Wednesday, 16 November 2011

What to do when long hair misbehaves?

Hide it!!

At the moment my hair is a ridiculous length. I can sit on it for the first time in my life, and it's getting to be beyond amusing, though I'm sure the boyfriend would disagree on any of the many occasions I've inadvertently pinned myself to the sofa by the hair when pushing myself up. I'm sure the ensuing arm/leg flailing while i try and regain my balance before collapsing in a defeated heap is quite comical to the casual observer. This 1940s snood is the perfect cure.

The length of my hair makes it almost impossible to do any vintage styles without going so far back it's Victorian, but this simple little accessory is the perfect touch. Hell, I even got a section to roll (fairly) nicely for once. Guarantees I won't be able to do it again for my event on Sunday...

Ah well. It's a simple crochet mesh done in long treble crochet, made from some stash machine-knitting yarn pilfered from my mum a while back. It is gathered onto elastic and topped with a burgundy velvet bow (not that you can see it). A few hair pins to secure it, et voila!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A sewing hiatus

It seems like recently I haven't had much inclination to sew. Sitting in the freezing cold dining room at the machine is not a very inviting prospect, so yes, my List has suffered (though I do have a few more things waiting to be posted). To make up for my lack of interesting readables, have a peek at what I've been doing instead:

The colour is much richer in person; a beautiful deep teal. Now that I'm almost finished with it though, I need a break from the damn thing. Six weeks of knitting the same damn stitch thousands of times can get unbelievably dull. Time for something small, interesting and new.

Cue the tiny boot socks! (on equally tiny needles)

Little one got her first wellies last week, and I felt the need to make fuzzy socks for her to wear with them. Puddle splashing = cold toes. I'm using a combination of a basic free vintage pattern and a colourwork chart from a pattern found on Ravelry. For my first attempt at colourwork, I don't think it's going too badly at all. Cutesy kitties :)

Let's hope I avoid the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome...

Sunday, 30 October 2011

New toys!

A few days ago, Boyfriend dearest came home from work with the promise of something he'd salvaged for me, that he couldn't bear to see go in the skips. He was, however, quiet on what exactly he had in store for me. Last night I was greeted by the sight of him carrying these in for me:

And what was inside?

I think the noise I made was something along the lines of "Eeeeee!!!". What can I say? The boy done good! Two vintage hand-crank machines, both of which can be used with a treadle if so desired.  The cream one on the left is a Frister and Rossmann. More on that machine in another post- for now I want to concentrate on the other.

This is a Jones Family C. S. (Cylindrical shuttle).

She's so pretty. The machine itself seems to be in very good condition. There is very little pitting to the metal that I can see, and the decals are all in fairly good condition with only minor wear that is to be expected of a machine this age. The motif on the shoulder of the machine has 'As supplied to Her Majesty Queen Alexandra' around the crest, which dates it to around 1910.

Shoulder decal detail

Hand-crank mechanism

Mmm... Decades old fluff, but nice shiny workings

Unfortunately the wooden case has suffered a little from exposure to damp conditions. The inner veneer in the base has buckled badly. There is also a small area on the bottom edge of the lid that has suffered similarly, although to a much lesser extent. I think I may remove the bodies to allow the cases to dry thoroughly to prevent and further damge, but they still seem structurally sound so I doubt I''l attempt any restoration to this for a while..

Damaged inner veneer

One moment that did have me very excited was when I opened up the accesories compartment. Inside I found the original manual and accessories box, full of goodies.

The manual has suffered with the damp as well, being in a pretty sorry state with the pages stuck together badly. However, all the parts are in good order. There is a second smaller box inside containing various feet and attachments, including a narrow bias binder, four different hemmer feet, a quilting guide, seam width guide, and an underbraider. I have yet to find what that oval disc has fallen off...
Also in the box of bit were two packets of machine-specific needles, still in their waxpaper wrappers inside, five bobbins (plus the one in the shuttle) and a total of five needle threaders of different brands. The previous owner obviously hated threading needles!

So many threaders!
I can't wait to get this beauty cleaned up and test her out. The mechanics all seem to run smoothly, though it's a little stiff from being unused. Hopefully nothing a good brush out and oil won't solve.

