

I'm going to line the dress in pink so I have a green dress with pink flowers, like this:

I will also wear this one with a pink belt and pink shoes :) I love matchie-matchie accessories!

This will be an interesting one to sew together for two reasons:
1. The green fabric is sheerish, with holes in it, so my seams are going to show. They have to be neat (or bound maybe...hmmm)
2. Both fabrics are slippery and like to move about. I may have to actually READ THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL that came with my new sewing machine to see how to best tackle slippery fabrics.

Still, I like a challenge, and sewing two dresses at the same time, one of them with difficult fabrics should make for a good challenge! I will keep you posted on how they come along.

Thanks for reading


Friday, September 23, 2011

Remember that dilema I was having...

... well in typical Beccie fashion I didn't do any of those things, I did something else!

I had ordered some fabric a little while ago from Gorgeous Fabrics and it arrived!!! This is one of the fabrics I ordered:

Its a beautiful heavy weight cotton of the most beautiful dusty pink colour! Its a bit paler in person, but this just could be my monitor :) So I had a bit of a wander through my vintage pattern collection and I decided on this one:

A sweet little swing dress with little tucks under the bust and a divine short cropped jacket!

I started out like I always do - by making a calico copy to see if it would fit. This pattern is a size 11 (31 inch bust) and therefore should be way to small for me (36 inch bust). However, it fitted perfectly. Either inches have gotten smaller or this dress pattern has a ridiculous amount of ease in it!

So I cut it out and sewed it up. It really was the easiest pattern - I thought the little tucks under the bust might give me some issues, but nup! The hardest bit was when I needed to bring it in a little smaller at the waist to fit me - re-doing that seam where the tucks are was a little fiddly.

So here is the dress (unhemmed):

I have my blue petticoat on my dressmakers dummy to give it that poufy look :) And I would wear it with the powder blue petticoat too I think - gives a nice contrast and brings out the hydrangeas.

And here is the little cropped jacket:

Obviously, it is also unfinished - it doesn't have its collar on and I'd done none of the hems. But you get the idea.

It really is the loveliest ensemble, and SO EASY to make, which is why I think I will make my next few dresses from this pattern - sheet dress here I come!!!

I have since finished the ensemble and all its hems (which I did with a nicely contrasting powder blue bias tape) and I am wearing it to work today!

Which leads me to a post I read here about costume vs clothing. You should read it, Peter's blog is great. He wanted to discuss how people feel about the costume/clothing boundary. I love my outfit. Yes I am also wearing stilletos, victory rolls in my hair, vintage style make-up, vintage jewellery, and carrying a vintage handbag so its probably viewed as COSTUME by everyone that sees me. However this is what I wear every day, so to me its CLOTHING, albeit ecentric, but its how I feel that counts and I feel beautiful :)

I will get someone to take a photo of me and the whole ensemble and I will post it up on my blog so you can see for yourself what it looks like.

On a completely different topic my gorgeous fiance bought me a sewing machine as an early christmas present! Its a Janome DC4030!! I was sewing with my Mum's machine, but she wanted it back... how rude!

I love my new machine, it sews wonderfully well and I'm sure will last me a long time :)

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

And now I have A Dilema

What to do next????

I have so many amazing choices! First of all there is this one:

I like the dress on the left (the green one for those of you not good with your left and rights!) I think it would be lovely for summer, and I have found some lovely fabric - but there is even a choice there. Should I go cream with red roses, or black with pinky-red roses???

Then there is this one:

Seeing as its getting warmer, and I don't have a lot of vintage tops, it would be really good if I could make some blouses to wear to work with skirts or capri pants etc... and I like this pattern, it just doesn't excite me much... it feels like a 'have-to' rather than a 'want-to'.

Then there is:

This pattern is DIVINE!!! I love the neckline, and the buttons, and the CAPE!!! Oh I so want to this one, and I've found a lovely black and white print fabric for this one...

And last but not least there is this:

Yes, its a bed sheet. But its not any bed sheet - its a vintage 1950s twin bed sheet unused in original packaging (only taken out of the package to be photographed by the person I bought it off). It has the most beautiful pink roses on it. As soon as I saw it I imagined a beautiful dress with the skirt made out of the sheet, with the area where the roses are densest (is that even a word?) on the hem, becoming more sparse towards the waist. The bodice of the dress will be plain white, and I can make a little pink bolero, and a pink fabric belt, and I can accessorise it with pink shoes and a little pink bag, and my milk-glass necklace and earrings... oh the possibilities are endless. And while I have all the ideas for this one I don't have a pattern - I would be cobbling together other patterns to come up with something I like, which is more of a challenge than the others, but I do love a challenge!

So, what should I do?

And the next dress project is...

... a gorgeous asymmetrical button up dress with a cute-as button on bolero!

This is another one of my growing collection of vintage patterns.

It was purchased from SewMrsP on Etsy. You can find her shop here. She has an enormous amount of vintage patterns in her store - really worth a look!

There were a couple of things I LOVED when I first saw this pattern:
- the button up front with the buttons not in the middle.
- the fact it had pockets
- the adorable bolero that BUTTONS ON!

I also loved the way it looked with the polka dot fabric in the pattern picture, so when I went fabric shopping thats what I was looking for.

As always, I ironed the pattern pieces onto some really light interfacing to give them some strength, and then I made traced them onto pattern tracing paper.

Next, I cut out the dress as it was from calico to see how much I needed to adjust the pattern to fit me. Now it would have fitted, but only if I was happy to expose a lot more cleavage than I wanted to!

Then I got to do the exciting bit, which is cut out the proper fabric! I also wanted to fully line the dress in a light silky material to make it less see-through and more comfortable to wear. And since the instructions didn't call for that, I decided to ignore the instructions.

Yes thats right - I didn't read a single word of them - and surprisingly the dress came out really well:
I have sinced hemmed it AND made the cute little bolero - it really is the sweetest outfit! When I makes its first outing I will make sure to take a photo and post it on my blog.

My Dad is Awesome!

Recently I have been frustrated with my sewing space. I started on this vintage sewing caper on a whim, so I was sewing on my dining table. I would have been happy to stay there apart from a few things:
  1. My house is pretty open plan, and the dining room was the first thing that people see when they walk in;
  2. When I knew people were coming over I didnt have anywhere to pack stuff away too, so I ended up piling it up in a corner;
  3. My fiance has a habit of inviting people over at the drop of a hat, so quite often I had no time to tidy the dining room up; and
  4. (and this is the most hilarious one) My dressmakers dummy Hilda almost gave my fiance a heart attack at 2am one morning when he couldnt sleep - he thought we had a ghost.
Clearly I needed a room to set stuff up in, with a door I could close. Oh, and I forgot one reason:

5. My puppy (Stella, Miniature Schnauzer, 18mths) likes to ferret through my stuff, and occasionaly chew things, run off with things, or sleep on things.

So - I am lucky - I have a big house with two guest bedrooms (one with an ensuite and one without), so with the help of a sofa bed, my plan was to turn the upstairs guest bedroom into a sewing room!!!

Next problem - what on earth do I use for a bench that also enables me to have a pull out sofa bed???

And this is why my Dad is awesome!


Dad made it the perfect height for me so I don't have to bend over all the time (which does hurt after a full days sewing) AND it has wheels on it so when I need to use the room as a guest room I can push it out of the way!

Now I just need to find the perfect sofa bed! I will definitely need to do that before the concert season starts up again, as thats when my house turns into a hotel.