So much style and history… in a Morrison’s bag

I thought you might like a look in more detail at that Ebay haul I won in July.

morrisons bag of patterns

Their arrival was a little ungainly to say the least. Not damaged in any way but clearly hurriedly bundled and tied up in… a Morrison’s bag. Not that there’s anything wrong with Morrison’s. But I did have a moment of OMG have I just bought a sack full of rubbish?! Surely these antique patterns deserved a carriage with a little more style!

I gingerly untied the knotted handles. Actually that’s a lie. I completely tore the bag apart because I couldn’t wait a minute more. Was a bit whiffy to say the least! But I can totally forgive the smell, the packaging and the wait.

I think I am still gobsmacked.

For starters, almost all of them are my bust size which means the only alterations will be to the waist and hip. So much less faffing. Even the few that are too small will be worth the adjustments. And I tell no lies when I say that each and every one was a doozy. Most of them unused and uncut.

The first little beauty that caught my eye was this cut out cover of Home Notes. A delight in itself but what was the chance of the patterns for these beauties being inside?

home notes 1939 coverEvery little lovely chance. I had guessed 1940s by the styling but in fact this unused and perfectly preserved pattern is nicely dated October 7th 1939:

four frocks tissue 1939

Love the bit about: “Other sizes… obtainable FREE on application”. Can you imagine that happening nowadays?

I can’t find dates on most of the patterns but all are truly vintage and very beautiful. This is the first I’ve heard of Economy Design patterns. And I feel pretty damned lucky to have landed these lovelies:

Economy design patterns 161, 197, 198
Economy design patterns 161, 197, 198

Next up is a more familiar name, Simplicity. These stylish little numbers have all their pieces in tact, despite the damage to the envelopes. In fact the one on the right had some very interesting accompanying material!

simplicity patterns 3979, 4494, 8488
Simplicity patterns 3979, 4494, 8488

Whoever Mrs Poole was – the name on most of the mail order pattern envelopes – she was a lady of very fine taste with impeccable organisational skills. In the envelope with Simplicity 8488 (above right) there was this cutting:

simplicity suit cuttingGreat to see these vintage patterns in ‘real life’ photos. And it makes me love the ensemble even more! Also inside the envelope (from Readers Digest) was each copied piece of the pattern, traced and labelled with precision onto a 1960s edition of the Daily Express. This is one of the reasons that all these patterns are in such great condition and seemingly unused. Mrs Poole has dutifully copied them and kept the originals factory folded. This has given me a fine source of entertainment too, reading all the snippets of the papers. This one quite topical: “Billie Holmes, 24 year old Hull engineer, won the first Olympic cycling road race trial yesterday – by ONE inch. And this victory, over 96 miles near Chesham, Buckinghamshire, strengthens his claim for Rome spot……”

1960 olympic reference

Thank you Mrs P.

Leach Way Patterns is a new one on me too. Any one heard of these? The dress pattern was still in it’s original mail order envelope which is date stamped 1949, so I might be inclined to date the coat and the suit around that time too. Needless to say, all three in perfect condition.

Leach way patterns, 12536, 12375, 12963
Leach way patterns 12375, 12536, 12963

Weldons is a name I recognise. I have a couple in my collection already and I love how they are always so incredibly stylish and yet a little bit quirky.

Weldons patterns 143 and 151
Weldons patterns 143 and 151

Now I am assuming ‘Womans Day’ was a womans magazine and this was a supplement… correct me if I’m wrong:

womans day gift book
womans day gift book

But even better still, than this cheeky little gift book, the blouses featured on the cover and in centre spread are an exclusive Norman Hartnell pattern and all the appropriate pieces are present and correct in this gorgeous little pattern envelope:

Normal Hartnell blouse patterns
Normal Hartnell blouse patterns

I love this 40s (?) McCalls suit. It is so reminiscent of the suits my grandma used to wear:

McCall 6780
McCall 6780

And who could resist running up a few slips and bloomers for under their vintage dresses?

Style 4469 slips and bloomers
Style 4469 slips and bloomers

Woman’s Realm was defo one of my mum’s reads. So these conjure up a bit of nostalgia. I love the first dress. It’s numbered WR.1. I wonder if that is the first ever dress pattern issued by Woman’s Realm? The middle one is far too small for me in any case but the wedding dress with a few adjustments, I’m sure would be really flattering. I do like an empire waistline.

