Thursday, September 19, 2013

Vintage buttons

My mother collected and sold vintage buttons when she worked in the antique business. I've been lucky enough to take over her wonderful collection.

I think they make a wonderful, individual addition to a handmade garment.

 I'm listing them on my Etsy shop for those of you looking for buttons. Here's a couple of my favourites.

1940s glass buttons with painted flowers

1930s enamel Viking ship buttons

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sculptural clothing exhibition - Croatia

While enjoying the sights of Sibenik, Croatia today I stumbled upon a small design space with a clothing/wearable art/sculptural clothing exhibition "bauhaus Plese" by Zagreb based artist Tihana Miksa Perkovic. 

I couldn't get much information (the exhibition brochure was in Croatian) about it but it looked fabulous, so I grabbed a few photos. There were pieces made from plastic bags, burnt lace fabric and fabulous knits amongst other things. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Let's talk dress forms

When I took up sewing again, I wanted a dress form to help me with fitting and hemming garments for myself. So I went looking....bear in mind I live in Australia and choices are be limited.

The easiest ones to find here are the Singer adjustable types (or similar) which I'm sure would have been fine but it just looked and felt like plastic. Also they are not inexpensive, so I didn't really want to buy it just because it was a readily available option.

Singer Adjustable Dress Form
Moving on, I read alot about making a duct tape dress forms like this one. The big advantages are that it's cheap to make and will end up much closer to your body shape than the one above. But you'd have to make it, fill it and mount it, etc, etc and I don't really have the patience for this. They seem pretty popular.

Making duct tape dress form - Threads Magazine
There's versions like these from Fabulous Fit which allows you to pad out a standard form to better match your shape. I like the idea this option because if you loose or gain weight you can alter the standard form by removing or adding padding (within the limitations of the standard shape of course). Also it's pinnable which I think is a big advantage. All for a price.

Fabulous Fit Dress form
Fabulous Fit Fitting System
The one I liked the sound of the best is  My Twin Dress Form. You make a plastic cast of your body and then pour moulding material into the cast for a replica of your body shape - kind of like a foam version of the duct tape model. Sounds time consuming but it could be worth the effort.
My Twin Dress Form
What did I end up with? Well I was in budget mode and bought a "vintage" version online which I really like from a cosmetic point of view, it has character. It does have some adjustments but it's pretty limited and is less than ideal for fitting. So I may have to go looking for a better solution again soon.
Front view 

Back View
Do you use a dress form? If so, what kind and why? Any recommendations?

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Red Sheath Dress Revisited

Remember this dress that I laboured over for week? It was my attempt at introducing couture techniques into my sewing. As promised, here's me in the dress instead of the dress form (better late than never). Apologies for the quality of the photo - as you can see it was taken at night.

Dinner in Venice

Also as a postscript, I washed the dress in a washing machine and being cotton it came out looking pretty crumpled. I wasn't feeling too confident about how if was going to iron.Well, I'm pleased to report it was an absolute dream to iron - this was unexpected.

I can only put it down to the construction.  Specifically the use of the interlining and how the lining was inserted into the dress. So apart from being so easy to wear, it's also really easy to care for - the extra effort was definitely worth it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Movie costumes - The Tourist

A few nights ago, I watched Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp in The Tourist (2010), mostly because it was set in Venice. I didn't care for much for the film but was intrigued by the costumes.
I was undecided about whether they worked well or not but they were interesting. They seemed a bit try hard and a little old for Jolie but I was curious about them and they did look luxurious.

The costume designer was Colleen Atwood who has had a number of Academy Awards for films like Chicago and Alice in Wonderland (by Tim Burton).

A dress inspired by authentic Irene (1930s costume designer) costume and a modern day addition of the mocha wrap

A draped silk evening dress was an original design

This outfit was tailored from a vintage find

An original Charles James dress - my favorite

A white evening jacket tailored by Saville Row
The accessories - jewelry, gloves and shoes (mostly Ferragamo) gives the film and the costumes a very expensive look. What do you think?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Colette Clover capri pants

Making capri pants, and in particular this pattern, has been on my "To Do" list for a while. I've never made pants before and these looked so simple and cute. I thought "why not?" - if it works out I can make it in all sorts of colours. Well, not so easy....

First, the fabric: French navy cotton with 2% spandex. Affordable fabric in case things do not go well. Originally I was going to line these pants - what was I thinking?? I gave this idea up quickly. 

I made a toile (terrible initial fit) and attended a class to adjust the pattern for a better fit, had to make major modifications, made a second toile, modified this and then finally cut the fashion fabric. All good? Nope. The garment sewed together well but the fit was awful - no photos necessary - it looked like ill fitting jodhpurs. The unfinished garment is lying in pieces in the sewing room. 

I'm not even going to pretend to know what went wrong. My only guesses are...

- they are pants
- they are fitted stretchy pants
- the toile was made in non-stretch muslin, maybe it should have been made in fabric with the same degree of stretch
- I "self fitted" the second toile - not ideal

I think it's salvageable - I really do but I'll get help. If I can get the fit right, I think they could become a good staple garment. 

Not sure I'm too keen about sewing pants again though. What about you?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Have you taken a blogging break?

I did. It coincided with a holiday and then it drifted along for longer than I had planned. Oops.

Let's face it, it takes time, care and thought to create a interesting or useful post. And then there's the accompanying photos to consider......

This blog started as a chronicle of my return to sewing with a splash of vintage patterns talk as I discovered them.

Recently, as I've had less time to sew, I've had less to say about my projects. So while these projects slowly re-emerge when time permits and as I work out the direction I'm going (things change), I will to focus on all things vintage (patterns).

What do you think about blogging breaks? Do you take them? If so why? Do your blogs change focus as your interests change?

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