Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Simple and Easy FREE Vintage Patterns

Whilst I have been at work today, my lovely husband has been installing office on my new computer, as well as finding drivers to make my printer compatible and setting up its wireless printing option.  Gotta love a tech savvy husband!

Just heard that I didn't get the full time job I interviewed for. Not sure if I'm upset or happy about that. It would have been more money, but WAAAAYYY less sewing time, and I probably wouldn't be able to work at Elsie George Boutique very often. Not to mention if I got it, I would be wasting 2 hours driving everyday, Yuck!

Thinking about the Vintage Pattern Pledge, I thought I might share this bunch of vintage, self draft patterns that I have been compiling through pinterest. These are images only, not links, so apologies to anyone who's pic I stole. I thought it may help out some of you who may not have a stash of vintage patterns, or those of you, who just want a really quick easy sew.

The Jiffy top!

I think I need a pair of these "step-ins"

Cute bloomers!

I must say I'm a bit partial to this bed jacket/cape. Lets get rid of snuggies and bring back the bed jacket! I think I will need to sew myself one when winter comes.

Well I hope you find these tutorials as handy as me. I will definitely be making a few of these in the coming year.

Dixie O'Dare

P.S if any of my readers have made any of these, I would love to see your results!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

They say Bad luck comes in 3's

Well If I thought last Week was rough, I was not prepared for this week.....

Firstly, as you may already know from my last post, my ancient laptop finally carked it. I do most things from my Samsung Tablet, but I can't do everything, so that has screwed up a few things. On Friday, I went for a second interview for the same full time position I interviewed for last week. I think it went well, but I wont know until at least next Tuesday. While I was out that day I dropped into a JB Hi-fi, who had a 15% off sale on computers. They had some at really reasonable prices, so I treated myself to a little cheapo one. But then, on my way home, my car breaks down. Luckily, it wasn't too far from home, and my husband walked out to wait with me, bringing cold water. Also Luckily, my baby brother is a Mechanic, so he and his Fiance came to our rescue (with cold beverages AND chocolate!!!!!) and got us and the car back home. I was pretty upset, that was 2 things that had died within days of each other... and usually bad luck comes in threes right?

Well it does. I set up my new laptop, charged it for a bit, then tried to turn it on......

Of course I had gotten a faulty bloody laptop......

It was easily enough replaced (with the help of the Mother-in-law's car) but a second trip, an hour each way, was not really convenient for us, oh well. Then of course, I had to work out Windows 8.1.... Oh my god, what were the designers of this operating system thinking? People want a computer, not a giant smartphone/tablet with an extremely limited OS, terrible layout, and bits that pop out from no-where when you're trying to click something else, internet explorer tabs that get lost and an address bar that gets in the way of the bottom of the page with no way to scroll down. Oh, and having to log on to your hotmail/microsoft account EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU TURN ON THE COMPUTER!!!!!!! My computer is in my sewing room, no-one goes in there, I don't need a password on it!

I have since found program to install which gives you back your start menu, as well as installing google chrome, so I'm not losing my open tabs, which means it is at least usable for web browsing for now. Thank goodness the My Documents/ My Pictures/Folders system hasn't changed too much, or I might have thrown this computer at a wall.

Now all I have to do is find a copy of Microsoft Office to install, and get the drivers for my Printer to work (which I spent hours trying to work out last night to no avail) and I will have a reasonably useful computer again.... I hear Windows 10 will be given out for free as Windows 8 has been such a flop, maybe I will just have to hold out for that....

Hopefully, this coming week will be a much better one.


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

A kitty Valentines Dress and a Computer Disaster!

As mentioned in a previous post, I started working on a frock from a 1951 Australian Home Journal pattern

Frock 7852 on the left
From a delightfully light, slinky (probably polyester) black fabric with a print of white kitties and red and white hearts, perfect for Valentines Day

My bargain kitty fabric, only $2 p/m!
As with pretty much every vintage pattern I own/sew, this one needed to be graded up to my size. Home journal patterns come in a 36 inch bust, so I needed to add roughly 7 inches. This is a fairly loose style, even though it is from 1951, it still has a very 1940's silhouette, so the fit is quite simple with a bit of ease. Most of you will know by now I usually prefer a more fitted bodice, but this just seemed perfect for this fabric, and for summer weather.

To grade up, I do my own version of the slash and spread method, without actually slashing the original pattern. I trace the pattern on to tissue paper, moving the pattern piece over in places to add extra width. I never add extra length to the bodice pieces, even though you are supposed to if you are grading up properly, as I am fairly short waisted. Apart from being obviously plus sized, my structure is actually quite petite, so I have to do my best to not add much (if any at all) extra width to my shoulder seams, and even necklines. As the slash and spread adds width everywhere, I occassionally pivot a pattern piece by the shoulder when tracing, so that most of the width is added to the bust and waist. If the waist ends up too big, I then make the darts deeper or take some width from the side seams at the bottom.