Womans realm patterns
Womans Realm patterns

Here’s a classy Dior number from Woman’s Journal:

Womans Journal Dior pattern
Womans Journal Dior pattern

There’s a couple of other great coat patterns too. One from Odhams and the other from Woman’s Own magazine. I am thinking of making a coat. Just thinking, for now!!

Odhams and Woman's Own coat patterns
Odhams and Woman’s Own coat patterns

I think Mrs P was too as there were various cuttings of coat images too:

coat newspaper cuttingIt’s amazing that all the pieces seem to be present for these Du Barry patterns. Whatever their pattern envelopes were made of they certainly disintegrate in a big brittlesome way.  But look how Mrs P (I presume) has lovingly recreated the image herself. Don’t you just love the sharpness of these suits and frocks?

Du Barry patterns
Du Barry patterns

I do like a shirtwaist dress and was delighted to find this one from Woman’s Weekly in the bundle. Woman’s Weekly was another of my mum’s reads. I distinctly remember the pink header and the elongated type on the cover:

Woman's Weekly B170
Woman’s Weekly B170

Here’s a smart little dress suit from The People. One day, one day!:

The People 794
The People 794

There was one little girls pattern included in the bundle. I would love my youngest daughter to wear little vintage dresses but I think there is some chance and no chance of that ever happening 🙁

Butterick 9161
Butterick 9161

Most of the other patterns were from Woman magazine. Another of the larger format mags if I rightly remember. And what a fine selection we have here:

Woman patterns
Woman patterns

And imagine how excited I got when this one jumped out at me:

Woman Hardy Amies exclusive pattern
Woman Hardy Amies exclusive pattern

With all supporting cuttings once again:

Hardy Amies cutting

I love the collar and the buttoned hip pockets. Not to mention the self covered buttons all the ways down, ooo… and the self covered belt. How amazing would that be?!
Woman cover

I am soooo making that Hardy Amies number!

And this wrap dress from Woman looks so much more inspirational in the mag too:

Woman 479 wrap dress
Woman 479 wrap dress

wrap dress mag cutting

And, if ever I am going to make a pair of ‘Trews’, it is going to be this pair! I love that they are called ‘trews’. I thought that was a term only used and made up by my mum!

Woman p132 Trews
Woman p132 Trews

Apart from the masses of cuttings that I still have to sift through – believe me, there are stacks of pattern pieces cut out from really old newspapers – the above are without edits, the most amazing collection of patterns ever. Not one duff one among them. Well…. there was this strange one…

Woman p131 hats bed jackets and duck
Woman p131 bed-jacket, bolero, hats and duck

…which has to win the prize of most random pattern ever!!

The Daphne dress

In between the quilting and the vintage dresses and the obsessive pattern buying I’m quite often being art-directed by Little Miss Ooobop! for her next dressing up party outfit. Today was her friend’s birthday party, Scooby Doo was the theme and she wanted to be Daphne.

Daphne from Scooby Doo

Burda Style 10/2010 came in handy, and not for the first time, with a great kids pattern for a long T shirt. The original had a button placket and long sleeves which wasn’t an option for Daphne’s dress. Believe me, LMO does her homework good and proper. The only requested variation was that the dress had short sleeves in case it was sunny. She wasn’ t wrong, that daughter of mine… what a glorious sunny day we had today.

The fabric is a mauve stretch cotton jersey which we found in the first shop we went into! And at £3.99 a metre, a bit of a bargain too! The satin bias trim was from my favourite haberdasher stall in Shepherds Bush market for 40p a metre! No other notions. A v-neckline makes sure of that.

Daphne pose

To alter the pattern I simply cut the the body back and front on the fold, ignoring the placket shape. I lengthened by 4 inches and changed the neckline to a V-shape. And shortened the sleeves of course.

I used the trusty side-cutter to do a faux serge on the seams. Honestly it works like a treat! And I used a stretch stitch to finish the hems on the skirt and the sleeves. I have finished a v-neckline with stretch jersey once before, on my spotty top, and it was great to practice it once again. In fact I think I did a much better job this time!

LMO with missL

The hairband is quite literally a tube of the stretch jersey. A head measurement minus an inch. No elastic involved. I just relied on the stretch of the fabric and it was fine. I wasn’t going to get too bogged down with it as it was going to get ruined by orange hair spray in any case!

