Monday, September 15, 2014

FO: Mad about Plaid - Vogue 8811, circa 1940

Hands up who likes plaid!

I was so excited when I stumbled across this plaid at my local Spotlight - the combination of olive, green, beige and orange are perfection!

1940s plaid tartan dress vintage vogue 8811 plus size red head xl curvy bakelite miss l fire rosita

Unfortunately, there was only a meter left on the roll so I had to chase down some yardage at another store further away. Definitely worth the effort.

The pattern is Vintage Vogue 8811, a very easy dress from 1940. I made View B.

And boy, is this dress easy.
I made a muslin to check the fit of the bodice, and cut a straight 18 (bust and waist). A quick short waist adjustment, and away I went.

I feel like the colourway is striking enough that you can wear red with it, without appearing too christmassy.
A very quick sew, plus the pattern doesn't take up a lot of yardage (2.6m of 150cm wide). How adorable is the chest pocket cut on the bias?

The Good:
- Everything? I love the drape of the skirt, the fit of the bodice, the fabric. Also, one of my best side zipper insertions.

The Bad:
- nothing

The Meh:
- I think I need to make a further short waist tuck, as it's probably still a fraction long in the torso. I can live with it though.

- Not using shoulder pads
- Made sure the plaid didn't make a '+' shape at my bust apex (boobs) as that would look awkward.... Hello girls!

Poly tartan/plaid, from Spotlight.

And that's it.
I would definitely recommend this pattern if you're 'Mad about Plaid', it's very straightforward to make and a great way to make use of the tartan pattern.

Outfit Details:
Dress - Vogue 8811, myself
Shoes - Miss L Fire Rosita
Belt and Vintage Bag - Opshop
Bakelite Bangles - Etsy
Brooch - Etsy
Lipstick - Rouge Dior Trafalgar

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A pattern splurge!

If you're following me on Facebook, you might remember me saying that I'd gone a little crazy in the pattern-buying department last week... Oh, buyer's remorse!

Well my parcel arrived today, and I'm remorseful no longer. A bunch of lovely Australian-made patterns in 36-38-40 inch bust sizes, and even some 'Pauline' patterns which I adore

I'd love to share some of my favourite ones with you!

Pauline 5299 - Lady's Slenderising Dress size 40

I love the split neckline and waist detail on this one. Can't wait to make it up, perhaps with a contrast.

Fashion Cut Pattern 6699 - Bust 36


Yowza - what isn't there to love about this one?! There's so much going on here.

Pauline 5128 - 40 Bust

Another fabulous Pauline pattern, I really love the way they used stripes on the left.

Fashion Cut Pattern - 36 Bust

Buttons! Buttons on pockets!

Pauline 2042 - 40 Bust

Another pattern I've been chasing in my size for years, I love the square neckline and basque.

And finally, Pauline 5424 - 40 bust

This pattern has been on my wishlist for seven years! I'm not sure why I'm so entranced by it, but I think the shaped yoke and V-pockets are darling. Definitely making this up.


I normally have a really firm budget for patterns, but I also know that I won't see these for sale again. What to do?
After thinking about it long and hard, I've decided that it's OK to break the rules for Pauline patterns.

What about you, is there something you'll break your budget rules for?

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Free Pattern: A Triangle Neck Scarf, c. 1936

Do YOU need to lend a gay touch to your frock? This little pattern for a fringed scarf would be a great way to use up leftovers, or introduce a newbie to sewing.

Really easy to sew - and cute to boot!

Produced by The Spool Company in 1936, I hope you like it!

free sewing pattern 1930s the spool company scarf novelty print


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

FO: The Emergency Bolero (Pauline Pattern 2217, c. 1940s)

How many times have you opened your wardrobe, and realised that you don't have X,Y or Z to complete your outfit?

1940s 1950s wardobe style idea miss l fire shoes
What a mess! And I think I have a 'Miss L Fire shoes' problem...

That was me, the day before the Fifties Fair - even after ransacking my wardrobe twice.
I was looking for the perfect jacket, bolero or cardigan to match my 1940's rayon dress, and everything was either the wrong colour or the wrong cut.

I had Pauline 2217 sitting on my sewing table to make up shortly, and thought it might solve my bolero-emergency.

I love all the details on this bolero - the winged collar, the strong shoulders, the faux pockets. The pattern is from the later part of WW2, with the focus on the military-inspired shoulders. It's economy standard, i.e. no seam allowance, no facing pieces provided, instructions printed on the back of the packet.

Pauline sewing patterns are by far my favourite brand - I wish I could find more out about the company though.

The pattern only took 1.3 yards (1.2m) for the bolero, and I had some spare navy gabardine laying around - perfect!

Ouch, this pattern was hard to put together.
The instructions consist of two sentences, basically: sew the pocket flaps on, sew the side seams together, attach the collar, set in the sleeves, face the edges.
Not a pattern for the faint-hearted!

My first step was to make a muslin, and put it together how I thought it should go.
It fit perfectly straight from the start, so there was no need to do any adjustment mods (that's rare for me).

I used purchased shoulder pads instead of making them as I was running out of time, made self-covered buttons and lined the bolero to give it some body.

