Monday, May 06, 2019

Vintage Simplicity 3069


Simplicity 3069 #07


What do you get if you cross a vintage pattern from the early 1960s with cool faux leather coated woolen fabric? One totally rock'n'roll dress!


Simplicity 3069 #02


Simplicity 3069 #06


Simplicity 3069 #02


I didn't' actually expect this dress to turn out so sassy, but when I first made it the skirt was ginormously long! So I cut a wide swath off. Then I decided that it needed to be shorter still. So another swath was cut. Then I tried it on again and realised... um, totally showing a bit of leg now, Jorthy girl. But the deed was done, and I felt a bit rebellious in my new short skirt, so that is the length it has stayed. And I LOVE IT!

This was a pretty easy pattern to sew, but I did need to do quite a bit of fitting adjustments. I think I ended up taking the bodice in about 8cm, and to be perfectly honest it could still go in some more, but I like to have a bit of room to move about! I really am digging the belt feature - it makes the dress, and I would definitely consider making another version of this frock but in a lighter coloured fabric, just to do the belt again! It cleverly is joined to the front bodice inside the darts, then fastens upon itself at the back. Very very cool design detail!


Project notes:
Pattern - Vintage Simplicity 3069
Fabric - 1.5m coated wool from The Fabric Store.
Notions - 45cm invisible zipper

Friday, April 26, 2019

Simplicity 2178

There was wind. There was rain. There was one very misbehaving shoulder petal. But fear not - photography conquered all!


Simplicity 2178 #10


I think this was the quickest project photo shoot I've ever done! We managed to scamper back to the car before the heavens properly opened, but it was such fun! Even if most of the outtakes feature me pulling various glaring faces at the shoulder petals as they decided to do their own thing, rather than sit nicely like they usually do on wind-free days. Ah, the things we do for our blogs, eh?


Simplicity 2178 #08


Simplicity 2178 #04


But enough of the photos - what about the dress? This pattern has been in my To Make list since it came out in 2011, but I never found the right fabric for the job. Then, as kismet would have it, I ordered 4m of cotton seersucker from Spotlight for a vintage dress, which I then decided against making. However this fabric practically followed me around the house, hissing at me that I needed to sew it into a fabulous frock and it needed to happen NOW, so I did what every sewist who believes that their fabric can speak to them would do, and paid heed. Simplicity 2178, meet the red seersucker!


Simplicity 2178 #01


I LOVE THIS DRESS! I'm really happy with how it turned out - it's not a pattern that seems to have been sewn up a lot, so I was a bit worried about how it would look once finished, but it came up great for me! It's not a pattern for a newbie sewist - there is a lot of work in it, with the usual Cynthia Rowley sewing additions that seems to make it a more involved project than would appear at first glance, but the end result has been worth the time it took.

The one part I was worried about was putting a zip next to the pocket, but it actually worked out quite well. Having a thin cotton to work with helped - I'm not sure a heavy fabric would turn out so well, and you would probably end up with a bulky zippered/pocketed side seam, so just beware.

The one change I made was not to do the hem facing - this was simply because I didn't fancy doing hand stitching, and figured with the seer sucker the hem wouldn't be super noticeable anyway.

All in all, this pattern was worth the wait. I mean, who can go past a red statement frock? Not I, that's for sure!

Enjoy the pics. Rain was braved for your viewing pleasure!

Project Details
Pattern: Simplicity 2178 by Cynthia Rowley, view A
Fabric: 3.5m red cotton seersucker from Spotlight
Notions: Interfacing, 35cm invisible zip

Monday, April 15, 2019

Vogue 9100 and vintage Simplicity 3470 mash up

Before we start, I would just like to say that no dresses were harmed, splashed with salt water or got flecked with sand during this shoot.

Vogue 9100 #07

Ok, ok, maybe a little. But gee, wasn't it worth it for the fun and pure child-like delight of splashing about in the ocean in a fancy dress!


