Thursday, 14 January 2016

Thoughts on Maternity Wear

Let me just start this post by saying I am not pregnant.

However it is something my husband and I have been talking about. Which of course got me to thinking about things I would need to sew, were I to get pregnant. As much as I don't think I will want to wear boring shop-bought maternity clothes, I also don't know if I will feel much like sewing, so it might be a good idea to work on some dresses that will be suitable for maternity wear, but still be cute and vintagey, now before any pregnancy hormones are interfering.

Firstly, ever since the Swirl Sew-Along over at Sew Retro Rose, I have always thought that with a few modifications, a swirl dress would make a perfect maternity dress, without looking too much like a maternity dress. All that is really needed it to shorten the bodice to raise the waistline up to the under bust (making it more of a empire waistline) and adding extra width to the front skirt panel to be gathered in.

The Swirl Sew-Along pattern

Of course there are also vintage patterns out the for Maternity wear, however, most of these seem to be for tent style dresses and tops, usually consisting of a yoke at the neckline/shoulders and a big gathered skirt section, or just a swing top flared out from the shoulders or bust. There are however a few that are semi-fitted from the shoulder to under the best, then flare out from there.

I did actually manage to find a 40's pattern in my stash, that although isn't printed as maternity, has a hand written note from a previous owner saying "Maternity frock". When you look at the constuction of it, you can see why it was used as a maternity frock pattern, as it is essentially a tent dress, but with the added option of a fabric belt to cinch in the waistline (or above the bump)

40's Maternity Frock
I also found a self draft Maternity top in one of my Enid Gilchrist books

A Maternity top from an Enid Gilchrist book
So I will just have to work out what I want to make first, whether I want to make the alterations to the swirl pattern, or grade up the 40's pattern, or even draft the Enid Gilchrist pattern. And of course, then there is the decision of fabrics.......

Another thing I have been thinking about for pregnancy is making myself a cute hospital gown or 2. I think I might have seen one posted in a Facebook group quite a few years ago, and since then, I just haven't been able to get the idea out of my head. Luckily there is a free pattern at Lazy Girl Designs, which even features velcro/button up shoulders, which makes it perfect for breasfeeding. There is even a blog from another lady who used the free pattern and altered it to suit her maternity needs better, so I know I will want 1 or 2 in bright colours for when I'm stuck in hospital.

Anyone now of any good vintage style maternity patterns?


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A Pink Gingham Shirtwaister - My first make of 2016

After having a particularly horrible Christmas day (resulting in my Husband and I cutting his parents from our life for the foreseeable future) I really lost my motivation to sew or to do anything really. We mostly spent days on the couch watching "Once upon a time". I did however go to my local Spotlight on boxing day morning with my future sis-in-law and buy a few goodies, including Pink Gingham for a shirtwaister dress. I was originally going to use some pink gingham I had in my stash, but I only had about 2m of it, so even with using white cotton for some contrast, it would still have been quite a stretch

The idea for the Shirt Dress Sewing circle came about when the lovely Lyric of Sew Lyrically Vintage posted this delightful dress in the Those Darn Sew and Sews facebook group, and a bunch of ladies decided it would be a great idea to have an informal sew-along group for Shirt-waister style dresses, as they are a great vintage style wardrobe staple. While the person who began the facebook group chose to go with the reprint pattern Simplicity 1459, it is up to each individual participant to choose what pattern they want to use.

I did a bit of Pinterest-ing and found a few pieces for inspiration, looking especially for designs using contrasting pieces of white:

Even though I purchased the Simplicity pattern on boxing day, I just didn't love to look of it for this project, as I wanted a very traditional Shirtwaister dress. I do have a vintage pattern that I had used before, but I graded the pattern up straight onto the fabric, so I would have to grade it up all over again, and I remember struggling a bit with sewing the design of the collar. However, I did have a suitable pattern that I had used recently for my Frenchie costume. The collar sews up easily, and all I have to do is add bodice darts and a full gathered skirt.

Even though I now had extra fabric, I decided I still liked the idea of using come contrasting bits of white for visual interest, which also meant I could make the skirt extra full. After I cut out the bodice and sleeve pieces from the gingham, I measured how much was left and worked out I could manage 4 widths of fabric for my skirt (instead of the usual 2 or 3) if I used a panel of white.

