Wednesday, March 2, 2016

It's been so long - winter floral shirt

Yet another UFO I can tick off the list, and now that it's finally finish, got to say I love it. It was too mature for my tastes at the time I started making this, but now 10 or so years later, it's perfect.

All it need was to lose the big '70's collar and cuffs. The other changes I made were to topstitch pretty much the entire garment, and swapped out  the nasty plastic buttons I was orginally going to use with some lovely Romanian glass buttons found in Taupo's Oakleaf Antiques a few years ago. Absolutely worth stopping here if you're travelling along State Highway 1 as they have the most fabulous collection of glass buttons bought over from the actual factory where they were made in Romania when it closed down. Be careful if you're on a budget though - those little buttons quickly add up when you can't leave any of the lovelies behind!

The pattern was traced out of an old Burda magazine, and the fabric is lite-weight wool, with a floral barkcloth-style print. I think it may have come from The Fabric Warehouse, but I can't really say for sure after all this time.

Looking forward to wearing this once the weather cools down.

Hello Sailor! frock – vintage Simplicity 3120

Technically, I wouldn't quite classify this as a UFO, as it was only cut out (and fused) last November. But I knew if I didn't get it made this summer, it was in danger of becoming a UFO. And it was so worth finishing - it's my new favourite frock.

I used vintage Simplicity 3120 (©1959) for the neckline, updating it by cutting it straight through with no waist seam, and leaving out all shaping other than the bust darts. I used the sleeve pattern from New Look 6754 (view C), added pockets in the side seams and a tie belt and belt loops to clinch in the waist.
The pure cotton fabric was a Fabric-a-Brac purchase, quite a lucky score because I couldn't get to that particular event until near the end, so everyone else must have past over it for some reason or other. Meant to be mine!

Don't the buttons work fabulously with the fabric? There have been four of them in my stash for a while, not entirely sure where they came from, maybe the Hospice shop in Petone? Or Kilbirnie?
All in all, a really nice new easy breezy frock.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Frangipani vintage Vogue 5434 mash-up

Haere Mai - welcome to 2016.

India was awesome - absolutely in love with the south. Kochi, the Kerala Backwaters and Mamallapuram have been added to Udaipur in Rajasthan, and of course Navsari and Surat in Gujarat (shopping - oh the shopping!) as places I'll visit again.

Back home, there's a well-timed challenge over at The Monthly Stitch - The "UFO Showdown". I confess to numerous UFOs, so there's a pile I'm determined to tackle this month. Scroll down if you'd like a sneak-peek.
Waitangi weekend saw me tackled the first. You'll remember the Frangipani frock was a toilé for the red silk dress I wore to a wedding earlier this year. That dress was a huge success, which prompted me to finish this one.

I unpicked and recut the bodice using Style 1751 again. Dilemma thought, a perfectly colour-matched zip was a wee bit too short. "Make a feature out of a flaw" I could hear my tutor Jeannie Gander saying. So I placed the zip as per usual into the lower back seam opening, hen recut the back facings with extensions and finished the closure with a button and fabric loop at the neck. and finished the closure with a button and fabric loop at the neck. It slips it over my head without being unbuttoned, so no weird yoga moves required to get it done up.

The finished frock is my new favourite!

Onto the remaining UFO's I'd like to tackle this month. These are by no means all of them, just the ones I think I can complete, and would like to see completed, in a month. In no particular order:
1. Self-drafted "Melba" Jacket. Started in 2013. Made up to the point where I was deciding whether to make Spanish Snap buttonholes, or just do regular keyhole buttonholes by machine at the end.
2. Vintage inspired frock with full skirt (flower embroidery at hem) and cute pockets. Started in 2011. Abandoned after the ridiculous looking collar was unpicked.
3. Perfect Purple Pants. Second draft in my quest to make the perfect fitting pants (the first attempt so bad they were never blogged about - they're now odd looking capri pants worn only with 'outie' shirts). Cut in November 2014.
4. 70's inspired floral shirt. Can't actually remember how long ago this was started, sometime between moving back to Wellington in 2005 and my first blog in 2009. Yep, a while. Once again, think I had collar issues. Still, you have to try these things to figure out whether you like them or not.
5. The newbie. Ambitiously cut this dress out about 3 weeks before leaving for India - wasn't going to happen! The teaser was a newly acquired vintage pattern working perfectly with a stashed fabric - how often does that happen?
Wish me luck!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Indian Travel: why I will take anti-malarial tablets