The neckscarf is half a metre of finest lime green polyester, seamed all round with a gap for turning! Actually I was lucky to be served half a metre. Apparently only regular customers get that deal!

The only tricky thing about this project was getting said daughter to pose. It’s getting harder and harder to get her to willingly and graciously pose. It normally involves hard cash but today we got off light with a double scoop ice-cream!

Daphne with ice cream

Vintage patterns on Ebay… but not for the faint-hearted.

Mostly I am not very good at bidding on Ebay. Which is a good thing because I could very easily spend a fortune on vintage patterns and fabric. Don’t get me wrong. I do win bids, but at a price. The original quest for a vintage pattern at a bargain becomes a fight with an undisclosed bidder whom I  won’t let get the better of me. And thus the whole bargain thing goes right out the window.

Well it depends how you look at it I guess. I am currently ‘watching’ Vintage 1940s, 1950s job lot of sewing patterns & ephemera 30+ patterns.

My original bid was for £30. That’s what I was willing to pay and if I lost then that should have been the end of it. But no. Somebody had the cheek to outbid me. So I upped it to £42.02. That should trick ’em, I thought! Then, when they up their bid to £40 they will think I’ve bid a lot higher, and give up, and let me have all those lovely patterns. But no. They’ve gone to £52.69 and there is 13 minutes remaining. I am actually biting my nails. What do I do? Hang on in there? Bid at the last minute? But at what price? That’s £22.69 more than I wanted to spend. But they’ve got to be worth at least £5 each, surely. That makes £150. I’m so not paying that. Going to go for £70 top whack.12 minutes, 30 seconds to go. My heart thinks I’ve just run around the block at least 5 times. £75.27 in the maximum bid box. That should do the trick…..just in case they’ve got plans on £70. 10 minutes 36, shall I ‘place bid’ now? No. Hold tight. They might be thinking the same. Its been a while since I’ve bid. They will think I’ve lost interest. 7 minutes 8 seconds. Do I really want these. Haven’t I got enough already? Maybe. But I wont be beat. Especially by someone who refuses to reveal their identity! 6 m 9s. Not yet. Hold back. Don’t give them time to respond…

I left it ’til 20 seconds to go. And I confirmed my max bid at £75.27… knowing I shouldn’t really. £53.69 accepted. Phew! glad it wasn’t the full max bid…and I pipped that bidder to the post… oh yeah… oh yeah!

Here is a section of my prize haul which I won, just now, fair and square (… oh yeah!):

1940s and 1950s patterns won on EbayWhen they arrive for real I will give them the proper photoshoot they deserve. Not sure I can cope with that amount of stress again in a hurry. And really, I do now have enough patterns… I do now have enough patterns… I do now have enough patterns… don’t I?

 

1940s shirt dress revisited

1940s red shirt dress

I always wondered why, with all the patterns in the world, would I ever make one twice? In the case of my peasant tops, here and here, I can only say it was because they were dead easy and required little brainpower, perfect for a late night sew. But in the case of this dress, the rationale was purely because I’ve never had a dress I feel so at home in! I had in my head, that I was a simple shift dress girl but actually I think I’m more of a shirt-dress girl!

1940s red shirt dress

Without the association of the pattern, I wonder if anyone would guess it dated back to the 1940s? Do you think it’s obvious? Or have I been looking at vintage patterns for so long now, I think they are the norm?! Perhaps if I were to style it with appropriate accessories: hat, bag and gloves, it might give the game away, but – dressed traditionally sporting wellies and a brolly – I think it also crosses over as a modern shirt dress too.

I’d like to tell you what this fabric is but I have no idea! It’s red and it’s 100% cotton for sure. Kind of like a cheesecloth seersucker but not, and vaguely reminiscent of my candlewick beadspread I had as a child… without the little soft threads that pulled out oh-so satisfyingly easily! I thought it might be ribbed cotton. I’ve heard that mentioned before but I really haven’t a clue. It was kindly donated to me by a friend who desperately needed to get rid of a big bag of fabric… I could never be like that! And I knew what ‘the red’ was destined for immediately.