Here you can see the original pattern pieces, comparitive to the ones I have graded up for myself, as well as the facing pieces that the magazine says to draft yourself (as every good home seamstress should already know how to do)

I decided to change the style of sleeve into a more flared "flutter" sleeve. This can be acheived using another variation of the slash and spread method, where you keep the top line of the pattern (where it attaches to the shoulder) intact, and just add more volume to the hemline of the sleeve. Again, I just sorta taced and moved and traced, but here is a quick diagram from google to explain better

And here are the 2 pattern pieces to compare. Keep in mind, mine is graded up AND altered, which is why the top edge is much larger than the original.

Flutter sleeve pattern alteration

Love starting a new spool of Gutermann!
I started by gathering up the 2 edges on the front of the bodice, and sewing them to the triangular piece in the centre, which I then pinned to my mannequin to see how it looked, and I was pretty happy with it.

Front bodice piece pinned to my mannequin
Instead of using the pattern for the skirt, I decided to cut out a full circle skirt, but I cut it larger than needed, as I wanted gathers at the waist as well.

I had some help cutting out the skirt
Once I had the bodice pieces together, I gathered up the sleeve heads and fit them in to the arm hole, sewed in the facings, then sewed the 2 skirt pieces together, gathered them, then attached the skirt to the bodice.  I then put the dress on my mannequin with my thin red belt to see how it looks. 

Seeing how it looks, still needs a zip and hem
The hemline was sitting pretty wonky, I'm not used to cutting circle skirts out of such a slinky fabric with so much movement to it, so I left it there overnight and evened it out the next morning. Next up, I hemmed the sleeves, put in the side zip, and hemmed the skirt. All I need to do now, is the gathering on either side of the neckine and a few tacks here and there to keep the facing from escaping.

I thought it would be an awesome idea to copy out and scan the pattern for this dress so I could provide a free pdf pattern to my readers. So I traced the original pieces and my graded up pieces of the bodice on to A4 pieces, but when I went to scan it all in, my laptop crapped itself. 


Looks like the hard drive has become corrupted, so I will be spending tomorrow morning removing it from the laptop and trying to salvage what I can from it,  then my lovely husband is going to put together a desktop computer out of parts we have lying around for me, and I shall try again. The laptop was from 2008 and had bee n BSOD-ing for a while, so I really should have seen this coming and backed up my files.

Hopefully, I will have the pattern ready for you guys by the time I have some nice photos of this dress to go with it.


Monday, 19 January 2015

My Past Week and New Fabric!!!

It has been a bit of a long week.

Along with my regular work hours and sewing work, the husband and I have also finally got round to taking down the christmas lights, decorations and tree. And there was a lot of lights..... I also had a job interview for a full time travel job on Wednesday,  which I still dont know if I was successful in getting, I guess I will know sometime this week. After the interview, we went to the in laws place in Merewether, had a few drinks as the sun set and then dinner.

Clouds lighting up with the sunset above Merewether

I also attempted a bit of a clean up of my sewing room, and changed out the boring brown curtains for some cute cupcake ones I had hidden in the linen cupboard. I also managed to squeeze in my new vintage sewing machine and its table in the corner (which I'm not supposed to use until my birthday in July)

My sewing space

I also rediscovered a UFO from last year. A Mickey and Minnie mouse cross stitch Wedding announcement. So I will be attempting to finish it off soon, even if I can only spare a few minutes before bed each night to work on it.

And, as if I didnt have enough fabric already, after I saw Beccie, from Sew Retro Rose, post a pic Friday of some flamingo print rayon she purchased from spotlight, I just had to have some and rushed off on Saturday to buy it. I managed to get the last 5m of flamingo print, as well as 1m of hot pink rayon for contrast. I'm hoping I will have enough to make a hawaiian shirt for hubby, and a dress for myself.

As I was trying to leave the shop with my purchases, I spotted this gorgeous black fabric with white kitties and hearts print on the sale rack. It's lovely and slinky and just so slightly sheer, I thought it would make a cute valentines day dress, with an A-line skirt and fluttery sleeves (if I can find the time) so I went back to the cutting counter. At $5 per meter, I thought I could afford 4m. The lady cuts the fabric and scans the barcode. "That comes to $8"...... what??? It was actually down to $2 per meter, but hadnt been marked yet. So naturally I took the other 8m left on the roll too. I joked with my husband on the drive home that I would have enough of this fabric to make a whole weekend wardrobe out of it to take with us for our valentines weekend away (but I definitely wouldnt have enough time to sew all of that) I do think I will have to make a nightie or pyjamas from this fabric as well though.

