What a productive afternoon! I love it when I get chance to just DO things. I said first thing that I wanted to get some sewing projects done. I have a huge bag (and a box) of things that need darning, altering, repairing and finishing…and today I vowed to make a start. Well, once I’d got the ordinary things out of the way at Atodiad, and then had a wonderful chat to my Grandma about fashion and vintage and dressmaking. I really am jealous of her sometimes…she was the right age (20s), at the right time (50s), in the right place (London). She had the occasions to dress up, and the dresses to wear. The fashions of the time were beautiful, and it was the norm to wear cocktail dresses to a nightclub. She described her cocktail dress of the time – Black, fitted bodice, low scoop neckline with a full netted skirt. Then sequin pieces (glitter?) ‘thrown’ at it like a galaxy. A real midnight blue/black delight. Jealous much. It’s not all lusting after the long gone beauties though…I have been lucky to inherit a few dresses made in the 1960s in the late 50s’ style 😛
Anyway, I digress. Once lunch was out of the way, I took over our kitchen. Out came the sewing machine and the bag of projects. Put on a couple of CDs (Deep Forest and Owl City to be exact!)…and set to work. First job, turn up my 1970s maxi skirt. It’s the lightest, finest cotton imaginable, stunning pattern…but always under my heels! Now, it is an inch and a half shorter…still captures the look of the 70s, but doesn’t send me onto my back every time I go out!
Project 2 was a simple button re-sewing before embarking on a dress refitting. It was a dress I had made. Yes, that means it should fit. No, I hadn’t grown out of it. I just made it badly, and didn’t fit the pattern to me as I went along. I learnt something that day 😛 I had already taken it in at the side seams, but the fit still wasn’t right, and I didn’t enjoy wearing it. Doesn’t help that from a distance the fabric and cut looked like cleaning overalls Anyway…as I was on my own, progress was slow. Put it on (inside out), pinch the seams and attempt to put pins in without seeing what I was doing. Drop pins on floor when failed at previous step. Finally get it pinned, take off without losing pins (it’s a very loosely woven fabric). Baste new seams/darts. Try on again (Tighten basting to see actual effect of new darts). Take off and put to the sewing machine. Try on again, and hey presto it actually fits! Once Mum got home later on she helped me to just alter the armholes and put in a couple more bust darts. I will also shorten it by about 2, maybe 3 inches to make it a more flattering length. One day, I’ll learn to make it right in the first place 😛
After a quick time out to give Grandpa his meds, it was back to it. I had bought a pair of culottes recently, knowing they were two sizes too big, but with a view to taking them in. They were just so pretty! Well, two darts over existing darts later, and they now fit 🙂 All they need is a quick press and I can start wearing them (if the nice weather ever comes back…).
Then I started my most ambitious project. Something I had started ages ago, but the plan kept changing. The last decision was to mount the vintage velvet top onto a jersey dress as the velvet is quite weak. So, I had to make a dress pattern. From scratch. I knew I wanted it to be the skirt part of a dress I already had, and then a vest top. So I laid out the dress on the kitchen table, as smoothly as possible, then laid tracing paper over the top and drew round it best I could. I then used a vest top as a guide for the top half, using my own measurements to double check. I cut out the paper pattern, folded it in half to check my pattern was symmetrical (it wasn’t, so I altered) and then made notes to add seam allowance and alterations. Next fun job was to actually cut out my fabric. On the kitchen floor. Black jersey, white dog. Fun. Creeping material, bad lighting. Also fun. First cut being wrong. Really NOT fun. Ahh well, it’ll just be a bit shorter than intended! I cut out the two pieces just as Mum got home. Pinned them together then had to tidy up the kitchen because it looked like a haberdasher’s shop had exploded.
Four and a half hours of sewing projects. Bliss.
‘Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing, the days pass quickly when I am sewing’ ~ Anonymous
‘The sewing machine joins what the scissors have cut asunder, plus whatever else comes in its path’ ~ Mason Cooley