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Charlie’s Aunt retro handbag

31 Oct

Someone complimented me on my handbag today, and I realised I hadn’t reviewed the pattern, Charlie’s Aunt’s ‘Brideshead Bag’ like I’ve been meaning to. So here it is.

I fell head over heels in love with this bag! I mean, hey LOOK at it. Isn’t it gorgeous? Such beautiful style lines!

Let’s be totally honest: I’ve been very wary of Indie patterns for various reasons that have been well-explored by other people in the sewing community; no need to go into them here. So it took a lot of umming and ah-ing to decide whether to risk wasting money on a potentially lousy pattern, or just develop my own based on the pictures.

In the end I decided to buy it in the hopes a formal pattern might actually get me making a bag. Thing is, I don’t like bagmaking but I really needed a new handbag as the old one was falling apart. I couldn’t find one that suited my needs for a price I could afford, in any bag shop. And we won’t talk about the Amazon vendors who refuse to post beyond the US.

What also weighed in the decision to buy the pattern was that I did feel pretty strongly that if I liked the design enough to copy it, the designer ought to be getting some credit and financial recompense for it.

 

Alterations The silly thing in the end was that I actually did end up ‘designing’ most of the bag myself. The pattern size was just too big for my needs. I asked the designer before I bought the pattern if it would downsize ok. She said no, because everything was drawn up in correct proportion to each other and the seam allowances etc.

Pah! Proportion and readjusting seam allowances are bread and butter for me! No worries! So I bought the pattern and made it a good 5-10cm smaller and it did indeed come out just fine 🙂 I also added in a million more pockets as there were only the one shown on the front, and a similar one with no fastening inside.

The fastening in the pattern was for a magnetic clip between the front and back right at the top. Instead, I chose to put a zip along the top because I have a habit of throwing my bag into the back of the car or onto a chair when I get home and I didn’t want things to fall out. Yes yes I know, similar to my lack of respect for jackets. I expect a lot of my handbags!

I lengthened the strap as I prefer over-the-shoulder bags and widened them for comfort.

 

My biggest regret with the bag is that I didn’t interface the pattern because I like slouchy bags. But then of course the top was soft. making it hard to open and close the zip. *facepalm* Ok, ‘fessing up here, I almost never use interfacing. It’s just one extra layer to make clothes hotter. And the softer the better when the humidity is up, which is like most of the year here. But duh, I should have interfaced the bag. I talked it over (after the bag was made, not before, of course :-P) with a friend who makes a lot of bags and she said interfacing really helps a zip be zippy. Note to self: interfacing a bag won’t make your clothes hotter to wear and will make the bag’s zips work better.

The other negative issue is that the flap is also fastened with velcro. However the velcro disintegrated quickly and hasn’t gripped since not long after I made the bag. The pattern says to use a magnetic clasp, but I went with velcro because I wanted to keep the bag’s weight down. With the zip-top it’s really only decorative anyway, but yeah, I’d go the magnetic clasp next time, regardless of the extra weight.

 

Front (like my little polar bear zip-pull from a friend in Canada? His name is Little Polar Bear 🙂 I used two different but matching tapestry fabrics from Spotlight. I knew from the wear such tapestry stood up to with this hat, that it would last the distance.

A close-up of the front. The pockets (black tapestry on the lower half of the bag) close with velcro strips I kinda cut and spread to match the curving top. I added the velcro before sewing the side seams. The velcro works really well and stands up to heavy wear as I use them every time I use the bag. I’m pretty pleased with them, and also amused because I get so many comments from people about how they too need a bag with velcro-closing pockets!

Back I’m pretty sure there weren’t back pockets on the original pattern. I just cut two mirroring pocket pieces, then created the back pocket in the same way as the front pockets.

Yeah yeah, the base might have benefitted from some interfacing too! But I do like slouchy bags…

There’s no piccies of the inside because there’s nothing of excitement in there. The outside pockets are enough, and so very convenient to use that I am glad I didn’t bother with doing the inside ones, and they probably wouldn’t have been used.

