Wednesday, 23 September 2015

A Scissor-Happy Anne Adams 4769

My latest graded up sample for Elsie George has been this wonderful Anne Adams Pattern from 1954

Whilst ridiculously cute, this pattern is also ridiculously small, for a 29" bust! So some major grading up was needed before I could even begin. Luckily, I had some time to work on that while working at Elsie George last weekend.

To make sure the cute scallop detail didn't get lost, I wanted to make sure I used a plain fabric or a not-too-fussy print. Most of the time I don't buy much plain coloured cotton, usually just 1m or so for contrasts, linings and pockets, so I managed to find this cute cream quilting cotton with a print of yellow-ish scissors that I thought would work great, without taking away from the design details.

Initially I graded up the pattern by adding the difference of the original 29" bust size compared to my 44" bust size, divided into 4, to each of all the bodice pieces (as well as a slight redraft of the neckline/collar pieces) Even though when I measured the original pattern pieces, it seemed that it could fit a 33-34" bust, so my graded up pieces seemed quite a bit too big. I went ahead anyway, figuring I could just take any excess out of the side seams.

The bodice went together fairly easily. I started with the darts in the back piece, then overlocked around most of the pieces (not the scallops or the neckline pieces) The front bodice pieces were then sewn to the back bodice piece and the seams and darts pressed. Both the bodice facing and the front facings (which I had interfaced beforehand) were sewn to the bodice right sides together. To attempt as neat scallops as I could manage, I drew a line 1/2" in from the edge along the whole front edge to stitch along, using very small stitches. I wouldn't say they turned out perfect, but I'm pretty happy with them. I clipped all the curves (a lot) and turned the facings, then pressed them flat.

At this point, pinned on my mannequin the back did look way too large and gapey, but I left it for now. The front neckline pieces were sewn to the back neckline pieces, then the top and bottom were sewn together right sides together, leaving open 2 sections to attach the bodice. Pretty much all the edges around the neckline had to be clipped, then it was turned right side out and pressed. I then gathered up the top edge of the sides of the front of the bodice, leaving the facings free. The facings were then folded back where they went and the top edges all lined up, then pinned into the openings in the neckline pieces. A bit of top stitching around the neckline, and a hem at the bottom, and all I had left was the buttonholes and buttons.

I originally had picked out some much smaller white buttons, but another look in my button jar and I managed to find 5 large, yellow buttons. They are a bit old and scratched up, I think I stole them from my Grandma's Button Jar, and they may have originally come from a dressing gown... BUT they worked perfectly on this dress with the size of the Scallops, and it was exactly the number of buttons that I needed. I tried to be very careful with buttonhole placement, as they are quite large and due to the nature of large buttons, don't sit centered on the button, but rather slide a bit to the side when done up, and I didn't want to be showing skin through the corners of the scallops.

To finish off the ensemble I chose to make a simple gathered skirt, which I have made a million times before. Like always I added side seam pockets, and used a zip in the centre back. I decided to go with a gathered skirt rather than the circle skirt with gathered sections from the pattern, as I was a bit low on fabric, and this works out to be the most economical way to get a full skirt when you have a directional print.

I wore it to work yesterday, and snuck up to Elsie George in my lunch break to snap a couple of selfies in the change room mirror.


I am going to be announcing my first very own Sew-Along! It will be a free graded version of a Vintage Australian Home Journal Pattern, that I hope everyone will love, so keep an eye on my blog for more details soon!

I really hope I will get a few people to join my sew along, so I would love a comment from anyone who is interested. I may even grade the pattern up even more if there is enough interest. At the moment it will be available in bust sizes 34-44".


Sunday, 20 September 2015

Got to love a good hair day

I will be the first to admit, I am not one of those put together all the time vintage loving girls. I'm not even put togetger half the time, and I'm sure you guys know that already with all my dodgy mirror selfies I take to show off my sewing (because sometimes you just can't wait for the time to do a proper shoot) but yesterday, I was running the shop for the day at Elsie George, so I made a little more effort with my hair and make up than I usually would, and boy am I glad I did. Since cutting my hair short again, I had only rag curled it, but when I used my curling iron yesterday, my hair turned out perfect. I mean seriously perfect. I know some people thought I was a little crazy to cut my own hair, but man, has it been worth it, because it was perfect for my curls. I may never go back to a hairdresser again.....

This gorgeous necklace was in the cabinet in store, but it went so perfectly with my hair I had to have it. There is another in stock if anyone's interested though.....

These photos don't even do my hair justice.

Whilst there were plenty of visitors to the shop throughout the day, during the quiet moments, I put my time to good use, grading up a pattern to make a sample for the shop from. I was also really healthy and had chocolate milk and rainbow popcorn for lunch.

Anyways, I'll stop bragging about how good my hair looked yesterday and get back to my sewing...


