Monday, December 17, 2012

Bye bye for now

Image from here
This week I'm off to England for six weeks. I probably won't be able to post while I'm there but I'll still be checking my emails so if anyone has any good op shopping or vintage store recommendations (I'll mostly be in Yorkshire), or wants to meet up let me know.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Loose change buys a lot at the opportunity shop

Sometimes it pays to look through three boxes of awful 1980s and '90s patterns at the op shop because you come across these for 20 cents each.

This one is my favourite. I love the drapey bit at the side. I also like that the woman in the middle looks like she's gazing lovingly at the woman on the right and holding onto her dress.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Schiaparelli Sunglasses: Take Two

So, I made another pair of Schiaparelli inspired sunglasses. I wanted them to look like one of the pairs in my original post that had pink and black roses. I couldn't find any black roses so I did pink and white. I like them, but I regret using the bright pink a little bit since I don't really wear pink, and most of my clothes don't go with them. 

The dress is another thing I kind of regret. I made it a few years ago when I was just starting to sew vintage patterns. I love the fabric but don't like the drop waist. I don't know what I was thinking. I was probably seduced by the pretty 1950s pattern envelope and didn't think about the fact that drop waists remind me of the '80s. I'm making myself wear it because it seems like a waste of time and nice fabric if I don't. 

Dress: I made it
Shoes: Hunters and Collectors
Tights: Farmers
Belt: Off another dress
Sunglasses: Trademe (roses added by me)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back again

What? I'm not posing like that.
My Mum took these photos. She was telling me how to pose.  I was mostly ignoring her and laughing uncontrollably. 

Is this better?
Vintage dress: Trademe
Shoes: Golden Ponies
Fishnets: Farmers
Sunglasses: The Yellow Brick Road
Bag: Ménage a Trois
Belt: Op shopped

This is why I usually take self-timer photos

On my last post wardrobeexperience asked if I could show some more pictures of the hat that I op shopped.  

I don't actually know which way around it's meant to go. I've been wearing it with the flower on the side because that's the way that it's most comfortable.

There's no tag on the inside so I don't know how to tell its age.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Op Shopping Finds

 Recently, I had a whole bunch of op shopping luck on the same day.

 I found three vintage patterns. I often find '70s patterns while op shopping, but rarely find earlier ones than that.

I found them together. Maybe they belonged to the same person?

I think they cost me about $2 all together. 

Excuse the plastic wrap and tape on my hat block. It's to protect the wood.
 I also found this vintage hat. I'm not sure which era it's from but the materials and the way it's made make me think it's relatively old.

I had to get this 1960s coat even though we're going into summer. It has a little bow/knot thing above the top button. I took in the side seams and the shoulders a bit. The whole coat is interfaced in this weird paper-y type stuff that I have found in some of my other '60s clothes. It has a really nice lining, though.

And here's a crappy picture of me looking grumpy while wearing the coat and the hat.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Jeans and a tee

So, I've finished what are possibly my last exams ever.  I haven't been sewing anything lately (I know, that seems to be my constant refrain at the moment).

Anyway, I haven't worn jeans much in the last couple of years because it's so hard to find ones that I like and that fit me. I recently got these 1970s ones off Etsy. I've been looking for some 70s or at least 70s style jeans for ages. Hilariously, the label says 'Dry Clean Only'. Yeah, like I'm going to dry clean a pair of jeans.

I don't even know what's with my pose here.

Jeans: Etsy
T shirt: Trademe
70s platforms: Etsy
Scarf: Used to belong to my grandma
Belt: Op shopped

Monday, October 15, 2012

Not like Dame Edna


When Miss Cavendish posted about these fabulous Elsa Schiaparelli glasses from the 50s, and then did her own DIY version, I knew I had to have a pair of outrageous floral sunglasses too.

I got some cats eye sunglasses. It was surprisingly hard to find ones that had thick enough frames to glue flowers on to. I could only put them on the corners.  

I bought these resin flowers off trademe.   

I used hot glue to attach them.

 People have already said, "Like Dame Edna, right?". No, not like Dame Edna.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dreaming of Playsuits

Thanks for all your thoughtful comments on my last post. I enjoyed reading them. 

