archive for 'shopping'
innit? not reflecting a total lack of activity, just a lull.
various things are in progress, i’m onto the second front for my cardi, i must get on with ordering some buttons.
i’m also working on a waistcoat that should have been a piece of cake, but has taken some very involved fussy cutting and an awful lot of experimenting with my latest new toy.
it’s a bound buttonhole maker, by rencrest, 1955. i assume it works the same as the widely feted dritz version, but with a lot less competition on ebay i’ve worked through a few variations, hence the electrical tape markings, to allow me to work slightly in from the very edge, which works fine for longer buttonholes (for enormous buttons!) but not so well for the 1/2 – 3/4″ ones i need to make.
i’ve been delving further into the 1940s too, fuelled by excessive reading over at the fedora lounge. i was pipped at the post to a rather fetching cc41 bra on ebay yesterday, although tbh i was grateful not only because i am still beyond skint* but also because it would have been a miracle had the thing actually fit. i was planning on rubbing off a copy, which could be tweaked as required, then selling the original on.
*the hollywood pattern book went for a good price in the end, would have been £60+ including uk shipping, thankfully. had it gone for the opening price i’d have been gutted!
i’ve been playing around with pincurls this weekend which has been a whole load of fun. i’ve always gone for “striking” hairdos, which in the past i’ve achieved with cut and colour (i think the only colour i’ve never had is green) and never spent much/any time actually styling the stuff. but i’ve recently chosen an uncharacteristically natural shade (dark brown, not my natural shade, but still… ) so i’m enjoying the chance to spice it up with more unusual styles. it’s going to take a hell of a lot bit more practice before the curls are fit to wear as they are, but i absolutely love the volume/texture it gives my mostly straight and slippery hair. i’ve been able to do this 1940s style, which i adore, entirely ratless which makes me happy
i think it’s a sign i’m on the right track that (to me, at least) i look like my grandma
returning to radio silence for a while, i expect, i have a birthday party/half term/camping just around the corner so blogging will have to take a back seat.
been shopping again
i was sold this as original 30s and although i know virtually nothing about the era i’m inclined to believe it, what do you reckon? any experts out there?
whatever it turns out to be i can’t get enough of this print, it’s got all my best colours, it has a wonderful drape (rayon) and a subtle sheen. condition is as new. can you imagine how nervous i’m going to be cutting into it?
it didn’t take me that long to mull it over
did i pick well?
thanks to rasputnik for turning a negative into a positive. i found a not-quite-so-perfect-but-similar-enough-to-be-a-contender vogue pattern and i was trying to decide between them. the vogue was in my size (yay for 40s proportions!) while this one isn’t. he asked which i’d learn most from. seeing as i’d have to grade it up the hollywood is the clear winner when you look at it like that.
why so perfect? princess line, pleats, flattering neckline, slight puff to the sleeves but not too much volume, sleeve cuffs, and i really like the side buttons. i’m sure the cute picture showing it made up in a similar print to mine doesn’t hurt at all – i don’t have to make a huge leap of imagination to be fairly certain it will work, i’m not keen to take unnecessary risks with this one.
i realise these are mostly details that could be adapted/tweaked from a similar pattern, and i even briefly considered drafting my own version, but i have a slightly more realistic assessment of my skillz at this point.
for ref, burdastyle on grading up
i’ve been hanging out more than is good for me on the vintage sewing blogs lately. i’ve always recognised the rather obvious appeal of fifties fashions, but the less showy delights of the thirties/forties are a whole new world for me, and there’s nothing i like more than immersing myself in New Stuff. so that’s how i came to be browsing etsy for 40s fabric and that’s how this little beauty came into my life.
from vintage pickle on etsy, i totally recommend this seller.
