Saturday, 21 June 2014

Share In Style "Gold" - Turquoise & Gold Assam Tea Dress

Golden sunshine in the morning - perfect for my dress with golden accents

In my previous post I wrote about the "Share In Style" project I was invited to by dear Rosy. I wanted something Asian or Oriental inspired. The lanterns and flowers on my fabric looked somehow like that, and the name of the fabric (printed on the selvage) said something like "Geisha". In my previous post you can see the golden accents on the fabric much better.

My pattern, Simplicity 4087 from 1952, was till in factory folds that came in a rather large size 20, but I though it would be easier to downgrade it slightly than to enlarge it. (Wrong - I'm not good at adjusting patterns, neither this or the other way.) The oblique wrap front and the collar remind slightly of Asian dresses with frog closures and mandarin collars, but I didn't want the dress to look too much like a Chinese cheongsam. Now it's a rather "Oriental" dress in tea dress length.

I should NOT cut my fabrics in the late evening after a hard work's day... I made a small mistake, but I guess most people will not notice. :-) In the end, I even like it better this way.

I made the facings of bodice and skirt and the side pockets in a contrasting colour, and that the facings would just show a tiny bit. I love this tiny detail.

But I didn't have any matching buttons. I have a lot of buttons, but they had either the wrong colour or the wrong size. I decided not to lose too much time searching around and make some fabric covered buttons instead. You can't go wrong with them. 100% matching. Doing this, I thought I could make a fabric covered belt buckle as well, as I knew I didn't have a matching one. To be honest, I didn't wear belts very often when I was younger, but they are an absolute must when it comes to vintage dresses! And this one is even reversible! While I was looking through my buttons I found a pack of turquoise seam binding from the 1950s - and in the perfect colour.

The shoes are authentic ballerinas (if there is such a thing like "authentic" ballerinas...), made by Porselli in Milan. They also make the ballet shoes for the dancers at the famous La Scala opera house which is right next to their shop. (And they also have tutus for little girls and all that stuff that makes you want to dance...) However, today I wished I had bought a golden pair as well...

I chose a golden tan vintage hat and goldtone vintage earrings made from brass. They also have a small amber rhinestone that looks lovely with the hat and the golden accents on the fabric. In the end I forgot to take my purse with me for the pictures... But I had a lot of golden morning sunshine!

Yes, side seam pockets! I had to overcome my phobia...

Just as a footnote: the flags on the pole are from Switzerland (I'm Swiss) and Italy (my husband is Italian). Mostly it's the Swiss flag only. My husband is insisting on doing that, even though he lives here as a foreigner. The night before, there were two games for the world championship in football (soccer), and both Italy and Switzerland played. (Haha, and both lost...)

I should have "photoshopped" the wrinkles... ;-)

I got my dress finished very late somewhere between Friday and Saturday. Well, it WAS Saturday already, but it was worth working late. I definitely will make and wear more dresses again.

I love the traditional afternoon tea as it's custom in many countries, especially in GB. And I love tea! So, now I'm just waiting for an invitation to an afternoon tea. :-)

And here are the pictures of what the lovely and talented Rosy made for the "Share In Style". Isn't that dress wonderful? Just a golden ray of sunshine on a wonderful sunny day. I love the fabric that has a vintage vibe! She is very photogenic and is blessed with beautiful locations on her Spanish island to take those marvelous pictures. Isn't that gorgeous?

I love the buttons!

Rosy created this lovely collage of both of us in a similar pose with our dresses. Thanks! Of course she does much better, I guess she has far more experience than me - I usually get embarrassed when being photographed, and it will take some time to get used to pose in a decent way without making funny faces.

Pattern: Simplicity 4087 (size 20, adjusted)
Fabric: true vintage cotton print by Avon, "Geisha"
Belt buckle: upcycled vintage fabric covered buckle
Hat: vintage hat bought on Ebay
Earrings: true vintage screw-backs bought on Etsy
Shoes: Porselli, Milan

The dress is worn with a petticoat.

Photography by my husband


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Share in Style Announcement

Yesterday I was asked by my lovely friend Rosy from Sewingadicta if I would like to be her partner in "Share in Style". I had seen her wonderful contributions to those projects a few times, but had no idea what it was about really. Not before she asked me.

Just a few words about Rosy. Rosy is living on a beautiful Spanish island and she is an amazingly skilled sewer and very talented crafter. She even does hand-painting on fabrics that are made into dresses, and she makes her own hats - isn't that wonderful? (I have a vague suspect she's a master of the art, and I guess it's about time I ask her to find out. Her creations are amazing, and she makes the drafts for many of her dresses by her own! I like the fact that she proofs that women beyond 40 can look absolutely splendid. Wearing vintage inspired items is not only for twenty-something year old, but also for mature women.) So being her partner would certainly be not only a huge honour, but also lots of fun.

