Thursday, 30 September 2010

While I've never done any tailoring or lining of jackets before, when I found this vintage suit with ripped p lining, I couldn't resist buying it and attempting to fix it up.
I have no idea what I'm doing, so if anyone has any input or advice, please jump in!
 First I've unpicked the old lining. You can see how ripped it is and getting the shape right is something of a challenge. I wrote what each piece was onto the pieces. I also kept one half intact to ensure I have some reference as to how it was constructed. 

Once I'd unpicked the different parts, I pressed it flat and pinned it down to the new lining fabric, doing my best to match the grain.
I then cut the pieces out, leaving a 5/8 allowance, measured from the line of stitches, which is more than there was originally.
Next job will be to make a few tailor tacks to mark where the stitching stops at the pointed parts (I reckon I can manage to work out where the corners are on the square areas).
My plan is to construct the lining as a whole, and then stitch it edge to edge with the seams around the edges of the jacket. There are tabs under the arms, where the tops of the sleeves are attached to the jacket, and at the end I'll hand turn the bottoms of the sleeves and the bottom of the body.
Wish me luck, and I'm happy for advice!

Fabulous giveaways

There are 2 great giveaways that are worth having a look at soon;
The first is over at The Long and Winding Bobbin. This is a lovely giveaway of some patterns, some very pretty fabrics and a beautiful handbag.
As part of the giveaway she's asked entrants to post a picture of their current project. I figure that this is a chance to commit to finish one or two projects, so here they are. Number one is lining a suit I bought a while back, number 2 is Simplicity 3688, from which I'm making the skirt. This pattern calls for fusible interfacing on the waistband and this is the first time I've used it, so it'll be a learning experience for me.
I'm off work with a horrible cold at the moment, so if I can get myself off the sofa for long enough, I'll do an hour or so on these today. Wish me luck!

The second giveaway is from The Last Piece where Sarah is giving away packs of fabrics. They're such lovely designs, they're well worth looking at. I've been planning to make a quilt and I think that these prints would add a great splash of colour.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Self Sufficiency

Oh to live The Good Life (preferably with Felicity Kendle and Richard Briers).
I've been harvesting the fruits of my labours this afternoon and wonderful they are. The carrots went in the dinner before I could get a picture, but they are very sweet and whilst oddly shaped, just about perfect.

The rest of my goodies are still ripening, but they're nearly there. I just need another week of sunshine!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Hats and more hats

I've been on a bit of a hat buying spree of late. I now have a decent selection of winter hats, and I think I may even wear them this year. I always feel that winter hats are more 'acceptable' than summer hats, so for a self conscious hat fan like me, it's the perfect time to wear them.
I've already worn my knitted berets out on a couple of occasions and I'll be trying to wear them and some others in the coming weeks. I may even take some pictures for once! For now, here is my collection of hats modeled for your viewing pleasure...

Red beret - a recent purchase from Accessorize. Felty and lovely. I think red is going to be appearing in my wardrobe a lot this winter.

Green beret - a purchase from The Washerwoman and one of my more frequently worn hats.
Yellow beret - An older hat I bought on the highstreet, can't remember where though.

Cloche - Accessorize last year. Great for the winter because it keeps the wind off! Worked very well with my Louise Brooks bob I had last year but not sure it's going to look as good this year.

Astrakhan hat - A recent purchase from eBay. It's black Astrakhan with a fur trim. I reckon this is probably 50s, but I'm not really a hat expert. I think this goes nicely with the fur collar I bought some time back at a flea market and haven't had a chance to wear yet.

White fur - I bought this at Uni and have barely worn it since. It makes a bit of a statement and I'm not sure I know when is an appropriate time to wear it.

Brown net - An 80s does 40s hat, I think. The netting is too heavy to be vey old, and the felt is in too good condition as well. I am thinking about replacing the netting with something finer but am undecided. Millinery is not one of my strong suits. I picked this up at Vintage at Goodwood recently.

Black 50s - Another Goodwood buy. I'm pretty sure this is 50s, due to the shape and the obvious age of the felt. It's cute and understated and it really went well with the Butterick dress I made. It says 'new look' to me and as the dress is 1947, they belong together.

Floppy black - Another University purchase that I barely wear. I wanted to look like Liv Tyler. I don't.

Camel felt. A present from my mum who apparently wore this hat a lot in the late 70s. I've not worn this yet but I think I will.
Pill box. Another present, this one from my work colleagues. Not worn this one either yet, since I think it goes with a later style of dress than I normally wear.

Any brave regular hat wearers out there?  How do you work them into your every day outfits?

Thursday, 23 September 2010


In looking at halloween costume pictures, I came across this superheroine, the Blonde Phantom. She's shit. Just pathetic, but she does have a nice dress.

Mighty God King has an in-depth analysis of why she sucks so much. Awesomeness. Read it and weep at the sexism.

