SOooo it’s been awhile since my last post in April so bit of a catch-up. 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. More
14 Jul 2015 32 Comments
20 Apr 2015 16 Comments
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. More
02 Feb 2015 26 Comments
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. More
04 Aug 2014 42 Comments
Remember my Lamour swimsuit from a few summers back? I finally got back to that pattern and over the last 4 months in between costume work and wedding dresses I’ve developed a whole little range of retro styled swimwear and thought I’d give a preview of some of the pattern styles.
14 Apr 2014 18 Comments
Well hello from southern New Mexico where ostensibly I’m on holiday visiting my mum. But not to sew for two whole weeks??
I m p o s s i b l e.
Weeks before my arrival I’d been lurking on USA ebay and won some lovely vintage patterns and had them sent to my US address. It was nice to be able to buy a few Hollywood patterns particularly which I don’t come across on UK ebay that often. Believe me when I say I wasn’t planning at all to sew on my visit, honest I wasn’t!
I lasted a mere 6 days. The vintage patterns were whispering to me. I shouldn’t have been left alone in the house! More
08 Nov 2013 20 Comments
in 1930's, 1950's, Accessories, DIY & How To's, Dresses, Free pattern, Inspiration, Making Magazine, sewing Tags: accessories, bags, dressmaking, free pattern, Original vintage inspiration, vintage dressmaking
Where did that summer go? Cold, wet and nasty here in the UK now… where I am at any rate. But tomorrow morning at some hideously early hour I start the 18 hour long trip that lands me in still warm and sunny southern New Mexico to visit my mum for two weeks. A very welcome break from work and crummy weather 🙂 So this post is a quicky Hi y’all with a free 50’s style dress pattern AND a cute bag to make. I did these two projects for the Christmas issue of Making Magazine that hit the newsstands yesterday. The patterns can be downloaded from my free stuff page. The dress pdf is 33 pages! I’ve put the full size A0 & A1 pattern pdfs up too for those of you with access to large format printers. I expect to be making quite a number of the bags myself soon in tweed, fake leopard fur, sequin- fab to give as Christmas presents I thought.
26 Jul 2013 31 Comments
It is the hottest summer here for 7 years – sundresses needed fast!
This cotton swimsuit (still my fave) I made from a vintage Butterick pattern a couple of summers ago provided the inspiration. I re-drafted a similar style bodice (bust 35-37ins/89-94cms) and the pattern is now up on the VV Free page for you to download and use with just about any skirt pattern you like or even sew it onto shorts or bloomers for a cute swim/play suit similar to the Butterick one. More
16 Jul 2013 33 Comments
A few months ago I was very generously gifted not one but two Lutterloh pattern books from 1940 and 1941. That very same week on eBay I bid on a Summer 1949 supplement being sold from France. Amazingly I won it for not too much. So completely and utterly spoiled for choice and unable to decide which design to start with I photocopied a number of my favourites and randomly drew this one to be my first Lutterloh make. That fine cotton hummingbird fabric I posted about back in April was used for it – and going by my self-imposed ”one out-one in” stash rule I can now buy a new fabric 😉
I resisted the impulse to edit my pics to make my waist look as small as the illustration… or to make the illustration look as realistic as me.
So without more ado here is my Lutterloh 1949 make:
Lutterloh was started in Germany, 1935, and is still going strong today. It’s similar-ish contemporaries were a French system called Eclair Coupe Paris and The Haslam system which I think was American. This is a YouTube video of the Man From Lutterloh demonstrating with a simple waistcoat how it all works (14 minutes long if you have the patience). I find the principle totally intriguing and would love to distribute my own patterns in this miniaturised way but I’m quite sure the method is copyrighted up to the hilt so will be sticking with the old multi-page cut n’ tape pdfs for now. More
26 Mar 2013 28 Comments
and round and round and round in my head went that song the entire time I sewed this dress. GaaaH!!! I’m about as far from being a London cockney as a transplanted-to-Brighton ex-New Yorker could possibly be. My children learned the lyrics in school and I learned from them as we marched around the South Downs singing this at the top of our lungs. Gave the livestock quite a fright.
The other week a local fabric shop gave me a couple of meters of this lovely citrus fabric in exchange for having pics of my results to show off on their FB page. (as I checked the link worked I saw some fab new dalia patterned cotton just in…. look away now!) But anyway, fabric in exchange for pics is a win-win situation in my book. I even have a glass necklace of oranges bought on a long ago trip to Venice to accessorise with. But now I cannot get that damn song out of my head. More
02 Mar 2013 67 Comments
aka the LBD.
