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.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Experiments in crochet

On a recent night out a thought hit me; that I have no appropriate handbags to wear with vintage styled pieces. The only one that comes close is a tiny plain black article with a ribbon bow, that is sadly only large enough to contain a mobile phone and a lipstick. And possibly some loose cash thrown in the bottom. While this may be all some girls get away with taking out, i am certainly not one of them.  I risk coming home in a tangled mass of frizz if I don't take a hairbrush, habitually carry a camera, and like a bag that can potentially hold a couple of nappies for occasions involving the little one.

So began the web browsing  for ideas on patterns or styles for something I could make, and I came across some interesting crocheted bag patterns from the 1940s, including this free pattern:

 Shell-pattern crochet bag, worked in rounds then folded into the semi-circular finished shape

A little more research shows this to be a Jack Frost pattern dating from 1945, and the whole pattern booklet can be bought from The Vintage Knitting Lady in PDF format, which includes soem beautiful designs including these two (also sold as individual patterns):

At this point, I had a slight issue- I've never crocheted in my life! But not to fear, I have my secret weapon:

 Dating from 1981, this book came to me from my nanna and is a whacking great 500 page craft bible!

Photos, diagrams and written instructions for everything from basic stitches to fancy lacework

I rummaged out some knitting wool and a hook and sat down for an afternoon. After half an hour's playing I had mastered the basic stitches I would need for the free pattern above, which is mostly made up in simple double crochet, as well as learning treble crochet for good measure. The action seems to come quite naturally, probably a result of so many evenings spent watching my mum working away with a hook and yarn! I tested out the first few rows of the bag pattern  to get a feel for how it comes together, and a fairly short stint gave me this:

A little uneven on the tension still, but I could see the improvement with each row. I shall keep practicing while I wait for my cotton yarns to arrive. The next (and probably most difficult) step will be finding some suitable handles.

Final not to self: Counting stitches is impossible while a one-year-old pushes toys in your lap!