Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Make and Mend Sunday

If you head over to New Vintage Lady, you'll see that she has launched Make and Mend 2011. I haven't done any sew-alongs yet, and I thought this was an ideal one to join. 

I just had a bit of a wardrobe clearout, and found so much stuff I forgot I had - shameful! I'm not religious or anything, but I have a natural feeling of guilt for owning so much, and not even using it. Does anyone else feel this way? I'm not one of those throwaway people - I have cheap £4 t-shirts that I've worn for over 5 years - but I also love new stuff. I can't justify adding to my wardrobe when there are items just languishing there. So this month I'm not going to buy any new fabric or knitting wool, and try to re-model some of my old stuff.

Tea and cakes made by me!
With this in mind, I got together with my oldest friend in the world, Isabel, and we had an afternoon of drinking tea, sharing projects, and re-modelling some old bits and pieces. We got a bit carried away with the chat, so I kinda forgot to take any pictures, but this what we did:

  • Made an old See by Chloe tunic dress less shapeless with the addition of some darts and a little taking in at the sides (Isabel)
  • Took an Orla Kiely a-line skirt in at the waist, so that it fit better (Isabel)
  • Sliced the top off an old dress, in order to make it into a skirt (me - picture below)
Dress made by me, 9 years ago - doesn't fit, don't like...
... Will now be a fab a-line skirt with pockets

A great afternoon was had by all, and it was great to take old pieces and breathe new life into them. It was like getting new clothes!

As well as this, I've mended the closure on a black Marc by Marc Jacobs skirt (which I've been wearing for at least 6 years) - this is a real achievement, as I hate mending. And I've knitted 2 hats out of oddments of wool:
I've got loads more to re-do - skirts to take in, dresses to re-model - so watch this space......

Sunday, 12 June 2011

I Never Knew That (Its Got Nothing To Do With Sewing)

Jayne Mansfield in her heyday
I was catching up on blogs the other day when I discovered something which totally took me by surprise. If you visit the Selvedge Yard, there's an excellent post regarding Jayne Mansfield's marriage to Mr Universe, Mickey Hargitay, and some quite fabulous images of the pink palace they shared in the 1950's. As with so many starlets, what seemed so idyllic ended in divorce and recrimination, and later Jaynes' tragic death at the age of 34.
Mariska Hargitay, who plays Olivia on Law and Order SVU

Here comes the intriguing bit - as I perused the comments, I noticed someone mentioned that Jayne would be proud of her daughter, Mariska. Where had I seen that name before?
Mariska Hargitay, centre
 As a big fan of crime dramas (my husband is quite worried about the amount of CSI that I watch), I remembered the name from 'Law and Order SVU'. Jayne Mansfields' daughter plays Olivia! Why didn't I know that?! Am I the last one to find out? When you compare the two pictures above, the resemblance is quite noticeable.

That's it really, just wanted to share that fabulous bit of trivia with you.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Beautiful Buttons Dress - Complete (At Last)

This dress would have been completed a long time ago, if only I hadn't been slowed down by belt buckle problems. I just couldn't find one I liked. I wasn't asking for much - 1" wide, black plastic, it didn't have to be particularly special, as long as it had a metal pin so it stayed buckled. Could I find it? It was like trying to find rocking horse poo. 

 I settled on the one you see above, though I think it's a bit big. I can always change it later......

Here are some highlights from making it - 

No zip! I've never made a dress with a placket at the front, but I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. And it shows the buttons off beautifully:

Close up of button placket
I reinforced the split at the back with a little arrowhead. I should use these more......
Close up of Arrowhead being worked
Over the years, I've become fussy about the inside of everything I make. I find it hard to just 'run something up'; I can't leave the insides alone! I try to line everything; on skirts I usually bind the hems; on dresses I also bind the waist seam; and I use French seams wherever possible, just so it's neat and tidy on the inside. (Maybe I'm a bit OCD......) The result is this:

Skirt lining with bound waist seam

Bound hem, catch stitched to dress

Lining at back split, hand sewn to seam allowances
Though I'm happy with the way it looks, and it feels lovely to wear, it means that a dress which was meant to be something I could just 'throw on' is now a bit too special. Don't get me wrong - I'll wear it as much as I want - but I need to stop being so meticulous because it's slowing my output down!

Here are some close-ups of the belt:

I've never made one before, so really I just made it up as I went along. A stiff interfacing gave it some substance, then after it was stitched and turned right side out, I bound the holes for the pin with buttonhole stitch.

Finally, the dress has shoulderpads, which I thought was bit unusual for a dress of the 1950's. Wasn't the New Look all about round, natural shoulders, a departure from the square shouldered 1940's? I toyed with leaving them out, but decided to follow the pattern faithfully, so put some lightweight, rounded ones in. I didn't think they'd work, but they actually create a nice line. 
Shoulder pad (it was really hard to photograph)

I planned to wear it tomorrow to the Stitch Crawl, but rain is predicted, so I'm in 2 minds about attending. If I do, pictures will follow!
 It's not my car - I can't even drive!

Monday, 6 June 2011

A Butterfly Bearing Gifts

The postman delivered a lovely surprise for me today - a prize from Wendy at the Butterly Balcony! Inside was a beret crocheted by Wendy herself, as well as a copy of 'Stitchcraft' from 1937.  It was beautifully wrapped, and she'd even included some spare wool in case I wanted to sew the bow on the beret in place. How thoughtful!

I had the day off, so I chose a top to complement it, and wore it all day. Here are some pictures:

 Now I'm over 50 followers, I'm going to have to think of something to give back - giveaway coming up soon!