Friday, 18 September 2015

Grease Sing-along take 2

Due to popular demand, the Regal Cinema is doing more showings of the Grease Sing-along for the October Long Weekend! As my friend's kids missed it last time, we will be going again, this time dressed up as a group!  Our Plan is to recreate the outfits worn by the Pink Ladies (and Danny and Sandy) during the infamous "Summer Nights" musical number.

Ok, ok.... I am having way too much fun playing around with the collages on Polyvore! After I finished this one, I realised Frenchy's shirt is in fact an orange/peach plaid, but you get the idea. As of yet, we do not have anyone to dress up as Jan, but that may change

I am hoping to create a new Frenchy outfit if I have time, if I don't, I can simply wear my beauty school dropout dress again. Her outfit comprises of a Peach/Apricot coloured pencil skirt, orangey plaid button up shirt and apricot chiffon scarf with a white belt, all of which I am hoping to sew myself.

Marty: I have a light pink V neck sweater/shirt to lend my friend, as well as a black elastic belt. I am hoping to find some suitable blue fabric to sew her a skirt, and either find or make a blue scarf.

Sandy: Will wear a regular white button down shirt, and I will hopefully make her a simple yellow circle skirt. Not sure if we will be able to find a yellow cardigan in her size, but I think we can get away without it if necessary.

Rizzo: Either a simple black shirtdress from the opshop, or a black polo/button up shirt, paired with either a black skirt or black pants, with an obligatory belt to cinch in the waist.

Jan: If we find someone to dress as Jan, it should be easy to find a daggy grey jumper, then either buy a plaid skirt from an opshop or sew one up.

Danny: Jeans, white t-shirt and leather jacket (if we can find one in his size)


We are also hoping to make matching personalised Pink Ladies jackets for Frenchy, Marty, Rizzo and Jan (if we find a Jan in time)

Might be a little ambitious, but we will see.....


Monday, 14 September 2015

A Perfect Sundress for a Quick Family Roadtrip

As my little Brother and his fiance' had invited my husband and I to join them on a one night road trip up the coast to visit our Nanna and Pop, I thought it would be a perfect reason to sew myself a new dress (like I need a reason....) Even better, I thought why not make one from one of the Vintage Australian home journals that I received as a gift from my Nan a little while back. 

So I pulled out my home journals and decided on one that would look really cute made from a queen sized white sheet with pink lace/embroidered trim that I had purchased for $4 from Vinnies previously.

The first step as always is tracing out and grading up the pattern pieces.

I had a little trouble with the grading up, as I usually do not add any length to the pieces I grade up, but I realised when I was about to sew everything together that the Bodice Side pieces were going to be much too short if I wanted the gathered seam to sit anywhere near the bottom of my bust. Luckily I had plenty of fabric leftover, so I just re cut those pieces with approximately 1.5 inches extra on both the top and bottom.

For the skirt I just cut a 29" length from the end of the sheet with the pink embroidery, to use as a gathered skirt, instead of a 1/2 circle skirt from the pattern. I cut off a roughly 4" section, to use that for the bust detail, then cut the remaining piece in 2, so that I would have side side seams to put pockets into.

Bodice construction was reasonable simple, but a little different to how I would normally go about it (and a little different to the original instructions) I started by overlocking around all the pieces to stop any fraying, then attached the back neckline facing to the back bodice, clipped the seam, turned the facing inside and pressed. I then sewed the bodice front sides to each side of the bust detail piece and pressed those seams to the sides, continuing up the whole edge of the bodice front sides, which were then sewn down, hemming the neckline edge. Gathering stitches were then run along the bottom edge of each bodice front side, gathered in, then the whole lot was sewn to the Bodice lower front piece. The top edge of the bodice front sides were each gathered to fit the shoulders of the back bodice, then the shoulder seams were sewn in. The sleeves were then gently eased in and the side seams/bottom of the sleeves were sewn up, leaving a 3" opening on the left hand side for the zip.

Sewing the pocket to 1 side of the skirt

Sewing the 2 skirt pieces together

I used my usual method for inserting side seam pockets, just making sure I left enough space above the left pocket to insert the zip. Each of the 4 pocket pieces were sewn to each side edge of the skirt pieces, then the skirt pieces get sewn right sides together down the side seams, going out and around the edges of the pockets, leaving 4" above the left pocket open for the zip. The top edge then has 2 rows of gathering stitches sewn and pulled in to fit the bottom edge of the bodice, which was then sewn together. As a nice bonus with this fabric, the edge is already finished, so no need to hem, Woo! The downside to that is that you have to make sure the skirt pieces are the right length before adding the pockets or sewing it to the bodice.

At this point I tried on the dress and it just seemed a bit dowdy (and my husband admitted he thought it looked a bit like a nightie) So I unpicked a little bit of the side seam on the right, then cut and sewed 2 long ties out of some of the leftover sheet. I stitched one each to the sides (just on the back bodice on the left) of the dress, then finally got to putting in the invisible zip. With the ties added, I could use them to cinch in the waist a bit and give the dress a more flattering shape.