I’m very happy with my bag! I’ve even gotten used to the soft zip. Little Polar Bear helps with the zipping, too.

Yes I would love to sew it again! I keep thinking I’d love it in a green leather, and it’s a simple enough style I think it would work very well.

But then again, I’m also so very much in love with The kitchen Bag from the same place …

Sewing pattern to make the Kitchen Garden Bag - PDF pattern INSTANT DOWNLOAD

 

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Vintage pattern pledge: late but doing it anyway!

5 Aug

I’m joining in the Vintage Pattern Pledge, for the same reason A Stitching Odyssey created the pledge – I love collecting vintage patterns, (mostly from the local op-shops here) but don’t use many of them. The few I have used have been really good, and ended up in some cases becoming TNTs. It’s kind of silly to collect them all and then not use them. Especially when I’ve had such great luck with the few I have used. (might find some more TNTs in there!

I’m going for 5 by the end of this year, but won’t beat myself up if I manage less. And I’ve decided to add in three little clauses of my own to the pledge.

1) Use vintage patterns (or vintage repro, I’m not fussy) that I haven’t used before.

2 Use fabrics I’ve had sitting in my stash forever, that are too good for any pattern! You know, the ones you look at and think ‘one day I’ll find a pattern that does justice to this fabric.’ And you’re still thinking it 5 yrs later. Uh, 10 in some cases… *sheepish* (Well, when your brother sends you 1.5m of silk georgette from Como in Italy, specifically chosen as a present because legend has it that Como was the first place in the west that produced silks, in a stunning green and blue floral pattern, what pattern IS good enough for that???) (I’ve long ago accepted I’ll never cut it. I just take it out every time I ‘shop my stash’ and pet it lovingly.)

3) Make things that fit in with my wardrobe plan, so I’ll actually end up wearing them.

Well, here’s the patterns I’m intending to use:

I’m working on learning the skills to be able to sew my own underwear. I’m good with the stretch-knit undies. I’m working on the woven undies (They’re so similar I don’t really ‘need’ to work on them but I am having fun and gaining experience, so hey!). After that I’m going to work on ‘bralettes’ given a lot of my life is spent in them. Lastly will be full-on underwire bras.

This comes under the bralette category. I’m thinking the red halter second from the top, and/or the one right at the bottom. I’ll probably use up some scraps rather than cutting in to a bigger piece of fabric. That’s still very Virtuous though, I feel.

Simplicity Creative Group - Misses' Vintage 1950's Bra Tops

While I’m still on the bralette subject, I have this pattern from Mrs Depew Vintage. It’s on my bralette-sewing list. I may get to it this year. So pretty!

Vintage Sewing Pattern 1940's Pauline Matching Bra and Tap Panties PDF Print at Home -INSTANT DOWNLOAD-

 

I want to make some of this style of french knickers, just out of curiousity as to how those gussets work, and how comfortable they might be. Don’t know what fabric yet, either. I’d love to make them up in silk I have had for three or four years, but realistically I’ll use something less expensive to tral it.

These lovlies are from New Vintage Lady on Etsy. I love her shop!

NVL 1940s bra and tap panties pattern set 46 by NewVintageLady

 

However for my pair, I’m going to draw up this pattern I found through pinterest. Just the undies – unless I go totally nuts and make them all up 😛 (Actually… that’s not a bad idea! They look so light, easy to wear and cool. It’s lovely and cold and dry today, but it’s August. October and the ‘build up’ *are Looming O_O )

*The Build Up is the build up to the wet season. It’s very hot, extremely humid and the only saving graces are the magnificent and awe-inspiring storms we get during this season, and – mangoes! YUM!

 

This one I found through pinterest too. Oh how I ❤ pinterest! I drew it up full-sized, based on the schema given, last night. I was presuming it would be too small for me and I’d have to make it bigger, but measuring the flat pattern, it is bigger than it looks. Worth muslining as is, at anyrate. I love that collar…

Fabric? No idea! I do have some ‘my vintage’ fabric I’ve been meaning to make up into a simple top. Like you know, meaning to for 4 yrs, heading fast towards 5! But it’s quite busy and I wonder if the details might obscure the lovely simple lines of the blouse. Or would it work if I had the inside of the collar in a plain co-ordinating fabric?

