1920’s Pajajays

Pajajays

Pajajays

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.

Pajajays

Pajajays

These were a very quick make. I used a  vintage brushed cotton purchased from A Piece of Cloth recently. So snuggly.

Pajajays

Pajajays

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.

Pajajays

Pajajays

PJ2

Pajajays cami back

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.

Pajajays

Pajajays cami front

pj7

Tired and Fuzzy! We’ve all been there….

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.

Pajajays

Pajajays

Pattern: From Tilly and the Buttons –  Love at First Stitch
Fabric: purchased from A Piece of Cloth
Lace cami top lace: purchased from Lily Pond
Lace hair scarf: purchased from VintageCaf
Flowers: purchased from The Flower Dispensary
Photos: By Bruce

Curtsey

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Another Day

Black and White

Black and White

It’s another day. Just like any other. No resolutions, no commitments, no word for the year. It is me and only me. And that is gift enough to continue along my journey.

Black and White - Hemline Finished with Lace

Black and White – Hemline Finished with Lace

My preference is to continue how I am. Evolving in my own time and breathing. I don’t think one can ask for more than that.

Black and White

Black and White

Apart from the safe return of kitty, which of course needed to be asked and finally happened! The distress of a lost kitty over the holiday period was horrendous. Panda Wine, my indoors princess, has demonstrated that she does have the street smarts after an escapade saw her living on the streets for 8 days (including a 40 degree day!). She reappeared at the back of the house, a little lighter and somewhat exhausted, but incredibly happy to be home. Sweet relief. My grey shadow and sewing companion has returned, so I may continue.

Black and White

Black and White – Mullet  Hem (pronounced Moulee Hem)

Which leads us to this dress. Oh this dress. It has been floating in the ether for some time and I finally committed to redrafting the bodice of my favourite Anna to bring it into 2016.

Black and White

Black and White

I retraced the Anna bodice, and then laid the Elisalex over the top (making sure to overlap seam allowances on the princess seams) and redrafted the arm scye front and back and redrafted the back neckline.

Original Anna Bodice - 17+

Original Anna Bodice: 17+ and Well Loved

Anna Bodice with Elisalex Laid over

Anna Bodice with Elisalex Laid Over

Annalex with Anna Darts and Elisalex Armscye and Back Neckline

Annalex with Anna Darts and Elisalex Armscye and Back Neckline

Annalex Meets Flora

Annalex Meets Flora: So Close!

The Flora skirt needs a 1.5cm adjustment to allow for side seam of Annalex bodice to match. + 1.5cm on side seam of front skirt and -1.5cm on side seam of back skirt. Other than that it eased well onto the bodice.

Black and White

Black and White

My love of the Anna dress is well noted and those under bust darts do wonders for the girl with small beewbs. The redrafting gives it potential for another 17 dresses, with variations on skirts to fill another half of my wardrobe. This version uses the Flora skirt. By Hand London you are the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you M’ladies!

Black and White - Vintage Bracelet and Cameo Ring

Black and White – Vintage Bracelet and Cameo Engagement Ring

This dress also has the seal of approval from Bruce. And I quote: “You should really blog this one.” Welcome to the #manattractor .

Black and White

Black and White

Curtsey

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Photos by Bruce. Vintage jewellery purchased from JeanJeanVintage on Etsy. Fabric given by Winding Bobbin. Tights from Wolford. Shoes from Camper. Parasol from Gallery Serpentine.

Panda Wine

Panda Wine – Safe and Resting

Belle of her own Ball

Death Dress

Death Dress

Death Dress

Death Dress

This dress was purchased from a witchy little store down an alley way off Smith Street in Fitzroy circa 1998. I fell in love with the autumnal colours, the soft worn silk  and that it had been a wedding dress in a previous incarnation. It was $120 and I paid it off over several weeks whilst studying at uni and working two jobs. bd19

Death Dress

Death Dress

Sadly, as this dress is extra tiny, it only ever fit when I was really ill. And I’m too old to be really ill just to wear my favourite dress. Over the past 17 years I’ve worn it a handful of times, christmas lunch, an airline fancy dress (domestic flying faerie) and in the bathtub. So it’s been hanging in my wardrobe waiting for the day I die, marked as my death dress to be buried with me. Morbid, yes. But also thinking of others. One thing they needn’t worry about for my funeral. I also have a play list of my favourite songs (eclectic of course with Tori, Trent, The Muppets, A Seated Craft) and a door list of who is not allowed. Again, my party and I’ll do it my way.