“Just-below-the-knee 30’s inspired bias dress. It fits snug over the hips and the lower skirt then flares out into a 1⁄2 circle. The V-neck bodice is cut on the straight grain and finished with a facing. There is shirring under the bust and across the back waist which also has a 2 piece belt. The entire skirt and the fluted 3⁄4 circle sleeves are cut on the true bias. All seams are best simply pinked and pressed open though french seaming the long side seams of the nightgown worked well. Sleeve and skirt hems are finished with either a hand or machine rolled hem. Armholes are bound with bias strips. This 10 piece pattern (all seam allowances included on the pattern) is sized to fit a UK size 10/12, 162-167cm/ 5’4”-5’6”height person. “
So, after making my LBD dress first posted about here last month I thought it could be adapted to also make a sweet 30’s style nightgown…and in some soft embroidered cotton lawn it did. The instruction pdf I just posted suggests tells how the adapt the dress pattern to make this style too along with pattern/body measurements, fabric suggestions, notions and a cutting layout even 🙂 I think by following the Threads grading guide it would not be difficult to grade this pattern up a couple of sizes.
However I should warn you the tiled pattern is a whopping 28 pages to print and tape together! If you know of a CAD print service (cadtoprint.co.uk for instance) to whom you could email the full A0 pdf (edited to add: 33.1 x 46.8 inches) and have them post you back a full size printed sheet drop me a note via my VV contact form and tell me you would very much like a full sized pdf. For the brave and patient among you the sewing instruction pdf and tiled pattern pdfs are now all up on the VVFree page …in both A4 and US letter tiled formats 🙂
If someone could give me suggestions of similar digital printing services in the US, Canada Europe etc I’d be grateful as I’d like to list them on the blog because it’s a question I get asked from time to time and I only know the UK possibilities.
My next post will be for a draw to win one printed pattern of that other dress now known as the Bloggin’ Blues dress even though my blog blues are long gone. As soon as March begins the year ahead feels full of promise even though the weather here is still perfectly miserable.
04 Feb 2013 19 Comments
This past wet and cold Sunday morning seemed a good day for mooching around antique markets so the Mister and I headed to Lewes, East Sussex. Brighton has some good ones too but the grass is always greener in Lewes. I got to choose where to start and it was straight to my fave, May’s Antiques, where a small but great selection of mostly pre 50’s clothes, is always to be found. I do buy and wear some 60s/70s clothes but sometimes I just want something older than I am- and that’s what I call Capital ‘V’ Vintage. Within minutes I saw this wonderful 1930’s chestnut brown bias cut full length gown and just knew we were made for each other. The main fabric is slinky rayon satin and the upper bodice is a dense cotton velvet. The winged sleeves have something stiff and slightly crunchy in them to make them stand up… I’m thinking probably a wide horsehair braid. The panels are pieced in lovely curved lines but it was the back detail that was the deal maker. It’s in pretty good shape, only a couple of small mends and a dry-clean needed. I really rarely make such a flash decision- and do sometimes regret it when I do but not this time. I consider the dress a ‘study piece’ however it does fit me well and could certainly be worn if the right occasion arises. ‘Dinner at Eight’ anyone?
Just as I was leaving I spotted these four French magazines. I almost didn’t look at them because I thought they were the same vintage Marie Claire magazines that I’d already bought a few of a while back and boy oh boy I’m so glad I took a second look! The earliest is from 1939 and the latest 1951.
The cover illustrations are so gorgeous that I would have bought just those if that’s all there was to them but the insides are just packed with page after page of fabulous dress illustrations and a few more colour plates too. I’ll post a few scans from them at a later date, they are very inspirational if you are interested in details from this period.
Moving along to The Lewes Flea Market we admired a small 1834 painting of a Brighton Shrimp boy, pondered over pretty china, discussed the clock yet again, patted some sad taxidermy and finally arrived in front of this lovely art-deco convertible brooch.
A while ago I read a great post on Oh For The Love Of Vintage all about dress clips and then realised a little clip I already had was actually half of a convertible brooch. Then I received a complete convertible brooch this Christmas and as of Sunday I have three ( two and a half really) convertible brooches. And that’s how a collection begins!
If you saw my Birdy Beret pattern review post last week I mentioned I was going to a White Mink “speakeasy” night and aimed to make a new dress in a day.
8:30 am-9 drink coffee.
9-10:30 make the pattern.
10:30-11:30 cut out.
11:30-12 drink coffee.
12-5 sew as fast as possible.
5-6 take a break & say hi to family.
6-7 try on and decide a black organza flower brooch decoration is desperately needed and make one.
7-8:30 bath, hair, make-up and wolf some dinner down.
9pm-2am dance, dance, dance!
Saturday – lie on a sofa and don’t move much.
Now, I know for a fact a lot of other sewers get that awful compulsion to make something new at the last minute rather than wear something already in the closet. Confess that you’ve gone out with a raw edge hem or a waist pinned together – or what is the most unfinished state you’ve ever worn a dress in?? Tell me, I won’t tell, I promise!
And shame on me as I forgot VeraVenus’s blogoversary on January 11th….will she ever forgive me ?!
To belatedly celebrate and show my heart-felt thanks to all you SewVeraVenus readers and followers for your ongoing interest and encouragement I’ll be posting a new free downloadable pattern quite soon: I thought I’d do that new LBD pattern in two sizes and also a give-away draw for one printed and mailed to anywhere copy of this dress pattern. Stay tuned for the announcement. I hesitate to say how ‘soon’ is quite soon… as I need to digitize and redraw it, but I’ll try for not too long a ‘soon’. Meanwhile I leave you with this swinging clip from White Mink.