Monday, December 20, 2010

Vintage patterns

I’m in waiting mode at the moment – waiting for a call from the car service place (really, if my car is booked in for 10am, why am I still waiting at 3:30pm for a phone call to say bring it in??) – so I thought I’d post up some lovely pictures from my pattern stash. Make the interwebs a prettier place. :0)


This is easily my favourite pattern (that I’ve never made up…). I purchased it on a weekend getaway with friends in a gigantic shed somewhere near Mount Beauty (or rather, somewhere between Melbourne and Mt Beauty). It cost me a whole dollar.

I didn’t care if all the pieces where there or not, I just fell in love with the story I made up in my head, about Miss M Gardner who lived near Ned Kelly country of Glenrowan, carefully clipping a coupon from a magazine in March 1937 and sending it away to the big smoke of Sydney.

Imagine my delight when I got it home (nope, resisted even PEEKING inside it) and found that all the pieces were there except the belt (meh… who cares?!?!) AND the instructions AND the original picture was included.


I have no idea if the magazine included it when they sent the pattern or if Miss M. Gardner clipped it from the original magazine article and then put it with the pattern when it arrived. Either way – I love it!


She’s pretty! I love the drape neckline and the back pleats with bow at the back of View 1. I haven’t made this one up yet, but the View 1 is looking quite likely.


I love these because of where they have come from. My Aunty Bub is the seamstress in our family – some of my favourite childhood dresses were made by her. I’ll have to dig some up and scan them in.

A few years ago on a family visit, Aunty Bub gave me a huge stash contribution and the above four were included. I particularly like the halterneck, top right. No… haven’t made any of these up yet.


Another Aunty Bub special AND why yes, I HAVE made this one up! I just can’t find a photo of it. I will do a full scale hunt for the photo after Christmas because it came out incredibly well.

I made up view B in a gorgeous Hawaiian print with a red background.


Aunty Bub Special. ABS from now on… What is with View B’s hip-thrusting don’t-mess-with-me stance, View A’s apparent discovery of her boobs and View C’s body building regime which doesn’t allow her to lower her arms…?


ABS… I’ve just noticed all the crossover/draped necklines in her collection. Love it.


This one I got from Miss Helene’s Vintage Sewing Shoppe. Apparently the inability to resist a draped neckline runs in the family!

CIMG2488 This doll is a little more damaged than the rest and I honestly can’t remember where she came from. Rescued from an unloving store somewhere I think.

I know some people have gigantic fabric stashes… my weakness seems to be collecting patterns. I have every good intention of making them up, but then just don’t seem to get around to it.

I’ll have to get one of those kitschy pottery round tuits – that way I’ll have no excuse.

There are more patterns but Melbourne is having an unbearable cold snap right now and fingers and feet are frozen. Time to go stamp up and down and do some more mechanic cursing.

I’m not sure if I’ll get another post in before Friday so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas. If you’re not celebrating Christmas, then I hope you have a very happy multi-denomination festival. :0)

Santadog 2 Seamus says “same here”

Monday, December 13, 2010

Two more projects finished

I feel a bit of a cheat on this post… it’s not like I’ve made a dress from scratch or anything… but finished is finished and so here’s the proof.

Project one - I was given a short dress by my ex’s sister, who acquired it from the drama department of the school she works at. A beautiful electric blue with black blobs that look almost like poppies. Someone – for drama purposes – had shortened the dress to above knee length and chopped off whatever they took up, so there was no going back there… and damnit, I dislike showing my knees. Anyway, bygones… moving on. All the dress needed in order to be wearable was to be taken in on the sides a little in the waist area – but that has taken me about two years.

Ta dah though… it’s finished! Now I just need to get a little musty smell out of it and being silk I’ll need to go to the interwebs for some advice… unless any of you have some for me. There’s a musty smell and also a little B.O. which arose in a stenchy cloud when I pressed open the new side seams. I’m just hoping that ironing hasn’t entombed the smell forever.

Enough chat – here’s the dress. And my gorgeous gas meter.


Jealous? Don’t be, the gas meter came with the house, I was just lucky…

Project 2 – this one is embarrassing in it’s tiny proportions and disproportionate amount of time it took to finish. Conservative estimates and carbon dating put this at around the 2 year mark. How embarrassment!!


