Friday, 3 July 2015

Floria Dress - By Hand London

I'm afraid there's no #FabricFriday today friends, as I'm catching a plane to Poland for our third and last wedding of the summer! But I do have my latest make to share, which also happens to be what I'm wearing to said wedding and also features gorgeous cotton sateen from Minerva Crafts, sent to me as part of their Blogger Network. Unfortunately, this specific print no longer seems to be available, but they stock an excellent range of cotton sateen to suit all tastes. 

Fabric chosen, it was time to pick a pattern that would do it justice. I couldn’t get By Hand London designs out of my mind, but with limited time I was torn between having a go at something new and going for a tried and tested pattern. I decided to compromise by pairing the new-to-me Sophia bodice with my beloved Flora skirt. The result, which I’m calling Floria, was everything I hoped for and more!

Pairing the two patterns was easy. I measured the bodice waistline against the skirt waistline before joining the two and adjusted my pleats accordingly to fit. Yep, it really was that easy! I’m a huge fan of full skirts which don’t add bulk to the waistline like gathering does, so the Flora skirt ticks all those boxes for me. But the real star of the Floria show is the bodice, with its angled darts for a vintage vibe and angled armholes exposing a bit of (sexy) shoulder. Just be aware that you’ll need a strapless bra to make the most of this bodice.

Cotton sateen has got to be one of my favourite fabrics to sew with. It washes well, handles easily and has just the right amount of stretch to make fitting a little more forgiving. And best of all, it holds its shape well despite the stretch factor, meaning no saggy waistlines after a few hours of wear! I lined my bodice with cotton lawn which is nice and breathable in this gloriously warm weather we’re having.

My sick dart and waistline matching is thanks to By Hand London's super simple, but super effective, trick!

My favourite thing about this dress is that I get to enjoy it at least twice – once at a wedding in Essex last Thursday and again at another wedding in Poland this Saturday! At the risk of photo overload, I'll leave you with a couple of shots taken in front of an aromatic wall of roses at last Thursday's wedding!

Pssst! Have you entered this month's #vintagepledge giveaway? There's free fabric up for grabs for two lucky winners! There's also discount codes for The Village Haberdashery and Abakhan!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

#VintagePledge: July Schedule, Discounts & Giveaways

It's the first of the month and this can only mean one thing in #vintagepledge land...generous discounts and giveaways of course! But first, let's take a look at what posts are coming up in July.

July Schedule

Tuesday 14 July - 1960s Inspiration on A Stitching Odyssey

Monday 20 July - Stash Interview with The Vintage Knitter on Kestrel Makes

Friday 31 July - Monthly Roundup on A Stitching Odyssey

July Sponsor - Abakhan

This month we have not one, but two fabulous sponsors! First up Abakhan is offering a 20% discount to UK readers from Monday 6 July (international shipping isn't available). To claim your discount just enter the Coupon Code 'vintagepledge' into your shopping basket before proceeding to checkout.

Abakhan is also giving away 2 metres of any chosen fabric to one lucky reader and £25 worth of fabric to another lucky reader (both open internationally)! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below with your email address and what fabric you would chose if you won either of the prizes. Make sure you enter the giveaway by  midnight GMT on Wednesday 29 July.

If I could enter the giveaway I'd be seriously tempted by Red Chevron Cotton LawnPink Dogtooth Ponte RomaBrushed Tartan Twill Stamford and Blue Jacquard Denim.

July Sponsor - The Village Haberdashery

Our second generous sponsor for the month is The Village Haberdashery, offering 10% off everything throughout July. To claim your discount just enter 'VINTAGEPLEDGE10' at the checkout

I don't know about you, but I have my eye on quite a few things including Coral Pineapples Cotton Lawn, Cacti Quilting Cotton, Chambray Jacquard and Ephemera Double Gauze

I hope you'll take full advantage of our awesome offers this month! You can also check out a roundup of June's #vintagepledge shenanigans over at Kestrel Makes and don't forget to browse the dedicated Pinterest Board for plenty of vintage inspiration.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Lotta Dress - Compagnie M.

Remember the Louisa Dress I made and declared as my favourite little girls' pattern ever? Well, there's a close contender and it's another Compagnie M. pattern...the Lotta Dress. My friend's little girl recently turned one, so I decided it was high time I used this bold Amy Butler fabric I've had in my stash for years. 

My favourite thing about the Lotta Dress pattern definitely has to be the contrast collar and pockets, as well as all the different variations you can play around with (three back closures, three pocket options and the chance to add longer sleeves). 