Death Dress Deconstructed

Death Dress Deconstructed

I took the step of deconstructing the dress with an unpick and a cup of tea. I don’t know why but I find it soothing to pull things apart and break them down to their smallest parts. It’s also lovely to look at another seamstresses work and find how they constructed and which sections were completed by hand and which were machined.

Crimson Peak Costuming

Crimson Peak Costuming – I need to recreate that belt!

Continuing with my theme of inspiration from film and literature, I recently fell for Crimson Peak. I love gothic tales, and the costuming was breathtaking. I was sorely tempted by some of those sleeves… with the added bonus of #manrepeller. And that belt. Inspired. This film comes second to Pans Labyrinth, my favourite film. It scares me silly as it’s like someone took a peek into my nightmares and put them on the screen. Disturbing on both accounts.

After the deconstruction, I decided on a cami top with Irish Lace work that I found at Lilypond, and a Brumby midi skirt again with vintage lace purchased from same. I reused the silk lining that had been dyed with the original dress. Already I’ve worn both pieces more often than the original dress. And creating two outfits for two birthday outings makes me smile and my heart sing. Except for below, because I am also serious in my quest for gothling.

I’ve not too many words today, so I shall leave you with these pictures of the day before and the actual birth date. Post to follow for the Elisalex dress and High Tea Adventures.

A quick note on the day before. Bruce and I watched James Bond at the cinema (first time in many years going to the pictures together) and when we came out the question was posed from Bruce: So what did you think? My response: Pattern matching! Why would they do that?! 2cm off on the back right bodice panel. What were they thinking???? The horror! Some things cannot be unseen. And that villain really reminded me of Dr Evil….

Day One:
bd7 bd9 bd10

 

Day Two:

bd2 bd3 bd4 bd5

Photo’s by Bruce. Straight hair by The Jim. Black skirt: Gabriola from Sewaholic. Parasol from Gallery Serpentine. Hair flowers from Garden of Whimsy. Black top: repurposed Trelise Cooper silk dress shortened and worn in reverse. Shoes from Duckfeet. Lace from Lilypond.

Outakes

Outakes: Lady girl and ouch my  finger.

Far from the Madding Crowd

 

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

I love books. Real paper and ink books that are old and have that old book scent. I can get lost for hours reading. It appears (to me) we have moved away from the art of long story telling that includes miniscule detail, comment on society, in-depth discussion of clothing, the landscape and the complexity of human relationships in painstaking detail. I think the Gold Finch was the most modern book over 400 pages I’ve read in recent times. Caught up with fast fashion, fast food, fast writing. Through my readings I have learnt it is reasonable for me to stand my ground and not bend to the will of others. And I continue to learn! Bathsheba has recently become another heroine who has stolen my heart and increased my courage.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

I hold a copy of Far From the Madding Crowd somewhere in my home but have yet to read it. I need to commit. However before I commit, I need to locate it…. Classic novels I have made it through include Les Miserables, Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Mill on the Floss, Jane Eyre.  Authors including George Elliot, Leo Tolstoy, Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

I am going to exclude Gone with the Wind in this category (tried to re read recently, it was impossible), however it requires mention as it was the first book I read that didn’t have the happy ending. I cried for weeks (literally) because Rhett decided enough was enough. Scarlett and I were devastated. I even based my debutante ball dress the dress that she wore for barbecue.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

I adore Russian literature, and have a long love for classic texts with complex characters. English classic literature is a close second. And I love collecting the older books that have previously been owned by others. I was the custodian of the most beautiful copy of Anna Karenina printed in the 1960’s on the thinest of paper with the smallest of type. Unfortunately my Burmese cat, Isaac, chose to place it in the fish bowl. He looked me in the eye and with one foul swoop of his paw my precious book landed in the truly murky waters. Sadly the book did not survive, and I believe the fish was later the victim of murder or assisted suicide by said cat. He was a cat that only I could love.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd

Some of these titles have been made into spectacular movies and mini-series. The Beautiful Lie currently screening on ABC is stunning. A modern take on Anna Karenina set in contemporary Australia. The script is beautiful and the costuming divine. Colin Firth as Mr Darcy always. No explanation required. Jane Eyre was breathtaking with Mia Wasikowska.

Far from the Madding Crowd - Elisalex bodice detail

Far from the Madding Crowd – Elisalex bodice detail with false placket and no buttons

I watched Far from the Madding Crowd several months ago, and whilst taking in the story and the scenery, I started to plot new additions to my wardrobe based on Bathsheba’s daily farm wear. The long sweeping skirts, deep shades of indigo, the independent attitude she so wonderfully displayed.

