Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Tea and cake

This weekend we took a trip to visit some family, with a quick spot of shopping thrown in. Boyfriend's family are a fairly close-knit bunch: his grandfather and two aunts live in the same small village, with a large number of extended family close by. One of those two aunts runs a small shop in the village selling vintage and second-hand anything, pretty much. On the day we visited, she had everything from fancy china, cookware and furniture through to books, hand tools and umbrellas. Needles to say I spent a good while exploring the shelves!

I resisted the urge to buy half the shop (a small budget helped) and came away with two items.

A late 1930s Tuscan China teacup trio. Trios started at just £2! True, I don't like actual tea, but it will suit my occassional fruit tea habit nicely.

I also got this beautiful strawberry pattern two-tier cake stand. It's modern (she originally had 6 in stock!) an unmarked, but so pretty.

The hand-crochetted lace doily is also vintage, a recent find at a charity shop. It always makes me a bit sad to think how many hours somebody's grandma put into these pieces, only for them to be given away and sold for fifty pence.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A touch of the tropical

Our first day of real warm weather finally arrived today, and it put me in the mood for sewing something equally bright and cheerful. I set aside the '40s trousers; today is not the day for sewing black twill, and came up with this simple bateau-neck tropical blouse.

I drafted the pattern a couple of days ago using Casey's tutorial from last summer, using a modern McCall's shirt pattern as my base: a very quick and simple job. The fabric is a cotton print I pulled from the stash- I'd forgotten it was even there! This one was a remnant bought a good four or five years ago that's languished ever since.

I did have to make a couple of fitting alterations to it. As always with sleeveless blouses on me, it was gaping at the sides above the bust, so I added an extra bust dart sloping upwards towards the armpit. I also added darts the the back neckline, though lowering the edge may have worked just as well. 

Back neck darts

It closes at the side with a lapped zipper. I'm getting good at these!

The upper edges and hem are finished with purchased bias binding in cream. On the upper edge, I finished the top edges of front and back first, then bound the underarm edges, leaving a 12" tail of binding at each end to form the tie-straps.

 I briefly considered going back and taking the front darts in a little, but I'll likely never do it. I'll always wear it tucked in anyway so I think it will be fine as it is. I love these one afternoon projects- instant sewing gratification.


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Now award winning!

I won my first blog award! A little surprised, but very grateful! Thank you to Katrin of Per bar one Penny.


The rules:

Copy and paste it on your blog; then send it to five other blogs that you follow which have less than 100 followers; notify them with a comment on their blog.

So here are my five:

Willow Homestead: A little of everything from sheep to sewing, all from the comfort of the beautiful homestead.

A New Ball Of String: '40s fashion and vintage shopping galore!

Forge fashion: Beautiful corsetry and accessories

Sew Something Vintage: I covet her collection of German pattern catalogues.

Sophia Sews: Some very lovely modern sewing and jewellery craft

Go check these fabulously talented ladies out!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Checking in- with new stash

It's a good feeling, coming home from a visit to the family with a backpack full of new fabrics. I always plan a trip to the fabric shop that was my old workplace when I visit, but this time I also managed a trip to another shop in the town that only opens two days a week. Situated in an old church up a narrow terraced sidestreet (like so many others in the north of England), it's a real Aladdin's cave of bargain fabrics. Wool suitings and high-end curtain fabrics for £3 a metre anyone? Or a church hall full of fabrics for £1 a metre?

Between the two shops, I came away with this stack. It so easily could have been bigger had my purse permitted:

Amazingly, I have plans for all of them. Top to bottom:

~ Royal blue cotton and white/royal cotton polkadot because I am a sucker for pattern illustrations

~ Red mix cotton tartan weave for Little One, possibly another version of the Grows-With-Her dress

~ Stretch black allover lace. I'm possibly thinking overlay for a wiggle dress, unless anything else comes to me

~ Black and purple poly/viscose tartan for a pencil skirt

~ Royal and white pindot jersey. Most likely my third dress from Simplicity 2647 (view C), a wardrobe favourite for the last 4 years.

~ Black soft cotton drill for my 1940s trousers

~ White polycotton with woven pattern, for blouses for the Little One from Butterick 7410

My sinfully low stock of needles, elastic and other such essentials has also been replenished, and my mum gifted me a proper wooden yardstick.

I've also bagged a couple of cheap bits of vintage from that well-known-auction-site:

 A small panel of 1960s cotton children's print with trains (shown folded in half). Not a clue what for, but it was too cute to pass on! The other is a rayon satin with a lovely shadow floral print, enough for a dress bodice.

Hopefully in the next couple of days I'll have the trousers cut out and actually have some grown-up sized sewing to show you all!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Dreaming of sewing spaces

Like many of you probably do, I suffer from a terminal lack of space. My sewing machine is cramped in the corner of the dining room, mushed in between the dining table and an excessively large pram. My fabric and supplies are spread between two cupboards, a box on top of the wardrobe and a basket with whatever I'm currently working on on the dining table.
What I would do for a sewing space like this one:

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or a fabric stash large enough to need this room:

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Unfortunately at the minute I couldn't even find this much space. If our cupboards weren't all occupied by tools and bit of bike engine!

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For now, I think I'll have to settle for some smaller storage solutions.

Hanging storage: Multi-hangers for ribbon spools, and pocket storage for buttons and bits

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Metal buckets underneath a shelf. I recently spotted some pastel toned buckets like these being sold for Easter crafts that would add a lovely splash of colour.

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Jam jars with pin cushion tops...

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... or glued under a shelf like the ones full of odd screws in your dad's garage!

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Next, add a few decorative touches.

Embroidery hoops and your favourite fabrics

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A few framed fashion plates and motivational sayings

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and some miniature vintage cuteness

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Time to get creative with my storage and have a bit of a spring clean!

Souces for all images as well as a few more on my Sewing Spaces board on Pinterest