Friday, June 22, 2012

The Biba Burda Dress

This dress has been sitting in the back of my wardrobe semi-forgotten for two years - without buttonholes and hem! Long time readers might even recognise these cuffs from my tutorial on attaching a shirt cuff and the associated one on continuous bound sleeve plackets - both written about two years ago.  Well I've finally finished the actual garment!

The pattern is #109 from Burdastyle January 2010 - hey look, she's wearing boots and a belt too:

This dress uses a lot of fabric as both the bodice and skirt are double layered for opacity. It was a perfect opportunity to use up the 5m of plum viscose georgette that I've had lying around for years. The very first designer I worked for called this colour 'Biba plum', having worked through the era where it was synonymous with Barbara Hulanaki and her store Biba.  I feel like I need a floppy hat and false eyelashes now...

Here's the back:

The fabric is gorgeous to wear, and being double layered it is nice and weighty and swishes glamorously around when you walk.  The bodice has pintucks either side of the button band, and I found some stash buttons that were just close enough to save a dye charge:

Mmm.. they look less red in real life.
It looks like I sewed them on a bit tight though...shall I do them (all 12...) again?
The hem had also succumbed to gravity at the side seams, so that was today's to-do project.   A while back I scored these skirt hem markers, after reading Sunni's nifty tutorial on how to use one at A Fashionable Stitch:

Thanks Sunni, I always wondered how they worked!
I think the ruler might have been broken at one stage though, as it starts at 8" and is a bit short. (But both are like that - is that normal??  And why??)  Anyway, if I lower my mannequin down to it's shortest height it is tall enough to be of use.

And work it did - after cutting along the line of pins, my hem was perfectly level!

...ok, maybe not in this photo...
Yay - a new dress to wear! 

I can't believe I go to the effort of making things and drift focus, stopping when they are 95% finished.  Am I the only one with this problem?  Perhap my resolution for Matariki should be to finish things, rather than just start them!

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Harlow Jacket Progress

I've been making slow but gradual progress on the Harlow Jacket from Verena Knitting.  Most progress has been made by knitting on breaks at work and on the bus - it is amazing what you can achieve in what would otherwise be downtime!

It is coming along quite nicely despite my adjust-as-you-go approach*.  It is slightly small in the bust even with the darts and short rows, but not enough to unravel all that work.  Besides, I've almost finished the front bands so now that would be impossible!  

Next up is knitting the collar, but the bit I really can't wait to do is weaving in all those ends, ha ha:

Would anyone like to volunteer?!

* I should mention that the Verena instructions are excellent and the design is well thought out and constructed, but I changed the yarn, needles, size, tension, and sleeve length, because I just like making things hard for myself!  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Some NZ Vintage Clothing Labels

Recently Camelia Crinoline in her blog post "Don't put your labels on me" documented a few of her vintage NZ clothing labels, inspired by Georgia's initial post on the same topic.  I really enjoyed these posts - some labels I've never heard of, some I vaguely remember, and some of them I've even worked for!  I have a few more to share so had to follow suit.

I thought I'd show this one first, as it is Made in Christchurch where Camelia Crinoline actually lives!  It is made by McPhail & Fisher:

It is an awesome green suede 60's coat, one of the favourite things in my wardrobe!  For years I wanted to switch the mustard lining to black, and now I'm glad I never did.

Contessa was a fairly popular brand from memory.  WX is a 'women's extra' size, and the tiny label on the side reads 'wool mohair':

This one is a David Marcus original by "May Belle" - they sure loved the gold lurex thread on their labels back then:

I had never heard of Southwell until my first job - the designer used to work there and talked about it often!  She gave me one of their designs that she had kept, it was a long charcoal wool ponte dress with colourful folk embroidery on the bodice and matching velvet ribbon around the hem.  She said I could do what I liked with it but when I turned up to work the next day with it chopped off as a mini, I could tell she was a little disappointed!

I found this dress in an opshop recently for $5, and bought it for nostalgia's sake.  The more I think about it, I think it could be from the same collection as the chopped-up-charcoal dress, as the colours are exactly the same, and no-one runs the same colours year after year!  The embroidery and velvet ribbon was red, yellow and green just like those you can see on that glimpse of charcoal skirt in the corner, and the fabric was the same wool ponte di roma.

In this photo you can see the machinist's initials (BW) on the reverse of both labels - if there was any dodgy sewing detected the quality controller knew where to turn!

Depending on your definition of vintage, I also have a Peppertree blouse: 

This is probably from the 80's when anything with French on it was deemed super-classy, even if it was Made-on-the-other-side-of-the-world in New Zealand.  

And then I have this Colin Cole treasure, of which there is a background story deemed worthy of a blog post in itself:

Do you have any vintage NZ clothing labels?
Take some snaps and post them too - lot's of us would love to see!