Vogue 9100 #06


I say that this dress is a mash up, but what I really did was use the bodice from Vogue 9100, and then run with the concept of the skirt from Simplicity 3470. I wanted an insanely full skirt, so I made the skirt 3 metres wide before gathering, and made the frill 6 metres wide. When I was actually gathering all those miles of fabric together I did wonder if I had taken leave of my senses, especially since gathering fabric of one of my least favourite sewing jobs, but the end result was worth the sore fingers from pulling those gathering threads tighter and tighter. No pain, no gain!

Another change I made was to make the shoulder straps 2cm shorter on each side. I've made Vogue 9100 3 times now (see version one and version two), and the shoulders do tend to slip a little, so by shortening them I bypassed that wear issue.

All in all, I love this dress! It took a lot of work, as the lace was underlined (so each piece was underlined before I began sewing any pieces together), and then the dress itself was fully lined, but I'm glad I put the work in - this is going to be part of my forever wardrobe for sure!


Vogue 9100 #01
Vogue 9100 #04




Vogue 9100 #11


Project Details:
Patterns - Vogue 9100 and vintage Simplicity 3470.
Fabric - Navy blue lace and cotton for both underlining and lining from The Fabric Store.
Notions - 35cm invisible zipper.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Simplicity 8594 and really bad rhymes galore

Summertime in the city,
And all I can think of is pretty dresses and Liberty.
So with no lack of perspicacity
I give pattern and fabric propinquity

Ok, Kanye's job is safe.
Which is a thought that really does chafe.
A good rhyme, sadly, I maketh not.
But a cute dress - yep, I hit the spot!


Simplicity 8594 #09


I LOVE LOVE LOVE (like a dove, from above) this dress!
It has all the elements a frock needs to address:
Cute neck?
Check!
Pockets?
It rocks it!
Fabric that's cute?
The point is moot!

Will I make it again?
GIVE ME AN AMEN!!!


Ok, ok, I gotta stop.
The rhyming mic, I really must drop.
But before you bombard me with your strictures
Sit back and enjoy the pictures!


Simplicity 8594 #03

Simplicity 8594 #01

Simplicity 8594 #04


Project Notes:
Pattern - Simplicity 8594, version C
Fabric - 1.8m of Liberty cotton print from GJ's Discount Fabrics
Notions - Interfacing, 50cm invisible zipper


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Frocktails 2018 Dress

Frocktails! It's bigger than the Grammys, Emmys, Oscars and the yearly dinner for the Queensland Philatelic Council! Usually much much thought goes into planning my outfit, with many accompanying mind changes, but this year I knew exactly what I wanted to do - pretty much a grown-up version of my girl's iceskating outfit, but with added feathers.

I think I TOTALLY nailed the assignment!

In all seriousness, though, I love a bit of messy glamour. And I love the full-skirted vintage style. So I decided to bring the two together, very much helped along with a gorgeous feathered and beaded lace tulle piece I found on Etsy. A quick trip to The Cloth Shop, and I soon had my matching fabric. The lovely owner Kim helped me match in a gorgeous red silk faille, which draped like a dream. It was like sewing with butter, but in fabric form - an absolute gem of a material.

Then the real work began. I made a muslin first to ensure my fit was good, loosely basing the bodice on an old vintage pattern I had. Then I made up the dress in the silk, boning the bodice for the perfect fit, and let it sit on my mannequin for the skirt to hang correctly.

Meanwhile I cut up my tulle piece, and then began to pin it haphazardly over the bodice and skirt of the dress until I was pleased with the result. Initially I was going to keep the bodice strapless, but I felt it looked too bare, so I fashioned a single shoulder piece out of the left over lace, which I felt worked a treat. Then I hand sewed all the applique on. It took probably 12 hours or so to do the hand sewing, but this is Frocktails, peeps - it was worth it! The dress was finished with a rolled hem.

Then, just to add to the fun, my talented pal Samara agreed to take pre-party pictures of myself and my darling friend Julia Bobbin, so our outfits could be captured by her amazing photographic talent. It was like being a movie star for a while - people stopped and gawked at us in our Frocktails finery whilst Samara expertly snapped away. I am not joking when I say that we stopped traffic - we LITERALLY did, as she made us pose in the middle of the road! The photos are incredible, and I'm so happy with them. It was worth risking being run over for!