Far from the Madding Crowd - back detail

Far from the Madding Crowd – back detail

Bathsheba is another heroine I can add to my list of vintage literature girl crushes.

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd – lost the sheep, tending the grapes

My Gabriola skirt was the perfect pattern made in the softest Merchant and Mills linen purchased from Stitch 56. At the same time I found the block printed cotton also by Merchant and Mills for the top. I had two to choose from and decided upon the lighter for the Elisalex bodice with added peplum (drafted using the circle skirt app from By Hand London, recommend highly). I love the shaping of this bodice, having made the dress with an Anna skirt several times. The addition of the peplum suited perfectly, however it does act as a normal circle skirt would out in nature and there was much belly button flashing when the wind gusted. The second piece was used for the head scarf and a Tiny Pocket Tank.

Far from the Madding Crowd - Where the Sheep?

Far from the Madding Crowd – Where the Sheep?

Far from the Madding Crowd - There they Be!

Far from the Madding Crowd – There they Be!

The title of the book comes from the poem Elergy Written in the Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray:

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

I try to escape the madding crowd from time to time through dress ups, film, art  and literature.

What inspires you?

Curtsy,

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Photos by Bruce. Location at Clyde Park Winery. Merchant and Mills fabric purchased from Stitch 56. Shoes from Duckfeet. Flower hair piece from Gardens of Whimsy.

All film pictures remain copyrighted to their respective original owners. I had difficulty referencing some, so please let me know and I will add the appropriate acknowledgement/link.

Frocktober: Raising Money, Awareness and Fabulous Frocks

This post is sponsored by the wonderful women from The Drapery, who in supporting Froctober and the  Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, gifted me the gorgeous Nani Iro fabric for my dress.  The Drapery is a fabric store located in Adelaide, South Australia, that stocks carefully selected natural fibre fabrics (including Liberty, Nani Iro and amazing linens) and indie patterns. All opinions expressed remain my own.

Froctober at the Drapery

Froctober at the Drapery

Hello and welcome to the wonderful month of October! You can expect serious frockage, unseasonably hot weather and a plethora of days raising awareness for some of the many causes that are often funded by, and rely on, the good will of our community.

Froctober Emery Dress

Froctober Emery Dress

One of the main events held this month is Froctober, where ladies (and gents) frock up to raise much needed funds for research into ovarian cancer. It is reported that one woman dies every 10 hours from ovarian cancer and there is still no early detection test. Terrible. Women are normally diagnosed at the later stages of this disease, when the cancer has spread to other organs in the body. This means a significant decrease in the chances of overcoming this cancer. Early detection is key to treating and surviving this. Frocks around Australia are taking this seriously, and are being used to raise money for this much needed research.

Froctober Menu

Froctober Menu

At this point in time, the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) does not receive government funding, and relies on donations and fundraising from the community to develop an early detection test. I am proud to report that along with three of my colleagues at work, we raised $125 which will go directly to the OCRF. I also managed to discuss the fundraising and its importance with senior management by stating: “I’m raising money for ovarian cancer research, because, ovaries: where would we be without them?”. He looked at me for a second with head to the side, dropped some money in the jar and then quietly backed away…

If you would like to donate directly, you can do so here. I would post you cookies in exchange for donations, however they may end up as crumbs in the post.

The Froctober Spread: $125 Raised.

The Froctober Spread: $125 Raised, Sugar Coma Achieved

So. Awareness raised. Let us move onto the frock.

Froctober Emery Dress

Froctober Emery Dress

Behold, my new Emery Dress with self-drafted skirt, made in the most beautiful Nani Iro double gauze, and lined in sultry silk. It is truly like wearing a whisper that only I can hear. Swish and swoosh, like the leaves gently rustling in the spring breeze.

Froctober Emery Dress - Inside Out

Froctober Emery Dress – Inside Out – Soft Focus

I started by using the Emery bodice, adding a centre back seam to capture the selvage of the the Nani Iro, and then finishing off with a self-drafted pleated, wrap skirt. The dress is lined in silk, using the Emery skirt pattern with some of the width taken out to reduce bulk at the waist.

