Saturday, November 19, 2011

Latest Vintage Pattern Acquisitions

Do you love looking at vintage patterns?  I do!  Here are some that I've bought recently - in reverse chronological order:

1970's Vogue Paris Original 2627 Molyneux, Misses Dress
Mid-knee length dress has fitted bodice with bias front and dropped back waistline.  Self or contrast bias notched collar, slightly flared skirt (no side seams) with bias front panel forming side front pleats, short or full length sleeves with self or contrast slit bias cuff and button and buttonhole trim. Purchased contour belt.

And look what was inside - A Vogue Paris Original label:

1967 Simplicity 7265 Misses Suit with Two Skirts
The skirts have side zipper and  waistband.  Skirt V. 1 is straight.  Skirt V. 2 is A-line.  The lined, double breasted jacket with princess seaming has collar, long set-in sleeves, front button closing and pockets concealed in side front seams.  Jacket V. 2 has fur fabric collar sewn over jacket collar or a purchased fur collar may be worn.

It is quite plain, but I bought it from the same supplier to "save postage" haha!  And I just love a 60's suit.

1966 Vogue Couturier Design 1797 Jo Mattli, Two-piece suit
Jacket has scallop and top-stitch trim at neckline.  Seven-eighths length sleeves and pockets in side front seams. Straight skirt with contour waistband and side back zipper closing.

1966 Vogue Paris Original 1918 Givenchy, One-piece dress and jacket
Loose-fitting straight dress with high V-neckline, has cap sleeves; contour buttoned belt.  Pockets in side seams.  Slightly fitted double-breasted jacket with bias collar, has seven-eighths length kimono sleeves with gussets.

I'm looking forward to making this one, but have no idea what fabric I will use yet - perhaps I need something new?!

1940's Academy 2029 Dress
This Academy pattern has no description, but the illustration is self-explanatory:

I didn't realise that Academy Patterns were manufactured here in Auckland!  Unfortunately I haven't been able to find out much about them so if anybody does know more about them please share - it will be an interesting slice of NZ history.  I did find some sewing patterns from "NZ Cutters Academy" from the same era at Te Papa museum, but there were no images to confirm if this was the same company.  I feel a quest coming on...!

I've already cut the Academy Pattern out in some stash and will reveal all soon...

In the meantime, which ones are your faves, and what shall I make next!?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Polyester - It Ain't All Bad!

Are you a "polyester snob"?  Do you avoid any fabric that has the slightest amount of polyester in its content?

I have to admit that I rarely buy polyester, but I do have some pieces that have made their way into my stash through other means!  It is really uncomfortable to wear in our humid summers, and I can't sew or press it as nicely as viscose or natural fibres.  Oh yeah, and the static...

But it's not all bad - polyester has some great inherent qualities that other fibres lack:
  • It can be machine washed
  • It absorbs little moisture and dries quickly
  • It hardly needs ironing
  • It doesn't shrink
  • It is hard wearing 
  • It doesn't fade
  • It is wrinkle resistant
  • It retains its shape
  • It can be permanently pleated
  • It is lightweight 
  • It maintains it's loft, ie fleece
  • And it's cheap!
I won't say it is environmentally friendly, but if you consider it requires little if any power usage for drying and ironing, and garments made from it have a longer life therefore less manufacturing/shipping processes are required per wear, it could be a lot better than we think.  Just think of all those 70's polyester shirts in the op-shops that haven't worn out yet!

Polyester is often combined with other fibres like wool, cotton or viscose to utilise the ideal qualities of both.  For instance :
  • Wool/polyester - cheaper and harder wearing than 100% wool, but not as warm or easy to tailor.
  • Polyester/cotton - compared to 100% cotton this fabric will shrink less, be more wrinkle proof, faster drying and longer lasting, but not as comfortable next to the skin.  This is why it is commonly used for such items as trousers, travel wear, and things like Dickie's workshirts!
  • Polyester/viscose - polyester adds crease resistance to this blend, and viscose allows the fabric to breathe better for more comfortable wear.
So it really is a practical fibre - its wash 'n wear qualities are very popular.  In today's world where natural fibres are considered superior by many, polyester often gets the thumbs-down - but as you can see from the big list above - it does have it's place.  However I still haven't forgiven it for being so uncooperative while making my Red Spot Dress!

What do you think - do you use polyester in your sewing regularly, or only when nothing else will do? Do you have some favourite wardrobe items with polyester content, or do you avoid it like the plague?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dream Job: A Sewing Lounge?

Do you have a sewing lounge in your area?  I had never heard of these until last year when Tasia blogged about Spool of Thread in Vancouver, and since then I have seen quite a few online references to similar sewing lounges.

Spool of Thread, Vancouver
image from

They are sewing places where you can pop in and use workspace or equipment that you don't have at home, where you have access to essential supplies, maybe take a few technique workshops, and enjoy the company of other sewers as well. I have to admit I can't get the idea out of my head - wouldn't it just be the best place to play work?!!

Sew Over It, London
image from
I think I would be the first to arrive and the last to leave if this was my job - I'd love helping others out all day with tips and tricks, helping with construction and fitting issues (we all find another pair of hands useful here don't we!), making patterns and meeting like-minded friends - just like I do on my blog purely for fun, but in real life - I'd definitely be in my element!

Spool of Thread
Although I'm not sure I could do the patchwork thing...

Would you visit a sewing lounge if there was one in your region?  Maybe you have already been to one and can share your experience.  Or would you rather just stay at home and sew by yourself for free?  I suppose it would be a slight inconvenience getting there with your gear (I guess you can bring your own machine!) but once there, the lounge might have better equipment like cutting tables and professional irons for use, and hopefully a nice social atmosphere with good coffee and inspiring magazines!  Sounds like the place to be don't you think?

Sew Over It

I'd love to hear what you think of sewing lounges - so fire away!

...just like we did on Guy Fawkes, hehe:

DH let off tons of sky rockets!

Sonny Boy lit tons of sparklers!

(and I sat on the verandah with a glass of wine and admired the view!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Finished - Red Spot Dress!

I've officially finished the Red Spot Dress that has been consuming my spare time this last week!

As a reminder, here is the pattern - Simplicity 3858, from sometime in the 50's:

Here's a close-up of the bodice - it fits fine now that I have underlined it:

I'm not that happy with the way the roll collar is sitting, despite doing it about three times - and then it changes whenever you tie the bow!  If I was the designer, I'd separate the collar and bow to avoid this problem. Then you could exchange the bow with something else when it takes your fancy.

This shot shows the skirt gathers better - they're not too unflattering despite the fact I have quite a large muffin high hip, in fact they hide it rather well!

The gathers sew into a piped waistline which is a lovely finish that I must remember:

And I used some yellow ribbon this time for the inner waistline:

And here's a detail of the facings catch-stitched to the underlining:

After all that work I'm not sure I'll wear this dress much - I can't pinpoint what I don't like about it, but it just doesn't feel right.  Maybe it is the prissy bow neckline, or maybe I don't have the right shoes, or maybe it is just that fabric that has been telling me to leave it alone since day one.  I'll hang it up and see how I feel after a week of no Red Spots!

And just in case you haven't been following the Red Spot Dress story, here are the links to previous posts!
On Hitting the Wall and Not Giving Up
Underlining the Bodice
More Machine Underlining Tips

Happy Sewing!