Even though I had been planning this dress for sometime, I was in a serious slump after Christmas due to some family drama, which left me with absolutely zero motivation to do anything. I really tried pushing myself to get into it, and yet it still took me well over a week just to get all the pieces cut out. On January 4th, I finally found the energy to get a start on the sewing and overlocking, and before I knew it, it was after midnight. But I had almost a whole bodice, minus the collar and facings, so I was feeling much better.

The results at the end of my first evening of sewing of 2016

The next day I got back into it and sewed the pockets and the skirt to the bodice, then began work on the collar and facings. Once the collar and facings were done, I pressed and sewed the hem.

I had chosen out 2 options for buttons, but once I pinned them to the fabric, I realised the clear ones were too off-white for the fabric and just look dirty. So although the pink ones were a bit smaller than I'd prefer, when I pinned them on, they looked pretty good, so I went with them.

I had 12 pink buttons in total, so on the third day of sewing, I measured along the front and decided to place them at 3 inch intervals. I marked where the buttonholes needed to go and began stitching them up using the method I outlined during the Sun Frock Sew-Along.

You can just see my faint pencil marks for the buttonholes
Once the buttonholes were done, I used them to mark the locations of the buttons and lazily stitched them on using the zig zag stitch on my machine.

Then I tried and mostly failed to take a selfie, showing the fullness of the skirt. So I got my Husband to take a few snaps for me before we went out shopping.

As you can see, the skirt is super full

And it's got pockets!
I still want to make a matching belt for this dress, but I seem to have misplaced the roll of stuff I use to make bets from, so that will have to wait. As it is, I am super happy with my first dress for 2016, it has come out wonderfully, if I do say so myself. I think it will be getting a lot of wear in the year to come.

I think the unofficial deadline for the Sew-Along is the end of February, but as this is an informal sew-along, you can still join in if you want to, even if you don't plan to finish on time. Just ask to join the facebook group here. I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone else's creations turn out!


Monday, 4 January 2016

A look back at my 2015

While 2015 hasn't been quite as eventful as 2014, it has still been a pretty good year for me. If you've been reading my blog for some time, you already know what has been happening, but I'll recap here anyways.

I started 2015's sewing off nice and early with a skirt made from Fabric from a Secret Santa and a shirt made from fabric from a friend's stash only a few days into the year. You can read more about the outfit here.

Later in January My Husband and I celebrated our 6 month wedding anniversary by spending the day at Luna Park Sydney. It was raining most of the day, but that just meant there were less kids there to have to deal with. We took a picnic lunch of fruit, cheese and wine, and had a fabulous day.

Frock 7852 on the left
I graded up and scanned in my first PDF Pattern! Still available for free, the pattern is for a dress bodice from 1951 in sizes 36" bust and 44" bust.

I made a Columbia costume to wear to a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Regal Cinema, which has seen quite a lot of wear through out the year.

I made this gorgeous pleated creation for Kurri Nostalgia Festival. Little did I know, this wouldn't be my most time consuming pleated project this year.

I Finally made a pair of well fitting pants I was proud of (that unfortunately don't fit right now)

I participated in the Sew Retro Rose Capelet Sew-Along

There was a big storm that flooded most of my town

I made a costume and dressed up as a nun for a Blues Brother showing at the Regal Cinema

I participated in Me-Made-May, and managed to get through the month wearing almost all me-made clothes, without repeating too many outfits. It showed me a few holes I have to fill, that mostly being separates, outerwear and pyjamas.

I guest posted over at Sew Retro Rose with a super easy Crochet Snood pattern

I made a costume and dressed up as Zoot for a showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the Regal Cinema

I made a Crazy Star Wars Cosplay for a Friend

I made a Beauty School Dropout costume (Frenchie from Grease) had a bunch of teeth pulled out of my mouth, then still went on to win best dressed at the Regal Cinema only hours after being under general anesthetic at the dentist.

I finally got up the courage to sew myself a version of the infamous white dress from "the Seven Year Itch". If I never pleat fabric ever again it will still be too soon. I still haven't managed to get decent photos of this dress, so hopefully that is something you will get to see in 2016. I am stupidly proud of how this dress turned out, as I tried to make it as close to the original as I could. You can read about it's construction here, which I highly recommend if you are considering making this dress yourself.

