Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 boast post and 2014 to do list!

It's New Years Eve here in Oz, and all around the world, bloggers are preparing cute cocktails, decorative bunting, sparkly outfits and end of year posts to share with the their readers. So here now is my very own 2013 boast post!

Despite only starting this blog in May, I'm so happy and grateful to you all for where this blog has ended up! In 8 months I've gathered a nice little group of readers who are all so nice and friendly! 

And I'm really proud of most of the garments I've made, but once they are made, what happens with them? Did I actually enjoy the dresses I made? Lets have a look!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Yellow is the colour of my true loves hair

Hello hello there!

How was your Christmas? Are you still enjoying left overs? We were up until yesterday but we finally had a proper dinner tonight which I made from the Jamie Saves cook book that my dearest mum got me for Christmas. He’s a clever man that Jamie – releasing cookbooks right at the end of the year. My dear mum doesn't even need to ask what to buy me anymore. It’s just Jamie Oliver cook books by default – which I’m OK with!

Among other Jamie Oliver kitchen-y things, the bible-sized Fabric Sewing Guide and The Wes Anderson Collection, (Yay) I also got two Biba books – Big Biba and Seamless. I also asked for Biba: The experience from my sister-from-another-mister Nicole, but I have to wait for the postman to bring that all the way from England for me!

In the meantime I've been working away at my mustard yellow Simplicity 7296

In a nice change of pace, this dress has some rather interesting structural elements to it instead of just a zipper and a couple darts.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas lovelies!

Hello again to you!

Just popping in now to wish you all a Merry Christmas wherever you are in the world and thank you so much for all you kindness since I started this little blog in May. I've made some really great bloggy friends and you've all had such nice things to say which really helps in wanting to keep posting more and more sewing projects!

If at any point during the next few days I get to take a break from eating, drinking and watching terrible Christmas movies, I'll get back behind that sewing machine and hopefully whip out something in time for New Years!

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful next few days and that all the presents on your wish list are brought down your chimney by Jimi Hendrix in a Santa suit!

I'm sure hoping that will happen for me!

Take care lovelies and Merry Christmas!

Cat xo

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Plans

Hello lovelies! Hows the weather where you are? 

We're having a stinker of a heatwave currently - 38 degrees today - that's 100 for my American pals. And I've been ever so lucky to get what seems to be my 100th cold this year. Another fever to enjoy in the middle of all this heat. yay...

Its really hard to want to sew in this kind of weather, but the boy and I have decided to resolve the issue by buying a portable air-conditioner which will arrive just in time for the heatwave to end!
The crickets seem to like it however - their singing their happy little songs while the sun beats down and wilts my garden. At least there are no water restrictions this year so I water it every evening.

In the mean time, I have been planning what I want to achieve over this summer. Would you like to know what I'll be up to?

Lauren from Rosie Wednesday is hosting a shift dress sew along and has been kind enough to invite me to help rally up the troops! 

We will be sewing with Simplicity 3833 - which you can buy at your local sewing shop or online.
It's a 1960's reproduction pattern so I just had to say yes! Pop over to Lauren's blog to take a look at her excellent introduction video, the schedule and to grab a badge for your blog. You can see mine at the bottom left!

Also I've just cut the pattern for my next sewing project. When I bought the fabric I was planning to use Vogue 7219 which I used for this project. That was until I received Simplicity 7296 in the mail. I didn't realise it, but the two patterns are incredibly similar. 

The one notable difference is that the back on the Vogue dress has a seam down the middle and the Simplicity version is a one piece back. 

Also the simplicity version comes with a belt tie and a short sleeve option. Have you ever bought a pattern which just ends up being exactly the same as another pattern you own? I've done that a few times!

I've decided to use the Simplicity version as I've not used it yet, and I'll be making it from this textured mustard silk that I bought from The Fabric Shop in Surry Hills. It very light like silk, but it feels like wool. I love this fabric! It's ticks so many boxes.

This dress will be perfect for Autumn and work days in the freezing cold office!

Also on the sewing pile is a completely different style of dress than normal. I've wanted a late 60s/70's style maxi dress (dare I say hippy style?) for awhile and I found a really nice chiffon to go with it! 

The pattern was a bit trickier to find because there are so many patterns that look like what I wanted, but I settled on Burda 10/2011. Though with my obsession with bishop sleeves I'll probably be making those sleeves a lot bigger!


Also there I have a massive pile of UFO's (Un-finished objects) and opp-shop purchases that need modifying. I plan to set aside a day or two to concentrate on these. Throw in festive activities, and happy little day trips outside our lovely Sydney, I'm gonna be a busy girl over these next few weeks! 

Luckily though, all the Christmas gift shopping is done and we're going to my sisters house for Christmas lunch, so I wont need to spend the next few days planning, shopping and cooking for that! Phew! 

What plans have you got for yourself over the Christmas break? Will you be making Christmas dinner or doing any sewing? 