Froctober Emery Dress

Froctober Emery Dress

I created the skirt pattern by taking apart one of my oldest and favourite RTW dresses and using it as a template to create the pleats. I vividly remember the day I purchased it. Firstly because it was incredibly expensive for me at the time, and secondly because when I mentioned to Bruce I might be indulging in a pricy dress, it was given the ok if I bought home a chicken. Chicken was delivered, dress was purchased: a worthy exchange. It has been worn lovingly for over 7 years and was still in admirable shape, save for the highlighter pen marks. I’ve been wanting to recreate this for years, but didn’t have the heart to unstitch that dress and be left without it.

Froctober Emery Dress

Froctober Emery Dress

Luckily I found another version (in purple no less!) on eBay so was able to take the original apart. There were so many things to love about my old dress, including the details of the metal adornments (lovingly restitched onto the newly made dress), the hem (again reused on my Emery dress) and the number of well placed stitches that held it together over time. The thing with properly made garments is they take time to deconstruct as well as construct. Not the typical pull one thread and the entire piece falls apart. It took hours to undo, it was so well made.

Froctober Emery Dress

Froctober Emery Dress

The pleats sit in a most pleasing fashion on the derriere. Top stitched down by a 9cm long rectangle, they hold fast across the bottom before gently flaring out. This also makes for excellent twirlability.

Froctober Emery Dress

Froctober Emery Dress – Twirling in the Veggie Patch

I also put in a side zip. Revelation! It is so lovely to zip the side without having to do the wiggle dance involved with centre back seam closures.

Froctober Emery Dress

Froctober Emery Dress – So Many Bubbles Blown, Not a Single One in Frame!

I also had the opportunity to try out my fancy new shoes. I think they will be perfect for sitting down and indulging in high tea. They are definitely not made for walking. I felt like a baby giraffe on stilts.

Froctober Emery Dress + Fancy Shoes

Froctober Emery Dress + Fancy Shoes

So a beautiful dress for a well deserving cause. Sadly this particular print is now out of stock, however there are a number of other equally beautiful Nani Iro fabrics in-store and I’m informed by a well placed source that a new shipment is on the way. The Drapery is also offering 10% off combined fabric and pattern purchases until the end of October with $2 from each combined purchase being donated to ORCF. Support research, save money and buy beautiful fabric. Sounds like an excellent deal to me!

Froctober Emery Dress

Froctober Emery Dress

For other Froctober blog posts, see The Drapery here, here and here, and also the ever stylish and beautiful Blogless Anna, here.

Curtsey and may we find early detection for ovary health soon. Because literally, we wouldn’t be here without them ; ).

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Photos by Bruce. Nani Iro fabric gifted from The Drapery. Hair flowers by Garden of Whimsy. Shoes from Christian Louboutin. Tights from Wolford. Marrimeko parasol from Kiitos. Lack of bubbles presented by B1 and B2.

Dress Interupted

This is a sponsored post – my first!

Gallery Serpentine is a unique corsetry & alternative fashion emporium in Sydney, Australia. They carry a huge range of alternative clothing and accessories and curate an eclectic mix of gothic and steampunk wear. The following product was gifted to me in exchange for review after they happened upon my blog earlier this year. All opinions expressed are my own.

Corset Refresher

Corset Refresher

Hello and Greetings!

How is it that the first half of this year dragged its sorry feet for sooooo long and then July hit and the year is almost over! I missed August completely, although my personal records indicate I did participate in a number of activities. I’m still trying to adjust to it being the end of September…

Which leads me to my next elaborate project. A dress for my upcoming high tea to celebrate a little milestone birthday. Fifteen of the most lovely ladies sipping Pimms, eating cucumber sandwiches and devouring eclairs will gather and celebrate what is now no longer considered middle age.

Pana Wine Approves of the Outcome

Panda Wine Approves of the Outcome

I’ve been pondering this dress for a good six months, and finally inspiration was forthcoming. I’m decommissioning a 1950s cream lace dress that, even after alterations, didn’t quite have the right fit. I will combine it with a contrasting lace bodice using the Elisalex bodice from By Hand London. The challenge was finding a vintage fabric that would contrast as a bodice and be of an age that complimented the original skirt.

Lovely Lace

Lovely Lace

I found the perfect fabric at the bottom of a remnants bin in a store at the end of an alley way. After getting lost several times (true story). All for the (unmarked, unfolded, scrunched up, powerfully scented) price of $20. Lovely.

When I got home, I laid out the new addition to my stash, and found it to be rather more pungent than originally thought. I washed it three times in wool mix and hung it outside so it could enjoy the sunshine and a brisk breeze. Unfortunately the mustiness permeating the fabric was entrenched and stubbornly resisted fading.

