Thursday, 5 December 2013

Bombs Away!

Last winter I compiled what I thought would be an achieveable wish-list - there were a total of three projects, only one of which was actually completed. Due to school commitments, I knew I wouldn't have much time to complete more than one project this winter, so decided to make the Vogue jacket from the 2012 wish-list.

Vogue 7146

I've loved this 1950s bomber jacket for years but have never had the courage to start it. So many bound buttonholes to line up, not to mention the welted pockets and slashed sleeve openings - it was a little advanced for me at the time. These days, bound buttonholes are pretty much the norm and I've perfected the slashed sleeve so it was time to crack on.

This is actually one of my first serious projects using 100% wool fabric. More often than not, I sew with cheap, blended fabrics for the simple reason that I rarely bother to make a muslin. I figure, if it ends up a disaster my financial loss is minimal. But what a difference good quality fabric makes! The wool was so smooth to sew - my machine barely made a sound - and it held the ironed in creases beautifully. If only I could afford to sew with good fabric all the time. Sigh.

As you can see, I've rocked the slashed sleeve opening - turns out all I needed was a really sharp pair of scissors. Previously, I'd been too afraid to cut the slash right down to the stitching line and could never get the ends to sit right. Now that I'm cutting it right down to the wire - seriously, there only needs to be a couple of threads of fabric left - the facing folds in neatly and are then topstitched into place.

The welted pockets and bound buttonholes use basically the same technique, but with a Y shaped cut at each end of the slashes. The Y shape folds in to create a nice, neat edge for the buttonholes.

Sadly, the bottonholes aren't as pretty on the inside, but at least you get to see a small splash of the teal green fabric I choose for the lining. Oooh, pretty.

I can't tell you how much I love this jacket! It had quite a few outings this winter and with plans for a few more pants/skirt options, it's likely to be popular next winter too.

- Tamara

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

First Day of Summer Sun

With this Sunday being the first day of summer and the forecast for sunshine, we took a trip to Eastern Beach, Geelong, for the running of the second Geelong Revival Motoring Festival.

The Geelong Speed Trials first ran in 1956. The event was conceived by Murray Rainey, a prominent member of the Western District Car Club and Geelong’s automotive industry, as a means for promoting Geelong. It also offered the local community a chance to see some of Australia’s top motor sport identities competing in the most powerful and exotic sports and sports/racing cars of the day.

By all accounts, the original Speed Trials continued to run up until 2003. Many were greatly saddened that the event seemed resigned to history, but in 2010, a new group of enthusiasts, in conjunction with the City of Greater Geelong council, set about reviving the event.

The re branded Geelong Revival Motoring Festival was launched in 2012 and saw more than 35,000 people attend the two day event. This year's Festival saw its theme broadened to include all things vintage and retro. Their new direction is based on the Goodwood Festival of Speed - a motor sport garden party if you will.

Cars aside, there was also the 2nd Annual Fashions on the Field which had a good 30+ entries. There were prizes in both Men's & Women's categories and entrants were judged on uniqueness and authenticity. I didn't stick around for the announcement of the winners but I did snap a few pics before the parade.
The judges.
The Revival's 'Garage Girls'
The Revival was a great day out with plenty of activities for families and non-car enthusiasts and has the potential to become a really great event in the future.
Did anyone else get the chance to enjoy our short burst of summer?
- Tamara

Friday, 22 November 2013

Murder Most Foul

Back in September, I took a trip to Rippon Lea Estate to see 'Miss Fisher's Costume Exhibition.  
Essie Davis as Miss Phryne Fisher.
Miss Phryne Fisher is a character created by the Australian author Kerry Greenwood. Phryne (Fry-nee) is a glamorous and thoroughly modern woman of the 1920s. She has an acquired taste for the best but has working-class origins. The independent and unflappable lady sleuth sashays through the back lanes and jazz clubs of Melbourne, fighting injustice with her pearl-handled pistol and her dagger sharp wit. To date, there are twenty books in the series and the TV program, produced by ABC TV Australia, is now in it's second series.
I'm not much of a murder mystery fan myself so I've not read any of the books, or seen the TV show, but I do love a spectacular costume and Miss Fisher's costumes did not disappoint.
Photo: ABC TV 
While there was strictly no photography - by order of the ABC - I couldn't help myself, qu'elle suprise. There are over 30 costumes on display which have been worn by the lead cast of the show and costume designer Marion Boyce (Every Cloud Productions ) has done an incredible job.
Along with the costume exhibition, you can also do the murder mystery audio tour, which involves seeking out the various clues scattered about the mansion in order to solve the crime.

