Posts Tagged ‘vintage’
I ought to be completing a tax return.. but I ah, I would rather just drink tea and read sewing books. I have quite a stack of books that drift, somewhat heavily, between the sewing machine and my bedside table. A few are library books and will need to be returned (sob!) and some live with me.
In the tradition of the ‘Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to..’ series, this is a reliable resource, and these little babies can be bought for under five bucks, if you put the time in.. they are fairly hefty, so keep that in mind if you’re shopping online, and make sure the spine is still in good shape. There were/are a number of editions out there, this one is from 1978.
The majority of the content is based around garment sewing, with sections near the end of the book on upholstery and other home furnishings, I’ve only referred to this for garment sewing.
I confess I’ve not read this baby from cover to cover, but use it as a go-to if I have a problem, or need more info… So here’s a bit of a run down, which is by no means exhaustive.
Fabric ‘A to Z’ not really comprehensive, but enough of an introduction to many often used fabrics, with fabric content, construction and ideas or recommendations for use.
As you might expect, detailed graphical instructions for plenty of useful techniques you probably did not pick up in high school…
And while I’m still to try my hand at bound button holes (check out those diagrams above) this section on pattern fitting has proven invaluable. I have had a few minor though frustrating issues with bodice fitting, these pages are great! Figure out where the pulling of wrinkling is coming from with their guide, then follow the instructions for remedying the issue, for your bodice, sleeves, skirts, pants..
I picked this up at the library, bit of an investment to purchase, it is a double up in much of the content as the Reader’s Digest Guide, but in more of a work book format, more reflective, and critiquing the readers’ use of techniques, with problem solving parts in the various chapters.
See inside, good illustrations.
These draping-on-mannequin illustrations feature throughout (that’s what fashion designers do I guess).
On my journey to identify and understand more fabrics, I also picked this up from the library. And it’s great! Chock full of technical info on many many fabrics, uses, care, construction, finnishing recommendations for garments, this book is at the top of my wishlist.
Again, super heavy, and not for bed time reading (as much as I enjoy it, I just can’t hold it in one hand!) the only critique I have, is that I have not found crimplene, or terylene when I needed more care and style tips, sigh.. but it does cover many other vintage fabrics, so perhaps I’ll need to look elsewhere for those obscure, and no longer produced materials. That and the garments used to illustrate just what you may make with a certain fabric are mostly poorly styled and somewhat dated. But I can let that slide on account of the wealth of information this one book contains.
This little beauty was $1.50 at the op shop, so I couldn’t possibly turn it down.
If only for these amazing home decor ideas!
And the groovy 70s fashions…
Love those trousers! And of course dresses…
And not just for the ladies.
It would be awesome if this book came with these patterns, it has all the detailed instructions you need to make all the outfits photographed, plus useful techniques. Another really great resource!
Finally, I splashed out and ordered a copy of Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing, wohoo!
This book does come with patterns, yehaa, and all the typical vintage and couture sewing techniques you need to make a beautiful job of the garments in the book.
Love it. Gertie, (you must have seen her blog?) goes over the basics for retro sewing, the tools you need, fabrics, sizing, pattern making, fitting and shares much more knowledge on sewing lovely garments.
I can’t wait to try out her patterns, I’m keen on her separates, the pencil skirt in particular, and the wiggle dress looks fun, she’s even thought of including a number of variations on the patterns, so you really can personalise them for the season or just your own taste. Oh, and she’s included metric measurements in all her instructions, how often do writers thing about us non American sewers??
I probably could have carried on fine with the older sewing books I have, but Gertie’s book brings many techniques (and fab patterns) together for me. And it’s cool to find a contemporary book that is all about sewing vintage style. Love it.
I found some old school journals that my mum made when she was in high school… just thought I’d share some of the best, you know the picture says it all type photos, more explainabtion at some point, I’m sure, these were all in the ‘Mothercraft’, ‘Homecraft’ subjects, so how to care for baby, how to create and decorate your home.. priceless.
The above photo was from a Shell Oil booklet, on heating your home with Shell Oil… as is this one below, looking ahead to the future… (Love the woman’s suit, don’t you?)
I’m planning a bit of birthday fun this year, and am having a blast putting together a Mad Men themed cocktail party. Eeek, I’m really excited! The last cocktail party I hosted was a Breakfast at Tiffany’s film screening party, SO much fun.
It’s been a long time since I’ve made or indulged in a cocktail, and I the least I can do, through the week ahead, is refresh myself on the basics, and have some fun. I’m not such a big drinker, but making cocktails is a pleasure, beautifully hand crafted lovely drinks, and everything tastes better in a cocktail glass.
Thought I’d share a couple of the drinks, here is the Brandy Alexander, which is basically a handmade Baileys in a pretty glass… You may recall from Mad Men, this was a drink of choice for Peggy.
One part cream
One part brandy
One part crème de cacao
Nutmeg to garnish
Pour the liquors and cream into a mixing glass or shaker half full of ice. Shake and pour in martini glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.