1940s shirt dress detail

It came together sweetly as before with the addition of a few minor changes. I added a third button just because I love the little ‘targets’ and two didn’t showcase them enough. They cost £2.45 for six, bought at the London Vintage Fashion, Textiles and Accessories Fair, September 2011 and I think they are vey happy on this dress!

target button detail

I made it an extra inch longer, but really could have gone for 2 inches… oooh, I am getting brave in my old age!

length of skirt

I also added an extra inch around the midriff, knowing the struggle I have to get the dress on, over my head and judging by the photos of the last dress, it does look a bit snug. But it was highly unnecessary on this version. The mystery fabric, unlike the shoe fabric, has a lot more give and resulted in little poofy bits at the sides. I put it on the mannequin and looked at it for a few days, wondering if I could get away with it. I probably could have done, but it would have annoyed the hell out of me!

dress before alteration

And so… I sensibly turned the dress inside out and chalked and basted where I wanted the new line of stitching to be. Namely half an inch in from the original seam, starting from just above the waist, in a straight line up to the armscye. I tried it on again and was much happier with the silhouette.

Dutifully, I removed the basting and unpicked the topstitching where the midriff meets the bodice. I sewed the new side seams on the bodice over the chalkines. Sewed the new side seam on the right side of the midriff section and trimmed the left side opening to match (where the zipper goes).

I must be getting better at this. I would never have had the patience to do that a few years ago! But it was of course, worth it and now I am a happier bunny!

Here is a picture of the zip in the side seam. Once I’d sewn one size of the zipper in place, I made sure to make chalk marks where the midriff needed to line up. I pinned the second side of the zip to those marks first and then pinned the rest. Worked like a treat!

zipper detail

I opted for longer sleeves this time. Not full length, just three quarters. Mr Ooobop! thinks they will annoy me being so fitted and I have a little tendency to agree but I wanted to see how it affected the overall look.

I’m intrigied by the construction of the sleeve with darts to shape the lower arm. I guess this is a vintage thing because, to date, I have not come across these in a modern pattern.

vintage sleeve darts

Allowing for adjustments, this dress did seem to take longer than the first. About 5 evenings after work, spread over a couple of weeks. I have been really keen to see it finished but not so keen that I wanted to rush it and ruin it! And in any case I had to wait for Mr Ooobop! to be around to do his usual photo magic . . . and for the sun to come out! Well, we gave up waiting for the sunshine!

1940s red dress in the rain

I’m sure that this little revisitation wont be the last but I do have an incredibly long list of other ‘wannamakes’ to tend to first, so its back into the envelope and into the box ’til next time!

Do you like to revisit a favourite pattern or do you prefer to try something new every time?

back of dress

butterick 2638

Vintage pattern treat time!

I know, I know, I know… I have enough patterns to sink a battleship. Well that’s what I’m contantly being told. But it’s not strictly true, is it? I would need quite a few more, actually, to really make that happen! Plus, I haven’t bought any in aaaages!

Truth is, I really (honestly) didn’t have many cool blouse and top patterns. But now I have!!

McCalls 5605 vintage pattern tops

Somplicity 2195 vintage blouse pattern

Simplicity 4606 vintage blouse pattern

I’m hoping these vintage top patterns will transform into a lovely collection of go-to tops for those panic mornings when I’ve come flying out the shower to find an outfit in 5 minutes for work! They all call for polka dots, stripes and gingham and I will find it hard to go outside of those boxes but will have fun trying!

Oh and this little 40s dress was just waiting to be ‘saved’ by me. Would have been plain rude not to!

Advance 3883 40s dress pattern

1940s dress styles are fast becoming my favourite and my best! I love how fitting they are without being too saucy!  I have only made this one to date but it happens to be the most comfortable and flattering dress and always gets lovely compliments. I am currently working on another version in a solid colour and I am also reminded how simple the pattern is too, thank goodness!

What is your favourite era for patterns? Or do you prefer modern ones?

The 1940s Shoe Dress

1940s shoe dress

I do believe I have just made my most fitting and appropriate dress for this lovely hot summer we have just entered into. And it’s covered in shoes! And it fits in with this weeks Sew Weekly challenge, ‘Inspired by the 1940s’. And I just realised it matches my Ooobop header too! I am just a little bit happy!

