Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Liebster Blog Award

Janene at Oobop! has thoughtfully given me a Liebster award. Thank you so much! Liebster is German for "much loved" or "favourite" which delights my heart. And rather delightfully, she also gave one to Kat at Modern Vintage Cupcakes, whom I have yet to meet but lives in the same city as me at the other end of GMT to London. :)
The Liebster is for blogs with under 200 followers (although with a combination of blogger followers and Google reader followers even I don't know how many I have). Recipients nominate five other blogs to receive the award. So, these are my five picks for a Liebster.
Dressing Mrs Exeter - Mrs Exeter shares about everything from cleaning chandeliers to covered buttons. It's nice to read about the life of another middle-aged blogger!
Miss Ginger Makes - Verity looooves fabric and sells it at Greenwich Market. She is the busiest person I've never met and it is always a thrill to get a glimpse into her life :)
My Fat Quarter - Karen is a poppet with a passion for buttons and a talent for patchwork that blows me away. We sew together at least once a month and always laugh ourselves silly!
Sew 18th Century - Elisabeth loves the 18th C and her costumes are objects of perfectly accurate desire!
Marmota's Dress Diaries - Hana Marmota lives in the Czech Republic and blogs about costumes, op-shopping and exotic and unusual locations she gets to visit, like Estonia, which I very much want to visit myself, now!

Thank you again Janene, and thank you to all the wonderful blogs I enjoy following!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Crazy Reactions

Today I got some really exciting news. I can't share it yet, but I will do so soon as it is VERY exciting. But what I CAN share with you is my reaction. Stuck at home and having called everyone I can share it with, I was still fizzing with excitement, so what did I do?
I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed my bathroom floor.
It has been bugging me for ages, but 20 minutes with hot water and some sugar soap and it is better than new. And I feel very satisfied!
Does anyone else react or respond to energising news by doing housework?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Our Big Fat Gypsy Wedding Party!

Have you had this TV programme on air lately? The various series and versions aired last year in NZ, and caused quite a flutter among some of my friends. In the end, we just had to channel our inner travellers, and on Saturday 18 Feb 8pn at Thistle Hall, the dearly beloved gathered for our very own Big Fat Gypsy Wedding Party!
Me dressed as Mystic Meg, complete with TWO Bumpits! Those things are like Viagra for the hair, very impressive!
Mystic Meg with her crystal ball (or, small fishbowl recently emptied of crisps, stuffed with supermarket plastic bag, er)
Me and MrC, or Paddy for the night. Dig his jacket? It's a woman's jacket, tailor made, from the late '80s. We worked out that in gypsy years, we were great grandparents! (note: he is kissing my hand, that's all...)
One of the brides present, with her bridesmaids. No fake tan was spared in the making of most outfits!
Rob as an Irish traveller. Loving the mullet wig!
The amazingly talented and clever Jim Stanton demonstrating the swirl factor in her outrageous costume!
We had an amazing night, so many awesome costumes! I read palms all night (the fishbowl turned out to be unreliable) and had to deal with quite a cue! There was lots of Shakira-esque moves on the dance floor and lots of sequins and battery operated personal fairy lights.
Thanks Maz and M. David for thinking of it and making it happen :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

That Apron

The lovely Elizabeth from Sew 18th Century won my apron giveaway a while back. Here is a lovely photo of her wearing it...
It is very cute on her don't you think? And it survived a very long journey too. :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sew Grateful winners!

Hi all, I originally intended to send all five patterns to one person but in the end, I have assigned them separately, based on the ones you all said you liked best. I used a random number generator and the first number that came up got their first choice, and so on until I had assigned them all. If the next number to come up wanted one already assigned, I redrew. I hope you all don't mind, but it seemed that this was fairer, given how different the patterns all are!
So, the winners in order of the draw are:
Scruffy Badger - Simplicity 5546
Tina - Maudella wedding dress
Emily - Maudella Maternity
Leslie - Maudella child's dress
T - Weigels button up dress.
Thank you all so much for supporting this giveaway! It's been lovely to meet new people, follow you back to your own blogs if you have them, and I've added a few to my daily scan as a result :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Finished Project - Embellished Anne Harvey Jacket

While I was in the UK last year, I discovered Anne Harvey. What a fabulous shop! the standard, variety and fit of clothes was so much more than we get ready made in New Zealand and the prices were pretty reasonable too.
I found a linen neru jacket, unlined,that fitted me like a dream, and I really wanted to get it, but I am just not a natural/porridgey coloured jacket kind of gal. Tired of black, yes, but not ready for neutrals. But then I thought, hey, this is a blank canvas garment. Its unlined construction means that embellishing it will be a doddle.
And so a few months after we got back, I embellished it. And here is the finished object:
I used the same fabric as for the wide brim hat, and a similar technique for the applique. I also changed the buttons.
I adore these painterly roses so much!
Close up of the front. I didn't want it to be symmetrical but I did want it to look balanced. I think we got there in the end!
Super close up. This has been washed and the roses are fraying a little, which is what I wanted. I made sure the steam a seam didn't go to the absolute edges, so the raw edges of the fabric would start to fray. The leaves are a soft gold net - double layered since one wasn't enough, and machine embroidered only along the veinlines. They flop a bit but I love the effect.

