Pretty in Pink – the Puppet Show shorts in seersucker

Just a quick post with some shots of the Puppet Show shorts I made this weekend. Had been so longing to make these and finally succumbed and bought the digital pattern. For the record, I much prefer paper patterns- it is a lot of hassle to sticky tape “tiles” together, but I guess there is another advantage- you can read the instructions on your ipad at leisure.

puppet show shorts with Liberty lining at the waistband

The puppet show shorts with Liberty lining at the waistband

Note: I lined the waistband in Liberty lawn and interfaced the front of the waistband. Everything else which pretty much as per the pattern. I love the look of these shorts but I would recommend making the larger sizes. I made a 3-6 month size and found sewing the cuffs on the shorts quite fiddly because the opening is so small.

the shorts

Hurrah… the shorts being modelled by my baby daughter…

Yes, I am planning to make them again… probably in linen, chambray and twill… ideally to match some of the tops I made in the last 6 months… its just such an adorable style! And the contrast trim is so pretty…!

A second pair… your can never have enough Liberty…

Seriously, I was so in love with the first pair and how light they were on my little girl I made a second pair in the late of last night with all the same modifications… french seams, elastic lace at the ruffle and extra rows of stitching at the top to stop the elastic from twisting. I didn’t actually finish it until this morning but I really want to keep my little girl in these given how hot our Summer weather is.

The pattern is called Mauverina aqua (Liberty tana lawn) purchased from PurlSoho in New York online earlier this year, when the Aussie dollar was a little healthier!

Another Liberty lawn fabric ... Mauverina aqua

Another Liberty lawn fabric … Mauverina aqua

Beautiful and practical. But thats this mummy’s humble opinion!

The New Chapter- Life after our little girl’s arrival and blooming Liberty!

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A first blog post after our little girls birth- she’s three months old and last night was the first night I have had a stretch of sleep longer than 5 hours. Today was the first day I started sewing again… helped along by a purchase of some pretty Liberty fabric at Canberra’s Addicted To Fabric shop yesterday. We also went to some markets this morning and the stalls of handmade baby garments had me longing, longing, longing to get started!

The fabric is Liberty Mauvey (tana lawn) and the pattern was a pretty non descript layette pattern by McCalls from 1991 which I altered to suit my I desires! Ta da… pantaloons, people…!!! I must say I was pretty happy with the pattern matching at the seam at the back… I’d like to say I spent ages trying to do this, alas, it was just a lucky moments when the moons lined up for me… excuse the pun… or abstract flowers in this instance! This project was perfect because its a pretty simple, quick garment but also one my little girl sorely needed. I love Janie and Jack in the US but the pants I had bought for her weren’t as light and soft as I was hoping… these should feel like air and be very comfortable. I also made the elastic in the waist a bit longer than it needed to be so i could unstitch and stitch again… so eventually these might be more “bloomers” than pantaloons as she grows.

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A side note motherhood is lovely… most days…! I have managed to get into the swing of caring for a very active toddler and a young baby all at the same time! Thank goodness for the ergo, baby carriers are the best invention ever…!

Our lives have changed since the arrival of our “Little Princess”… for the better. You don’t think your heart can be filled with more love. You think its already full and brimming. And then it happens. You meet child 2. And its falling in love all over again. or for the first time, in the case of my firstborn (son). We adore her. And I cherish every minute of her babyhood. Baby cuddles really are scrumptious!!!

Like I said... scrumptious!

Like I said… scrumptious!

Tips and Tricks- Shawl Collars for shirts and dresses

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My son recently turned three years old. Using an Enid Gilchrist pattern (which appears in a number of her pattern books in the 50s, 60s and 70s) I made this shirt with raglan sleeves and what was essentially a shawl collar. It was fun to custom make it- I used a poplin with little cars all over it with red buttons to match his slacks-  I very much enjoyed see him wearing it on a recent play date.