Today's outfit

I was going to post long and hard about Halloween today, since I've been thinking about it for 24hrs solidly. Sadly, I'm knackered, so you'll have to make do with a picture of me when I arrived home tonight.
I have discovered that;
1. My hair and makeup are best best before I leave the house in the morning.
2. The light is most flattering before I leave the house in the morning
3. It's easier to pose without my husband looking at me as though I'm mad
4. My cats only love me when they're hungry

As a result, I'm going to try to take my photos in the morning in the future, and keep my cats hungry. Their love will be mine, oh yes! Ahahahahahahahahahaha
Top - Zara
Cardigan & trousers - Marks and Spencer
Shoes - Poetic license

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Wednesday is Vintage day

I often make an effort to wear something lovely and vintage on Wednesdays as my fabulous friend Jamie comes in. As Jamie has a vintage shop and impecable taste, I'm able to use her as a style barometer.
So, today I wore my new blouse and some highwaisted trousers in a vague attempt at a 30s look. Even though it made me 10 minutes late to work, I stopped to take a picture this morning! You can see I'm squinting because I'm still half asleep.

Blouse - Homemade (woot!)
Trousers, Gloves, Scarf - Marks and Spencer
Shoes - Clarks

I've also decided today that I'm going to venture out of Bristol for once (I know, I'm getting my vaccines) for Halloween. I'm going to attend 'Don't Dali with the Devil' at The Fox in Shoreditch, London.  

The dresscode is as follows;

Anything goes, as long as it's peculiar and old-fashioned! Victorian Steampunks, WWI soldiers and aviators, Cabaret Voltaire performers, Dadaists, surreal artists & their muses, elegant & otherworldly creatures. Vintage outfits from the 1920s to the 1960s are all welcome.

So, I need a costume! My first idea was Amy Johnson, the famous aviatrix. However, sheepskin lined jackets aren't really nightclub wear, so I'm thinking again.
Any ideas?
Drop waists are out, but otherwise most things go!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Highly recommended

Spitfire women - showed last night on BBC4

During World War Two, a remarkable band of female pilots fought against all odds for the right to aid the war effort. Without these Spitfire Women the war may never have been won.
These trailblazers were part of the Air Transport Auxillary, a thousand-strong organisation that delivered aircraft to the frontline RAF during Britain's darkest hours. Every day, responsibility fell on their shoulders to get the planes to the fighters which often pushed them into dangerous and even deadly situations.

Using interviews with the last few surviving veterans, archive footage and dramatic reconstruction, this documentary brings to life the forgotten story of the ATA. The resilience of these women in the face of open discrimination is one of the most inspiring and overlooked milestones in women's rights. Their story is one of courage, sexism and patriotism, but above all a story about women who want to break the confines of the world they live in and reach for the skies.

 This documentary included Amy Johnson, the first recorded equal pay for women, and some remarkable real life stories. I loved it! Watch it while you get the chance!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Finished projects

So I thought it was about time I got round to posting some pictures of my finished projects!
There are additional pictures on Flickr and reviews on

Butterick 5209
I made this in green crepe backed satin. I really like this dress but I struggled so much I don't think I'll bother making another dress from this pattern again. I wore this at Vintage at Goodwood and got quite a few compliments but I think I'd like to make some adjustments to the bust line before I wear it again. Pictures

This dress is fabulous. I loved the pattern and the fabric and how it looks on. I've had bucket loads of compliments about this dress and it's easy to wear for lots of occasions. I'm definately going to make more dresses from this pattern. Pictures

This top, after a year of faffing and procrastinating, is finally finished and fabulous! I went against the instructions and used a medium weight wool. This has made a warm and snuggly winter top but did mean that the pin tucks asked for weren't possible. The pleats I did instead haven't given the shape I'd hoped for, but it's a minor point. My homemade satin bias binding was a nightmare to stitch on, particularly as I couldn't be bothered with the hand stitching and as a result it's come out a bit wonky in places. I'm planning to wear this top to work this week. :D Pictures

Sunday, 19 September 2010


My new favourite hobby for wet Sundays is going on little trips on Google Street view. Last week I did Vegas, today I'm going to Paris (I recommened you start at the Sacre Coeur).
My husband has coined this activity 'Byte-seeing', and I quite like that! I thought I'd share a beautiful town we drove through yesterday on the way home from the wedding. There was a fire on the motorway so we took a rather extended detour through the countryside and came through Henley-in-Arden. It was so beautiful I had to take some pictures from the car.

It's well worth a look - it's so old and pretty. Every building is leaning at a slightly different angle. If you fancy a visit, start here and go either way along the main road. You won't be diassapointed. It's about as lovely as old English towns get!

