Sewing needlecases

IMG_0744After the Christmas rush I started my sewing again when my son went back to school. Having had weeks of making Christmas decorations and Santa bags I felt like making something different!

I had a look through all my Cath Kidston books for inspiration however couldn’t really find anything I fancied making.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed my ‘sew retro’ book by the author Judi Ketteler.

IMG_0747

I love this book for it’s retro projects and also it’s history of sewing, fabric and fashion through the ages. I’ve previously made a few things from it including an apron and a popular farmers market bag! This time I discovered the ‘charming needlecase’ page and was hooked.

Apparently needlecases were very popular back in the day as needles were so expensive that women wanted to protect them and a made a case specially for them.  From doing some research it turns out that the relics of bronze needlecases have been found from Viking sites!  I believe the fabric needlecases really stem from the Victorian era.

IMG_0745

Anyway, I decided on my material and gave it a go.  Actually it was lovely to sew something different and there are so many combinations of front and lining fabric that you can choose from to make your needlecases stand out.

I chose a retro valentines pink fabric with a plain pink lining and pink ribbon.  I loved it so much I have made quite a few more and it seems to be becoming rather an obsession!

I wonder if my needlecases will stand the test of time as plenty have from Victoriana!

Needless to say, all are available on my Etsy shop  just follow the link at the top of the page!


Advertisements

La La land! – The Yellow Dress!

emma-stone-yellow-dress-la-la-land

I was looking forward to watching La La Land when I saw the trailer well before Christmas.  My husband wasn’t so enthusiastic!  You just know when you are going to love a film and I knew I would love this film.  Yes, I saw the headlines and heard about the awards, but it didn’t matter to me as I couldn’t wait to see it and didn’t really care if it had bad reviews.  (It didn’t by the way!).

Readers of this blog will know that I am a huge fan of the 1950’s and 1950’s style dresses in particular!  I was even surprised that the film was set in modern day as from the trailer and the pictures I had seen, the women were all wearing lovely summer A line frocks!

Why not make your own?  The spotty yellow sundress in the opening credits of La La Land I coveted from the moment I set eyes on it.  This is just my style.  Indeed, my mind was going round with buying spotty yellow fabric and making a dress from a similar pattern that I have and that has been well used. The Butterick B4443 easy dress pattern can be adapted for 6 different styles of basically the same dress.  I’ve made a few dresses from this pattern and its really easy. https://butterick.mccall.com/B4443

th

Indeed, there is a lovely article in the Guardian newspaper about the joys and benefits of wearing yellow, based on Emma Stones’s dress.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/style/la-la-land-yellow-optimistic-colour-everyone-should-wearing/

I love these 1950’s collar style shirts too.  I first saw them on Mad Men, when Betty Draper used to wear them all the time, back in the early series.  I did actually buy several similar designs last summer from Marks and Spencer’s; a lovely light lemon one and a pretty blue blouse which is an exact copy of the one in the picture below that Emma Stone is wearing.

emma-stone_la-la-land_skirt-e1484568221854

Iemma-stone_la-la-land_pink-dress-e1484568915481

This leads us to the halterneck dress.  I have a couple of these lovely dresses that I have purchased from Boden over the years.  They do get worn on exceptionally hot days in the summer and mainly also on holiday in the summer sun! I do like this style of dress, not many people seem to wear it much and prefer the strappy sundresses that are often in abundance.  However, I think it looks classy and has a lovely old fashioned theme to it.

There is a nice looking halterneck dress from New Look patterns.  I’ve never made one of these dresses, but let me know if you have and if it is easy or difficult to make. ttp://www.simplicitynewlook.com/6457/

t2ec16rqficqqmusbscuth4jw60_35

Finally that brings me onto the sweetheart neckline, again very stylish and classy. This neckline has been around for ages and does wonders for emphasising the bust area.  These necklines are often low cut.  They are traditionally used for more formal wear, especially wedding dresses.

emma-stone_la-la-land_heels-e1484569485457

It was quite hard finding a sweetheart neckline dress sewing pattern that would be do-able. However the Sewaholic Cambie dress with sweetheart neckline looks as though it could be made into a stunning dress. I might give it a try.

cambie_pdf__17693-1434477417-195-195

http://www.sewaholicpatterns.com/cambie-dress-pdf-sewing-pattern/

There you go!  Lots of fabulous inspiration for making your own La La Land clothes!  Let me know how you all get on!  Roll on the summer now when we might actually be able to wear them!


Lobster Dress

I have finally got around to completing work on my lobster dress!