I have now begun cutting out a drafted up version of a dress from a 1951 Australian Home Journal. This was one of the patterns for my vintage pattern pledge, however, as I am not making it out of stash fabric, I'm not sure whether it counts....

But for now, I should get back to working on the new line of clothes for Elsie George Boutique.


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

2015 Vintage pattern pledge

I was a bit late in re-joining the blogging world in 2014 to join the Vintage Pattern Pledge then, but to my utter delight, Marie, from a stitching odyssey has decided to repeat the pledge for 2015 so I had to join! I have so many vintage patterns accumulated that I haven't touched, because I'm too lazy to grade them up to my size, when I can get reproduction patterns that already fit. Well no more! This year I will get out my tissue paper and pencil and grade up those lovelies (and maybe share some of those patterns with my readers) It is difficult to choose how many patterns to pledge to make, but last year some of the participants pledged only to make 2 or 3, and ended up far exceeding their goal, so that is always an option. With that in mind, I think I will aim for 4 (one each season) as that is a very attainable goal, and if I exceed that number, then yay me!

I, Dixie O'Dare, pledge to make garments from at least 4 vintage patterns from my stash, also using fabric from my stash. 

I know my husband wont be too pleased to read this, as he wants me to focus on sewing things that I get paid for, but I need my creative outlet for myself, plus I'm sure he'll be happy if I use up some of my fabric stash (which currently fills the sewing room, spare room and garage....)

I have already chosen my first pattern for this pledge, and have started grading it up.

I chose this to start, as I think the sleeveless version will make a great summer top, that will hopefully go with a few of my skirts that I have already made. Plus, it seems fairly easy to grade up.

As for the next 3, I'm not sure. I have a few lovely 50's/early 60's full skirted dresses, as well as a couple of quite fragile looking 40's style dresses, and some delightful 50's style suits (for winter perhaps?) Not to mention the vintage nightie pattern I used for the Vintage Pyjama Party hosted by Carla from Tiny Angry Crafter, which I would love to use again if I can find another suitable fabric for it.

Here is a photo of most of my vintage patterns, I found more after taking the photo....

And chosen the ones I'm most likely to make this year

I love the neckline on the dress on the left

This is the only vintage pattern that I have found and bought in my size. Unfortunately, it is missing the main front pattern piece :(

Ive been wanting to make a dress with a matching bolero/jacket for a while, after seeing a few cute ones at Elsie George.

Just a lovely dress

40's style dress. Maybe out of a gorgeous velvet?

Another nightie pattern, very similar to the one I used for the vintage pyjama party sew-along, but these have cute matching bloomers.

At least I have a bit of time to decide my next one.

Now I just need to work out how to get the button for the pledge to work on my blog.... I have no idea....

Dixie O'Dare

Monday, 12 January 2015

A rainy day at Luna Park

Yesterday was our 6 month Wedding Anniversary, so my lovely husband took me to Sydney's Luna Park the day to Celebrate!

We took a Picnic of cheese, bread and wine for lunch (just like we did on our honeymoon) as well as strawberries, blueberries, grapes, cherries and white chocolate dip (similar to the white choc coated fruit skewers we had at Oktoberfest on our honeymoon)

It rained lightly on and off all day, but that didn't faze us in the slightest. All of the rides were still operating, and they had an awesome water ride, called the Pirate's Revenge, where you get soaked anyway (which we went on 3 times!)

Obligatory entry Selfie
Excuse the lack of Make up, didn't see the point of trying to keep it on in the rain

View of the Bridge from the top of the Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel Selfie!

Hilarious Painting in Coney Island

Crazy Miror

Barrels of Fun!

On the Ferris Wheel again

View from the Ferris Wheel

View from the Ferris Wheel

View from the Ferris Wheel

On the Carousel, Matt wouldn't go on it with me!

Now I have to think of something to top that for our First Wedding anniversary!

Dixie O'Dare

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Busy, busy, busy......

So lately I havent been able to post as I have been super busy in my sewing room..... but it's not a project I can share many details about. I can say that I have been working with Rachel from my favourite shop (and also where I work one day a week) Elsie George Boutique, to make her very own brand for the shop, which we are hoping to have ready to launch in time for the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia festival which is on the 27-29 March. Other than that I cant really tell you much more, but keep your eye out on the Elsie George Facebook Page for more details and sneak peaks.

For now, here is a glimpse of the first item for the brand

And just for funsies, here's a couple of work selfies :)

Wearing my new Pink Ensemble again

Too lazy to frock up, rocking some suspenders

Dixie O'Dare

Sunday, 4 January 2015

First New Outfit of 2015!

