The “Two Become One” Backgammon Skirt

I think this is my favourite thing that I have sewn. Correction, that I have refashioned.  I love it so.

In November of 2011 I first wrote about this Gorman Creation, (known as the “Backgammon Backhand” Skirt) – still swooning from the graphic backgammon pattern with its navy and heady two shades of orange with puce, and the $229 price tag.  Luckily, the skirt was way too short for my 40-year-old legs. I sadly walked away. But I didn’t forget.

Big Sister bosses Little Brother

I visited the Gorman outlet store at Birkinhead Point in February and found the skirt for sale around the $100 mark.

I visited again about mid August and lo and behold, they still had at least three size six skirts priced at $55 – you know what I did don’t you?

Yes, that’s right I bought two to refashion into one.  I spent hours picking them apart, leaving the pleats alone. Tell you what they were the perfect antidote for stomach surgery.  So cheery and happy they made me feel.  That fabric and Mum’s wonderful puddings pulled me through.

Mum and I, in matching Mother-Daughter orange

Then Gertie’s new book arrived and I decided to try out her super technique for a boned waist band – what a cracker   – I do hate it when your stomach rolls push your waist band over. I recommend everyone rushes out and gets some boning – stat! The four pockets were perfect to form the curved waistband. Once I had worked out Gerties sizing (she even responded to my whinge about that on Instagram!!!) I was away.

I faced the waist band with some denim and I thought I would use a piece of that to lengthen the skirt too.  But my sewing partner in crime, Toni, told me I should put on an orange band.  I was dubious to be honest, but I obeyed.  I wanted to use my fave cotton lycra sateen from Spotty, but they had nothing vaguely orange.  I found some corduroy which I nearly  went with that until I found the homespun cotton – something I haven’t sewn with since the 80’s.  It was a nearly perfect colour match and it wasn’t corduroy!  Fantastic. I am so pleased I took Toni’s advice – I love the orange band – what do you think?

I don’t care if my bottom looks big, I don’t care that it’s from last season. I didn’t even care that I was doing twirls outside Ikea before opening time. I feel amazing in this skirt and I am so pleased that the price came down to a level I was comfortable with that I was there to snap it up!

And thanks to my brother Gavin for taking these photos after just arriving from Hong Kong, and for putting up with being dragged around Ikea for hours with Mum and I.

The Facts

Fabric: Two Gorman Skirts, 1 metre of orange homespun cotton
Pattern: Waistband; from Gerties new Book
Year: 2011
Notions: Thread, fusible interfacing, rigilene (plastic) boning
Time to complete: 15 hours
First worn: September 2012 – to the Airport,to Ikea for the photos, to Thai restaurant for lunch in trendy Newtown, then to the school pick up.
Wear again? Try and stop me!

Total Cost: ~$115A

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The “I Love Polka Dots” Gypsy Blouse

It’s Polka Dot week over at The Sew Weekly.  I love a Gypsy Blouse, and I just adore polka dots.

I actually made this top a few months ago, I had a hunch I could use it for a challenge at some point!

This vintage fabric was left over from my “Walk the Line” Dress from last year.  I had just enough leftover fabric to squeeze another garment out of the leftovers – so pleased about that.

I had had an operation recently.  I had a medical condition and the Doctor had to remove my womb.  It was three weeks ago now and I am on the mend thanks to much support from my dear Mum who has come from NZ to stay for a month.  She has been making me better by making us dinner and pudding every night.  She has also been driving my giant 4WD around with my kids in it.  And demolished my permanent mountain of laundry in less than a week!  Thanks so much Mum!  And Mark has been doing the supermarket shopping – and has been great at keeping the kids entertained.  Thanks Honey! xx

The Facts

Pattern: New Look 6179 with alterations

Year: 2002

Notions:  Elastic
Time to complete: 3 hours or less

First worn: To Church, then the park

Wear again: Oh yes

Total price:  I am calling it free

The Fifties Fair – What People Wore – Part 3

Here are few more outstanding examples of great outfits from the best day of the year.

The Dress! This is the lovely Deborah from The Vintage Drawer, shop 14 at the Sydney Antiques Centre who I bought a dress from back in March. We chatted about how she, as a retailer, as realized that women are not all tiny! Smart woman! She is making a concerted effort to seek larger sized vintage clothing. If you are not a size 10 person, and love vintage, you need Deborah in your life! Now why can’t all Australian Designers take a leaf out of her book?!