A couple of tips, I keep my glasses chilled in the freezer, along with my shaker, and extra ice. I write this recipe in ‘parts’ as you might have different size glasses to fill (I have a couple of different cocktail glasses that I use) and it is a bit of a crowd pleaser, so you may want to play around with it!
As a variation, a few dashes of Angostura bitters is nice to garnish, and cinnamon is also a nice alternative to nutmeg.
Next up… the Harpoon!
I picked up this unusual pattern at The Vintage Textile Fair a couple of weeks ago – I loved it, look how happy this dress makes the woman who wears it! Not quite what was recommended on the pattern, I’m using a lightweight printed cotton that I bought at Fabric a Brac. Another minor issue is the pattern is size 18, I most often use a 14/16 vintage pattern, so I’ve had to make more alterations than usual.
I thought I’d make up the dress, I have enough fabric for the jacket and the bolero, but will see how it all turns out, I have a co-ordinating cardy, so that may suffice for now. The fabric:
Austin The Cat busted sleeping on the dress after I forgot to cover it..!
Adjusting the top bust darts, I also had to take about 1 cm from each of the center back panels (thanks to mums help with this) as well as run it in a pinch on the sides, I also feel the skirt is a touch too wide, though will see..
It’s all complete and waiting for a hem, them we’ll be done. I have had some confusion over the split, or vent as its called in the instructions. At a bit of a loss, it seemed a very chunky way to finish it, so I improvised in the end.
This dress involved a couple of new techniques, a side zipper, which I do quite like, until now I’ve used back closures, mostly because I have been finding final fitting tricky, and it seemed the easiest way to finish if I may need to make any adjustments.
Also, the princess line darts, which I also really like, and I think this dress was economical in fabric use, just three long panels, I know I will make it again, oh and I also the detail on the straps.
I love this dress, I’m still completing it, I have had some troubles, mostly because I’ve done some weird things, so mum told me, when I asked her for some help fitting the three (yes,three) dresses I’ve been working on.
I kept looking at the bodice on Lorna thinking, ‘WOW’. The colour is stunning and it’s such an unusual cut. I have had a little trouble with the collar and getting it to sit right, and I think it’s sorted now, also I’m confused about how to create the ‘vent’ or split at the back. Will get to that on anther post.
I inserted the zipper, and invisable one, TWICE and it’s still doesn’t line up. This is the first infuriating attempt.
Drove me mad this one, as you can see, it was one centimeter out, I want the zippers to join the dress perfectly, but I can usually live with a few mls out.. this oh, it’s my worst! The second insertion was better though still wonky… I wanted to finish this dress to wear to Home Sewn, but in four days/nights of sewing between busy times with the kids, I needed it all to work perfectly first time.
Some other thoughts, the fabric is great to sew with, but it does stretch a touch, and I think that’s possibly where the trouble with the zipper has come from, it doesn’t need overlocking or zig zagging, wohoo, so that saved time. But, I’m worried about getting it dirty or snagging it.. also I was getting a little static charge when trying it on and off, exciting I suppose. But not a dress for a hot day!
I went to see Home Sewn last week, a pop up exhibition put together by the folks at the New Zealand Fashion Museum. It was such an enjoyable outing! I took a few photos, I wanted to photograph them all… but here’s a wee taster.
The Nathan Gallery 42 Customs Street East, Britomart,
Have a look at NZ Style Collective post here for many more lovely photos, including the fabulous opening night!
Put together by the talented people over at the New Zealand Fashion Museum and only possible because of the generosity of the owners of the dresses, this is SUCH a good show, and you must see it if you are a sewer, love fashion, or are a bit mad about vintage frocks and social history like me.
Some more pics…
Cool old notions in cabinets…
Including the ‘Pifco’ Trouser Presser, even a man can use it!
I would have liked to have a nosy and see what the finishing is like (perfect I’m sure!) on the inside of the some of the frocks. So much skill represented in one gallery.
Yes, I’m going again before it ends!
Kawau Island was the holiday destination of choice for our family, we had a boat, and used to head up there with other family friends or sometimes just my mum’s parents.
Mansion House, who hasn’t been here on a Kawau trip? There used to be a working farm on the island, and Governor Grey (who lived here) had quite a menagerie of animals and exotic plants.
View of Mansion House Bay and other near islands.
The copper mine, can you make out the chimney?
Oh these steps.
Yes, that’s a palm leaf in my pants. I remember spending most of this day with a palm leaf tail.
I know you’re all thinking, what a choice jumper.
I mean, just LOOK at those colours! But, alas, it’s too small, too small, even for my small ones… I couldn’t part with it, so I decided on a bit of upcycling, I dis-assembled it, cut the body part down to the arm holes, and evened up the sleeves, gave it a quick run around hem…
And made a pair of cool wrist warmers and a scarflet for Rob, and doesn’t he just get all the comments now?