Raggady Ann

I’ve never really been drawn to gingham or checks but recently I find myself seeking out fabrics that are more geometrical than floral in flavour as I subtly shift my wardrobe style. I’ve seen a number of red checked dresses recently and knew I had to have one. What I didn’t know was how much I needed a pair of pantaloons to wear underneath. I remember getting to wear them once at Sovereign Hill as part of a school set up in the style of the 1800’s and knew that I loved them then. Why then had I not thought to make them again until now?

For the pantaloons I used the Emerson Pants by True Bias. I measured between a 14 at the waist and a 16 at the hips and after some advice from IG I cut a straight 16 and put the elastic in for the 14. I probably could have shortened the elastic a little more but am delighted to discover that without any modifications there is no report of camel toe. The linen came from Potter and Co and the anglaise trim was a gift from my god mother. Overall the pantaloons came together really well and whilst it’s unlikely I’ll wear them with any top that sits above my derrière, they will be great for tunics and dresses.

The dress was inspired by one I saw in England and I had originally cut out the Ellis dress by Merchant and Mills with linen purchased from Potter and Co. I had it in the back of my mind that there were rumours on the internet that the sleeves were a little on the tight arm lunch box lady size but I thought my arms to be not overly sized so I would be ok. I was wrong. So terribly wrong. I got stuck (this seems to be a familiar theme at the moment) with my arms half in, my head through the opening and the bodice stuck just above my bewbs. With a rotator cuff injury and being at home along it was a rough event getting out. I got rather cross and threw the bodice in the bin, found I had just enough fabric left over to cut the Hattie bodice and used a short cap sleeve and bias tape from the French Dart Dress by Maven Patterns and pieced it all together which worked out fine. Had I not been so cross, I would have compared the bodices to see if there was any difference in size (there was not) and taken the original sleeve off and added the cap sleeve to the Ellis bodice. I’ll do this next time when I make it in a black check. I finished off the neckline with some white linen bias tape that ties at the back making it user friendly to get on and off.

So I am really happy with the overall look. Bruce says I look like Raggedy Ann. When we went for a walk he said he hadn’t seen that many people stare at me before. I had many people come up to me and tell me I looked wonderful. Surely they couldn’t all be lying. Maybe a 40ish year old dressed up as a 4 year old is a good thing. One of my closest friends also confirmed the Raggedy Ann theme but in the best possible way.

That’s one of the best things about sewing. Getting to express yourself in ways you may not otherwise be able to. Curtsey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo’s by Bruce. Location, Geelong Library. Fabric from Potter and Co. Pantaloons Emerson Pants by True Bias. Hattie Dress by Merchant and Mills. Cap sleeves from French Dart Dress by Maven Patterns. Mols shoes by Duck Feet

Tulip Dress – The Assembly Line

tulip3If you follow me on IG (here) you would have noticed that I recently went on a little holiday to Europe. 15 years in the making and it exceeded all expectations! 5 weeks of feasting, fashion and frivolity.Tulip7

I was lucky enough to stay with one of my dearest friends in Berlin, travel to Paris for 4 days, head over to England for 5 days to hang out with one of my best sewing buddies and then back to soak up Berlin for another two weeks.Tulip8

Whilst I got up to some spending at Liberty of London, my choices for fabric purchasing in Berlin and Paris were rather restricted (and thus subsequently restrained).Tulip4

How lucky am I then to be able to recreate a little bit of Paris with this dress in my home town of Geelong? The fabulous Lilypond is a firm favourite in this small town of mine, specialising in all things French including vintage haberdashery, special homewares and the odd religious icon.Tulip2

On one of her more recent trips to France, Mrs Kim bought back this delicious vintage rayon which I suspect was made in the 1950’s. I’ve missed sewing with vintage fabrics so was quite taken with the print and hand of this fabric. tulip9

The modern aesthetic of the Assembly Line Tulip Dress pattern has been calling me with its clean lines for structured fabrics. But I’ve discovered it also lends itself to a more drapey fabric with a vintage feel. tulipdress_sketch

