Photos: By Bruce
Flower crown: Lily and Lace
Mourning bracelets (vintage): JeanJean Vintage
Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the Lost Ones Gallery in Ballarat to see the exhibition Inscapes by Rosie Perl. I’ve been watching her create these pieces over several months here and am in awe of her talent, creativeness and patience.
I also had the luxury of taking photos of my summer Ute Dress designed by Schnittchen in Germany. I’m going to leave you with the images today of both Rosie’s art and my dress. I’m planning on collating a step by step instruction brief for Ute. The dress is immaculately drafted, but the instructions (which are stated as being for advanced seamstresses) were brief and I had a couple little head scratching moments. Just quickly though, in terms of fit I cut a straight size 40 with no alterations. The fit is perfect for me. I am impatient to make the second in a denim coloured Merchant and Mills linen. So much to sew, so little time….
Credits: Photo’s by Bruce. Photo’s taken at The Lost Ones Gallery in Ballarat featuring Inscapes by Rosie Perl. Dress Pattern is Ute by Schnittchen. Fabric is Ox Blood linen by Merchant and Mills purchased from Stitch 56. Vintage mourning necklace and antique cuff bracelet from Jean Jean Vintage on Etsy. Vintage cardi purchased from Vintagecaf on Etsy. Camper shoes purchased circa 2009. Old ballet tights.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting Lily Pond Warehouse. A treasure trove of French antiques that are collected and curated by the talented Mrs Kim and Mr Kim who are the owners of the intimate Lily Pond store. They kindly allowed me to take photos of my new Centauree dress from Deer and Doe patterns and play with their collection of antiques.
How breathtaking are those photos? Obviously the surroundings, not my quirky little face.
So where am I at with sewing at the moment? It’s been rather limited due to 3 family members with consecutive influenza, then gastro and lastly a small stay in hospital for me. 12 very long weeks. The longing has returned however and I’m starting to consider my next makes (even making a list that is prioritised!) and spend some QT with my machines. I’m resisting the urge to go with familiar favourites and trying to move onto creating clothes from new patterns. My current wardrobe is full of Anna’s, Brumby’s, Elisalex’s, Emery’s and Gabriola’s and whilst I haven’t run out of space yet I do need to acquire some more hangers. I have made many a recent pattern purchase, the fruits of which are languishing in the newly acquired filing system (black boxes in no particular order (‘_’) ) or sitting in a random file on my computer. So I’m starting afresh and listing, auditing fabric and trying to sew with purpose. “weeps, laughs, disbelieves”.
First out of the box was the Centauree from Deer and Doe. My love of Liberty, Linen and Lace continues and I had in mind a scarlet summer dress. For reasons unknown I’m bypassing the toile stage. Not entirely sure why the maverick attitude this month, but I cut out the Ute dress 4 weeks ago without even tracing! Luckily the fit on that is perfect and photos will follow. Warning: there may be side boob and I’m predicting this will be big during summer in the southern hemisphere.
I cut a straight 40 which is the skirt size I have previously used for the Chardon and Brume skirt which were perfect straight out the envelope.
The Centauree has some interesting design lines on the front of the bodice that are expertly drafted and came together beautifully. The top stitching has all the seams sitting perfectly. I knew it was going to be a little loose as I was sewing it, but for this dress I wasn’t looking for a serious fit and flare, desiring something slightly more relaxed. When I make my next one from silk I will need to bring in the side seams about an inch on each side for that slinky fitted look.
I’m all about the distressed frayed look at the hem as well. Perhaps a reflection of the past few months. After a couple of washes it gives a lovely textured edge. It’s likely as close as I will get to being edgy. (Just realised that sounded jokey but it’s actually how I wrote it, so I’ll just leave it there and not draw any attention to it….) I did cut additional length on this version, and for the silk version I’m hoping to work an avocado dye into the fabric and cut it as a maxi.
I love bias binding and whilst I had a little moment trying to work out how to attach it, the Youtube tutorial had me organised in no time. I found after I’d attached the binding there was a join seam at the centre front that although no-one would ever notice, was stopping me from sleeping. So a cute little button now draws the attention away from a 1cm seam line no one else would ever notice. Am I a funny little creature? Do others have to solve problems in quirky manners? Buttons can fix many problems.
