Look, I made a thing! That hardly ever happens anymore.
It’s a super-simple bias-cut blouse made from an ancient rayon faille curtain. The print looks like crazy paving – I imagine this curtain hung on long windows looking out to the patio, daddy-o.
Age and light damage had shredded the curtain edge. I trimmed out the worst of it and had just enough to squeeze out this blouse. The shape is great, mostly because of the slinky drape of the rayon, but the 50s pastels have turned out a bit nanna, methinks. Imma wear it anyways!
Winter is a season of sewing senescence at my place because my house is largely unheated and my sewing room is Siberian. I can’t face sitting at the machine in there, not to mention shedding my many layers to fit garments-in-progress.
But I do go in there and potter about, stroke the pretty things in the stash and whittle away at the junk. I found this ad in an old Sewcraft magazine last night and it tickled my fancy because I have a bunch of old Lightning zippers in their original packaging. A zip that is unfazed by strap-hanging! That’s my kind of fastener.
I pulled some ugly things out of the stash, too. I read a very sensible sewing blogger’s declaration that she never, ever sews with fabric she doesn’t love because otherwise when things go awry, she won’t bother rectifying the project. Wise words and I’m sorry I can’t properly attribute them because I forgot who wrote them. I’ll add this to it, too – sometimes leaving things you love in the stash for too long means your tastes change and you don’t like them anymore. To wit: this quilting cotton with reels of thread. It still sorta amuses me but I can’t imagine wearing it, yet several years ago I thought it was hilarious and I had all kinds of stunt frock plans. Now I think it’s best that I eBay it. Maybe that’s what winter is for – raking and pruning and composting while everything’s dormant.
Buuuuuut, I have actually been sewing a little bit – things that don’t need trying on, such as quilts to diminish the scraps pile. Here’s the latest in the series of quilts for babies. I’ll be delivering it to its new owner (and she’s very new, just 2 days old) as soon as her mother is up for visitors.
Reminded by A Dress a Day in her excellent Hundred Dresses series of a pattern I meant to revisit, I set about turning a very 70s red white and blue (and blue) tablecloth into a frock.
You can see the first iteration of this exact pattern and frankensteining in this post, Bright, sunshiney fail. This time I had a bash at using the gathered skirt included with the pattern but it looked ridiculous. I recut it as an a-line and matched the big swathes of colour at the waistline. Bodice is fully lined, the armscyes are bound with self-bias, and I weighted the hem with a nice fat bias strip too.
Oh, and I took pictures with Instagram. It means the cruddy photos I take with my phone now look artfully cruddy.
I like the back better than the front! The back skirt is eased in a wee bit.
A pledge to stop buying new fabric has a little-known fine-print clause: if you can make a thing from the fabric within 24 hours and it never touches the stash, it doesn’t count. It’s like it never happened.
I decided to apply this clause when, within the space of a week, my PJ pants wore so thin that they tore, and a sheet-buying expedition to Spotlight turned up the most hilarious flanelette which was also on sale.
Check this out. Animals hiding badly.
The bear just slays me. And interestingly, the selvedge suggests that RMIT students designed the thing! (It also suggests your child will catch on fire wearing the stuff.)
It took about 2 hours all up to turn this soft soft soft flanelette into PJ pants with Simplicity 4023. All I did was make them extra long and add a waistband because they were too low-riding.
PJs are super easy to whip up in no time at all. But if you’re keen to have a little community support, go join the Pyjama Party at Did You Make That? HQ.
If I cark it tomorrow, I’ll be happy knowing that my greatest contribution to the world of sewing was the Bifurcated Slip. Especially this one, which is louder, longer and more scandalous when it shows than any of my others.
If you wear a frock and you cycle, you NEED a bifurcated slip. They also help keep you toasty warm in winter. The hot pink silk twill this one’s made from was a bargain from a Sydney Rd fabric shop a while back, and the length is just past my knees! But my poor machine did not enjoy sewing the twill. Two layers: not happy, but bearable. Three layers: pushing it, lady. Four: tell her she’s dreaming. So to get the deluxe French seams to sit flat, I had to do topstitching by hand. And while I was at it, I hemmed and bound the waist by hand. Boooooring. But a bit lovely now that it’s all done.
Melbourne is grey and dreary these days and a flash of fuschia as I pedal past bolsters spirits, methinks.
The first dress I ever sewed from an old pattern, five years ago, was a disaster. There are pictures of it in the WeSewRetro archives and now, of course, I see why it sucked so much (grey? Really? For me? GREY?)
The dress is long gone to some op shop pile somewhere, but I still have the pattern – a mail-order job from the early 50s, I think. I’m trying to sew more separates so I whipped up this top from a scrap of pale blue op shop fabric. I think it’s linen but it’s also got a bit of a scratchy raw silk quality to it.
You’ll just have to believe me that I fill it out a little better than Headless Esme. It’s a bit short to wear with anything but high-wasted pants but it fits well enough to have a bash at making a whole dress again. NOT in grey. In something more to my tastes – loud, lurid and wildly patterned.
Grey. What was I thinking?