The “Baz and Catherine” Flapper Dress

The Facts

Fabric: Cotton Foulard from Spotlight $40

Pattern: 5700 from an unknown company 50 cents

Year: Circa 1980’s

Notions: Art deco glass diamante buttons from the stash.

Time to complete: 4 hours

First worn:  For the photos

Wear Again?:  Saving it for Bali, Indonesia

I wasn’t going to bother taking part in the Sew Weekly’s Gatsby week for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, my idea of Gatsby fashion is skewed more 20’s than the 30’s frocks Mena and her friends wear to the Gatsby Weekend.  I feel I know almost nothing about 1930’s fashion except for bias cut satin evening gowns, and there is no way I am going there!

Secondly, there is nothing less flattering that a drop gathered waist on a woman with heavy hips and thighs.

However,  the Sew Weekly contributors’ efforts for Gatsby Week were so inspiring that I thought I’d have a crack at it!  Also, a few months ago, scenes from The Great Gatsby movie were shot at St Patricks Seminary in Manly  – half an hour away from my house in Sydney – what an opportunity!  With a house full of international guests – I was keen to work in a little photo shoot to a spot of sightseeing with coffee!  The stars aligned, I found cloche hat, and I even managed to get my hair bobbed in time for the photos!

The Seminary can be seen early on in the trailer, with its ivy covered walls, it has undergone a dramatic transformation into a castle in post production!

I was thinking of buying the famous 1920’s One-Hour Flapper Dress but I am too stingy to pay for what is a very simple pattern!  So a few weeks ago I was pleased to find this very ugly-looking 80’s dress.  I thought it would probably work – when you have been patternmaking and sewing for years, you develop the skill of being able to see how the pattern pieces go together and what they will look like.  Beginner sewers – take heart, this takes time.  This patterns wins the prize goes for worst pattern illustration ever.  I saw that there were no shoulder pads to give that exaggerated shoulder line and I knew it wouldn’t sit like that, or do I just have broad shoulders!?  I eliminated the centre front button placket and cut it in one piece.

I extended the sleeves, following the angle they were on, and sewed just to the end of my shoulders.   All the edges and hems were sewn with rolled hems.  I wanted a floaty sleeve, with an open top arm seam.  We are going to Bali next year.  The Balinese are unimpressed by the display of armpits – I hope this dress will be acceptable – light  floaty and no visible underarm! I finished them with a pair of little art deco glass diamante buttons from the stash.

A trick for minimizing the hippage, I recommend is to give it a good press, with the focus on the gathers.  I wanted them to sit flat – rather than billowing out – adding volume where none was welcome.

This fabric was wonderful to sew – it is a very fine twill weave – perhaps a foulard.  I realize that the fabric is more 50’s in feel than any other era- but that is my thing isn’t it!

My dad took the photos for this shoot.  We were up against it.  It was windy again and the camera’s display is broken – so he really couldn’t see a thing – He did pretty well though and was very patient to take 250 photos!!  Mum was great  at directing the photo shoot.  Thanks Mum and Dad!

I am sure you know that Australian Film Maker Baz Luhrmann, Director, and his wife Catherine Martin, Production Designer, are creative collaborators in this movie.  Baz with his amazing vision and kooky musical inspiration and Catherine with her incredible attention to detail – I salute you.

Lighthouses and old movies

I have been trying desperately to keep up with Sew Weekly challenges lately – and failing!

I have made a blouse for the Olympics Week – and a skirt which still needs a zip inserted for the “Yellow Week”. But I am overwhelmed by the thought of doing yet another solo photo shoot or using my mannequin, again!

Truth is, I am a little distracted by thoughts of the Fifties Fair – coming up on 26th August.

Here is a little peek at the fabric I am using:

What do you think? It’s a different colourway of Mena’s Lighthousey “Dark Nautical” Fabric! It was on Ebay and I negotiated the price down and ended up getting 5 metres for about $50 including postage – bargain right?!  I love its depiction of a New England Fishing Village.  Maybe one day I will travel there?

I love a black background, and a splash of red.

I am attempting a dress with a bolero.

Bodice under construction, Lighthouse on strap – Back view

I like to watch old movies while I sew – they keep me company. This week I watched “The Seven Year Itch” – which is really funny – if you havent seen it. Also appropriate to mark the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s passing. And “All About Eve” – a fascinating portrayal of selfish ambition!

I really have a lot of sewing to do – I will try to put some more progress shots on: Instagram under: quiet_vintage_sewing – I hope you don’t become as addicted to this ap as I have!!

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

The “Sewing Circle Tapestry” Skirt

Art History was my favourite subject in my last year of school. I had these two amazing teachers who were Artists. They were not like any of the teachers at the girls school I went in the years before.  One was a Scot and the other a Pom.

There was a heavy emphasis on Italian Renaissance that year – I learned to say the names of the Italian of the Renaissance with a heavy Scottish accent , it all came flooding back when Mark and I visited Florence and saw all that art, with this Scottish voice playing through my head!

This is a thrifted piece of Tapestry I found recently. It is of an unusual scene picturing women sitting sewing and knitting! I don’t recognize it from the Art History that I did in school. My fashion history knowledge is strictly limited to the fabulous – not so much what everyday people wore in the past. I think it has a European feel – do you agree?  Art Historian Rach?  Can you help??

I thought it had such beautiful rich colours I thought it would make a fun skirt.

I have been admiring the box pleats I have been seeing around lately so I wanted to incorporate them.

It was a rectangular shaped tapestry. I put a zip in the one seam and pleated the rest to fit my waist. Threw on a rather lumpy narrow waist band (did I mention it was thick fabric? I broke a needle) and a hook and bar to close – very easy!! Yay!

The fabric is really heavy and swings back and forth as I walk in it.

I think it really could do with a petticoat underneath – it would hold the weight of the fabric out – I have two petticoats – but I have stashed them away somewhere and I can’t find them!

Sorry she’s just on the dummy this week – my husband has been really busy at work – so I haven’t wanted to pester him for my art. Pardon the pun.

I am pretty pleased with it – I think it makes a far better skirt than something you would put on your wall!

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Source: hpstm.tc via Trish on Pinterest

 

 

The perfect accessory: 1940’s or 1950’s Petit Point Evening Bag, found recently with its own silk coin purse – for $A8!!

The Facts
Fabric: Tapestry from an Op Shop
Pattern: None
Year: 2012
Notions: Zip, some interfacing for the waistband
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: Not yet but I think it will look great with a burgundy top I have, and my new Petit Point vintage evening bag, and boots for Autumn
Wear again: It’s not going to be on high rotate – but yes
Total price: Under $10