Monday, September 16, 2019

The 'Goodbye, My Love' Dress

I'm really loving the 1960s vibes lately. So decided to finish one of my longstanding UFOs (Unfinished Objects)--this 1960s shirtwaister.

I adore this dress and fabric --it's a nice medium-weight pink cotton fabric with pretty birds and flowers on it.  Oh and do you like my experimentation with 1960s poses! :)

This fabric also has special significance for me. It's one where I have photos of my wee Echo helping me out. I had to put Echo to sleep this last May. She was elderly--somewhere in the range of 18 to 21 years old and her poor little body just gave up on her. It was the right decision but incredibly hard.

She was my constant sewing companion--anytime I pulled out some fabric to cut out--she would be on it in seconds! haha.  So I'm delighted to have found these photos on my phone from all the way back to August 2012!  What a delight and also just an indication of how long I have been working on this dress. Not because it was hard, but because I kept getting sidetracked (again at the finishing/hem stage.)
Here's a close-up of the fabulous fabric!

I used Style Print 1159-- it looks to be from the early 1960s? The shirtwaist dress features a large collar and gathered skirt (actually the pattern is for a pleated skirt but I didn't have enough fabric--so I did gathers).

I wasn't sure how much I would like the big collar but actually in this print, it's great--it blends so well!

I took these indoor shots with Debbie (from Emerald Photography @_emerald_photography_) at one of my favourite vegetarian restaurants in Edinburgh, Paradise Palms. It has such a fabulous midcentury vibe.

And what is a 1960s dress without 1960's hair? I loved this classic beehive that Ariana from Vanity Thrills gave me. I actually slept in and wore this hair for four days! The magical power of hairspray. lol.

So happy to finally have finished this dress and getting to wear it before the end of summer. It goes perfectly with my pink Bait Footwear shoes as well. 

I've also decided this would be the perfect dress and location to scatter Echo's ashes--she would have loved this park and she also loved this fabric and I think she would be happy with that.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

40 Adventures for My 40's in 1940s Style: Adventure #5 Croatia

I'm really glad I set out my bucket list of places I want to see in my 40s.
Croatia has always been high on my list and I've just never had an occasion to travel there. Truth be told, I travel so much (and far) for work that I really haven't taken advantage of all the beautiful places so close to me in Europe.  When I turned 40, I vowed that I would start taking my leisure time as seriously as I take my work (and try not to be such a workaholic). 

Well, it was fabulous that I posted my 40 adventures list because then my dear friend from grad school who blogs over at No Apathy Allowed mentioned that she would be going to a conference in Croatia and wanted to spend some time vacationing afterwards and if I wanted to join her! YES! YES!

We decided to meet up in Split and explore some of the northern coastline.  Split was such a nice city. I hear it's the second largest one in Croatia.

Like most of the towns, Split has an 'old town' centre. And when they say 'old', they mean really, really old! There's some beautiful architecture which tells the story of Native Croatians, Greeks, Italians, Austrians and others being weaved throughout Croatian history.

After a day in Split, we headed to our main destination – Korcula Island.  A pleasant ferry journey from Split.

Korcula Island
Wow, wow...Korcula is amazing. Much, much smaller than Split and like most of Croatia, surrounded by water.
The main purpose of the holiday was to UNWIND. So we did a bit of sightseeing but lots of lounging by the water. It was so divine.

I spent a lot of time in my swimsuits--something that NEVER happens in Scotland. lol.

I got this swimsuit on Amazon (the brand is called CocoShip) and I just love it! It was super affordable...I'm going to buy more.  I'm not sure if it's actually swimming friend--but it's certainly lounging friendly!

As is this suit from Forluna. This was my first time ever in a hammock! I could get used to this!!

There were some spectacular views around the island.  On one of the days we decided to take a wine tasting tour.

That was amazing--I had no idea Croatian wine was so delicious. They are really known for their white wines from the Dalmatian Coast and this particular wine was made on the island! I love learning and trying new things– especially when they are so yummy!

Old Town, Korcula Island
 We also spent some time wandering around the much smaller Old Town in Korcula.

Like the Old Town in Split, there are lots of little alley ways and things to discover. I just love this style of architecture.  Even when it's busy with tourists, you feel like you can slip away down a small alleyway and fall back into another time!  And I got the opportunity to take lots of my me-made summer dresses.  The one above was made with a 1940 McCall pattern (see blog post here).

I made this dress from a pattern in Tilly and the Buttons book 'Love at First Stitch'. I was actually a pattern tester and I just adore it the design. (Check out my blog post here).

 Look at these alleyways...I'm in love. They are so romantic...

Vrnik Island

I also had the chance to take a motorboat to Vrnik Island--which is right next door to Korcula. It takes maybe 15 minutes by small boat.

It's a super small island but you can also stay on this island. It's absolutely adorable. I could totally spend all summer here if I had that luxury (telecommuting perhaps?)