Corset Refresher with Vintage Singer

Corset Refresher with Vintage Singer

So I turned to the Corset Refresher which had been sent to me by Gallery Serpentine. It’s true purpose is to refresh corsetry that cannot be washed due to boning and construction. A light spray is applied after every 3-4 wears to give it a little refresh. It can also be used on bed linen to liven things up between washes. It was designed by Cult of Scent exclusively for Gallery Serpentine and is based on an eau de cologne recipe. Plus it has antibacterial properties which really effects the the scent of your clothes, unlike spraying with perfume. I like to employ my lateral thinking from time to time and as my corset collection stands at a total of one and I don’t wear it regularly, I had to wait a while until an opportunity presented itself.

Corset Refresher

Corset Refresher

It specifically warns against using on lighter coloured fabrics, but I’d found myself at the point of employing the scent to see what the results were, participate in some research on the interwebs for treating vintage fabrics (which I didn’t have the time or inclination to do) or dispose of it. I took the radical path.

I used the parisian method of application. That is: spray the mist into the air at ankle, knee and waist height and pass the fabric though the mist to avoid concentrated areas of liquid forming on the fabric. If it was perfume I was applying to myself, I would use the same principal: spray at several heights in front of the body, and with a certain graceful and dignified élan walk through the mist and finish off with a little hand flapping once the passage had been completed. Dramatic, but effective as I don’t like to apply perfume directly to my skin. Does anyone else apart from Boo and me do this?

The Dress Post Treatment

The Dress Post Treatment with Outfit Accessories

Once treated, I allowed an hour for it to be draped inside and then again let it out on the line in for the brisk breeze to do its work.

Surprisingly, it lifted the pungent mustiness which had been persisting as part of the distinctive character of this fabric. I didn’t think anything would shift the odour, which I assumed would persist until the end of creation. The scent of the corset refresher is fresh and not at all floral or sweet. The bottle describes the essential oil ingredients as being organic lime, organic tea tree and cedar oil in an alcohol base. And that’s exactly what my fabric now smells like. There is still the tiniest hint of must, but it is now ready for cutting and stitching up. And possibly another treatment before the big day.

Dress Interupted

Dress Interupted

I also have several other pieces of clothing that I don’t wash due to the age of the fabric or the fact they would otherwise have to be dry-cleaned. This includes my frocktails dress. It will only be worn occasionally and I like to think that I wear my clothes lightly, leading to a longer life span. I’m not a big fan of dry cleaning, and often with my everyday wear I find that a good airing sees them through several wears. I try to be kind to my clothes and the environment and not overwash, especially when I don’t have to. All the smalls, delicates and B1 and B2’s do get washed regularly though. There is no avoiding that!

Corset Refresher

Corset Refresher

So I managed to rescue what I though was doomed  fabric using the corset refresher. And I figure that if it worked so well on a piece of fabric I was about to give up on, it will work wonderfully on my clothes that need a little scented lift and not the full cleaning experience. And as I said before, it’s not just for corsetry. It is destined to be used on a few other items I have lazing around in my wardrobe. I think it will brighten (or darken, depending on your goth status) the scent on a variety of different fabrics. And it’s perfect when you don’t need to do a full clean, or can get away with spot cleaning. So if you have some special clothing that you avoid washing for fear of damage, I would recommend this. A little scent goes a long way. I will certainly be using it again, but next time will be sizing up for the refill from Gallery Serpentine.

To have a further read or to explore the Gallery Serpentine website, you can peruse at your leisure here. There is a world of gothic goodness, parasols and corsetry ready to discover.

Curtsy

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Photo’s by Pips, Corset Refresher supplied by Gallery Serpentine, original lace dress purchased from Dear Golden, vintage Singer purchased from A Piece of Cloth.

Post Script: Gallery Serpentine actually found my post here when I went on my adventure to the Antipodean Steam Punk Exhibition last year. Some of their corsetry and garments had been curated in the exhibition along with a number of other amazingly talented gothic and steampunk artisans. I was a little honoured they read my post as I have made several parasol purchases from them, stalked them online for several years and have always intended to visit their store. I just need to get to Sydney. And I’m sure I could get away with wearing this to work…

 

Liberty Granville Shirt and Anemone Skirt

Vintage Liberty Collection

Vintage Liberty Collection – *Swoons*

Another day, and more gorgeous fabric! It seems like I’ve come to the end of my vintage Liberty which is sad in some ways but also wonderful to see new life given to fabric that has been stored and loved for many years. I’ve saved every scrap, and have taken to weave wrapping for gifts and hoarding hexagons for a quilt. I can’t recall ever being so attached to fabric before.