Admittedly, I didn’t find the shawl collar easy but I stumbled on this tip sheet by Marian Corey (whom I have previously waxed lyrical about)… just in case anyone else is looking for tips and tricks for a similar garment! Good luck…. hope this is helpful.

Marian Corey's tips on the popular 50s shawl collar... extracted from a 1950s (1953)? leaflet.

Marian Corey’s tips on the popular 50s shawl collar… extracted from a 1950s (1953)? leaflet.

Halter tops and dresses- classic “vintage” style for Summer

I am definitely pleased that the weather in Canberra is changing- Spring literally is in the air- its almost like a different scent, the light changes this time of year… free of Winter the options for our weekends broaden. I can barely wait. Today could only be described as glorious. It was a gorgeous day actually. My husband and I made it to a little cafe in Canberra called Elk and Pea (in Braddon)- thumbs up, but do book ahead! The interior reminded me of the industrialised decor that is so popular in the cafes near Venice Beach in LA. It was a great feeling to head to the pool for an hour with my son and then some home to listen to them playing ball together in the garden. Life is made of those simple, magic pleasures. I felt so grateful to be alive.

Anyway back to my passion with vintage fashion… Having read a 1940s LIFE magazine article that has me now quite interested in other designers of the era including Carolyn Schnurer and Tina Leser, vintage style resort wear is definitely on my mind! And nothing is so classic as the halter- or as synonymous with the 1950’s, thanks largely to Miss Monroe!

1950s style... eternal

1950s style… eternal

Luscious red

Luscious red- 7454 made up in an early 1950s pattern book (Onondaga silk advertisement)… LOVE the cloth covered buttons…

Below is a 50s Vogue Pattern Book image of 7375 (featured in Vogue’s New Book for Better Sewing- don’t you love the old illustrations in these old pattern books. Art in and of themselves. I actually do have this pattern but making Claire McCardell’s wrap dress pattern is more appealing at the moment. Additionally, whilst I have the book, I misplaced it when we moved house last year. Very annoying… I had really wanted to use the book as a reference. Fortunately, I had made a back up on CD (so I could read it on my iPad using “SPLASHTOP”)… but its probably a little lower on the to do list, especially give it is totally backless… That said, I imagine it would be very quick to make!

Vogue 7375 VPB image

Fine lines, empire lines…! A few vintage sewing patterns I have and love…

There is something so alluring and flattering about the empire line… I like patterns that have a straightforward empire line and those that have a midriff waistline.

Pretty McCall 8437- 1940s glamourarama!

Pretty McCall 8437- 1940s glamourarama!

Simplicity 8243

Below  are a few examples of patterns that feature pretty midriffs with gathered bust lines… I really think this style is so classic. These appearances were in the 1940s, 1950s and 1970s…

photo 4 (1)

Whilst McCall 8437 is made up as an evening dress I think the shorter length in cotton would also be fabulous for a Summer dress in cotton- I particularly like the subtle slit at the back.  The zipper is in the side seam and the instructions advocate the use of grosgrain ribbon for a waistline stay. I have actually started to make this in the pineapple cotton of my last post (to go with the bolero)… most of the bodice pieces have been sewn or basted but I will wait to do the side seams and fully attach the midriff until I can do a proper fitting with a view to finishing it by New Years Eve. Who knows what the second pregnancy will do to my waistline! A small price to pay for a bundle of joy… I will also wait to cut the skirt (but the fabric is all ready and waiting). One modification I will be making is to line the midriff.

If you like this pattern I would recommend it because the instructions are actually pretty good, with notes for sheers (ie hand rolled hems) and velvet… the pattern includes a slip pattern. I think this a gem that will be staying in my collection!

I don’t own this Claire McCardell Spadea 707 (the image is from one of my Spadea catalogues) but it is similar to another McCardell pattern I have and top be honest, there were a few “knock offs” of this Style made by some of the mainstream pattern companies that borrowed many elements odf this dress, so keeping my eye out for them on ebay and etsy…

McCardell 707 from spadea catalogue

 

The flutter sleeve variation on this 1970s Style pattern is a pretty variation too….

