Category Archives: random

things that go bump in my head

photo of boudoir style cloth doll made by Jeanne

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 : Continue reading Well Hello!

I’m Moving House

Hello all,

A rather sudden decision has been made and I’m moving my SewVeraVenus blog from WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress.org this week so I can turn it into a more fully-fledged website (with blog & a pattern shop under one roof)
Things may look a little weird around here this week….my lovely custom fonts had to be turned off and my pretty blog header seems to come and go for starters. Quite honestly I haven’t a clue about this stuff but with the help of the WordPress Happiness Engineers all should be back to normal fairly soon.
Wish me luck!

-Jeanne/VeraVenus

The One That Got Away and Circular Knicker Redux

Been cruising eBay a bit recently. Yeah, it’s under control, just. Got some chic vintage French fashion magazines, a wonderful German pattern magazine that is killing my eyesight with deciphering it’s spider-webs of pattern sheets, and a couple of Weldon’s Lady’s Mags from the 20’s and 30’s complete with tissue lingerie and dress patterns. This 1920’s Weldon’s Fancy Dress issue is the One That Got Away:20130817-195231.jpg

I really do wish I’d bid that little bit more on it. It reminds me of this wonderful early 1920’s photo of my Italian grandmother in a fancy dress costume. She was a dressmaker too.
Faye- in Halloween Costume - early 1920

Also during WWII she was the only woman out of 4000 employees in the U.S. tank parts factory where she worked who became a Journeyman Machinist. Continue reading The One That Got Away and Circular Knicker Redux

and so into 2013

we go…
Into 2013

The New Year walk was walkedGlynde, the locals were wished all the best for the 2013,

the neighbours

2013portraitand the official beginning 2013  portrait was snapped.

The Christmas tree is now on the recycling heap and ornaments have all been lovingly packed away. Every year there are loud protests ( SOooo embarrassing Mum!) when The Angel of ‘Happinosh’, Bad Santa and the Rude Rocket are brought out and hung on the tree but they are among my favourite Christmas decorations and will always have pride of place… secretly I suspect the offspring are rather pleased that their toddler-art is still cherished.

100_0569

And finally the last crumbs of the holiday baking mountain have been consumed and I can but hope my waistline returns soon to its pre December measurement.

IMG_1608BiscottiBaked Alaska

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do I have a New Years Resolution? Not really other than something safely vague about doing more exercise …..

 

With one thing and another this season seemed very subdued. Toning down Christmas commercialism is certainly welcome… and maybe next year even the perfume manufacturers will get the idea that less is more and we won’t be treated to the likes of Brad Pitt droning on for Chanel  in the hands-down absolute winner of worst perfume ad of 2012! It was good for a laugh the first couple of times I saw it but by NYE the entire family could recite the words. Not good.

Anyway I do wish SewVeraVenus readers a Very Happy New Year and leave you for the moment with this helpful idea from 1947 for brightening up your January outfits:

1947 Complete Book Of Sewing by Constance Talbot

A Post of Many P’s

You -“What exactly is a post of many Ps?”
Me – “Promised Patterns, Pretty Pants, Phabulous Presents, Palace Party, Pampered Pooch & a Professional Project in a Pear tree of course!”

First up the promised pattern drafting tutorial for the 8 gore 6 godet 1930’s style skirt I posted about in September…and the pdf isn’t a squillion pages long this time . 🙂 While writing and diagramming it I realised it made perfect sense to show how to make a basic Pencil Skirt and an A-line skirt pattern along the way. The big plus is not only can the A-line pattern can be cut on the straight grain as for a simple 1940’s tailored skirt but can be cut on the bias too! So all in all a good start to pattern designing your own skirt collection. In my next tutorial effort I’ll show how to split darts and move them around to add the bow detail for the 40’s skirt and drafting the ‘bucket’ pocket to add to the 50’s pencil skirt.

I do want to point out that my tutorial doesn’t at all intend to replace in-depth pattern drafting books. I’ve tried to keep it simple enough for anyone to follow to get the feel of creating patterns for themselves without getting hung up on too much technical stuff. I loathed taking flat-pattern classes way back when- the instructor was a dragon and nothing I did ever came out right …unless I was making patterns styled for Quasi Modo (he’s my knitting muse now instead) Draping on a stand was my idea of heaven however and that was how I created patterns for years. Slowly though I conquered my fear of set squares, fractions and precision points and started to absorb information from the flat pattern cutters I worked along side. Some books, the Natalie Bray series and the 1942 Harriet Pepin in particular were very useful. Now I work back and forth between draping and flat pattern designing equally at home in both. If I can’t figure out how to do something by one method I turn to the other.