Enjoy the next few days lovelies and try not to leave the gift shopping till the night before! 

Cat xo

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Biba's Pink Gingham dress

Ooh my it's been awhile since I've posted an actual project! 

But I have still been sewing and scheming (and working and slothing about) and holidays are only a few days away! So many UFOs to finish and opp-shopped clothes to repair

For now however, I bring you my reproduction of Biba's gingham shift...

Do you like my Christmas decorations?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Replicating Biba's pink gingham dress

Back when this blog was just a twinkle in my eye (approx 10 min before registering it) I had planned on focusing on only reproducing iconic 60's dresses and other garments. But after a moment of panic about possibly being in trouble for breaching Intellectual property rules or being dubbed a lazy copy cat by other vintage lovers, I put that idea at the bottom on my 'blog post ideas' list

But now I've finally gotten over my initial worries and have decided to try replicating a dress which seems to no longer exist except in books and memories. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Opp shop a loo-la

I haven't woke up early enough on a Saturday in awhile to be able to go to the opp shop, which closes at 12. (Yes I sometimes sleep till 12, what of it?)

But today I had to go to the post office (which also closes at 12) so I on my way back I popped into the ole' reliable opp shop for some goodies!  

Sometimes I read all those clever crafty blogs and wonder where they come up with all their DIY ideas, I think they get them from books like this... 

How awesome is that 3D bird? There's lots of other nice ideas in there! 

This swirl painted bangle and a neat little tin. I love to collect tins and other box-type things. 

When I spotted this scarf I thought it was a new-ish reproduction from a chain store, but the label says Rayon and made in Japan, to me that says 70s, so yay! 

This opp shop I go to, isn't often that forthcoming with fab clothes, but I took a quick peek at the jacket rack and found this 80s Liz Claiborne wool boucle blazer. And in my size! Awesome! 

I also took my chance at the fabric box and pulled out almost all the contents until I found this purple stretch velvet. There's only about 1/2 a meter there so I might get a flippy miniskirt out of it if I'm lucky

In that same box I found a half finished blouse. It's almost finished so why not get it right? And then in the craft box I found a zip-loc bag with with some of the other parts of the top! 

Great! So now I can finish it...

And then to cap it off, I found the actual pattern (Butterick 4631) in the patterns box! All 3 parts separated and now brought back together. Yay!

And last but not least, in the record crate which is normally full of musicals and classical stuff, I found this record

I didn't actually know who Buffy Sainte Marie is, but she looked a little like Vix from Vintage Vixen and I liked her dress so into my shopping basket she went. 

Turns out Buffy Sainte Marie is a well known Canadian First Nations singer/songwriter. She wrote 'Universal Soldier' which became a hit for Donovan and had many other songs covered by other well known singers and spent her formative years in the Greenwich Village alongside other Canadian musicians Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchel

I'm not sure which one was the best score today - the record or the half-finished top!

None the less, for a total of $15 it was a good day!

Are you planning on visiting your local oppy this weekend?

Cat xo

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tin Lady

Yesterday evening I went to a Christmas party for the company who books our corporate travel for work. They always organise a themed party - last year was The Great Gatsby which was lots of fun, but this year the theme was The Wizard of Oz! 

I had a feeling that most people would dress either as Dorothy or the Wicked Witch of the West, so I went through my wardrobe to see what I had that was on theme. 

Social pointed shoes from ASOS

I decided these shiny silver shoes would do the trick for dress as the Tin Man or in my case, Tin Lady. 

I had also ordered some grey fabric to make a shift dress, and a sparkly red brooch for the Tin Mans heart, but unfortunately they never arrived in time... 

I know I shouldn't have counted on the delivery taking the same about of time as normal (1 week)  but you know... I sort of forgot about Thanksgiving and how the US mail goes on holidays too! 

Speaking of Thanksgiving - the restaurant at work served up a menu with all the traditional Thanksgiving foods, as well as Pumpkin pie and candied yams. 
The yams were... interesting. Are they supposed to be really sweet? It was certainly a confusing taste for me - marshmallows and sweet potato - good on their own, but together I could only manage one bite. 

Please tell me! Are they actually really good when made by your mum and not by some grumpy chef in an industrial kitchen?

Ok back on track... 

Being a lover of craft and brooch-less, I decided to make myself one from fimo and painted it with some cheap-o clear nail polish so it would be shiny

I paired it with a grey marle t-shirt and a mini skirt which I made myself awhile ago. This is the pattern I used for this skirt. 

This shirt and one other top are the only grey I own so I guess the outfit turned out ok!

And I also painted my nails to match with a sweet little heart as well

Me, Dorothy Gale and some fairy floss
In the end, I was right about there being multiple Dorothy's and Witches. All were in really excellent costumes and quite close to the movie originals. One of the Dorothy's had even made her own dress as well! 

It was a pretty fun night all in all. Do you have any upcoming parties that include a theme or that your currently sourcing an outfit for?

