Monday, January 30, 2012

What do you do on a wet weekend??? get up super early on Saturday morning, put the finishing touches on a dress, then drive 3 hours to check out the Lady Luck Festival in Katoomba - thats what you do!

First of all lets talk about the dress! A little while ago I purchased this pattern on etsy:

What I really loved about this pattern was the neckline. I also thought having the waist seam at the hip looked niced and was different to what I'd been doing. I'd ummed and ahhed about what fabric I'd like to sew it up in, and then I found this gorgeous one:

The background colour is a uniform sky blue - don't be fooled by the bad lighting

I adore this fabric! The pattern is quite small (the cherries are about 1cm across), but I loved the colours, and I loved the way the cherries were red AND hot pink! I thought it might look busy when it was made into a dress, so I also bought some hot pink bias tape for edging, and some hot pink fabric to make a belt using one of my vintage self-covered belt kits.

And after a bit of effort and not too many issues (except for the collar - adding bias tape around the edge definitely increased the frustration factor), I ended up with this gorgeous dress:

Coincidentally, I am wearing this same outfit today at work, and I was
just told by a random stranger that I looked gorgeous.
And no he wasn't some old codger remembering days gone by - he was about my age.

The last photo was taken at the Lady Luck Festival at The Carrington Hotel in Katoomba. Another pin-up girl, Dixie, and I thought we'd go and check it out. And we had a great day!

Katoomba is in the Blue Mountains and as far as I'm concerned is the capital for antiques and collectibles in Australia. It was a popular tourist destination in Victorian times, right up to the 50s and 60s, but then its popularity wained. The Carrington, where the festival was held, is a beautiful Victorian era hotel in the main street of Katoomba. When I was a kid visiting Katoomba with my mum, The Carrington was derelict and empty and sad, but still beautiful. She was purchased in the early nineties and after 8 years of restorations she was re-opened and is once again a beautiful hotel. You can find out more about the history and see some photos here.

This gorgeous stained glass is across the entire front of the building,
and closes part of what was once a very large verandah

This is the room/hallway that was created when the stained glass was installed in 1911.
Coincidentally, that dress on the right on the front of the rack was AMAZING!
All that embroidery on the bodice and the skirt! Sigh!! Luckily for my bank balance it was too small.

Unfortunately for the festival organisers, it was a misty rainy cold Katoomba day on Saturday. However there were still plenty of people about, and plenty of things to look at.

Once Dixie and I had wandered around the festival we were pretty hungry, so we popped next door to another one of Katoomba's historical landmarks, The Paragon. The Paragon is a magnificent example of inter-war Art Deco architecture. It was built in 1909 and has been
running as a cafe in its present form since 1923. It is so beautiful! They also sell hand made chocolates, so as an indulgence I purchased this very expensive box filled with chocolate treats:

Or is it a box filled with very expensive chocolate treats... who knows!
Now I just need to keep my fiance away from them...

After lunch we didn't have to go far to find fabulous antique and collectibles stores to dig through. There was one next door and two across the road! Dixie and I had a fabulous time trawling through all the goodies! I didn't buy much, just a pair of gloves and a pair of 40 denier vintage seamed stockings. Dixie completed her beauty case matching set with a fabulous find but I forgot to get a photo - she was very happy!

We also found this dress and had a good laugh at its expense:

Does anyone know why the bride who wore this dress would have wanted
a big bulge of flowers right where Eve would have put a fig leaf???

As the sun had come out (well sort of, at least the rain had stopped) Dixie and I thought we'd have a look at some of the cars at the festival. I'm not much into vintage cars and hot rods, but this one caught my eye:

As vintage cars and hot rods go it was pretty boring EXCEPT for the leopard print visors! Now I want me some leopard print visors for my car!

While we were looking at the cars and taking some photos, some random stranger came and gave Dixie a big kiss on the cheek! I asked him for an action replay so I could memorialise the moment in my blog, so here it is:

Random kisses from strangers... where was mine!!!

I had such a great day I am now planning a weekend away in the Blue Mountains so I can spend more time trawling through the antiques and collectibles stores. The only hope I have of going with my fiance is if there is more than one golf course... wish me luck!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

If I was a mad scientist...

So what happens when you take this fabulous 1950s swimwear pattern,

And mash it together with the pattern that made this gorgeous dress?

You get the Frankenstein Dress!!! MUA-HA-HA-HA
(thats mad scientist laughter if you couldn't work it out)

Please excuse the photographs and the dodgy modelling. I was in a hurry to get to work

I'm surprised at how long this dress took me to put together (ie. not long) and I'm very happy with the way it turned out. Sure, it has its 'special' qualities, but what home made dress doesn't! I like the neckline with the fold-back bits, and the shape of the bodice. And who doesn't like a full skirt and petticoat!