I went on my first Cruise (and also my second cruise later)

I hosted my very own Sew-Along with a pattern I graded to many sizes and scanned in to make my second ever PDF pattern (which is available for sale for US$2 since the end of the Sew-Along)

My Boy got sick, and was very clingy and clumsy while on his medication (but he is all better now) which made it very difficult to get anything done

I dressed up as a Christmas Elf, after making the dress using velvet remnants and my Sun Frock Sew-Along pattern

I attended the Inaugural Pinup Picnic in the Park in Newcastle

I participated in 2 vintage secret santas, 1 through Sew Retro Rose and 1 through Chronically Vintage. I sent off my parcels to America and QLD, and received some awesome stuff in return. I have already worn the brooch and necklace from the Sew Retro Rose parcel, and I am just trying to decide on a fabric to make a dress from the pattern from the Chronically Vintage Parcel. After a particularly trying Christmas day, these were a great pick-me-up.

We've now begun the New Year, and while I haven't been very productive since Christmas (about all I have managed is finally seeing "The Dressmaker") I have big plans for this year! I don't have a list of specific goals for my blog for 2016, but rather I just want to keep it going the way it has been, with more patterns, tutorials and Sew-alongs. Although I already have a very long list of things I'd like to sew this year.

The goals I set for myself last year were:

1. To Participate lots of sew-alongs.
I only managed the Capelet Sew-Along with Sew Retro Rose and my own Sew-Along. I had hoped to participate in Vintage on Tap's Apron Sew-Along, but unfortunately didn't find the time to.

2. I want to host my own sew-along, most likely with a free pattern to make it easily accessible to all.
Yep, did it!

3. I'd like to do a give away.
Didn't quite manage this one, although I do have another pattern I am partway through grading up, to give to all my Sew-Along participants. Although I guess I did give the Sew-Along pattern away for free to begin with, as well as my first PDF pattern offering.

4. Work out how to digitize/pdf some of my self drafted patterns to share with everyone. 
While I haven't tried my hand at properly digitizing yet, I did manage to scan in and PDF 2 patterns, that while they were not self-drafted, they were graded up by me.

5. Write up a few informative sewing tutorials.
I kinda managed this one. I did write a knitting and 2 crochet tutorials, as well as a drawstring bag sewing tutorial. I do however have a few in the works for 2016!

6. Collaborate with another blog
I guest Posted over on Sew Retro Rose with an easy Crochet Snood tutorial

So thanks for reminiscing with me, now bring on a great 2016!


Friday, 1 January 2016

Round up of my 2015 Vintage pattern pledge makes

I really enjoyed participating in the 2015 Vintage pattern Pledge. Although I set myself a fairly low goal of 4 vintage makes, I stipulated that each had to be from a genuine vintage pattern and made from fabric that I already had in my stash.

Firstly at the beginning of the year I made this Maudella Blouse from a Vintage pattern and some stash fabric which was gifted to me last year.

Number 2 was my cute Border Print Dress, which was made with fabric from my stash, but a borrowed vintage pattern

Number 3 was my pleated floral dress that I made and wore for Kurri Nostalgia festival this year it was made from a Home Journal pattern and some country garden floral cotton from Lincraft that had been in my stash for about 3 year.

Number 4 was the White and Pink Sundress made from a 1949 Home Journal and a queen size bed sheet.

Which meant I had reached my goal early, Yay! But by no means was that a reason to stop.

I initially wasn't sure I should include this one, as the fabric had not been in my stash very long, but I love it so much I'm including it as my 5th make anyway. Made with an Anne Adams pattern and quilting cotton picked up on sale from spotlight at $2 per meter.

Many of you will be aware of the Sun Frock Sew-Along I hosted back in November. The pattern was from a 1949 Australian Home journal. I made mine using a lovely soft floral fabric from my stash.

So all up, that got me to 6 finished Vintage Pattern Pledge makes.

I had hoped to include a gorgeous 1940's frock made with green velvet to my list, however, partway through the construction, the skirt and I had a disagreement, so it's currently in the naughty corner until I have the motivation to unpick stretch panne velvet

All in all I'm pretty happy with the outcome of my 2015 Vintage Pattern Pledge, I know I chose a safe number, so this might push me to pledge even more next year. My count would have been much higher if I didn't stipulate in my specific pledge to use fabrics from my stash and true vintage patterns, but I knew that would help me not use it as an excuse to purchase more fabric, when I have such a large stash of wonderful fabrics already.

I think next year I might even step it up again and aim for 8 makes from vintage patterns and stash fabric.

Anyone else looking forward to the 2016 Vintage Pattern Pledge?