If you do decide to add a lining to an unlined jacket don't forget to add your ease pleats to the centre back, or you may have trouble lifting your arms. You can see in the photo below at the lower centre, I've stitched down an ease pleat.

1940s repro sewing pattern free lining navy gaberdine jacket bolero

I also hand-stitched the pocket flaps to the body to make them sit nicely (otherwise they stuck out strangely).

And that's it!
The bolero complemented my outfit perfectly!

Will you see this bolero pattern again? Yes indeed!

I'm about half way through sewing a 1940's Wearable Wardrobe - complimentary 1940's pieces (jacket, dress, skirt, bolero and blouse) that work well together - so you'll be sure to see it again in a different incarnation.

Hope you have a fabulous week!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Fifties Fair 2014, having fun at the Rose Seidler House!

Oh, how much do we love the annual Fifties Fair?

1950s 1940s fifties fair rose seidler house navy red plus size dress rayon xl telephone cord bag miss l fire review rosita

1940s carded lucite brooch crab novelty rakuten sunsurf sun surf rayon repro hawaiian shirt dykes butch femme vintage

Everyone who came had a blast!

End of the day, and we're exhausted!

I'm kicking myself that I forget to get a photo of Trish from Quiet Vintage Sewing in her outfit - she made it herself and the colours were awesome. Hopefully she has some photos coming too.

I'll only share a few shots, but the whole Flickr Set is here if you'd like to see.
I didn't get the chance to take a lot of photos this year, as we were busy winning 'Best Couple 2014'! (blush)

Photo from Sydney Broadsheet

I keep trying to get Jakk to enter 'Best Gent', and somehow we ended up entering 'Best Couple'.
I'm so excited that we won again, and we're looking forwards to eating our way through the prize  - dinner at the very fancy Portenos!

(It might not be a big deal for other people, but it's nerve-wracking for a same-sex couple to enter a competition like that...)

Swingtime Australia

The numbers felt down from last year - I think the rain + high ticket price kept some people away. Normally the event is packet by 11am, but by 12pm it was pretty crowded.

And this year they had an ATM onsite - at last!

Having a break from dancing

I dressed more for comfort this year (no girdle, bullet bra and petticoat) as most times I've overheated when  we dance.

I had a last minute panic the day before when I realised that I didn't have a jacket to match my dress - so I spent the day before hurriedly making something to match (post coming about it shortly, it's from a 1940's pattern).

Jakk's Outfit:
Shirt - 1940's repro rayon shirt, Sun Surf
Jacket - 1950's repro from Retrospec'd
Pants - 1950's vintage, Donnaland
Shoes - Bass

My Outfit
Dress - 1940's rayon dress, 'Mynette', from SmallEarthVintage
Bolero - 1940's, made by me! Pauline 2217
Handbag - 1940's telephone cord bag
Hat - 1950's molded straw, Puck and Puck Fifth Ave. Chicago Vintage Underground.
Shoes - Miss L Fire Rosita
Crab Brooch - 1940's carved Lucite, gift from Jakk
Jewellery - various, Etsy

You might have noticed that my hair is styled differently too - my hairdresser and I were trying for a Vivian Leigh type set. I think I like the centre part!

miss l fire review rosita navy telephone cord bag 1940s bolero gaberdine plus size xl bakelite bangle lucite brooch straw hat fifth ave
Well, I'm sad that the Fair is over for another year and I can't wait to see what they have planned for 2015.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fifties Fair Day 24 August 2014, Rose Siedler House

Eep - it's only two days away!
Our pal Christine from Classic Vintage is the cover model!

We're really looking forward to the fashionable crowds and the music (Pat Capocci and Rusty Pinto are playing), fingers are crossed for no rain this weekend.

This Fifties Fair may be our last for a while, if they put the ticket prices up again ($50 this year compared to $30 last year) we won't be able to afford it. But I think we say this every year...

I have an appointment at Stirlings the day before for a vintage set, but alas I still have no idea what to wear!

Hopefully we get to see some other Sydney bloggers floating around, and be prepared for lots of photos to share with you after the weekend... hope yours is enjoyable too!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Make Do and Mend: Wartime Crafts, Australian Maritime Museum (Darling Harbour, Sydney)

I've just heard the news - the ANMM is holding a three-part series on wartime crafts and 'making-do' in Australia during WW1 and WW2.

The first talk is on 14 September, and is called 'Knit for Victory':

"Celebrate History Week as we look back over life on the home front one stitch at a time. ANMM Curator Kim Tao shares the story of the amazing “flying knitting needles” of Australian’s across both world war eras- from millions of socks for the troops to scarves, vests and mittens, uncover the story of craft for the war effort. Join in a workshop in knitting from vintage wartime patterns and craft your own creations to keep. "

The second talk on 12 October is called 'Thrifty Fashions' - no blurb yet, but just from the title I know it will be right up any vintage-lovers alley.

The final session is Wartime Foods and Recipes, but it's been post-poned for the moment.

The cost is $30 for a session, and you can book by calling +61 2 9298 3655 or emailing (it's definitely in my calendar!)