Enough talking - let's get to these marvellous pictures!


Frocktails-42

Frocktails-5

Frocktails-66

Frocktails-51

Frocktails-68

Frocktails-70

Frocktails-117

Frocktails-118

Frocktails-122

Frocktails-138

Frocktails-155

Frocktails-164


All in all it was a blooming marvellous night! Big thanks to Shelley and Lisa for organising it - so much fun was had, and it was brilliant to catch up with all the talented sewing people in their amazing outfits. Can't wait for next year!

Project Details:
Pattern - Self drafted vintage style strapless dress
Fabric - Silk faille from The Cloth Shop, lace tulle piece from MaryNotMartha on Etsy
Notions - Boning, invisible zipper

Photography - Samara Clifford Photography





Monday, October 08, 2018

Vintage Butterick 5033


Wine Dress #7


Have you ever had that feeling where you walk into a fabric store, and suddenly you are stopped in your very tracks by the most perfect fabric ever? You find yourself becoming uncharacteristically shifty, furtively looking around to make sure that no other customer has seen what you see, then you scurry over to the counter (trying, the whole while, to keep your little moans of joy quiet) and ask for an insane amount of meterage, because you must have all this fabric and you must have it now!

It's only afterwards that you realise that you never ever even looked at the price tag. Whoops!

Thankfully this gorgeous fabric from The Fabric Store didn't break the bank, but the cherry on this sewing sundae was finding the perfect colour match lining fabric to go with it! The fabric gods were certainly smiling on me that day.

I think, however, that they may have started frowning - first a little, then a lot - as this dress sat half made on my sewing mannequin for the next 5 months. I have no idea why it took me so long to finish it. Originally I wanted the skirt to hang for 48 hours to sort out any droop, and before you know it was September. Bad me!

However, 'tis finished now, and none the worse for an extra long hanging period. I just love this dress so much - I love the lace, I love the coy little peep hole on the bodice, and I love the pleated super full skirt. The skirt is actually so full and heavy by itself that wearing a petticoat underneath took it to an insane level of fulldom. I doubt there are many door on earth that could accommodate that skirt with petticoat fullness added, so I'm wearing it without.


Wine Dress #6

This dress wasn't too hard to make at all - obviously, having to interline each part made it twice the work it needed to be, but the right lace required that sort of commitment! I did have one rather dreadful mishap whilst making the bodice. I had just finished the peephole and was determinedly ironing it as flat as possible when I realised that the heat of the iron had actually melted some of the fine lattice work connecting the lace motifs. Keeping my cool was a MAJOR challenge, but since I had only just finished handsewing my daughter's ice skating costume I was a dab hand with ye olde hand stitching, so I cut out a wee scrap of lace fabric, inserted it into the scorch hole, then very carefully (and pretty much invisibly, I'm proud to add!) sewed it in. Voila! Magic mending!

Would I made this again? Possible, but not in lace. I think it would smashing in a light cotton for daytime wear. Not that there is anything stopping me from wearing this during the day, but it seriously does weigh a ton, and might be a bit much for day wear, even for me! Anyway, despite taking me forever to finish, I am very happy with it now it is done. Onto the next vintage adventure!


Wine Dress #8

Project Details:
Pattern - Butterick 5033, view A
Fabric - 4 metres of burgundy lace fabric, and 4 metres of cotton lining from The Fabric Store
Notions - Interfacing, 55cm invisible zipper


Wine Dress #11




Monday, April 23, 2018

Vintage McCalls 7920

I took my daughter to the doctor recently, in order to have a pesky wart on her knee burnt (stay with me - it does have relevance to all things sewing, I promise!). Yet lo and behold, a few weeks later the wart that had turned black and supposedly fallen off was back, looking just as good, if maybe a smidge smaller, than before.