Now, I would have said "yes" in a heartbeat, if it had not been for the motto of the next "Share in Style" project: Gold.

I would have to lie if I said I disliked gold. Gold is my favorite materials - on jewelry. I think it has something to do with my Celtic ancestors that adored gold over any other material. (Yes, in Switzerland, we had Celtic tribes as well, the Helvetii in my region, only that they melted away to submerge with the Romans, but this is just the historian in me that goes wild once more...) I love the buttery look of pure gold.


But gold on clothing? An absolute no-go. As you may know, I'm a curly red-haired, and it would simply look too exaggerated on me. I once bought in what I recall a fashion frenzy a golden lamé shirt for Christmas. Believe me: I never wore it. I had it in my wardrobe for about  two years, feeling guilty about the purchase, and then I gave it away to some charity shop.

Now, as dear Rosy came up with the question and I always love a good challenge, I had a look at my stash to get some idea if a participation for that obviously rather delicate motto would still be possible.

Guess what I found? Not only one, but two authentic vintage fabrics that had golden accents on them. (I have a few more, modern ones from Japan.)

The first one is an amazing barkcloth I bought on Etsy, and compared to other bark cloths it was almost ridiculously cheap very inexpensive. For a stay-at-home mom of two little ones - I have no proper income - it was a lucky find! It is 5 yards long, and it has the most adorable pink flower sprigs on a decent grey background and golden splatters all over the fabric. The fabric is from the 1950s, and even after such a long time and having been laundered after I got it, the print, including the olden accents, looks so gorgeous. And I'm absolutely in love with the "rough" structure of the material!

However, as it's a barkcloth - therefore rare - and also suitable for a less summery project, so I would like to save it for a different project.

The other fabric is an Asian inspired turquoise dress cut print, also from the 1950s. It seemed to be new, newer used nor laundered when it arrived. Still so beautiful after so many decades!

Dress cuts were pre-cut pieces of about 5 yards length that could be bought back in those times to make a dress. This makes sense, as most patterns of the 1950s require 5 yards of material.

The aqua blue background features white flowers and oriental lanterns in shades of purple and blue. The motives are highlighted with metallic gold.

It still had this paper tag pinned to the selvage...

I bought this fabric because of it's Oriental touch, not being sure what to make of it, and certainly not because of the golden accents that require the right pattern to avoid being too tawdry. I guess this will be a lovely material to create something nice. Otherwise it will be in my stash for another 60 years...

So I agreed to join this "Share in Style" with Rosy. I even think I have some lush gold jewelry to accomplish my outfit once it's finished.

Wish me luck I make in time. I still have to sew a pair of bermuda shorts for my husband's upcoming birthday!

If you're interested to participate, there are only very little "rules". Create your outfit from "off-the-rack" clothes or by making it yourself, have fun and share it with other that love to dress in a special way. Doesn't have to be vintage. :-) Just check Rosy's post about the guidelines.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Vintage Playsuit Sew Along - Fabric Inspiration

Stripes are always nice - perfect for that nautical look!
Large florals for a summery flair

Border prints! 
And Hawaiian prints for a perfect tropical look! 

Looking at photos, pattern envelopes and drawings in sewing magazines as in my previous post can provide you with loads of ideas about the materials and patterns that could be used on a playsuit set. Of course, as a vintage lover and historian, I have a small "collection" of true vintage fabrics, but I guess for a play dress that is made of several garments as a short suit, a skirt, a top just need some more yardage than an "average" vintage dress. And not knowing if I will love to wear that playsuit, I'm not really sure if it's worth using my treasures for it.

So I decided to look through my fabric stash. There are some fabrics that are out of print since years, like this gorgeous Japanese Hawaiian print in navy and white. Just for that extra bit of summer feeling on a playsuit... Just like one of those amazing Alfred Shaheen Hawaiian dresses from the 1950s I adore. And not just a dress, but a whole playsuit set!

I have a re-print of a Shaheen fabric, but I would like to use it one a proper Hawaiian dress and not for the playsuit set.

Or shall I make a rather tropical suit, but in decent colours? One that could be worn even in not-so-tropical Switzerland without being ridiculous?

These two-toned fabrics have a rather classical Hawaiian look, even though the green one is more in a damask style, but pine-apples are so typical for Hawaii, but then, this is too much Aloha for my project. 

Shall I go for this one? But it doesn't drape as nice as I would like for the skirt.

Or I could use this one. Making a full skirt and pair it with solid short pants and halter top in green or teal. Or even purple.

I guess it will be either this one or the following. They both have a summery look without looking too tropical and they offer many possibilities to be combined with solids. Besides that, they are both of the right quality, not too soft, not too stiff, not too thick or thin...

Did I ever mention I have troubles taking decisions?

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