such wonderful colours, red white and blue seems to be everywhere atm (not least in vintage sewing land, susannah’s got it too). i have a favourite dress from last summer in those colours that sets off my newest tattoo a treat
i won’t be flashing it with this though, something demure and somewhat sensible i reckon, a classic forties pattern. it’s a not-particularly-drapey cotton, so i’m not sure it will work with the gathered yoke dresses i’ve recently come to love. i have my eye on a princess seam dress that looks like the perfect balance of quirky period detail with a utility vibe that plays down the girliness of the print (i fear there’s danger of straying into this kind of territory if i get carried away with the puffs and the ruffles!).
i have to hold my breath a bit though, as i don’t know if the seller will ship to me and it looks like i have competition, it’s a cute pattern. also i can’t find any yardage info for the pattern and looking at similar styles it may take more than i have. i have cunning plans though, and if i can’t squeeze it all in i’ll use contrast collar/cuffs/whatever. i read recently (i don’t remember exactly where) that it was common for wartime patterns to include a mix of fabrics, so they could be assembled from what small lengths of fabric were available, often recycled from old garments.
so fingers crossed i get the pattern, and watch this space …
apols for lack of v1044 pics – i got waylaid last night by the lure of burning stuff whilst drinking beer. hopefully i can catch a few tomorrow. may get a bit soggy though.
in the meantime, i bring you the pictorial guide to modern home needlecraft. it was my treat to myself for finishing the alice dress on time. i’ve only had a brief look through, but what really stands out to distinguish it from modern books (my edition says “reprinted 1946″) is the emphasis on “Mend and Make Do”.
the section entitled “Renovating, repairing and cutting down worn garments” is full of these kind of gems, i’m particularly taken by “camoflage for underarm shabbiness”
i also like the inclusion of underwear, something that rarely seems to get a mention these days. after being inspired by debi’s recent triumph with satinny things i get the feeling that slinkies might be somewhere on my horizon…
if you’re taken by these pics i have a few more on my flickr, or grab your own copy of mhn, can be easily found on ebay for a fiver or so.
by hook or by crook i’ll find way to make a dress like this too.
i think it’s mostly the plaid that’s calling to me tbh. there have been quite a few plaid/tartan dresses i’ve been lusting over in the last year or so, i clearly need at least one in my life. (actually, i do have one, which is sadly torn, really the best thing to do would be to fix that one, but i think it will be a tricky fix… ) but it’s also the drape of the silk that’s making me drool. i have very little in the way of silk clothing, and certainly nothing in silk satin. i urgently need to remedy that
bound seams a little much for a toile? i will be taking out the tailor tacks!
and in other news, mystery shopping
eta: heh. i wrote this before i read yesterday’s discussion on gertie’s new blog. i’ve only ever made a couple of garments for me before and i had no real idea how my measurements were likely to match up with commercial patterns. but i also knew that this pattern would take a lot of work before i could get any true sense of fit, and i’m not one to want to do the same thing twice. so i figured i’d make up the bodice in cheap but wearable cotton first, before deciding if it was worth the extra 4m ( ) for the skirt. it’s shaping up no worse than much of my rtw, perhaps a bit on the big side, but i don’t think i’m going to get a true sense of the fit, especially ease required for movement, until i’ve worn it about a bit. so perhaps not a “muslin” in the true sense of the word, but – hopefully! – wearable nonetheless.
the handweavers guild of america offers a free online copy of their journal shuttle spindle & dyepot. it’s a great read and i was particularly struck by victoria rivers‘ work. i love all the abstract layering and play on light and dark, in particular the series including “lucid awakening” that seeks to represent a hallucinatory experience under anaesthesia. i can imagine they would be just spellbinding in the flesh.
as a fully paid up member of the “ooh shiny!” school of aesthetics i find it hard to believe i don’t already own at least one copy of her book shining cloth. in an attempt to rectify the oversight i’ve added it to my amazon wishlist
but i’ve realised that for all the expensive blanket purchases i’ve agonised over i’ve never once regretted any. blankets make me happy. and this one turned out to be so much softer than i could have imagined. i even had second thoughts about exactly whose blankets they are to be – will the girls love and appreciate and care for them as much as i would? is it too much extravagance to give them such expensive things? they’d be just as happy with something disposable from ikea, right?