I haven't been sewing much lately. Uni is hectic. I have essays, exams and a dissertation. While I don't have time to sew, I have still been thinking about what I want to sew. Specifically, I've been thinking about playsuits. I used to hate them (and I still hate the word rompers), but playsuits have grown on me. 

I love the shape of this one from the 50s. The print is great too.

Andi B. Goode
This 1930s one is fabulous too. I like the shirt-type bodice.

Mena of the Sew Weekly
The bodice detail on this one is nice. I think it's made from seersucker.

I have a couple of playsuit patterns. Well, technically, they're bathing suit patterns, but can you imagine swimming in something that is made of denim or cotton broadcloth? They're on the list of recommended fabrics for both these patterns.  

I have some seersucker in my stash that will be perfect for a playsuit. Now, I just need to find some time to sew it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing Review

 I have a cold at the moment, so if this doesn't make sense let's just blame it on that. I was kind of hesitant to write this review because I think some of the issues that I have with this book are just me, and what I personally like/dislike. I love Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing and I was excited when she announced that she was writing a sewing book. I was excited when she showed some of the clothes she'd made from patterns in the book. I pre-ordered it and got my copy a couple of weeks ago. I was really excited (sensing a theme yet?) when I got it and had a quick glance at it, but the more I look at it the more disappointed I am. There are definitely some great things about the book, but I'm just not sure that I will get much use out of it.

The Good:

I like this. The fabric is lovely. It reminds me of a quilting cotton I have in my stash ;)

I love that she acknowledged the complications of being a feminist and loving vintage clothing. I don't really talk about it here, but, as a femme and a feminist, I have a pretty complicated relationship with the way I dress and the way that I'm perceived by people because of that.

There are tons of techniques for those who are just out of the beginner stage. There are instructions about finishing techniques, hand stitches, bound buttonholes, covered buttons etc. 

The book includes the patterns so it's a pretty good deal considering how expensive a single pattern can be. I know they have 99c sales in the US, but here in NZ new patterns are around $20-25 and around $10-15 on sale.

The illustrations by Sun Young Park are gorgeous.

I like the tone of the book. It is really friendly and conversational. Some sewing books can be intimidating because they use all sorts of terms without explaining what they mean and assume you already have a lot of knowledge.

The Problems I have


The book says, "most women are a size bigger in the hips than in the waist". I'm not sure if this is a fact or just Gertie's experience but, in any case, it's definitely not true for me. The patterns are based on the idea that most women have a 12 inch difference between their hips and waist. I don't doubt that there are lots of women out there that are that shape but I think it's a stretch to say that "most" women are that shape. On the sizing chart my bust and waist measurements match up with a size 4 (my waist is actually slightly larger than a size 4 but smaller than a size 6) but my hips are smaller than the smallest size. I am small, but my figure is not particularly boyish. There is a discernable difference between my hips and my waist but, according to this, my hips are more than two sizes smaller than my waist. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great there are patterns out there that cater to different shapes. Sewaholic Patterns, for example, makes patterns to suit "pear shapes" (her words, not mine). They are cute patterns, but I've never bought any because I know they wouldn't suit me. I just wish that it had been made clear that the patterns in the book were drafted for a really hourglass-y figure because I probably wouldn't have bought it if I had realised that I would need to change the patterns a lot to make them fit me. I know I'm very lucky that my measurements (apart from my height) are usually pretty close to the vintage patterns I sew, but that's why I use them, because modern patterns don't usually fit me well either.        

Quilting Cottons

I guess I'm a bit sensitive about this because I use quilting cottons a lot (because they have the best novelty prints ever), but in the book it says that they are "all wrong for garments". I dispute this. Sure, they are wrong for some garments, in the same way that all fabrics are wrong for some garments. I mean, I wouldn't use wool to make a sundress but that doesn't mean that there aren't things that wool is good for. I find that quilting fabrics are the perfect mid weight cottons for shirtdresses, blouses and skirts. One of my favourite dress, the map print one, is made of from quilting cotton and I love it. 


I was disappointed with some of the garments in the book because Gertie had posted on her blog some of the clothes she had made with the patterns in the book and I loved them. I would never comment on the fit of something sewn by an amateur sewer because I am not great at fitting either, but in a published book about sewing it does irk me a bit to see some garments that don't fit very well.

