Monday, 30 March 2015

Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival

So, this past weekend was the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival, which is one of the biggest 1950's festivals in the state (I think?) It started on the Friday, with a retro High Tea at the High School, for which Elsie George Boutique provided all the girls outfits for. I heard the event was a great success, with everyone loving the clothes, food and entertainment. Afterwards we had to pack down the entire Elsie George store ready for the weekend. Rachel ran out of room in her car and trailer so I had the privilege (hahaha) of taking 2 mannequins home with me overnight, to get them to Kurri at 6am for the Saturday. The backseat of my car must have looked interesting to passer-by's, being a jumble of plastic body parts......

It was very early start for all the stall holders to get there and set up. I got there a teensy bit after 6am (while it was still dark) and most people already had their gazebos up.

Here's how ours looked when we first got all the stock set up, but we changed the layout a few times over the course of the weekend.

Obligatory Work Selfie

I did find one rather unflattering photo of me at work on Saturday....

I'm in the background. Again stolen from Gillian Burgess
Definitely not my best angle....

Then when I finally go home on Saturday, I decided none of my existing petticoats would work with my new dress. So being the crazy person I am, I made a new one! I have a roll of sheer white fabric with little red polka dots that I have never used for anything, as it has quite a plastic feel to it. A friend of mine said that it felt like Nylon, so he is probably right. But it worked out great to use for a tiered petticoat as it had a reasonable amount of body to it, and even though it was a very warm day, it wasn't anywhere near as uncomfortable and sweaty as some of my other petticoats.

So here is the whole Ensemble together: 

Completed Outfit ready to go
This was my first time making a matching fabric covered belt to go with a dress, and I love the look it gives. It is also the first time I have used Vinegar to help set pleats in, so I will let everyone know how they hold up after washing. So far the pleats stayed crisp, even after wearing it all day, so I'm pretty sure I will use the vinegar method again.

I didn't get any good full length photos of me in my new dress, but I did take a few Selfies!

Stolen from Mum


Me and Mumsy selfie!!

Walking in the best dressed parade

Unfortunately I didn't place in the Best dressed competition, but given the outfits of the winners, I wasn't surprised. Miss Hilary of Gigi's Retro Closet won first place, in a stunning blue and white vintage dress that belonged to her grandmother. I saw someone comment on this photo on facebook that she looked like a walking china plate, and I have to agree!

Miss Hilary in her Grandmother's Dress
Photo stolen from Elsie George Boutique

So that's it for the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival for 2015! It was a great weekend, but boy am I  glad it's over for another year.

In other News, Elsie George Boutique have moved! We have gone from 170 Vincent st, to 94 Vincent st, in the old ballon worx shop, right next door to Grice's bakery. We are still setting up, but will hopefuly be open again sometime this week!

Dixie O'Dare

P.S. As this was a vintage pattern and stash fabric, I'm counting this as garment number 2 for my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge!

P.P.S. I'm also using it for the Spring for Cotton Challenge!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Capelet along progress, Plus the start of a New Dress!

So when I finally decided on which fabric I was going to use for this sewalong, I got started on cutting it out right away. I was naughty and didn't make a muslin, as my fabric was so cheap, I wasn't too worried (and couldn't have made a muslin out of anything cheaper) Beccie highly recommends making a muslin in her first capelet sewalong post

All pinned up

Mabel is Supervising

While making her muslin, Beccie added front darts to add more waist definition to the front of the capelet. I have decided to do the same, so after sewing the original pattern darts, I pinned the shoulder and side seams and tried it on. I then put it on my mannequin and pinned in the extra darts.

Adding Darts to the bottom fronts

Added Dart
I then took it off my mannequin, marked the darts with chalk, and added the dart to the pattern piece for future use

Adding the dart to the pattern

Part 2 of the sewalong covers making a pattern for the lining for the capelet. I'm leaving mine unlined, so I'm omitting this step.

Part 3 covers Bound Button holes. I've never done a bound button hole before. I hate doing machine button holes, because they always end up messy, so I was all for giving bound button holes a go. Firstly, I marked the locations of the button holes, on the right front of the bodice.

Marking the button holes

Button hole markings and Buttons
Then I cut out all the 3x3 squares needed, and pinned them in line with the markings on the bodice piece.

Sewed around the marked rectangles

Snipped the inside of the rectangles with my super super sharp snips. I worry I'm going to accidentally cut the wrong thing when I use these, they are just SO SHARP! But I'm glad to report we had no mishaps.

Then I pulled the button hole linings through the holes that I just cut

Then pressed them flat, or as close to flat as I could

Then the lining fabric is folded to create the lips of the bound button holes

Which I pinned

and attempted to sew around the bound button holes by sewing in the ditch.

