Fifties Fair 2014 – What we wore (Or “Two Ladies for Tea”)

Hello!  I’ve been busy, a new job, a traveling husband, lots of appointments for my son, so here’s some photos of my sewing buddy Toni and I at the fabulous Fifties Fair at Rose Seidler House in Wahroonga, Sydney from August.

Full Length Shot Fifties Style Dress

We were super excited but fashionably late arriving around midday after the epic wrangling of hair and false eyelashes. Just as we had taken these first photos – down came the rain. Darn it. And whoops, our slips are showing.
 
Head and Shoulders Fifties Style Hair and Dress

Still it didn’t last long and we were at last in. Excited face.

Back View Fifties Style Dress at Fifties Fair

This is a few hours later and I feel like Lurch, trying to get up that hill in those heels, (that I had so carefully hand dyed). I was exhausted by about three pm – the terrain at the site is precarious in flats, lots of sloping driveway , the bush garden section steps, and crazy paving.

Full Length Fifties Style Dress with Vintage Car

Toni is still looking fresh on the way back to the car. I loved her colour combo of Tangerine and Teal – quite unexpected and exciting. She made her hat copying one in my collection! She also made her dress in genuine vintage rose print fabric. Check out all those tiny pleats around the neckline and sleeve hem – wow!

Full Length Fifties Style Dress with Vintage Car

But by now I am over it. My feet are killing me, the hair has flopped and I wish I had a flying car. Still, it was a fun. More photos to come…

The details.

Pattern Used: Um, I have to dig it up – it was a Princes Seamed Sixties Dress with very puffy sleeve heads. The skirt was just pleated – no pattern required
Fabric: My favorite Cotton Lycra Sateen* in a Border Print from Lincraft (this fabric was also used by Laura Ashley – for a dress sold out very quickly)
Necklace: Vintage Pink Multi- strand Pink Faux Pearls from Vinnies about 15 years ago
Shoes: Target Suede Wedges (ow!) – Plus Suede Dye
Handbag: Vintage Brown Beaded purse – Salvos $25
Belt: Self-fabric with a vintage celluloid buckle from my stash
Hat: Amazing Floral Confection from Salvos $25
Watch: Gold Marcasite Vintage Costume Watch – a present from my parents when I was a child

*I cant say enough good about sewing with this fabric. It handles so beautifully when you are sewing. It has great body and drape and looks fantastic made up! I have just sewn a dress in a quilting cotton – such hard work to make it look good.

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The Fifties Red Car Coat

I have been thinking about this project for a year at least.

I have a few pieces of wool, coating bundled together and several of patterns in mind.

I need to decide whether I can be bothered to make a lined coat. Makes it easier to wear and warmer. I’m still deciding which lining fabric to use?

I really had hoped to whip up a car coat before the cold weather hits. This is really all you need in Sydney for Winter, if you have a car. There are really only a few really cold days which warrant a full length coat.

Every one complains about how freezing it is – for months, but they really don’t have a clue how to dress for truly cold weather. Not the way you learn when you live in a cold climate like NZ, or even Melbourne!

Tips for beginner sewers:

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making a coat. A short coat should be not too difficult as there is less fabric to handle. They are easier than tailored jackets as the fabrics are easier to work with was they are more spongy and forgiving and the lining at the hem is not caught in – easy!

Make sure you have your linings and interfacing together before you start sewing.

If you get tailored button holes done it will give your coat a more professional look

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The “I know it’s silly” Dress

My reality is that I don’t really have anywhere to wear a LBD, or a BBD in my case given that I am a size 16 and just under 5’10 (175cms).

The reality is that I have a tonne of washing to do every week.  My husband is a tiler – he gets absolutely filthy every day.  You can imagine, dust from cutting hundreds of tiles, glue, grout and building site filth come home with him.

We have two washing machines and two clothes lines.  Don’t forget the two boys.  My laundry mountain is only obliterated a couple of time a year!

So I was thinking about how silly it was that I was prancing about my courtyard taking these photos, with my clothesline in the background – mocking me with its “I’ll be seeing you later!”, while wearing my big black 50’s dress with it big petticoat underneath.

But you know what?  After weeks of fulfilling everyone else’s expectations of me – two weeks of running the kids around for the holidays, one day spent at the hospital after Noah had a terrific trampolining accident and put a tooth through his face (he’s all better, now thanks to the plastic surgeons), it felt good to do something for me.

This was a UFO – I think I started it first four years ago – it was my the first attempt using a 50’s pattern   I decided I would use some of the wool that had sat around since my student days – and that yes, it would be a great idea to use some for a toile!  Lookey, lookey – perfect fit – love that!

This has become my favourite dress pattern  and I have made a the skirt many times (omitting the front pleat).

The best thing about this dress IMHO is the “Bosum” piece, it is a Crescent shaped piece which is gathered and gives you a little “more” in that area if you are lacking!! The skirt also covers all my flaws. The little cap sleeves are kind to plump arms. I believe it is the perfect dress for pear shaped women!

To finish it I had to overlock all the seams, insert the zip, and bind the neckline and sleeves.  I did the binding in a Cotton Lycra Sateen – it’s not sitting quite flat – but I can live with it.

Thanks to my lovely friend and sewing buddy, Toni for help with the hem – we decided we should buy one of those chalk puffer hemming devices.

The 1950’s Whimsey I am wearing is a present from my friend Rozie, she bought it for me on my Birthday from Mint Condition for $25 – bit of a bargain. I love the little birds on the veil.
So now I have a black dress on standby for any occasion – not silly at all is it?

The Facts

Fabric: Wool from stash from a million years ago and some Cotton Lycra Sateen $14.95/m

Pattern: McCalls 9400

Year:  1950’s

Notions: Zip

Time to complete: It’s been years!

First worn: For the photos

Wear again: Can’t wait

Total Cost: I’m calling it nothing