The inside shows the stitching on the rose. Because it is big, and pretty, I've drawn over it quite a bit with the machine, so to speak, in a variegated thread. This is more visible in the live item than in the photos 
So there it is, looks a treat with my red linen skirt and a white top.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Vintage pattern giveaway for Sew Grateful week

I collect stuff to do with sewing, that I don't always get to use. Included in this is a stash of delightful vintage patterns. Sew Grateful week has got me thinking about how much better it is for patterns to be out there being used and enjoyed, not stuck in a crate in my sewing room never to be made up.

So, win the giveaway and these are yours. From top left in clockwise direction:
Maudella 1376, girl's pattern size 11-12 years. Still in cellophane. It looks like it would size up for a smaller person without too much trouble and it is super 60's cute!
Weigels 2702 - size 32 bust. Princess seamed dress with button through front. Super useful and versatile.
Maudella 5143 bust 38. Maternity smock and skirt. I really like the styling of the middle view, I reckon it would look good on anyone, expecting or not.
Maudella 5328 bust 38 wedding dress, probably late 60's. The instruction sheet is missing but it is a fairly self explanatory pattern and there is plenty of information online I am sure about doing lace overlays if you wanted to go with that look. (I found this pattern listed on ebay for 18 euros!) Funnily enough I think it is the only example I've ever seen of a vintage pattern where the cover art isn't as flattering as the dress would be on a real person!
Simplicity 5546 - size 14 (bust 34) Full skirted dress with detachable collar. A great early 60's pattern
So there you go - something for every age and stage!
How to enter -
  1. Become a follower if you aren't already.
  2. Leave a comment saying which one you like best, how you would make one up, any further information about Maudella or Weigels - anything you like really. :)
  3. Let me know how to get hold of you if your email isn't on your profile.

And that's it! I'm happy to send them anywhere in the world. I am sew happy to think that they may actually get used and made into things by a vintage loving sewist out there!

Update: Forgot to say that I'll leave this open until midnight 12 Feb GMT. :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sew Grateful for Burda patterns!

Today I want to share my delight and gratitude to Burda, for making pattern 7396. I have had this EXACT garment in my head for years now, but it was just a bit more thinking than I was willing to put into a make for myself. So when I was passing time while on holiday idly flicking through the Burda pattern book in a shop and found this one, I was ecstatic. And it was half price!
I love the combo of the high waist, scoop neck and lapels. And it went up to a 28, which is kind of where I am at!
My make of it. I had to lengthen the bodice, and cut more flare into the skirts to get the effect I wanted, but it came together super fast. The 100% cotton has woven stripes made up of white and grey dots, bought to ages ago for about $2m. So no big loss if it didn't work out. The stripes are a mess - I meticulously cut this top out to match the stripes, ahem, without checking to see if the bottom layer of the fabric lined up with the top. Sooo, not my best work. But I still love it. I am already making another one - no stripes this time.
It has a hint of the 1910's era about it, fun for the year of the Titanic Centenary and the popularity of Downton Abbey!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sew Grateful for...

This coming week has been declared Sew Grateful week. The declarer is the inspiring Debi from My Happy Sewing Place. I absolutely love the idea and am thinking of ways to best participate.
But before that, I wanted to ponder a bit on the question of what there is to be sew grateful for.
Friends: Sewing is about friends. Sewing together, helping each other out - the friendly and easy camaraderie of working together on the same or different projects, keeping our hands busy and our minds free, is such a satisfying source of contentment. Sewing for friends is also a pleasure, as I have way more ideas in my head of things I want to make than I have wardrobe space or figure shape to satisfy. :)
Self-expression: Sewing is a practical skill but it is also highly creative. A famous jeweller was saying on the radio today how jewellery was the first art form that allowed people to express their wealth, status and style. Got news for him - before the jewellery came the clothes onto which it is fastened! Within the limitations of skill. available materials and tools, we can make anything we want, express ourselves and our sense of style any way we like - unfettered by what the High St stores have on offer.
Also in our homes - my home is a tribute to MrC's and my love of cosy opulence, and mostly because I can make 30m of fabric into enormous drapes at a fraction of the cost of having them made, likewise giant cushions, tablecloths, lampshades - all those lovely patterned soft surfaces that make a home so homely. :)
Creative outlet: Because I quilt and also love to make things like tea cosies, I am forever having to find homes for them! And that means taking an interest in what other people like, as well as what I like. If I were left to my own devices, everything would be red, red, red, with maybe a touch of gold. But the desire to strew my output across the landscape means I also get to make blue things, green things, black and cream things - moments of stepping out of my red and gold box and enjoying putting other colours and patterns together. It is very liberating!

So yes, I am incredibly grateful for the skills that I have built up over 40 years of sewing, without them I wouldn't be me! :)
What are you sew grateful for?