If you'd asked me a couple of months ago if I'd be taking anti-malarial tablets in India this time, I would have replied "No". 
However, I'll be travelling in the Tamil Nadu region and will pass through Chennai, where there was flooding earlier this month. And everyone knows malaria is a waterborne disease.
Even though they make me feel ghastly, I'm not going to take any unnecessary risks. 
I feel it's inconsiderate to expect India to provide emergency medical care for foolish tourists who wish to play Russian Roulette with their lives. We in the West have so many advantages that there's really no reason not to take responsibility for ourselves.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

"What all the Stylish Travellers are wearing in India this year"

It's been a dilemma deciding which hat to take to India this time, because - although it's winter - temperatures in the south this time of the year are late 20's to early 30's celsius (which equals a really good summers day in New Zealand!). 
Much to-ing and fro-ing has taken place, eventually narrowed down to a toss-up between a cotton sunhat I took last time (too warm, have really unattractive photos of me in front of the Taj Mahal with sweaty helmet-hair plastered to my skull) and a cap from the San Diego Zoo (screams !!!TOURIST!!!), both unappealing options.
Finally, after another look through the hat box, I found this:

My "Christmas Hat" - a $5 paper Trilby from Cotton On several years ago, usually decorated with a necklace of flashing christmas lights wrapped around the crown.
But it needed personalizing. So off came the naff black cotton bias binding trim, and on with a lovely piece of blue and white striped grosgrain ribbon from Made Marion. It was the lovely MrsC herself who jokingly gave me the title for this post while we discussed my plans.

Not sure at the time exactly what I would be creating, I bought a metre ($7) to give me plenty to play with, and in the end needed that whole metre. It took about a hour to replace (half of that was picking all the bits of glue off the hat left by the original trim) - a little Googling for ideas, a bit of steaming to shape the ribbon into a curve, snip snip, fold the bow and pleat, and a couple of stitches to hold it all in place. 

Done, and doesn't it look terrific!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

For the family - "Boyhood spent in cliff-top castle brought dramas" by Caroline Martin

The cousins at Cargill's castle, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Reproduced with kind permission from Caroline Martin.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A cautionary tale - becoming a VoPIF with vintage Vogue 5434

What's a VoPIF, I hear you ask. A Victim of Pattern Illustration Fraud - when the allure of the envelope image does not match the reality.  Eventually every stitcher will become a VoPIF, the most experienced amongst us will have fallen victim more than once. Vintage Vogue 5434 from the 1960's has victimized me yet again.

The tale starts with a wedding invitation. Guests are requested to dress colourfully - "as bright as a garden of summer flowers". Into the stash I headed, where a piece of dupion silk in a stunning red has been languishing for far too long. (Showed a swatch to the bride as wearing red to a wedding can be considered inappropriate, but she's thrilled. Colour is actually several shades darker than it appears in these photos.)  I also pulled out a piece of burgundy frangipani print cotton to make a wearable toilé and Vogue 5434 from my pattern collection.

After a few adjustments to the sizing, I whizzed together the frangipani toilé dress - love the skirt, but the bodice just doesn't cut the mustard. The neckline is too high, and the pleats which looked so stylish on the envelope are in reality very "roomy". (I kept patting them into place during fitting.) Another toilé bodice was cut with a lower neckline and less fullness in the pleats, but wasn't much better. After toying with the idea of cutting yet another toilé bodice, I decided to abandon it completely for the moment because I'm running out of time, and instead replace it altogether with a trusted bodice from an old favourite pattern - Style 1751 from 1990. 
Boldly cutting straight into the silk I made one change - a simplified neckline - best leave sweethearts to the bride and bridesmaids!

Very happy with the results, and because using this bodice pattern was much more economical ,there's enough silk left over to make a shrug jacket as well. As for the frangipani dress, I can't decided whether to leave the bodice as is, or change it as well. Your thoughts?

So, in conclusion everyone lived happily ever after.
The end.
Oh, and the accessories. Jewellery still to be decided.

Please feel free to share your own VoPIF stories in the comments below. I for one would appreciate warnings about patterns that don't live up to expectations!