Yep. Not even 10cm across. Shameful. When I lose the vibe, I really lose the vibe. It’s staggered me how many unfinished projects I have laying about the place. Just today I pulled out a gorgeous 1948 Vogue reissue that I cut out of some glorious light blue/grey satin-backed crepe about four years ago… and that’s as far as that went. The pattern tissue is still attached to the material. I’m not even sure I’ll still fit into it now. :0)

Oh, there was another thing that I sewed this week. Another long in the tooth project that I rescued and actually used.

The swing dance school that I go to had their Christmas party on Friday night and the theme was Christmas movies… anything you like from a movie about Christmas. Being contrary and having the right clothes in the wardrobe meant that I changed the theme to TV and went as Miss December 1962, Stirling Cooper – Mad Men for the non-watchers.

I had made a red dress a couple of years ago from a McCalls 8-in-1 pattern but I hadn’t worn it. Couldn’t figure out why as when I tried it on last week it looked OK… until I turned around and remembered, ‘oh yeah, this is the dress that gives you a tail.’


The damned back zipper ends right at the spot on your butt where the end of it sticks out and gives you a weird mutant tail bump. I tried a couple of fixes including shortening the zip, but I didn’t have a lot of room to move before shortening it meant I wouldn’t be able to get into it so it is still tailesque. However, much to my surprise I was at the point of ‘I don’t care’ which doesn’t happen often with my sewing. I’ll usually worry at it until it’s better or ball it up and piff it away.

So, I took out some white fake fur, sewed it around the bottom hem, then made a little scarfy tube that I draped around the front of my neck and dangled over the back. I was going to sew that on as well, but I found I really didn’t need to – it stayed put fairly well and then the ends could just drape over the back and goodness knows I love a bit of drape.

I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out – I think I could have gone with more lift in the hair – and I also found that I don’t want to make sewing with fake fur a habit. I swear it looked like I’d killed a chicken by the time I’d finished… white fluff everywhere. Turns out a vacuum cleaner is your friend when sewing with fake fur… but whatever you do, not matter how tempting you might find it… do not ever vacuum your clothes whilst wearing them, especially not a Dyson vacuum cleaner. They take no prisoners and will give you a hickey right through your clothes. :0)


Mad Men and the cheekiest Santa’s helper named Elise ever…

Friday, December 10, 2010

I’m back and fixing furniture!

Hi all!

I have dropped off the twig of late, with regards to blogging… my Dad’s heart surgery,two deaths in the family and surgery for me have all taken their toll.

I am feeling reinvigorated now though and am back on the horse – so to speak. No dancing for another two weeks though… I’m looking at that light at the end of the tunnel and just cannot WAIT for it to arrive… surely it isn’t an oncoming train after all the events of the last few months!! :0)

So… here is something I have finally finished though! I took a scuzzy looking black bookcase, pulled it apart, stripped it down, sanded it back, and then stopped…

CIMG2102 My original plan was to sand off the rough bits and repaint, then it was strip it back completely and then repaint… but then… I saw the beautiful wood that was lurking underneath.

CIMG2200 My real problem though was that the top two shelves – the two on the left of the above photo – are different wood to the rest of the bookcase and so the question was then ‘to stain or not to stain’.

I love the look of wood au naturel but I wanted the finished product to have a cohesive look – not a hodge podge of different woods all cobbled together… although that would have been appropriate as I think from all the extra holes in it that this is a refashioned piece. I think it was something else in a former life. :-)

Anyway, to cut a far too long story short… I ended up giving it one very light coat of a walnut stain, applied with a rag, then many, many, many coats of a satin finish – sanding between each coat.

And here’s a before and after shot…

before and after I did like the look of the black paint – gave it a kind of jappaned look – but the natural wood did need to be released!

Hooray! One project down. Oh, two actually… I also touched up the chips on four figurines I bought on a trip to Cleveland in June AND put them up on the wall!

CIMG2451Who knew that little plaster Asian figurines go with the Creature Of The Black Lagoon, chandeliers and red ceilings?


It feels good to get two more things ticked off the To Do list… I think this month’s motto just might have to be ‘All’s well that ends…” :0)