Tuesday, 25 August 2015

#VintagePledge Stash Interview: EM Originals

If 1940s style is your thing, then you probably know Eszter from her blog - Kitty's Designs - which used to endlessly inspire me back in the day! Although Eszter decided to stop blogging, she's still very much an active part of the online sewing community and you can keep up with all her wonderful adventures in dressmaking here. I thought for this month's Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, it would be fun to have a snoop around her pattern fabulous stash... 

How and when did you start collecting vintage sewing patterns?

I started collecting around about the same time I started sewing - which was 2010. I'd been wearing vintage for a while already so it was natural that I would start sewing vintage as well. And that decision came from vintage becoming quite expensive and sewing was much more affordable as I could get more than one garment out of a pattern. I very much stick to vintage patterns for my own clothes, as well as faithful reproduction (like EvaDress) - I'm not a fan of the Big 4 Reissues as they have the same problems as modern patterns.


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

My pattern count is 141, excluding reproduction patterns.

I store them in A4 sized plastic envelopes which then go into clear plastic buckets. They are organized by type: 40s Dresses, Separates, 50s Dresses and Miscellaneous (things like robes, coats and reproduction). The A4 envelopes are good because once I trace the pattern, the pieces fit nicely and I can put the original back in its envelope and not touch it again. Sometimes I even get around to scanning the instructions, layout and envelope and printing that too. I've gotten into the habit of tracing now and while it's super tedious, its easier to just do it as soon as I get the pattern and then I'm free to sew it up whenever. THAT SAID, I do have a rather large backlog of un-traced patterns. Ugh!

What attracts you to collect the patterns you have?

Definitely the styles, followed by the illustrations. The illustrations give me ideas for what to make up out of that pattern. Also, I find sewing from vintage patterns SO much easier! You get told when you start sewing that vintage patterns are hard, but I find it the complete opposite. I can choose a single sized pattern where each piece is already pre-cut, on paper that has lasted more than 60 years and is STILL more durable than the flimsy crap they give you in modern pattern envelopes. Then I don't have to wrestle that flimsy GIANT sheet of paper to trace off or cut my size. A size which is usually about 4" too big in modern patterns. Vintage does not have nearly as much "wearing ease".

Also, I find the instructions plenty helpful - the diagrams tell you so much and they're a lot more straightforward than the overwrought hand holding accompanying a modern pattern. And I like the vintage details, like using a "regulation placket" to finish off a skirt or dress instead of a zipper.

Do you have any favourite style eras? 

The 40s of course! Up until about 1948-50 where things got a bit daggy for a while. Particular favourite years are 1947 because of the massive amount of asymmetrical draping you find in a lot of McCall patterns. It was a good year for it. And I have a lot of patterns from 1941/2 where there are some interesting shapes happening and tricky uses of minimal fabric to add detail during rationing years. Unfortunately, I think Debi has bought all the 1940 McCall patterns in existence so I don't have a lot from that year ;-)




I love designs from 1939 as well, a great year for fashion! Earlier 30s look fabulous on the envelope, but haven't quite worked out for me (yet) in actuality. The proportions don't suit my frame so much and it tends toward a "costume" look around then - I don't think you can wear the fashions from that era without the appropriate hair, shoes and accessories. I would look rather odd with my decidedly modern haircut.


30s GOWNS however, are a completely different story *swoon*! I wish I had more of those but they tend to go for $200+ on ebay and that's beyond my budget!)

I do also love the 50s mostly for office wear like pencil skirts, little blouses and slim dresses - Mail Order 9110 is a fairly basic 50s pattern which makes the perfect office dress. I made 2 within weeks of purchasing the pattern. It's so fast to make and has pockets - bonus!


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

McCall 9251 from 1937 - I haven't made it yet, mostly for the reasons stated above.


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

It's rather tricky - I do love Hollywood 1484 which I don't even have an original copy of. I saw it on ebay ages ago and the seller wouldn't budge on the $65 listed price. Thankfully one of my awesome Facebook page followers said she had it and was willing to send it to me all the way from Canada. I had it on loan for FAR too long, but eventually traced it and sent it back (with a little extra surprises to make up for my lateness!). I've since made it three times and have many plans to make it again in different fabrics.


McCall 6440 has been made FOUR times - it is such a quick one to finish, takes only a few hours total as it doesn't have any closures bar a few hooks and eyes. I French seam every seam, and narrow hem it so its super tidy inside and out. 


Blouse pattern Butterick 3550 is just so quintessentially 40s as well. I've made it up once, but I kind of botched it a bit so I will need to reconsider my approach next time I make it. It begs to be made up of drapey rayon, but the bow I put on mine just dragged the neckline down too much.


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

I wouldn't say never but McCall 9251 is pretty low down the list of priorities. I'd make it up for a 30s themed event though.

Where do you get your patterns from?