I only had a fat quarter of fabric, so I had to think hard about the placement of such a large-scale pattern. At the risk of sounding big-headed, I really feel I've outdone myself in that department! My inner perfectionist is ecstatic that everything's so symmetrical. Due to my lack of fabric though, I did end up with the back pattern slightly off-centre, but I matched it up perfectly to make up for it. Can I get a 'whoop whoop' for my chevron stripe matching on the lining please?

You can find out a little bit more about Compagnie M. patterns and how I found using one here. The only thing I'm disappointed about is investing in the paper patterns. I thought this would eliminate tracing and save me a shed load of time, but I was wrong. The paper pattern comes on one sheet with overlapped pieces, just like the PDF. It also doesn't include instructions, as you get online access to them when you place an order. 

Needles to say I was pretty annoyed to have spent unnecessary money - the paper pattern provided nothing the PDF didn't already. But it's down to personal preference I guess and all griping aside, I absolutely adore Compagnie M.'s children's patterns. They're the perfect mix of contemporary and retro for my liking, and make such thoughtful and memorable gifts for little ones!

What do you think to Compagnie M. patterns?


As an aside, the randomly-picked winner of my Fabrics for Sale giveaway is...What Katie Sews! Congratulations Katie! You chose this Liberty jersey, but I'll be in touch in case you've changed your mind :o) 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Fabric Friday #7: Double Gauze

Happy #FabricFriday friends! Got any good plans for the weekend ahead? Mine started yesterday with a lovely wedding accompanied by glorious weather!

On the fabric front today I'm sharing my surprisingly big collection of double gauze. I say 'surprisingly big' because double gauze ain't cheap, but I've acquired it over time thanks to various sales and discount codes.

In case you don't already know, double gauze is two layers of gauze woven together. It comes in the coolest colours/prints and is the softest, snuggliest fabric ever. One of my favourite places to shop for double gauze is Miss Matatabi, but the postal charges from Japan can be pretty steep. UK shops with a decent selection include The Eternal Maker, The Village Haberdashery and M is for Make.

Due to the pricey nature of double gauze, most of my pieces are 1.5 metres or less...ideal for tops and blouses. All these years later, I'm still adamant that I'm going to copy Handmade Jane's Alma Blouse, and I also have the Datura Blouse, the Afternoon Blouse and the Scout Tee in mind.

What breezy top and blouse patterns would you recommend please?

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

#VintagePledge Stash Interview: Michelle, Ma Belle...Tres Bien Ensemble

This month's interviewee for the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge hardly needs an introduction. Michelle of Michelle, ma belle...tres bien ensemble is quite the prolific stitcher, cleverly mixing and matching knitting and sewing patterns from a range of decades to create a contemporary wardrobe with a vintage twist. Oh, and she has THE most incredible selection of vintage patterns! You're going to want to get comfy for this, so go grab yourself a gin and tonic and enjoy...

Hello! I'm very happy to be here sharing vintage patterns with you. My name is Michelle and I am a vintage pattern addict. It's been incredibly fun to discover new patterns and to see all the gorgeous contributions to Vintage Pledge. I hope I am able to return some of the inspiration you've shared with me by showing you some favorite patterns from my collection! 

How and when did you start collecting vintage sewing patterns?

I started collecting vintage sewing patterns while I was searching for and collecting vintage knitting patterns. I had yet to start sewing at the time I started collecting sewing patterns, but I’ve been a fan of vintage styles and fashion as long as I can remember. The crossover from vintage knitting to vintage sewing seemed like a natural progression. Initially, I didn’t seek-out vintage sewing patterns. I bought them casually when I found them at thrift shops or garage sales. As my interest in sewing increased, my pattern collection expanded.

How many patterns do you have, and how do you store them?

The short answer: A LOT. I haven't counted them all. My personal collection is approaching one thousand. However, more than half of the patterns I've amassed are stored away in bankers’ boxes. They’re patterns that I’ve acquired in bulk lots and do not consider part of my primary collection. I’ve sold some, gifted others and ‘shop’ them when I get the urge to add to my stash. Mostly, I hold on to them because some part of my brain is convinced that I'm doing a service to future vintage pattern seekers by preventing them from being used for wrapping paper, scrap booking  or decoupage.

The patterns I’ve curated for myself, I store in an old Simplicity pattern cabinet. I keep the pattern pieces and instructions in manila envelopes and organize them by manufacturer and number. The manila envelopes are sturdy and can handle thumbing and flipping without any devastating effects.

To preserve the condition of my pattern envelopes, I keep them in acid free sleeves and store them in binders. Some of my pattern envelopes are in poor and fragile condition. Storing them this way lets me handle them without additional wear and tear.