Before the release of the book, Gertie posted this dress on her blog. Above is the version in the book. I really love the version she posted on her blog but I don't really care for the one in the book. The satin puckers rather unflatteringly (which satin does) and the fit doesn't seem to be that great. Maybe it's just the fabric because the one I linked to above seems to fit her well. Similarly, I love this version of the wiggle dress posted on the blog, but I don't really like the one in the book.  If I hadn't seen the other versions on her blog that I like better I probably wouldn't have been so disappointed in the ones in the book.

 I'm not sure what's wrong with this hem, but it does seem a bit sloppy in a book about couture-style sewing.

I don't mean to be harsh in my criticisms but I had really high hopes for this book and I am disappointed. Obviously, writing a book takes lots of work and I doubt I would be able to do it. I love Gertie's blog and the things she makes, I think I just expected to like the book more. I'm sure it's a great book for people that want to learn more intermediate and vintage sewing techniques. A lot of the patterns aren't really my style even though most of the time I 'sew retro' so I guess some of it is down to personal taste. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Butterick 9305

I started this dress months ago when it was still wintery but then I got bogged down with essays and assignments. I've finally finished it but it's decidedly springy now and I probably won't get to wear it much until autumn.   

The pattern was from Two Squirrels Vintage.  It's Butterick 9305 which, according to the Vintage Patterns Wiki, is from 1960. Interestingly, the image they have has different colours than my pattern envelope does. I've found that with quite a few of my vintage patterns. Maybe they printed them in different colours for New Zealand?

The fabric is a really fine wool that I got from Trademe. I underlined it with some black cotton because it was too thin. Seriously, though, I hate having to cut out all the pieces twice, and then having to baste them together. It takes so long.     

Ugh, my fringe is all funny because it was so windy yesterday

I made view A. I changed all the pleats in the bodice and skirt to darts because it was way too gape-y. I also put buttons all down the front because I couldn't see the point in sewing the bottom of the skirt shut and only having four buttons. I had to cut about 20cm off the hem because this pattern was obviously made for tall(er) people.

Yeah, I'm wearing the hat backwards because I like it better that way

I was a bit worried that the massive collar would be overwhelming but I love it, especially from the back.

Dress: I made it
Hat: Op shopped
Belt: Op shopped
Bakelite Bangles: Etsy
Pear Brooch: Trademe

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Vintage Dior Sketches

Dior Evening Gown

I was searching for something else when I came across these amazing Dior sketches from the 50s on the Fashion Institute of Technology's Library Department of Special Collections. From what I can gather, they are from a collection for Bergdorf Goodman.  

Dior Dress and Jacket

I'm pretty sure this sketch is for this gorgeous suit, which is part of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising's museum collection. It's from the Autumn/Winter 1955 collection.      

Dior Coat

This is pretty much my dream coat.  

Dior Cocktail Dress

I love the bow on this one. 

Dior Dress

And the bow on this one too, obviously. 

Dior Suit

There are tons of other sketches in the collection. You can see the rest here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Spring, spring, spring

I try not to wear pale colours because, as you can see, they tend to just blend in with my skin tone, but I love this dress. It has lots of lovely details, like shirring on the shoulders, a peter pan collar and piping at the waist. I took the hem up, because, although the original floor length was lovely, it wasn't very practical.

Vintage headpiece

Vintage dress: Trademe
Vintage headpiece: Nevermore Vintage on etsy
Vintage slip (under dress): Op shopped
Dance Shoes: Trademe
Socks: Columbine

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Put a Bird on it II

I have been busy with uni lately, and haven't had time to do any sewing or op shopping but I have been wearing clothes, so I thought I'd just show you what I wore today.  

Vintage dress: Two Squirrels
Cardigan: Op shopped
Shoes: Hunters and Collectors, Wellington
Belt: Op shopped
Brooch: Trademe
Bag: Trademe
Tights: Can't remember

The bag is one of my favourites. It's actually a toilet bag but it's way too awesome to use for that. It's not just me that thinks the bag is great, every time I use it someone comes up to me and says, "I love your bag".