Friday, 25 November 2011

Not waving, drowning!!

This week has sped by in a blur and I really don't feel as though I've achieved very much at all. After all the sewing I did for the market, I've lost a lot of momentum and I've so many UFOs at the moment, I fear I may drown under their accumulated weight. To be honest, I really don't know where to begin.

Here's a small selection of my 'projects in waiting'...

This pattern was hard won on Ebay about 3 years ago and I had the perfect fabric in my stash so I cut it as soon as it arrived. The neckline proved to be a little more challenging than my skills at the time, this is as far as I got...

My next 'PiW' is not technically a UFO but I'm still dragging my feet. We have a cocktail party next Saturday and I thought I might like to make something new to wear. This 1940s cutie has been slowly making its way up the priority list and it looks relatively simple.

I was under the impression this pattern was unused but when I unfolded the pieces, the embroidery transfer was missing. Damn! The teal koshibo fabric I've chosen will fall beautifully but I fear it may end up being too plain. Hence the hesitancy to start construction.

Lastly, it too has been hard going but I've made a little progress on my Freestylin' Frankenstein top. You may recall I had decided to put aside versions 1 & 2 and start a 3rd version based on a late 1950s cowl neck top.

I've managed to solve the sleeve problem by removing a considerable amount from the cap - free styled of course! If accuracy is important to you, best look away now...

Here's the result...

The neckline still isn't quite right but I really like this version.

So dear readers, I propose a question to you: How many UFOs are too many UFOs?
Is there such a thing?

- Tamara

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Let there be Roller Derby... and tacos!


With such an activity filled weekend, and then family commitments, this is the first chance I've had to sit in front of the computer. So, without further ado, let's get to it shall we?

This Saturday night was Roller Derby night and what a night it was! We saw a double-header but the main event was the Victorian Roller Derby League All Stars vs the Rat City Rollergirls (Seattle, USA). From the minute the Rat City girls hit the track, it was obvious we were going to be slaughtered. They used their warm up time to run drills; jumping to alternating sides of the track at the sound of a whistle, the team in unison. They appeared to be a force to be reckoned with, and they didn't disappoint. The final score - the VRDL: 87 to Seattle: 226 - like I said, it was a slaughter.

I'm yet to master all the features on my camera so please forgive me for the crappy pics.

On Sunday we headed to Newport for a little slice of Mexico at the 'Once Upon a Time in the West - Car Park Fiesta. It was roughly a 40 minute drive from home, but Mdblm & I have a thing for Mexican food and we had heard the Taco Truck would be in attendance. Their food comes highly recommended, and it was delicious!

We were also treated to a little 'tex-mex' music with a performance by 'El Westies' and, the highlight of the day, 'Mariachi Los Romanticos'. These guys are the real deal. They played traditional Mexican folk songs, mixed in a couple of interesting covers, and, of course, the Mexican Hat Dance for the kids.

So, while Roller Derby and tacos may not seem to have anything in common, I beg to differ.
As far as I'm concerned, they're a great combination for fun!

- Tamara

Friday, 18 November 2011

Smile, you're wearing Patons

It's time of another Fashionable Friday and this week I'd thought I'd do something a little different. Ordinarily, Fashionable Friday features pages from the 1930s Weekly Times but today I'd like to introduce you to the lovely ladies of Patons, circa 1940.

And boy, are they happy to be here!



Happy, happy Friday everyone!! 


Thursday, 17 November 2011

A Visit to Tattoo Parlour

Outre Gallery have just launched a new book, 'Tattoo Parlour: Artists from the World of Tattoo' and a simultaneous exhibition of the same name.

I have a thing for the art of Angelique Houtkamp, and I really wanted to see what pretty new ladies she had on offer - I already own a couple of her prints. Needless to say, I was not disappointed...

Some of Angelique's original pieces, all but one have been sold.

Oh, how I adored Shirley, and she's available as a print!

I also discovered a new artist to keep my eye on, Christoper Conn Askew. He had a couple of awesome pieces in the show, but ALVB (above) was my favourite.

Outre Gallery has three Angelique Houtkamp books for sale- the line drawings book is copyright free & chock full of embroidery ideas - and 'Tattoo Parlour: Artists from the World of Tattoo' is now available through Outre Gallery in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth and online.

The exhibition continues in Melbourne until November 30th.


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Market Wrap-up

Regular readers will know my stall at the Thread Den market was this Sunday. 
Sadly, it was a bit of a wash...

My little stall, just before packing up.