By this point, I feel the need to say that these bound button holes are not as easy as they look. I thought they would come together easily and neatly, but mine are no where near as neat as I would have liked them. Thankfully, when the buttons are done up, you wont be able to see much of the button holes. I guess they didn't turn out too bad for my first attempt.

At this point I put my Capelet aside, as I realised I hadn't made a new dress to wear to the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival. If you haven't heard about it, it is a 1950's weekend long festival filled with cars, clothes, music, dancing and shopping! I usually make a new outfit or 2 for it, and a few years ago I was lucky enough to win the best dressed parade with a reproduction of a Marilyn Monroe outfit from Gentlemen prefer Blondes.

I recently purchased this 1956 Australian Home Journal for a bargain price, and knew I just had to make that lovely pink dress in the middle

So I graded up the pattern (as usual) but this time I actually did a mock up of the front bodice out of scraps before cutting out my good fabric. I know, right? I never do that!

Though I needn't have worried, it worked fine. So then I cut out all the pieces from a lovely pink rose cotton that I purchased from Lincraft about 3 years ago (See people, this is why you need a good stash of fabrics)

Now I am up to pleating. And I remembered I hate pleating, because it takes sooooo long. Oh well, I guess I have to keep going now!

Anyone here coming to Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival? If you are, come find me in the Elsie George Boutique stall and say hi! Or is anyone else reading my blog working on their Capelet for the sew-along?


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sew Retro Rose's Capelet Sew-Along! I'm in! (and late)

Beccie from Sew Retro Rose is hosting yet another Sew-Along, following the incredible success of her Swirl Sew-Along last year. This time around, we are all sewing this Capelet from Decades of Style

As I only work part-time (at 2 jobs) and have a mortgage and bills to pay, I almost gave this one a miss, as the pattern was a little expensive for me, and had to be shipped from the US (which adds to the price again) Luckily, someone I know in the sew-along group (who shall remain nameless) selflessly let me borrow her pattern to trace so I wouldn't miss out. Yay for Sewing Sisters! As this was in January, and some time before the Sew-along would officially start, I made sure I put my copy of the pattern away safely......... A little too safely unfortunately. Beccie started posting the Sew-along steps on February 12, and I couldn't find where I had put the pattern! I searched my sewing room several times, pulling the wardrobe, sewing cabinet, cutting table and pattern filing cabinet apart each time, to no avail! Then, just as I had almost given up hope of participating in the Sew-along, my In-laws gave the husband and I a thoughtful present of 6x4 prints of all our wedding photos. What does this have to do with my sewing pattern you ask? Well, as thoughtful as this gift was (and it sure was) I don't think they knew we had already printed out around 100 of our wedding photos (roughly 1/5 of the lot) and had them in our photo album at home, in my sewing room. A few days later I was looking at the photo prints they gave us, and went and got our existing album to see which ones we had in it and which ones we didn't. Right there, between the pages, was my missing capelet pattern!


So by this point, Beccie had already posted the first 4 steps/posts of the Sew-along, and I still hadn't chosen my fabric yet! So I had a good long stare at (the accessible portion of) my Fabric stash and decided on a lovely dark red Fabric with a beautiful soft drapey feel to it that I purchased from a central coast op-shop on a weekend away

There is about 4m of it, so I will hopefully have enough left over to make a matching skirt or trousers. I realise it is very similar to the red that Beccie is using to make one of her capelets (to which she has added the most divine black lace trim) but I wasn't trying to copy, I swear!

Before I even managed to Finish this post, Beccie has already posted part 5 through 7 of the Sew-Along, so that is all the steps, and now I only have until April 6th to finish! Good thing I have some time off work coming up!


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Castaway to Couture - What should I make?

On Monday, whilst out having a girls op shopping day with my grandma and her best friend, I learned about an awesome refashioning competition the Australian Sewing Guild is hosting, in conjunction with Red Cross op shops, that is called Castaway to Couture.

They had a sale of summer stock, fill a bag for $6.  So we all grabbed a few items, grandma and her friend got a skirt each, and a dress for her friend's grandaughter,  I got myself a cute set of silky pyjamas with blue birds on them, and this:

A black formal dress, with loads of fabric, beaded lace, boning and a zip to reuse. Plus it just happens to be (almost) my size!  Its a bit tight at the hips and quite loose at the waist, but it's not my style so I wouldn't wear it even if it fit perfectly.

As soon as I got around to taking these photos, I took to it with the seam ripper. The whole dress is lined, and the bodice also has another layer of white fabric attached to the lining on the inside. Unfortunately, the beading is applied to the lace and the outer fabric together, so I wont be able to unpick the lace without the beads and sequins going everywhere. I still haven't decided if it will be worth the effort to reapply all the beading myself or not.

