Thursday, 25 August 2016


So, over the weekend, I was lucky enough to have had my uncle teach me how to spin wool. He now has 4 spinning wheels, and so has agreed to lend me one, possibly for keeps if I really like it. I warned him I tend to pick up skills like this very very easily, but he still thought it would take me some time to get the rhythm of the wheel. However it only took me a matter of minutes and I was off and spinning like a pro (or at least not a complete novice) He was very surprised at my natural ability, and could not wait to tell people at the spinning guild he meets with.

It was difficult to spin and look at the camera

I had my first bobbin half filled within 30 minutes (you only half fill it, as you then ply 2 spun strands together)

I then took the wheel, its accessories and 500g of un-spun wool home. I didnt get any more spinning done that afternoon, as I was too tired, but the next morning, I was awoken early by one of my cats, and so decided to get up and see what I could manage before leaving for church. I managed to spin a second half full bobbin, ply the 2 together, wrap the yarn around the niddy noddy, then twist and tie it into a skein.

2 strands plied together

on the Niddy Noddy

My First Skein!

4 completed skeins

By the time I went back to work on Tuesday morning, I had completed 4 skeins! Out of interest, I weighed them on my kitchen scales and they average 30g each, which is a lot lighter than I thought they would be. I still need to wash each skein to set the ply so it doesnt unravel, which will shrink it a bit. I will then be dyeing them some sort of bright colour (I haven't decided what colour yet) and knit up something fabulous! I already have a cute little bolero/shrug pattern in mind.

Does anyone else spin their own yarn?


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Vintage McCalls 6232 in Floral

Earlier this year I managed to purchase a couple of vintage patterns that were pretty close to my size, which is pretty rare, especially within my budget. One of those was a lovely little 1962 shirtwaister style dress with some gathering details on the bodice, and a gored or slim skirt, in a 41 inch bust.

Vintage McCalls 6236

During one of my local CWA groups handicraft meetings, I decided to take this pattern, a floral sheet from an op shop, as well as some pins and scissors along with me to work on during the meeting. I got it all cut out, adding a little extra room at the side seams as I went, by the end of the meeting, and began construction of it when I got home. I changed the design slightly to be an actual shirtwaister, with the buttons going down a little way past the waist, rather than having a button front bodice with a side zip as well. I sewed together the bodice and skirt pieces, leaving only the facings, collar, hem and buttons/buttonholes left to do, and hung it up in my sewing room while I did more work on my Vintage Suit for the Sew-Along.

Floral Sheet

Once I finished my suit, and another slip, I turned my efforts back to my dress. I put it on over my clothes to check the fit, and realised I had forgotten to shorten the bodice, and so it was much too long. So I simply sewed the waistline seam again, about 1.5 inches in, then chopped off the excess with the overlocker.

Just needing the buttons and hem!

Next up I sewed in the armhole facings, then ironed interfacing on to the collar pieces and sewed them on. Then all I had left to do were the buttons and buttonholes, front seam and the hem, which I finished up within an hour or so of leaving the house. I used some pale pink buttons from my stash that aren't quite a perfect fit, but are close enough for me.

Pink Buttons from a cheap mixed
button jar

I've already worn this dress out 3 times in 4 days, as it is lovely and comfortable. I think I need more vintage styles like this one that are slightly less fitted, for those days when I feel a little bleh.

Selfie with my new Erstwilder brooch

I haven't managed to get any nice full length shots wearing this dress yet, but here are a couple unflattering ones of me wearing it while sitting and learning to spin wool (which I will be posting about soon) I've also since found a nice pink belt on my wardrobe that works well with this dress

Has anyone else made McCall's 6236? How did you like it? Or made any dresses from pretty vintage sheets?


P.S. I am now up to 5 out of my 10 pledged makes for this years Vintage Pattern Pledge, I might just make it!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

A Blue Princess Seam Slip

After making my last slip, I wore it nearly everyday, so I thought I should probably make myself another. Rather that use the same pattern again, I decided to use one that would count towards my Vintage Pattern pledge. I know I had a vintage slip pattern that I was in the process of grading up, but of course I could not find it anywhere. So I settled for this pattern.

While not my usual decade for vintage patterns, this one is from 1989, so it is still technically vintage. Besides, when a pattern is made up with the right materials, you can make it look like a completely different decade than when it was designed for. I chose to use a lovely royal blue satin printed with stylised pink roses, that I purchased from Spotlight, from the remnants bin, I think. I only had about 1.5m of it, so I had to shorten the slip a few inches, which I was fine with, as I found my last one does try and peek out from the hemlines of my dresses and skirts when I wear it underneath. To complement the satin, I searched through my stash for some lace and settled on this lovely soft pink design.