Today I received a beautiful thank you card, thanking me for my thank you letter from my benefactor. This of course requires another thank you note to thank Ms J for thanking me for my thank you. I discovered that I was made custodian of three generations of fabric, *swoon*. This is sewing love. And this is why I love sewing and the sewing and fabric community.

Vintage Liberty Grainville and Viscose Anenome

Vintage Liberty Grainville and Viscose Anenome

As soon as this fabric was presented to me (in a most queenly fashion followed by squeals of delight) I knew it was destined for a shirt. Fabric often speaks to me (just don’t tell my doctor) and I was overcome by the print and the softness of the Liberty. It could not have found a happier home than mine.

Vintage Liberty Grainville and Viscose Anenome

Vintage Liberty Grainville and Viscose Anenome

Another Granville shirt from Sewaholic. The only adjustments I need to make to Sewaholic patterns are to add length in the body and sleeves. Then the fit is perfect. Dream patterns.

Vintage Liberty Grainville and Viscose Anenome

Vintage Liberty Grainville and Viscose Anenome

I’ve still got a little way to go until I perfect my plackets, but I’m happy with the result this time.

Vintage Liberty Grainville and Viscose Anenome

Vintage Liberty Grainville and Viscose Anemone – Praying for Fabric

And the skirt! Completely forgot that I’d made it months ago. How does one do that? Trying to embrace new shapes and expand my handmade wardrobe I ventured out to the Anemone pattern from Deer and Doe using some left over viscose purchased from The Fabric Store.

Vintage Liberty Grainville and Viscose Anenome

Vintage Liberty Grainville and Viscose Anenome

Several versions of these have popped up in my instagram feed and I had planned to experiment with the more fitted, higher waist skirt and shift away from the usual fit and flare. I think after seeing it in photos I’d wear it to work. And perhaps give it another press. It did spend the last 6 months balled up in my tops draw… Eek.

Vintage Liberty Grainville and Viscose Anenome

Vintage Liberty Grainville and Viscose Anenome

It’s a little corporate for my usual style but with the the addition ribbons and flowers I think I’ve captured my quintessential Pipsie style. That high waist does keep everything in place whilst allowing continued breathing and eating. The pattern was made  straight from the envelope without adjustment. Sadly it was that long ago that I can not recall the size…

Vintage Liberty Grainville

Vintage Liberty Grainville

And how could anything look bad with that shirt!

Vintage Liberty Grainville

Vintage Liberty Grainville – Baby Got Back

See that waist to hip ration? That’s  why Sewaholic patterns are made for my bosom, waist and derrière measurements.

Vintage Liberty Grainville

Vintage Liberty Granville

Deer and Doe Anemone Skirt

Deer and Doe Anemone Skirt

The skirt was fully lined, and I love the peplum on the sides. A rather pretty point of interest that is quirky and doesn’t add volume to the hips.

Vintage Liberty Grainville

Vintage Liberty Grainville

So next time you see any vintage Liberty here, it should be in the form of hexagons. Unless of course anyone has a stash they would like to gift to me. I would be happy to oblige.

Happy weekend lovelies!

Curtsey

Pips xxx

Photos by Bruce. Fabric gifted from the estate of Ms J. Hair flowers from Gardens of Whimsey. Shoes from Camper. Tights from Tightology.

Two Piece Set-acular

The original concept of Sophie who blogs here, the two piece set-acular was devised as a challenge back in July 2014.

Happy  Pips

Happy Pips

The philosophy was print on print, matchy matchy, two piece coordinated outfit. I’m all about twin sets and complete pattern submersion, but for some reason this didn’t tickle my fancy at the time.

Screen Printed Linen

Screen Printed Linen by Pips

Things change. I became a little obsessed with the idea recently and found myself with an idea for creating a screen printed fabric from what was on hand in my stash.

This is how it evolved…

  • Original purchase of burgundy linen from The Drapery in Adelaide.
  • A pin from two years ago that has been playing over in my mind (but took me two days to find on my board!).
  • The screen printing stencil taken drawn from a 1950’s floral print (created here).
  • An idea for an operatic combination to wear to this exhibition.
  • The Gabriola skirt from Sewaholic and the Elisalex bodice with circle skirt peplum from By Hand London.
  • Luncheon with one of my dearest friends, Boo.
Zipping Like a Boss

Zipping Like a Boss

Some of my favourite #twopiecesetacular ‘s can be found here (my favourite by Jen, props for the props!), here, here and here, with a round up by Sohpie here.