The bust darts coming down from the neck line sit really well, with the bodice being a looser fit than I usually wear. I sewed a size M noting that the dress would have some ease, and ended up taking out about two inches from the centre back seam to get a slightly closer fit. The skirt is a beautiful tulip shape which lends itself to both structured and drapey fabrics, I think. I lined the bodice in silk satin and hand picked the zip so it feels like a dream to wear. Tulip10

In keeping with the French theme, Bruce captured these images at Lilypond this afternoon amongst the festive decorations and homewares. I think it’s made me look forward to Christmas this year. Tulip11

Curtsey

IMG_0705

Photo cred: Bruce. Location: Lilypond. Vintage fabric from Lilypond. Tulip Dress pattern from The Assembly Line. Flower crown from Net-a-Porter. Boots from American Duchess. Tights by Wolford.

The Assembly Line – Cuff Top and Apron Dress

This has to be the most joyful sew I’ve had in some time. The Cuff Top and Apron Dress from are patterns created by  The Assembly Line which is based in Sweden. Their range of patterns clean and simple with well thought out design lines that really elevate each piece. dress 8

I stumble across the company when Sal from @sewingunlimited posted a pic on IG with her Cuff Top and I fell in love. I purchased without looking at the currency conversion as I knew I that I would take a hit with postage and am so glad I did. Obviously to make the most of it 2 items were needed (always being savy with my spending : ) )and I’ve always loved the appeal of an apron dress. dress1

In making, the Cuff Top is noted as easy beginner and I would agree with that. I added some shaping at the waist (from my much loved Sewaholic Granville shirt).The top stitching is most satisfying, especially when you have the edge stitching foot for your machine.  It also involves the clever use of elastic to get that wonderful cuff shape which involved a little bit of wrestling with the machine as mine was not very stretchy elastic. There were moments though when it was woman vs machine and the needle was at breaking point. Woman triumph in the end #thefutureisfemale.

The fabric I used for the top was purchased from The Drapery has a reasonable amount of structure which allows those cuffs to shine. And that colour! It really struck me when reviewing the photos how it acts as a chameleon and blends in with the green surroundings. One of the aspects that drew me to these patterns were the solid darker colour palates of the samples in mostly black, green and navy. Quite the step away from my usual floral confections. Dress 3

The Apron Dress was noted as beginner and I’d say probably advanced beginner although the instructions were excellent, particularly as they would have been translated into English. I’m a very visual person, so I found the diagrams along with the notes really supportive and it came together beautifully. I made mine in Lithuanian linen, again purchased from The Drapery, and I was a little worried there may have been too much drape but I think it is well suited to the pattern.dress 2

The detail is wonderful, both the design lines on the side seams, those pockets which seem to go on for days, and the clever pleat at the back that really gives the waist good definition. There is also lots of top stitching which is subtle but ever so satisfying.dress 6

The only adjustment I made to the dress was too increase the size of the pleat at the back by moving the the buttons and button holes to pull it in at the waist a little more as that is my preference, harking back to the old fit and flare days. dress 9

My only sewing note with the dress would be to finish the front end of the straps before turning through to the right side as I didn’t see on the instructions how to finish them once they are sewn down to the front bodice. I ended up turning them up/inside 1 cm and then stitching down, but it could have been neater. dress 7

This just may become my winter uniform. I was going to place it aside for my trip to Europe, but as that is only a couple of months away (so excited/nervous) I think I’ll pop it in rotation now. The top will lend itself to layering as well so should keep me toasty warm in the frost that is now making itself known in the mornings. I have to mention as well that the comfort factor is high whilst maintaining a whimsical feeling stylishness. A huge achievement for me. dress 10

For sizing, each pattern comes in single size only and is only available in print.  Based on my measurements I went with the M which was a European 40-42. The dress was a little on the large size but as it was so well designed I was able to easily adjust the button placement. I would say that their sizing is more on the generous size if you are in doubt. cufftop_sketch