Mostly ebay and Etsy. I have a rather large Watch List/Favorites on those sites and some favourite sellers that I follow. Bidding makes me super nervous, but it's landed me some goodies. The most I've paid is probably about $80 which is quite a lot, but you have to factor in our crappy Australian dollar and the sometimes extortionate (as in this case) shipping fees us Aussies have to pay sometimes. Finding patterns locally is hard - you don't find a lot that are earlier than the 60s and if they are, they're usually not in good condition and too expensive. Its easier just to buy online.

Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did! Don't forget to check out the #vintagepledge Pinterest board for inspiration, but prepare to have your mind blown!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Fabric Friday #11: Poppy-print Barkcloth


Happy #FabricFriday friends! I have the day off today and I plan on finishing painting my 1950s larder/kitchenette, as well as doing a load of sewing over the weekend.

I'll tell you now, I'm head over heels with this poppy-print fabric of mine...so much so that I definitely paid more than it was probably worth. But what's a gal to do sometimes?!? I just love the brightness of the poppies against the grey-ish background! I think it used to be a chair or sofa cover in its previous life and it's kind of a cross between barkcloth and heavier upholstery fabric. The print is pretty massive and my fabric is divided into two pieces which are 110cm squared. Enough to play around with...but what to make with something so loud and beautiful? Your suggestions are invaluable and made me look at my novelty bathroom print in a completely new light!



What are you plans for the weekend?

Friday, 14 August 2015

Love Sewing Magazine Has A New Editor!


There's a brand new Editor at Love Sewing magazine who barely needs an introduction because she's one of us, our very own Amy of Almond Rock! I won't lie, I consider Amy to be one of my closest stitching friends since meeting online...the girl shared a hotel room with me once and was very gracious about my piglet-like snoring during the night.

But our friendship is not the only reason I'm excited about her appointment at Love Sewing. I'm excited that someone who has her finger firmly on the pulse of our online sewing community is going to be in the driver's seat. I'm excited about the direction she takes the magazine in and what this means for the representation of dressmaking and of our community.

The reason I've never subscribed to any sewing magazine in the past is because there are always too many 'simple' home projects for my liking and not enough exciting dressmaking projects. My interview with Amy, who shares her plans for gradual change, may actually sway me to reconsider.

Tell us a bit about the magazine in case anyone hasn’t picked it up before?

Love Sewing has been around for just over a year now. It’s jam packed with top news, great sewing advice and plenty of projects. Our wonderful columnists are the esteemed Alison Smith MBE sharing couture sewing skills, the fabulous Claire-Louise Hardie giving you all her top tips and the darling Wendy Ward who takes on all your reader letters. Many different sewists read Love Sewing so we’re trying to cater for those wanting brilliant dressmaking projects, as well as those who like small quick homeware sewing. There’s definitely something for everyone.

Are you planning on changing anything about the magazine?

I’d love it if someone who doesn’t normally read Love Sewing picks up an issue and is impressed enough to buy again! First up I really want the Simple Sew patterns we include as our free gift to be irresistible to readers. I’m really excited about August as the pattern is a 2-in-1 for a cool cross back blouse and a great little jersey top. The September issue is full of dressmaking content and that’s one of my other goals for the magazine: To get as many dressmaking projects in as possible without compromising on the home or accessories projects everyone loves. And you might notice a few fun differences in the layout and style of the latest issue which my art editor and I are pretty chuffed about.


Working in a sewing related job sounds like a dream come true? Are you still inspired to sew for yourself?

I saw the link for the job opening shared by The Sewing Directory and my heart leaped. I had been working in publishing for 8 years but this was my chance to combine my professional skills with my sewing passion. I adore it, but it really is a lot of work, as we have to prepare work months in advance and time is always tight when getting the issue to press. I also have a long commute that cuts into my sewing time, yet when I get home I still really enjoy working on my own projects. I’ve got lots of things in progress so I can dip into whichever I fancy.

We have an incredibly supportive and active sewing community – you and I 'met' online and now we regularly attend meet-ups, go on shopping trips and chat regularly through social media. Can a print magazine can replicate that community?

I don’t think there is any point in trying to compete with the internet – the magazine would definitely lose. We’d rather find a way to fall naturally into the existing community. As a print magazine we’re trying to find a place where we can provide inspiration and new projects for people to get excited about, while giving them something they can relax with over a nice cup of tea. But we’re also online and on social media; engaging in sewing chats, sharing reader makes and even taking part in House of Pinheiro’s #sewphotohop on Instagram. Fundamentally we’re a team of crafty people who want to talk about our passions with as many people as possible – either in print or online and hopefully also in person!

What’s been the most exciting part of the new role?

Writing my first welcome letter was a dream come true. I can’t wait to hear what people think of the new issue and connect with as many readers as possible. Working on the cover photoshoots is also pretty rad and I love that our office has cupboards full of sewing supplies rather than stationary. SO MANY FABRIC SAMPLES!!!


I hope you can forgive me bumping #FabricFriday for this interview and that you've found it as interesting as I have.