View Larger Map

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Wedding bells and bombed out buildings

I had a wonderful time at my friends' wedding last night. One of the benefits of having both halves of the couple for 10 or so years was that their friends were my friends too. It's been a while since we were all together, so the occasion was extra special.
I wore my 1950s repro dress, made by my good friend Jamie of Gimme Shelter! boutique and vintage dressmaker. The hat is an eBay purchase from America. I threw on a topshop 40s inspired cardie for the chilly night air, although I warmed up pretty quickly once I was dancing. The full skirt and pettycoat were fabulous when I did some reasonable dancing and twirling with my multi talented dancing friend, Sanjay. They were less cool when I was headbanging to The Prodigy, when the late 90s rock came on and we relived our 'alternative' youths. Watching the Groom mosh in a kilt was worth the torturous journey there all on its own.
Indian/Scottish metal dance-off

The next morning a group of us went to visit Coventry Cathedral. During the war most of Coventry was destroyed in one night by bombing. The Cathedral was gutted, only the outside walls survived and it's been left as a monument, with the new Cathedral build on the side. It's quite beautiful to look at now, though very sad. There are lots statues and bible quotes about war, peace, forgiveness and reconciliation in and around the ruins. Well worth a visit if you're in the area.

And just to illustrate that Coventry doesn't all look this nice (a legacy of hurried and cut-price building post war), here's a picture of the Toy'd bring your child here right?

Friday, 17 September 2010

Things I've done this week

In no particular order.

1. Received my Wearing History Panties pattern. I've been wearing my Kiss Me Deadly girdle and because it comes so high, my underware just doesn't work with it. I figure the best solution is to get some genuine 1940s shorts to wear instead! I love the pair with plain legs and am planning several pairs in satin and flannel as recommended. I might make some of the bloomers to keep my thighs warm in the cold!

2. Oggled lots of other people's sewing spaces over at Blue Gardenia. I love being nosey and this satisfies that and my love of craft rooms! I'm really interested in these sewing boxes that Gabriella has her patterns in. I've never seen them before but I want some!

3. Had my eyebrows threaded and my nails painted. Essential maintainance stuff and good prep for the wedding I'm attending tomorrow! I feel so much better when I've got all my primping up to date!

4. Bought a red beret from Accessorize. The assistant in the shop was trying one on next to me and was really nice about my outfit and how the hat looked. She made my day, even if she was just trying to make the sale!
5. Visited Ikea and planned my new tv/dvd/cd unit. As well as a stand and dvd racks, we're going to build (!) some shelves ourselves to fill a large alcove to put all of our books on. Not being DIY savvy, this is a big project for us, but it'll give us more space and make tidy our books up.

6. Made some progress on my current cross stitch project. I'm making one of the samplers from Moira Blackburn. It's taking an age to work through. I'm working on a space that's about 1/4 of the total area to be stitched and it's taken me months! I'm really pleased with how well it's turning out though, and the colours of the silks are so beautiful it's a pleasure to work on. It's perfect in front of the TV work!
7. Had my 4th tutorial for my History A-Level. I'm really enjoying it, and I've gone from 1906 through to 1922 so far. It's amazing to see where the political world today came from, and the changes in society during that period. Sadly Votes for Women is something that we're only touching on and I'd like to cover it in a lot more detail, but I don't really have the time to read into the details too much. Hopefully when I've done the exams I can take the time and do my reading then.

8. Watched First Light on Tuesday. First Light is the dramatisation of a book by one of the youngest pilots in the Battle of Britain. It follows his short and brutal experiences in 1940 and 41 and the effect the horrors he saw had on him. It's a great drama and all the more poignant for the fact that it's true. The snippets of the Geoffrey Wellum talking today made a difference. His last line in particular made me think.
"Nobody wants a medal. Nobody wants a thank you. But it would be nice to be remembered. Because then you must remember us all, and not just those who survived”.

9. Wore winter tights with a skirt to deal with the cold-but-sunny days we've had this week. My favourites are these grey cotton tights with lacy diamond patterns through them. Warm but not too heavy. Perfect for autumn!

10. Had a wonderfully girly night in with Millions Like Us. It's a film made during the war and, although it has an unmistakable edge of moral boosting propoganda, is an absolute delight. It's the story of one very ordinary girl who goes to 'do her duty' for the war and ends up in a very unglamourous factory. It's very funny in places (there's a fantastic tongue in cheek description of oranges at the start which I thought was genius), and sad, and interesting. From a fashion point of view it's great because of how ordinary all the girls are - for once this is high street and not couture fashion we see!
I laughed so hard at the lead character's day dreams about her as a beautiful nurse, a hard working WREN or a dashing ATS driver, each time with some handsome officer alongside. It's so true to (my) life! There's a fantastic review at Cargo Cult Craft, which is also where I stole the picture from. Go read what Susannah has to say. I really couldn't have put it better myself.