Friday, 30 September 2011

These are a few of my favourite things...

'These are a few of my favourite things...' blog posts will be a series based on my favourite Etsy shops and any other handmade things that I love. It's my way showing appreciation for things other people have made, because I love handmade things, I really do. To start off with I've chosen Etsy shop Hanako. I adore things made from felt and I love to see how creative people can be with it. Alina's brooches are like little works of art, tiny portraits. As soon as I saw them I had to buy one. But trying to choose one was so difficult as I love so many of them. I chose the one above. I love it, it is so sweet. I love the big bow and her Peter Pan collar. It arrived in this cute package, tied up with string!
Beautiful packaging and I very sweet note inside too. It makes your purchase feel so special, I love little touches like this.
Here I am enjoying the lovely weather we are having here, wearing my brooch.

The brooch is beautifully made, each stitch is tiny and perfect.

Here are a few examples of the lovely brooches you can find in her shop.
This little hedgehog is so cute.

I wanted to buy this knitting one and the earmuffs one too. Hopefully one day I can buy these.
Love, love, love this etsy shop. I think they would make ideal Christmas gifts. You can also check out Alina's really cute blog here.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Dressmaking Course

Last week I started a dressmaking course at my local college. I was really excited to see so many people there, lots were my age too. We spent the first lesson getting to grips with a sewing machine, which was a bit pointless for me as I know how to use one very well, but it was good for me to get to know the other people. This week she is going to show us how to cut our patterns properly and even though I can do this, I'm hoping to pick up lots of hints and tips and learn how to be even better!

I've been working lots lately and I'll be doing extra hours this week, so I'm really glad I signed up to this course because it will force me to sew every week. At the course I'm going to start by making a Macaron dress.
I've been having trouble deciding exactly how to make it. I've chosen some navy blue cotton winceyette fabric which is so soft and I thought it would make the dress cosy for winter. I planned to use this for the whole dress so there won't be a contrast, but I feel some red in there somewhere might really make it look great. Maybe as the waistband or as piping along the sweetheart part of the bodice. Then I was worried it might be too bright for me. Then I was thinking polka dots would make a nice contrast and I got all confused! So as it stands, it will be navy blue but it is subject to change, see how I get on. I'm still in the process of making a violet blouse and I'm hoping it will be finished soon. I'm up to attaching the collar. Bit worried about the button holes as I've never done those before so they will take a bit of practice I'm sure. Right, I'm off to pre-wash my winceyette now so it will be ready for Tuesday!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Sew Retro Book Review

I adore this book. It's been around for a while book I just wanted to tell anyone who hasn't seen it about it. If you love sewing, you'll love it because of how it researches the history of sewing. The pictures are great and the projects are fun ad inspiring. I was going to talk about it in more detail but I found this video by the author, so who better to tell you than her?!
She actually doesn't mention what I think is the best project in the book, the teapot tablecloth.
The teapots are napkin holders!How cute! I will make this one day. Love this book, so worth buying.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Vintage Magazines

I came across some vintage magazines a while ago and I find them fascinating. This one is from 1934.
 I just love the pictures of how people looked then. The next is from 1940.
 This one really makes me laugh as it features an advert for wool and embroidery kits that are very different from what we'd see today.
Even though it looks sexist, life was like that then. I don't mean sexist, I mean that it was just the way it was, men worked, women didn't. I love the fact that so many more people could knit and sew. It's a shame people don't do it as much anymore. I have no friends that have interests that are remotely like mine so often feel alone. Things were different in 1940.

The final one is from 1935. I love this knitting pattern, so chic.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Vintage Patterns Part 1

I have some vintage patterns that I'll be sharing with you over the coming weeks. The first lot come from the late 50s and also late 60s. My Gran sent away for them from magazines. I don't think she ever made them up and the sizes are far too small for me but I love looking at the designs and vintage artwork.

I don't know why she wanted to make swimwear, I'll have to ask her. Doesn't appeal to me.

I love these children's dresses though, so cute.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

A Pretty Dress

 This dress was made by a wonderful person, Andy's nan. she made it in the 80s I think, and even made the belt, how clever. She used the overlocker that I blogged about the other day. The dress is a liberty print cotton lawn fabric. It fits me but I think I'll remove the shoulder pads and shorten the hemline

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

I can't sew fast enough!