What are your thoughts on Love Sewing magazine? The very latest issue has just hit the shelves, so don't miss out!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The Refashioners 2015 Meets #VintagePledge


It's back, it's back! The Refashioners is back for 2015 with exciting shirt refashions hosted by the Makery every single day in August. I had so much fun taking part two years ago that it was impossible to turn down Portia's second invitation.


I was super adventurous last time, despite refashioning not being a strong skill of mine, but this year I took a slightly different approach which involved ticking off another #vintagepledge make off my list. There's still plenty of time to sign up by the way, with some great prizes up for grabs!



I picked my own this year and I was delighted when I happened upon this 100% linen Boden shirt for a mere £4.50. It was in tip top condition and although I'm not usually a huge fan of pink, this shade of blush really appealed to me. In a bid to end up with a classic wardrobe staple I turned to 1950s Simplicity 4656. To find out exactly how I did this, hop on over to my post on the Makery!  



Instead of facings, I finished my neckline, armholes and hem with stripy bias binding for an extra pop of interest. Pink and navy is such a chic combination and the cherry on top of course, were the matching buttons I stumbled upon on ebay.  




For the first time in its history, you too can take part in The Refashioners with a truly wonderful prize package worth over £500 up for grabs! So, are you tempted to #getshirty with us?

Friday, 7 August 2015

Fabric Friday #10: Bunny-print Jersey


Happy #FabricFriday friends...even if Friday is almost over! It's seemed like a long week this end, but I've got a couple of days off after the weekend and I'm very much looking forward to catching up with some sewing. In fact today's #FabricFriday also happens to double up as a WIP I'm hoping to make good progress with.


An embarrassingly long time ago I was approached by My Fabrics and asked if I'd like to pick a fabric in exchange for a review. Predictably, I went for this adorably fun, bunny-print jersey! Annoyingly, life and other commitments kept getting in the way, but better late than never I guess.



After much procrastination, I settled on trying out Simplicity 1612, which I cut out last week using my brand new (and first ever) rotary cutter courtesy of Plush Addict. The process was an absolute joy and revelation, everything you all raved about here and more!

Anyway, what are you working on this weekend?

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Repurposing A Wooden Pallet


Hello friends, how are you? Sewing progress has been pretty slow around these parts lately and I can't reveal recent projects just yet. I thought I'd pop in and share a fun little garden project though, which some of you may have spied glimpses of if you follow me on Instagram.


Back in April we ordered a tonne of sparkly pebbles to give our front 'garden' a bit of a facelift. They arrived on a wooden pallet, which at first I was mostly concerned about disposing of as it's heavy and relatively ugly. But Pinterest came to the rescue once again and I decided to repurpose it instead.




Not wanting to spend a fortune on this project, I bought suitable primer and outdoor paint from Wilko. Although I'm fairly happy with the result, my main gripe is with the finished colour. Summer Rain looks much more desaturated on the tin than it is in realy life, so the finished effect is a lot brighter (maybe a little garish too) than I would have liked. It probably won't take long before it weathers into a more subtle and worn colour though, so all is not lost!


It turns out that wooden pallets make wonderful planters, so if you're faced with a similar predicament, just search for ways to repurpose them and you'll be blown away by the options. I played it safe with minimum fuss and effort for mine, but I know that now my pallet's painted, I can change up how I use it in months to come. Just don't underestimate the time it takes to apply three coats of paint to a pallet...yawn!!!







I've filled my pallet with wonderfully whacky succulents, as well as some pretty flowering plants too. I have a feeling trailing plants would look amazing in a display like this too!


Do you have any suggestions for caring for succulents (I need all the help I can get) and can you share recommendations for small evergreen plants that can survive in winter?

Saturday, 1 August 2015

July #VintagePledge Roundup


A day later than scheduled I'm afraid, but behold your Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge roundup for July...it was a good one! We also have two lucky giveaway winners:

Adventures of a Young Seamstress - 2 metres of your choice of fabric from Abakhan

Ragbags and Gladrags - £25 worth of fabric from Abakhan

I'll be in touch with both of you shortly...congratulations!!! 


Your Makes in July


Matching plaid is child's play for Heather, who truly outdid herself with this delightful dress!


Beyond Measure's party dress has both a retro and modern vibe in this abstract floral print.


Giant pockets, cut-out neckline and sailing boat print on a blue/green background...perfection from Bobbin and Spool


I would love a wardrobe full of Amanda's nautical dress...exact replicas, one for each day of the week!


Love Attieanddora's modern take on this classic shape.


July's #VintagePledge Posts

1960s Inspiration - A Stitching Odyssey

Stash Interview with The Vintage Knitter - Kestrel Makes

We also enjoyed generous discount codes from The Village Haberdashery and Abakhan, as well as an awesome giveaway from Abakhan too.


Share Your #VintagePledge Makes

Want to add your makes to our hugely inspiring Pinterest Board? Then get in touch by leaving Kerry or I a comment, email us or share your make on social media using the #vintagepledge hashtag.