Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pretty Girls Rock Dresses Star of the Day!

Wow! I became PGRDress Star of the Day today! Thank you so much girls! :D

In case you have not heard of the challenge:

"Returning to the Grace and Charm of Our Mothers and Grandmothers"

PGRDresses Mission:

1. We will ROCK dresses (skirts) and  CUTE SHOES (heels and/or flats)  like our mothers and grandmothers at least THREE (3) days a week.
2. We will reject the IMPULSE to throw on jeans, jogging suits (EVEN THE CUTE KIND),  and dress slacks.
3. We will exchange our revelations and thoughts throughtout this challenge. 
4. We will invite our friends to join.
5. We will include our daughters and young women we mentor.
6. We will take Pictures and Have FUN!!!!
7. Everyone is welcomed to participate.
Exceptions: Flattering/Very Feminine Dress Suits are ALLOWED. 

The above text is taken from the Pretty Girls rock Dresses, LLC blog, where you can read more about the challenge, the mission, and the PGRDress Stars!

And here's a pic of me from last summer, for good measure and for the flowery dress!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Made the muslin work... then made a dress!

Yay, I managed to make the muslin work! A lot thanks to my mum, who scanned and emailed me some of the papers from her pattern book, along with my old sketch of a pattern!

There were a lot of alterations that I needed to make and/or combine that were not even mentioned in either the pattern book from the 50's or in other books I have on the subject. But anyway, now it works. So I could not help myself but to test it right away! I was supposed to work on my thesis today...that did not happen. Dress happened. :)

I had just gotten a small piece of vintage fabric in the mail, I won it in an auction on Tradera (like ebay, but the Swedish version), super cheap! However there fabric piece was small, really small. 90*100cm, that is. I used my new pattern, cut it almost without any seam allowances and hoped for the best... Since both my bust and hip measurements are right about 100cm, this was a bit of a chance. But I figured, if I can't fit into it, I can sell it or give it to a smaller sized friend :) Apart from it being very short, I think it turned out great! Obviously it is not a 50's kind of dress, but, hey, it's a dress!

Here's a bunch of pics!

My old pattern design... Still needed to fix a few things after that one.

Monday, March 28, 2011

First muslin: major fail

Haha, making the first muslin from my attempt at a base pattern was an absolute disaster. I think I tweeked it 13 times and it still didn't look right. It's the boobs, I know it. And the fact that I'm not of average hight.

Like I said yesterday, the pattern making instructions in this book are not as helpful in the actual mathematical construction department as one could wish... Now I remember why the last time I did this, I spent a whole day on the floor with paper, calculator and different kinds of rulers, both straight, curved and for measuring angles...

Anyway, so instead I started to search the web for size charts, especially ones for tall women, like me. Which of course just made me mad, because A: no such size chart seem to exist these days, B: as soon as you start searching for women's tall sizes, a bazillion of ads for big-and-tall clothing appears ("hello, are you a huge ogre? come shop in our store, we accept you just the way you are..." *please observe that this does not mean I dislike bigger sized girls - it's just annoying to me because I know I'm tall, not big...*)

I just hope I can manage to get this base pattern working so that at least the things I sew can be super well fitted! The problem I am trying to fix now is to get the waist to connect beautifully both to the bust and the hip. Quite hard... Worst case, it will have to wait until easter when I go back home to mum and dad. There I'll have the pattern making book mum had, with both measurement charts for short, medium and tall women as well as some more details in what other measurements I need to make the pattern work...

Updates on my "progress" will come soon! :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Pattern Book

This weekend I started to take the things I had read in my new (old) pattern book into practice! Project number one: make my own base pattern and try with a (wearable) muslin!

Since making patterns from scratch requires both some drawing skills, some math skills (to make sure all angles are right) and some guts to take your own actual measurements... I had put it off for a while. Or, well actually I have made one like this before, using my mothers book from when she studied pattern cutting. That book was way more detailed in how to make all the measurements right than the one I own now, so this took quite some time. Also that was maybe ten or twelve years ago (holy moly I am getting old!)... But hopefully it has turned out ok! I still haven't got to making the actual muslin, but as soon as I will, you will see how it goes!

Apart from the book not being very helpful with the mathematical part of pattern cutting, it is a GOLDMINE! It was printed in 1956, and is full of designs and pattern ideas for loads of 50's style tops, dresses and jackets!

Here are some pics!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Matching jacket for my 30's pants!

I sewed the jacket today! (First I was a good girl and did about 2/3 of my home exam... it's due tomorrow afternoon, so I will be finished with that in time too :) ) It feels really good to get back into the sewing habit, and be able to make things rather quick. This took me about three hours (but there's no lining...)! I'm still thinking about whether to put a ribbon in the front to tie it with or if I should just leave it open like this... Suggestions?

I am super happy with how the outfit turned out.. I think it looks so old style, classic and cute! If you scroll down, you find the whole story about the fabrics, the cutting, the pattern I used and all that stuff!

Here are a few pics of me in the pants and jacket!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Finally the pants are done!

Wohoo, they are finished! These pants took such a long time to make, not because they were particularly hard to sew but because I got so bored somewhere after sewing all the big pieces together. I only had some details left to do.... and didn't touch my machine for a week. But anyway, the inspiration is back (could it be because I'm not really supposed to sew, I'm supposed to write a home exam on leadership...) and I did the rest of them this afternoon!

Here are loads of pics!

First of all, I will show you some of my inspiration for these pants! If you read my previous post, you already know that I have had the fabrics for a while, and planned to make pants and a matching jacket... The look I was aiming for was the pants of the early 30's, like in the pictures below!

