Well Hello!

Long time no see.

A year and a bit since last post but I’m still here. Over the last month I’ve been giving the blog a visual brush-up and dust -off. Lol, that’s been fun… fighting with themes, wrangling with css and making some big messes under the WordPress hood. Along the way this site suffered some serious downtime and non-downloading pdfs… apologies to anyone who came looking for a pattern at just the wrong time.

Anyhoo, I’m all finished moving the furniture around for now and hope you like the fresher look and easier to find (well I hope they are! ) free pdfs etc.  If there are site issues, for instance you’re getting a “404 Oh No!” on a download from my Free Patterns page and you have a moment to contact me please, please do let me know.  I have checked through everything myself but things do slip between the cracks.

So where was I for this last year? Pretty much right where I always am but dealing with :

A) Turning 60. Six months later I still can’t believe how far down the list my birth year is when filling in online forms. 50 was no big deal, it just sort of slipped by. 60 feels like a corner being turned. Not sure what the difference is or if there is even really one at all. It could be because various media says there is one so I am expecting to feel one… meh, maybe. Lol,  I’m not adverse to the odd nap now and again and I do like to be home and tucked up by 12pm at the latest. Not a bad change then if that’s all there is to turning 60. My Mum commented that if I think 60 is a long way down wait until I have to scroll down to 87 like she does. I should be so lucky!

B) Selling the house, moving to a smaller town/ not selling the house, staying put and just fixing the damn house before it falls down. Been on this particular carousel ride since last fall. In the end we’ve stayed put. Some real big fixes were needed and we treated ourselves to a new bathroom along the way. The old one was ‘vintage’ but not in a nice way. Probably installed late 60’s. But OMG do I ever wish we’d left well enough alone! Two steps forward, one step back. My husband sang me a funny old English song : “The Gas Man Cometh” about workmen. Just too true.    “The Gas Man Cometh”  is on YouTube   (NOT my husband singing it I hasten to add)

C) Empty nest syndrome. I’m not really finding it as bad as they say. I like a quiet house and a kitchen as tidy as I left it. With Skype/ Facetime/ Messenger  I can be as nagging and they can be as annoying as usual. Everybody’s happy. And the kitchen stays tidy.  And wow, it is so much easier and faster now for offspring to tap the Bank of Mum and Dad than it used to be! Virtually instantaneous. I remember standing in a freezing phone booth in the snow, Berlin 1977, crying while making a collect begging call home.  My hand were so cold I kept dropping the coins before I could get them in the slot and the international operator cut me off twice.  Anyway there’s a good chance given todays world economics that they’ll be back. In a moment of madness that was actually another reason we thought of moving 😛

D) A bit of makers boredom.  Other than costume work I just didn’t feel like making things. Or not the same things. I’ve been doing it a long time now. So I gave clothes making a bit of a rest and tried something else. Dolls. Yep, dolls. Hang on, don’t leave! Wait and see where this is going….  I love trying out vintage patterns but tend to avoid those that I won’t actually wear. I reasoned that making clothes for dolls could be a way to try different vintage styles out but in a fourth of the size more or less.  Not as much fabric to buy or storage space to take up once made. But I didn’t want to dress someone else’s dolls, I wanted to make my own figures inspired by vintage Boudoir Dolls. To start I signed up for a little online class to make a fabric doll bust mounted on a candle holder. A lot of fun and I learned great techniques along the way. Next I tried a couple of purchased body patterns. Nice, I learned more techniques but still wasn’t getting the results I wanted. So I set about creating my own doll body patterns. Lots of trial and error, and many redos and undos later I made a few I’m happy with.  And then life got very busy with house fixing and costume jobs so I haven’t been able to get back to doll making for six months. I’ve built up a good supply of all things needed to make and dress more so plan to get back to it as soon as. Along with some fab vintage patterns I plan to trace, scan and scale down to dress them in!

Boudoir Babe
Image of two handmade cloth fashion dolls
A Flapper & my interpretation of Betty Boop
Marie Antoinette bust made with Sharon Mitchell tutorial

So thats where I’ve been.  Years definitely seem to turn from one into the next much faster than they used to. Scientific American has an answer for this phenomenon if you’re interested.  

Below are just a few of the costumes and clothes I did make during the last year, the ones I liked the most. So kind of a rambling post  and thanks for still being here and reading it! See you soon, a proper soon this time. 🙂

A Bit Of Southwestern Style

 

Do you like a bit of Southwestern style?  Here is a  quote is from “Fabulous! The New Look of the Fifties in Albuquerque,” an exhibition from 2003.

 “Inspired by the blending of traditional Native American and Hispanic dress with a romanticised and somewhat mythical “Western Style,” New Mexico invented its own “new look,” which fit perfectly with the primary components – the long, full skirt and nipped-in waist – of the New Look. Its key elements included “broomstick” (twisted), pleated and tiered skirts, fitted blouses, plenty of Native American jewellery, fringed or woven jackets, cowboy boots and hats, bola ties, and blue jeans. Today the look is described as “Southwest Style,” ““New Mexico Style,” “Santa Fe Style,” or “Albuquerque Chic.”

