A quick catch up

I’ve been working full time now since mid May, Aaaah! What am I doing! I left this job 20 years ago to have my first child and it feels like I’m going back to finish the job I started! I’m going to feel like the new girl for at least a year! I did teach pattern cutting part time here for 12 years, but even that seems like ages ago! So since some of you asked, here’s a glimpse of the workroom of the fashion technician.

Amongst these industrial sewing machines, one will be my favourite, I just haven’t found it yet?

One of the greatest irons, steam, with vacuum dress and sleeve boards. Nothing slips away from these babies! The sewing machine is specifically for sewing leather and suede, I need to spend time on these to familiarise myself with how they work! (Maybe I’ll make a bag).

Anyway, meantime, I’m still sewing at home, and I am thoroughly enjoying instagram, for the first time, I joined in with MeMadeMay2016 and I am currently enjoying the prompt challenges for The Vintage Pledge.

To catch up with myself, here are a few recent makes, this one’s a very simple refashion.

One top, from the wardrobe, and one thrift shop skirt, both heavy jersey, combined to make a cardi, because I find cardi’s so much more comfortable to wear. I literally cut up the middle of the top, and slightly shaped the front neck to meet the back neck, and cut strips of black from the skirt. Folded them over and stitched on, bagged out the bottom edges and overlocked. Already worn with a rust coloured top.

It is supposed to be summer here, so I am mostly obsessing about little tops. Sometimes I wonder why I can’t just make one, wear it and enjoy it, but as usual, I make one and then decide on another version, either to change or modify bits or to use another fabric?? It can pretty much be any reason! Most of these tops are made up from vintage patterns that I picked up at various events in Edinburgh.

A piece of vintage fabric, vintage buttons, just because I’ve had them for 25 years, and an old pattern. The interesting thing about this was the wide pocket band, which looks like it’s pretending to be a welt pocket, but was much simpler to sew. It is inserted into the dart, stitched into place and then the dart stops and changes to a tuck, lovely technique. The whole jacket didn’t show of it’s shape until the belt was added and it pulled in the waist and pushed out the pockets. I love the silhouette this made.

I very very rarely buy these patterns, but this one looked so pretty, and I do love a good illustration. Another bit of old fabric, old buttons and a pattern that had odd shoulders! I had decided to make this one according to the instructions, so I joined the shoulder seams and double turned the armhole hems…mmmm! What’s that little irritating upwards peak doing there. I could feel it stretch oddly as I sewed it but it is a bought pattern? Unpicked and tryed a bias binding, pulling it slightly more at this point. Naaaa! Looked the same? So I changed the pattern and evened out the shoulder line, adding to the front and taking off the back. Now it works, but I knew I’d have to test it sometime.

For a long time now I have meant to make up the 30’s top featured in series 2 of the Great British Sewing Bee. This top is available to download and I found this out on the pennylibrarian blog, where I was admiring the top and then realised it was the pattern I had been looking for! I made this in a washed silk, shorted the nape to waist to fit me, and I really like it. The pattern uses 5 rows of shirring elastic at the neck, I just used normal thread, pulled it to gather and top stitched to hold it in place. It also has a very cute sleeve detail, which I may feature later, or have a look yourself!

Now this pink refashion is the combination of yellow top and grey top. Starting with sale palazzo pants, I used the yellow top to the waist, making the darts into waist tucks and checking the shoulder seams alteration. The lower half is from the grey top, because this peplum part sits so nicely, and it is flared rather than circle based which is how the yellow top peplum is constructed. I need to try the yellow top circle peplum reduced in circumference, too much fabric in this can simply exaggerate your hips!! Not good!

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26 thoughts on “A quick catch up

  1. wow, you have been busy, I have a toile of the 30s blouse and have to size it up a fraction, I adore the one you made – and all your other makes, the vintage grey with roses is stunning – inspired also by your cardi, i never seem to have enough cover-ups. hope you are getting a bit of a time off and your gorgeous makes are getting out and about!

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    1. Hi Eimear. I wanted to make up that 30s top for such a long time, now done. I had to shorten the bodice part by almost 3cm and since it was a bit of a toile I didn’t put in the side fastening, just stitched it together. It is tricky to get on and off.
      Currently wearing pink floral mixed up pattern, although it’s almost a bit cold for it.
      I went to the new Remakery last week. It’s looking very good, much bigger space and someone came in to do some hems. The computer services is still very busy and there is a new furniture section still to open to classes. How are your classes going?