So Colette patterns have now brought out even more beautiful patterns! I adore the Peony dress and also the Jasmine blouse. I only wish I could sew faster.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Vintage Sewing Machines Part 2

I was lucky enough to be given this overlocker by Andy's Grandma. I'm not sure when she bought it but it was probably 70s/ early 80s. She describes it as a P.I.G!! It's temperamental and it required a bit of tweeking here and there, and plenty of oil, and now it sews beautifully. I'm hoping I can learn to use it well and it will speed up my dressmaking as I have so much I want to make.
Overlockers are notoriously difficult to thread but I've become a dab-hand at it now through all the tweeking and playing and messing I had to do to get it to work! The only drawback to this machine is the instructions. They only describe the basics and do not give any tips on how to use it properly or any of the additional functions it might have like only using 2 or 3 threads etc. Still, I am very pleased it works and I can't wait to use it on a garment, lots of practice needed first though!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Sorbetto Blouse

 I love the way my Sorbetto blouse turned out, I've worn it out already! It was really easy to make, definately a beginners pattern as it only has 2 pieces. I was a bit worried about what printing a pattern out and sticking it together would be like but it was very easy. It helps to have an extra pair of hands to cut the cellotape whilst you hold the sheets in place.
 The fabric is really lightweight and is perfect for this top. They say at Colette Patterns that you can make this from printing out the pattern to finishing the top in 2 hours and there are people on the web making 1 a day. However I think this took me nearer to 4 hours to make, just because I take my time.

 I've learnt some new techniques making this. I've never used bias binding before and always imagined it was really difficult and fiddly but it isn't! It's so easy and I love the amazing finish it gives. I want to make another one in a plain fabric and use a floral liberty print bias binding I have. I bought it last year and have been waiting for the perfect project to use it on. This pattern includes darts which I have done before on bags I've made. However I struggled to transfer them to the fabric and it took me a long time to draw them out but they turned out perfectly. After all my struggling I saw in a book about using carbon paper and one of those spiky wheel things to transfer the pattern lines, what a great idea! Need to invest in one of them asap!

The only problem is that the arm holes are too big for me but I always planned to wear it with a cardigan so it won't matter. If I make another I will take care not to cut them as deep as the pattern. I think I'm totally addicted to making clothes, what a shame I'm back at work tomorrow.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

What to Watch

Mmmm, decisions, decisions, what shall I choose....

The Pyjama Game of course!

I love watching old films but rarely sit still so always watch them whilst sewing. I have a lovely little TV with a DVD player built in, in my sewing room. I've never heard of the pyjama game before and was overjoyed to discover it is about a pyjama factory, so lots of sewing footage!

The pictures aren't too clear but believe me, if you like 50s films, sewing and musicals, this will be right up your street! The outfits the women are wearing are fabulous too. And of course, Doris Day is a her usual fab self. Love it.

Friday, 2 September 2011

In the pipeline...

Here are the projects I am planning for the coming months. I've enrolled on a dressmaking course at my local college so hopefully when I'm back at work next week it will force me to sew every Monday, force in a good way obviously! I'm planning on making a Sorbetto blouse with this beautiful floral fabric above. It is quite lightweight and drapes well so I'm looking forward to sewing with it. The Sorbetto blouse is a free pattern from Colette Patterns and looks very simple to make. I love Colette Patterns, and how nice of them to make a free pattern. I have quite a few of their patterns ready to start making but my problem is finding good fabric suitable for the job. However, last week amongst the hecticness (if that's a word) I visited my local fabric shop and got this beautiful cotton / satin blend, I think, (no information on what the fabrics are in that shop.)
It's slightly more of a peach colour than it looks like in the photo (bad light again) but I thought it would be perfect for the Violet blouse.
I love this pattern, it will be perfect for work. I have some lovely vintage buttons that will be perfect for this blouse but they seem to have disappeared, I really hope they turn up.
The next fabric I bought (all very cheaply I add) was this pretty red floral, again some sort of cotton mix suitable for dressmaking. So pretty, perhaps another crescent skirt?! I also have Colette Patterns Parfait and Macaron and I've had my eye on Crepe for a while too. Just need to find the right fabric before I can start making these. 

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Vintage Singer Sewing Machine

This is the first of a few posts I'm going to write about vintage sewing machines. I sew on a modern day Brother machine that I bought last year, the machine I had before that was a Brother machine but very basic so I upgraded. My Mum uses a Brother machine from the 60s so that's why I have always bought Brother machines. However, the first time I saw one of the old Singer machines I was in love and was desperate to get one! Whilst on holiday this year, I saw one with a treadle in a big wooden cabinet but alas, it was too big to transport home in my small car. Days later I saw this small one in a local vintage shop. It was a sign! I had to have it and after a little haggling it was mine. (This all happened the day before Andy was told he faced redundancy.) 
 I was impressed with the good condition the machine was in.
 It takes pride of place in my living room.
 The gold decorative lettering was undamaged.
 And once threaded up it works like a dream! Although it is a bit tricky as one hand has to turn the handle to make it work.
I was sure this machine probably wasn't as old as I hoped. I thought that perhaps it was made in the 70s in the style of the old machines. On the Singer website you can date these old machines by putting in the serial number. I discovered it was made on January 17th 1936! In Scotland! So much older than I thought. I'm so pleased!

I love the fact these machines are so sturdy that people are still using them. Poppy Treffry, a well know designer maker from Cornwall swears by vintage machines. I love this little video of her using one

I chatted to her sister whilst on holiday in St Ives this year as she runs their shop there. I also bought a bunting kit from her. I think her work is fantastic and it is all done on vintage machines, how wonderful.