1940s shoe dress

Last July, I posted about the ‘shoe fabric’, quite sure it was destined to be a 1950s shirt buttoned dress. The pattern had to be just right. I wasn’t going to waste that fabric, even if it did only cost a fiver! That was until I found this amazing pattern for a 1940s shirt buttoned dress which was spot on.

butterick 2638

I was sold on the midriff! I knew it would be flattering, it was just a question of how the shirt top would fit. Well it all went together like a dream. I took 5 inches off the length, worried as usual about the granny factor but actually I might be inclined to leave it a bit longer next time. And yes, there will so totally be a next time! The other alterations I made included adding 2 inches to the waist, being careful to add it to the shirt top and the midriff and the top of the skirt.

1940s shoe dress pleats

I was a bit worried about the gathering ‘poofing’ out the skirt section so I replaced the gathers with soft pleats. I know it kind of takes away a bit of the authenticity but I think its a lot more flattering. I also included a little turn up on the sleeves, as I did with my wing collar shirt. Just a little detail but I think it finishes a short sleeve much better and gives a little more interest.

1940s shoe dress front

I so enjoy a good old rummage in the button tin. I quite often had my whole head in my mum’s button tin when I was little and so the whole searching for the right button thing generates such a nostalgic feeling which escalates to pure joy when you find the perfect ones! These two little red beauties were 2 of a little set so kindly gifted to me by Rachel at House of Pinheiro as a thank you for doing a little guest spot over at her place! Gotta love this whole blogging thing!

1940s shirt dress buttons

The back of the dress is finished off nicely with side-ties that tie in a little bow at the back which also serve as a great device to hide the near invisible side zip.

1940s shirt dress back

Of course, there are no prizes for guessing who took the lovely photos! Mr Ooobop! is so clever and so willing and so lovely. My blog would be truly rubbish without his wonderful photos.

1940s dress yellow backgroundWe had such fun taking these today, en route to lunch in a local pub garden…. and then onto dinner at our local Italian restaurant, Casa Mia. Totally indulgent day today but it wasn’t our fault. It was all sunny and everything and we were seriously confused into thinking we were on holiday!

1940s dress sunshine

Sewing, Sunshine, park life, Prosecco and pizza….and more sunshine! I am so easily pleased!

The audition dress!

V8280 audition dress

I made this dress last weekend to wear to an audition on Friday. I’m afraid I can not speak of the adventures it had or the reaction it got as I am sworn to a confidentiality agreement so I can only tell of the making of the dress itself!

V8280 Roland Mouret dress

I’m sure, for most of you lovely sewing people out there, you have already guessed it to be the Roland Mouret knock off by Vogue – pattern no V8280 – the Galaxy Dress. But perhaps it wasn’t instantly recognisable without its signature sleeves.

V8280 galaxy dress

On reading lots of reviews about how the sleeves would be best placed on a pitch against the New York Giants, I did run up a quick toile to test out their outrageousness. I wasn’t too scared by them but I wanted this dress to be right and not feel too self-conscious in it! So I went for Vew A. It looks a bit boring on the envelope but I do believe this is probably the classiest dress I’ve made to date.

v8280 sewing pattern

Might have something to do with fabric choice though. I’ve come to realise that the longer I keep up this sewing lark, the more choosy I’m getting about quality of materials. For sure I still love a charity shop find but in truth, nothing beats shopping specifically for the most appropriate fabric. I needed to impress with this dress so it had to be good stuff. I chose wool crepe and silk lining. Oh what luxury! I have really started something now! Just look at the texture in that wool…

wool crepe texture

I love the way that it pressed so beautifully yet didn’t crease too much when it was worn.The wool crepe was £15.99 and the silk lining £6.99 a metre from one of my favourite fabric shops in the Goldhawk Road. Probably my most expensive make, around £42 in total but the blow was softened after I checked the prices of similar wool and silk in Berwick Street, London…. more like £30 – £80 a metre!!!!

If I’d have had the time, I would have made a full toile to check the sizing properly. I overestimated the sizing of the bodice and ended up taking it in by 3 inches under the arms. I will definitely take it down a size next time. And oh yes, there will be a next time!

This is also my first experience working with a modern Vogue pattern. I have heeded the warning of others about their ‘vague’ instructions, but I found this one to be very simple to put together. Bearing in mind I didn’t go for the sleeves!

