Tuesday, October 16, 2012

N is really for Novelty Fabrics

Sorry for the silence this past week--I've been traveling for work.  I don't know about you, but I don't always have my stuff together right before I travel!  I always admire people we are packed days before, who schedule guest bloggers, who can rest the night before confident that they've done everything that is needed! Lol.  That's definitely not me.  Despite being a very organised person, I always seem to pack the night before and then forget something crucial (like my laptop cord).  Sigh.  Trying to be better about that :)

Today's post on vintage fabrics is brought to you by the letter 'N'.  I just love vintage fabrics--especially the fabulous novelty prints from the 30s and 40s.  So I thought I would put together a post of my favourite vintage fabric and reproduction fabric sites!

1930s Art Deco Rayon Fabric, available here

One of my favourite websites is Donna Flower.com where you will find a range of vintage fabrics from  the 1920s all the way up to 1980s as well as vintage-inspired fabrics.  I love just browsing this website for inspiration and colour combinations (like the 1930s Art Deco fabric pictured above).

1960s vintage cotton floral fabric, available here

Another UK website is the Vintage Fabric Market.  This site has primarily 60s and 70s pieces of fabrics.  Not a lot of yardage but if you're working on small projects and want a bit of the vintage feel--this is a great site!

40s/50s rayon fabric (3 and 1/2 yards of it!), available here

Sharon's Antiques, Vintage Fabrics is a treasure trove of vintage fabrics.  Everything is bookmarked by era and there is also a section for vintage rayon (often with decent yardage amounts).  Great website to look at all the fun vintage prints!

Mr K's Calico Garden Green Quilting Cotton, available here

You may have heard of Fabric.com but did you know they have a special section on reproduction vintage fabrics?  Reproduction fabrics simply means it is a new fabric borrowing inspiration from a vintage print.  While most of these are in quilting cotton, there are some fantastic prints that you may recognise from your local fabric shop!

Depression era fabric, available here

Reproduction Fabrics is probably the largest and most comprehensive reproduction fabric website.  The site includes vintage prints from the 1770s through to 1950 and is a great place to locate some historical prints such as civil war fabrics.  As the name implies, all the fabrics are reproductions--so they are new with vintage prints.

Ahoy Matey, Ship Shape Clementine, fabric by Michael Miller,
available here

Another great website for vintage inspired prints is Fancy Moon Fabrics.  I used one of their prints for my Mid-century Madness dress.  They have a wide variety of fabrics and often have several prints on sale.

Tuppence Ha'Penny Reproduction Fabric, part of the 'Household Chores Feedsack' Line,
 available here

Many of you know Charlotte who blogs over at Tuppence Ha' Penny Vintage.  She's been producing reproduction fabrics at Spoonflower.  You can purchase any of her prints in a variety of different cotton weights such as voile, silk, sateen and heavy twill as well as in silk crepe de chine.  Definitely check out her reproduction pattern line--there's some amazing vintage prints!

Have you ever sewn with vintage fabrics?  Do you like novelty prints?


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Thrifty Style: Clever Ways to Revamp Your Wardrobe

I was delighted to receive an email about Janine's new book Thrifty Style: Clever Ways to Revamp your Wardrobe and was doubly delighted when I was asked if I would like to review it.  Of course! I love getting emails from readers and I'm especially happy when those among us are entrepreneurial sewers--like Janine who has created this amazing refashioning book!

This book is all about taking what you already have and repurposing or refashioning it with small tricks and ideas so that you have a wardrobe you love.  The book presents a perfect balance between vintage-inspired and modern looks and combines both of those influences in each garment presented.

Thrifty Style is FULL of lots of goodies.  I absolutely love the layout of the book and feel like I could read it for days and still find lots of new things!  The book includes 44 projects with detailed step-by-step instructions for refashioning your wardrobe. 

Reading through this book stirred up my creativity.  That is one of the things I love so much about refashioning or the 'make do and mend' attitude--there's so many possibilities!  One of my favourite projects in the book is the silk doily top pictured above and below.  I always see so many amazing vintage linens, doily's and embroidered handiwork at charity shops.  Wouldn't it be great to rework some of these into clothing, such as what Janine has done with the silk doily top?  I always feel so bad walking by the piles of doilies and embroidery knowing how much effort and love probably went into creating them.  I am really excited to try this out--and hopefully give those beautiful pieces of art another life!

