Thursday, 18 December 2014

Not the parcel wrapping I expected.

Who'd expect this in the post - it's how my copy of Barbara Johnson's Album arrived, and clearly it wouldn't fit in my mailbox. How could I fault it's secure packing.  I wondered what was in it, and was hoping it was a mystery present. Still exciting though! Inside the sack addressed to me was the book in a corrugated cardboard book box, also labelled with my name.



The book is a big slab of a thing and as it's a fascimile reproduction of her album the household accounts are interesting too. From memory they're about 60 years older than the fabric swatches she glued over the top.Not on every page either.  Nice to see fabrics that I'd wear, even if not all of them are my choice.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

the older dress pattern, from the stash

For the curious, this is the pattern I bought the bundle for, it's an un-marked mail order pattern, for a 48" bust. I'll need to narrow the shoulders more than I would if it was my size, but it might make a nice dress for at home in a lawn. Maybe, but as it's not what I'd wear to work then it'll have to wait a little longer.



Look at those step by step sewing instructions on the pattern envelope! 9 steps in total with no pictures

Vintage dress patterns staying as eye candy

That is to me they're eye candy.  Years ago I bought a job lot of pattens on eBay, to get a specific 1920s/30s dress.  In the bundle were these 2 patterns, and a couple others that I couldn't see myself wearing that I've since given away.  I love the cover art, as well as the design lines. Sadly as both are sized for a 38" bust they won't fit me even with an FBA.
Somewhere I saw the Simplicity dated to 1949, not sure how accurate that is, and the Advance looks like the same timeframe.




I could grade them to my size & alter, but I might just borrow collars & sleeves and franken pattern with another pattern me-sized.

getting ready for my summer, sewing, holiday

I've got both new dress patterns in my grabby hands, and a brooch I'd won on ebay, so the only things left in the mail is an art nouveau ariel Tshirt, and the reprinted book Fitting and Proper, bought from Burnley & Trowbridge alongwith some fabric swatches. I knew that even with the exchange rate going not so well for overseas shopping , that I might as well bags it now cos it could get worse.  If it improves, well I don't mind cos I've hankered for that book since before it was reprinted.



As well as my summer dress sewing, I've got 3 domestic tasks and a spring clean to do. The 3 aren't that exciting so I'll either do them all on a roll, powered by the thrill of achievement with the first, or I'll drag myself along kicking & screaming.
- replace my toilet seat (have it al; ready) for one with a soft close
- put together the Molger shelves that are going into the cupboard I use as a pantry.
- add the Hemnes drawer base supports to my Aneboda drawers


I've also had a flare up of an auto-immune problem so I'm also aiming for some soaks in the ocean over my hols as that seems to help (and I don't question why). 3 big sleeps to go if you include Friday night. Hormones & stress & hot days are probably the trigger. I had the blue sparkle dress, that really stressed me cos I didn't want her to be disappointed. 

Plus I've had to apply for my own job. This time as a permanent position - after 4.5 years contracting with them.  As it's state gov't, it has to be publicly advertised.  Applications closed yesterday and mentally I was prepared to come in for an interview early next week - there's minimum notification days involved for interviews.  But I think that's not going to pan out - guessing based on who I'm assuming is on the interview panel and their leave plans. I know it'll be a couple of senior staff in my unit plus someone else outside it (or 1 snr and 2 outside my unit) and what their leave is.

I'm getting help from another colleague with interview coaching cos I know I don't sell myself well.  They need to follow correct procedures so If I don't sell myself well then I can't get offered the job. This is why I've got most of my permanent jobs after temping. They go 'oooh socialised + nerd skills, lets keep her'.  Interviews, not so much.

So my 2 weeks as well as sewing includes eye check & new specs (broke my sewing distance)  with possibly a new script; haircut & recolour; visit friends up in the mountains; 2 x painful massage therapy appointments - deep tissue + trigger point. This isn't relaxing. Well, I should qualify that with afterwards I'm incredibly relaxed but not at the time. Possibly all the endorphins produced in reaction to pain. I've had 3 treatments and know how bad it'll be. But so worth it.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Plus size patterns aren't new

Though it seemed like they were after the plus-size drought of the 80s. One of the patterns in my previous post has a 52" bust, and one of the reasons I've procrastinated so badly is that I'll need to (1) copy it onto new paper and then (2)grade it down to my size and lastly (3) alter it to fit.



