Following on from yesterday's blog post topic of reusing, recycling, making-do-and-mending, I'm delighted to unveil my latest refashion project. This rayon crepe dress was one of the very first 1940s items in my vintage wardrobe, and the first vintage novelty print I owned. Although the waist was a little high on me, and the fit was a bit odd, I worked with it and I wore and loved it. When I noticed that the fabric was becoming very delicate and fraying through at the shoulders, I reinforced the seam, then added an iron-on interfacing and darned it in. It wasn't enough though, and the beloved dress, too delicate to wear regularly, hung unappreciated on a padded hanger in the wardrobe. Until eventually I decided that a print this adorable needed to be worn; it was time to give the dress a new lease of life.
I'm currently participating in #thevintagefashionchallenge on Instagram; this week's themes are colour-based, so this morning we made an early morning visit to Kew Gardens for a green-themed photo shoot. This dress was a charity shop score - it's a modern LK Bennett in silk jersey; I just couldn't resist the novelty key print, especially as at the time I was trying to incorporate more green into my wardrobe. Although it's clearly not true vintage or repro, the silk jersey is amazingly comfortable and I think it styles as vintage quite well.
I love warm evenings of golden sunlight and long shadows. Spring is the season of optimism and potential, the fresh green leaf and bright blossom heralding a promise of new beginnings and brighter things ahead. Mid April teased a few gloriously sunny and hot days, before spring retreated as suddenly as it had arrived, and a winter chill descended. Temperatures dropped precipitously back into low single figures centigrade. But the tide of spring has already turned and can't be held back, and everywhere you look trees and hedgerows and gardens are bursting into bloom and new leaf.
Will, packing for our camping trip to Iceland: "Tent - check. Hiking boots - check. Down sleeping bag - check. Crampons - check. Camping stove - check. Wait - how many ballgowns?!"
Iceland! Realm of magic and mystery and otherworldly scenery, inhabited by elves and trolls and fairy folk. Although our trip was planned somewhat last-minute, I set my heart on making a dress that would reflect the ethereal beauty of the Icelandic landscape - then spent a week individually hand-sewing petals onto lace and tulle. I named it the "Blómafoss" dress, which is "blossom waterfall" in Icelandic.
This was actually my first (successful) version of the boat-neck bodice from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book – a pattern I’ve now used multiple times in different variations. I made this one with fitting advice from Gertie herself at one of her dressmaking retreats in Beacon, NY, back in June last year. This is the dress I wore for my Masters graduation ceremony in July.
How long does it take to plan a sewing project? In the first picture I ever saw of Dita von Teese back in 2001, she wore a black vintage dress with enormous bows on the pockets and neckline - I’m guessing it’s a cusp late 30s - early 40s number. I fell in love with it instantly. Years later I came across the dress again on Pinterest, and saved it to my sewing inspiration file.
Happy Valentine's Day! I'm celebrating my "Perfect Match" (stripe matching, that is!) in my latest make.
This was one of my simpler makes for 2017 - simpler, that is, in the sense that I didn't spend days, weeks and months agonising over the right pattern for precious fabric, or make half a dozen muslins to perfect the fit.
Sharing some of my key 2018 sewing plans for the #2018makenine Instagram challenge. This is going to be a big year for sewing!