For those that are local in Australia, Leslie announced that Fibresmith will be stocking the The Assembly Line patterns shortly and I know that Drapers Daughter in England also has a full compliment. Otherwise you can purchase the patterns directly from their website, The Assembly Line.aprondress_sketch

I can’t recommend these patterns enough. Next up on my list is the Tulip Dress and the Three Pleat skirt. I’ve also seen on their website that they sell fabric specifically matched for their patterns as well. If post wasn’t so prohibitive I would likely go down that path. Maybe I might do that when in Berlin…

Sometimes it pays to be adventurous, try new things, and be overwhelmingly surprised at how well it all comes together. Happy Sewing Days.

IMG_0705

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I purchased all patterns and fabric and all opinions are my own and not paid. I’m just happy to share the sewing love I found.

Sew Melbourne Garden Party 2018

IMG_0588The second annual Sew Melbourne garden party was held recently at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens on a day that complimented the frocks and frivolities. The sun shone, the weather was quite temperate and the music most fitting.

For the first time in what feels like forever, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to create to wear. In fact, the idea (thank you Pinterest, unable to acknowledge photo further due to lack of links) had been sitting with me for some time. I even had the perfect linen purchased from The Drapery in my stash. My first thought was do I embroider or screen print.  Screen printing clearly won as the event date crept closer and I was yet to cut the fabric. Given that it took two years from Pinning the dress and 2 weeks to design and construct I think we call all see why this is a hobby and not a commercial enterprise. IMG_0702

I’m not known for my arty skills but when I’m inspired by an image I can usually come up with an interpretation that sits well with me. The dress pattern was the Kim dress bodice by ByHandLondon and their Flora skirt. The screen print patterns were ones I had already created for previous projects, including a fern leave, orchid and a wonderful branch of leaves of a neighbouring tree. I just needed to replicate the red flowers which were essentially well placed skewed elliptical shapes. I was happy with the colours I mixed, but never ask me to replicate them. Except the bronze. The bronze came out of the jar as is. I can replicate the bronze.IMG_0427

I took the extra step of tracing the stencils and colouring them in as I was bored one morning and couldn’t find anything to entertain me that didn’t involve house work. Plus I was waiting for someone to fix my beast of an oven who was having conniptions (all sorted now without having to add a 900mm stainless steel cooking monster to landfill. Phew!). This made pattern placement and perspective incredibly easy and a method I will definitely employ again. IMG_0428

So very happy with the way the dress came together, and although going up a size in the bodice there really wasn’t too much room for cake to be had. (what genetic freak of nature grows bewbs at 42???) Speaking of which though, you must peruse this Gin and Tonic cake recipe that was shared on the day. So. Much. Delicious.BA

The afternoon was lovely. Being with one’s tribe is all sorts of wonderful. In addition to the sewing tribe there was a subsection of curly girl seamstresses as well. #splintergroupscanbeawesome.IMG_0608

I didn’t get too many photo’s on the day that had me looking other than a turtle trying to get its neck back into its shell so we took some more pic’s at the Geelong Botanical Gardens over Easter. garden3

gp parasol

 

garden2

garden9

IMG_0705

Sunday Best

Hello lovely friends!

It’s been another month of disquiet with an episode of insomnia, but now that has been resolved, I’m feeling much more at peace and a little  more at one with myself. Hence the writing of this post may be a little droll as I recover from sleep deprivation and over medication…. At least I’m napping for more than a few hours each evening. E1E5

So. Lets discuss this dress. E8

I recently went away for the Queens birthday long weekend with a gorgeous posse of women to sew, sing, eat and have whimsical conversations. Sadly the insomnia raged over this weekend away as well, but there is nothing like getting up at 4 am to watch the full moon, practice yoga and then witness the sunrise at 6.58 on a cold winters morning. This was my last make for the weekend and finished 30 minutes before it was time for the weekend to draw to a close. E16

