Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Thankyou Giveaway Winners Announced!!!

Well didn't we have fun last night drawing the winners of the giveaway!

Just to remind you all what was up for grabs...

Pattern A

Pattern B

Pattern C

I say boo to automatic number generators!  I wanted to have a much more fun way of picking the winners, and my idea involved a big jar of ping pong balls, a texta, a bucket, and an excited puppy!

So each ping pong ball was numbered, and put into this bucket:

A friend of mine bought me this bucket cause it has a puppy on it that looks remarkably like Miss Stella!  When its not being used for crazy things like this, it serves as my rubbish bin in my sewing room.

The ping pong balls were then swirled around and tipped on the floor in front of an excited Miss Stella, and the ball she picked up and ran off with was the winner!

First up - Pattern A (which had the most entrants by the way).

I tipped the bucket out in front of Miss Stella...

And she picked ball number 3!

Which corresponded to MEGAN ARNOL!!!!!!

Next up, Pattern B (which had the least number of entrants).  I tipped out the bucket...

And once again she picked ball number 3!

Which corresponded to SORBET SURPRISE!!!!!

Then I reloaded the bucket for the last time to draw for Pattern C.  I tipped out the bucket...

And this time she picked up ball number 18!

Which corresponded to ESZ!!!!!!

And after all that I decided I had to give Miss Stella her own ping pong ball.  Each time she'd pick one and run off with it and I had to chase her down and ask her to give it back.  She was none too pleased!  But she was happy when I gave her her own to crunch on!

So HOORAY for Megan Arnol, Sorbet Surprise, and Esz!!!  Can you all please send me an email at beccieblossom(at) so I can get your patterns off to you in the mail!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Pantsophobia is CURED!!!!!

Well what a successful pants-making weekend!

I started out on Saturday morning with three possible patterns...

The obvious choice would be the Gertie pattern in the middle, since I could cut it to my size.  But no, I decided on the vintage pattern on the right.  It wasn't my size but it wasn't out by much so I figured I'd go for it.  Besides, the shape at the bottom of the leg is interesting.

I started by tracing the pattern and adding what I thought I needed at the waist and hips.  Then I took out a vintage bedsheet that someone had given me (I can't use it for anything else due to the mildew stains that I can't get out) and cut out a muslin and sewed it up.  Here is what I ended up with...

Excuse the nasty selfie and the complete lack of hair and makeup

Well the waist fit just fine, but the hips!!!  They looked like an old fashioned pair of jodphurs!!!

I got out the pins and started work on one of the legs.  I couldn't take both the front and the back in the same because the seam would be in the wrong place.  Instead I had to take a heap out of the back piece, and some out of the front around my belly.  I drew some lines where the pins were, cut the seams apart trimmed to my texta lines, then layed the adjusted fabric over the paper pattern.  I then cut the pattern to match the fabric (plus seam allowance)

See how much I removed from the back hip and thigh area!!

Then I got to cut out my fashion fabric!  I chose the fabulous lilac and black plaid fabric that I purchased whilst on holidays in LA for $2/yd.

So then not only was I challenging myself by making pants, I was challenging myself to match up the plaid pattern!

Honestly they went together easily!  I drafted up a waistband and put that on too.  And I added a metal zipper to the left side that goes all the way to the top of the waistband (new technique to me that I made up as I was going along)(and yes I know that I owe you guys a zipper tutorial).  After that I put them on and realised I had to make one more adjustment.

Yes, when I sat down I realised that the pants were a leeeeeetle bit tight around the calves.  Poo!  So there went the lovely decorative edging.  Instead I just hemmed them and put a 2" split in the outside seam.  Problem solved.

And here they are.

I want to say two things about this photo:
a) how good is my plaid matching!!!!!
b) I promise never EVER to complain about the size and shape of my butt again!!!!
Wait - three things...
c) crap my hair is so long!!!!

 Hubby's only comment is that they aren't as tight as my normal pants.  My response was that since its not stretch fabric, I need to have space to walk and sit.  They are amazingly comfortable actually, and I'm looking forward to getting out some better quality fabric making a few more pairs.

I never thought I would say that!

Anyone else have pantsophobia???


Friday, May 24, 2013

Fabulous Flamingos and an Exciting New Direction!

I mentioned last week on my Facebook page that last weekend I would be working on something fun that I'd dreamed up while I was on holidays.  Well it worked!  Here it is!!

Yes, what started out as a plain cardigan with boring buttons, with a bit of imagination became this Fabulous Flamingo Cardigan!!!

Watching the little flamingos come to life was quite fun - a very different feeling to creating a garment.

As you can imagine, there was a fair bit of hand sewing to be done.  Luckily last weekend I had an appointment at the hairdresser which means I was sitting with nothing to do for about an hour and a half while the colour did its thing.  So instead of contemplating my navel, I did some hand sewing.

