A Pocketful of vintage fashion love

Feautured in a 1950's Vogue magazine, this coat by Schiaparelli showcases some gorgeous pocket details. Incidentally, the coat was made into a Vogue Paris Original model

Feautured in a 1950’s Vogue magazine, this coat by Schiaparelli showcases some gorgeous pocket details. Incidentally, the coat was made into a Vogue Paris Original model

I was absolutely thrilled to discover Kenneth D King’s Craftsy class on pockets (including welt and double welt) and of course this ended up being a little Christmas present for myself.

Pockets are one of those things that I think can make or break an outfit, much like an accessory, really… if the pockets are horrendous, the whole garment takes on an unappealing look… if they are well done, they are a subtle support to the lead role: the overall garment’s design.

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I have started watching his class having tried to do welt pockets a few times on my own… I think its excellent to have the opportunity to see other people’s techniques and ever since, i have been looking at pockets with less horror and more a sense of challenge. In 2015 I would really like to get around to making myself a tweed suit or coat (with a baby that may be dreaming) but it doesn’t mean I can think it through, plan, and start the learning process to finalise my design decisions.I would also like to use some of my newly acquired pocket making skills to take my sewing for Little Miss M and the Little Prince to a whole new level.. why shouldn’t children’s garments be beautifully tailored and beautifully made. Its not my intention to compete with the muscle of a factory in China in terms of cost… but certainly in terms of quality, attention to detail… that is why I sew.

I have started going through some of my vintage patterns looking for some welt pockets to make up as “test pieces” but Mr King’s class also provides templates for practice.

Garment featured in a 1950s Vogue/ Harper's Bazaar magazine...

Garment featured in a 1950s Vogue/ Harper’s Bazaar magazine…

Garments featured in 1950s Vogue and Harper's Bazaar magazines... love these pocket details!

Garments featured in 1950s Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar magazines… love these pocket details!

A coat featured in  a1950s Vogue/ Harper's Bazaar magazine... sleek. Chic!

A coat featured in a1950s Vogue/ Harper’s Bazaar magazine… sleek. Chic!

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Life’s a Beach … Take the phone off the hook…

How is your post Christmas holiday going? We are enjoying a few days at Culburra Beach on the New South Wales South Coast- thanks to the generosity of my older brother who has been cooking for us and providing plentiful amounts of good coffee. Its wonderful to get out of your daily routine, to relax, to enjoy family… Culburra Beach is a typically example of the “Great Aussie beach”… Here are some pics to share with you…

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Of course I couldn’t post without a little vintage fashion pleasure to share also… here are a few magazines I picked up at an antique store in Kangaroo Valley on the drive here. The drive is only supposed to be 3 hours from Canberra, but throw in two children in the mix and you can make that 5 (with stopovers etc)!

The last picture is an advertisement from VOGUE, July 1951… can you recognise the model? This (later) world famous actress modelled part time before she made it big… it was interesting to find the advert for “Lacto-Calamine”

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Merry Christmas world!

My little girl has just popped in to say “hello”, it is her first Christmas, after all! Wearing a Liberty lawn outfit made by Mummy- a top to match the pantaloons of several posts ago… Sorry, the full length is obscured by the bouncer belt, but you get the gist… ūüėČ

Doesn’t she just melt your heart…? Like I have said, I am in love.

Best wishes and a Merry Christmas to all!

Liberty love, baby love!

Liberty love, baby love! (Liberty lawn: mauvey and mauverina prints)

The Geranium dress

I must be the only person on the internet that hadn’t made this dress until now, so I present: the Geranium dress (Made by Rae pattern). So its a good thing that this should be one of my final “makes” for 2014.

The pattern comes highly recommended on many, many sewing blogs and with good reason: there are no set in sleeves but cap sleeves that are created when the bodice is cut; the bodice is neatly lined in a¬†fashion familiar to anyone who has made the Oliver and S bubble dress. It also has a number of options suggested to customise whether its a gathered or pleated skirt, sleeveless or cap sleeves etc… in that sense it is a fabulous pattern. If you only had a handful¬†of little girl designs in your stash, this would definitely stretch to accommodate a number of pretty Summer dresses that you might want to to make. It is relatively quick. It is relatively easy. These factors alone seem to be enough to have earned the pattern¬†a huge following. It is not (I don’t think) a ground breaking design, its not fussy or complicated… but it is accessible to most sewers with such a pretty outcome. I think thats why it has become so loved.