What attracts you to collect the patterns you have?

Details. They really don’t make them like they used to. Vintage patterns have incredible style lines and design details. I love neckline and back interest, pockets, seams, straps, collars, embellishment, piece-work, shape, anything that makes a garment unique or unusual. When I come across something I haven’t seen before, I have a strong urge to take it home with me.

Do you have any favourite style eras?

I love them all! More than anything, I'm drawn to classic styles that blur the lines between decades. I like to mash-up eras and mix a bit of vintage with a splash of contemporary. I’m all over the map when it comes to choosing patterns. For me, vintage is all about influence and inspiration. I love looking at a garment and finding elements from bygone eras. It's never my aim to look vintage or decade specific. I'd much rather wear a 30's blouse, sewn using 60's fabric, paired with a 70's skirt and keep people guessing which is which.

Recently, I've started sewing with knit fabrics and have been finding lots of pattern options from the 70s to consider. The seventies also seem to be the current momentary direction of mainstream fashion, so I've been drawn to patterns from this decade a lot lately. 

What’s the oldest pattern in your collection, and have you made it?

It's hard to determine exactly which pattern is the oldest, but I would guess Butterick 7871. Generally speaking, my pattern collection is 1930s and onward. Sadly, I haven't sewn Butterick 7871.   

Can you pick three favourites - and have you made them?

This is an impossible task. Like a mother with her children, I love them all and for different reasons. Instead, I think I'll cheat and choose three patterns I plan to make this summer. Hopefully, telling you that I plan to make these will keep me accountable!

Is there a pattern you think you’ll never make, but will never get rid of?

Once, during a discussion regarding my pattern stash, a non-stitching friend asked if I planned to sew all the patterns I have in my collection. Truthfully, I would LOVE to. It's not an impossible goal. I have a lot of life ahead of me, and if time allowed, I think it would be incredible to sew each one. There are some patterns, for practical purposes, that are low on my priority list. For example, I have a series of little girl's Prominent Designer Patterns by Florence Eiseman. I think they're absolutely fantastic. However, I can only see myself sewing them if I have a little girl at some point. Even if I don't get to sew them, I plan to keep them, because they're so darn cute.   

Where do you get your patterns from?

I get patterns from a lot of the usual suspects: Ebay, Etsy, etc... However, I estimate that more than 90% of my patterns have been purchased at estate sales. I've been very fortunate to shop the estates of some ladies who share an appreciation for sewing and vintage patterns. A lot of Chicago's sewing and fabric suppliers haven't survived the years, but there used to be bustling sewing and millinery departments at the State Street Marshall Fields. As a result, there are a lot of treasures buried in the basements of seamstresses of yesteryear waiting to be discovered! Estate sale shopping can be thrilling. I never know what I'm going to find, but all the materials are vintage and, typically, very inexpensive, which makes it easy to get a little carried away.    

Thank you for letting me share my stash and thank you to Marie and Kerry for being wonderfully gracious hostesses during this year's Vintage Pledge! Happy Stitching!

Have you joined the #vintagepledge yet? You'll want to once you check out the awe-inspiring Pinterest board!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Fabric Giveaway For UK Residents!

As the weekend draws to an end, I have something guaranteed to perk you up. New online fabric shop - Fabrics For Sale - is offering a lucky UK reader 1 metre of their choice of fabric! With a lovely selection of Liberty prints, cottons, wools, knits and more, there's plenty to choose from.

Some of my favourites from left to right:

How to enter the giveaway

  • You must be a UK resident to enter the giveaway, but Fabrics For Sale do ship internationally.
  • To enter, leave a comment below with your email address, telling me which fabric you'd pick if you won.
  • The giveaway closes at midnight on Saturday 27 June and a random winner will be announced on the Sunday.

Can't wait until Sunday or worried you won't win? Well, Fabrics For Sale are also offering a 10% discount on all orders until 30 June...just use FABLAUNCH10 at the checkout! 

Friday, 19 June 2015

Fabric Friday #6: Ocean Floral Voile

Ooof! It's been a long and tough week at work, so I'm delighted to finally be wishing you all a happy #FabricFriday! I hope you have some awesome plans for the weekend. Mine include dressmaking, gardening and cleaning...rock 'n' roll!

I have yet another stunning piece of vintage fabric to share with you today, a voile so airy and light that it feels like silken gauze. The print and colours are so divine! They instantly transport me to a magical island with a floral reef. Is it just an oasis or can you see my vision too?

Id' love to line it with white silk cotton to make the colours pop and turn it into Simplicity 5865. Or perhaps this isn't special enough for such a fabric? What would you make?