Thursday, September 26, 2019

Embroidered Seaweed: The 1960s Seaside Dress

This is the most fun sewing that I've had in a long time!

I just adore this fabric and dress pattern.  The pattern is Vogue 3767 from the 1960s and I made the version with the short sleeves but also really love the other two looks as well:

The fabric is an amazing embroidered silk that I got in Myanmar. I have to say some of my best border print fabrics have been purchased in Asia.  I just love this print and I placed some of the border print on the bodice of the dress.

One thing that I'm not used to is sewing the wider shoulder bodice of the 60s patterns...I'm so used to the narrow and built up shoulders of the 1940s. But I really like wearing this style.

We took these photos at the Scottish seaside and I wasn't anticipating how perfectly the dress colour would match the wind strewn seaweed--but somehow it works wonderfully in drawing out the colours of the dress.

I also had these shoes before I bought the fabric and I can't believe how well they go together!

It was such a windy Scottish day and the dress held up great--no Marilyn moments...hahaha.

I actually have some more border print fabrics--one in an amazing purple colour that I'm thinking of revisiting this pattern with--perhaps the sleeveless version with the bows at the shoulder?

I'm now also in love with this colour combination--green with coral. It's funny because this year I'm very much drawn to the colours I wear least (at least in the past)--so expect to see many more green and purple outfits! :)  What about you? Are you drawn to certain colours at the moment?

Photos: Darija Balyk
Shoes: Bait Footwear

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Adventure #6: Alaskan Cruise

Alaska--what a beautiful place and my latest adventure in the series of 40 adventures for my 40's in 1940s style!

Last year, when my sister mentioned that her and her friends were planning to go on an Alaskan cruise in the summer and if I wanted to go along...I jumped at the chance and that's when it ended up on my 40 adventures list.
 It's also the first time I've ever been on a cruise ship. I'll confess--I was usually the person that when I saw a cruise ship said things like "how horrid...I can't imagine being stuck on a ship with all those people!" Boy...was I ever wrong.  My mind is completely changed. I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and highly recommend it as well.

Let's start at the beginning. We embarked in Seattle, Washington and my sister and I shared a cabin. We also had our very own deck. I was pleasantly surprised at how spacious the rooms were--including the closets! Enough space for my sister and me and ALL our clothes and suitcases. :)

 Our first day was sailing, which gave us time to get used to the ship. It was BIG (though I hear it's relatively small by cruising standards) and I thought there was no way I would ever figure out how to get around and what was on each level.  But it was nice to explore with my sister and friends on that first day.  There were so many things like hot tubs on the decks, a gym and spa, lots of restaurants...

Our first stop on day 2 was Ketchikan, Alaska and my first encounter with wildlife (lol):

Ketchikan was a cute little town and we had tons of time to explore.  We stopped at Dolly's House -- one of the original red light district/saloon joints. The small Alaskan towns we visited were rich in gold rush history and lots of the houses were still from that traditional 'saloon' era.

Awww...loved that there was a vintage sewing machine in Dolly's House:

Here's a picture of me with our cruise ship in the distance. You can see it's big but definitely not one of the largest ones. We did the Princess Cruises and I was super impressed to learn that this was the original cruise ship company of the Love Boat series (and they regularly played rerun episodes in the cabin rooms! LOVE that!).  Apparently Princess Cruises is celebrating 50 years of going to Alaska. How I would have loved to have been on that first cruise in 1969!

There is so much stunning scenery in Alaska. It reminded me a lot of Scotland but with more trees and wild animals.  We got to see some huge salmon in Ketchikan--as we caught the tail end of the spawning season.

Our next stop on Day 3 was Skagway, Alaska. And we opted for an excursion to go on the White Pass and Yukon Railway.  This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

The scenery was stunning, the train was vintage, the company was fun and the weather was gorgeous. What more could you want?

We also saw a steam train passing us:
We spent most of the time in Skagway on the train and then grabbing some yummy food at another really neat saloon.

Our next day, was completely at sea and it was actually really nice to have some relaxation time. I enjoyed sitting on our balcony with my book and a glass of wine. We also played 'Cards Against Humanity' with the group and that was hilarious.


One thing that really surprised me was how good the food was on the trip. Here's our group at our dining table. We had the same table every evening that was just for us--with a dedicated waitstaff.  We could choose food from a menu--really delicious Alaskan salmon and other meals. It was AMAZING. Two of the nights were also more formal nights which I really enjoyed!  I recently made the dress in the picture below--it's coming to the blog soon!

Another fun picture of our group in the lift/elevator:

On Day 5 we visited Juneau, Alaska. The only way to get there is by water. There were some amazing mountains/hills:

We started by taking the suspended tram up the mountain and doing an hour hike. There was a great nature centre and we had fun checking our wingspans :)

I tried to wear mostly me-made outfits on my trip and this tartan jacket that I made from McCall 3581 was perfect to wear with my Freddies of Pinewood jeans. I felt very

After we climbed back down the mountain, we took a short bus ride to go see a glacier and do some more hiking. The glacier was stunning.

I really enjoyed Juneau--it was so gorgeous. When we got back on the ship, we jumped immediately in the deck hot tub and this was our view as we were leaving Juneau:

Day 6 was again at sea and Day 7 we landed in Victoria, British Columbia.  We had time in the evening to go and visit the famous Butchart Gardens. Oh my! Was SO LOVELY. The picture below is unedited--such fabulous colours in the flowers and plants.

Like most of the best gardens, Butchart Gardens was started in the Victorian Era.   We had fun walking around and we saw an amazing evening fireworks show that was very vintage inspired (vintage music and some fun fireworks to match the songs).

Then it was one last overnight where we celebrated with Gary Glitter--the cruise director and a giant balloon dance party! hahaha.

We arrived back in Seattle on Day 8 in the morning--I was one of the last groups to leave the ship. What a fun journey. I'm already thinking about doing other potential cruises. It was the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure with good food and company and it was so great to spend so much time with my sister who I miss a lot since we live in different countries!

What about you? Have you ever done a cruise? Ever thought about it?

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)
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