I did have fairly good encouragement to get it done quickly. Its my soon-to-be-Mother-In-Law's birthday today and the whole family is going out to dinner and I wanted something new to wear. Queue the crazy inspiration, extra caffeine and late night sewing!

I've also had a go at two rolls in my hair (instead of three) and I like the way they look too.

Anyway, just thought I would share.


Monday, January 16, 2012

A coat for a swimsuit...???

Only in the 1950s!!!

Last week I talked about the vintage swimsuit I was sewing (you can read about it here) and this week I wanted to update you all in the progress of the coat!

Its done!!! (apart from the hand sewing... boo!)

This is how it looks without the belt to cinch in the waist:

Please ignore the lack of buttons - thats part of the hand sewing yet to be done.
Also note Stella in the background. She is bored and would prefer to be out walking.

I love the way it looks! I love the contrast of the parrot fabric on the plain red! It looks even better with the waist cinched in:

How divine is it!

Here is a close-up of the buttons and the belt buckle:

I bought the buttons in Spotlight. They are coconut (I think) and have been lacquered with a glittery gloss finish. I bought the belt buckle over the phone from this amazing button shop in Newtown, Sydney. The lady was really friendly and described a few buckles to me and she and I picked this one, and while it doesnt go exactly with the buttons, its much better than some crappy plastic belt buckle.

So now all that remains is to do the hand sewing (sigh!). I still want to do a fun photo-shoot up at the pool with this creation. Hopefully the weather will warm up and I will get that done this week!

Have a great week!


Monday, January 9, 2012

A New Year and a New Challenge!

First of all I must apologise for not blogging about anything recently. Christmas really seemed to dominate all of my sewing time, so I didn't make anything new or noteworthy. But now that Christmas and New Years is over its back to it!

Last year I purchased this fabulous true vintage bathing suit pattern from etsy (how good is etsy!)

Now I think this pattern is DIVINE! Look at that adorable plaid swimsuit, and the matching coat! Who wears a coat to the beach!?!

And the other wonderful thing about this pattern is that its actually for my size! I'm so used to having to alter patterns to fit that it was a real pleasure to just skip that step entirely. There were a couple of surprises with this one though - first off was the fact that only one pattern piece had been cut out and used, and it was the shorts portion of the bathing suit... odd I thought, until I contemplated it further and realised that they make a really simple pair of sweet comfy ladies boxer shorts! I may make myself a few!

The second was this:

In amongst all the neatly folded tissue paper was a pink piece - and it was an advertisement for this competition to win a two week trip to Paris! If only I could still enter!!! The cute thing about the compeition was that you could only take the prize of the trip to Paris if you were over 20, if you were aged between 12 and 19 they gave you a trip to Hollywood or New York for a week instead. The other thing to note is the cash value of the prize pool - the total value of the 113 prizes they were giving away was over $7,000. My how times have changed!!

But honestly, how darling is this illustration:

I had decided to sew this bathing suit from some fabulous fabric I found at my local fabric store. It is a dark red with palm fronds and macaws all over it - so kitsch I just loved it! I bought heaps of it so I'll be making a dress from it too. I also bought a plain cotton fabric in the same dark red colour. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of it before I cut it all up. Sorry about that.

Once again, my little puppy Stella was there to give me moral support. She is pictured next to a plastic bin a friend bought for me that has a schnauzer on it - and to be honest, it looks a lot like her, dont you think???

Anyway the pattern worked up really easily and quickly which is totally not what I was expecting! There were a few fit issues where I needed to run a couple of seams in a bit, but after a few hours I had this:

Now its not finished just yet. I need to put a hook and eye on the back above the zipper, put the elastic in the short legs, and handstitch the lining to the waist seam. But its pretty much what its going to look like when it is finished, and I'm REALLY happy with it!

I've started sewing the coat, which is made from the plain red fabric (same as the fold back bit on the top of the bodice) with the parrot fabric for the pockets, cuffs, belt, and button plackets (?). Its going to look adorable, and so sweet as a complete outfit! And while I'm not going to swim in it (I, like my fiance's daughter, struggle with the idea of swimming in something that isnt lycra) I am going to parade around the pool in it!!!

But the pattern has also inspired me. Like the person who just made shorts, I think I'm going to use the bodice pattern to make a dress. Look at the photo above and forget about the shorts, and instead imagine a gored skirt.... I think it will look fabulous!!!

When I've finished the coat I will blog again - but before I do that I may take someone to the pool with me to do a quick photo shoot so you can get the full effect.

Thanks for reading