Next time, the Frister and Rossmann.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Dress in an afternoon...

...but not for me!

This is a quick dress I made up for the little one in between working on my list. It's from Butterick 6968, one of my flea market finds bought for 50p last month.

Butterick 6968 (left)

I made view C, the dress with short puff sleeves. The envelope has an advert for Butterick's "new" book, 'Ready, Set, Sew!', which dates this pattern to 1973. It's great when you can figure out exactly when your pattern is from I always think.

As always, little miss refused to stand still and take decent shots, so these are the best you're getting!

Sneaky face

The fabric is a lightweight cotton needlecord in black with a  multicoloured flower pattern. The upper front has five inverted tucks. They were disappearing into the print of the fabric, so I added red topstitching to lift the lines a little. I also added patch pockets to the front skirt (they are more visible in reality).

Detail of fabric and tucks

This is what I usually get when I try and take photos:
 Camera five!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Plaid jumper skirt

Progress has been made on the Autumn Sewing List! This is actually the third complete garment from my first list, but is the first I've got round to photographing. (I am a bad blogger, I know...)

Today's offering is a black and white plaid jumper skirt.

 Why do I never smile in time?!

McCall's 3590, dated 1956 | Advance 8064

I took inspiration from various 1950s patterns, but drafted the pattern myself. I began with my half-circle skirt pattern, and folded it to give me an eighth of a circle; four panels in all, with seams at the sides and centre front and back. I then added an extra 1.5" to the width of each panel at the waist and marked in the darts at this width. An extra 3" above the waist gave me my extension to make it high-waisted, and I drew in the shaped top and drew in the upper half of the dart. The straps are worn crossed at the back.

A moment of new-shoe love
I added textured red buttons to accent the subtle red stripe in the weave, and lined it in the same shade.

Lining hand-stitched to inner facing

I hemmed the skirt and lining separately, as always. I'm don't like the way the hem can pull if the lining is attached to the outer at the hem. Plus I always have the worry of "what if one layer shrinks and the other doesn't?". The plaid was pressed and hand-hemmed with a near-invisible catch stitch, and I gave the lining a narrow machine hem.

 It closes at the back with a lapped zipper. I have to admit, it's been years since I really used this method, but having done it on my last three zips I'm now in love with it as a method!

Colours used from my Autumn palette

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Addicted to knitting

For most of last week, my evenings were spent making some vintagey goodies for the little monster. More specifically, I knitted up the short sleeved sweater pictured right, from one of my new 50s patterns:

1950s 'Youngsters Woolies' pattern booklet

It is part of a twinset with the cardigan (bottom), is worked in two colours and has a lacey stripe patterned yoke. Did I mention this was my first ever knit garment?

 Another funny flash-face

As it turned out, the pattern wasn't too difficult to knit: the holes are done by simply knitting stiches together. The only problems I encountered were of my own making, usually by miscounting and generally not paying attention.

Pattern detail and button closure on shoulder

Friday, 23 September 2011

Flea market pattern haul

I'm home from my trip to visit the family, and I bring vintage goodies for the growing stockpile!

While these days it seems that my old hometown has descended into a mass of 99p stores, pawnbrokers and empty shop units, the weekly flea market still yields some good stuff for those willing to have a long rummage in ancient boxes of tatt. I came away with a stack of patterns, both knitting and sewing, and paid no more than 25 pence per item.

1950s Knitting Patterns

Scoop-neck sweater | Long or short sleeved bolero | Shawl-collar sweater

 | Youngsters Woolies- an assortment of children's essential knits |

Children's sewing patterns

| 1940s Maudella dress and coat patterns |
Both these patterns are unused, still in factory folds!

| 1950s Maudella sun dress and blouse |

1970s tunics and trousers | 1960s duffel coats

Most of the sewing patterns are in larger sizes so will be put away for the time being, but the knitting patterns are something I can plug away at in my spare time. I taught myself basic knitting techniques a few years back but have never ventured into making any actual garments, so hopefully I can challenge myself with completing one of these designs in time for winter.

Monday, 19 September 2011


Today I shall be venturing off to visit the family for a few days. A trip which entails a three and a half hour journey by rail with an excitable one-year-old. Hurrahs! (Oooh, can you feel the sarcasm, ha.)