I've a habit of procrastinating cos I want something to be perfect, and once it's done there's a good chance it won't be. Even if the imperfections are only in the eye of myself!

I've come across other equally large vintage patterns, usually one of the mail order brands such as this Anne Adams1960s evening dress currently on eBay. Which I think is quite wearable now, depending on fabric choice and skirt length. And another 52" bust Marian Martin dress and "blouse".

I sometimes wonder if one of the reasons I thought I was so fat when I was in my late teens/early 20s is that most fashion patterns pretty much stopped at 36" bust. I was that as a teenager and then went up 38" until I was about 22/23 when I managed to lose enough pounds to be 36-24-37. Not only was I just above pattern sizes but I was an extreme 8 shape. Tiny waist but D bust and high hips. Trending more an 8 than an X if that makes sense. At a time when an androgenous shape was the fashionable one. No wonder I felt like a heifer, the fashions just didn't suit me.

Of course, I got sick and my weight bolted - so it seemed. Though it's more that the PCOS & other endocrine disorder kicked in hard, most likely cos I was so unwell. I think that whole process of believing I was very plus when I wasn't is one reason I have little shame about being plus size now.

Enough introspection, the original point of my post is to say that thanks to the internet I now have access to a whole range of plus size vintage patterns, not only in my size but beyond it.

Monday, 8 December 2014

summer dresses I might make - 6 each of fabrics and patterns

I've looked at my stash & vintage patterns (as I've failed to live up to my vintage pattern pledge this year) to see what my options are.

Here's a pic of my 6 vintage patterns of choice, and 6 dress lengths I already own. They're not in any particular order, except the top 2 patterns are in the mail to me. 


I've let my subconscious think about it which fabric and which pattern.  The top left pattern gets the martini fabric; the top right pattern gets the 4th teal/navy trefoil print and maybe the red + black print; middle right pattern gets the top splodgy print; bottom left dunno really maybe the olivey print; the bottom right gets the flowers on  black? maybe.

I may not use all patterns, but I want/ need to use all fabrics.  I can't buy another dress length until 4  of the 6 pieces are made.  Must shop the stash first!

selfish sewing, and not ashamed by that

I'm fairly shameless about my selfish sewing. Pretty much only sew for myself, or on a very rare occasion I'll sew for someone else I really care about. Yesterday I finished a formal dress for a friend's daughter, let's call her Salt. Her mum, (let's call her Pepper) was my first bellydance teacher, and I don't see her as much as I'd like now that I don't dance. Here's a link to me performing at the Mid North Coast Bellydance Festival's concert back in 2006. A duet with another long-time friend, and I was a badly dancing bloke who tried & failed to hit on her.

Anyways back on topic, Salt is recently 13, very very petite and loves the Miss Fisher tv show. I made a dress inspired by one of those dresses, though not in purple silk chiffon. I think I'm thankful she didn't want silk chiffon and instead went for a sparkle print knit (blue glitter on black). Foolishly I forgot to take a photo of the dress laying flat but there were 5 godets front & back (ie 10 in total) and I worked out that they made the hemline about 5metres (ie over 5 yards). That's 2x 50cm, 4x 40cm and 4 x 30cm godets. I made a mockup & posted it to her as they live in a city a couple hours up the coast. Pepper basted some changes to the seams (taking it in quite a bit) and marking the shoulder & neckline and posted that back to me. Cos Farrah had a rehearsal yesterday afternoon for a rehearsal I was able to take it over & deliver it in person. Salt came down with her mum so she could see the dress NOW as she was pretty excited about it.

I'm so relieved at how well it turned out, it fit (thank goodness) and she looks gorgeous. The school formal is tomorrow night and although I'll get a photo of her in it, I won't be sharing it online. I may share cropped details of the skirt though :D

Now that's done I can get on with finishing a UFO summer dress for myself. I think it was September when I started it. 3 months does = UFO in my sewing ledgers.