Monday, 30 November 2015

I Made It Monday: MuMu to Marvelous!

I was gifted a pile of fabric recently and amongst it were some half made dresses.

This little (or not so little!) number was begging for a refashion.  It is such pretty fabric!

The Seamstress who gifted this fabric was obviously very talented; nothing but perfect French seams and pleating.  I wanted to honour her skill, so used French seams to finish the dress.

First up, those giant flutter sleeves had to go.  Does anyone else think of the sails of the Sydney Opera House when you look at them?  No, just me?!

I cut the dress off at the waist, took in the bodice and added a side zip.  I then simply gathered the skirt (as you can see, there was lots of fabric to work with!) and reattached it.

Ta da!  From MuMu to what is fast becoming one of my favourite dresses.

It's MuMu - tastic!

Modelled by Myrtle; apologies for no photos of me wearing it... yet...


A late addition - me wearing the dress!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Remarkable Generosity and Kindness!

I've been wanting to write this post for a couple of weeks, but I was struggling to come up with the words to express my deep appreciation and heartfelt thanks for the generosity of Kaersten Cooper, Founder & Designer of MARGE clothing.

Kaersten contacted me and asked if I would be interested in receiving some fabrics from MARGE clothing. They are a conscientious and ethical company, only sourcing fabrics from ethical manufacturers in Europe and USA; in addition to this they don't believe in waste.  I was very generously offered remnants and samples to turn into garments of my own. 

I said yes immediately and was (and still am) so touched by the kindness and generosity of this offer.  I don't indulge myself in luxurious fabrics for financial reasons and also because I'm scared my sewing skills don't warrant luxury fabrics.  It's one thing to mess up a dress you're making out of a vintage sheet, a very different thing to mess up a gorgeous piece of silk! 

When the box of fabrics arrived I was like a child at Christmas!  If you've read "The Dressmaker" or seen the movie I definitely had my Sargent Farrat moment dancing around with the beautiful fabrics!

Working with these beautiful fabrics will be a marathon, not a sprint.  I want to do these gorgeous fabrics justice.

If you are not familiar with the gorgeous MARGE clothing for tall women see here:



It is nothing short of remarkable that this company, who really live their ethical views of fabric sourcing and manufacturing, reached out to me.  I have so much admiration for the fact that they put people ahead of profits and only use ethically made fabrics. 

MARGE clothing is currently having an amazing "Gratitude Sale" with 40% off the F/W 2015 line.  Now is the time to purchase yourself something exquisite and timeless.  This is truly a very special company who deserves our support.

Thank you again for this gift, I appreciate it more than my words can express.

Top featuring gorgeous fabric c/o MARGE Clothing.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Olive you!

I love olive year round, it works for the cooler months but also for summer.  Olive you, hehe!

This summer is predicted to be a scorcher here in Australia, so I wants a cool breezy lightweight dress that could also double as a beach cover up.  I made this dress using cotton cheesecloth (which is a light weight crinkly fabric, no ironing!).

I used a vintage McCall's pattern from 1979 (also embracing the 70's trend!).  I omitted the button packet in the front and gave my dress a curved hem with lace trim because:
A: any excuse to add lace
B: it felt more casual and a little less "mumu"

After looking at these pictures it is clear that more fitted dresses suit my body shape better, but this one will keep me cool!

Monday, 16 November 2015

I Made It Monday: Chambray Love

I love the versatility of separates, however I also love a dress (it's no brainer dressing!).  So to get the best of both worlds I made a top and skirt using the same soft black chambray. 

I made the top using Simplicity pattern 1364, a reproduction vintage pattern.  I made just a couple of slight modifications: added length (standard for me!), lowered the front neckline by 1cm and added some bias tape to the sleeves.  The bias tape is a pretty liberty print lovingly made by a dear friend 40+ years ago.  I had to use it!

The skirt is a self drafted half circle skirt.  Apparently I did not learn from my mistakes made with this circle skirt as I had to take this one in twice.  I'm starting to think I should just stick to my pleated midi skirts, circle skirts and I don't get along!  If only they weren't so pretty!


Photos c/o my wonderful Husband
Who can't help but take photos whilst I'm walking & talking.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Tall Girl Upgrade: Shirt Dress

I was given this pre-loved shirt dress many years ago.  I liked it, but it didn't fit well (story of my life!) so I'd wear it on occasions when I knew I wouldn't have to sit much because it became too short when I sat and the buttons would gape.  Not very practical! 

Of course, once I became a Mama I was unable to wear it all.  Motherhood involves constant bending, lifting and having tiny humans climb into your lap and at worst try to practice their button skills on your dress!  Not cool!

To make this dress work for my real life I gave it a simple tall girl upgrade.  Here's how I did it:

1. I sewed closed the buttons from the waist down.  This is simply done by working out how far you need the dress to open to get into it and then sew from that point to the hem.  Bye bye gaping! 

2.  I added length with a floral boarder; this fabric was left over from my favourite midi skirt and the blue in the floral matches the dress. To balance out the floral hem I made a matching sash.

3. I moved the belt loops down.  The original placing of the belt loops was above my waist, so I unpicked them and moved them to my actual waist.

Ta da!  Now I have a shirt dress that is both flattering and practical! 

One eyebrow raised in a scrupulous fashion; I knew this wasn't going well.
I apologize for the poor quality photos.  I almost didn't post them, but hoped you'd be forgiving! 

Here's my list of excuses:

1. It rained all week so I couldn't do outdoor photos.

2. Only my daughter was available as photographer and I thought she would be better than mirror selfies.

3. I was wrong, I should have gone with mirror selfies!  Since turning 4 her photography skills have seriously deteriorated.  I also have a 2.5yr old, so may give her a go as my photo minion. 

4. After wearing this dress to church I had a mystery stain on it (thanks girls!) so couldn't take more photos until the dress was washed... given that it's still rainy it would take ages to dry as I don't put my clothes in the dryer as I can't afford to loose any valuable length!

Oh excuses, excuses! 

Monday, 2 November 2015

I Made It Monday: Old + Older = New

Old + Older = New.  Makes sense right?!

A little while ago I given some fabric and patterns which had belonged to my Great Grandmother Mabel, who I never had the pleasure of meeting.  Mabel made all of her own clothes and undergarments, and was a concert pianist! 

From the stash, circa 50's or 60's, I made this midi skirt.  There were also a lot of off cuts, rolled together and secured with the selvedge of the fabric.  I love the mindset of nothing wasted!  This fabric was in that stash; it's beautiful!

There was not enough to make a whole top so I took a white linen shirt which I bought on my first trip to New York City in 1995 (wow, can't believe that was 20 years ago!).  I rarely wore the top, but saved it all these years because of the memories attached to it.

Using my trusty New Look pattern 6194 I made myself a top.  I love the classic style of this top.  I didn't want to waste this special fabric on a "trendy" top that I wouldn't wear in a year or two.  I made a couple of slight modifications to the pattern: I added length (standard for me!) and as I used an existing shirt for the back I didn't need to add the darts from the pattern on the back.

Ta da!  A beautiful new top which I treasure.  I hope Mabel would be proud of how I used her fabric scraps.

Pants: Made By Me (self drafted)
Top: Made By Me using New Look Pattern 6194

I used the pretty trim around the neck and to add sleeves.

Miss 3 in the background, who will be Miss 4 tomorrow!

Photos c/o of wonderful Husband

50 or 60 year old fabric + 20 year old fabric = a new top full of special meaning and wonderful memories! 
I really love it!