Yes, I get champagne and snacks at my hairdresser!

And Stella helped me sew on the buttons.

Helped or hindered - I'm not quite sure...

This whole experience has really excited me!  And I've been dreaming ever since about all the fabulous things you could put on a cardigan - cupcakes, bows, hearts, birds, flowers, bunnies, pineapples, strawberries - really the list is endless... all with felt, beads and sequins!!!

By now you're probably wondering what the exciting new direction is...  well as well as continuing to sew and blog I will be


In fact, I'm already working on three Fabulous Flamingo cardigans - one size AU8 (US4), one size AU10 (US6) and one size AU14 (US10).  Once they are finished I will be listing them for sale on my Facebook page for AU$85 + postage.  If the response is good, I'll then be working on the next design!

I really hope everyone is as excited about this as I am!

If you could have anything embellished onto a cardigan, what would it be?


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Thankyou GIVEAWAY!

As mentioned at the end of my last post, to thank everyone for being patient with me while I had a holiday, and then being even more patient while I boasted about it when I got back, I've decided to have a little giveaway.

This giveaway is open to anyone and everyone - I don't care where you live, if you win I will post it to you!  I'll be accepting entries for one week, and the winner will be selected at random in a way that may or may not involve Miss Stella.  To enter, please comment below which pattern you would like to win, and to break with tradition, I won't reply to your comment unless you ask a specific question.

Up for grabs are three patterns.  You can put your name down to win just one, or all of them!


This is a Marian Martin mail order pattern, purchased by Mrs Merrick of Winnipeg in June 1956.  It is complete with instructions - Size 12 (sorry, no bust, waist, or hip measurements given).  It is described as a 'dress with contrast front and back bodice and with belt, yoke and neck facing to match skirt'.  The pattern pieces are unprinted.

Now I have actually made this one - and it came out like this:

Gee my hair has grown...


Another mail order pattern!  This one was purchased by Mrs Faris of National City, California - complete, with instructions.  Unfortunately the envelope doesn't have a date on the post mark so I can't tell you when its from exactly.  Its a size 10 (bust 31, waist 24, hips 33).  There also isn't a description, so I've made this one up.  'Sweet summer frock with full skirt and narrow straps, with cropped double breasted jacket with bracelet length sleeves'.  The pattern pieces are unprinted.

Now I haven't made this one, but I originally purchased it for the little jacket.


Now this one caused a bit of a stir when I posted the teaser post on my Facebook page.  Simplicity 2041 in size 14 (bust 34).  Complete, with instructions, and this one is a printed pattern too!  It is described as 'Slenderette misses and women'ts one-piece wrap around dress and cape.  Dress both views is sleeveless and has shaped neckline.  Dress front laps right over left and has 6 button side opening.  Slim skirt has right side pocket.  V1 features cape made of dress fabric and faced with contrasting fabric.  Cape buttons to dress bodice.

Now I haven't made this one either, but love the idea of the cape buttoning on.

I also reserve the right to copy these patterns before I post them to you, so don't be surprised if you see them turning up at some point as projects!

So!  Which one do you want???


Monday, May 20, 2013

Holiday Round Up Part 3 : Oh! Canada

So after the whirlwind of touring and shopping, I got on a plane and flew 5 hours to Toronto to visit my brother Matty for a week.  He's lived in Canada for about 8 years now, and while he was in Australia earlier this year, I took the opportunity to visit him and his girlfriend Holly since I was so close.  Matty's good mate Nate also arrived the same day as me - he's moved over there to live and work with Matty.  I've known Nate for ages too so it was great fun for the four of us to hang out.

My first day in Canada we did the touristy thing and went to Niagara Falls.

Insert obilgatory touristy photo here.

Now as far as I'm concerned, there are two things they don't tell you about Niagara Falls:
  1. The sound : all that water rushing over the edge (just under 2,000 cubic metres per second!!!) makes one hell of a noise... and spray!  Standing where I was is enough to get your hair and skin and clothes damp.
  2. The cold air : The water rushing down causes all this freezing air to rush up, so the closer you get to the edge the colder it is.  That combined with all the moisture in the air makes it like a natural air conditioning system.  It would be a brilliant place to visit in the middle of summer.
Here is another thing that I found very difficult to comprehend (but people in most other countries won't get).  Look at this river:

The land on the left side of the river is Canada, and the land on the right side of the river is America!

(see - most of you are going "so what!")

You see, when you are in Australia, any land that you see is Australia.  So the whole idea that different countries are separated by a small body of water (or nothing at all) is totally foreign to me.  Clearly, I need to travel more!!

The next place we visited was the lovely little town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, gorgeous quaint buildings and streets lined in tulips.  I loved it!