IMG_0731

I purchased this lovely navy retro looking material, with white lobsters a few months ago from Fabric Rehab,  www.fabricrehab.co.uk with a view to making a skater style dress.  However, after making a tote bag from this material for my Etsy shop first, I received a large custom order from Newfoundland to make several lobster bags and progress on the dress stopped!

I went back to one of my favourite original patterns that I made my first dress from a couple of years ago; Vogue V8723, Very Easy Vogue Patterns.  This simple dress pattern consists of a lined bodice, a lined skater style skirt and a 20 inch zip at the back.

imageI had cut out the pattern pieces a few weeks ago and followed the bodice measurements for a D cup as I am quite busty.  Assembling the dress was fairly simple as the bodice consisted of a couple of darts in the front and only one in the back.  The lining was fashioned in exactly the same way.  However on trying the dress on, there was far too much material gaping at the front bodice so I had to take some more in from the darts, which seems to have fixed the problem. I will have to remember to use the B cup bodice pattern next time!

 

 

Although the pattern states that the skirt should be lined, I didn’t bother lining the skirt as the material is medium thickness and navy so hardly see through.  The skirt was fairly easy to assemble as it just had to be gathered and the gathers adjusted to fit the bodice seams.

I used to find the hardest part of dress making was zip insertion until I learnt how to insert a zip easily and properly through the YouTube channel of Professor Pincushion.  Here, they take you step by step on how to insert a zip.  This method works every time and makes dress making much easier. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huQh2aE2Sao

With some hand sewing to finish off the dress (mainly a hook and eye above the zip and attaching the lining to the zip too), the dress is completed.  Hurray!  I finally have my finished lobster dress in time for late Summer!

Next on the list is a fabulous Licorice Allsorts fabric in a black background, remembering to use the B cup front bodice pattern next time!image

Sewing on Television/Films

The-Dressmaker-1-web-version-660x1024A couple of weeks ago, me and hubby (bullied into!) went to see the new Kate Winslet film, The Dressmaker.  The film is set in the 1950’s and is based on the book by Rosalie Ham.  Its about a dressmaker returning to her native Australia to right the wrongs done to her in the past. Although I quite liked the film, there wasn’t an awful lot of sewing in it!  However the vintage Singer sewing machine did put in quite an appearance!  Nevertheless, my favourite era for clothes and fashion is the 1950’s and there were indeed some lovely gowns and evening attire to feast upon.

This got me thinking, that I can’t actually remember hardly any films that involved that much sewing!  From memory, there are dress making scenes in Walt Disney’s Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, but from then on I struggle!

imagesREENIZPVCurrently there is one programme on television (ok, so I am cheating, its not film!), that I am a huge fan of – The Great British Sewing Bee.  For the unitiated, this is a sewing competition for amateurs that started in 2013.  Every week the sewers are set challenges and one contestant gets eliminated each episode.  I must admit, I do look forward to the Great British Sewing Bee, every year I get encouraged to make the different garments that are showcased on that weeks programme.  As soon as an episode has ended, I get the urge to look at my fabric stash and through all my ribbons, trims and bits and bobs, that I collect from all the haberdashery shops throughout the country and abroad.

But, where does the term “Sewing Bee” originate from?  The Collins English Dictionary definition is “a small informal social gathering (usually of women) based around the activity of making or mending clothes or other things with a needle and thread.” In todays society, they are more generally referred to as sewing circles or sewing groups.

104db236-835a-4977-88de-1cca413c5fbbAlthough with their origins in America, Sewing bees became popular in the UK at around the time of World War II, with the Queen Mother supporting the “make and mend” movement amongst women to support the troops.  Indeed twice a week at Buckingham Palace, the Queen Mother held a sewing bee in the ballroom of the palace with the rest of the palace staff.  See http://www.britishpathe.com/video/her-majestys-sewing-bee for a short clip!

If anyone can recommend a “sewing film” then please leave a comment.

Knitted Clangers!

As a child of the 1970’s loved the Clangers, my favourite character was the Soup Dragon. It sounded such a brilliant name for a dragon to have. To my surprise my young son loved the Clangers too (we bought him all our childhood DVD’s) so imagine the excitement when CBeebies decided to bring the series back in an updated format. Now he is Clangers mad!  For his birthday a couple of weeks ago my mother in law knitted him a clanger. Despite all the expensive lego this present is by far the favourite.image

I thought I might have a go at making a companion Clanger for him and searched for a suitable pattern although knitting is not my strong point!  Have fun with the pattern!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/grownups/clangers-knitting-pattern