So back to the doctor we went. I love my doctor. She is smart, sassy and never makes you feel like a dumbo when you ask her millions of questions. She took once look at the Lazarus wart, then ran off to get the liquid nitrogen. Just as she was about to attack the wart, she declared in her usual no-nonsense manner "I will NOT be defeated by a wart!"

I have the same sentiments about this pattern. McCalls 7920, ye shall not defeat the mighty Jorth!

McCalls7920




The version of this dress that you see in the pictures is actually attempt number 2. Attempt number 1 was what I believe the experts call a seriously massive unqualified disaster. I know what you are thinking - jeez, Jorth, it doesn't look so hard! That's what I thought, my friends, but then...

1 - My fabric (a gorgeous green silk/cotton blend) decided stretching and sagging was its new jam, and boy oh boy did it stretch and sag with panache. If I hadn't have been so upset, I might have admired it's stretching verve.

2 - I could NOT get the triangular section in the bodice to line up perfectly, no matter how many attempts I made. In the end it sat about 1mm out - enough to annoy me by drawing my eye to it every time I glance at the bodice, but probably not enough for anybody else to notice. I might have attempted one more go at getting it right, but I'd unpicked the fabric so many times by that stage that my seam allowance was not so much fabric as a cute fraying fringe.

3 - The zip insertion, due to the above mentioned stretching of the fabric, was a hot mess, if your version of hot messes come in (a) green and (b) are made of silk.

So in the end I gave it all up as a bad, bad job and consigned the whole darn thing to the bin. Back I went to my trusty cotton, and this time it came up a dream. Except...

ROOKIE MISTAKE! The fabric I choose for version 2 was a light and soft Cotton + Steel cotton which I fell in love with the minute I saw it, but alas! The dark colour of the fabric means that you can't see the design features of the bodice very well. The gathering on the bust is visible, but the long side darts and the triangular bodice piece seams may as well be invisible. Waaaaah!

However, having now moaned and groaned, I do quite like this dress. It didn't turn out the way I was hoping, but it's still pretty cute. I just need to find the perfect fabric that will not only behave itself but will also show off the bodice detailing and I can call myself the Master Of McCalls 7920. In the meantime, I do have a cute new dress to add to the summer wardrobe, and I have learnt a few valuable sewing lessons in the meantime.

McCalls 7920 #1

McCalls 7920 #3

McCalls 7920 #5

McCalls 7920 #6


PS More thoughts on future versions of this dress: I think I'll actually connect the straps to the bodice back, as I'm not really a big fan of halter necks. Also, that skirt can definitely afford to be shortened by a few inches, although the length it currently sits is rather elegant.

Project Details:
Pattern - McCalls 7920
Fabric - 3m Cotton + Steel cotton lawn from GJ's Discount Fabrics
Notions - 35m invisible zipper

McCalls 7920 #2

Monday, March 19, 2018

Monthly Menu Plan - March/April



Jamie Magazine


I was rather saddened to find out that Jamie Oliver was closing his food magazine, Jamie. It was, in my opinion, one of the best food titles out there and I for one will sorely miss it. After all, this is the man who, via the medium of his written recipes, taught me how to cook. His roast chicken recipe, plus his method of making bread for pizza, have helped shape the cook I am today, and trust me - you'll always have a friend at your table if you've got those two recipes under your belt!

So in honor of Mr Oliver and his comittment to food, this month is mostly based around his recipes. Enjoy!

Week One:
Monday - Early autumn minestrone
Tuesday - Lentil spaghetti bologanise
Wednesday - Brilliant veggie burgers
Thursday - Out
Friday - Out
Saturday - Courgette and cheese borek
Sunday - Beetroot falafels with carrot salad

Week Two:
Monday - Harissa roasted cauliflower and potato bake with left-over carrot salad
Tuesday - Roasted cauliflower and coconut soup, with salad rolls
Wednesday - Beetroot and feta tart with rocket and radicchio salad
Thursday - Knitting night! Menu yet to be decided
Friday - Out
Saturday - Out
Sunday - Out