Booking your ticket online will save heaps of time;
there was a queue when I visited so I'd hate to think what it will be like in the final weeks.
Miss Fisher's Costume Exhibition closes on 1st of December.

- Tamara

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

It's Show Time!

One of the great things about living in the country is the annual agricultural shows that pop up all over the region throughout Spring. Last Saturday was far too nice to waste the day inside, so we took a quick trip to Whittlesea for their annual Agricultural Show.
The Whittlesea Show began in 1859 and now attracts over 50,000 visitors over the two days. There was the usual over-saturation of showbag stalls, ageing sideshow games like Duck Hunt and the always adorable animal nursery. Sadly, the animals had pretty much flaked-out in the heat by the time we reached them and were all sound asleep.

Another integral part of the country show is the Arts & Crafts pavilion. As a kid, I remember being encouraged to enter various categories in the competitions; we would submit things we had made at school. I was pleased to see that children are still excited to see if their projects have earned them a certificate or blue ribbon.


Besides the children who are in it for fun, there are the die-hards who enter every year and take great pride in being awarded the best scones or sponge cake in the district. I've always found it funny that the cakes biscuits are on display, I'm assuming taste plays some part in choosing the winner.
That said, you just have to look at these little guys to know how good they would taste.
Double-decker chocolate cupcakes, Oreos, Candy Corn...
 Thanksgiving treats, anyone?!
Here's an example of someone who's been practising their craft for a long time.
Their first prize was well deserved, the lacework is divine!
Just quietly, I'm considering entering something in next year's Show.
That said, it's more likely I'll have forgotten by then, but it's nice to have a goal.
- Tamara

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Girl in Da Hood

After all the fiddly sewing on my wedding dress, my next project needed to be something a little less taxing. I've been in need of some new additions to my winter wardrobe and I thought this pattern would be just the thing to ease me back into sewing.

Vogue 8423
Vogue 8423 is ridiculously simple; it has two pieces in total - front & back - and can be made using one metre of 150cm wide fabric. Happy coincidence, I'd just picked up exactly that amount of random, $3 p/m fabric at Spotlight. 
Long-time readers will know I don't tend to bother with a muslin, I'm more of a 'crack-on' type of gal. I'm pretty confident with my measurements and I know from experience that I always need to remove 1" from the bodice length - no need to waste precious sewing time on mock ups!
Thanks to my trusty overlocker, this project was done in roughly three hours. In fact, I was so pleased with the result, I wore it the very next day.

I did try to add extra to the sleeve length for warmth, but when you've only a metre of fabric to work with, you just have to make do.
Despite my fabric being fuzzy on the inside, I couldn't help but line the hood with jersey - much more hair-friendly if you wear the hood for any length of time.
 Although, it's not likely I'll be zipping up the hood when out & about...
I have wings!!

Perfect, should I ever plan on going into stealth-mode!
Sadly, my hood disaster isn't an easy fix. It's cut in one with the bodice and I'd have to pull the zipper out, among other things. The only thing I can think is that I needed to take an inch out of the length of the neck/hood.
 No matter, I still love it!
 - Tamara

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Learning Curve

This year has been full of changes for me and as a result, my blog has had to take a backseat. That's not to say I haven't been sewing. I've completed quite a few little projects, but with limited time at my disposal, I've not had a chance to photograph them. Then there's at least a couple of hours Photoshop-ing and composing content... I have other, more pressing priorities to attend to.

Back in March, I started a Diploma in Fashion Business at the Melbourne Fashion Institute. The full time course is only two days a week, but the learning is pretty intensive and I'm finding myself quite exhausted at the end of each class. Not to mention my business idea is very different to that of the course content and I struggle at times to relate to my end goal. I can't divulge too much about my idea at this point in time but I promise to let you know once it comes to fruition.
The Melbourne Fashion Institute has many different courses available - patten making & garment construction, design & illustration, styling & couture - too many fun things to choose from. Business studies are all about Sales Plans, Organisation Structures and Unique Selling Propositions and I often find myself longing to something a bit more creative. Thankfully, there are a few artistic lights shining in the dullness of all this serious business.
The Visual Merchandising component of the course required us to create a mood board, a clothing range and store window to sell our fashions. Rather than just selling clothing, I was trying to sell an era - the 1930s - and my window was based on the image below.
This room was a little too busy to work as good visual merchandising, so I produced a more simplified version - it only needed to be representitive after all.
The chaise and telephone table were easy to source, but I had terrible trouble finding a scale mannequin to suit. I ended up having to make my own from air-modelling clay. Her boobs are a little high on the body but she's to perfect scale. If you're wondering about the missing legs, it's purely because they kept falling off and I ran out of patience.
There are some other wonderfully creative students in my class; we had spray-painted women, disco bitches fighting on the dance floor and a full scale skirt made from Hawaiian leis. I didn't get much of a chance to take pics on the day of presentations, but I did snap a couple at the end of the day, before everyone scurried off home.

