Stashbusting Sewalong 2015 – I’m in!

Stashbusting Sewalong Challenge Button 2015.pngOkay, I KNOW I said I wouldn’t be making any New Year’s resolutions or anything like that, but when I read about EmSewCrazy’s Stashbusting Sewalong on Béa’s blog this week, I couldn’t resist!  I’m as much of a fabric junkie as the next girl, despite my meagre budget and attempts to keep my hoarding under control.  So this is the PERFECT challenge for me!

Given how spectacularly I failed to rise to the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge last year (I sewed NO vintage patterns and ONE vintage fabric), I’m wary of setting my bar too high this time.  I’d really like to actually complete this challenge: not only to ‘clear the decks’ of fabrics that I’ve had for ages, but also because I do pretty much LOVE all the fabrics in my stash and would be so happy to be wearing them instead of sighing over them!

So, here’s my pledge: “I, Sarah Star, commit to using at least 5 fabrics from my stash for dressmaking projects in 2015, and I also commit to not buying any new fabrics until I’ve completed at least 2 projects”  

Anyone else joining in? – Would love to hear your plans! 🙂

Vintage sewing patterns treasure trove!

reposted from 27 Oct 2014

Remember last month, I mentioned that I’d spent a happy evening rummaging through a treasure trove of vintage patterns at my friend Jas’s?  Well I also took LOADS of pictures to share with you!  CHECK THESE OUT!60s&70s Along with a gorgeous batch of funky 70s wear, I also fell in love with a whole bunch of Vogue Designer originals from the 60s, and even some 40s and 50s lingerie patterns that had belonged to Jas’s mum, with all the pieces and instructions (not that they gave many!) still complete:40slingerie

We managed to find a few of these older ones on Vintage Pattern Wiki, but the daywear dress below left, with half the number missing, we couldn’t track down.  Judging from the style I reckon it must be 1950s.  Any info, anyone?50sDress&slips

Now, what about these Vogue Designers from the 1960s?  Here’s a Belinda Bellville from 1969.  She was the founder of Bellville-Sassoon, went on to design for the likes of Princess Di and was responsible for that pink number she wore on her wedding day. Think I like her 60s styles better!belindabellville

Or this Oscar de La Renta from 1968.  Look at that styling – straight out of a cult 60s movie or what??delarenta

This next one by French design house Patou, was featured in the trendy French magazineL’Art et la Mode in 1964, as shown in the repro by Paper Pursuits belowPatou1432


Jas was obviously fond of Galitzine (inventor of the palazzo pyjamas in 1960), and has a whole bunch of her designs from the 60s and 70s.  Here are three I really love:galitzine1648galizine2123


The top two are from 1968 & 69; this last one has been hard to date, but I reckon early- to mid-70s.  It just oozes that lazy-but-glitzy-but-slightly-sleazey 70s style!

And now we’re on to my favourite decade, how about these great vest ‘n’ flares combos from Simplicity?  Gotta love a pattern that calls for ostrich feather trim on your trousers!70sSimplicity

And finally, could it be that Vogue were plagarising  channelling their own classic Stan Herman design from 1975 here, famously modelled by Billie Blair – what do you think?!V1169

70shoodieI hope you’ve enjoyed these little highlights from a truly amazing vintage collection.  Many thanks to Jas for sharing them!

Now I’m off to rethink my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge yet AGAIN….


PS – many apologies to commentors whose comments were obliterated in the Blogmove Disaster – please do feel free to re-post!

WhooHoo! Border print tunic

fulllength1So, I think you can tell from my facial expression here, how very chuffed I am with the way this make came out!  Only finished it last week and have worn it TWICE already during my recent trip down to Radnorshire.  Here I am posing outside my lovely friend Jas’s gorgeous house!backshotStill making changes to this pattern, that began life as NewLook 6086; because I was working with a border print I cut it straight along the bottom instead of slightly curved as in the original, and I think it actually works better that way.  Not enough fabric to print-match unfortunately but I still love it!  And speaking of not enough fabric… those sleeves in full:sleeveywonder

I actually re-drafted the whole sleeve for this pattern as I’d changed the armscye so much that the original no longer fitted.  I wanted shorter sleeves for this than the blue batik version, and I also tapered them slightly to get around the fabric shortage.  There wasn’t enough fabric to cut them with borders at the bottom, and in fact not even enough border left to make a cuff for each sleeve.  ARGH!!  Much measuring and mathematics followed til I worked out I could cut the border in half and make two matching cuffs of half-bottom, half-top!  Yep, I’m pretty pleased with this solution – if anyone asks, I’m telling them it’s a design feature!fullwithrosesSo that’s it, a happy summer top in a nice cool poly/cotton/something mix, perfect for long drives and evenings spent rummaging through friends’ vintage pattern stashes…. Aha, but THAT’S another post!

Wishing you all a very lovely week!  🙂

Sneak peek – Border print tunic!

So, I hear you ponder, what’s slow-sewin’ Sarah been up to lately?  Has she been moving forward with all those stalled projects she mentioned last month?  HAHAHA, as if!! 

