Thursday, 25 July 2013

Vintage Floral Progress.

With a more up to date post sorely lacking of late, it may look as though I have been skiving somewhat on my floral dress project, however, sunny weather, Royal baby mania, Flower Shows and two unexpected dentist trips aside, I have found myself more behind my laptop than my sewing machine of late. However, the dress does continue to progress, in fact it now has sleeves! Although this is in itself has created a bit of a conundrum. I am not sure if they're staying ! Much as I adore a gathered, capped sleeve ~ enough to grit my teeth and bear the fiddly, 'non-exact science' nature of creating them, I am not sure whether this dress actually 'needs' them. I am going to finish the hem and binding on the neckline before I decide and perhaps gather a few votes too, before I start unpicking !
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Friday, 12 July 2013

And Fifties Florals !

I wouldn't normally expect to be posting an entry on the Hampton Court Flower Show on a dressmaking blog! However, on this year's annual visit, our entry into the RHS Floral Marquee was greeted by another celebration of fabulous Fifties Fashion, to tie in with the anniversary of the Coronation. Vogue pattern 2962, (a design from circa 1957) was on display in full glory, in a bold and blousy, peach floral to announce the 2014 Rose of the Year, Lady Marmalade.

Elsewhere, other exhibitors and mannequins graced the fifties vibe with full skirted prom dresses and the Jane Packer Fifties High Street came complete with tearoom, florist, parfumerie and ladies accessories shops.  With several years of war rationing that included a squeeze on fabrics, needles and threads, the post war explosion in the way dressmaking fabrics were used heralded multitudes of pleats, gatherings, folds and full circle dresses in a triumphant celebration of new excess, over limitation - perhaps most noticeably showcased by the US and its glamorous icons of the silver screen. Expressed here by the Floral Marquee in a profusion of colour, fashion and flowers, it was an inspirational treat that found me utterly in my element!

Vogue 2962
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Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Fifties Fashion

John Lewis, Oxford St. currently have the most fabulous display of Fifties inspired dresses in celebration of the Coronation anniversary. The four, bespoke 'prom style' dresses were all inspired by 1953 sketches and prints from the John Lewis archives and created using authentic stitching methods. Timelessly elegant, they have each been fondly dubbed 'Audrey', 'Sylvia', 'Monica' and 'Kay'. What girl wouldn't feel the part under those voluptuous folds and swathes of fabric. Cue, high pony tail, chic neck scarf and ballet flats....Summer ready !

Of course if you are feeling inspired, there are also some fabulous patterns out there too with a very Fifties inspired feel! Loving Vogue's 8789. Bring on the pleats !
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Saturday, 6 July 2013

From Toile to Twirl !

Well, almost ! After a busy week of work, I was up with the lark this morning for a bit of sewing machine 'me time' and a spell on my evolving, floral dress. Here's the story so far...(zip, sleeves etc to follow), but pleats behaving and I decided on an a bit of a flourish with some gorgeous, emerald green velvet for the contrasting yoke under the bust. All as modelled here by my new trusty sidekick, 'Annabel', (aka dressmaker's mannequin - and I'm reliably informed that she must be 'named' ! What can I tell you, I play by the rules, the name popped up and then stuck). Soo, this gal is by far one of my best 'sewing purchases' yet. Not quite sure how I have done without her thus far.
Working in 3 dimensions on the 'body' of  a mannequin, rather than flat on a work table makes logical sense even on paper! In practise it is even better. It has been a much easier way of viewing the back of the dress whilst working on the details of the pleats, where they sit and how they hang. Far more practical than pinning them to the back of myself and doing my best owl imitation to see what's going on back there! Mannequins have a multitude of other advantages from the very start of the process too, when pattern pieces can be arranged and pinned on, and of course they are a useful place to 'hang' creations 'in progress' (and avoid creasing). So, I digress. My latest foray with  cotton velvet has worked well here I think and is and something that I have done before to add trims and panels on other items. Many a Summer skirt has later been re-introduced to the machine for the velvet 'pep up' treatment.

I have also added a silk velvet panel when working with jersey fabrics, which adds a whole new element of fun and required patience! Attaching a water like, slippery silk velvet to a stretchy jersey can see fabrics seemingly move in opposite directions under the machine, but is do'able with a bit of grit! (I think I held my breath until the last of it had passed under the needle and safely out the other side !) Working with cotton or silk velvet usually follows with an exercise in de-cluttering the inside of my machine of 'velvet dust' too, but that is far outweighed by the sumptuous 'pop' it can give against other fabrics. I have some of the green left over which I hope to incorporate on a matching purse. (If it hasn't been hijacked for another project before then !)
So far so good. And the cat approves.




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