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      1. must try that blouse again – I have being trying to clear up some sewing bits but have to get about to blogging it – that furniture section sounds brilliant in the Remakery (I still have to cover the sofa here) – Just did those 2 workshops at the beginning of the summer – had half planned to do some more, but think I will just see if some people want to join me at home for a shibori day (not in mood for organising!) I will be getting involved with with a local charity shop (its really just a sewing room they provided so I will do a morning a week there starting in August) – could be fun!

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      2. That sounds like a good idea, the sewing morning, with temptation all around?
        I wonder how much people maybe prefer just to sew at home, if they can, but I think the organisers at the remakery here are looking into other workshops. I’ll keep you posted.

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  2. Love them all Linda, lovely job. That grey rose vintage fabric is a stunner, do you dress these to look more contemporary or are you a hardened vintage fashionista? Have you seen the doco about Orry Kelly – country Aussie costume designer to the stars of Hollywood who won 2 Academy Awards – yet we’d never heard of him! He dressed Bette Davis, pretty sure she was the one notorious for not wearing a bra and he said she had very suspended boobies. Apparently she was a devil to make for because he couldn’t show off her chest at all – hence loose blouses I guess.
    It’s a slog being the new kid, but you’ll get there. I think I may return to paid work next year. Not that I do nothing – I was up till midnight submitting to a Parliamentary Inquiry – yes paid work would be nice, no one gives you a pat on the back for volunteering and agitating!
    Oh the Orry Kelly dramatised doco is ‘Women he undressed’. He introduced Carry Grant to the world you know and was his boyfriend – Grant had no one fooled!

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    1. Yes Lesley I know nothing about Orry Kelly, but adored Carry Grant so I’ll look for the programme.
      I’ve always enjoyed a good jumble sale but they don’t really exist here anymore, so in the 80’s I was buying from the 40s and 50s, Should have kept them. I dress these top mainly with jeans or cropped formal trousers, so with a modern twist, for me, I’m not convinced that vintage should be worn by vintage, unless you follow all the aspects!!
      I wasn’t looking for full time employment, I decided to go with the flow and accept it as fate! I was invited to cover some days when the technician left. The job was advertised, quickly followed by interviews, never thought I’d be doing that again, then done, so so fast. My son is already at Uni, my princess leaves this September, so the timing is perfect!

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    1. Thank you, I should have said I got the pattern link from your blog, if it’s fine with you I’ll do that just in case anyone else is inspired to make it. I like it in the plain, although I do usually prefer florals, I just used this small piece in my stash to test it. But because I wasn’t sure whether I would like it or not, I eliminated the side fastening!! OOps it a bit of a wriggle to get it on and off?

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  3. Gorgeous! I want to see some photos of you in outfit combos – I have very good feelings of what your overall style would be but want confirmation! And of course, that cardi – YUM!

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  4. I did that 30s blouse and it looked hideous on me. Far too high a neck for me made me look like one ginormous Boob.

    However I did think of you this morning as I bought an old bridesmaid dress in a charity shop for my first ever refashion (Elsa dress for the 3 year old)

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    1. Hi Lesley, that did make me chuckle, I can well imagine the huge boob. Luckily on me the top makes me look that I have boobs! and I lowered the neck about 2cm and used binding on it, getting rid of that annoying, continually popping out facing!
      Perfect refashion, looking forward to seeing mini you in the photo shoot

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  5. I just typed a comment and somehow managed to lose it! What I was trying to say was that I love these tops but especially the Hollywood pattern. Is that little brooch Edelweiss? My mother has something similar. The ironing station looks very impressive, in fact it all looks much more exciting than my office!

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    1. The 30’s Hollywood pattern is the GBSB one, I wanted to make it for ages, it has the cutest little sleeve detail. I will try to show it sometime! In fact the pennylibrarian recent blog post is where I got the link to download the pattern for free! The brooch could be Edelweiss, I don’t know, but I did find it at a recent vintage fair, there were a few different layouts and they were all very pretty. Everywhere always looks more exciting than what we have, it’s the hottest room I’ve ever worked in. When I previously worked there I got so into perfect ironing that I had to stop ironing to the same extent at home!!!! Beware the addictive behaviour…Haha

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  6. I love all the tops – great fabric choices too. Can you tell me the names of the events in Edinburgh where you find vintage sewing patterns ? Thanks.

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    1. Hi Janice, Judys Vintage Fair, usually in the Assembly Rooms, but during the Festival its on in The Drill Hall in Dalmeny Street, there’s one on on the 6th August. Not always patterns there though. On the last Saturday of every month there is a flea market on in the same place, I got several there! At the Leith Walk end of Dalmeny St there is a great ST Columbus charity shop. I also got some, and could have got more at the Meadows Festival, on once a year at the beginning of June, I hadn’t been for years, it was great, fabric, buttons and buckles too!

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