Instagram Sneak Peaks

Instagram Sneak Peaks: Liberty of London Facing

At the Exhibition

At the Exhibition: Hot and Double Hot

I love this outfit so much. The colour way is fabulous. The fit is spot on. And the skirt has such wonderful swish.

Tea and Cake with Boo

Tea and Cake with Boo

Thank you Sophie for daring to take us back to the 90’s. I love my two piece.

Two Piece Setacular

Two Piece Setacular

Curtsey.

Pips xxx

Elisalex – the Edited Edition

As part of our “family rules” that are 15/16ths finished and will be blogged about once the last rule has been added (“try to be you best”….. I think, or “don’t leave your underwear on the floor of a morning….), one of my favourites, is try new things. I use it often with B1 and B2 with varying levels of success and to show that I am the queen of leading by example, when it suits, I…. lead by example. This rule does not apply to vegemite for me, as they insisted it should, because I’ve tried it once and hated it. Vegemite might look like Nutella, but taste like, it does not. This rule does however include trying new patterns for frock making, which is an area in which I am excelling this week.

I purchased the Elisalex pattern from By Hand London maybe 6 months ago, and left it in the to do pile because I was head over heals with the Anna dress (7 at last count). I also had to make the usual adjustment of lengthening the bodice which was princess line and it seemed to be just a little too much effort.

However. I am determined to start making my way though my stash, as evidenced by my participation in Summer (winter down here) Stash Bust 2014 run by fellow blogger, the quirky peach. My commitment is to sew at least 3 stash pieces before being able to add 1. I think that is reasonable for me.

Time Out. Bear with. I have, for the first time in my life, a fabric stash. And I’m a little excited about it. It includes vintage fabrics, vintage sheets to be used as fabric and fabric I’ve picked up from warehouses. Not as much Liberty as one would expect or like, however I have found THE one and am saving for a piece for a Belcarra Blouse and they also sell Nano Iro which I’m keen to introduce myself to. I’ve re purposed some of my old clothes that no longer fit but are made out of beautiful fabric, mostly  morphing them into the Belcarra blouse from Sewaholic . It  is definitely getting a work out, and I’m up 4 at the last count, possibly 5.

Back to the main story. So, this fabric was purchased with the Elisalex in mind and being determined to try new things and not start another project before Elisalex had been completed, I set to pattern  tracing, altering and toiling/muslining. I very rarely do this, but given the princess seams I thought it best to on this occasion. It worked perfectly with no further alteration required, other than the usual 2.5cm lengthening of the bodice at the waist. Perfect.

hmmmm

hmmmm. What The?

So, I attached the skirt, tilted head to the side a little when it was on the coat hanger thinking that is a rather poofy tulip shape, thought it might look better on, and was proven otherwise. The bodice fits perfectly, the skirt exaggerates the waist and hip a little too much for my liking. Plus, I could only take mini steps, and mini steps do not work for girls who are 6″ tall.

thinking, thinking

thinking, thinking

After some advice was sought on instagram, I removed a total of 40cm from the length of the skirt, turned up a 1cm hem twice, and then took to hand stitching on some gorgeous embroidered silk organza on the hem line to add a little voom that had previously been removed. I also took out some of the tulip on the skirt side seams to bring it in a little.

Elisa 2

This is eventuated!

Elisa4

A little bit bubble skirt, a fabulous fitting bodice, and a finished dress that I think I can get away with wearing to work. Who am I kidding, I wear what I like to work. It’s one of the main reasons I work there. I also added the embroidered silk organza trim from France just to add a little more fancy. The colours just matched so well. And I love the back neck line! I hadn’t seen it (for obvious reasons) until Bruce took the photo’s this afternoon when the sun said hello for a minute.Elisalex 8

The inside, as always, is finished with me spending more time hand stitching than it would take 1 person in China to make 10 complete versions. I love the lining. I’m not always one for novelty fabrics, much  preferring the classics, however this made me smile and only I know it’s there.

I will definitely use the bodice again, and on the advise of sew busy lizzy, will next pair it with the Charlotte skirt, and if all things go well, will make a wiggle dress with my 1950’s silk cotton that is waiting for something special.

So watch this space for the next version, which I might proudly add is also going to be stash busting.