I’ve been treasuring this Outback Wife barkcloth designed by Cathi from @gerturdemakes and purchased from The Drapery for some time. E7

Based on Cathi’s experience of beautiful sewing with true vintage barkcloth fabric (which I always envied) she created the design for her fabric range inspired through her lived experience in the outback and her passion as a seamstress. After first glance I knew it would be welcomed into my wardrobe.E15

There are several colour ways with some additional ones coming out in the next week or so. I have an inkling that this same fabric is coming out in a pink/mauve and will be available through The Drapery. I’ve 3 meters on hold for when it arrives and I’m thinking another Elisalex dress perhaps sans sleeves this time. The bark cloth has beautiful body and drape that lends itself for a perfect twirling dress.E9

If only I could go back to that bush dance in grade 5 and be allowed to be the girl dancer (height always being an issue I always had to be the boy….. sigh) I’d be the happiest 11 year old. Any suggestions for other dress patterns are most welcome.

E11

Because we all like to knit by the river…..

I used the Elisalex bodice and sleeve (the old one not the new) but after wearing it I felt as though the sleeves were pulling the fabric tighter across my chest so I may have to get in touch with the BHL women to have a copy of the updated PDF versions sent out.E4The skirt is from the Flora dress, also BHL, and is cut on the bias with an extra 20cm added to the length. I just managed to pattern tetris the whole dress out of the one 3 meter piece, with the added bonus of Liberty pockets.E2I also hemmed the significantly epic hemline with a blue/white polka dot bias binding that peaks and hides the inside hemline. I didn’t have the heart or concentration to do this by hand which I normally would. It provides a whimsical contrast to the floral design of the fabric.E10 Bruce took the photo’s down by the Barwon river which was swarming with early exercising people and bugs.There were some sideways glances as everyone passed us in their morning active wear with me in my Sunday best. I hope they appreciated the effort I took in my dress for my stroll! I did receive a rather darling look from a little girl and my boys said I looked swish.

design (4)Photos by Bruce at Barwon River. Fabric is Outback Wife designed by Cathi at Gertrude Made who can also be found on IG at @gerturdemade. Fabric purchased from The Drapery. Bodice pattern is from the Elisalex dress and skirt from the Flora dress from By Hand London. Head scarf is Liberty with a baby hem. Shoes by Camper. Bracket by JeanJean Vintage at Etsy.

E17

Accidental amazing pattern matching on the shoulders!

I thought I’d also add a little Taking Stock (developed by Pip Lincoln) to share some of the things I do when I’m not attached to Tilly, my sewing machine.

TAKING STOCK:

Drinking: pomegranate tea.

Wearing: my new Liberty shirt I made at Sewaway that has LIBERTY BUTTONS!

Eating: slow roasted pork. No more hospital food for me.

Reading: War and Peace on Audio Books. I’m almost half way through.

Making: finishing a scarf with a fan wave pattern that kept me sane in hospital.

Planning: to finish my Vogue coat before we head off on vacation.

Grateful: for good health care. And specialists who get me.

Looking forward to: sleeping (hopefully) in my own bed tonight.

Loving: my new hellebores plant I bought myself for hospital. Her name is Herbet.

Watching: My Cousin Rachel. Highly recommend. Wonderful film.

Considering: if it’s time to get my passport in preparation for  my trip to Berlin and the UK next year.

Doing: Yoga with Adriene. She’s changed my outlook on life and my connection with myself.

 

A Step Back in Time

Tea DressThe 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.

Tea Dress: Vintage Inspiration

Tea Dress: Vintage Inspiration

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.Tea Dress

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.Tea Dress

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.Tea Dress

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.Tea Dress

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.Tea Dress

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.

Vintage Locket

Vintage Locket

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.

Tea Dress

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.

Tea DressThe 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.

Gin? Tea? Cake?

Gin? Tea? Cake?

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…Tea Dress

CurtseyTea Dress

 

photo-3