A hooded cape by an active/sportswear label.
Our next creative project is to be a t-shirt design - it relates to the sourcing & production component of the course - but that's a couple of weeks off. We've yet to get through Marketing Plans & Finance but at least there's something fun to look forward to.
- Tamara


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Everyone's a Picker

Last week I read a news story about a man who purchased a particularly ugly bowl/cup in an op shop for $4 and then sold it at auction for over $75,000. Turns out, it was a 17th Century Chinese 'libation cup' carved from rhinoceros horn. A rare find indeed, but I get the feeling this guy knew exactly what he was looking at.
It's been a long while since I've been op shopping for no other reason than they've all been picked over. Not to mention that they've cottoned on to how much more they can make on vintage and designer pieces. It's a fair call, the proceeds go to charity after all, but this attitude appears to be creeping into the last refuge of bargain hunters everywhere - garage sales and swap meets.
The last swap meet we went to was the annual Broadford Swap Meet back in April and what a change it was from last year. Practically every stall holder had what they believed to be a 'rare piece' and they were charging accordingly; it sure took the fun out of it. Personally, I blame TV shows like American Pickers, Auction Hunters and the like. Before they came along, people didn't even know they had 'rusty gold'.
With the swap meet prices being well out of my budget, I had to content myself with seeking out some of the more fun stuff on offer.
Phones, phones everywhere...
Something for the car restorer
Who knew the 'Three Men in a Boat' author wrote another book?
Fabulous sewing machine oil cans
Oh, what I wouldn't give to see this baby in action!
The Police Siren Door-Stop Burglar Alarm would make for the perfect prank.
And finally, Thrilling Ranch Stories - Romantic stories of the West (c.1940s). If the front cover is to be believed, it looks like a great read. As you can imagine, I was sorely tempted by this one.
I do hope this weekend's Vintage Clearance Centre sale lives up to it's advertised bargains, I'm in the market for a new coat.
- Tamara


Friday, 21 June 2013

Perfecting Procrastination

Those who know me are well aware of my awesome ability to procrastinate. Despite having ample time to complete a project, I will invariably leave it 'til the last minute - all the while declaring: "I work better under pressure!"
True to form, I even procrastinated while sewing my wedding dress. I had allowed myself a good three months to make the dress - plenty of time to do other things, instead of working on the task at hand.

Late last year, I treated myself to a couple of Wearing History patterns, an early Christmas present if you will. We were heading into scorching hot summer, I desperately wanted to make myself the 'Chic Ahoy!' halter top. It looked like a fairly simple project that wouldn't take too long to complete.

As suggested in the instructions, I made a muslin before cutting into the deco-patterned skirt I picked up at Target for $8. The skirt itself was awful but I adored the pattern and could imagine it made into a halter top of some sort. 
In my excitement to get started, I didn't notice the print was lighter on the inside. No problem, I'll just cut two more collar pieces.
There was barely enough of the skirt fabric left to line the collar so I made up the rest with some lining from my stash. This is where my simple solution went south. I didn't cut the lining on the same grain as the skirt fabric so it wouldn't sit properly when I tried to finish off the bottom. It was in to the UFO for this 'quick' project - I had more important things to do.
Two seasons later, I've completed the entire ensemble and have been waiting for a spare, sunny afternoon to take some pics. Please forgive the absence of smiles, it was freezing!
The top still doesn't sit right but it's wearable. And the pants, oh the pants! They're extremely wide - I took 1.5 inches off the outside leg - but so very comfortable. This pair is made from crepe but I think they'd work just as well in a soft cotton. Perhaps in a more user-friendly colour next time.
The Chic Ahoy outfit makes me feel like I should be lounging at the beach,
not shivering my way though winter. There's always next year...  
- Tamara
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