A similar project creates a doily 'cut-out' or 'peek-a-boo' section to an otherwise completely vintage-looking blouse.  This is such a neat way to mix modern and retro influences into what I think is a very pretty blouse:

Another series of projects, show you how to use scarves to create fun summery tops and blouses.  I think I live in the wrong climate for this type of blouse but I do love wearing things like this when I am on holiday:

The book comes with three pull-out patterns, one of which is for the capelet with the fabulous collar below:

The back section of the book covers all the basics in sewing with really great illustrations.  It even includes a step-by-step guide for making your own dressmaker's dummy or dress form:

I really enjoyed reading Thrifty Style.  I haven't really delved into refashioning yet but it definitely got me thinking about my current wardrobe and those pieces that are just not working and how I can spice them up a bit.

What about you?  Are there pieces in your wardrobe you never wear?  Have you tried your hand at refashioning?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Downton Abbey Costumes Episode 1

Thank you all for the wonderful comments on the post about my new job.  They were all so lovely. Thank you for being so supportive!

I'm about to share lots of photos of the costumes from Downton Abbey Season 3....so if you haven't seen any of the episodes and you want to be surprised by the outfits, then look away now.  If seeing the costumes just gets you more excited and adds to your viewing pleasure, then keep reading! I promise not to give away any plots or storylines!

Cora's olive green or grey (?) dress with lace underlay and matching belt.  I have to say how much I love Carson! Just look at him--he's so dignified:
I must say I am really pleased with Season 3.  Definitely worth the wait.  Episode 1 starts in 1920 and let me tell you, the costumes do not disappoint!  

Check out this amazing full length black beaded dress worn by Lady Mary:

I love Lady Mary's over the elbow matching black gloves!

This is one of my favourites from episode 1, the beautiful blue velvet just shimmers:

Look at Anna's amazing coat.  I just love the bone detail in the back! The pleats! The shoulder detail! Exquisite!

Anna's coat and hat from the front.  Don't the shoulder edges look like they have been overcast?

Ok, I don't feel like I'm giving this away because, well, we saw this coming from last season.  I do love this image of everyone together:

Love, love, love, love! I would love to wear my hair like this everyday. So glamorous!

This is probably my favourite dress of the first episode.  I just love how the beading looks like a bow and I love the low-slung belt:

You know I am a sucker for tweed.  I just love both of these suits:

Here's a close-up of the suits.  Love the collar detail on Lady Mary's suit.  Her hat is also divine.

Which outfit is your favourite?  Are you excited to see the 1920s fashion on the series this season?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

N is for New Job

I'm so excited that I had to take the letter 'N' from the 'ABCs of Vintage Sewing' series to share news about my new job!  Well, it's not really a new job but rather a promotion within my existing place of employment.

Many of you may already know that I am a researcher by day.  I'm really lucky to have a job that I really enjoy and a subject area that is my passion.  I research child maltreatment, violence in adolescence and violence against women. Phew! While that may sound like a hard way to spend each day, I absolutely love it.  I love it because there are some amazing people working in this field;  people that inspire me.  I love it because there are some incredibly hopeful things happening across the globe.  I love it because I feel like my small contribution can make a difference.  If at the end of my career I can feel like what I've done has made a small difference to ensuring that even just one child or young person has experienced the love and care they deserve, then I know I will have achieved my goals.

So what will I be doing now?  Well, I've embarked on the first important step for early career researchers...I've now got a Lectureship post (for those in the States that's equivalent to an Assistant Professor position). Eeeps.  So excited!

To celebrate, David and I enjoyed one of the few sunny days in Edinburgh and took a stroll through Prince's Street Gardens and had dinner and champagne at one of our favourite restaurants.

Oh, and I might have treated myself to a new Ness jacket (worn with my me-made Betty blouse and my 1941 trousers):

And of course, the matching purse! :)

Thanks so much for all your well wishes on my Facebook page! It means so much to me!  And wish me luck in this new position!
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