Week Three:
Monday - Out
Tuesday - Savory pancakes with paneer and spinach
Wednesday - Smoky veggie chilli
Thursday - Silverbeet soup with tomato, corn and cheese muffins
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - Roasted vegetable lasagne
Sunday - Spicy salami, ricotta and olive calzone with salad

Week Four:
Monday - Sweet potato, coconut and cardamon soup with poppadoms
Tuesday - Roast vegetable pasties with salad
Wednesday - Pumpkin and pasta bake with rocket salad
Thursday - Vegan shepherd's pie
Friday - Mexican omelette wraps with side salad


Monday, March 05, 2018

Monthly menu plan - Feb/March


Carrots #1


It's been a while since I've posted my menu plan up here on ye olde blog. I'm still doing them religiously at home, but for reasons completely unfathomable I have not taken the next step of putting them up online. So apologies to the menu plan fans - hopefully this one makes amends somewhat!

Week One:
Monday - Silverbeet tart with currants and almonds, with salad
Tuesday - Spaghetti bolognaise
Wednesday - Vegetarian samosas with salad
Thursday - Spinach and lentil soup with garlic bread
Friday - Black bean tacos with roasted veg and all the trimmings
Saturday - Bangers and mash
Sunday - Tomato, capsicum and olive pasta with green salad

Week Two:
Monday - Butter chicken
Tuesday - Spaghetti and meatballs
Wednesday - Roasted vegetable, feta, pomegranate and quinoa salad with rocket
Thursday - Dinner at a friends
Friday - Tofu burgers
Saturday - Roast chicken
Sunday - Supergreens pasta primavera

Week Three:
Monday - Vegetable and feta tarts with onion marmalade and rocket salad
Tuesday - Lentil bolognaise
Wednesday - Cauliflower falafels
Thursday - Dinner out
Friday - Homemade pizza
Saturday - Baked potatoes with left over lentil bolognaise, and all the trimmings
Sunday - Spinach and ricotta cannelloni with garden salad

Week Four:
Monday - Vegetarian fried rice
Tuesday - Minestrone with spinach and ricotta ravioli
Wednesday - Pea, dill and rice soup with asparagus
Thursday - Feta, walnut and spinach pasties with green salad
Friday - Sweet potato and black bean burgers


Monday, February 19, 2018

Butterick 4792 (plus my Year of Vintage Sewing)

Now, it may look to the untrained eye that I am standing in some random Melbourne laneway, looking awfully dressed up with nowhere to go, but nothing, my friends, could be further from the truth. For I have embarked upon a Year of Vintage Sewing - anything I make for myself needs to be from a vintage pattern (original, reproduced or reissued, just as long as the original design is at least 30 years old), and this is my very first vintage make of the season. Sewing pals, the below pictures you see are me totally fulfilling my FASHION DESTINY!!!

Blue Halter #3


Sorry about the caps - I'm just pretty darn excited about this year long experiment, and sometimes it comes bursting out! I've always been a sucker for vintage glamour. Personally, I blame the 'Midday Movie' - when I was but a wee lass growing up in the country, we only had two channels on the television. I know - poverty, right?!? Anyway, one of these stations always showed a movie at 12 noon, and I presume they chose really old movies from the 1930s through to the 1950s because the showing rights were as cheap as chips. I don't recall many of the film titles or names, but I do recall that whenever a lady strolled onto the scene she usually looked incredibly glamorous (unless she was the housekeeper. That poor dear usually just got saddled with an apron), and from there, methinks, the love of vintage glamour was planted within me.

Fast forward to my present day. I don't own a television (and haven't for 19 years now!), so I have no idea if the Midday Movie is still a thing, but what I do own is an awfully impressive pile of vintage patterns, so this is my year to celebrate them!

Blue Halter #5


First cab off the rank is Butterick 4792. Normally I'm not one for halters, but halters from the 1950s have a glamour all of their own, so resistance was futile. I opted out of making the matching bolero, because it's one thing to wear a vintage silk dress in a laneway, but even I know that wearing a matchy matchy bolero is just taking things too far.


