Tuesday 24 January 2012

Feedsack Dress

I collect knitting patterns. I have since I was about 14. Every time I go into an op shop I go straight for the craft section and flick through all of the knitting and crochet books. I now have an extensive collection of 'Patons' knitting books from the 1920s to the 1980s and then plenty of other publications in lesser volumes. Lately I have been sorting through them and putting them in chronological order. 
Sorting through them makes me very excited to start sewing or knitting something new- and the other day I actually found a sewing pattern catalogue from the 40s with a beautiful design for a bodice with pleating at the bust and a central band in a bell shape. 

So I got to work drafting a paper pattern for a similar bodice on my mannequin. Everything came together rather quickly, and since it has been so hot in Melbourne lately, I decided to make it strappy with a crossed back. The skirt is a half circle and it closes with a zipper.

I really enjoyed making this dress. It was an afternoon job and I will definitely be using this pattern again.

And of course, Casper wanted to be part of the photo shoot too. Cue dramatic baby/mummy shots.
Also, check out our veggie garden in the background, the tomatoes are growing wildly up the back fence!

Sunday 15 January 2012

Parsley Dress with Matching Hat

So I know I have posted about this dress before. It's the first one I made for myself when I was sixteen.
My mum brought home the fabric from the opp shop and I fell in love instantly. Now, it would be safe to say I wore this dress almost every day for a few months and it was my favourite for a few years, until I grew out of it. Now it hangs on a mannequin in our lounge room wearing the hat I made to match instead of studying for exams in year 12. 

I just wanted to do a tiny detailed post because I really am quite proud of my teenage seamstress self. I draped and topstitched the fabric to fit my bodice, without knowing what draping was. I hand-sewed the buttonholes, topstitched pleats lined the bodice and made loop-fasteners with ric-rac. Now it has retired, looking very faded, missing a few buttons and sporting a few tears and smudges, but all in all a very interesting first attempt at construction.

Definitely my favourite dress.

 In a lot of ways I am glad I am not formally trained as a seamstress as it means I would never have made the same mistakes and invented the same techniques and played as much as I have. I remember making a shirtdress in year 12, and one of my friends who was studying fashion at the time said that she had heard sleeves were really difficult. I had not heard that or known if sleeves were complicated so I just did it. And it worked. This is the way I approach most things and I think it has made me pretty expressive and free when it comes to design and construction.

The hat was also an experiment (in procrastination) I remember sewing it in a hurry as I had a lot of studying to do for final exams. But I was enthralled with this project- sewing a giant circular beach hat.
I used a 1920s bathing cap pattern and traced a circle as wide as I felt was appropriate. Then I "quilted" around and around and around the circumference of the brim and put coat hanger wire boning around the edge. The pom pon trim is tucked inside the brim and it is handsewn all the way around. I quickly realised that if I wore it to the beach it would blow off my head instantly and so I attached ties to the sides, which I took off again when I retired her to the mannequin.

I hope to bring a few more of my first frocks out of hiding and write about them in the next few weeks.


Saturday 14 January 2012

Fair Isle Toddler Pants

A friend of mine was giving a whole lot of her clothes to the opp shop and told me I could take anything I wanted, which is a very dangerous thing to say!

So I was restrained and took only a few things, one item being a fair isle vest that I immediately saw turning into a pair of pants and a matching hat for Casper.

Let me just say having a toddler and trying to take half-decent photos of clothes you make is almost impossible. See it goes like this...

You start in the garden so they can play and look cute in front of a nice backdrop.

Then they start getting dirty and rolling dead bugs into their clothes. So you take them inside.

A tantrum ensues, they really weren't finished with the bugs. Luckily this is a good angle for bum-detail pictures.

Still angry but wanting something to play with, they get up.

Crawl into every dark corner imaginable.

Climb the couch.

Unclimb the couch.

And find a book on the floor- just in time for a detail shot.

Thursday 12 January 2012

A Horse of Course

There is a horse farm across the road from Sue's place in Warrnambool. 
This guy was showing off and galloping around, kicking up dust. 
Casper thought he was really funny and cool.

He came over to say hello pretty quickly too, he had a curly fringe and kept nibbling Steve's jumper- it was green and I think he thought it was grass.

The dress I am wearing is one that I made when I was 18. It was a reconstructed GIANT t-shirt dress that never made it on the blog for some reason, but hey, I have a lot of things that I just forget to photograph.
Hope everyone in Melbourne is enjoying this cold weather we are experiencing. There was snow in the mountains yesterday!

Sunday 8 January 2012

Granny Knickers

I have been experimenting with making undies today, making use of my new overlocker (!!!) while my sewing machine is in the shop being serviced.
I really like them and they're very comfy and also very granny.
The pale blue lace elastic is so nice and I will be improving my undies-making skills in the future. 
We are driving to the coast tonight and will be back in town on Wednesday.

Saturday 7 January 2012

Beetroot Fettuccine

Happy New Year! We got a pasta maker for Christmas, so my friend Mel and I decided to make beetroot pasta because there was a lack of eggs in the fridge and an abundance of beetroot.

The result was this vibrant hot pink gutsy looking FettuccineIt was so delicious, we tossed it with garlic, basil, fetta and peas.