Finished (but not yet pressed)
I now realise that the bodice is loose enough that I didn't have to bother putting in a zip, oh well. I'm probably to lazy to bother taking it out now.

While I will freely admit a cotton dress may not be the most practical for car travel, as it wrinkles easily, and white is not a good colour for me as I am a bit messy, and pretty much guaranteed to spill/drop something on myself when wearing light colours, it was very comfortable to wear and I felt really cute wearing it, even if it still kinda looks like a nightie. It also turned out to be a great outfit for the beach, as my shoulders were covered and I had large pockets for collecting shells and pebbles.

And now for a few obligatory Holiday Photos (some taken by me on my tablet, others taken by my brother's fiance on her iphone)

The beach at Coffs Harbour (behind the Hoey Moey)

We left a message for other beach goers

Running away from the surf

Very serious manly bonding time

And a photobomb


Beach Beers

Don't worry, we took our empties home

Young Love.....
A very rare photo of my brother and I together
All these photos are just from the hour or two we spent at the beach (mostly while the boys were at the Hoey Moey drinking beer) The rest of the trip was spent catching up with family we don't get to see very often, and eating the most delicious 4 course meal that Nanna had cooked for us (seriously, must have taken days to make) but now we are all back home and back to the regular daily routine.


P.S. I've just realised after the fact that this counts towards my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge for 2015. As I am only counting Authentic Vintage Patterns made from fabric from my stash, this makes number 4, which means I've achieved my goal! Yay!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

I bought a Cook Book

This is probably not exciting to most of you, but I am pretty over the moon.

While at the post office picking up a few passport forms for my boss, I spotted a Women's Weekly cookbook in the $4.99 bargain bin. But it wasn't any Women's Weekly cookbook, it was a reprint of "The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits" which is the exact cookbook I used throughout my childhood to make sooo many different sweet treats. My mother still uses hers, and the poor thing is falling apart from being so well loved.

Flicking through brings back a lot of memories for me. The chocolate slice mum and I always made for school lunches and when she used to cater lunches for a local group, which was also one of the first things I baked for my Husband when we first started dating. The Lebkuchen I made for our German Celebration one year at School. The Rum Truffles we used to make for Christmas. The Rum ball recipe we tried when we decided to make every single ball type recipe from the book for Christmas one year, that wouldn't set, so became the most delicious Ice Cream topping. The Ginger slice we used to make for my grandparents (grandma loves ginger) The Anzac biscuit recipe we always used.The Honey Jumbles I was determined to make all by myself and made a huge mess in doing so, The Peanut Butter Crinkles with the criss cross fork imprint on top that mum made when we had friends over and for school (before peanuts were banned from schools) The Shortbread recipe I used to bake shortbread for Grandfather. The Chocolate Crackle recipe made for nearly every birthday party.

I am pretty excited to have a copy for myself now, and I have no doubts that it will be used plenty in my kitchen, now, and when my future children are learning to cook, just as I did.


Saturday, 5 September 2015

Grease Sing-along at the Regal Cinema!

As promised, here are some photos from the Grease Sing-along at the Regal last night, all courtesy of Gillian Burgess

George at the Ticket Booth

Some of the lovely ladies who were serving the food
There was a spread of hot dogs, caramel popcorn, chips and root beer floats, as well as a choice of white or red wine.

Jo and George

All the leather heads

George doing his best "tough guy" face

George and the "Sweet Sandy's"

I very almost didn't make it to the screening. My dentist appointment had gotten mixed up, so instead of being on the Wednesday, it was actually the same day as Grease. I was under general anesthetic and had my wisdom teeth, plus a few others, removed only 8 hours earlier. My dentist had said no way would I be able to go out that night, I would be in too much pain, but to my delight, and his surprise, I felt pretty good apart from a sore throat, so I went anyway, and even sung my heart out along with everyone else. I don't think my face was even that swollen. It's now the next day, and while my cheeks feel a little bit more swollen than yesterday, I'm still in no pain apart from my throat and the corners of my lips (I'm guessing from having my mouth stretched open?) Compared to the toothache I had for 3 weeks before, this is nothing!

The last few costumes on stage (pretty much anyone who
didn't come as a Danny or Sandy)

Asking if I made my costume...

All the people who dressed up on stage together

While quite a few Regal Tickets were handed out to some of the best dressed, but it was I who was chosen as the Best Dressed Grand Prize winner! So I got 2 tickets, and I will be getting something special next time I visit!

A few of the Entrants for the Dancing competition

This girl knew the hand jive actions by heart, can you guess
who won the dance comp?
Thanks again Gillian Burgess for all the great photos!

Next Month's cult classic is Animal house (which I confess I haven't seen before) So the Regal is throwing a Toga Party! Later on the same weekend, which also happens to be the October long weekend, they will be having another screening of the Grease Sing-along. As my Friend's kids couldn't make it to this one, we are going to try and make it to the next one, and hopefully I will have time to make matching Pink Ladies jackets for everyone.

Anyone else dressed up for something fun recently?