I arrived in North Melbourne a little later than intended and was still doing some setting up at 10am, not that it mattered, it was really quiet. It made for a long, slow day and some stall holders even left early. My blue pinup shoes (top right) attracted a lot of attention but there were no takers. I ended up selling a dress I had made - not the leopard print - and $50 worth of patterns, barely making a dint in my inventory.  

It wasn't all bad though, there was a cupcake stall selling bite-sized peanut butter cupcakes - oh buttery goodness - and a stall selling the cutest little 'tooth fairy' pillows. Here are a couple of my other favourite stalls... 

What a difference a clip makes!
Eliza Jane Clips are handmade here in Melbourne by a mother and daughter team, and are a cute way to make your shoes dazzle! With just one pair of clips you can completely change the look of many shoes. Clip on some beads, bows or roses and turn your day shoes to night in a snap!

Eliza Jane Clips sell at markets around the Melbourne area and are also available on on etsy - and they ship internationally!

Just look at all those belt buckles!! Being a 1930s fan, I was a little horrified to see them being used as brooches but there are some really adorable combinations here. Unfortunately, this lady doesn't sell online so keep an eye out for her at markets around Melbourne. 

Here are my purchases for the day: a decent sized piece of bright blue silk for $5 and an adorable wooden pinup girl brooch ($10). Just look how cute she is! The detail has been burnt into the wood using a heated piece of metal, an art form which is apparently called pyrography. it's so old fashioned, I didn't know anyone still did this! Surprisingly, this piece was done by a girl in her early 20s and she's very good at her craft.

Oh, and before I forget, thank you to the reader who came and said hello. I don't tend to get a lot of comments here so guess I never really thought I'd see anyone in person. It was a pleasant surprise! 

Hope you're all having a good week!

- Tamara

Monday, 14 November 2011

Lest We Forget

Remembrance Sunday has just been commemorated in the UK, so I thought I'd take the opportunity for a quick catch up post.

Remembrance Day was commemorated here in Australia on the 11th November (Friday), the anniversary of armistice. It was a lovely day out so I decided to take a much needed break from my market sewing and headed off to the local town of Kilmore. A small crowd gathered at the Hudson Park War Memorial for the ceremony; the recitation of 'In Flanders fields' by J.M. McCrae (1872–1918) and the Last Post (bugle call); and to observe one minute silence - a custom suggested by Melbourne journalist and First World War veteran Edward George Honey.

Here are some pics of my day...

A white cedar soldier guards the Kilmore cenotaph,
carved by local chainsaw artist Ray 'Redgum' McLean
The medals of a highly commended ex-serviceman.
Roses, poppies and rosemary - for remembrance - on the cenotaph.
'They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.'

- The Ode, extract from For the fallen
  by Laurence Binyon (1869–1943).  

- Tamara

Saturday, 12 November 2011

More caplets than a Super-Heroine

I've been in the midst of market mania here this week and have had little time for anything else but sewing. There has been a mild state of panic but things are coming together nicely. D-day is now only two days away... 

While rummaging through my UFO pile for quick fixes to sell, I came across some caplets in various stages of completion. How many caplets does one girl need? My thinking at one point appears to have been three. Now I'm a firm believer of having choice when it comes to coats, but capes of any kind are a different matter entirely.

The caplet can be fastened at the neck with a brooch...

Or try a sweater chain for something different...

And just look how nicely it shows off a vintage brooch!

Some other successful unearthings from the UFO pile are:

A late 50s sheath dress silk taffeta (?) which I purchased in pieces a year or two ago. Thankfully the previous owner left the neckline detail, waistline gathers and kick-pleats in tact or this would have been a nightmare to reconstruct. Basically, I just followed the existing folds and left over stitching for the darts, then attached the bodice to the skirt. Voila! 


This awesome 40s nurses uniform arrived into my care a dirty grey colour with off-white cuffs & collar, and from there I proceed to ruin it. As the story goes, I decided to soak it in some colour-safe bleach but didn't take into account that most vintage buttons are not colour safe and should be removed before washing. What a mess they made! The off-white became a grotty looking, patchy blue and the grey suffered a similar fate.

The cuffs & collar were removed, then restored using this incredibly toxic, yet extremely effective bleaching powder and now they look better than ever! The dress itself has been dyed 'ocean blue' and is a 100% improvement on the grey. Just the buttons to go...

Lastly, the Jungle Fever dress is now complete and while it's not something I would wear,
it totally rocks!!

The North Melbourne Market  will be held on 13th November at
the Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne.

See you there!!

- Tamara

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Rock 'N Roll Bride

Look what the postman delivered yesterday...