D suggested i give this blanket (which is nominally G’s, as M has her sights set on the orange and pink one to come) a trial run on our bed last night, that G was unlikely to notice. but almost as soon as she came up to wake us this morning (having been up for ages and fixed herself a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast ) M said accusingly “did you ask G if you could borrow her blanket?” and started chatting away excitedly about her orange one. i’m amazed she could see a thing through the blackout-blind gloom, but i guess that’s that cunning plan scuppered…
btw the quilt it’s resting on is last year’s expensive blanket impulse buy, from habitat
the fabric is nice – a standard quilting cotton from what i can see. i won’t prewash as they’re destined for a quilt and i want it to do the first wash puckering thing. the quality of the print is good, with just the faintest banding in areas of solid colour.
the colours are quite different to what i envisaged. now i don’t think this is a problem at spoonflower’s end at all, but i think it will probably be an issue that will arise again and again for them. simply because colour ?management ?profiling (see i don’t even know what it’s called!) is an arcane art to (i would hazard a guess) most of us eager-but-green users. translating screen into print is not straightforward, and i imagine there are more than a few numpties who are trying to design on laptops too
so for the record here’s how my (laptop *hangs head*) screen image translated into print:
- the image reproduced at 60% of the screen size. having read scanning101 (recommended to anyone who wants to get a firm grasp of image size/resolution etc.) i was at least expecting that. i was also expecting some colour variation but had no way to predict which way it would go.
- overall the prints came out much yellower than on screen, and more washed out. i had some strong reds that came out orange, as did my browns, pinks came out peach, oranges came out yellow. so the palette is reduced to yellows and oranges without the variation it had on screen.
- to match the printed fabric on-screen i had to crank the yellow right up, the red right down and lighten strongly
see now i’m totally lost if anyone has any pointers i’d really love to hear them…
all that said, i always try to nail the things i’d do differently next time when i post them here – i know it can come across as criticism, but really it’s me writing down everything i’ve noted during the process, it doesn’t mean i’m not happy with the outcome. i’m truly delighted with the fabrics, i think they’re cute as can be.
i wanted to make a co-ordinating range, i wanted to try various different scales, i wanted to experiment with directional and non-directional prints. i really love the large scale print, it’s absolutely something i couldn’t have bought off the shelf and i had fun designing it.
so a definite thumbs up for spoonflower, stay tuned to see how the fabrics end up – i’m itching to play with them sooner rather than later.
somebody please buy this, it is the most beautiful thing i’ve seen in months: the fishing line. if i weren’t utterly stony broke from spending all my money at spoonflower (oops!) i’d be finding many ways of talking myself into needing it. (via whipup)
if i ever get the time to prioritise working on my embroidery skills i know exactly what i’ll make: a pair of samplers, one in shades of green, with trees, each tree worked in a different stitch, ditto with fish in blue. but in the mean time, i think i can i can feel some fish bunting coming on…
*sharp intake of breath*
*adds to wishlist*
*crosses off wishlist*
*adds to wishlist*
via margaret cooter
as soon as i found out that catherine sells prints through her etsy shop i knew resistance was futile. maybe it’s her ttv work that inspired me to put the prints in thick perspex block frames, effectively placing another lens between the viewer and the image. i’m sooo happy with both the prints and the presentation.
more acquisition than creation going on around here lately, so here’s here’s the lowdown on my latest scores. (lots of pictures + not much text is prolly a recipe for disaster layout-wise, but what the hell.curtain samples for 50p each. they remind me of this amy butler fabric, and i really like the colourway, it’s fresh and very different from my usual inclinations. emmarose papery. these notecards are letterpressed and have a crisp weighty, tactile impression that oozes quality. apparently they’re opening a london office any moment. yay! superbuzzy. it was the russian doll fabric that lured me in – i’d been pining for it ever since i saw alex use it – but i appear to be in an unexpected yellow phase at the moment cos this is the one that i love best right now.