You all knew it wouldnt take me long right?

Since receiving my Swirly Secret Santa (consisting of a group of ladies who participated in Sew Retro Rose's Swirl sew-along) gift shortly before New years eve, I've been imagining a gorgeous gathered dirndl skirt made from the lovely pink rose fabric that came in my parcel of goodies.

All my goodies!!! Wasn't I Lucky?
The problem I found with pink fabrics, is that I have too many choices when it comes to notions. Sewing up the blue skirt for my wonder woman outfit, I just had to go with the only blue zip I had. For this skirt, I had 3 possible options, all of which worked with the fabric. I put a photo on my facebook page, and my friends helped me choose.

Zip choices, we went with option 3
Then I had to choose buttons. I received 2 lots of buttons in my gift, but decided to save them for projects where they would all get used (not just 2 or 3) I also really dislike/am terrible at sewing buttonholes. So I thought the waistband would look really sweet with fabric loops and those delicate small white rose buttons (incidentally, very similar to the white rose buttons from my secret santa, only smaller) 

So many button options!
While I was still deliberating over my notion decisions, I thought I had better make a simple shirt to wear with the skirt. Recently a good friend of mine let me raid her fabric stash to take whatever I wanted. I got lots of goodies! But I won't gloat about them all here. One piece I got was a smallish bit of light pink stretch knit. I really wanted a bit of a sleeve, but wanted a quick sew I wouldnt have to think about much/draft myself. I remembered a shirt pattern I tested a little while ago the Eliza Tank and altered the pattern a little to suit. I lowered the neckline by roughly 2 inches, and pretty much halved the length (as that was all the fabric I had) I then added a band to the bottom of the shirt to make it slightly more fitted and a bit longer. This pattern is really easy, with well written instructions, and goes up to quite large sizes. I used the size 0. And look, small sleeves without the need to set them in, yay! 

Quick selfie of the shirt
I love the way the shirt has turned out, and it barely used any fabric, so I think I will be making a few more summer tops with this pattern.

Overlocking the edges
Once I was completely sure on my zip and button choices, I started on the skirt. For those who haven't made a gathered skirt before, it is so simple, I'll try to explain my steps (although I forgot to take many progress photos) I started with around 60 inches, or 1.5m of fabric. First of all, I cut a 6 inch strip off for the waistband, then cut the remaining 54 inches in half (giving you a 6 inch piece and 2 27 inch pieces) I then cut one of the 27 inch pieces in half down the middle for the back seam where the zip will go. Of course I could have put a side zip in, but I wanted in seam pockets instead. Then I overlocked all the edges, then I sewed a back piece to either side of the wide front piece, optionally, you can put pockets in while doing these seams like I did, but I'm not going to go into explaining how in this post (maybe a future tutorial?) Then I gathered the top of my fabric, by sewing 2 lines of the largest straight stitch I had on my machine, and pulling on the bobbin threads, until the fabric was gathered to my waist measurement plus 2 inches, which I then sewed over with a smaller stitch to keep it all in place. Next, I sewed my zip into the back seam. Then I cut the same measurement (waist +2") from the 6" wide piece and fused it with a piece of iron on interfacing. I also ironed the the 1/2" seam allowances in, as well as ironing the piece in half lengthways. Then I pinned and sewed the waistband to the skirt with the right side of the waistband facing the wrong side of the skirt. Once that was sewed I folded the waist band over the top of the skirt and top stitched it in place (making sure the seam allowance was folded neatly in) also stitch close 1 end of the waistband, but leave 1 open to attach the button loops.
To make the button loops I took a strip of fabric about 1/2" wide, cut from the leftover from trimming the waistband to size, and pressed it in half lengthways, then pressed each side into the middle, then re-pressed the middle line again and sewed it closed along the edge. I then took a scrap of cotton tape and sewed my tube of fabric in loops onto it, using my buttons as a guide for size for the first one, then trying to make them as similar to the first one as I could. Once I had enough for the width of the waistband (I found 4 fit well)  I trimmed the ends of the cotton tape, and the other ends of the loops, then carefully positioned the tape into the waistband opening with the loops sticking out and sewed it securely in place. Then all I had to do was sit in bed and hand sew the buttons in place

Almost done!


This is all the fabric I had leftover. Not bad

My new outfit!

The hat was a christmas present :)

Back detail, I love it!

As much as I prefer circle skirts, this fabric's lines of roses really made me want to make it into a gathered skirt, and I love how it turned out. I will definitely be using buttons with buttonloops on more skirts now! I wore this outfit to church this morning and received lots of compliments for it. As well as my pink hair, lol.

Has anyone else already sewn new outfits/garments yet this year?

Dixie O'Dare