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

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The “Magpies and Blue Skies” Skirt

During the middle of my photo shoot – i.e. me with camera set on self-timer and using a chair on the trampoline as a tripod, a magpie broke into my house. My youngest son was panicking and screaming as it flapped about trying to get out – I opened a latch on a window and shoved the glass, but the window was stuck so I broke the glass and knocked over a vase of flowers!   He made such mess pooing (the bird not my son) from one end of the house to the other, on the carpet, on a book, on clean washing!  Argghh I could have wrung his neck!  Luckily I didn’t cut myself and there was no serious damage.

So I am not smiling in these photo – I am fuming!

I bet you are fuming too because, guess what – I have made this boring skirt three times!

Oh yes, and it’s even a UFO so all I had to do was take off the too small waist band and re-attach because its taken me making this skirt three times to work out what my waist measurement is!

We are careering towards the end of the kids second term and we are tired! I work three days during school hours and there are speeches for 6 year olds (ridiculous right??) and projects for 9 year olds. The laundry is piling up around the place and its been wet all week so it is taking over our living spaces!  Oh yes and my husband is at work for the twelfth day straight!  First world problems right?!

Being grateful helps me when I am whining so here goes; I have a garden where Birds of Paradise are in  flower, the Sydney sky was blue for the first time in days, for the photos, my camera has a self-timer and this skirt is finally finished.

I really like that print. It is the exact colour palette of one of my Dads 1960’s Hawaiian shirts that I used to wear when I was a teenager. It was a remnant so I didn’t have enough to make a dress and I wasn’t even able to piece together a top, despite quite a bit of time spend trying – which is probably why I abandoned this for 6 months – hours of sewing getting me nowhere is incredibly off-putting.

I might get some laces for some platform shoes from the scraps – we’ll see.

If I were going on a lovely tropical holiday or a Tiki Party  – this is the kind of thing I’d like to wear.  Dreams are free!

Oh and I found a tripod at an op shop for $12 this week – score!

The Facts
Fabric: 3m Cotton Lycra Sateen at $12.99 per metre
Pattern: Skirt from McCalls 9400 – without pleat/underlay
Year: 1950’s
Notions: Zip, Button, Waistband interfacing
Time to complete: 4 hours includes unpicking
First worn: For the photos
Wear again? Yes, a lot I think
Total Cost: $39

My Favourite Dress

I have had a huge week at work this week so have been too tired to sew.  Last week my lovely parents were here from NZ so we did things like go whale watching!  It was lots of fun but we didn’t see any sadly!

So I thought I share with you my favourite dress that I made to wear to the 50’s Fair back in 2009.

Photo: Gavin Blair, Hair by James at Sterling Hair

I used my now favourite Cotton/Lycra Sateen fabrics from Spotlight or Lincraft.  These fabrics are perfect for this type of dress as they you can achieve a good fit and still breathe – or eat comfortably!

I posted it on Sew Weekly for the Royal Wedding Hat challenge of 2011 – one of Mark’s and my first photo shoots – at night – inside – dress looks passable – facial expression rather strange.

I think it is my favourite pattern ever because it is easy to sew and and it fitted me without too much effort on my part!

Originally I made a mock up in black wool (what was I thinking!  Must finish that and perhaps put long sleeves in for Winter! I Definately still had baby brain I think, even though said baby was aged aged four at that time!).

Made it again in black and white cross hatch print- a la Prada Autumn 2010.  Adey has a picture on her blog of the inspirational dress – it’s the one with the bare midriff.  I agree with her comments!

I am wearing it with a petticoat or two underneath in the above photo!

Wore that to the “I love Vintage fair” to meet Kesenya of Alice Jeans and Brooke  of Brooke Orchard Photography, for the first time. Note excited groupie expression!

This dress is perfect for pear shapes is fitted to the waist, it skims over childbearing hips and accentuates a lack of bust with the bathered bosum section.  The bias binding is nice and the extended sleeves are flattering to 40+ year old mummy arms.

A very simliar looking contemporary pattern is  Vogue 8728 – which is suggested for knit fabrics.  I haven’t tried it.

I feel like a million bucks in this dress.  Everyone should have at least one dress that makes them feel like that don’t you think?

The “Feet on the Ground” Dress

What does Pin-Up Style mean to you?  To me it means Vargas Cheesecake images from the 40’s and 50’s, sweet heart necklines, sailor style, leopard print and halter necks and legs in the air!   This week it’s A Pin-Up week at the Sew Weekly.

Source: allday.ru via Trish on Pinterest

 

 

I don’t do cleavage.  I prefer a more demure look – I am a Christian – it’s part of my thing.  Don’t do legs in the air either.  I felt weird about doing pin up poses – as you can see from the first shot – bit up tight!  But I was having fun by the end.  Thanks Mark for the great photos xx.

Did you see Maggie Alderson declared recently that “Leopard is the new neutral”  really Maggie?  She is biased I think – she has been a fan for years.  Secretly, so have I.  But then there was the awful moment a few years back when I was admiring a red and black leopard print in a fabric shop in the Sydney CBD, and two women appeared to openly laugh at me!  Actually it is silly that I care but it put me off somewhat!  These days I try not to give a fig about what people think of me.  Of course I still do sometimes I have feelings!

I love the leopard print skirt in September 2010 Vogue:

Alas I did not buy enough fabric to make a circular skirt, oo I have again used my go-to pattern McCalls 9400 from the 50’s, omitting the front box pleat.  The skirt a 3/4 circle.  It gives a similar effect to a circle skirt for a lot less fabric.

The top is Style 1568 from 1988 and features the compulsory sweetheart neckline and halter effect straps.  I chose this pattern because the wide straps offer better coverage, and the top is actually an feminine cut if you look closely.

I am happy with the way the skirt turned out and love the effect of the straight grain on the sides of the skirt while the centre front is where the bias is – it sits nicely because of this and is visually interesting too

The top needs more work, the neckline is gaping and it doesen’t fit well.  I was really happy with the attempt though.  I think it proves you don’t have to be boring to be modest!

Kisses!!!

The Facts

Fabric: Stretch cotton/Lycra from Spotlight – 3 metres – just made it!
Pattern:  Style 1568, 50 cents, and McCalls 9500 $7
Year: Skirt. 19050’s , Top 1985
Notions: Thread, fusible interfacing
Time to complete: 7 hours
First worn: October 2011
Wear again? The skirt definitely, the top – doubtful!

Total Cost: ~$70A