Monday, January 23, 2017

TNT - Another Vogue 8184

I think anybody who sews for any length of time ends up with a TNT - a tried and true pattern that they turn to again and again. Fashion archivists will look through my sewing history one day far (hopefully really far) in the future, and start to log the Vogue 8184 frocks I've made in increasingly bored tones. So far the tally is 8 and counting, but I can't help it - it's such a versatile pattern, is very fabric length friendly, and suits my vintage-loving heart down to the ground!

May I humbly introduce you to the latest addition to my 8184 canon:

Blue Fields #4

Blue Fields #3

There's not a lot different in this make to some of the others I've done in the past - I've altered the straps once again to originate from the centre of the neckline (lengthening the straps is required here if you'd like to do this yourself).

What I am really happy about  is the fabric I used. It's a Cotton + Steel cotton lawn from the Hatbox collection that is so light and delicious to wear! I'm really feeling the heat this summer (curse you global warming!), so an airy dress like this is just the ticket for those relentless summer days.

I am also totally into the deep blues this summer. It just feels so fresh - much better than white on me, which only makes me look like a bewildered ghost. Since confused spirit out of time is not exactly the look I am going for, I think I'll stick to gorgeous blue fabrics like this!

Blue Fields #2

So, TNT Vogue 8184 has come through with the goods again! After all, summer ain't summer without me whipping up one of these!

Blue Fields #1

Project Details
Pattern - Vogue 8184, view B with alterations to straps
Fabric - 2.3m Cotton + Steel cotton lawn from the Hatbox Collection
Notions - 35cm invisible zipper

Thursday, January 12, 2017

So nice she made it twice! Vogue 9100

"Put your bets on, ladies and gents, put your bets on!" hollered the bookmaker, as the crowd surged forward to see which pattern Jorth would choose. Bets were placed left, right and centre, as Jorth spread her TNT patterns (tried 'n' trues) out on the table, and thoughtfully considered the teardrop printed fabric before her.

"Vogue 8184 is leading the pack, with odds of 3 to 1, closely followed by Simplicity 1803 at 5 to 1", the bookie informed the gathering, as he handed out betting slips with one hand and pocketed the money with the other.

"What are the odds on Vogue 9100?" asked one punter in hope. "Terrible!", the bookie replied. "I've given dreadful odds of 85 to 1 on that one - she made it too recently, and despite her love of pockets, I reckon a new year calls for a new style. Place a bet if ya wanna, mate, but all you'll be doing is making my retirement fund that little bit sweeter!"

The punter was undeterred. He'd studied Jorth's form for years now, and had a hunch he could reliably predict her unpredictability. He took out his wallet, and rashly placed his money into the bookie's hand, who accepted it with a contemptuous smirk. Suddenly a hush descended upon the crowd, and every body there craned their necks and stood on the tippiest of tippy toes to see which pattern Jorth would reach for. Her hand reached out... hovered... moved from one pattern to the next, sending the crowd into a moaning frenzy then...

"Well love me tender and call me Elvis!" exclaimed the bookmaker in surprise. "It's Vogue 9100 for the win!" He watched as most of the crowd departed, cursing their luck, and was ready to pack up and head for home when one happy punter appeared before him. "Oh, it's you again, 'eh?" he said as he grumpily delved into his case and began extracting bills.



What can I say? It's a new favourite! The fit is great, the pockets are the best, and the gathered skirt hides all the big lunches I've indulged in recently!

I also just adore this teardrop fabric - it reminds me of the dress I made for Tyger all those years ago (she's so little there!), but thankfully that dress has long been passed on so we don't do the matchy-matchy mother daughter thing. People already say she is a mini-me - we can't start dressing the same way, as that would just be too weird!



As you can see this dress has quite a low back on it - I know some other sewists have disliked that feature as their bras can be seen, but mine sits just fine. Maybe having a longer than average torso has it's advantages! I have no idea where those scratch marks came from - please excuse them!


And finally, the 'battling with an uncooperative wind' shot! All in all, I love this dress, and suspect that version number two will be far from the last. Can you imagine how sweet it would look in a broderie anglaise or eyelet fabric? If I ever see some such fabric in a bright hue (alas, white just makes me look like a ghost) then I think I know what I will do with it!

Project Details
Pattern - Vogue 9100, size 8
Fabric - 2.3m cotton from GJ's Discount Fabrics
Notions - 35cm invisible zip

You can read about my other version of this dress here.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

The Vintage Green Dress: McCalls 7208

I had considered buying fireworks. Or at the very least a massive amount of confetti to throw gleefully around. And popping of champagne corks felt like a must! Because after years of lusting, and yearning, and pressing my greasy nose against the computer monitor and moaning with unfulfilled desire, I finally had got the vintage pattern of my dreams, and even better yet, I had found it in my size! The sewing gods indeed had smiled upon me!

Meet McCalls 7208. First released in 1964, and very happily made by me 52 years later!

Vintage Green McCalls #1

Vintage Green McCalls #2

First things first - whilst I love this dress, it sure did use up a huge amount of fabric! The skirt is one of the biggest I have ever gathered, and when I read the pattern and realised that they wanted a skirt lining (gathered also) plus piping for the skirt seam, I threw back my head and laughed and laughed. I had enough trouble gathering all that amount of thick fabric and then sewing it to the bodice without complicating matters with extra fabric for lining and the fiddlyness of piping to boot! So I kept things simple and just sewed on the skirt. Just between you and me, I feel the incredible fullness of the skirt makes it look like I have added a few pounds, so I shudder to think of the effect the lining would have had!

The bust size on this was 32 inches, which I am, but as per my usual experience of making a vintage pattern, I needed to bring it in substantially to get a correct fit. The strap was a bit of a nightmare to put on - getting the strap seam and the bodice centre seam to match felt like mission impossible at times, but after employing my quick-un-pick too many times to mention, I got there in the end!

I also cut about 20cm off the skirt length. I am constantly surprised at how long vintage skirts end up being, especially since the pattern illustration makes them look like they finish at the knee. Was there some sort of anti-calf sentiment going on in the 1950s and 60s that I remain blithely unaware of? I am so puzzled by it!

All things considered, I am pretty happy with this dress. The green is my favourite shade of green, but if I ever made it again I would choose a much lighter fabric than the one I sewed it up in. It's just that bit too heavy for the dress - a lawn or voile with lining would be a much better choice. Ack - ya live and learn!

Vintage Green McCalls #4

Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta go do some twirling. This dress was made for being spun around a dance floor!

Vintage Green McCalls #3


Project Details
Pattern - McCalls 7208, published 1964
Fabric - Heavy cotton from The Fabric Store
Notions - Interfacing, invisible zip