So, so happy that I saved up and was able to do a couple of my adventures this summer.  One more blog post to come on another adventure and then plotting and planning for the future!!!  What should I do next?  Here's my list with the ones I've completed in pink:

The 40 Adventures for my 40s Dream List (in no particular order...)

Places to Travel:
1. Namibia and Botswana
2. Cuba
3. Bali and the Pacific
4. Jordan 
5. Myanmar
6. Greek Islands
7. Morocco
8. Egypt
9. Bolivia
10. Argentina and Patagonia
11. Easter Island
12. LA/Hollywood/Disneyland/Dapper Day
13. Hebrides Islands
14. Mongolia
15. Japan
16. Croatia
17. Sri Lanka

18. Alaskan Cruise (coming to blog soon!)
19. Ice hotel + northern lights + reindeer
20. Multi-day steam train journey
21. Tall ship sailing
22. Steam ship sailing
23.  Tiger Moth or Spitfire experience
24. Hot air balloon in either Cappadocia or Bagan
25. Floating in the Dead Sea
26. Cruise on the Nile
27. Touring the UK in a vintage car
28. Route 66 road trip
29. Learning to ride a motorcycle

30. Up Helly Aa
31. Attending an international film festival (either Cannes or Sundance)
32. Vienna Opera Ball
33. Celebrating Carnival 
34. Attending Gertie's Sewing Retreat in NY
35. Lantern Festival in Thailand
36. Attending Viva Las Vegas
37. Goodwood Festival
38. Attending a swing dance camp
39. Seeing Wagner's Ring Cycle at the Bayreuth Festival

40. Freebie (to be decided later)

Friday, September 13, 2019

McCall 3729: The 'Seaside Dress'

 I'm really trying to cram in the last of my summer sewing! haha.

I started this dress about a year and a half ago and I finished it quite quickly...except for the hem and facings. Then it sat for approximately 14 months waiting to be hemmed and finished! Why do I do this? It's just those last finishing steps which I drag my feet on...other projects are always so much more interesting. But the good news is that occasionally I get in the mood to just FINISH things already! Then I go crazy with the finishing steps that have piled up.

I used McCall 3729 for this dress. It has an adorable tie front element. I made the dress in a very lightweight cotton. It will be fantastic for wearing to really hot climates for some of my work travel (and anywhere outside of Scotland. lol)

The great thing is that there are lots of customizable options with the dress. The little front tie can be changed up. So I could change the colours to give it more a pop. I'm wearing it above with my me-made jacket from McCall 3580 (check out the blog post here). 

Speaking of customizable options. This is a close-up of the fabric--look at all those colours. It looks subtle from a distance but with the right accents, I could pair this dress with lots of different colours from pint to blue to yellows and reds.

We took these amazing pictures at the Scottish seaside town of North Berwick. It's about a 40 minute train ride from Edinburgh and had been high on my places to visit.

Seriously, I can't believe it's taken me this long to get to this wee town. It's so picturesque and adorable. I could spend all day wandering the streets and also hanging out on the beach.

It was SERIOUSLY windy on the day I visited--though I think this is pretty normal. I'm super happy with how my dress held up in the wind! No major Marilyn moments! haha.

Overall, I really like this dress design. It would be fun to try and make the other version with the bishop sleeve options and in a sheer fabric.
North Berwick was the perfect place to showcase the dress as it is also a very colourful town. Look at these wee colourful doors.  I love places like this!

What about you? Are you still summer sewing? For those down under are you excited to start summer sewing?

Photos from: Darja Bilyk

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Bleeding Heart Skirt

This is a project that started with the fabric...

I had seen this IKEA fabric many moons ago when it was in the store and I fell in love with the dual heart design. When I saw it, I immediately thought it would make a great A-line or pencil skirt.

But I didn't buy it and then I forgot all about the fabric....
Until one day I was in my local vintage store -- Armstrong's --and lo and behold they had 1.5 metres of this fabric. I couldn't believe my luck. It's only sometimes that they have good fabric finds in the store and usually not fabrics that are modern.

I knew I wanted to make a simple skirt--so I turned to Tilly and the Buttons 'Love at First Stitch' book. I had made this skirt pattern before--ironically also with fabric that I found at Armstrong's (though it was vintage fabric)--Check out my previous make here (with the most awesome handpainted bird fabric).

The only change I made was to make this more of a pencil skirt--that was primarily because I didn't have a lot of fabric to play with. 

I also had to think whether I wanted the hearts to go across my body or down. I think I made the right decision--I think horizontal hearts would have looked strange. I kind of like how you can't really tell they are hearts unless you look closely at the fabric.

We took these amazing photos down at Edinburgh's little lighthouse.  Isn't it cute?

Especially with the moody Scottish sky.

Overall, super happy for my heart skirt--and now I have a ready-to-go valentine's day outfit for infinity! hahaha.  Have you ever fallen in love with a fabric and then have it miraculously appear later in your life?
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