I didn't make any major modifications to this pattern, but I did omit making the petticoat layer, which was actually sewn to the skirt. The silk fabric I was using is stunning, but unforgivable - there are no hiding your indulgences with this sort of material, and I didn't want any bulky seams showing through. Plus one day in my vintage-coloured future I hope to be the proud owner of an actual skirt petticoat, so I figured that if I wanted volume in the skirt I would wear it with that. Personally, I quite like the flow the skirt has without the petticoat. The silk falls like molten metal. Ah, be still my beating heart!

Blue Halter #6

I had a wee bit of hassle with the hem. I usually do a double hem, but when I tried it on this fabric it did not want to play ball. The hem was curved, and doing the double hem resulted in a very lumpy hem indeed. With a sigh I got out my old pal the quick-un-pick, and unstitched what felt like miles and miles of heming. I then repressed and did a simple narrow hem instead, which falls beautifully, so it was worth taking the extra time to get it right.

The pattern came with instructions for a belt, but I decided to up the glamour and pair it with a glittery bejewelled belt from Forever New. I love it! Normally I don't go for that much bling, but this dress, being the brightest electric blue you ever did see, was more than capable of handling hundreds of glittering faux diamonds.

Blue Halter #7

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to trot off to the hairdressers to have my hair washed and set, then I might pop into town to find the perfect pair of gloves to go with this frock. Ha! I know the 1950s were not a blissful time of Rockwellesque prosperity for one and all, but in my opinion they sure got the fashion right!

Project Details
Pattern - Butterick 4792 (vintage pattern reproduction), size 8
Fabric - Silk/lycra blend from The Fabric Store
Notions - 35cm invisible zipper

Blue Halter #4


Monday, February 12, 2018

Yellow Lace Dress

I'm a bad 'un, and I'll never ever be any good. I've had this dress made for months now, and have only just got around to getting pics done!

YellowLace8

And when I say months, I mean it was actually a possible Frocktails contender - and that was way back in November - yikes! Still, better late than never, so feast your eyes, sewing peeps - just make sure you put some sunnies on first, cos this bad boy is BRIGHT!

YellowLace3


I made this dress using my trusty Vogue 8184 pattern. Figuring out how best to incorporate the lace, I decided to layer the lace pieces straight onto the bodice pieces, sewing them together using a 5mm seam allowance. For the skirt, I kept the lace pieces and skirt pieces separate, only sewing them together at the back seam, as I figured it would make inserting the zip much easier that way. I wanted the lace skirt to hang free from the base fabric skirt, so I sewed the base fabric in the usual way, but did French seams for the lace seams. It worked a treat - I'd never sewn a French seam before, and was belabouring under the illusion that it was a super tricky couture technique, but it was surprisingly easy, and rather satisfying to do.

Instead of the usual straps, I decided to create lace straps by using the scalloped edge of the lace fabric, for it was far too pretty to go to waste. I inserted one edge into the top of the bodice, then criss-crossed them over the from of the decolletage, before straightening up past the shoulders to the back bodice. If I do say so myself, it looks rather spiffy, and gives the dress an extra-glam edge! I also shortened my front bodice by 1.5cm to ensure more room for the lace cross over.

YellowLace4

Hmm, what other alterations did I make? That's right - I also cut my lace skirt pieces about 5cm longer, as I wanted a see-through lace edging to the skirt. I left it the skirt edge raw, as the corded lace would have resulted in a lumpy thick hem, which would have ruined the whole look of the skirt. No lumpy hems around her, thank you very much!

To be perfectly honest, it's not exactly an 'everyday' dress, but I've always wanted to sew myself a fancy lace dress, so even if it never gets a lot of wear, just having it the wardrobe, ready for glam duty, is enough to make me happy. I really needn't worry about it not getting worn, though - Tyger has told me that she intends to grow into it, and fast, so that she can wear it to all her high school parties. Good grief - I've created a mini vintage-loving fashionista!

YellowLace6


Project Details
Pattern - Vogue 8184
Fabric - Yellow lace and yellow cotton, 2m of each, both from The Fabric Store
Notions - 35cm invisible zip