Nov 22, 2013

Life before me - objects from the drawers of my 100 year old sewing machine

I think anyone who has bought an old piece of furniture will understand that odd thrill to find something in the drawers.

I was very lucky when I bought Ms White, the former owner -- how many have there been since she was made in 1906 I wonder? -- hadn't gotten around to restoring her, or sorting through the junk in the drawers.

And admittedly it was mostly junk - but correct me if I'm wrong, it's the endless possibility of what might be within, than what's actually going to be, that drives the nosey/curious/dreamers like myself. As if we can make a connection to lives gone before through the things they leave behind.

Most fortunately for me my White VSIII sewing machine came with a nearly complete box of rust-free sewing feet, (most of which I have no clue at this stage how to use) and two bobbins for the shuttle. Not many bobbins, true, but better than none.

Other items of note were: vintage rag-rug tools, two steel corset bones, a fountain pen nib, Bakelite buttons, a spool of silk thread on a wooden cotton reel, and a tiny squirrel jewellery charm.

What's the best thing you've found 'left behind'?

Nov 19, 2013

Garibaldi Shirt project - Shaping the back

With making a Garibaldi-"Franenkstein shirt" being a shirt made up from several commercial patterns, I just wasn't feeling the way the back was progressing with the patterns I have gathered so far.

Although I haven't found any photos/illustrations which are speficially of the back of Garibaldi shirts, it seems to me the common back piece of 1850s and 1860s bodices have curving side-seams, so that the main back piece forms a sort of triangle. I really like the look of that cut too.

So in order to get that look I'm adding another pattern to the mix: Simplicty 4900 .

Simplicity 4900, which I have borrowed, has that triangle back in its dress pattern. Although it doesn't have the drop-shoulder I wanted. But somehow I managed to trace a new back pattern piece by blendingthe back from Simpilicty 4900 with the drop shoulder in the Very Easy Vogue V8193 back piece.

I don't know how I managed it, but it seems to be working...

Nov 15, 2013

The Perfect Apron

My handmade birthday present of choice this year has been aprons - partly due to getting a ruffler foot for my sewing machine, and what could be better suited to ruffles than an apron?

I came across "The Perfect Apron" by Robert Merrett at the good old Dunedin Public library and for my sister-in-laws B'day whipped up (10 hours! ack! I'm so slow) an apron based on the Hot Lips cocktail pattern. My only change was to add a pocket - using the pocket pattern Floral Dance from the book.

the apron I made for my sister-in-law

My youngest niece just loved it and wanted one too (not the niece who wants the Marie Antoinette dress). I gave her the book and she picked out Gypsy Spirit.

My only change was to make the design reversible and again use the Floral Dance pocket. It took me about seven hours to complete - not including the pocket.

She loved it, wore it all night as we played 'shop'. And when my hubby went around to their place the next day, she was still wearing it.

reversible apron for my niece

Nov 12, 2013

Opshop score! Wedding Patterns

Recently I acquired 3 - yes three - wedding type sewing patterns from the op-shop, Orphans-aid international, located in South Dunedin for $2. Money well spent I feel. No, I have no plans to make a wedding dress, but I couldn't help but notice the sleeves and skirts do resemble Victorian styles.

Despite my glee at obtaining such a neat haul of patterns, it feels wrong somehow, getting wedding dress patterns from an orphan's charity...

Style Patterns  - No# 1204. "Misses [Wedding] Dress or Bridesmaid dress". circa 1976
Simplicity - No# 7389. "Misses Bridal and Bridesmaid dress". circa 1977
Simplicity - No# 9050 "Brides' and bridemaids' dress". Circa 1989.