Take care my pretties! (and your little dogs too!!!!)
Cat xo

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tutorial - Peter Pan collar and cuffs

Are you ready for the first tutorial DIY for the 4 little DIYs for 4 little dresses series?

First up is a simple favourite - Peter pan collar and cuffs. The idea of this tutorial is to teach you how to modify an existing dress. Either one you've bought new or second hand or something you've had in your wardrobe for so long and needs a new lease of life. 

Ideally this tutorial is being done on a dress or top that already has facings or finishes, which you can unpick and layer the collar between, but not all garments are made in this way and can be tricky to resew - so were going to sew the new pieces on and press them so that they are neatly hidden away. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I'm in pieces, bits and pieces

Some of the happenings in the atelier, aka the dining table 

The weekend is so close! 

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers, and happy Black Friday online sales to everyone else 

Cat xo

Title courtesy of Bits and Pieces by the Dave Clark Five

Monday, November 25, 2013

4 little DIYs for 4 little dresses

Happy Monday to you all! 

I'm so excited to finally get this idea started! For the past few weeks I've been busily sewing away 4 somewhat identical dresses for this special post series

Inspired by The Great British Sewing Bees segment in which contestants are all given the same garment and are challenged to do them up with fabric, trim and other decorative bits to create different looks. In much the same vein  I'm going to take 4 long sleeved shift dresses and do them up with the following embellishments to give them more of a 60's look and feel.

• Peter Pan Collar and matching cuffs
• Pin tuck bib with lace trim
• Ruffle lace collar jabot and cuffs
• Band collar and cuffs

The idea of this series is to give you the ability to fine tune your modern purchases or those dowdy tired garments in your wardrobe. While its lovely to buy new things, its also important to recycle and buy second-hand. So if that means taking the time to do some sewing to improve the look, silhouette or style of a dress, then it will make you feel useful and clever in the end, and you'll have an individual and special item all of your own! 

For most of these tutorials you will need a sewing machine, but I will also have some ideas for those of you with only a needle and thread.

All of these techniques can be applied to new dresses, second hand finds or something you've made yourself. For those of you who don't sew currently this would be a great starting point! Modifying clothing is a great way to introduce yourself to sewing and get to understand sewing terms and techniques.

The decorative elements for this project should all be easy to source at your local fabric store. You can even try op-shops and online to find genuine vintage or one off bits

Lace, ribbon, button kits, trim and plain cotton
In tangent with these posts I'll also be offering some insight into the foundations of the styles and how they became popular

Well I'll leave you with that little teaser for now - I hope you'll come back for the first post later this week! 

Cat xo

Sunday, November 24, 2013

House of Merivale

While the 60's may belong to swinging London, attracting many Aussies to venture to the motherland to experience the excitement, fashion and music on offer, a few clever antipodeans decided to stay at home and start their own swinging Sydney.

One such pair were Merivale and John Hemmes. 

The names Merivale and Hemmes now are more commonly known for the Merivale Group of bars and hotels, and their entrepreneurial son Justin Hemmes. You don't need to go too far in Sydney to find a venue owned by Merivale, one of the most popular being The Ivy nightclub on George Street along with delicious restaurants such as Mr Wong, Mrs G's and Ash St Cellar

But before they were in the Hospitality and entertainment industry, the Hemmes' were more well known for their fashion boutique - House of Merivale

Merivale and John Hemmes

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bower-birds bower

Well hello there fine reader! 

Did you have a good weekend? As miserable as Mondays are there are always some good things to look forward to in the week. 

That parcel that's due to arrive, the new shoes you plan to wear when it stops raining or seeing your friends next weekend. Mondays don't have to be so bad! 

My Monday was made that little bit better by the arrival of this new pattern - you may remember that this pattern was the original that I wanted for my Pattie suit but I couldn't find it to buy at the time.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dressing the Decade - 1963

I spent way to much time this last weekend looking at all the 60s patterns in Etsy, and picked up 3 new pretties to add to my collection. It also reminded me that I need to continue with my series on 60's sewing pattern appreciation...

So here is the next installment of Dressing the Decade - 1963

Monday, November 11, 2013

I love the flower girl

Its been a rainy Monday - how I wish I could have spent it lying in the warm grass with flowers and sun-rays and not soaking wet and cold on the train.

This song seemed most appropriate for my imaginings of where I'd rather be

Time for another daydream....

Pattie Boyd

Charlotte Martin
Pamela Des Barres

Pattie darling

Pattie Boyd in India

Cathee Dahmen

Source - Sweet Janes Pop Boutique

Jenny Boyd

Scene from Far from the Maddening Crowd 1967

Maudie James


Care of Miss Peelpants

Charlotte Martin

Sharon Tate

Charlotte Rampling

Lovely Marianne

The Beatles in flowers

Cathee Dahmen

Modern Flower girl - Johanna Soderberg of First Aid Kit

Enjoy your week lovely Flower girls and boys
Stay warm and dry!

Cat xo