I began sewing by sewing the wrong sides together, as the basis for the French seams. I made the straps, using the same technique as my last slip, then pinned them on to check the fit. It was a bit roomier than I wanted, so I took it in an inch on either side seam. Once I was happy with the fit, I trimmed the seams, then turned the seams around and sewed them right sides together, then pressed all the seams flat. I once again pinned the straps on and checked the fit, which I was pretty happy with.

While overlocked seams would have been less bulky, I love the finish of French seams on lingerie. The next step of construction was to attach the lace along the neckline and hemline. The pattern instructions say to stitch the lace on, easing around curves and pinching extra out of the corner, then turning the raw edge down on the inside. So I decided to follow the instructions, overlocking the raw edges before adding the lace. The hemline was finished in the same way.

Unfortunately, while pressing the edges inside the slip, I accidentally melted a small part on the hemline. It's not too noticeable, but I'm still bummed I did it.

After trying it on, I realised the lace was falling down a bit along the neckline, so I stitched it in place on the straps, and that seems to be keeping it up.

While I am happy with how this slip has turned out, I think I prefer the design of the other pattern with the separate cup pieces, although I am sure I will get wear out of this one, as it will be less noticeable underneath my clothes because it is quite a bit shorter. It also looks great with my new Pale Blue Suit!

Anyone else as obsessed with making and wearing slips as I am?


PS. This is my 4th Vintage Pattern Pledge make for 2016, so I am still a bit behind on my goal of 10

Monday, 8 August 2016

Finished Vintage Suit!

So I bit the bullet and purchased more of the panama stretch suiting fabric from spotlight online, as I could not find it at any store that I visited, so that I could sew the matching skirt and finish my suit. I used my $5 scratchie voucher from my spotlight mail, so that almost made up for having to pay shipping.

Just to remind you, this is the pattern I used for the jacket:

To finish off my suit jacket I cut out and sewed the lining, then sewed it into the jacket, hand sewing a few sections, then sewing on the buttons and giving it all a final pressing.

For the skirt, I used the skirt pieces from Butterick B6094, with some added room at the hips, an extra 2 darts at the back (making 4 in total at the back) and a small kick pleat at the back hem.

While I do not have many shades of blue in my Zip stash, I did have a few pale blue ones. I settles on the vintage one still in it's original packaging. It was a bit stiff from disuse at first, but loosened up a bit after being unzipped and re-zipped a few times

Here is a selfie I took when checking the fit before pressing or adding the waistband or hem to the skirt. You can't tell, but I'm wearing it over my pajamas.

I also used matching self covered buttons and rouleau loops on the waistband for a neat finish. They aren't perfectly aligned, but I'm not unpicking now!

So here is the completed suit! I think we were supposed to finish the Vintage Suit Sew-along by July 30, but a bunch of us were running late, so I'm not doing too badly. I finally got myself a bluetooth remote thingy to take photos that aren't mirror selfies, yay! The lighting was less than perfect, but I still think it's an improvement, and I don't have to ask my hubby to take photos.

I am way way way behind on my goal of 10 Vintage Pattern makes for my pledge this year. This Suit only brings me up to 3! Although the slip I am wearing under my suit that you see in the last 2 photos is my next Vintage Pattern Pledge make, I just haven't blogged it yet. So I will really have to get sewing if I want any chance of making it to my goal.


Friday, 22 July 2016

Vintage Suit Sew-Along Progress

Well I started very very late, but I have started! You may remember my inspiration was this lovely light blue suit, worn by the Fabulous Marilyn Monroe in the movie Niagara.

One of the many reasons I had not yet started, was because I have been unable to locate more of the fabric I need. I searched both my local Spotlight's months ago, and was only able to find 1 suiting fabric in a light blue, but unfortunately there was only 1.1m of it left. I have since Looked for the same fabric at any Spotlight store I find myself near, but no such luck, it seems to be a discontinued colour. So I decided to just begin work on the jacket, and if I found more of it at a later date, I could make the matching skirt.

So if anyone is at Spotlight and finds Light Blue Stretch Suiting, please, please let me know!

So anyway, I began by pinning my pattern to my fabric to see if I would actually have enough fabric. I had just enough, I will only have to use my lining fabric for one side of my sleeve cuffs, which I can live with.