We stopped in at a pub and had a beer.  The pub was called the Angel Inn and its OLD (by Australian standards).  It was first established in 1789 but was rebuilt in its present form in 1816 soon after the War of 1812 between the British and the Americans came to an end.  Its a fabulous atmospheric olde-english style pub.

Holly and Matty

The next day Holly's parents had a big family barbeque to welcome Nate and I - what a lovely thing to do!  It was a great afternoon meeting Holly's very large family - lots of fun!

Believe it or not, this selfie is the only photo of Matty and me on my camera...

Matty may have been a bit hung over the next day...

After Matty recovered somewhat from his hangover, he took me to the construction site where he is working, which means I had to wear flat shoes with my toes in!

Still cute!

They are tearing down this house...

Yes, this $32 million dollar, lakeside mansion is being torn down (!!!) and in its place will go some lovely looking condos (which Matty is building) which, when finished, will be worth $55 million.  The dollars involved with this project just make my head swim really...  But it is an amazing location right on the water and I'm pretty jealous that Matty gets to work there every day for the next few years.

Here is me in the 100+ year old boat shed that I hope is not getting torn down...

After such a whirlwind tour in LA it was really lovely to just relax in a family home and do things like watch tv, and chat, and walk the dogs, paint my nails.  So I did a fair bit of that.

One day when Matty was at work, Holly's mum Lorraine, and Holly and her sister Lucy and I went on a trip to Kensington Markets in Toronto.

I managed to only buy two more dresses!  Both lovely 1950s deadstock - one shirtwaister and one sun dress:

I love the pockets on the sun dress!!!

We also visited the lovely little lakeside town of Grimsby Beach - specifically to see the painted houses:

Love love love!!!!

By the way, has anyone ever eaten a deep fried pickle???

These things are so amazingly delicious, I want to have a go at making them!  Mind you, I might be the only one eating them because every time I've mentioned them to anyone they look at me like I'm strange...

Anyway, after a lovely 6 day visit it was time to start the journey home.  I packed my bags, and with the help of Matty and Nate (who convinced me they were under-weight) I headed to the airport with confidence.

Thank goodness there are such things as airport luggage trolleys!

So after a 5 hour flight I was back in LAX... for a 7 hour wait.  Sigh!  So I settled in with a good book.

It was good actually - I recommend it.  Where did you go Bernadette by Maria Semple, available here and lots of other places too I'm sure.

And then I settled in for the 14 hour plane flight home, which (with the help of some tablets) I managed to sleep through half of!  Hooray!!

I must say it was so lovely to see my husband, and Miss Stella, and to be back home!  I threw myself into unpacking my suitcases and photographing all my new things and before I knew it, it was time to head out for our usual Friday night cocktails!

Yes, somehow, even though my flight landed at 6.15am, and I'd been awake for god knows how long, I was still up and out for a good time at 9pm that night. 

And thats it.  Thats the story of my fabulous overseas holiday!  I really hope you've all enjoyed reading these three posts!  I've really enjoyed sharing them with you.  Its actually been lovely to relive everything going through the photos and now I have a good written record for the future!

As a thank you to you all for being patient with me while I went on holidays, I've decided to have a little Thankyou Giveaway!  Those of you that follow my Facebook page will already know what it is, but for everyone else I'll be showing you what I'm giving away and how you can win later on this week!!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Holiday Round Up Part 2 : SHOPPING!!!

Well the whole point of this part of the trip was to shop - and boy did we shop!

It was probably planned this way, but the Santa Monica Vintage Expo was on while we were in LA!  This is an expo with over 80 stallholders that happens 5 times a year and it was FABULOUS!

This is our group after shopping up a storm

Oh, and Dita Von Teese was there!  She shops there all the time apparently.  There was this one divine and unusual bag she was looking at, and had she declined to buy it I would have been in there like a shot.  Unfortunately she bought it... damn!  Anyway, she is so glamorous she made me feel like a fat frumpy cow when I stood next to her!

Its hard to pick my two favourite purchases from the Expo, but I somehow decided on these:

Lilac is my favourite colour, and I found three lilac dresses!  This one is a lovely shirtwaister with embroidery down the front.  And its deadstock, so never worn and with its original tags.

 This piano shawl from the 20s is divine - such beautiful embroidery!  In near perfect condition too - just a bit of fading on the fringing, but no-ones going to notice that!

After the Expo we headed for the outdoor mall in Santa Monica and had a bit of a wander around and some lunch.  I also topped up my makeup supply at Sephora.

Some of the ladies had margaritas the size of their heads!

That night we headed back to the Los Angeles Theatre for the screening of La Dolce Vita.  It was really different (and wonderful) to see the theatre so full of music and people.

As mentioned yesterday, La Dolce Vita would have to be the must confusing, plot lacking movie of all time.  I had no idea but it goes for three hours!  I gave up after 2 hours and 40 minutes!  It was worth it to see this dress in motion though...