Anyhow enough rambling. I hope you get something useful from the skirt tutorial and please come back & show me what you make. Download the skirt drafting pdf here.

Pretty Pants up next: Using VV patterns Abigail of FarmhouseGarden made a very cute pair of ‘Grannie Pannies’ and Ruth shows off her rather cheeky pair of French Knickers at LessonsInScarlet (sorry blog is now gone). Have a look and my thanks to them both for showing off their scanties  🙂

On to Phabulous Presents: because that time of year is fast approaching. I’ve made myself two promises regarding presents: first- NO internet shopping. Though it is convenient and I do my fair share I also think it’s important to support small local retailers and sitting in front of a computer is not so much fun as going out and about looking at things (and getting tired feet and banged shins and a short temper… ok well just a little internet shopping maybe). Second- get it done in a timely fashion. Oh-hoho no, that won’t be me running around on Christmas Eve this year 15 minutes before the shops shut. Famous last words.

And of course who doesn’t like to make things to give as gifts? These are two projects I did for the most recent issue of Making Magazine .

Pearly Elf Christmas Stocking
Holiday Hottie Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The editor has kindly said I may post the instructions and patterns on my Patterns&Tutorials page for SewVeraVenus readers.

 

And  almost last but hardly least the Palace Party.
OK, not strictly speaking a party but something I am SO EXCITED about… Caravan Palace are playing Brighton next week and I have tickets! Their Electro Swing music never fails to make me want to dance and it definitely feels like time to party when ever  I hear it.
I won’t be dancing at the gig, my foot still isn’t mended enough for that but I’ll be  jigging about a bit ( in a sedate ladylike manner of course) that’s for sure.

So that’s what I call a post of many Ps. I dePart leaving you with a picture of my Pampered Pooch.

Too Pooped to Post More

Ah,  just still one more P after all-

I nearly forgot the Katie outfit I recently designed that was made for her most recent promo.
Couldn’t let you go without a peep at that now could I.

Price in Boots

 

Singing the Blahblah Bloggin’ Blues

Had a bad case of the blogging blues these last couple of months and had to just walk away and think for a while. Blogging was supposed to be an enjoyable thing but became a stress and an obsession instead. I have enough of those already. It got so I couldn’t make anything without thinking about whether or not I ought to be photographing my progress, jotting down the steps and writing a tutorial. And how often did I check my stats?? Sheesh, talk about a creativity killer. Can’t say I’ve come to an understanding with myself about what I’m doing here on WP or why or for whom… but hey I didn’t hit ‘delete this site’ so even if not exactly back in the saddle at least I’m walking alongside the horse. And I have been sewin’ up a storm while singin’ those blues and at the end of the day making clothes is my passion and I just have to keep sight of that.

So.

A while ago while idly perusing vintage dress sites looking at pix of dresses hoping for some inspiration I came across this red beauty on FabGabs.com and it was love at first sight!

photos by FabGabs.com

So I made a version for myself. It’s made from a heavy silk crepe I’ve been hoarding for years just waiting for the perfect moment to use it and has a velvet yoke, sleeves and pockets. The embroidery is cut out from an upholstery sample, first BondaWeb-ed to stabilise it and help stick it in place on the velvet and then blanket stitched with silk buttonhole thread all around the edges. The pattern itself is a cobbled together job- draped bias sleeves from a 1940’s style evening dress I made a private client a couple of years ago, skirt, also bias is a lengthened version from the 30’s pj top I put a pattern up for (DIY page) and the bodice was adapted from a fitted shirt block. The 4 rows of shirring at the top and bottom of the bodice to control the fullness is a technique I really like and don’t use enough. In a panic I discovered I was down to my last fabric buckle covering kit and they are so hard to find these days… Vogue Fabric site has them in USA and Amazon.com. But they won’t ship them to the UK for some reason so had to warn my Mum in New Mexico a packet of a dozen is headed her way which I’ll collect in January. Phew, panic over 🙂

I’ve used the cut-out embroidery technique before on this georgette and velvet kimono I did for Making Magazine (a UK craft mag I do sewing projects for quite a lot)

That’s a pic of one of the  18″ square upholstery fabric swatches a friend who works in a posh interior design shop gave me and the image below shows how I machine stitched it on. Going around all the edges with blanket stitch is somewhere on my to-do list….. someday. Anyway I think it’s a good cheat for adding embroidery onto clothes for those of us who don’t embroider.