After I cut out all my pieces, I used the scraps to cut out squares for bound buttonholes, as well as circles to cover some self-cover buttons. The buttons I found in my stash are a bit different that the ones I usually use that use grooves in the button shank to lock in the back, these ones are just a really really tight fit, so it took a bit of force to get them all done

I began construction by stitching the darts in the front and back bodice pieces, then by marking and sewing the bound buttonholes in the right front side, using the tutorial from Sew Retro Rose. Once the buttonholes were mostly done (just the 2 layers the hand sew together later) I then sewed the shoulder seams together, pinned the side seams and tried it on (then put it on my mannequin) I was pretty happy with the fit so far.

I then stitched the elbow darts in the sleeves and set them in. My pattern has turned out having more fullness at the head of the sleeve than my inspiration, and I initially liked how they turned out, and was going to keep them, but now it's bugging me, so I will probably be unpicking them, trimming the sleeve heads and re-setting them a bit later.

I then turned my efforts to constructing the cuffs and collar. I began by applying interfacing to one side of each, then sewing each of them right sides together along the outside edge. The curves were then clipped and the cuffs and collar turned right side out and pressed. Then I pinned them on the mannequin to see how things were looking. I probably would have been better off with a small shawl collar to get the same look as the Niagara suit, but I think this one will still look pretty cute.

So now I am just working on the facings, and still have to cut out and construct the lining. And of course source fabric for, and make the skirt.

How is everyone else suits coming along?


Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Op shop finds

I was super lucky during one of my latest lunch break op shopping adventures to find heaps of mostly Gutermann thread, for only $3 for an assorted bag (I bought 4!)

I also found a few interesting pieces of fabric including the slinky floral, which I used to make a beautiful slip.

I also bought a large print houndstooth fleece type fabric, a few meters of army green jersey, some lovely blue taffeta and a meter of a white crushed velvet.

Over the weekend, I sorted out my existing and new thread spools into 2 colour groupings and put them into 2 glass bowls (as they wouldn't all fit into the 1 anymore) the small bowl is blacks, purples, blues, greens and yellows, the larger bowl contains the whites, beiges, pinks, reds, oranges and browns. While this might not be as practical as a spool rack, I love the way they look, and like digging around to find the perfect colour.

So not a huge haul by any means, but some very useful stuff for a seamstress like me. Anyone else been op-shopping lately?


Sunday, 17 July 2016

A Fabulous Floral Slip!

Yesterday, at very short notice, my husband and I drove up to my mum's place to dog sit her great dane cross, Zeek, while she was at work. In the 10 minutes we had to get dressed and get on the road, I grabbed my janome sewing machine, a few patterns and a bag of fabric that I recently purchased from the op shops. I may have left the house wearing my pajamas and a cardigan......

So when I got to my mom's house I had a look at what I had brought with me and chose to use this slinky floral polyeseter that cost me $2, and this pattern Kwik Sew 3395 (which I changed slightly) to make myself a slip.

I had some help from Zeek. I decided to cut the front and back panels on the bias, so my husband took Zeek outside and distracted him so I could cut out on the floor.

I used the pieces for view B of this pattern, but I cut the back bodice piece and skirt piece as one, and the front midriff and skirt piece as one, adding approx 12 inches in length. As I didn't have my loop turned with me for the straps, I pulled the top and bottom threads of my machine to a length longer than the straps, and place them within the inside of the folded strap, so that when I had sewed up the edge, I could just pull it through with the thread tail. 

The straps are then sewn inside the cup pieces, which are then turned right side out. I gathered each edge of the outer and lining of each cup separately, so that I could encase the raw edges inside when I attached the front skirt piece. I machine sewed the outer side, then hand sewed the lining down. The back piece was then hemmed at the top edge and french seamed to the front piece at each side. 

I pinned the straps in place at the back where I thought they should sit and tried the slip on. I then shortened the straps by about another inch, then sewed them in place, All that was left to do then was to even up the hemline, turn it up twice, press and stitch in place.

I took these photos today, so excuse the wrinkles from being chucked in a basket, I did press it while sewing it, I swear!

Anyway, I love how it turned out, the only issue is it gapes a little bit at the sides, under the arms, so if I make another, I will make it a little smaller there. Plus there are enough scraps left over that I will probably be able to make a pair of matching panties and bra as well

I can't wait to try it out under a few dresses soon. Has anyone else been sewing slips lately?