Tempted. And conflicted.

TEMPTED: Oops. Impulse-bought a cult sewing machine last night on eBay…. a Singer 201k from the 1940s in a very cute little cabinet. Drove and drove and drove and drove to the outer burbs to pick it up where the seller has a shed full of machines he tinkers with because, he said, it’s occupational therapy that balances out his sitting behind a computer all week doing data entry.

Anyway, it’s charming and beautiful and a very fun new toy.

And there is a wealth of Singer geekery online… people who clean them and people who fix them (and teach you to fix your own) and apparently if you tell Singer a nice story, they’ll give you a shiny new 160th anniversary commemorative machine.

CONFLICTED: Melbourne’s mecca of suburban consumption, Chadstone, is hosting an exhibition of Mad Men costumes next month. Want to see. Never been to Chadstone and hoped never to go. Am torn. Perhaps with some moral support, I can brave the nightmare that is the giant shopping centre. Anyone wanna come? Do they even have public transport out there?

Silk organza scheming

A good six months ago, on a trip to Rathdowne Remnants, a chum goaded me into buying a remnant of silk organza in a print I’d been humming and hawing about for a dress to wear to an upcoming wedding. “Carn,” she said. “If you do it  I’ll take you out for cocktails in it to test it out.” Can’t argue with that, so I snapped it up.

It’s 3 metres of buttery yellow with completely barmy Toulouse-Lautrec can-can dancers on it. Of course. But since then I’ve been a bit stumped about what to do with it that will a) show off those dancing ladies and b) best work with organza.

Organza is tricksy stuff. It’s very sheer and light, yet crisp, too. So it needs lining. And doesn’t drape. Hmmmm.

The oracgoogle showed me that these are the sorts of frocks that are made from organza.



Source, apparently here, eventually, but I can’t find it within the site

(I apologise, I saved last a while back and now can’t find where I pinched them from. No credits. Bad form.)

It’s an organza bonanza! Emerging themes are overskirts, fine pleats and sheer showcasing. BUT there’s a nightmare side to organza I’m sparing you from… the bridal frou-frou, fluffy, frilly, Catholic-child-confirmation horrors. Not me at all.

Question: can I pull off this daring exploit? I’ve been trawling patterns for a while but I’m a bit stumped. I thought about modifying Simplicity 2250 to dump the spaghetti strap idea, and just use the bodice:

…but I’ve since seen some versions made up and unless it’s done in that tiny thin striped fabric, the bodice pleats can look a bit clunky. Maybe nice crisp organza would be OK. I WILL need a full skirt for wild drunken wedding attendee dancing.

What do you reckon, internets? Got any ideas? I’ve got about a month until I’ve got to have the frock finished…well, sooner, if I take up the generous cocktail test offer.


Hit the ground running

I did nick off to warmer climes, as mentioned in last past. For which I whipped up a sleeveless Vogue 8280 – which had a ridiculous amount of fussy convolutions to make those shoulder straps. Bored already. Moving on!

Came home to the tail end of Spotlight’s 40% off sale. Felt obliged to stop by. Glad I did.

A while ago Moggy lent me a few patterns because I wanted something with drapey details for some silk I’d picked up. Nothing came of that idea, but the combo of just-purchased cheap cotton stretch sateen and post-holiday chutzpah, I launched with gusto into Butterick 8116.

Sateen’s in the background. Have you sewn with this stuff yet? I love it. It’s thick with a lovely matte sheen, the stretch makes it super easy to sew and wear, plus Spotty’s doing quite well with the retro prints. Some examples of other frox made with it are Kristy’s KILLER New Look 6968 (confession: I bought some of this print in the sale too, despite not generally liking pink or digital splotchiness, but Kristy inspired me) and Adey’s cheongsam of delightfulness. The moral of the story is Get Thee Some Stretch Cotton Sateen.

Anyway. Enough rambling and pontificating. Here’s the frock.

I frankensteined the balloony skirt mentioned here after initially considering drafting up a straight skirt with fishtail at back. The change of mind occurred when I saw I could use up every last piece of the fabric with a full skirt – nose to tail eating is very satisfying. I also took a little more time with the details, and I’m glad I did – my hand-picked zipper is just lovely. Virtually invisible.

I know lots of folks are hiding zippers in side seams these days, but I’ve learned the hard way that it doesn’t work for me. Due to my spinal curve, I’m a bit asymmetrical and I can never get side zips to sit right – all they do is emphasise my twistiness. Great to know that I can put in an old-skool metal centred zip so subtly. And it really didn’t take that much longer.

Another shot in better light to show those spiffy bodice folds, and better shows the deflated balloon skirt… I’m calling this frock Florigenius after the company who tried for years and years to make a blue rose, and a purple cabbage-lookin’ thing is the best they could do…