Monday, September 27, 2010

1950s Party Outfit

Here I am ready to go to the 1950s themed 60th birthday party for one of my dearest friends. I am wearing:
$1 skirt from Re-Store,
$2 ABBA blouse from Butterflies Hospice Shop, St Andrew Street,
$10 Satori leather belt with buckle covered in yellow satin ribbon (TradeMe).
My yellow Pulp round toed pump style shoes (TradeMe) are not visible.
Underneath I am wearing my self-styled petticoat made from a no=longer-loved-or-needed light pink tutu made for Dear D attached to the bottom of a petticoat made from an old hospital sheet, with an elasticated waist. Cost approx $5

Successfully completed projects

One of my first completed projects
knitted vest from "simple stylish knits" by Hiary Mackin (2006)

Despite all my hard work, it came up a little small on me, so it now worn happily by my 9 yr old D

New Project 3 hour Shirt Pattern

Here is my lovely kitchen table which is perfect for cutting out and sewing.

My new current project (as opposed to my other current projects which are not so new) Simplicity Three Hour Shirt

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cute Blue Canterbury Vest

On Wednesday I spotted a cute blue Canterbury wool vest at St V de P but was undecided on whether it would "fit" with my style.

By Thursday morning I had resolved that if it was still in the shop I would get it. To my pleasure it was still hanging on the rack amid Concept and Expressions synthetic polo-neck sweaters. I lovingly washed it last night and dried it on the clothes airer in front of the fire. Alas poor H found the smell made him nauseaous so it spent some time in the laundry draped over a basket until H went to bed early and I could bring it back into the lounge. By breakfast this morning it was dry.

I am delighted with it - the colour is fresh and it is a good fit. Teamed up with mens dinner shirt and To A T trousers I must say it looks quite preppy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How could I forget how much I love Bambi??

I have just found a lovely blog and commented on the delightful banner at the top of the page. Bambi. I love Bambi. I really really love Bambi.

I think I am going to hijack D's digital camera as it is small and compact and will enable me to take pics quickly. As it happens she has borrowed mine on a number of occasions to take pics of birds, lambs and flowers.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Inspired by Scotland

Today I am inspired by Scotland - wearing the kilt and the Glengyle cardi from St V de P. I never realised that my derriere feels cold sometimes, until I wore this kilt. Now I am snuggley and warm!

Last night I made my very first stuffed toy. This is the project:

I made him in blue gingham and put the seams on the outside. I am going over the seams with blue wool making my stitches all sit next to each other, and some slightly longer or shorter than others. The affect is really nice. Only major problem was the stuffing part - what to stuff it with rather. So I got out the scissors and cut off the sleeve from the finished but only partially sewn together fluffy Panda Scandal Sweater I made dear D. I did not realise that the kitchen floor would resemble a toy factory with all the hairs of light blue fluff Scandal. However, it all stuffed into the little dog reasonabley well. A bit of the stitching on the chest area came undone, but now I am going over with the blue wool it won't matter. Photo to follow shortly.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fatal Problem with JJ 6009

Okay, on Saturday I spent some time working on JJ 6009
and after an hour or two of wrangling with the sleeves and tutting under my breath, and trying it on, I realised that I had made a fatal error.

When I originally cut the pattern I guessed correctly that it is for a narrow shoulders so I cut it to the largest size and then proceeded to grade the pattern in the bust to fit me (it does) BUT the it is not possible to grade it to fit me in my lower back without then changing the side seams... Yes reader, I should have cut it to a smaller size - or at least one which is more realistic for me. I did a pretty good job on the princess seams which I had not done before, and the sleeve placket - even if it did face the front of the sleeve rather than be at the back. On the down side, I had stuffed up the front placket somehow and was dreading doing buttonholes.

Looking in my bathroom mirror wearing the shirt for the last time, I also realised that I hated the puffy sleeves. My already generous shoulders were now embellished with wings. I was using a cotton poplin which had no stretch whatsoever, so there was little chance of movement if I made things too small. So in the spirit of learning I cast the whole project aside. No reader, I did not take to it with the scissors. I folded it neatly and put in my stash basket.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Green Chiffon Dress and Fur Coat Ensemble

Not the worlds most flattering picture.....

Singer BRK 12-S

Today daughter and I picked up the sewing machine I just bought via TradeMe - a Singer BRK 12-S. We have just had two hours of fun cleaning it a bit and examining as much as we can armed with only one screw driver and a couple of old cloths and some sewing machine oil. It is without its knee bit and belt (as I have discovered by googling and looking at identical models from 1951.
So here is the info

EG 053109
Cat Not BRK 12-2
K 6023610
Simanco 336....

all very interesting so must now spend some time googling further information. Daughter is a little disappointed that it will not go straight away. I told her not to plug it in as the plug looks a bit dodgey, but when she's not looking I might try it myself......except for the fact that she will know!

