WhooHoo! 70s Sweetheart Sundress

front1Yes, Auntie Janis has been at it again!  It’s Gertie’s Sweetheart Sundress (from her New Book for Better Sewing), made with a vintage 1970s terylene that some of you may remember from my Vintage Pattern pledge post.label The fabric came from a local charity shop and was quite faded and worn in places – so much so that I never thought I’d be able to use it for anything except a lining.  But when I saw the Sweetheart Sundress pattern, I thought it might be possible to squeeze this out of the best bits.  So before you ask, yes, it was a sheet, and yes, it had gone a bit off-grain: so as well as having to jigsaw my pattern pieces around the fabric, I also had to do the old ‘thread pull’ technique in order to find a straight-ish edge to use as a grainline guide! grainlines2Overall, it came out rather well and I’m particularly pleased with my pattern-matching efforts on the back – not easy with a pattern repeat of this size, I can tell you!  As the front was ruched I didn’t bother trying to match it, and there was only enough fabric to match one seam on the skirt, so I chose the back one.  Didn’t get it quite right in the final sew, but check out my bodice-skirt alignment, not bad?!patternmatching The lining is also made from cotton sheeting, which gives the terylene a nice bit of body and feels wonderfully cool.  I don’t normally bother lining my summer dresses, but as it was such a fab vintage fabric I really wanted to make something that would be lovely to wear and last a long time. lining Gertie’s pattern came together like a dream, I am SO impressed with her book, not only are the patterns simple to use but the instructions are bang on.  One thing I will take with me for next time, if she tells you to do something a particular way (eg, ‘machine baste the skirt to the bodice’), I reckon it’s because she’s made this for herself and worked out that this is the best and easiest way to do it.  So PAY ATTENTION – Gertie knows best!

Anyway I was so thrilled that for once I didn’t have to worry about altering bust darts and armholes – yay!! – that I didn’t even bother making a toile.  MISTAKE?? – Well, not if I’d thought it through a bit better maybe!  I knew I’d lost a teeny bit of weight since I last took my measurements, but stupidly didn’t re-do them and made the dress (lining and all) using ones I took in January.  Result? – Potential obscenity charges for displaying unseemly amounts of both bra & contents!  For the moment, I’ve just put a tuck in either side at the top and will need to shorten the straps a little, so there’s a bit of ‘tweaking’ still to do. back1 However, that hasn’t stopped me from wearing it out not once but TWICE already, I absolutely love this crazy fabric paired with the retro-style pattern 🙂 sillypose So when I’ve quite finished striking silly poses, I may well make another!

Vintage Sewing Pattern (and fabric!) Pledge

Vintage sewing pattern pledgeThis month, the super-talented Marie over at A Stitching Odyssey has thrown down an irresistible challenge to all us vintage sewing pattern lovers – to make 2014 the year we get those patterns out of the stash and turn them into finished projects!

So I am pledging not only to make at least three of my vintage patterns this year, but also to use at least three of my vintage fabrics (not necessarily on the same projects, though).  My first picks will most likely be these Simplicity dresses from the 60s and 70s, given to me by my mum.  Luckily we’re the same size, so no major pattern redrafting required!70s simplicityAnother pattern I’d love to make up is this funky pant suit, very similar in fact to one my mum had in a deep plum worsted wool back in the early 70s.  Cool or what??70s PracticalAnd then there’s this baby, which belonged to my gran.  I found out recently it’s quite a famous Vogue original from 1964 – and yes, that really is Jean Shrimpton modelling.  I’ve had it for maaaany years, so maybe it’s about time I got it out of the envelope and gave it a go!50s VogueDo you like my 70s floral cotton/terylene in the background there??  Sadly it’s a bit faded but I’m thinking of using it to line a dress, hmm, not sure if that counts towards my pledge though!  How about this, a small piece of psychedelic synthetic jersey from the 70s?  I thought I’d use it to make the front panel of this 90s lace-up dress.  (Anything early 90s is now officially ‘vintage’, by the way – see this post from Gertie.  I’m not sure how I feel about that, myself!)70s silky with patternI also have this fabulous 70s soft cotton lawn that I’ve been wanting to make up for ages.  I only have a scant 2 ¾ yards though – I’d love to make my mum’s maxi dress with it but it’s only 35” wide, too narrow for the skirt.  Any suggestions or ingenious solutions gratefully received!70s green paisley with patternAnd finally I thought I’d leave you with my ultimate 70s fabric gem, gifted to me by my lovely friend Helen.70s pixie fabricand just to prove I’m not all talk, this really did become a (fancy) dress…pixie party dressAre any of you joining in with the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge this year?  I’d love to hear about your ideas for makes!

 

DIY decals: budget décor, 70s style

decalheaderpicDon’t you love looking through all those home decorating magazines that purport to be for ‘ordinary’ and ‘real’ folk?  You know, the ones that say things like “Sophie and Brett have a budget of just £10,000 to restyle their kitchen”.  And then do you, like me, snort and throw them across them room?!   Yes?  Well, then, this post is for you! (With apologies to any real Sophies & Bretts).

I had a budget of about £10 to restyle part of my kitchen – who remembers this horror-show pic from last month?kitchentilesThis was stage one of my kitchen tile makeover.  A tube of ready-mixed grouting cost £5, then two Dulux match pots in lime green, costing £2.30, were enough to do two coats of paint over the tiles.

Now the fun bit!  I wanted some funky, 70s-style decals to zing up the tiles, so I turned to my vintage wallpaper collection for inspirationwallpapersI chose a flower motif from the sheet in the middle, traced it onto A4 paper and scanned it into the computer.  I had to go over the pencil lines with a felt pen first though, to make them strong enough for my picture editor to be able to ‘grab’ them for a colour fill.  I could lie and say that I deliberately gave them a quirky, child’s-colouring-book look, but truth is I’m just not that good at drawing!decalprint2

I enlarged the original, printed out a batch on ordinary A4 paper, and cut them out.  I wanted quite a shiny finish, so I used glossy decopatch glue to stick them to the tiles and seal them down.  I only did every third tile so I probably used ⅓ of a bottle, about £2.decopatchgluesMeasure and mark the position of your decal on the tile, then apply glue to the back of the paper cut-out with a small flat paintbrush.  Stick the decal onto the tile and work fast, this glue dries QUICK!  Brush the decal into place with more glue, smoothing out wrinkles as you go.  Keep a jar of water handy to clean your brush after each decal, as the printer ink can run and a stained brush will mess up your lovely colours!  I put a layer of decopatch glue over each decorated tile to seal it, then once it had dried I went over the whole lot with a layer of ordinary PVA to seal the paint as well.  I used ¼ of a tube of PVA or less, so about £1.

So…..Woohooo!!!  Behold, my £10 kitchen makeover:finishedtiles1I have to say, I am LOVING my new-look kitchen!  OK, it’s not a big-budget affair, and yes, those wobbly edges do show when you get up close, but now it puts a smile on my face every day!finishedtiles2