STYLE 1157 1970s

In progress: A Claire McCardell bolero, In love: a Tina Leser dress

When my son has a night at his grandmother’s the hours I get to myself are precious- and yet I am torn between domestic drudgery (ie the need to get the house cleaned and vacuumed etc) and to sew or progress my projects. This morning will be a bit of both.. and as with all my projects this one is coming along incrementally.

Not the best photo but you get the idea- the dress beneath the bolero has just been used as a prop fopr this snap but it is a Tina Leser Original hostess dress from the 1950s that I fell in love with

Not the best photo but you get the idea- the dress beneath the bolero has just been used as a prop fopr this snap but it is a Tina Leser Original hostess dress from the 1950s that I fell in love with

Retro style pineapple design on Japanese poplin

Retro style pineapple design on Japanese poplin

The bolero on the mannequin has been adapted from the bolero in SPADEA 1055 by Claire McCardell (late 40s/ early 50s design)? An example of the original dress produced by McCardell can be seen here. I lengthened the sleeve a bit and instead of making it in something soft and drapey I have made it in a retro style poplin that I sourced locally but loved,  (by and large I like Japanese made cottons).

As you can see the bolero isn’t meant to meet in the middle and has piping and a spaghetti strap at the waist. I am still thinking about whether I take the same path with this bolero… it is unfinished, but I do see it being worn over a dress in same fabric or a white tshirt and skirt. In the short term, I plan to use it as a quasi bad-jacket at the hospital after little one is born.

Here is another 1950s bolero I have on my to sew list, for this Summer or next- this one does make an appearance in my 1957 Advance catalogue so i can date it pretty accurately.

Talmack for Advance- a tie-at-back bolero

Talmack for Advance- a tie-at-back bolero

 

I appreciate the photos here aren’t marvellous and I would typically show whole pattern images and snaps from my catalogues. However, after I recently found a professional and well known vintage pattern seller was using images from my blog to sell her patterns- WITHOUT acknowledgement I was a bit surprised. I recognised my own work immediately. I was even more surprised (and disgusted) when she said the images were her own and maybe I was “mistaken”. All I wanted was an acknowledgement of the source. Every other image on the page was watermarked except that one.

So blogger beware. The image in question, was of a Givenchy dress  (McCalls 3625)I posted about a couple of years ago.  Same angle, same lighting, same page blemishes, just cropped. Cropping someone’s work doesn’t make it your own… I suppose I was just surprised that someone would do that, put it on their sales website and argue it was theirs… without shame. Fortunately, I do believe in karma. AND I will never buy anything from their online store. So very vintage or not.

So fellow bloggers… maybe watermarking every single image is the only way to go?

Its unfortunate, but until I have the time to watermark images from my catalogues, I cant share them here… sorry fellow sewists!

Anyway, what do you think of the humble 50s bolero? I think they have a place in my wardrobe! Especially with out harsh Aussie sun.

In progress: A Claire McCardell bolero- In love: a Tina Leser dress

When my son has a night at his grandmother’s the hours I get to myself are precious- and yet I am torn between domestic drudgery (ie the need to get the house cleaned and vacuumed etc) and to sew or progress my projects. This morning will be a bit of both… and as with all my projects this one is coming along incrementally.

Not the best photo but you get the idea- the dress beneath the bolero has just been used as a prop for this snap but it is a Tina Leser Original hostess dress from the 1950s that I fell in love with

Not the best photo but you get the idea- the dress beneath the bolero has just been used as a prop fopr this snap but it is a Tina Leser Original hostess dress from the 1950s that I fell in love with

Retro style pineapple design on Japanese poplin

Retro style pineapple design on Japanese poplin

The bolero on the mannequin has been adapted from the bolero in SPADEA 1055 by Claire McCardell (late 40s/ early 50s design)? An example of the original dress produced by McCardell can be seen here. I lengthened the sleeve a bit and instead of making it in something soft and drapey I have made it in a retro style poplin that I sourced locally but loved,  (by and large I like Japanese made cottons).

