Friday, 30 December 2011

The Coats Not Done, but I've Been Busy

I trust everyone had a lovely Christmas! Personally, I had a great time, but I'm a bit sick of meat, chocolate, and gravy, and feel a real need to de-tox.


A little while ago I did a post about starting this coat:

Pauline Trigere for McCalls, 1956

Well, it's about halfway done! Here's how it looks so far:

The basic outer shell is complete, but the lining still has to be attached, then the hems need to be stitched and the little capelet made. Maybe another week - or 2 - and you'll all be able to see the finished results!

But I haven't been idle - what with Christmas parties to make dresses for (see my Sid Vicious dress here) and various Secret Santa's to knit gloves for, my sewing machine and knitting needles have been humming and clicking away. I also found time to knit a few woolly bits for myself.

First, I made this hat from a 1940's pattern, using Debbie Bliss cashmerino:

This is the original. I know - it was meant for a young girl, but kids dressed like old ladies back then, so it didn't look so 'young' on me:      

Close up of finished hat
 Then, I made these fingerless gloves to match:

Finally, I had a bit of yarn left over, so I made another hat:

A beret!
And this was the pattern I used (bottom right). (Don't you think these ladies look a bit like a slightly off Pans People?)

I'm off to do some more work on my coat, and I'll see you all in the New Year!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Swap Loveliness

Look what the postie brought for me! These lovely parcels came to me from Liz at Ginger and Shortbread, arranged via Lakota's blog. Mr. Needles told me I should wait until Christmas to open them, but rules are for breaking, and I don't have that kind of willpower.

So this is what was in store for me:

A whole bunch of crafty, vintagey loveliness, with a bit of a Scottish theme!

There was some gorgeous smelling soap, a little tin heart (that's going straight on to the tree), and a box of Edinburgh Castle rock sweets:

 Next up was a copy of the Simplicity Sewing book from the 1970's:

 Now anyone who knows me will know that I'm mad on sewing books and diagrams, so this was perfect! I already have an early 1960's edition of this, but this one was completely re-vamped, with some great images. Here are a couple:

 And last but not least, this brilliant tea cosy made by Liz herself:

Tea cosy in use!
I love all the colours, and the 2 little pom poms on top are the perfect finishing touch! Mr Needles kept trying to wear it!

Finally, a bit of Scottish cheekiness in the card from Liz:

Love it! 

A HUGE thank you to Liz for all the brilliant presents, and all the effort and thought she put into them. Everyone should look at her blog - she takes some beautiful photos of her local area, and has that special charity shop luck I just don't seem to posess. And thanks to Lakota for organising it all.

Happy Christmas, and see you all in the New Year!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Butterick 2907 meets Sid Vicious

How do you get from this nice, mid 60's raglan sleeve dress:

'Can I help you?'
To this punk inspired party number:

'Are you wasting my time'

This view looks like a superhero outfit
Close up of the zip sleeve detail
Words failed me when I tried to explain my inspiration, so see if you can figure it out from these photos -

Sid Vicious. I've been waiting for an opportunity to wear one of these belts since I was 13 years old.

Zandra Rhodes punk inspired collection from the 1970's.
Catherine Deneuve in 'The Hunger' - I've always loved the 40's as filtered through the 70's.
Jean Brooks in 'The 7th Victim' (1943) - creepy horror about Satanists in New York. They use a beauty parlour as a front for their evil activities!
Anya Phillips - manager of the Mudd Club. Classic sexy punk.
Debbie Harry in Stephen Sprouse

John Willie's 'Bizarre' Magazine - kinky stuff, but some brilliantly sexy images.

I made this dress specifically for the annual explosion of alcohol fuelled frustration known as my work Christmas Party. It started off civilised enough, but after a few hours of free prosecco, soaked up with a couple of canapes, scenes like this were commonplace:

Trying to pretend I'm a model in 'Bizarre' Magazine

'Not more dancing on tables, I already had my turn! Oh, alright - since you insist'

And yes, those are latex stockings in the 2 photos above - well, you only live once, and hey, it was Christmas! And now I'm probably going to end up with all sorts of weird search words on my blog stats ......

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

It's Coat Time - Pauline Trigere for McCalls

 The turn in the weather has made me realise that I need a new coat! I have a few already, but most of them are really only suitable for mild weather, and my one really warm coat is looking a bit worse for wear (thread bare around the cuffs, etc).

A brilliant excuse to make this coat:


I've had this pattern for at least 15 years - I can't remember where I bought it, but I can't have paid much for it because I seem to remeber buying it when I was a penniless student. I'd never heard of Pauline Trigere, but a few years after acquiring it, I noticed a familiar name in the credits of 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' - 'Miss Neal's gowns by Pauline Trigere'. Cool!

'I'm a very stylish girl...'
Patricia Neal in a Pauline Trigere dress

Since then, I've managed to find out a bit more about Miss Trigere - she was an award winning designer, based in New York. She was a very outspoken lady, and kept working into her 90's. Originally from Paris, she bought a bit of French sophistication to post war American fashion, and her pieces are much sought after today, especially her coats. Apparently, she popularised the 'swing' coat shape, and it became her signature shape. Read more about her here.

The late Pauline Trigere
I've taken this pattern out from time to time, but only now do I feel 'mature' enough to really pull it off. After an indecisive visit to the fabric shop (I get in a panic when confronted with all the possibilities), I decided on this:

Close up of black and white wool

And for the lining, I went for this scarlet satin:

From previous experience, I know this is going to take some time. I'll probably use a combination of techniques - as well as follow the instructions, I'll probably use some ideas that have worked previously for me, such as padding the hems with canvas, and sewing them by hand. But don't be surprised if you see me make other things at the same time, because I'll probably get bored of all that hand sewing and will need a break!


You can see the finished coat here

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Quick Winter Woolies

Like the rest of the country, I've been feeling the cold a bit. I went to find my woolly gloves, but they seem to have disappeared into the wilds of my wardrobe. Suppose I just had to knit some new ones!

 I knitted these ones from a pattern I found here. They were brilliantly cheap to make - I used scraps from old projects, so they cost nothing. And they were fast - each glove probably only took a couple of hours to knit. It was also fun to knit stripes, which looked like this before the ends were sewn in:

Stripey chaos

Isn't the internet an amazing thing! Not only did it offer forth the fab pattern above, but while I was looking around for it, I found a whole slew of free patterns, which are bound to keep me busy for some time. One of them was this:

This was SOOOO EASY! And it only took abot 20 mins. to make. Here's Mr Needles modelling it:

And you can find the pattern here

It was also my first foray into intarsia, which was bit tricky, but it wasn't too bad - just have to be careful to keep the long strands at the back from getting too tight. 

Inside of wristband

 See you soon, and keep warm!