Monday, 16 May 2011

Summer blouse project - Completed!

I finally managed to finish something I started sewing for myself! Hurrahs... usually I end up cutting things out then leaving them for months while my attention is taken up with working on things for other people.

I posted previously about my Summer blouse plans here and here, and finally it's done!

Here are the buttons I used, vintage bakelite I got to replace the original ones which were sadly damaged in the post.

I used the bodice pattern from this vintage playsuit from newvintagelady's shop on etsy.

I had to make a few adjustments - I converted the pleats at the waist to darts, extended the bodice down from the waistline to make the blouse shape, and narrowed the shoulders by a couple of inches as the pattern turned out to be too broad for my frame. I also got rid of the notched collar and made it a smooth winged collar instead, as I think this is a more classically 1950s look.

I'm really glad I made a mock-up of this shirt from linen beforehand, it allowed me to make a lot of necessary tweaks to the fitting. (Note to self: take the picture of the garment before you've had it tucked into your jeans and made it all wrinkly.)


Saturday, 14 May 2011


I've recently been lucky enough to win two blog giveaways! The first was from Tasha at By gum, by golly! and was sponsored by BombshellShocked on etsy.

Vintage sewing and knitting books, plus a cute Barbie card from Tasha! These will prove really helpful with construction when I'm working with vintage sewing patterns, and I hope to learn to knit at some point. In the meantime, Mum, get your needles at the ready! Hehe!

The next giveaway was from the lovely LandGirl1980's film and literary blog, LandGirl's Library.

Fabulous wartime-themed goodies! I can't wait to get viewing and reading these.

Thank you so much to both ladies, I really appreciate the prizes and feel so lucky to have won two giveaways!

Plus... my fabrics have arrived from the USA! Thanks to some creative customs labelling I also managed to dodge any exorbitant charges, so keep a eye out for my dressmaking adventures over the next few weeks!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

New hair - part 2.

Here is the short hair as curled by me, not the hairdresser. I really didn't like that he rolled it upwards at the sides, it looked all feathery and 80s. Here I rolled it under but basically followed his pattern otherwise, and I'm a lot happier with it.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Shoemaking - carved tiki shoes revamp!

A couple of months ago I bought some cheap vintage carved shoes on etsy. I don't think they're 1950s, maybe 70s? Anyway, despite being deadstock the leatherette uppers weren't in the best condition, they looked like they'd been stored somewhere damp. Then, to top it off, they were so tight I couldn't even get my feet in! So I decided to revamp them... here's what I did!

First I removed the uppers using pliers, and put the decorative tacks aside. I made a new paper pattern for the uppers, measuring against my foot as I went.

I cut out new uppers from tropical barkcloth, adding a quarter inch seam allowance. I also cut linings from red fake leather, with no seam allowance.

Next I used these Miss L Fire shoes to make an ankle strap pattern from paper, but as I knew the ends would not be sewn in I made them rounded, and big enough to acommodate a metal eyelet.

I used fabric adhesive to stick the seam allowances in on the uppers and ankle straps, then stitched together the barkcloth outer pieces and fake leather linings.

Next I used small nails to attach the uppers to the wooden soles, and added the decorative tacks to cover the small nail heads and make the uppers more secure.

The wooden soles already had holes drilled through them, so I used nylon cord to thread the ankle straps onto them, after hammering metal eyelets into the strap ends. I knotted the cord and melted it a little.

Next I threaded small buckles onto flat elastic, and firmly machine stitched them in place between the ankle strap outer and lining.

Holes were punched in the straps using a large needle...

...ta daaaa! Finished!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Fabric Love

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of two lots of fabric, from which I plan to make fabulous dresses! First, this fabric by Michael Miller, 'Kitschy Cocktails'. I plan to make a circle dress and matching bolero, and probably some cocktails too from the recipes that are printed on it! (Click it so you don't have to squint, dear).

Next, this gorgeous print - it's by Alexander Henry and comes in turquoise, black or white - I'm not sure of the name as I have seen it labelled with at least four different ones. With this I plan to make a Hawaiian dress with a waterfall skirt.

I'm obsessed with making these dresses better than anything I've done before, and plan to employ boning and to teach myself how to make a winged bust! Maybe shirring, too... ambitious. This droolworthy dress is from the emporium of unattainable dress perfection that is WhirlingTurban.

Whilst rooting in the bargain bins at my local fabric shop I came across this, I'd had my eye on it on etsy so I snapped it up! 'Puppies and Kittens/Ruthe's Party' from Michael Miller - the fabric is divided into panels which I suppose are meant to be used for quiltmaking, it's ridiculously twee. I'm rather worried for the mouse on top of the jelly, I do hope he's made from icing and not some poor little cartoon soul about to be devoured by slavering kittens.

Look at this cute child's skirt made from it, by Polkadotjes on Flickr. How I wish it would fit me. I was thinking of adding panels of the fabric as a border round the bottom of a black or red circle skirt, what do we think? Or maybe kitsch pillows, I have six full panels and two which are usable but mummy cat has been cut off. (WHY cut through the picture when there are cutting lines marked on the fabric? I know it was a scrap from the bargain bin but it's annoying me!)

I love this fabric so much I have taken it to bed with me. It reminds me of the last supper, but y'know, with less of an air of solemn biblical foreboding (except maybe for the poor mouse).

Friday, 6 May 2011

New hair and vintage specs!

I finally got my hair cut! I've been wearing it covered up under a scarf for months, as one side was shoulder length and the other side was slowly growing out from where I shaved it, so once it reached about three inches I decided to go for the chop for Summer. Here it is! It's so short, I'm really not used to it.

I also found out a while back I need glasses for reading and computer work. The 1950s frames are from a US etsy seller, and I had them reglazed at who were the cheapest I found for lenses which included the anti-reflection coating I needed.

This is the picture I took to the hairdresser, the lovely Claudette Colbert, I had admired her hair ever since I saw 'Let's Make it Legal'.

I think what I came out with is actually quite a bit shorter on top, something more like this but even shorter:

Also, as a rule I never roll upwards at the sides when setting my hair, but the hairdresser did. I'm worried it looks a bit too Pat Benatar!

I've not needed to do anything with it yet, but I'll have a go at a different curling pattern tomorrow.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Rhubarb, rhubarb.

Last week we were taking care of Paul's mum's allotment while she was away, and we took some rhubarb home for pies! Here he is pretending to be hunter-gatherer man.

I was feeling rather unwell and decided it was best to camouflage myself and hide behind my sunglasses. Then I did a fan dance with some massive rhubarb leaves.

I forgot to photograph the pie, but we have another in the freezer.

Monday, 2 May 2011


It may appear I have dropped off the face of the Earth... well, I haven't, I've been furiously hatting, doing stalls, having bank holiday seaside adventures, and experimenting with vegan ice cream making. I've got loads of things to blog about but for some reason I feel exhausted, even after three days of doing absolutely nothing. Normal service will be resumed shortly!

Zzz... sleepy baby African hedgehogs... one day, I will have one of these as a pet. We saw one in a pet shop today priced at £220! He's been there ages, I feel quite sorry for him. My dad tells me he can adopt one for about £70 from a reputable home breeder via his exotic pet club, which sounds a lot better to me as you know the parents and babies are well loved and cared for.