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My version is in a Liberty floral with the cap sleeves, 3-6 month size with a green peekaboo ric-rac trim, made in a way I had seen on various kids clothes websites and that I had been itching to try. I think it works?

Perfect for my baby girl over the holidays, when she isn’t kicking around in the two versions of the custom lace trim pantaloons I made her. Incidentally,¬†those Liberty lawn pantaloons are two of my favourite garments in her wardrobe and are constant, high rotation! Perfect with one of the many bodysuits and the ruffles at the bottom keep her feet from being burnt in the car capsule when we are driving around – and no need for socks in our hot Summer weather. So love them!

Want to make your own geranium dress and looking for inspiration? Here are some links to other cute geranium dresses made up and photographed for the web: here, here and here.

Under siege. A Geranium dress is started

Gary and Margot 9Nov2014 hands

“Its been a very unhappy week,” I confessed to my husband

“Its been a very unhappy week for Australia,” he replied.

This evening as I slow danced with my daughter, locked in my arms, her head to my shoulder and listened to the sound of her breathing whilst my son played about my knees and laughed and giggled and clambered and shouted… like the cute, noisy little munchkin that he is. I thought about how it really felt like a lack lustre lead up to my favourite time of year. It is a week before Christmas…

Admittedly, “the Siege” (or hostage crisis) that occurred in Sydney earlier this week coloured some of the days that followed. I was up at 2am feeding my daughter when the storming of the Lindt cafe was televised. Like many other Australians I have spent time in the area where the siege took place and worked in Sydney’s CBD at different points in my career. I woke my husband up. We watched it together. We sat in front of our tv contemplating the fact that before our eyes, real time, people were being killed.

I was in Toronto when September 11 occurred and it was very much the same feeling- that sadness- that in the world we live in  people can act in a way, for whatever reason that is truly vile. Senseless violence, needless death. Heavy words for what is essentially sewing blog!

The thing is, the woman who died in the siege was exactly my age. She finished high school when I did. She had three children, the youngest about the age of my son. All week, that woman and her family played on my mind… that on Monday morning when she walked out the door and said her goodbyes to her family, she could have had no way of knowing that she would never see them again. She had probably Christmas plans to look forward to, presents to wrap for her kids if they weren’t already hidden… This might also have been her favourite time of year.

So what do we do in this crazy world when something like this happens? What can we really do? Well.. I started sewing a Geranium dress. This is not a stellar, worldly important thing to do. But it is what I do. Sewing, creating is¬†the activity the has become my anchor in a sea of days. It is a¬†humble act. This dress will be a gift for my baby daughter, a little piece of stitches and patterns¬†that may one day be forgotten… but is really the workmanship of my hands and heart saying “I love you… you have that” even if I can’t ever fully protect my children from some of the awful things that happen in the world. (I also have some¬†sandbox pants (Oliver and S) cut from Birch organic¬†wave for my son, waiting to be assembled…)

My husband has just handed me an omlette on a bagel. He is tired, he has just driven three hours each way to his Uncle’s funeral. He hates cooking. Yes,its been a lousy week, but somehow with these little gestures, these little forms of “I love you” we all get by.

I promise my following posts will be less somber but I want to add something my dad once told me about how he coped after Vietnam… and he almost never spoke about it or the friends he lost. But I am sharing it with you, my reader in the internet abyss… He said “You live your life for them, knowing it could have been you. You were only separated by luck,”

We are all separated by luck, and when this stuff happens I think its really about cherishing what we have and not wasting a minute or an opportunity for a full life, for joy. Life is short, dear reader.

If all else fails, try online shopping. (joke)

Next post: a HAPPY update on my Geranium dress in Liberty red floral…

Now, for a glass of red wine…!

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.

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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!