Saturday, June 14, 2014

Poppy Sews

Greetings all! It has been a busy week, with some big challenges, a smooshed bumper on my car (someone hit it when it was parked at school) and horribly rainy weather. Meanwhile my busy brain has been ticking away considering a new project. I adore vintage clothing. Well, specifically clothing from 1900 through to the 1950's. Half a century is a lot of time, and women's clothing went through so many changes, but the elegance, the fabrics, the accessories and the styling fascinates me. I already have a few 1950's style dresses, which suit my figure. I'm not slim, but I do have a much smaller waist than my hips and bust. I'm not really suited to the slim evening gowns of the 1930's, or the flapper era 1920's (but the embellishments!!!! Oh so glorious). But the New Look of the late 1940's through into the 1950's, with the nipped in waist is perfect for me. Hunting down actual vintage clothing in my size would, I'm sure, be a frustrating exercise. The solution? Sew my own vintage wardrobe. 

In honour of the vintage style sewing enterprise, I am considering starting another blog. I've already got one set up for gardening, but haven't starting posting on that yet. I'm uninspired by winter gardening. I think a blog dedicated to my sewing would encourage me to keep working on skills, and to try new things, without boring the living daylights out of most of the family, my dedicated readers, who can read about my general exploits on Poppies and Daisies.

Well, until I get the new blog set up, I have made a start on the first official clothing item from my vintage sewing adventure. I have already dipped my toes into some vintage-style sewing with thanks to the lovely Gertie who wrote Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing. I possibly have the biggest collection of her portrait blouses in the Southern Hemisphere. Thanks to Gertie I am willing to get stuck in and experiment with changing the fit of garments to suit my purposes and style. I'm definitely an amateur so far, having limited experience with more complex techniques. Unfortunately I also come with a history of disasters when using patterns from the big pattern companies. I might be post graduate university educated, but when it comes to following directions for sewing patterns (or any other), I'm not sure I graduated primary school. It is time to get my pattern following diploma and have some moments of sewing brilliance. 

I popped into Fabric Vision and picked up a couple of patterns that appealed and that I could buy in my size. They are both Vogue 1950's reproduction patterns and and very much in the style I prefer to wear. Vogue 2903 is fabulous for my figure, and I'd love to wear View B to the school formal in August. Elegant, but modestly covered. This dress requires over 7 metres of fabric (OMG!!!). I need to do some practise before tackling a project that could result in the expensive destruction of that much fabric. Unless I can find something perfect for $2 a metre, of course. So instead I am starting with the sheath dress in Vogue 8875. I love the coat as well, which is actually inspired by riding coats from the 1800's. How cool is that? The coat will have to wait. It looks like it needs expensive fabric. 
 Today was a lovely day after our horrid wet week, so I had gardening and riding to do too. Time to hurry, hurry and get some pattern preparation done. Look at all of these tissue sheets.
 Here's where Pattern Reading 101 begins. I'm scared already. There are pages of instructions. Luckily half of them are in French, so I'll just ignore those.
 Look- great to see measurements to fit the curvy girl. Don't be fooled by sizing on patterns. Always measure your body and match to the measurements on the pattern, because they don't match ready to wear sizing. Wooo hooo - I perfectly match one of these sizes - and guess what? It isn't the largest one. Cool.
 Now we meet the first hurdles in my sewing experience.
 I removed cat number one, and along came cat number two. Pattern tissue makes the most delightfully enticing crinkly sounds. Very appealing to my furry familiars.
 Once I took a good look at the pattern, I realised that once cut in my size, I would be unable to re-cut the pattern smaller because of the overlapping lines, so I took the time-consuming route of tracing the pattern onto my preferred pattern making material, which is actually frost cloth. We are bringing the garden indoors. Note the cans holding everything steady. The technical term for these is "pattern weights" I think.
 I got this box out and put the cut out pattern pieces into it to stop the cats playing with them. Then someone hopped in for a little rest. It is hard work making patterns, thinks Fergus.
 By the time I had got half of the pieces traced and cut out it was time to do my gardening. I set myself some times to work on jobs at the weekend, because I'm on a tight time schedule. I cleared the front border of dahlia stems and other dried up foliage and filled the green waste bin. Then it was time for lunch and I headed out to ride Zanny. The dear girl was pleased to see me, and we both enjoyed a hack around the small block in the sun. We met our friend Viv and Frank halfway around, so they joined us for the second half, and a good chat. Zanny didn't even squeal at Frank when they touched noses to say hello. She was very chilled out today.

Tara's tummy is already hanging down below her cover. She's due to have her next foal in November. I remember she was really plump when pregnant with Aria, so I'm not too concerned that she's so big now. We don't want twins as horses rarely successfully carry twins to term. Poor Zanny lost two beautiful colt foals during one pregnancy. She was heartbroken. Zanny loves being a mummy. I'm a bit sad she won't be one again, but it wouldn't be a good idea at her age. I bet she'll be pining after anything male with four legs in spring. She's a real tart.

I managed to fend off the furry assistants long enough to finish tracing and cutting my sheath dress pattern. I do have some fabric in mind for it, so hopefully I'll have enough of it to use for the job. I think I should really make a muslin to see how the dress fits (i.e. to check whether it hides or emphasises the curves in the wrong places).

I think Fergus would rather I put the scissors down and played instead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If only my sewing skills were up to the challenge but the humble A-line skirt is destined to be the only thing I successfully sew (and a few pairs of dodgy curtains!). The dresses look gorgeous so I hope they work out well. Good to see the boys are keen helpers.
I hope this week is less traumatic than the last!!
Love you,