I do hope this beautiful woman will forgive me for cutting off her head, but my camera caught her pulling a funny face, and I wouldn’t like it if it was me doing that!  I really want to talk about her dress.  I had serious dress lust at Laura Ashley last summer over this baby and have recently haunted the Birkenhead outlet store in the vain hope that I could pick on up on the cheap.  Alas – it was such a great dress that it sold out last summer.  There was a sweet little cardigan with Bunting (I know! Bunting – so cute!) embroidered on it that was in the same story, an another dress or skirt, with different print still in the travel theme.  I just love vintage postcards – but I just can’t spend nearly $200 on a dress.  I just can’t.  Especially as I still have this lurking about in the sewing room – waiting for a new yoke!  Promise I will get it out for summer!

Burgundy ensemble, with lovely hair and accessories!

Hottest couple !  Aren’t they cute!

I thought this woman looked so effortless and chic. Is she about to go overboard by buying a fur coat? Look! Her mouth is open!   Think I might tone it down next year and dress like this. Who am I kidding –  I will no doubt overdo it again!

The gorgeous Michelle over at Ravishing Retro has just done her blog post on the Fifties Fair and she very kindly mentioned me.  And used my photo of us, from Instagram up.  She looks immaculate, me – not taking Coco Chanel’s advice at all that morning.  Oh well!

So that’s it for my pick of the sartorially splendid from the day. The next few blog posts will show you merchandise available!  Get ready for piles of vintage fabric – so exciting!

Fifties Fair 2012 – What People Wore – Part 2

Ole!  Christine from Classic Vintage dresses up in amazing fifties outfits each year.  I have seen her dressed as a sailor and a mechanic in recent years.  How’s that rack of amazing mens shirts she has for sale!?

Here’s the lovely Toni – isn’t she just stunning in her self-made, from vintage fabric, skirt, her hat is totally hand sewn and it took hours to attach the braided trim and lined in fabric to match the skirt.

Confetti Earrings!

This young woman deserves 10 out of 10 for sheer guts.  She told me it was 1970’s Mexican.  I think the dress is amazing and I would love to wear a dress like that.

This was one of my favourite outfits of the whole day!  Perfection!

Wow!  Hair!

I met Georgio last year at the Fair – sorry it’s not a great photo, but his fiance Robyn looks immaculate as she always does.

I apologize for the quality of these photos.  I dropped my pink Cybershot camera in the excitement the morning of the Fair.  The display screen is not working properly.  So all day, I wasn’t sure if I was getting any pictures at all!  It kind of put me off asking people if they would pose for a quick snap, as I normally would.  My photos on this post were what I call my “stalker shots” – they are usually shot through the crowd and I have cropped random elbows and things out!  That’s why they are all tall and skinny – I hope you enjoy them regardless!

Maybe now my dear husband will buy me that DSLR I have been dreaming of.  Or maybe I will have proved once again that I can’t be trusted with cameras, and I will have to buy that $69 one at Aldi this week!

Fifties Fair 2012 – What People Wore – Part 1

Did you go?  Wasn’t it great?!

Here is some of the people that caught my eye during the day

Wowsers!  – This woman looks stunning doesn’t she??!

Isn’t this woman adorable in her mint green?  I had a chat with her and she said she bought her outfit on the day and changed into it!   She is just lovely.  STOPPRESS I now know it’s Rachel who I follow in Instagram under VintageCarousel – I am going to try to find out more about her – but I know this – she’s shy!

How about this woman’s skirt!  It is hand painted velvet – unlike anything I’ve ever seen irl.  I should have quizzed her about its origins, but the fashion parade was starting I think.  Her hat is amazing too – see the feathers.  And the shoes…!

These ladies were from the Evening Wear Fashion Parade – which we missed.  However, luckily for us – they paraded around the market area – where we spend most of the day – funnily enough.  So we captured them as they floated by – aren’t those gowns incredible?

These two women looked impeccable, great attention to detail.  This was early on in the day when the coat was needed.  Later it warmed up beautifully.

Here’s a close up of that fish print – so cute right?

Well, I think that’s enough for now.  Watch this space for more shots from the day!