it seems to me that, when it comes to design, the victorian era is often overlooked. perhaps because it’s so ubiquitous – in the uk at least. huge swathes of our towns and cities were built in the 19th century, a quarter of us live in houses built before 1919. and if we don’t live in a victorian house, we’ve been accustomed to using victorian buildings all our lives, so much of our infrastructure – schools, hospitals, police stations, doctors’ surgeries, etc. – is housed in victorian buildings. victorian flourishes and flounces surround us; mouldings, coving, glorious decorative tiling that often survives on hallway floors or fireplaces; all are commonplace. and familiarity breeds contempt.
we only did away with the last of the surviving victorian interior aesthetic after the second world war, and not effectively like they did in the states. that dark wood furniture, those velvet curtains, those panelled doors, they lurked gloomily on for a long time. it’s stuffy, it’s fussy, it’s the antithesis of modern, and we all know how much we love modern. even those who dig old stuff tend to go for the atomic, the mid century, or simpler, rustic, country style. everyone (except perhaps the crazy quilter) neatly sidesteps victorian, it just isn’t cool.
i can’t say i’m any exception to the rule, but i do recognise that the more celebrated movements that grew out of the end of the victorian era – arts and crafts, art nouveau – had their roots well and truly in the victorian age. the modern was born out of the heart of the old fashioned. and i have a huge fondness for ceramic tiles, particularly victorian and islamic designs, which share a combination of botanical and geometric motifs, brought together with some kind of magic that must be specific to the medium (but to a degree is often echoed in textile design).
and i’ve already shared my love of browsing for original sources. so when i found a copy of f edward hulme’s suggestions in floral design (1878), a book that is apparently seminal in the development of art nouveau – most astonishingly – at a price that i could theoretically afford, how on earth could i resist?
i haven’t yet had a chance to read the text, i’ve been too distracted by the illustrations – crisp chromolithographs, many highlighted in gold. all astonishingly beautiful, and often surprisingly “modern”. sadly i don’t think i can afford to hold on to the book – i sank a chunk of my digital camera fund into the purchase, and i’m really aching to move on with that. so its stay with me will be temporary, but i’ve taken the chance to record all 52 plates while i have them, and put them into an inspirational flickr set. i’ll try to annotate the pics as i work my way through the text.
while it’s not the same as the stunning originals, the good news is that the illustrations at least are available in reprint under the title victorian floral designs in full color, although i don’t know whether the text is reproduced alongside them.
such beautiful designs couldn’t have been developed without a thorough understanding of the subject matter, and f edward hulme is probably best known today for his series of volumes illustrating familiar wild flowers, pages from which are readily available as prints. if you’re digging these as much as i am (heh, can you tell how much i dig them?) you might also be interested in christopher dresser’s studies in design, from the same era, available in reproduction.
deer are the new birds, don’t you think? the animal of choice for the discerning crafter.
fabric from gp & j baker’s gatsby collection, 92% linen 8% nylon.
after my recent whinging i decided to take myself in hand and set out to try to find affordable sources of fabric. old bedding seems to sell fairly cheaply here and you get a useable amount of fabric (as opposed to clothing, which usually has way too many seams and awkward shaped pieces to make it worthwhile dismantling). if you can stomach some poly with your cotton you can get your hands on some cracking vintage prints.
the above aren’t all vintage; the far left is current stock ikea but display damaged so a bargain, i got a single duvet cover plus pillowcases and the print is a smaller sale on the cover, which i love. some of these are simple stash building, others already have destinies. M and i are both keen to experiment with pillowcase dresses for the summer. she really wants a dress out of the balloon fabric (a duvet cover with a rather fetching reverse) which i think i’m going to find quite a challenge
a parcel arrived this morning. i was expecting it, but i certainly wasn’t expecting it to be so very beautifully presented. you should have seen my face
this is part of the reason why i love to shop indie, the time and effort that goes into every aspect of the work is tangible. it’s as though the creativity and aesthetic sense bubbles through whether you like it or not.