So many floaty layers and such magnificent construction to keep Anita Ekberg's voluptuous curves contained!

This day started out with a visit to the Melrose Flea Market out in the sunshine!  So many amazing pieces of furniture we could have easily filled a shipping container!  I didn't buy any furniture, but I did buy this:

First up, I apologise to those of you who don't like fur.

Meet Angelo - the fox fur so magnificent that we all decided he needed a name.  He is DIVINE! and in such amazing condition.  I've been an admirer of fox fur stoles in the past so this purchase was a no brainer for me.

After the market we headed to West Magnolia Boulevard, where I made a beeline for Pinup Girl Boutique.

Now this was the shop I was most excited about visiting out of the whole tour, so I bought a fair bit.  I love Pinup Girl Clothing's designs, and the fabrics that they use, and their construction methods.  They are my style and they fit me so well.

After a great day of shopping we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our visit to the Queen Mary.  Yes, the ship.  It is now permanently moored at Long Beach and part of it has been turned into a hotel.  We got glammed up and traveled to Long Beach in our stretch limo for our tour of the ship.

This is me reflected in the mirror in the bedroom of Winston Churchill's suite.  And yes, he did stay in this room when on board the ship during WWII.

This was probably my favourite area to shop in - the shops had a real sense of community.  Each of the shopkeepers knew each other and would pop in and out of each other's stores for whatever reason.  It was really friendly.

After the previous two days I really needed to stop spending so much!!  I did a good job curtailing my spending and only purchased a few things, my favourite of which is this:

 Its not 1950s, but its a lovely light cotton shirt in really pretty colours - and it was cheap as!

And thankfully we had an early night, which was great because I was exhausted... all the shopping and late nights out was taking its toll on me!  I'm such a nanna!

We started out with a private appointment at Shareen Vintage - the vintage store with its own reality TV show!

Shareen Vintage is basically a warehouse filled with racks of clothing, and there are no boys allowed.  This is because there are no changing rooms, so if you want to try something on you just do it, wherever you are.  However, there is always someone hovering to help you into and out of the clothing.  The store has a section called 'design pieces' because they either need repairs or are stained and this is where we mostly shopped.  The rest of the stock was either too modern for us, refashioned, or Shareen's own collection.

I unfortunately can't show you a photo of my favourite purchase from this day because it hasn't arrived yet!  Its one of the things I had to post home because I was worried about the weight of my suitcases!  It is a floor length black silk velvet coat.  The lining needs some work (stains and split seams) and its missing some buttons, but I think its PERFECT for a winter dressing gown!

After Shareen Vintage we went to a few other stores, and I found this fellow:

Yes, this stuffed peacock on a tree can be yours for $2,500!

No rest for the wicked - it was back out to Joe's Bar and Grill for a night of dancing. 

But on the way we had a private appointment at the Besame store! What a wonderful opportunity to have the products shown to us by the person who created them!  They were also selling some of Gabriela's collection of vintage hats just as an added sweetner.

I should have bought this one, but I didn't... bought a different one...

But back to the dancing...thankfully for the non-dancers amongst us, they hold basic swing dancing lessons before the band starts.  However, the newbies were quickly shamed back to their seats when the more practiced took over the floor!

And hey, we met this guy, who is the voice of Donald Duck!

See that guy, waaaaaaay back there???

I never thought I would admit to this EVER but I was pretty over shopping at this point!  However, we did visit the What Katie Did store, which got me pretty excited!  I bought quite a bit of lingerie and hosiery!!

We also visited the Remix Shoes store where I made a new friend!

 This is Earl.
I am apparently I am special because he doesn't crawl onto the laps of many people.  Can you tell I'm missing Miss Stella super bad at this point???

And this was our last day of the tour, it was over... sad face!  To celebrate we took our limo (again!) to Musso and Frank's Grill - established in 1919, and I swear that some of the waiters have been working there since then!

But seriously, this place is a Hollywood institution, owned by the same family since 1927 and frequented by such icons as Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Steve McQueen, and Rita Hayworth.  The menu hasn't changed much in its life, and nor has the cocktail list, or the furniture, which dates back to 1934.

I originally had a different outfit on, but it was requested that Angelo make another appearance, so instead I wore this:

Excuse the creepy red eye that makes me look like I'm possessed...

We had a great time - and WE felt like the celebrities!  A lot of people wanted to talk to us and have their photos taken with us, and one lovely gentleman even sent two bottles of G.H Mumm french champagne to our table!!!

I only have one more photo to share with you from this portion of the trip, and that is this one:

This bag has served me well on several overseas trips, and I was sad to say goodbye to it.  I really hope that someone on staff in the hotel took it home....

The next, and final, instalment will be my adventures in Canada!