Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Blouses on the brain...

...1940's ruffled blouses that is.  I absolutely adore them.  Check out these amazing patterns (all from the vintage pattern wiki).  I love this Butterick pattern and the tab detail:

 What about this Hollywood pattern?  I love the way it ties in front:

 And then there's this Vogue pattern which is so sophisticated:

And then we can't leave out my absolute favorite pattern company, McCall and this beauty:

 And here is Lauren Bacall in just the hint of ruffle (image from the amazing Couture Allure blog):

And what about this ruffled blouse and skirt suit combo from what looks like the late 1930's:

And you must check out Susannah's ruffle blouse she made from a 1943 pattern.

So, I'm taking all this inspiration and am working on a ruffled blouse of my own from this 1944 pattern:

I'm planning to make view 2 in a blue/grey material with either bright blue or hot pink buttons (I haven't decided)....

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Have you heard of the magazine called Reminisce?  This is their June/July cover:

My grandma recently got me a subscription and I absolutely LOVE it!!  It's published once every 2 months and what I really like is that Reminisce is reader written.  Readers send in their stories, memories, photos, home movie films all based on their own true life stories or personal reminiscences of years gone by (specifically the 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's).  It is a treasure trove of amazing stories and pictures from people across the U.S. and further afield.

Check out this two-page spread photo of women working at the Northwestern Bell Telephone Company in Burlington, Iowa in the late 40's:

This photo was sent in by Virginia Bresser Jurss of West Bend, Wisconsin who joined the company in 1947 (she's standing in the back in the plaid skirt): You'll notice all the girls have on sleeveless blouses as it was very warm in there and we only had fans to cool us in those days...One girl would want the fans on the next one requested to have them turned off.  It was hard to please them all.  Notice the racks on the backs of the chairs where the girls stored their purses while working...

I absolutely love the photo and looking at their great skirts and blouses!

Here's the photo from the back cover:


Sunday, June 20, 2010

One cool cat...

Check out my dad in 1960....he's definitely the coolest!

I'm so lucky to have such an amazing father!  Happy Father's Day Dad! I love you!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fabulous day in Edinburgh...

Today I met up with Tilly from Tilly and the buttons.  This was my first ever meet up with another blogger.  I was really excited to meet Tilly--we started blogging around the same time and I've been a regular follower of her blog and absolutely love her sewing creations! 

We started out with lunch at a laid back vegetarian restaurant:

We had so much fun chatting! I feel like I've known Tilly forever...she is so lovely!

After a fun lunch we went fabric shopping at Edinburgh Fabrics.  This was my first time in the store and it's fantastic (I will be definitely going back in the near future).

Check out the beautiful floral fabric:

We had fun plotting and planning our next projects together.  We both walked away with a lot of goodies from the store.  I got some beautiful blue cotton fabric for a summer dress and loads of zippers and thread.

Here we are together in the store.  I just had to wear my newly finished dress..I love it so much!

Then we went to an amazing tearoom/antique store called Anteaques.  I highly recommend this tearoom if you are ever in Edinburgh. 

The tea is fantastic, the scones are amazing and the places is packed with antiques.

We ended up talking with the owner about fabric and sewing....he wants to someday open a fabric shop.  He also had a vintage Singer machine in the tearoom that he ended up bringing out to show us:

Isn't that a beautiful machine?  It's a hand cranked machine and still works perfectly.

Then for the icing on the cake we looked through four charity shops that were in the neighbourhood....Tilly found a book that she already had and uses regularly as a reference source for sewing... so this fabulous sewing book came home with me:

What a FABULOUS day. Thanks Tilly--I had so much fun!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The dress that spanned space and time...

I revisited my first dress, Simplicity 2756:

This was the first sewing pattern ever.  I chose this one first because it said "Simple to Make" AND because it had "detachable" collar and cuffs.  I started a muslin of the dress back in 2005 when I lived in NYC.   I learned all my first skills on this dress.  I worked with a sewing instructor who told me all about cutting out fabric and sewing seams.  The muslin took forever.  I only worked with the instructor for a couple of sessions.

It's funny to think back on it now but I didn't really understand the concept of making a muslin.  I thought it was just a trial run since I was new to sewing.  We fitted that muslin and I thought "now I just need to remember how I did this".  No one told me that you then copied those changes onto your pattern! hahaha!

Well, the dress has spanned two American cities, two countries and four addresses.  I began taking up sewing in earnest this last November and this dress was the first piece I went to.  I learned how to put in a zipper, how to finish the seams and I finally finished it:

The problem was the dress didn't fit me right!  The collar was too big, the neck was too low, the sleeves were too long, the bodice was too big, the waist was too low.....on and on...

I had grand ambitions of fixing the dress during Me-Made-May.  I did start the alterations...but boy, did it take awhile!  Where to start?  Luckily, I have such amazing readers who shared their expertise and based on everyone's feedback, I started by fitting the shoulders.  Here are all the alterations I made:
  • I took the dress up by about 3 inches on each side in the shoulders (via darts).  
  • I put in a princess seam on each side of the back bodice (took out about 1-2 inches of fabric on each side) tapering down to the waist sides.  
  • I shortened the sleeves up by about 3 inches.  
  • I also tacked the cuffs to the bodice (because the original interfacing was too heavy).
  • I hemmed the dress and took about 4 inches off the length.
  • I made a matching fabric belt and covered a belt buckle.
  • I redid part of the center front seam, bring it up higher.
  • I attached the collar deeper into the dress (so that it wasn't as large).
  • I had to redo the neckline because of the darts I made in the shoulders.
  • I had to tweak the sleeves so that the cuffs fit (because I had shortened the sleeves).
Here's the belt buckle I used:

The adhesive no longer worked, so I used glue to adher the fabric to the belt buckle.  David helped me get it just right (how sweet!)