OP SHOP Review Bev's Place, South Dunedin

It was a windy, but sunny Saturday afternoon. Husband and I had just been to the Salt Water Cafe for a hot drink - yes we were childless - and were making our way back towards town. As we drove along Prince Albert Road, Bev's place beckoned me with planters of what could have been the dreaded agapanthas or perhaps seriously overgrown spider plant. So we parked outside and dodged the seagulls squabbling over a spilt packet of hot potato chips and went inside.

My first impression / thought was "why can't i reach that rack of clothes" and then I realised it was probably meant to be outside but due to the wind had been hauled inside and pushed in a corner. A room at the back was also full of clothes but when I examined them closely all i saw was Millers and Classic Clothing labels and nothing to really pique my curiousity. Hanging over the door to this funny little room was a kind of cool sleeveless polyester dress in a sort of 1960s pattern, so I enquired of the lady at the counter, 'how much is the dress' and she said, oh just bring it to the counter. Then I realised, nothing in the shop was actually priced. This seemed a little odd, but because I am nosey I had a good squirrel around, and sure enough most of the items in the shop were not priced. Bev asked me if I wanted to look at the furniture in the shop next door, so I thought, what the hey, and said yes. Husband was looking at books but he followed me and we both oohed and aahed over a lovely deco dressing table with ridiculously small drawers and a huge, I mean huge round mirror which tilted. Unlike some of the other furniture which had been reconditioned with a dose of red shoe polish or fake mahogany stain, the Deco dressing table was still untouched by over enthusiastic furniture restorers. Yes Bev, the dovetailing is lovely. Yes, its a very nice example. Husband and I waited for her to return to the main shop (in case opportunistic shoppers were stealing unpriced items such as the copper art or brass birds) and we did think that $195 was actually not a bad price for such a nice piece, but it was completely useless as modern women like myself have lots of small items such as undies and scarves etc and the small drawers would just not be enough. So sadly for Bev, we left without spending a cent.

If you are thinking of going to Bev's place, bear in mind that she seems to make prices up for clothes, which is a pity because what I saw was in good condition, did not smell and appeared to have been washed and ironed. Her selection of furniture was pretty good and prices reasonable.
Overall opinion - would happily call in again but would not visit regularly due to pricing situation. 5/10

Monday, September 13, 2010

3 hour sweater continued

Well, I took my time and read most of the posts on the 3 hour sweater (link on my earlier post) and to my delight I have discovered that it is possible to knit this sweater as per the pattern BUT it is really small. It is also possible to modify the pattern and it turn out successfully - yay where is my graph paper and pencil??? I could change needles but this will make it small as a 1930s size 16 is nothing what so ever like a modern 16.

So armed with this information, the Knitting Needle Conversion chart carefully printed off (took ages as I had not connected printer to computer......) and two containers full of knitting needsles I am going to start this project. Again. Part of me wishes I had not pulled the first undone as I had got it to work and fit! GRRRR but, i think that a softer yarn (ie lighter in weight) would be just lovely for this project.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Am I alone... thinking that there should be more to life than MIC mass-produced rubbish:

Since my exploits with google and the 3 hour sweater pattern I have been trying to find out if there are any other bloggers like me in NZ who are being thrifty, making or mending, buying second hand or refashioning. I can't find anyone at the moment and I must confess it is starting to feel a little lonely. I did look for blogs about Dunedin...but they all seem to be about tourism and let me assure you dear reader, there is a lot more to Dunedin that tourism.

I found my own blog - which was comforting. But what I did not find was any strong sense that I am part of a community which is bored with the MIC mass produced clothing, shocked at the prices of better quality items, and totally and utterly sick of wearing black.

Merino is the new polyester:

I want to wear colour. I want to wear bright colour. I do not want to fade into the grey clouds, or the breccia or bluestone buildings. I do not want to just blend in with the wallpaper or paint. I want to be a point of contrast. I want to set myself apart from those sheeplike individuals who blindly purchase their merino drapey knit items, or their three quarter trousers and knee length boots, the black on black on black, more merino, more top label but MIC. Once stuff is available at the Warehouse its no longer just the realm of the hoipoloi. Merino is the new polyester. Everyone is wearing it. Several layers in fact. And its all plain, and dark or drab. I want to see orange and purple, aquamarine and russet, yellow and scarlet, and patterns, checks, plaids, stripes, dots, bows, textures, feathers, knits and more colours.

You can become the mood of your clothes and your clothes can be becoming of you:

I tried something on at home the other night, and H said, thats "daring". What he meant was "that's bright". I wore my blue and white polka dotted dress yesterday with brown mesh tights and brown boots and a brown leather belt that H does not use. I was going for the "Indie Country" look. I felt summery - even though the weather was not, and maybe it was the light cotton fabric swishing around my legs, but I also felt "girly". The boots nearly crippled me so now they are in the pile of items to go to Recycle Boutique. The day before I wore my Lady Lichfield with a black tie belt and black opaques and black fake velvet ballet flats. The LL is very bright scarlet with flowers. I felt bright and cheery. I was bright and cheery.

The evolution of Penny-Rose style:

There was a time in my life when I wanted ankle to throat coverage. I wore clothes that were shapeless or too big for me, or just did not fit me well. I look back and think I had no sense of style or sense of myself. There were a few things which I liked wearing, like my peacock feather skirt (a Glassons skirt made of black cotton sateen with the outline of a large peacock feather across the front in white), a hand painted polka dot skirt (black with white bought from a stall at a student market).