As you can see the bolero isn’t meant to meet in the middle and has piping and a spaghetti strap at the waist. I am still thinking about whether I take the same path with this bolero… it is unfinished, but I do see it being worn over a dress in same fabric or a white tshirt and skirt. In the short term, I plan to use it as a quasi bad-jacket at the hospital after little one is born.

Here is another 1950s bolero I have on my to sew list, for this Summer or next- this one does make an appearance in my 1957 Advance catalogue so i can date it pretty accurately.

Talmack for Advance- a tie-at-back bolero

Talmack for Advance- a tie-at-back bolero

 

I appreciate the photos here aren’t marvellous and I would typically show whole pattern images and snaps from my catalogues. However, after I recently found a professional and well known vintage pattern seller was using images from my blog to sell her patterns- WITHOUT acknowledgement I was a bit surprised. I recognised my own work immediately. I was even more surprised (and disgusted) when she said the images were her own and maybe I was “mistaken”. All I wanted was an acknowledgement of the source. Every other image on the page was watermarked except that one.

So blogger beware. The image in question, was of a Givenchy dress  (McCalls 3625)I posted about a couple of years ago.  Same angle, same lighting, same page blemishes, just cropped. Cropping someone’s work doesn’t make it your own… I suppose I was just surprised that someone would do that, put it on their sales website and argue it was theirs… without shame. Fortunately, I do believe in karma. AND I will never buy anything from their online store. So very vintage or not.

So fellow bloggers… maybe watermarking every single image is the only way to go?

Its unfortunate, but until I have the time to watermark images from my catalogues, I cant share them here… sorry fellow sewists!

Anyway, what do you think of the humble 50s bolero? I think they have a place in my wardrobe! Especially with out harsh Aussie sun.

The pre baby splurge – the seed pearl brooch

So I am feeling guilty. Very guilty. But happily so. I am not sure what it is about having a baby but I am going to blame a recent spate of retail therapy on “month 8 syndrome”. Month 8 is that uncomfortable month. I am carrying another human. I wear clothes that look the same EVERY day. I long to wear pretty florals, for Spring, to hold my new baby in my arms. And instead, there is the awkwardness of feeling like a huge blimp that now needs help to put on her socks. I can’t wait for our baby girl, but month 8 is cruel, I tell you (I say that with a smile).

The Canberra Antiques and Collectables Fair

The Canberra Antiques and Collectables Fair

So the most recent little dose of retail therapy was last night at the Canberra Antiques and Collectables Fair at Albert Hall. I was disappointed there was very little sewing related except a card of mother of pearl buttons (yes, really). So I was delighted when on my way towards the exit (and I made my way through crowds 15 minutes after the opening as people jostled and trays of canapés were offered around), I spyed this little beauty stuck amongst other trinkets to a maroon velvet pillow.

The seed pearl brooch

The seed pearl brooch

I love the brooch for its simplicity and understated elegance. No rhinestones or faux gems. The dealer said 30s or 40s, but who knows, really? I couldn’t help recalling a pearl  (excuse the pun) from Claire McCardell’s “What Shall I Wear”: “Tiffany would label my collection junk. But to me it is very special junk that I have been collecting… make each piece your own,” The minute I saw this, I loved it. They are seed pearls, not particularly valuable at all but I thought it would go with just about anything- especially great against black- and reminded me also of the famous Schiaparelli bow jumper that catapulted her from artist to designer. Besides, I reasoned, it would be the perfect brooch to loan my daughter on special occasions as she gets older. Eight months pregnant and I am already dreaming we might one day be friends.

And right now a very special shipment of old Vogue catalogues is making its way from Oregon to Australia… it should arrive this week… finally! I can hardly wait!