 

 

Another pinterest find. I’m planning on drafting it to my own measurements – short-sleeved of course! I’m loving the style lines of this top, however I’m not entirely sure how I’ll work my bigger-than-A cup-bust. An FBA that still keeps these style lines intact? Hmmm.

I’m not so interested in the trim. The fabric I’m planning to use (some beautiful soft satin cotton sent to my by my ‘Auntie’ Josie a few years ago) is also quite busy. Perhaps the neckline would look good in a co-ordinating plain fabric? *ponders*

Miss Conover's blouse, 1921 | via blueprairie

Lastly, I can’t decide between making a blouse like this (short sleeved and the bow lower so it’s cooler, of course)

Lovely blouse

using this pattern. 1986 IS vintage, right? The fabric that jumps out at me for this is a simple very light grey op-shop find that a burn test suggested was either pure cotten, or cotton/linen mix. It’s a soft fabric. I’m quite in love with it. And being from the op shop it’s of unknown vintage. Perfect!

Butteric 4032

 

Or do I want to do this one, using a cotton sateen of blue roses on white? Lovely! Both the pattern and fabric have been in my stash at least 4 yrs.

I think that’s all too far in the future to worry about. I may not even get there this year.

 

However what I have to start on right after finishing this post, is a jacket in blue velvet from this Bolivian Milkmaid’s Jacket from Folkwear – the bottom view, which is the traditional one. Though I cut down some of the excesses of godets, and the width of the sleeves coz I didn’t have enough fabric for the full jacket. Yikes! It took a lot O_O.

I’m heading south at the end of August and I’ll need something nice and warm. Mmm dark blue velvet Mmmm!

Oops! I accidentally stifled my creativity.

10 Oct

Well, I thought it was a good idea to put aside sewing clothes for myself for a bit. You would have thought so too if you’d seen how full my wardrobe was!

I have Other Projects to do. Like some christmas presents. (Yep, I am organised, I’m working on christmas presents and it’s only early October. But the thing is, you see, I sew or otherwise craft my christmas pressies, so I need time to get them made. And most of my family is overseas or elsewhere in Australia so I need to get them in the mail early.)

I also promised my mum I’d make her some new dresses, her wardrobe, unlike mine was, resembling Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.

I also need a new handbag. Of course, I could just go buy one. *chokes* and indeed it was starting to seem likely I’d have to, until… I found this pattern on Etsy. *dies in delight* in the shop Charlie’s Aunt. An independent pattern designer selling bags and accessory patterns with a retro 1940’s-1950’s flavour. Go check it out. It’s awesome!

Sewing pattern to make the Kitchen Garden Bag - PDF pattern INSTANT DOWNLOAD

Miserable thoughts of having to buy a new bag went straight out of my head. Clearly, I needed to make this bag!

Then I saw this bag pattern in the same shop:

Sewing pattern to make the Brideshead Bag - PDF pattern INSTANT DOWNLOAD

omg *drools* I’m sure I need two new handbags, right? Right! Of course I do! Especially as there was this promotion:

2 PDF sewing patterns of your choice

All in all, I thought it would be good to stop sewing clothes for myself, and sew and craft non-clothing stuff (like a new handbag!) for a bit.

That was about 3 weeks ago. And since then a very strange thing has happened. I’ve just stopped making anything. Ok so I’ve been sick, (nasty virus) but that usually only slows me down, not stops me completely.

And my overlocker has been on the blink. But it just needed a good clean and re-thread, which I’d usually do without it even registering I’d done it.

So why the lack of creative crafty sewing-y goodness?