There was also the issue of having black thread were the button was sewn on so a little square of tartan covers that and another keeps the centre seams of the bodice neat and tidy. They also match the plaid pockets. Remaining red linen binding from the straps neatens the waist seam.
I think this is going to be a lovely dress for summer although the opaque black tights will continue to be worn with to protect my legs from the sun. I have a matching black parasol and the silk ribbon around my neck will complete the little red riding hood/gothic feel.
I haven’t seen many versions of this dress over on Instagram. I would highly recommend making it. A delight to sew.
Photos by Bruce. Location at Lily Pond Warehouse. Pattern Deer and Doe Centauree. Demon Scarlett Merchant and Mills Linen purchased from Stitch 56. Boots purchased from American Duchess. Flower Crown purchased from Gardens of Whimsy. Black pullover top and tights purchased from Wolford.
The number of times I’ve been told I was born in the wrong era… Countless. However the beautiful thing of living now is the that I can look back on all those wonderful periods (Victorian and 1920’s are my favourite) and recreate the designs whilst still having access to the modern necessities of life, say feminism, modern medicine, a fabulous array of fabrics and friends from across the world and an endless fountain of inspiration from the ether in which resides the internets. I’ve also started collecting vintage and antique lace and jewellery in the past year, things that I cannot find their equal of in todays fast consumerist society. I’m an old soul in a new world.
I found this vintage picture on the IG account of @shoppesimone and captured it on a screen shot knowing I needed to recreate the dress with black ribbons. The perfect linen fabric I stumbled across on another IG account, @scarletjonesmelbourne around a year later. They were practically giving away this gorgeous Italian linen which they had in storage ($20 per meter). I immediately purchased 5 meters, along with some navy and natural linen as well even though I was “technically” on a fabric purchasing hiatus.
The pattern is the modified bodice of Anna/Elisalex of ByHandLondon and the skirt an over exaggeration of the Emery by Christine Haynes with pockets. The first tier has additional fabric added to the width to create more fulness in the gathers and the second tier is attached to the lining.
The second tier is less full (I wasn’t using maths, I was guesstimating) and I’m actually quite pleased that it has less gathers than the first. It gives a different shape than I was expecting and overall makes the dress look a little less “poufy” whilst maintaining the original fit and flare design.
I lined the dress in a vintage cotton sheet that I picked up at a second hand store. The edge of the sheet had some beautiful blue embroidery which I will make feature of in a future petticoat/skirt that I have in mind.
The perfect black ribbon was purchased from Lily Pond and hand stitching it to the dress took longer than making the actual dress itself. I catch stitched by hand for a nice flat and even result. Not a speck of black thread to be seen on the inside.
I think there was about 12 meters of ribbon used and I stitched both the top and bottom by hand. Commitment to ones craft as always. I actually find hand stitching quite soothing. I love how this process cannot be rushed and accuracy is increased 10 fold when you have such fine control over the stitches.
I wore my new locket from JeanJean Vintage which I’d been stalking for months. It is black enamel with “In Memory of” inscribed on the front and contains a lock of hair that has been carefully braided and encased in the locket. I’ve no clue as to who it belonged to but I love that this was how women used to remember their loved ones who had died. Very Crimson Peak in it’s style, hopefully obtained under less violent circumstances.
And may we discuss the boots for a minute. Purchased from American Duchess, these beautiful boots laced with ribbon are the perfect fit for my often fickly tootsies. And how well do they compliment my dress! Comfort and historic style paired beautifully.
The photo’s were taken at the Winter Garden Cafe which had a beautiful exhibition of prints in their art gallery upstairs. It’s their 7th annual printmakers exhibition and runs from July 1 to July 31. If you are in the Geelong area I would recommend dropping in to view some of the amazing prints.
So, where do you get your inspiration for making? I have many screen shots on my phone, thousands of pinterest pins, and scraps from magazines that never seem to make it into the inspiration book…
Once a year I escape the chaos…
To sleep, stitch, eat, drink, rest.
To be taken care of by wonderful women who fill my soul to the brim.
To mingle with the unknown over breakfast and drink countless cups of tea.
And sip wine in bed after venturing out to the pictures deemed too arty for my local theatres.
And solitude. So rare and so soothing.
Then I return to the fold. Missed and missing all.
Until next time. Until next summer.