Rock 'N Roll Bride Magazine - Issue 01!!
Now, before anyone gets too excited, I am not planning a wedding any time in the near future, I just like to look a the pictures. I've been reading the Rock 'N Roll Bride blog for a while now and am constantly amazed at just how creative people can be. Of course, I had to check out the magazine and I have to say, I'm very impressed. It's beautifully produced and, as expected, the photography is sublime.

Kat Williams started Rock 'N Roll Bride back in 2007 when she was planning her own wedding. Her aim, in Kat's own words, is to:

"... provide a little haven of kick ass weddingness in a cookie cutter, pastel and often puke-worthy wedding world. If you’ve ever picked up a bridal magazine and felt queasy or trawled the internet and felt disheartened by what you didn’t find well, my friend, you are in the right place!"

Kat Williams, aka The Rock 'N Roll Bride.
Photo: David McNeil

Rock 'N Roll Bride magazine was originally produced for the Designer Vintage Bridal Show (UK) but blog readers went wild for it and a limited number were made available to the public - can you believe I only had to pay for postage?! Issue 01 was snapped up in a matter of days, but Issue 02 is on its way.

Photo: David McNeil

- Tamara

**NOTE: This is not a sponsored post.
All images copyright to David McNeil Photography / Rock 'N Roll Bride Magazine.

Friday, 4 November 2011

A Tribute to the Spitfire Women - Reprise

Just a quick post to let my Australian readers know SBS One  are screening The Spitfire Women documentary this evening (Friday) at 8.30pm. My earlier post barely touched on the amazing stories of these women, so if you're interested in learning more be sure to tune in. There'll be more on the prejudice faced by Maureen Dunlop (and the other women); the tragic romances of Diana Barnato Walker; and the rivalry between the British and the American girls of the ATA.

For now, I'll leave you with a quote from the adorable Joy Lofthouse:

"If anybody pinched my behind, I was only thankful I was attractive enough to have my bottom pinched..."

Happy Friday everyone!!

- Tamara

Jungle Fever

I have been sewing like a mad woman this week because it has occurred to me that my Thread Den market day is now only two weeks away. Eeeek!! The the original plan was to make some dresses to sell but I'm fast running out of time so it's highly unlikely. That said, I whipped this cute early 50s dress from Sew-Rite 8070 in a couple of evenings.

I found a mountain of leopard print crepe in my stash, lord knows how it got there but it had to go. Plus, it's very saleable. The black fabric is also a crepe from my stash.

The only thing left to do is add some self-covered buttons - in leopard print of course - and the hem. There's a whole lotta hand sewing in my immediate future!

The next North Melbourne Market  will be held on 13th November at the Lithuanian Club, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne. Make sure you come say hello!

- Tamara

Thursday, 3 November 2011

A Freestylin' Frankenstein

Now the weather here is getting warmer, I've seen some really cute tops and have been inspired to make my own. My original inspiration was a boat neck t-shirt made by a BurdaStyle member but I didn't 'favourite' the project and don't have a pic. The only thing I have to go on is what see in my mind, and a downloaded sleeve pattern piece. Weird.

I should mention at this point, my skills at pattern making are poor at best so I decided to Frankenstein a few patterns together and see what I could come up with. Hoping for instant gratification, I looked for a current boat-neck t-shirt pattern but couldn't find anything suitable. I then turned to my trusty vintage pattern collection. The two things I liked about the t-shirt are the neckline and the pleated sleeves, so they were the things I focused on.

I love the neckline of Simplicity 1510, but the sleeves are cut in one with the bodice. No matter, I decided to go with it and cut it from some unappealing jersey I had in my stash. I also added a simple 10" band, slightly larger than my waist for the bottom of the bodice. Here is the t-shirt, Version 1...

I really like the result, particularly the bust and necklines, but it's not what quite what I was looking for. Trying to keep the two elements I liked, I got rid of the bodice sleeves and added the random sleeve. I then did a bit of freestylin' to get the shaped look I wanted. Here's Version 2...

Getting there... If I end up going with this version, it will need: roughly 1/2 inch cut out of the armhole to bring the shoulder seam in, and nearly 1" out of the sleeve cap. At the moment the sleeves just flop down and the lovely pleat detail at the armband is hidden.

I'm diggin' the direction this is heading but am going to abandon this pattern version for the moment and experiment with Simplicity 4782. I've made this top once before so I already have a couple of fitting adjustments done. The plan is to use these adjustments and add the amended sleeve.

 Wish me luck!

- Tamara
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