If only totay's railway network could be trusted to do this for us!

And how adorable are these fruit-slice suitcases? Such a shame they're out of stock or I might find myself buying one immediately.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Autumn sewing list

Well it seems that summer has flown by all to quickly this year and I have neglected to blog about any of the few summer sewing projects I managed to complete. The weather the last couple of weeks has got gradually more depressing, and the summer dresses have been crammed back in the wardrobe. This does mean I'm now back to the usual jeans and tshirt scruffs; not a glamourous look!

So the summer sewing plans have been scrapped, and replaced with this: my Autumn Wardrobe. With this set, I want to attempt to keep it as something of a capsule wardrobe, and make a few key pieces I can mix and match and that will fit easily with existing garments or be added to easily. 

Colour palette

 It seems I'm going for green shades at the moment!

These are my first few designs to make up for the coming season, some of which have already been put in motion.

Top row:

Black wool crepe skirt with sweetheart-shaped waistband.  Self-drafted but taking inspiration from patterns such as Advance 4927 (late 40s/early 50s). 
Assymetrical dress from Style 917 (mid-late 50s), made in deep bottle green cotton with contrast black collars.

High waisted flared jumper dress/skirt.  Self-drafted, inspired by McCall's 3590 (dated 1956), made in cotton blend black and white plaid with red accents.

Bottom Row:

Draped blouse in red cotton jersey, from a 1957 French magazine pattern.

Lime green tone cotton stripe blouse made from Butterick pattern.  

Wrap-front blouse inspired by Vogue 7225.  Made in deep red cotton with contrast collars  of 50s-style leaf print. I will most likely adapt my Butterick pattern to make this one.

Let's hope I don't lose the inclination to sew half way through the set this time!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

New vintage patterns

Another three to add to the collection!

First up is a 1950s Style assymetric dress pattern. It was the unusual shaping that drew me to this one- it has side pleat detail to the skirt and a square collar decorated with a brooch or pin. It also happens to be the perfect size so shouldn't need any major alterations. I plan on making this up as an autumn/winter wear dress (anything with sleeves is automatically winter wear for me), probably from some dark bottle green cotton sateen in my stash.

Next up is a late 1940s Wheldons "dance frock" pattern. I liked how the gathering adds detail to a simple design on this piece. I plan to first make a blouse using just the bodice parts of this pattern, with the yokes made of contrast fabric to the main body. Although this pattern is a couple of sizes too small its simplicity means it should be easy enough to grade up.

The instruction sheet for this pattern certainly shows its age- I will most likely scan and copy it to preserve the delicate original sheet

Last is something I have been after for some time, a basic 1950s blouse pattern, this example by Butterick. This is a simple blouse with drop shoulder kimono sleeves in two lengths, with collars cut in one with the shirt front. I can see this one being used over and over, including made into a shirtwaist pattern when combined with a self-drafted skirt.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Crocheted toddler jacket

It seems summer has officially abandoned us after a very brief visit this year, leading me to realise how short of woolies my daughter is at the minute! One hoody and a few cropped summer-knit cardigans. Time to try out my new crochet skills...

I decided to wing it, and started work on a crocheted jacket for her, measuring mostly by eye and using a knitted cardigan as a rough guide for size. Using acrylic double knitting yarn on a 3.5mm hook, I made the bodice sections first, working treble crochet from the waist up. The lower peplum part was made up in one of the shell patterns from the book pictured in my last post, a pattern simply called "wide arches", using cream and red yarn. For the sleeves, I again used treble crochet, adding a single repeat of the wide arches pattern for a decorative band.

 Pattern detail

I closed the shoulder seams, set the sleeves and added a few rows of double crochet ribbing to the front edges, with an extended tab overlap for a button closure, using a vintage button from my stash.

 Big fancy button!

I made the peplum in a single piece worked onto the treble crochet yoke from the waist down, so that it only extends a short way round the front, leaving the front quite open so little one is less likely to get tangled on one of her climbing adventures.

Front-Open for ease of movement

 Back- Striped pattern of peplum

This was one almighty learning curve (I do tend to throw myself in at the deep end!) and has a couple of little mishaps, fortunately nothing noticeable now it's finished, but things I know to do differently next time.