Phew! I had no idea all the alterations would be so much work.  But I am so glad I did it!  Now I can actually wear the dress.  I wore it to work today and afterwards David and I took some photos near the historic Palace in our village (and yes we LOVE our town...it's so beautiful!):

I am over the moon.  I absolutely adore this dress.  We have had some highs and lots of lows together. It has taught me a lot about sewing and even more about myself!  And I still get to change up the collars and cuffs :-)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Morgan Cars

The other day David ran across a vintage car enthusiast meet-up in our village...

These are vintage cars from the Morgan Motor Company, a family run British motor car manufacturer. The company was founded in 1909 by Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan (seen in the photo below), affectionately known as "HFS" and is still run by his great-grandson today!

 Here's a photo of Mick Jagger in a Morgan Car in the 60's:

Not sure how old these ones are?  Any thoughts?  They look fantastic!

They only produce about 650 cars a year!

I only wish I had been there to take some snapshots near the cars (hmmm...what would I have worn?  Definitely my bolero and matching skirt from the 1950's pattern!!  Or one of my 1940's outfits....hmmmm... what do you think?)


Sunday, June 13, 2010

I love Sundays...

We have a weekend tradition at our house...warm cooked breakfast/brunch!  I really look forward to our breakfasts on the weekend.  Today, David made pancakes! Unfortunately, this one didn't turn out:

but these did....ah, I love them!

How sweet!  Hope you are all having a lovely weekend!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Eight Questions

The fabulous Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons  tagged me in a game of eight questions.  The questions she devised are loads of fun....So here goes... 
1. What is your staple meal? (i.e. what meal do you cook most often, when you can't be bothered to think of anything adventurous)
When I was a kid, all I wanted to eat was chips and cheese.  Now that I am an adult, I still have a serious addiction to nachos.  There's something about crispy chips, melted cheese and salsa that just says everything is well with the world.

2. What do you want to be when you grow up?  I hope to never grow up :-)   Ok, I'll let you in on a little secret.  When I was a kid, I told my sister that I wanted to be the Bionic Woman when I grow up but I swore her to secrecy.  Now, the secret's out of the bag and I still love Jaime Sommers.

3. What book are you reading at the moment (if any)?  I always joke with David that I no longer read, I just look at pictures.  Yup, I look at pattern covers and read the instructions before I fall asleep :-)

4. How do you relax?  Looking at patterns, pattern books & magazines and reading sewing blogs (see #8 below).

5. What colour are the interior walls of your home?  Antique White, Daffodil Yellow, Almond and we are planning to paint one of our rooms an Aspen Grey (it's a nice silvery colour).  When we lived in NYC we had orange, terracotta, yellow, green, shimmery blue and white with a blue ceiling!  We love to play with themes in decorating.

6.  What is your guiltiest pleasure? Ferrero Rocher

7.  What time is bed time and getting up time?  I turn into a pumpkin if I don't go to bed before 11pm on a weekday night but for some odd reason I get loads of energy on Friday night and the weekend and can stay up really late!  hahaha!  I get up anywhere between 6 to 8am during the weekdays and 9 to noon on weekends.

8.  How long do you spend reading blogs (per day or per week)?  I spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour catching up on blogs in the morning over breakfast everyday.  Then sometimes after work I visit blogland as well.  Total weekly average is probably between 7-10 hours.  my goodness! A whole work day! But it's totally worth it!

 Now I get to tag eight people....
Trisha from Made by Trisha
Soph from Stitch
Lisette from Vintage or Bust
Tasia from Sewaholic
Baroness von Vintage from Tea with the Vintage Baroness
Sarah from Miss Jane Elliot
Nancy from $25 Dollar Vintage

and here are the questions for you to answer....
1. Which pattern/vintage style have you been thinking about lately?
2. What is one place that you really want to visit that you haven't been to before?
3. How do you relax?
4. What is your favorite holiday?
5. What is one sewing skill you want to learn/try out?
6. Can you knit? Crochet? Any other crafting talents?
7. How long do you spend reading blogs (per day or per week)?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh my deary, how time flies

My goodness...I still feel like I'm in Me-Made-May and the first two weeks of June have already whizzed by!   I've got a few projects lined up at the moment.  One of my favorite things about Me-Made-May was I realized I need to actually FINISH the projects I start! hahaha.  I somehow always manage to leave some tiny piece unfinished on almost everything I sew! 

For example:
-The 1930's lounging outfit--pant legs are still not hemmed
-1950's printed leaves skirt--no button closure on the side (I, um, still use a pin to hold that top part together)
-1940's hot pink blouse--not properly hemmed

ahem :-)  so, I've been wrapping up a few of these projects.  The biggest one on my list is the alterations to the first dress I made (yup this photo was taken back in December!!!):

From this pattern:
I'm determined to make this dress fit properly!  A big thank you to everyone for all your advice earlier on tips for alterations.  I've taken up the shoulders and it has made a big difference!  Now I am tackling the front bodice, putting a few darts in the back and then I need to fix the collar and take up the sleeves.  Phew!  Put it's coming along slowly and I will be excited to finally wear it out in public!

What about you?  Any completed projects you want to revisit?
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