After much thought the past few days, I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve simply put a damper on my creative energy. I just love making clothes for myself so much I’m almost never out of ideas, or out of enthusiasm for it. (Or fabric, actually, but The Stash is another story!) I also do heaps of other crafting things alongside the clothes sewing, like decoupage, crochet, craft sewing. They get swept up in my overall creativity.

But putting those dressmaking ideas aside for a month or two has just cut my creative verve totally dead.

Weird feeling.

I also took a good hard look at the clothes in my wardrobe and decided very sadly that about 6 or 7 of them (OUCH!) were so faded and worn they needed to be consigned to the rag bin 😦 Clothes just don’t last long in this climate. Now my wardrobe is resembling Mother Hubbard’s cupboard a bit too!

I think I need to go sew some clothes for myself…

😀

Heather Bailey voucher giveaway

17 Nov

I recently bought Heather Bailey’s Boho Cloche pattern. I’ve almost finished a hat from it, and I’ve made 5 flowers from her flower pattern!

 

I’m really impressed with the pattern. It’s very well drafted, and looks just the way it is pictured, and is quite an ingenious design of hat. (I know – I’ve sewn heaps of hats in my time). It also came with a little 10% off voucher if I make a purchase before the end of Nov.

I don’t have anything else I want to buy from her shop, and it seems a shame to let it elapse. So I’m taking the chance to say I’m very impressed with her pattern, and offering the voucher to anyone who would use it and find out for themselves the quality of what she is offering. First in best dressed! Let me know if you want it, and your email and I’ll send you the details!

 

Halp!!! Opinions please?

11 Nov

NEVER cut out when you’re tired. We all know that. So why did I do it? *heavy sigh*

A friend in Florida sent me 1m of lovely flamingo-themed fabric in February. (I just had to add in the month for the alliterative affect 🙂 She said she could imagine me out in my garden working there in shorts from this fabric. I agreed. And of course, there’s no more fabric available 😦

A while back I was really intrigued and inspired by the Weekend Designer blog’s cuffed shorts.

Rather than drafting a pattern from scratch I used my TNT shorts pattern, adjusted it as per Weekend Designer instructions, then cut it out.

And forgot the fabric print is very definitely a one-way design. I’ve cut one side with the flamingos upright, and one side with them upside down. Kinda like this.

And it would have been so easy to have cut out with the birds the right way up. I just didn’t think. Ok I was tired. See why I have that rule? WHY oh why didn’t I obey said rule???

Anyway, I’m asking for opinions on what to do now. My mother reckons no one would ever notice them sewn as is, as the pattern is so busy. (Well, no one but me, her and everyone I’ve asked opinions of, including half the internet!) But my bestie reckons I’m such a neat person and a perfectionist it will annoy the hell out of me if I sew the shorts up as cut. My fiance just keeps laughing.

As for me, I’m hoping sleeping on it will bring some clarity.

Here are some options I’ve thought out so far.

1) Sew it up as is, upside down and all

2) See if I can make a crazy mistake into a great garment by turning it into a skirt with totally upright birds, and make shorts out of a yummy apple-green-with-white-polkadots fabric I have in my stash.

3) Make the fabric into a Heather Bailey’s boho cloche hat. (I’m halfway through making one of these out of grey rose poplin Mmmm. I’m totally in love with the pattern). A hat in this fabric would be … very pink… but hey, very funky too methinks.

4) Buy a different hat pattern (As a consolation prize for having been so silly, you understand) like ooh say one of these from Mrs Depew’s Vintage, and make the fabric up in it. (Or even a nice lingerie pattern from the same site?)

5) Make the upside-down flamingo shorts AND the green polkadot shorts AND buy a few new vintage patterns AND get some other fabric to make them up in and throw a sewing party?

What do you think? Any other options are welcome too 🙂

 

Pattern Love

10 Oct

Thurlow Trousers…

Sewaholic Patterns Renfrew Trouser pattern

The pattern description: Finally, a modern trouser pattern designed for curvy hips, fuller thighs and a narrow waist! The Thurlow Trousers sit below the waistline, with a slightly flared leg. Pockets in front are subtle slash pockets that won’t add bulk to the hips.