SaveSave

Advice for the sew-fearful

I do agree with the first paragraph but hmmm, if I tackle the household chores (all urgent) first I’ll simply have no time left for sewing today…I vote for sewing first- boring stuff later.

And face and hair get done after I have my new dress finished hopefully just in time for Husband’s arrival home and he’ll be so thrilled at how gorgeous I look that he’ll whisk me out to dinner never even noticing the house is a mess and the dogs are still smelly.

RESULT!!  and as one of my muses said ” ….after all, tomorrow is another day.”

Some women do…

…take pictures of their new shoes.

Well I do when I’m really pleased with them like these from Poetic Licence  that arrived this morning. Pretty box and lots of tissue, well made and yes, on sale too

The wide-leg striped linen trousers based on my french knicker block came into being… complete with sailor style front placket openings. Next time I make trousers with so many buttons to do and undo I will put a sneaky invisible zip in the side seam as this many buttons is a pain.

Did a 12 mile cycle around the tiny lanes of Romney Marsh in Kent on Bank Holiday Sunday. It was gorgeous. Didn’t take much in the way of photos as I was concentrating on cycling…staying on the bicycle that is.

On the drive home made a little stop at Pett beach for an ice-cream and soggy chips (french-fries) and we could just glimpse Dungeness across the bay. That’s our next cycle destination apparently as having finally got me on a bike at long last Mr.Outdoor Activity insists we do more! Honestly, though more of a walker, I did have a fab time. Need my own bike , borrowing my daughters un-comfy off-road bike wasn’t ideal.

Hay rolls always signal the end of the summer to me.  Getting to the last of the garden posies too.

So this was just a little catch-up post… I do sometimes do things besides sew.   Some costume work has just come in so I’ll be busy and quiet until it’s time for the French Knicker Sew-along. See you then.

Destructive Boredom vs Constructive Boredom

I have a low tolerance for the words “I’m bored”

Saying the phrase “only boring people get bored” is pretty high on the list of things that cause my nearest and dearest to threaten me with violence.

But horror of horrors, for a few days now, yours truly been really truly deeply bored.

Outdoors is boring me… worst English summer EVER. Really. Going out in it entails wellies, warm jumpers and constantly having an umbrella close by. Gardening has had more to do with mourning my rain-smashed roses and picking up wind fall leaves than anything else. Only 6 pears left on my miniature pear tree that had 36 and I doubt they will ripen…

Indoors is boring me… the amount of smallish and not-so-small repair/paint/need-to-do-something-about-it jobs in the house is simply overwhelming and attempting any one of them would aggravate the RSI in my right forearm. So I’m safe there.

Work is boring me…. I spent a month covering and dressing mannequins for the Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style exhibition that recently opened in London- also recreated a few bits of costumes that have vanished over the years and got to hug 7 Bonds . Ok, just the mannequins but still 🙂

Also made this outfit for Katie Prices’s last book launch stunt ←link to amusing post @ Guardian LostInShowbizBlog

My work is always varied to say the least.

Katie Price on Danté
Continue reading Destructive Boredom vs Constructive Boredom

Care to share on clothes and sewing pattern sizing??

Clothing sizes…. hmmm.

There’s a can of worms for you.  And a very emotive subject for many.

This is my understanding of an UK size 10… B-34″/ W-27.5″/ H-37″.

In Top Shop or H&M I can fit into a 10 but usually buy a 12 in tops because of how stuff shrinks in the wash and because I do actually need to move my arms occasionally*.

But in ‘Lady ‘ shops ( i.e. the ones supposedly more geared to my age group …yawn) I fit into an 8, even occasionally a 6. So what size do I wear ? I dunno, seemingly a  6/8/10/12?  

*Fit and cut are different problems and ones I have even bigger issues with than sizing. My biggest gripe in that area is universally poorly fitted shoulder/armholes.  Unless doing a Royal wave I can’t hail a friend or a taxi; see how HRH’s elbow isn’t raised above shoulder height? Why can’t high-street brands seem to cut a jacket you can actually raise your arms in?? Looks nice with arms down but raise your arms? Ha!

The reason I’m banging on about all this is because I’ve spent the last few days doing an extra bit of research on sizing
and came across a couple of blog posts I found particularly interesting:  Fashion Incubator » Blog Archive » The myth of vanity sizing. Down at paragraph 7 or so she talks about sizing pre 1960’s and how it was arrived at. Something I did not know! I also liked her The Birth Of Size 10? post. Some really great pattern alteration/sewing tutorials there too. The link on a single-strip sleeve placket  alone was worth spending my morning online. Continue reading Care to share on clothes and sewing pattern sizing??