Of course not!  Instead, she’s been rifling through her stash, looking for something that says, ‘hang on, wait for it, summer’s NOT QUITE over yet’….sideborderAnd what did I find? – This rather nice and rather short piece of border print my mum gave me aaaages ago.  Could I squeeze a version of the every-line-altered New Look Tunic out of it?  Yep!  Even if it means getting creative with the sleeves because there’s not enough fabric?  You bet!twocuffs

Oh, how chuffed I am to have made one last summer top!  I’m off visiting with a friend for a couple of days now, so will hopefully return with some blog-worthy photos of this at the weekend and give you that tunic in full…

Have a lovely week! 🙂

WhooHoo! Limeade Dress

flouncyshotYes, it’s DONE!  As reported in the comments on Project:Stalled last week, I managed to get my hand-printed Sweetheart Sundress back on track and it is now FINISHED!  Just in time for the sudden demise of summer (anyone else noticed that it appears to be autumn already??), but I don’t care, I think it looks pretty good with a cardie anywaycardieshot1I made a few adjustments to the pattern after my last make to address the fitting issues on the bodice.  I took 1.5″ out of the side seams at the top but cut a more generous curve into the centre front seam (the equivalent of an FBA, I guess!), and I shortened the bodice by 1.5″ as well.  I also left off the bias band and started the front gathers about 1″ down from the top, so as to show off my lovely hand-printed border.  I’m pretty pleased with the fit overall this time – although despite shortening them twice, those damn straps are still slightly too long!bodicedetail

I absolutely LOVE the way this lime green fabric works with the dark green print!  I had so much fun doing the block printing – such a simple thing, just using my little indian woodcut block and some fabric paint.  A word of warning though – if you accidentally splash any paint, or even the water you’ve used to rinse your brush, etc, onto your fabric, it WILL stain.  Ask me how I know…borderprinting1

Now, remember how last week my nice dotty polycotton lining was all hanging out in    half-stitched bits and pieces?  Well, check OUT how busy I’ve been with my needle!

finishedliningI always used to loathe hand sewing, but I must admit to quite getting into it having now made two of these dresses.  I’m finding that I rather enjoy stepping away from Auntie Janis for a bit and sitting by the balcony to slip-stitch a lining or hand sew a hem.  And my technique’s definitely improving, too!  And speaking of hems and linings…skirthemOoh yes, I am just a *little bit* pleased with that!!  And okay, so I AM slightly disappointed that I didn’t get it finished in time for the really hot sunny weather, but heyho, I can dress up and daydream, right?OMGSunshine

Wishing you all a Lusciously Limey kinda week! x

Project: Stalled!

stalled1Hmm… it seems that my creative life has hit a bit of a ‘summer slump’ at the  moment!

This is my latest sewing project, a second Sweetheart Sundress in lime green with hand-printed borders.  I started working on it almost immediately after the last one, intending to have it finished in time for my camping trip to Glastonbury.  I was going great guns – as you can see from the pics, I even got as far as block printing the straps and bodice – right up until the day before I left, when I hit a few fitting issues and realised there was no way it would be ready to take with me.  When I came back from my hols I was bit poorly for a week and didn’t have much sewing mojo, and now I’m worried the Limeade Dress might well miss this summer entirely!  stalled2Last week I had my brother to stay, and despite my best efforts to crack on with the project that was meant to be a housewarming-anniversary present for him & his partner, I still couldn’t get it finished in time for his visit.  This one has been many months in the making, as I have designed the whole thing myself.  I did manage to finish crocheting all the bits but now have to work out how to put them all together to make… oh you’re going to love this! … CROCHET TURTLE CUSHIONS!  Yep.  Well, they will be.  One day.stalledturtlesBack in June I also began a second Attic24 bag, which I’d intended to put in my friend’s PopUp shop along with the Magic Roundabout bag in July.  Here it is today.  Yes, it does look like an over-sized Rastacap.  No, it doesn’t have any handles yet.  Or a lining (that’s the orange fabric you can see in the background with absolutely no bag-lining-type shapes cut out of it).  And look at all those tails waiting to be sewn in….stalledbeachbagAm I alone?  Is summer just not the season for doing craftsy things indoors?!  I mean, it’s not as though we haven’t had our share of rainy days this last few weeks!  Although there is one thing I started that I reckon another rainy day ought to see me finishing, at least I hope this one’s not too beyond me…stalledfrogsWishing you all a colourful weekend! x


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!

WhooHoo! Purple Plantain T-Shirt


At last!  Some sewing has happened!  Actually this happened a couple of weeks ago but you all know how tardy I am by now…  Here I am posing by some beautiful textile art by Gill Everard in my Deer & Doe plantain T-shirt! (Follow the link to download the free pattern).

I’ve been wanting to have a go at sewing knits for ages, and was very inspired by Scruffy Badger’s lovely Dotty Plantain a while back.  I have a lot of fitting issues with tops so I was *super-chuffed* to find that this pattern worked so well for me with fairly minimal adjustments – I just added some extra width around the body and in the upper sleeves.  And speaking of sleeves, how can you RESIST a T-shirt with elbow patches??elbowpatch

I wasn’t sure old Auntie Janis (my ancient Singer Samba) was totally up to the job: I don’t own an overlocker, so I used this post from Tilly to get the stitching right.  A little practice run making a matching headband, and we were away!  I did think the whole twin-needle thing would be asking too much of Auntie J, but check this out – she did me proud!  I reckon I’m going to sew EVERYTHING with a twin needle from now on…


I absolutely LOVE this fabric, a soft cotton jersey print (in my favourite colour!) from Minerva that has washed & tumble dried OK so far.  I admit I’ve worn my Plantain to death already, and will definitely be making more.  Next time though I’ll add a couple of inches to the length to hide the old tummy bulge, and perhaps take an inch or so out of the upper chest – that neckline is just a little too low for me!

If you haven’t succumbed to the delights of the Plantain yet, I urge you to have a go!

I mean, look – funky elbow patches!  What’s not to love??elbows2