Did you read that? Curvy hips, fuller thighs and narrow waist. Me me me. That’s me! Me!

Look at how lovely Dana_knockouts’ linen trousers look. Mmmmm. I could do the Thurlow Trousers in a linen like this. Mmmm…

 

 

I’m intrigued and inspired by these Zoot Trousers by Weekend Designer (who wrote 100 awesome blog posts then sadly went on to other things.) They make me want to dance in them! The author makes it look so easy to draft your own. However if it isn’t so easy after all I have a Plan B. I’ve got some beautifully-fitted wide-legged TNT trouser pattern. I can adjust that as per his directions.

A friend sent me some real Liberty of London fabric, actually from London. So soft and fine! Exquisite. And it is such a lovely subtle floral design.How lucky am I? Thanks Josie!  I think I’ll use it for my version of these.

Weekend Designer's Zoot Alors

Weekend Designer also showed how to design some pleated shorts. We’re heading straight into shorts and tiny singlets weather. I’m thinking I might make a pair.

Weekend designer cuffed shorts

And I have the perfect fabric for them, sent to me by a friend in Florida. Thanks Jackie! Funky Flamingos or what? I’ve only got 1m of it, so I found some blue with white polkadot fabric to co-ordinate with it. I’m thinking pink for the main shorts, blue for the cuffs. Maybe a co-ordinating plain pink for a tie belt, too.

Flamingo cotton fabric

Pleats have really been grabbing my attention lately. This entire dress is lovely. I like the shoulder pleats and the neckline, but it’s the side pleats on the skirt that really drew my attention.

McCalls 4633

Then I saw this New Look pattern and realised for my leafy green cotton lycra sateen, it was perfect. View C (what the model is wearing). I’ve used a TNT skirt pattern, and made the hemline slightly asymmetrical (Good for short people like me!) and the ruffle not as full. Almost finished it.

However I can’t seem to let go of the idea of a pleated skirt. I love this patternless skirt  made by kbenco for her daughter.  I have some red cotton/lycra sateen burning a hole in my stash …

 

There isn’t a pleat at all on this hat, but the shape is so divine I had to have it. My excuse is I live in a climate where hats are almost mandatory, even if almost no one wears them but me. The Heather Bailey Boho ClocheGlam up your wardrobe with Boho Cloche hats. Reminiscent of the flapper hat of the roaring 1920s, this cloche (French for “bell”) offers a comfy design that flatters every face shape. Perfect for a day in or a night out, the Boho Cloche embodies French flair in a carefree style that is très magnifique!

This one is in the mail as I type. Hurry up Mr (or Ms?) postman!

Heather Bailey Boho Cloche pattern

Shower cap from laminated cotton

6 Jun
  • Pattern used
An existing shower cap – I cut off the elastic which had already died anyway, and used the resulting plastic circle as my pattern. I added a few more cm to allow for a channel for elastic.
  • Fabric/trims/notions used
The fabric is laminated cotton from Spotlight.  It was more flexible than I was expecting.
6mm woven elastic
  • Inspiration (for the garment)
The shower caps I’d buy all seemed to have elastic that deteriorated very quickly. I got sick of going through them! Then I saw the laminated fabric and realised a shower cap was the perfect excuse to buy some to play around with figured I may as well give it a try.
  • Useful info
I used a simple #12 needle, normal polyester thread and a standard stitch length in my sewing machine, and there isn’t any discernible leaking. Not sure how a raincoat made that way would stand up to a storm in terms of waterproofing, but for a shower cap it was fine.
However it gets wet in the channel where the elastic is, so I don’t know how long it will be till it goes mildewy there in spite of me drying it in an airy place after each use.
  • Cost
Er, well, this is why I needed a good excuse. Ahem.
Full price it was $30pm but it was half-price at $15pm. I bought 50cm = $7.50
Elastic = $1
  • Last word

A great excuse to try laminated fabric! And it’s lasted aaaages so far. Yay!

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