Curtsey

Pips xxx

PS. Bear with. We had this conversation at work regarding “bear with” versus “bare with” because to me both of them look terribly wrong. The consensus was (with the assistance of google) that “bear with” was correct, although you might feel that a grizzly was going to turn up at any moment expecting a shared picnic. “Bare with” would be an invitation for someone to get naked with you, and considering it was pretty much an all staff email, I was happy to go the grizzly, not the naked. Although just for the record, bear still looks wrong to me.

Essential Sewing Tips from a Seamstress. Part 1:

As I learn and evolve (getting closer to Zen everyday…. it’s a work in progress), and think everything I have learnt is all I need to know, I discover more. Often by chance, sometimes by mistake. And sometimes I meet lovely like-minded people along the way who share their knowledge and wisdom in the local neighbourhood. Those who also tolerate B1 and B2 going through all the buttons, and for reasons unknown, love to collect buttons. Yes. Buttons.

Heights Sewing Centre

Heights Sewing Centre

Yes, I hold onto old habits, sure that no replacement could ever exist for a technique or routine that I have followed since I was first taught. However, I’m learning there are different ways that can save time, effort and make the experience a little less breath holding. Just to clarify: When I’m overly stressed about doing something, sewing or otherwise, I hold my breath. It’s not a particularly helpful technique, neither adding value to what I’m working on or my assisting my personal wellbeing. I often do it at work. I used to do it with sewing. I’m more conscious of it now, however I still find myself on occasion having a quick gasp when I’ve been concentrating intently. But I digress.

So  today I thought I would share a sprinkle of my knowledge acquired  in my sewing adventures, some more recently and others another lifetime ago when I was working as a home seamstress and being paid pittance for hours of work. I think that’s where much of my breath holding went in those days.

This, dear friends, is a most wondrous discovery. I discovered it at the local haberdashery and has it changed, not so much the way I sew, but the way I utilise and treat my patterns. Previously, I would purchase a Big 4 pattern, hack away at the flimsy tissue paper in a size I thought might approximate something that would fit, and then repurchase the pattern the next time I needed it (inevitably) because I had lost a piece or needed a different size. No more! I discovered via the interwebs the idea of tracing off a pattern to allow the original to be kept in pristine condition. Excellent. Until I found that reasonably sized pieces of tracing paper were not readily available and I would end up piecing together wax paper or A3 sheets from the local arts store . They would tear, stick together in places unintended and rumple. Too much, too much I cried! Especially since I was now investing in indie patterns that I wanted to keep in mint condition because they were so, well, indie. And pretty. There is something magical about a indie pattern that makes one shudder at the thought of going the big chop with scissors.

tv4

Enter Heights Sewing Centre, Est 1935. The local habby that keeps me supplied with notions, thread and that which may (or may not…) change your life: Tracing Vilene. It’s a standard old time interfacing with no sticky, and you use it to trace patterns off. It is THE replacement for cutting originals or for tracing paper. It is also my Favourite. Sewing. Thing. Ever. It’s sold off a roll like fabric, costs about $3 a meter, is sold by the meter or less and runs in a continuous length. Tracing vilene also has the following most excellent properties as evidenced below:

  • It’s see through, just as much as tracing paper
  • It does not easily crease (and if it does, iron it flat)
  • It readily accepts a ball point pen without fear of smudge or transfer onto fabric
  • It doesn’t tear when you look at it
  • It stands up to multiple pinnings with no need for sticky tape reinforcement
  • It does not curl
  • stores perfectly with the original pattern

tv3

My most used pattern at the moment is the Anna dress by By Hand London. I can honestly declare that  I haven’t had to retrace a piece in the 7 times I’ve used it nor reinforce any sections that may have torn if the alternative of paper was used. The Belcarra blouse from Sewaholic is also getting a fervent work out at the moment.

favorite pattern of the month/year

favorite pattern of the month/year

I get a little enthusiastic about it, and consider any other product to be supremely inferior. Yes paper, I’m referring to you. I also use it for my own drafted templates for tea towels and pillowcases. If they stop producing it, I may just loose it. This love is  timeless, and I am forever grateful for the ladies at Heights Sewing Centre that introduced me to it. And to Ken of course, whose family owns the business. He has been running it for almost 50 years! And such a wealth of knowledge.

Curtsey to Heights Sewing Centre, located at 177 Pakington St Geelong West.

Pips xxx

PS. Let me know if you have any tips for tracing off patterns, I’d love to know any other alternatives