Saturday, 31 October 2015

Pretty in Pink Victoriana in the Sewing Room

I often wish I could sew "pale & interesting" .... or maybe "dark & dramatic" .... sometimes I succeed.  But usually I am unable to resist the lure of colour.  So this week there has been a "pretty in pink" theme going on in the Sewing Room. Not only the patchwork ruffle coat, but a tiered ruffled Victoriana type skirt with a secret pocket hidden under the layers ... and an upcycled treasures & textile necklace


Thursday, 29 October 2015

Romantic Upcycled Hippy Festival Patchwork Coat

 As you will know if you read this blog, this year I have been upcycling in a serious way!  I have crates of textiles & interesting clothing which I am loving experimenting with.  I decided to make a hippy festival coat using a patchwork skirt in pretty pinks & greens as the inspiration.  I used a knitted linen cardigan for the top section & added panels of a green pashmina & some faux suede round the dropped waist section.  Of course my overlocker came into its own with this, especially as I decided to follow the "donor" skirt & use visible seams.  I was pleased with some little daisy embroidery stitches on my machine as the centres formed little eyelets, a bit like a broderie anglaise, & this was an unexpected bonus!

A glorious mixture of textiles to upcycle before stitching began - one pink linen cardigan, an ivory wool sweater (not used), a cotton patchwork skirt, a green pashmina, a pink shawl (not used), a silk dress (not used) and some pink faux suede.


Thursday, 22 October 2015

1930s Ruched Ruffles

This 1930s Bestway Ribbon magazine has to be one of my favourite sewing booklets ever.  It has some lovely ribbon needlecraft projects including handbags, flower corsages and of course the essential Deco crinoline lady!  You might have seen pretty little shell type ribbon trims inside handbags of this era, usually used to trim the edges of the linings, and this book has instructions for making them.  Basically, you work zigzags of running stitch along the length of ribbon then draw them up & the ruching magic happens!  Scan of instructions below:

I was customising a denim jacket & wondered how this technique would work with wider strips of fabric so gave it a go.  I had cut "ribbons" of silk approx. 1"/2.5cm wide & then overlocked the edges.  I stitched with the zigzag running stitch by hand (much quicker than I had anticipated) & then gathered it up to fit the hemline I wanted to trim.  I pinned it in place & zigzagged with my sewing machine.  I really love the final result & will be doing lots more ruched ruffles in the future! x


Monday, 19 October 2015

Victorian Sewing & Vintage Research

Confession time ... I am a major geek when it comes to vintage needlecrafts research.  I have a small office with two bookcases full of vintage books & magazines which I use when designing garments or researching workshops & tutorials.  Among my earliest resources are several turn of the (19th) century journals such as La Mode Nationale.  These feature some amazingly complex pattern sheets to be traced:

so far I haven't succeeded in using these, simply using the illustrations & small scale pattern piece diagrams for inspiration.  But there are some real gems I would like to attempt such as this incredible "sports corset" ... yep, the mind boggles:

also some beautiful underwear:

The illustrations (some of the cover ones are hand coloured like the one above) are so interesting & even the adverts show an insight into the social history of the time.  It seems that worrying about grey hair or weight, or considering consulting a fortune teller are not exclusively modern day concerns:


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Ruffles & Bustles

As part of my ongoing foray into steampunk stitchery, I created a very ruffled & bustled 2 piece from some pretty linen & cotton donor garments.
The bustle back skirt was made with small loops which hook onto a button to create the bustle effect.

More stitchery projects coming soon x


Thursday, 8 October 2015

Steampunk Stitchery

My first attempt at steampunk stitchery ... some lovely vintage textile for a Victorian inspired short cape 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Experimenting with Collars

Following on from my steampunk velvet jacket, I am busy experimenting with different collar patterns as I want to replicate the 30s velvet cloak style stand up collar.  I thought it would be fun to add a flamboyant collar to this pretty beaded lace jacket.  I used some acetate taffeta in a pretty soft old gold colour & added a large frill collar - move over Elizabeth I !! - and a large bow tie fastening on the front.  OK, not for everyday wear but I thought this would be fun for fancy dress or theatrical use.  
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