but you might be forgiven for missing the whole point of the package from the previous pic. what i was expecting were these:
fabulously original coral and silver earrings from boldsimple @etsy. the first earrings i’ve bought for about 7 or 8 years after i’d pretty much decided i don’t do earrings any more. how much do they rock?
ps how are the pix looking? i made my little light tent, but i think my lamp just isn’t bright enough. they’re also disappointingly grainy – although i guess that could be from being set to 400 iso, is digi the same as film in that respect? happy with the white balance though, had forgotten i had settings for that.
one of my earliest memories is being at my childminder’s house and playing with her tin of buttons. it was a huge round biscuit tin that must have held at least a thousand buttons. i could sort through them for hours at a time, matching them into sets, arranging them by colour, examining each one in minute detail. my favourites were the tiny faceted clear glass ones, victorian, i guess.
almost as soon as i had a baby i knew i had to get a button tin – for sorting, not sewing purposes – but it’s taken me until now to get round to it.
as soon as i saw this tin i knew it was the one. this isn’t the first of this design that i saw – that went for more than i was prepared to pay – but there are loads of them knocking about on ebay, although this one seems to be in unusually good nick. it’s marked CWS biscuits – co-op wholesale society. i can’t date it stylistically, i initially thought it may be 1930s but this page reckons it’s c.1910.
i have a pitifully small collection of buttons that i’ve carried around for the last 15 years, and even though it’s a small tin i thought they needed some company. so i bought buttons too.
1940s plastic buttons…
buttons on cards…
buttons by the bagful.
i’m not sure i can bring myself to let M loose with them – let alone actually split them up and permanently attach any of them to anything. perhaps i should have a few happy hours sorting them tomorrow, to get it out of my system
(that’s post in the mail sense, rather than the blog sense)
to make amends for yesterday’s whingey post and to cheer me up on a dingy stormy day i bring you new fabrics
this is the one that started it all. when i saw it on sale at equilter i knew there would be no going back. all of these fabrics are destined for a quilt for M and the huge scale of this tropical volcanic island print only works in a large expanse so it will be the backing, perhaps pieced with white depending on finished quilt size. i got 2 yards for the princely sum of Â£5 (including shipping which worked out at Â£1/yd).
tropical/mod prints to complement the theme. this is where you see my fabric dazzle – these are prints that i simply couldn’t resist, though i’ve no idea how they’ll work together in the whole of a quilt. i’m thinking tentatively of using a star design, with the showier prints at the centres, and the smaller pieces for the points out of the “supporting” fabrics. i’m also planning to group each star colourwise, to make a little order in the chaos.
M asked for orange and pink, the purple and green came from the backing fabric, i hope i can get that many colours to work together. my usual instinct would have limited the palette a little, but then there’s no such thing as too colourful for a 3 year old is there?
i was really nervous about getting an import charge on this order – i’ve had it before on fabric and it’s not so much the VAT and duty that grates, it’s that this can be doubled by an “administration” fee from the carrier. as it goes equilter split the shipment into 2 flat rate envelopes each with a value below the threshold, so even though i ended up picking mostly fabricsw that weren’t on sale, i still got a huge bargain. yay!
the quilt is part of a bedroom revamp that we hope will help a) soften the blow of having to give up space in her room for new baby stuff (room sharing isn’t immediate, but we have nowhere else to keep attendant stuff) and b) encourage her to spend more time playing up in her room. i’ve found when visiting friends how delightfully calm it is when they disappear upstairs for a while, and realised that M spends almost all her time downstairs, even when she has friends round. we’re hoping that encouraging her to want to spend more time in her room (which is the biggest in the house, although you’d never guess with the amount of stuff crammed in there for lack of anywhere else to put it) will help us all to continue living happily in our little house when there are four of us.
and here for no good reason other than i love them are some lovely presents M just received from spain.
from left: coat, top, trousers.
skirt, shirt. see, my love of prints is genetic, i can’t help it
apols for not-so-great artificially lit pics, may as well be living in a submarine for all the natural light we have today.