Once you get the hang of the ‘flanges’… lol – or once you get used to calling them ‘flanges’ – it will all make perfect sense. And they do help to create a very flattering neckline. I chose the sweetheart neckline just because I think its more feminine and reminiscent of  glamourous ’40s ladies.

sweetheart neckline

Working with this fabric was a dream and made inserting a zip and lining up darts and seams, a breeze.

v8280 back view

invisible zipper

There were no instructions to fully line the dress, only to line the bodice. But from past experience I know I will never get away with an unlined skirt. My biggest fashion blunder was to take my coat off in the entrance to a party only to find out my unlined dress had ridden all the way up to my armpits. The worst (or most life-saving moment) of that was that another guest had to tell me. Otherwise I’d have strutted my stuff onto the dance floor like a complete fool, outdoing any Bridget Jones moment! And so I cut the lining, the same as the skirt but with an additional half inch added to the side of each piece. I sewed the back seam from the zipper opening to the top of the vent and the side seams but didn’t make the darts. I pinned the waist of the lining to seam allowance of the skirt section, first pinning at the side seams, then to the back openings, with one pin at the centre front. I then folded pleats at the dart positions and pinned those in place before sewing to the seam allowance all round.

I’m not entirely sure this was the best way forward. There may be more professional ways of doing this but it worked, for me, anyhows!

I bound the hem with bias tape and machine hemmed the lining. Tricky old stuff, silk lining. Seems to carry far more static than poly lining, when ironed. But boy does it feel good! Raising one’s own standards is very amusing!!

bound hem

And all that is left to say is thank you once again to Mr Ooobop! for being amazing in every way. Not only does he dutifully take lovely photos for me, he is the most amazing support for my often waining morale and makes me so happy… gush gush!

He will insist on a leg shot though!

side detail on tights

Ooobop! party dress

party dress back view

I have been designing this dress in my head for quite some time. I design a lot of things in my head –in the shower, on the bus, when I’m meant to be doing something else and when I’m nodding off to sleep – it’s a busy old head!

Anyhows, an invitation to the gorgeous Rhonda’s 30th bitthday party was a great prompt to put some of these ideas into action. I met Rhonda’s mum, Tina many moons ago when we moved next door to her and she soon became more than a neighbour. More confidante, great friend and the most wonderful childminder to my son. So this party was really a family affair and I needed a dress.

party dress full skirt

I’ve got real issues with buying clothes from high street shops nowadays. I haven’t bought anything new (save underwear and shoes, of course!) in over a year and get much more satisfaction in making something myself or striking lucky in charity shops. I did think about making it a conscious decision when I started this blog but I know how flaky I can be and I didn’t think I could stick to that rule. Turns out I didn’t have to make it a rule. It happened quite naturally. I much prefer dreaming of what I want and making it or ‘rescuing’ from charity shops rather than settling for what’s out there. And now I really feel like I’ve moved on.

party dress twirl

This is my first dreamt of, self-designed and handmade dress. And I am chuffed to bits. The bodice pattern is slightly modified from Burda Style’s Wedding Special, issue March 2011. It has a v-back, a high neckline and is perfectly fitted with waist and bust darts. Below is the bridesmaid dress as featured in the magazine.

burda bridesmaid dress

The skirt section is self-drafted. It is a circle skirt with the inner circumference double the waist. The fabric is either silk or cotton, a silky cotton… or maybe a cotton silk! I did a burn test and it burnt to dust so its definitely void of any synthetic fibres! I had enough of it to self-line the bodice and it feels lovely against my skin and was cool enough under the flashing lights on the dance floor!

party dress front

I made the sash from a 3 metre, double layer length of chiffon, tapered at the ends and top-stitched.

party dress sash detail

The rose print allowed for some interesting placement on the back. Quite happy about that!

party dress back

The dress is worn over an organza petticoat, again, self-drafted, which although not complicated, was more of a test of my patience than the dress. I will blog the petticoat separately given that I haven’t taken any photos of it yet.

Unsurprisingly I didn’t get chance to hem the skirt by hand. And in a way, I’m quite glad I didn’t spend the time – can’t imagine how long it would take – I went for a machined baby hem instead.  First I ran a line of stitching, a seam width, along the hemline. I used this as a pressing guide and it pressed up beautifully. I then tucked in the raw edge to the fold and machined again, using my quarter inch foot which made it really easy to keep a small and consistent hem. I was careful not to stretch the fabric as I went round so it didn’t pucker. I pressed it again… this fabric really is a pleasure to iron!

The most amazing thing about this dress is that it cost £3.50! £3 on the fabric – an incredibly lucky find in a charity shop – and 50p on the invisible zip. The sash cost much the same!