(From the book Fashion: The Century of the Designer, Swedish edition)

After saying that, it is quite fun that the "fashion bible" of spring 2011 (from swedish Elle magazine) shows this.

But now, over to my own work! Here are the details for the bottom edges of the pants. There were not enough fabric so I had to make pieces that added on just enough length for the hemline... Perfectly annoying task, but it turned out good!

Unfinished pants...

Cute and cuddly little helper, happy seamstress

And then... They were done! Yay! And here is what they look like...

There are a few weird folds in the last pic, but thats just because I'm standing a bit twisted... And also the zipper isn't perfect, but hey, these are the first pants I make since... um, high school?

Nice huh? I love them! Next project - the tiny jacket to go with! (Or, well next project: home exam, but after that!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book about pattern cutting plus new dress plans!

I had a bit of a drama yesterday... I was bidding - very last minute - on a book about pattern cutting from 1956 on Tradera, the Swedish equivalent of Ebay. And don't you think someone placed a much higher bid when there was about 30 seconds left! So I lost it. Absolutely furious I started to search the web for anywhere I could possibly find the book... I had almost given up when I found it through a second hand bookshop. Wohooooo!!! Hopefully it will arrive tomorrow, then I can bring it with me on the train home to my family this weekend so I can study some great vintage pattern cutting techniques!

I also bought some fabric today in a thrift store, a very light cotton with both stripes and flowers. I hope to be able to create some 50's take on using the fabric in a similar way it was used in this dress from 1774, and to fold in the flower pattern in the bodice so it  will be only striped and then let the flowers come out of the folds in the skirt and probably around the bust as well...

The picture is taken by me and is from an exhibition at V&A museum in London in 2008

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What I'm working on...

My new project is going to be another 70's style look! The pants are inspired by 30's flare pant style from the beginning, but patterns for that, as you can imagine, are not so easy to find... This time i will do the flare pant and a (very small) blouse/jacket. Both my fabrics I FOUND! Someone had left a whole plastic bag of fabrics by the recycling containers outside my old appartment when I lived there - Of course I took the bag! Most of the fabrics were bits and pieces left over from other projects so to make these garments I needed all my old improvising skills when it comes to altering patterns and using the fabric in a very economic way. No wasting here :)

Here are some pics from laying out the patterns and doing the cutting. The plan was to use Simplicity 6193 for both the pant and the jacket...

...that did not work... so, pants only.

Next problem: Blue fabric turned out to be L-shaped... After some cutting and puzzling i managed to make two front and two back pieces... but they are too short. There is a little bit of blue fabric left, so I will use that to make something that looks like it's there on purpose at the bottom of the legs... I also took some pieces of the second fabric to make a band or ribbon (I don't know which word is better in english, the dictionarys were not so helpful) along the side of the leg.

And the jacket? I unfolded the rest of my second fabric - oh, is this it? Jeez Louise! But ok, scrapped the jacket plan, looked through the pattern pile - found a blouse I could use as a base for something. Yay. Now look at how much fabric I had and how I cut the pattern...

Yeah. This is the pattern I used:

And this is the amount of fabric I have left after cutting both pants and blouse...

Wish me good luck!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Yay! My 70's shirt dress is done! And I am not too big for it, even more yay! (I was really worried for a while, since the sizes then were not the same as they are today, especially considering waist measurements...)

Here is what it looks like!

And if I want to add a little colour to it... I just add a scarf! Just like in the old days :)

I have already started on my next project, couldn't keep my hands off. I will stay in the same era for two more garments... You will get to see what it's gonna be next time!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Project 70's shirt dress almost done!

Finally! My first project where I actually used a pattern all the way! I'm usually into finding my own solutions - which works really well until you are to do something a bit more complicated than a simply constructed or draped dress...

So - after looting a bunch of vintage patterns from Tradera, the Swedish Ebay site, I decided to start with this classic 70's shirt dress! It was a lot harder than I thought, but loads fun! This is the pattern I used: (STIL no. 6387)

And this is my result so far:

Only thing left is sewing the buttons in and sew the buttonholes. Oh so boring - but in a few minutes a friend of mine is coming over, we will be having coffee and cookies while sewing and crocheting, that will make it sooo much more fun! :) 

Next post I will show you the finished result!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


So - this is my attempt at making a blog that will revolve around all fashion-y things that can be hand made.

When I was a kid, my mom knitted probably a hundred sweaters, made crochet cloths and sewed a lot of things. Because of her and of my never ending desire to create, my love for classic and vintage clothing, and a dream of a wardrobe that fits me, I sew.

For those of you who wonder, the reason I want to write this blog in English, and not in Swedish which is my native language, is that I want to connect with other people around the world who share my passion for these things.

Here are some of the things I have made so far... (Sort of a "best of...") But this is only the beginning!

Super simple dress, made in one evening, feb '11

Formal dress made for my friend for her studentexamen, which is compareable to an American High School graduation. Made spring '05

Medieval themed dress, in three pieces: undergarment, apron, and dress that ties in the front. Made winter '09

Dress made for a friend in '07, the reason I am in it is that I wanted to keep a picture of how it was constructed before I gave it away!

Simple 50's style summer dress, made in '08

My own studentexamen dress, worn in '04, but I think it was made in '02 or '03... Long ago...

And finally, my cute sister in her studentexamen dress, made and worn spring '07

That's it, my first post on this blog. I am currently working on a 70's dress, you will see it as soon as I'm done! (Unless I'm too fat for it!)