The link is an informative read if you are interested in the Southwestern take on Dior’s New Look. I’ve personally always loved the look of broomstick skirts, cowboy boots and lots of silver and turquoise piled on. It’s not one which blends in easily with wellington boots, grey skies and the general drift of what many  most other people here in Southern England wear…. but I’m not one to let little things like that stop me. So needless to say I was thrilled to find this cream cotton broomstick skirt in one of Carlsbad New Mexico’s finest thrift shops for the bargain price of $10. The Emily Anne label meant nothing to me when I first saw it so I hit Google and the museum page is what came up. So that was all very nice to find out about.

VeraVenusBroomstickSkirt
“Emily Ann had a dress shop in Old Town, and her specialty was fiesta dresses. You could get a fiesta dress made in your choice of colors and sizes.” quoted from ‘Fashion in 1950s Albuquerque’.

Continue reading A Bit Of Southwestern Style

Meanwhile Back on Planet VeraVenus…

image

I recently read a Blogging Tips article and I now know it’s terrible that I don’t write regularly (five months of silence is pretty bad so thank you to those who had faith and stayed with me), apparently my SEO is terrible, while starting to write this I should already have a title ( I don’t) to help keep me focussed, this post will probably be too long … what else I can tick off the list of Top Blog Don’ts ? Oh and I over-use ‘…’  but hey, on the plus side I do try to keep a tight reign on my use of exclamation points!! Mostly.  Such is life.

I am looking forward to 2016.

Non-the-less I’m back and as usual there are quite a number of  project-asteroids spinning around in my little universe, I’ll start with the closest one : Continue reading Meanwhile Back on Planet VeraVenus…

Gingham & Stripes & More- Oh My!

NM2015It’s been awhile since my last post in April so bit of a catch-up post.  Back in May when I went to visit my Mum in New Mexico among other lovely outings we spent a wonderful afternoon at an iris farm. Irises by the thousands, so gorgeous…who knew! On my “to-grow” list for next year. No smuggling of bulbs in my luggage was necessary as apparently I can buy similar beauties from Holland and also in the UK. However something I couldn’t seem to get in the UK (at a price I was willing to pay) was a half scale mannequin. Yes, I know irises to mannequins? – quite a jump. Anyway ‘back at the ranch’ after the iris outing I was doing some recreational web surfing and came across a place in Alabama that sells PGM half scale mannequins at a nice price. Clickty click done deal. It arrived at my Mums house a week later.  You maybe wondering what is the point of a mini-mannequin. Continue reading Gingham & Stripes & More- Oh My!

U.F.O -abbreviation for Un-Finished Object. [noun] A sewing term.

 


VV_OMG

UFOs.

Oh yes.

If you sew you have ’em.

They lurk in closets or huddle in bags. If left long enough they transform from UFO into a WTF was I thinking? or an OMG I remember this! and get cut into quilt pieces if they are lucky or simply binned if not. This past Friday I had a pre-summer closet shuffle, a.k.a. What-Fits-This-Year and I found two UFOs from last summer.

But isn’t it wonderful how if you take a break from a project, anywhere from overnight to ahem a year! and look at it with fresh eyes that whatever seemed wrong with it isn’t such a big deal after all?  That’s how it works for me most of the time anyway. A sleeve suddenly fits in perfectly…. the pattern correction needed is blindingly obvious…. the pocket placement is clear. Continue reading U.F.O -abbreviation for Un-Finished Object. [noun] A sewing term.

All tied up

MMblouse pic
Issue 58/March 2015 of Making magazine was released in the UK yesterday and in it is this simple front buttoning bow tied blouse pattern and tutorial by yours truly 🙂 Now the issue is on the shelves I can share this version with you- available on my Free Patterns PageKimono-Bow-blouse-flat

Continue reading All tied up

A little more on the kimono front

Simple vintage style blouse- free pattern @ veravenus.com
Magyar blouse with shoulder pads

 

Magyar blouse without  shoulder pads tied with belt from the dress.
and without shoulder pads and tied with belt from the dress.

Left over from my recent adventures in vintage Japanese kimono deconstruction I had enough of  one to also make this simple magyar/kimono blouse.

The definition of magyar blouse says  that  ‘…the sleeves are cut in one with the body.’  I’d also call that a kimono style top. I’m not sure of or even if there’s much difference between a magyar and basic kimono cut …if anyone does know a distinction please enlighten me.

In any event the magyar style of dress bodice & blouse seems to have been around for a long time in western fashion history from before WWI through the 30’s, into the 50’s and pops up beyond though in more recent decades maybe that’s when it began to be called a ‘kimono’ cut.  Really I’m just making a supposition on that, don’t quote me. Continue reading A little more on the kimono front

Kimono My House

Oh, kimo-No!

Ok, so what I didn’t know when I started writing was that my post title is also the title of a Sparks album from May, 1974 ( I guess I was listening to  other music at the time) I like the album cover anyway so there it is. Next I learned that the title is a take on the 1951 Rosemary Clooney song ‘Come on-a My House’. Next stop was at the rather wonderful Japanese YouTube version which I share with you:

Isn’t the stuff you  find on the internet amazing…

But I’m wandering.

Anyway to get to the point this is a post about my most recent up-cycling/ re-purposing/ extreme ‘make-do-and-mend’ venture involving, you guessed it- Kimono. Continue reading Kimono My House