Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Walking in a wiki wonderland

Have you visited It's like an encyclopedia of patterns and the wiki bit means anyone can add's mucho fun.

On sewweekly Kat is currently organising a pattern swap. The idea is you sign up, then Kat will randomly assign each person a "sender". You are told who you are sending to, you send a pattern and wait for your parcel to arrive.....

That was a very long-winded way of saying I have been sorting through patterns.

Mostly because I wanted to see what goodies I had to send another sewweeklier. But also for my FESA challenge and because I needed a skirt pattern. Conclusion: I have too many patterns.

I've picked out some interesting patterns from the pattern mountain and been on the pattern wiki to see what I could find out:

This was in the Vogue pattern catalogue in 1962/3 so it is about 50 years old. But a baby compared to:

which is a housecoat pattern from 1947! The envelope has seen better days but then it only just escaped WWII so what do you expect.

I have 2 more older looking patterns, but neither are on pattern wiki.But I have played Sherlock and this "brunchcoat" is dated 1952 (OK, it says so on the packet)

If I can work out how to get it on wiki patterns I will - the site doesn't seem to like my uploads.
Finally, no clue on this Simplicity S 19 pattern, how old do you think it is?

Think pink

Off to work today in my new pink set: soft fleecy scarf and flower corsage.

Thinking pink for the start of breast cancer awareness month in October.....

Monday, 26 September 2011

OK, so I have an overlocker. Now what?

Lovely hubbie Carl bought me an overlocker for my birthday.

It sat in the box until this evening because, well, I didn't really know what to do with it. I bought a book but it was all a bit bewildering. So for my first project.....

I made a scarf with some quilting cotton and a piece of fleece. Not bad, eh? I also made the flower from a design in a book I got for my birthday.

Finally, my friend had a baby girl recently so I made her a little pushchair blanket as a gift. I'm quite pleased with it!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Move over Kate and Will, here is the wedding of the year

Warning: this post isn't about sewing at all really, but I had such a great day I wanted to share it.

Dan and Gemma got hitched yesterday, the sun shone, the bride looked gorgeous, it was perfect. I wore the first Crepe dress I made, mini-me was a bridesmaid. This is our insurance photo in case of "trouble" later (ie spilt food/drinks, snot etc):

Outside the church afterwards, don't you just love Gemma's 60s hair? She looked a million dollars:

This is my whole family after the service, soppy moment, I love this photograph:

Finally, if you have been following you will have noticed slightly harrassed mentions of me making the wedding cake. Here it is (Gemma finished off the final touches):

Sunday, 11 September 2011

FESA and a little light reading

This week has been a week of planning and thinking rather than actual doing. And I have been enjoying it so much.... no guilt laziness, hooray. I have been mentally planning my Fall Essentials Sew Along. Once I had my colours and moodboard, I thought I'd select some pattenrs and fabric. I want to make:

A shrug and a dress to go with...

A blue velvet parfait and a vintage cape...
A pencil skirt (Vogue on left) and a jacket - I'm not sure which one yet.

The only problem is my colour palette is not entirely reflected in the fabric ordered so far, which is all blue. Erm....

Other great stuff happening this week: It was my birthday and I got loads of lovely things. You see, I have a wonderful thing called an amazon wishlist. Oh yeah. Since I heard of this I have loved my presents even more - because I have picked them myself.

Here are some of the books I got for my birthday:


Finally, my friend's wedding cake is now marzipanned. You have to do this and let it dry before it is iced. Two weeks until the big day:

Monday, 5 September 2011

A posse of patterns for Mena's perusal

(Mena has two large 1940s patterns to swap on and I am offering a choice of my small patterns in exchange)

Hello Mena

I wonder if you like any of the early 1950s patterns above? I am publishing the photos to chose from. They are all bust 34 (the Butterick envelope says B32 but Mrs Cook says the pattern is B34).

All of these patterns and more were given to me by a lovely lady called Marjorie Cook who used the patterns in the 50s, they are her own. I have a photo of her in one of the dresses in 1952 (it's on this blog in an early post). I'll be honest, the envelopes are not in good condition. I will check that all the pieces are there before I send any should you choose them and before we finalise a swap.

In fact, I didn't want to sell any of the patterns because Mrs Cook gave them to me so generously, but I am happy to swap if you decide to chose me ;0) I have finally faced up to the fact that I will never be a B34!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Cape no Fear and a surprising announcement

There is something very appealing about a cape. Sort of matador, sort of hooded claw, or, in this case, sort of picnic blanket. Opps. Not exactly the look I was looking for. However it will be nice to feel I can be of use in an emergency picnic situation, like so:

You will notice how nicely the plaid matches up. This is because I am standing very carefully hiding the piece at the back that doesn't match at all.

Overall, this is a win and I am pleased to have finished it. It's lined, so that was worth doing for the practice and the handholes were made with a welt, another new skill. AND I got to use the blind hem foot on my machine for the first time.

Now for something really new. Usually I sew stuff one thing at a time, my approach to buying fabric is sort of "oooh, pretty, I'll have it" with no thought at all about putting items together. The words capsule wardrobe are anathema to me. So it is with wonder and delight that I reveal: I have made a mood board.

Tah dah!

I made this myself using I collected the pictures on my account as I saw them, but essentially these are RTW items from Anthropologie, Shop Ruche or Monsoon. I have never made a mood board and there are probably courses on how to do this correctly but I'm afraid I just made it up (I am getting very devil may care recently!). OK, the details:

I want to make several items that are useful, Autumn/Winter pieces and that go together (a new concept for me). I am actually thinking this through and resourcing it before I start - also a new thing for me. So, I am going to skip the next two sewweekly challenges to get started. I am instead joining the Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge 2011 and teaming it up with the Fall Essentials Sewalong 2011 at Rhinestones and Telephones.

Colours: I have chosen the colours of the text on the board: navy blue, a dark bottle green, grey and a yellowy mustard accent colour.

I already have the blue velvet needlecord fabric and pattern for a cape style jacket from a reissued 1950 Vogue pattern. The rest of the details are still a little hazy, so I will use the next 2 weeks to think, plan, get stuff together and hopefully get started. Wish me luck!

Mad for Plaid week

Task 1: establish what plaid is so I don't look silly.
Task 2: find the plaid in my stash.
Task 3: chose a pattern
Task 4: get supplies
Task 5: actually finish it before the week is up (or will have to change its URL to

I went with the red tartan fabric that was a bit like a blanket.

And here is the pattern I chose:

It's Butterick 5741 from around 1976. Now, normally I am the sort of person who follows printed instructions to the letter (e.g. no bombing in the swimming pool. I would never do that) but I have found myself being dragged to the dark side this week. Instructions I have ignored include:

"Stiped, plaid.... fabrics are not suitable"

"allowance for matching not included in yardages given"

And the amount of fabric stated that I would need for cape A, (the shortest, hoodless one) was: 3m

I only had 2 metres of wool plaid. Ha! I laugh at your instructions!

This is my cutting out of the pieces on the kitchen floor:

And this is what I had left:

Then I realised I needed 2 welts as well....

Despite the blatent disregarding of instructions I have made a cape. I completed the hand-sewing on the lining while I watched "Sex and the City", the first film, yesterday.

Photos later!

In the meantime: I have made jam this week:

 And I found a rather nice Vogue knitting book in a charity shop for 30p. It has patterns from the 30s to the 80s collected in it. Love! The cover makes it look a bit rubbish, but it is full of great patterns...