I had a lot of Glasson's breast cancer tee shirts and tee shirts with graphics. In fact recently I dabbled along the fringe of Vivienne Westwood style and read a lot of books about punk and alternative culture in the 1970s and 1980s. I read a great book on VW and that's when I bought the sewing pattern to make a corset. Then I bought some vintage sewing patterns from Shop on Carrol and well, the rest as they say in cliche terms is history.

So I find myself blogging about buying from op shops, knitting and unknitting, sewing and planning sewing projects. I have not bought one new item of clothing since March. When I look around the shops in town I have no desire to purchase anything - clothes, accessories, shoes - nothing at all.

I am however, compulsively searching op shops, feverishly trying on made in New Zealand items, handwashing polyester or Brylene, mending buttons, taking in waists which are too loose, refashioning tops, re-stringing beads and other Make Do, Can Do type things.

I have changed.

Monday, September 6, 2010

update on three hour sweater

I have finished the main knitting of the 3 hour sweater (pattern here) and I am painfully sewing it together.

I have to say that I did tweak the pattern a bit.
1. the ribbing at the bottom of the front and back was too tight on 5mm needles so I upgraded to 6.5mm which made a much neater finish.
2. the start of the sleeve was awful to knit in double rib on size 10mm so I started on 7.5mm for a few rows and then changed back to 10mm. The ribbing at the cuff of the sleeve seemed very loose on size 10mm needles so I pulled it undone and downgraded to 7.5mm.

I used 8 ply crepe and a tencel like yarn together for a mottled effect and when I did a test swatch the tension seemed okay. However, I can now see that overall my tension was very loose and the body part is quite soft and the neckline potentially baggy. I was also worried that I was going to run out of the purple yarn, so I decided to combat the sloppiness by using two strands of the grey crepe on the stocking stitch part of the sleeve and this knitted up beautifully and looks very neat. I went back to the mottled effect for the ribbing.

Sewing up is dispiriting as I am not sure I like the sweater. It is very heavy - despite the loose knit. At least with the sleeves being a firmer knit they provide structure and hold the neck in place. I wonder if I should consider pulling undone the front to the start of the neck rib and re-doing on 7.5mm needles to see what would happen. The tragedy is that I have sewn up 75% of the seams and the thought of unpicking all of that makes me feel really depressed.

It goes without saying, that this sweater took a lot longer than 3 hours for me to knit, but the pattern was really easy for me to follow. I particularly like the raglan sleeves which suit me, as I have wide swimmer shoulders.

Okay, just done some Googling and look what I found:

and this

Cut and paste from discussion board describes it as: UNGER GERMANTOWN ZEPHYR 100% WOOL, 2 OZ 150 YDS.

Wiseneedle's actually got a chart up listing historical needle sizes and yarns compared to today's, and has this to say about Germantown Zephyr:

Historical Needle Size: UK8
Modern Needle Size: 4mm (US 6)
Expected Gauge and Modern Yarn Type: DK weight 22sts=4 inches
Historical Names: Germantown, Zephyr
Possible Modern Substitutes: Jaeger Matchmaker DK, Jo Sharp DK Wool, most standard DK yarns, most 4 ply fingering weights, doubled.

So, dear reader, it looks like I was using the WRONG needle. LOL

Sunday, September 5, 2010

1950s Party Costum

I am going to a 60th birthday party in a couple of weeks and the theme is 1950s. I am wearing this skirt... previously blogged about here:

On Thursday of last week I went to the Butterflies Shop on a quest for a decent slip to go under the longer skirts I have. As you all know, I am easily lead astray....... and I found a fabulous turquoise blue polyester shirt for $1 ABBA brand, $5 polyester wrap robe with divine border print, c 1970, and a medium size medium length slip $3. What I neglected to do was hold the slip up against me so when I got home and tried to try it on...I could barely get it past my mid thigh LOL.

Photos of garments tastefully displayed on Chil-daw mannequin in the near future.

In support of my fellow South Islanders

After the weekend faced by my fellow South Islanders in Canterbury and the Westcoast, I feel like a bit of a fraud posting about my thrifting exploits. A major earthquake and a serious plane crash are life changing events for those involved.

The social organisations which are dealing with the aftermath of trauma and damage rely on the goodwill of others for donations of money, goods and services. From this distance there is little I can do other than phone my sister regularly to make sure she is okay, and use Facebook to keep in touch with friends. I can however, continue to support Presbyterian Support, Red Cross, and the Salvation Army and other charities by donating my unwanted clothes and goods, and purchasing items. This feels like such a meagre contribution, but it is better than nothing at all.

My hoped-for op-shopping trip to Christchurch is now cancelled. I had hoped to shop-until-I-drop and come home with bags of bargains, and update my readers and A Cat of Impossible Colour on the status of shops, but that all feels quite shallow and selfish now. My wants really do pale in comparison to the needs of others.