The fabric was a little slippery and needed lots of pins to hold in place. This is my first dress in a silky fabric and I anticipated it being troublesome. That said, I really worked fast on this dress. Mostly because I had a party to go to and I suppose because there was no expense at stake… apart from my time! It irons beautifully and hangs so effortlessly so I can forgive the grief it gave!

It took one evening to draft the skirt pattern, cut the fabric and assemble/line the bodice; a couple of hours to sew the skirt on to the bodice (I am really not a fan of gathering!!) and putting in the zip. I hand finished the inside lining, hemmed the skirt and made the sash the morning of the party.

I’m very pleased with how it turned out. I love the fabric and Im happy that a special stash piece got used for an appropriate project. It was just waiting for the right moment!

Thank you to Mr Ooobop! for the ‘action photos’ and lots of lovely birthday wishes to Rhonda x

Peggy Pickles Pillowcase Post…

What a great post on Peggy Pickle’s blog this morning. Lots of lovely images showing the children of Great Mercy school and orphanage, western Kenya, wearing their pillowcase dresses. Alison did such a fab job organising this and a lot of fun was had in the making and embellishing of them. I have so enjoyed following her progress and seeing what a difference it makes.

I really wasn’t expecting to see any of the few that I made among the hundreds that were made and shipped but to my surprise, peeking out from the back row, 2nd in from the left, I do believe that’s one that I embellished at the Pillowcase Embellishment party.

pink pillowcase dress

pink bows

Dead chuffed to see it in situ and so very glad to have played my tiny part in this fabulous project. Well done Peggy Pickles. You are a star!

B4320 Dorothy dress for World Book Day

B4320 dorothy dress
B4320 Dorothy dress

World Book Day was last Friday but as luck would have it, Little Miss Ooobop’s school had to delay the fun by a week which gave me 10 days to get my act together. She had already decided upon Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and I was quite relieved to be honest! The aim was not to overcomplicate issues this time! Well that was the thought.

Butterick B4320 comes with a hundred miles of tissue pattern for each of the 5 very different costumes. It was bulging at the seams when factory folded so you can imagine me trying to stuff it all back in after I’d wrestled with it on the living room floor. Needless to say, the Dorothy pieces have been separated out into their own envelope for easy retrieval… if there is a next time!

B4320_Butterick_childrens_costumes
B4320_Butterick_childrens_costumes

Though pretty easy to follow, this pinafore dress is incredibly well thought-out and is not throwaway costume stuff. The waistband is cut on the bias which gives a good, comfortable fit as are the straps and the top band of the bib. Each of those pieces are interfaced and faced and the inside facings are hand-stitched for a really neat finish inside. The back of the skirt has a zip in the back centre seam. Its been a while since I sewed anything but an invisible one but I quite like sewing in the ‘visible’ ones too! The straps cross over at the back and button on the inside though to be honest the buttons would have been a nice feature on the back too. This was a first time using the buttonhole stitch on the Brother machine and it sewed like a dream.  The two white buttons on the front waist band are for decorative purposes only but I think they are really cute!

The only tricky thing about making this was when I ironed the fusible interfacing to the waistband. The iron was too hot, on steam setting and I managed to stretch it out two inches bigger than it was supposed to be! Easily recified though. (Rather than cut another one…) I just put the waistband facing on top and trimmed the excess!

The fabric was a timely find in a charity shop. I had seen it the week before, thinking it would make a lovely blouse. Its 100% cotton. but held back with stash mountain in mind. So when LMO brought up the subject of Dorothy I made it my first point of call the next day and the fact that it was still there was amazing! £2 for a proper Dorothy pinafore dress is pretty good going methinks, even though its not proper gingham but ‘mum’s the word’!

You may have noticed I didn’t go the whole hog and make the underdress too. I was up ’til midnight on the pinafore… I wasn’t about to do another shift for the underdress… I’ve got a jacket to finish, don’t you know?! And so, did you recognise the little top underneath? It’s actually my peasant top I made last April 2011. I just pulled up the elastic round the neck and ‘hey presto’, it fits a 7 year old…kind of! I’ve just knotted the elastic so if I ever get it back I can still get wear out of it this summer. ‘Refashioned me-mades’ … oh how I have moved on!

Big thank yous to the lovely Little Miss Ooobop! who makes a fabulous model and to the gorgeous Mr Ooobop! for his amazing photography skills.