I've had a bit of a scribble for ideas of what to refashion the dress into. Naturally, I mostly came up with 1950's style dresses. As I want to make it look like a completely different garment, I'm toying with the idea of making pants or a (formal?) playsuit, but as I want it to be a garment that I will get wear out of again, a 50's dress is probably going to be the best option.

Anyone have any idea of what they think I should make from this dress?

For more info on this competition, head to the Australian Sewing Guild Website

Dixie O'Dare

PS My Macarons came second (out of 3) at the group competition yesterday, but our branch got a few firsts, seconds and thirds all up!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Latest Op-Shop treasures.

So it has occurred to me that I see other bloggers write about their great op shop finds quite frequently, but haven't written much myself, even though I buy a great deal of my sewing supplies and other bits from my local Op shops. So I thought I would share some of my latest finds (these are over the span of a few weeks)

I bought these fabulous Sesame street sheets for $2.50, with the original idea of cutting them up to make children's pyjamas for the local womens' refuge, but when I showed them to my Husband, he like them too much to let me cut them up. I could tell they were fairly old, but they seemed to be in really good condition. On closer inspection I found that the sheets were actually Sheridan cotton Percale sheets, the main signs of wear are really only on the tag and some pilling on the elastic of the fitted sheet (but the elastic itself is still very stretchy) but the fabric itself was pretty much flawless. So I guess these will be going in the linen cupboard til we have children of our own.

Then was this lovely blue and yellow floral sheet for $1. I have no idea what brand this sheet was, as the tag had completely faded away, but the fabric itself was so beautiful to the touch, very smooth and high thread count. Since I bought this, it has been used to sew Butterick 6522

Then more recently I found these 2 fabrics. The blue rose fabric is a light cotton, and there is only about enough to make a blouse (and maybe a turban?) but for $1, it was a good deal. The other piece was also only $1 and is a very bright, fun printed cotton. There is around 2m of it, but I don't yet know what I'll use it for. Perhaps I'll make something for when I eventually go to Hawaii or Fiji.

The same day I found those pieces of fabric, I also found this Pattern, New Look 6468. While it is not a particularly exciting pattern, I have really loved my other New Look pattern from the same era (New Look 6457) and thought I would give this one a chance.

Then there are my finds from when I took my grandmother and her best friend out op shopping. I found a cute little sewing kit, some blue ric-rac and a few nice pieces of fabric.

I'm mostly excited by this purple/green taffeta. It's in 2 pieces and they aren't huge, but I think if I go about it really carefully, I may have enough to make a dress out of it.

I also found out about a great clothing refashioning competition that the Red Cross and the Australian Sewing Guild are holding... but that's a post for another day.

Dixie O'Dare

Friday, 6 March 2015

It's just a jump to the left......

And a step to the right!

Last night I was lucky enough to go to a screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show with my Hubby and some good friends at the Regal Cinema in Birmingham Gardens. Naturally, we dressed up for the event (well most of us)

Quick selfie before heading out

I'm fairly certain we had the only Eddie and Riff-Raff, we even had some people ask to take photos with my husband as Eddie. Not bad considering how much effort we put into his costume (which was very little) There was quite a few Columbias and Magentas, but I think our costumes were probably the closest to screen accurate

All the Costumes! Didn't we look Fabulous?

Magenta and Riff-Raff

Big Columbia and Mini Columbia

It went on like this for a while

Seriously, I don't think we took one straight faced photo together

Just your regular family photo...

The Arrival of FranknFurter and Rocky
Stolen from Gillian Burgess

More girls in costume, plus our lot in the background
Stolen from Gillian Burgess

Rocky, FranknFurter and lots of Transylvanians!
Stolen from Gillian Burgess

Rocky and Riff-Raff
Stolen from Gillian Burgess

Another Columbia and FranknFurter
Stolen from Gillian Burgess

Riff-Raff, Magenta, Columbia and Eddie!
Stolen from Gillian Burgess

Our no-neck Narrator, also the owner of the cinema
Stolen from Gillian Burgess

Winners of best dressed and furthest travelled, these guys came
all the way from Canberra!
Stolen from Gillian Burgess

It was a lot of fun, with everyone singing along to all the songs, toast, water pistols, newspapers and playing cards everywhere! They even had Bloody Marys ready on arrival, along with chips, chocolate and Frankfurts! and all for a $7 ticket!!!!

Looks like it is going to be Monty Python's Life of Brian for April (Good Friday) and BLUES BROTHERS for May. If you're local to Newcastle you should come and dress up with me and my crazy friends (especially for Blues Brothers) Just head to their website to see what's showing next, and to book your seats.

Dixie O'Dare