Photos by myself and Bruce. Dress made from Strawberry Thief Liberty Tana Lawn, a 40th Birthday present. Pattern, Flora skirt ByHandLondon attached to modified Anna/Elisalex bodice. Location at Brooklyn Arts Hotel, my home away from home. Vintage jewellery from JeanJean Vintage. Shoes by Camper.
Allow me to introduce you to the Sirena Dress. Designed by Itch to Stitch, this is Kennis’ latest design offering from her range of patterns designed under her Itch to Stitch label. Given this is a formal review of the pattern I may down play my text, but fear not there will be outtakes at the end.
I have previously made up the Marbella Dress, (also known as the English dress due to the gorgeous benefactor of fabric) so I was happy to offer my sewing services to pattern test the new Sirena Dress.
This dress is something of a classic, with a high round crew neck line, options for bell or cuffed sleeves, inseam pockets and a subtle A-Line skirt that for most falls at the knee but due to my height fell well above. Scandalous! There are also options and instructions to line or not line the dress.
As with the Marbella Dress, the bodice comes in a range of cup sizes from A to D which eliminates the need for SBA and FBA’s for many of the ladies. I cut a B cup size 6 and ended up grading out to an 8 at the hips. The PDF is also layered with sizes if your measurements fall into one size you can choose just that layer only and the one size will print. How wonderful for tracing! If you fall between two sizes as I did you can print just those sizes as well to allow for grading. Again, this is a fabulous option and I think should be part of all PDF patterns. There needs to be some compensation for sticking together 50 odd pages! (I accidentally taped all four options of cup sizes for the bodice, so really I’ve no one to blame but myself.)
My first toile needed a few adjustments as I cut a straight 6. I had to bring the fabric on the bodice in at the waist at both front and back darts and I also took 1cm off each side of the invisible zip. I may size down to a 4 of my next version an grade out to an 8 at the hips. The skirt is a very subtle A-line. As it is a fitted dress I would recommend making a toile to check the fit before cutting into precious fabric. I added 2.5cm to the length of the bodice as is my normal practice. Beautiful lengthen or shorten lines included on both the bodice and the skirt.
So what do I adore about this pattern? I love the high neck line. It’s perfect to add a little nana lace collar which is what will occur when I make my next black version. I will also add lace to the sleeves to give it a little victorian feel. I have ordered a black and gold memorial locket from etsy to complete the look. The bell sleeves are just adorable. I think they will be a little hard to wear under a normal cardi so shall invest in some long sleeve tops which has always been part of my winter layering look. The instructions were very clear and detailed, and I felt this pattern was a little more challenging than your basic indie pattern which I really enjoyed.
Kennis has advised that from the feedback from testers the front neck line has been dropped 1/2 an inch and just a few amendments to the instructions so nothing that would really change the look of how my dress turned out.
To see other versions of the dress visit itch-to-stitch.com. It was also great to see a large range of sizes tested for this pattern.
I really do love this dress, and I already have the fabric for my victorian gothling version. I may use a different skirt, most likely gathered and with lower pockets, and will definitely lengthen to below the knee.
The pattern for the Sirena dress can be found here
Some days a lady just wants to be wrapped in pajajays that feel like cotton and silk and cashmere combined. That they look pretty, feel comfortable and evoke snuggliness which allows one to wallow a little in fatigue and weariness in style. And brings a wee smile to my face.
These were a very quick make. I used a vintage brushed cotton purchased from A Piece of Cloth recently. So snuggly.
The bottom is based on the Margot Pyjama pants from Tilly and the Buttons. I sized up two sizes (the recent expansion of fleshiness on the derrière means the need for extra comfort and room is heightened). I also widened the leg to reflect a more 1920’s beach pyjama style. And I chose elastic for the waistband instead of the recommended ribbon. The only time that this notion is acceptable. And the only time I will say this.
The top is my cami pattern I have developed and made many over the summer. The lace is from a french bodice in the early 1900’s that had the main part of the camisole removed. That it has survived in such immaculate condition over 100 years is breathtaking. Lily Pond has a wonderful supply of antique laces from France. I have to limit my visits as otherwise I would buy ALL the lace.
The fatigue is showing in my face in these photos, but this is the reality of my life. And given I’ll be wearing these constantly, these were the best pics I was going to get.
Such comfort to sleep in.