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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Bananarama Vintage Scarf Tops

Earlier in the year I was asked to make 10 upcycled scarf outfits for the Saved by Sue Ryder project.  I made 3 outfits using a vintage 80s oversized top as a template.  This shape of top always reminds me of Bananarama, messy hair (anyone else used to turn their head upside down & just blast it dry in those pre-hair straightener days??) and lots of eye make up ....

Of course the border designs on scarves, such as this silk one above, can be incorporated as the edges of the garment.  Here I faced the neckline with a bias strip cut from one of those long skinny 70s bias cut scarves.

For this dress, I used 2 extra large scarves and used the border as the neckline & another long scarf as a sash.

This silk scarf was very fine so I edged the neckline with a nice purple satin bias binding.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Mori Girl & Dolly Kei

 Even though I have been v.v. busy with college (microteach coming up next week when I will be teaching my fellow students .... eek!), I have still been sourcing lots of interesting textiles every time I go outside the house.  Of course, I try to sneak these purchases inside as I am meant to be decluttering (oh yes!), but somehow a little dog always gives me away as he sniffs the bag of textiles out.  I do wash all textiles pretty much as soon as they are over the threshold.  Coats, Dry Clean Only, more or less anything gets washed.  Fortunately, laundry disasters are few & far between. Particularly with the vintage garments I am sure that manufacturers labelled them Dry Clean Only as they knew that the alternative was the hubble bubble of a 70s twin tub washing machine or worse!

In between writing assignments there are always a few minutes to while away looking at Pinterest.  I am happily researching different fashion styles & was surprised to learn that some of the garments I have been creating recently would not be out of place in mori girl or dolly kei pinboards.  Indeed, I would almost go so far as to say that good old Laura Ashley in the 70s was probably the first mori girl!

Once my microteach is over next week, the sewing machine & overlocker will be put to full use again ....  In the meantime, some pics of some of my recent creations which I am now thinking have a distinct dolly kei vibe! I made a secret pocket to go under the layers of the skirt, & embroidered it with SECRETS ... x

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

If the (vintage) cap fits ....

Currently wearing lots of caps (as it were), have been really busy with college work (although next week will be giving my microteach session so will be a chance to take a bit of a breather after that), plus have been sewing LOTS, as well as some appointments ... another week or so then I will be back blogging x

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Pretty in Pink Victoriana in the Sewing Room

I often wish I could sew "pale & interesting" .... or maybe "dark & dramatic" .... sometimes I succeed.  But usually I am unable to resist the lure of colour.  So this week there has been a "pretty in pink" theme going on in the Sewing Room. Not only the patchwork ruffle coat, but a tiered ruffled Victoriana type skirt with a secret pocket hidden under the layers ... and an upcycled treasures & textile necklace

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Romantic Upcycled Hippy Festival Patchwork Coat

 As you will know if you read this blog, this year I have been upcycling in a serious way!  I have crates of textiles & interesting clothing which I am loving experimenting with.  I decided to make a hippy festival coat using a patchwork skirt in pretty pinks & greens as the inspiration.  I used a knitted linen cardigan for the top section & added panels of a green pashmina & some faux suede round the dropped waist section.  Of course my overlocker came into its own with this, especially as I decided to follow the "donor" skirt & use visible seams.  I was pleased with some little daisy embroidery stitches on my machine as the centres formed little eyelets, a bit like a broderie anglaise, & this was an unexpected bonus!

A glorious mixture of textiles to upcycle before stitching began - one pink linen cardigan, an ivory wool sweater (not used), a cotton patchwork skirt, a green pashmina, a pink shawl (not used), a silk dress (not used) and some pink faux suede.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

1930s Ruched Ruffles

This 1930s Bestway Ribbon magazine has to be one of my favourite sewing booklets ever.  It has some lovely ribbon needlecraft projects including handbags, flower corsages and of course the essential Deco crinoline lady!  You might have seen pretty little shell type ribbon trims inside handbags of this era, usually used to trim the edges of the linings, and this book has instructions for making them.  Basically, you work zigzags of running stitch along the length of ribbon then draw them up & the ruching magic happens!  Scan of instructions below:

I was customising a denim jacket & wondered how this technique would work with wider strips of fabric so gave it a go.  I had cut "ribbons" of silk approx. 1"/2.5cm wide & then overlocked the edges.  I stitched with the zigzag running stitch by hand (much quicker than I had anticipated) & then gathered it up to fit the hemline I wanted to trim.  I pinned it in place & zigzagged with my sewing machine.  I really love the final result & will be doing lots more ruched ruffles in the future! x

Monday, 19 October 2015

Victorian Sewing & Vintage Research

Confession time ... I am a major geek when it comes to vintage needlecrafts research.  I have a small office with two bookcases full of vintage books & magazines which I use when designing garments or researching workshops & tutorials.  Among my earliest resources are several turn of the (19th) century journals such as La Mode Nationale.  These feature some amazingly complex pattern sheets to be traced:

so far I haven't succeeded in using these, simply using the illustrations & small scale pattern piece diagrams for inspiration.  But there are some real gems I would like to attempt such as this incredible "sports corset" ... yep, the mind boggles:

also some beautiful underwear:

The illustrations (some of the cover ones are hand coloured like the one above) are so interesting & even the adverts show an insight into the social history of the time.  It seems that worrying about grey hair or weight, or considering consulting a fortune teller are not exclusively modern day concerns: