Wednesday 31 August 2011

Things To Make and Do - Union Jack Tea Cosy

As I mentioned in my last post I have recently forced myself to sit down and write a list of all the sewing and knitting projects I have currently on the go (or should I say on the floor, in a box in the corner, not be looked at until utter boredom sets in) and quite frankly it is worrying just how many UFOs there are, especially as most of the things I started were intended to be for my (two years in the saving and planning) summer holiday, which starts at the end of the pressure then!

Union Jack Tea Cosy
(UFO & Stash Buster)

First to be ticked off the list was this fabulous knitting pattern for a very patriotic Union Jack Tea Cosy by the lovely Anna from Audrey's Tea Shop. I knew the moment I saw it that I would have make one as it is not only very patriotic but it is also in my favourite colour combination red white and blue!

Meet the cosiest teapot in the country!

It is a very simple and surprisingly quick pattern to do (though I have to confess to only doing the fair isle flag on one side, as I didn't have enough blue wool) and is the first time I have attempted to do Fair Isle in garter stitch, which proved a little tricky at first as I kept forgetting to bring each yarn through to the back before starting on the next colour, but after a few rows I was all sorted and knitting up a storm (in a teapot! does that even work?!)

My first  pom pom since childhood, I used to make tonnes of them if you ever had a gift from me as a kid there would have been a pom pom on it!
I did need to scale the pattern a bit down to fit my petite pot (2 cuppas rather than a 4), but found after doing a bit of maths (eek!) and test swatch, that if I knitted it on smaller needles and used 4 ply wool instead of DK then I could follow the pattern to the letter, with no complicated pattern reworking to contend with, which made me very smug indeed!

So there you have it my very first tick on the mighty UFO list...Now I just need to put the kettle on and test this cosy out...Fancy a brew?

Wendy x

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Bomshell Dress Sew-a-long!

Thank you all for your lovely comments on my last post I really do appreciate each and every one!

I'm excited, I've just signed up to do Gertie's Bombshell Sew-a-long on Craftsy after reading about it on Miss Katie's blog. I had been pondering signing up for a while, I was worried that it may just be another thing I leave half finished when something goes a bit wrong or that would never be able to keep up with the pace of the other sewers, which has been my main reason for never being brave enough to take on any other Sew or Knit-a-longs, but after reading all about it on Gertie's Blog and on Craftsy
I was convinced!

Here the sites blurb...
"Sometimes a girl needs a wee bit of va-va-voom. Gretchen Hirsch - creator of Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing - gives you the skills you need to create gorgeous dresses that fit like they're painted on, yet let you dance all night. You'll learn how to assemble and customize the included BurdaStyle dress pattern, create a muslin to check fit, and construct a highly tailored garment using some very cool techniques. In 15 high-definition video lessons, you'll learn how to make a moulded bodice with underlining, boning, bust padding, a waist stay and convertible straps. The draped sarong skirt makes a beautiful contrast.
In luxurious shantung, this bustier dress exudes midcentury sophistication. Gertie says, "Think Alfred Shaheen. Think Dorothy Lamour." Make it in a tribal print for a sexy tiki vibe, butter-yellow eyelet for that Audrey Hepburn ingénue-at-a-picnic look, or ivory silk (with a fetching hat) for your wedding day. Come join the fashion fun and sign up for Sew Retro: Perfect Bombshell Dresses today"
If you fancy giving it a go It is currently on sale for $29.99 which is about £20 down from $59, for that you get all of the above and also personalised help via the on-line community and from Gertie herself who is ready to answer your questions no matter how big or small!

The clincher for me was the promise to teach you how to make a dress that fits properly, by showing you how to make a muslin and then how to modify it for a great fit. Making a muslin is something I very rarely do (OK I've done it once) as I have no idea how to actually tweak it to make it better, so this will be invaluable!

I'm really looking forward to getting started on it, though I have promised myself I will finish all my other outstanding sewing UFOs (written a list of them all... ugh, it's worrying how many there is!) before starting which may take a while, but as access to the course doesn't expire should give me plenty of time!

Wendy x

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Fabulous Film Fashions - Glorious 39

The last bank holiday weekend in May (yes it's taken me since May to get this sucker posted!) I had the chance to do a bit of DVD watching and finally got around to watching one of my Christmas gifts Glorious 39.
Fabulous Film Fashions  Glorious 39
In Glorious 39, acclaimed Writer/ Director Stephen Poliakoff has crafted a tense psychological thriller set against the idyllic British countryside during the glorious summer of 1939, just before the outbreak of the Second World War.  Anne, a budding young actress, stumbles across secret recordings of a sinister plot to appease the Nazis. As close friends die in suspicious circumstances, she finds herself swept into a web of dark secrets and in increasing danger from a powerful and menacing enemy. With her most precious certainties destroyed and unable to trust even those closest to her, she comes to realise the full extent of her own betrayal and vulnerability.

Glorious 39 is definitely a gorgeously opulent looking film, every shot is dripping with period detail and beautiful to watch. It is well acted by a stellar cast (including the wondrous David Tennant although a very short appearance:() and has a plot which quickly sweeps you along.

I did really enjoyed this film and would certainly recommend giving it a watch, the only downside for me was that it left me feeling a bit confused, I just didn't understand the relevance for certain plot devices and scenes.

  • Why is the main character Anne's nickname Glorious? Is this relevant?
  • Why does Anne's mother only ever seem to be arranging flowers or gardening?
  • Why is there lots of young women asleep on the Country house floor in one scene?
Perhaps I'm not supposed to understand it, perhaps that's the beauty of it, perhaps I'm thinking too much about it! But if anyone could explain any of this to me, it would be greatly appreciated!

So anyway on to the part I can understand, the clothes, and on this front, Glorious 39 certainly does not disappoint, they are just wonderful! Here are some (well all) of my favourites!

 ---Warning screenshot heavy post. Click all pictures to make bigger---

So firstly we have Anne Keyes Played by Romola Garai.
I love the way the costume department have given Anne capsule wardrobe where they re-use key pieces through the film for me it gives her a much more realistic feel.
Glorious 39 Fashions Anne wears A Beautiful Burgundy Suit with calf length skirt and Pussy Bow Blouse
A Beautiful Burgundy Suit with calf length skirt and Pussy Bow Blouse
Glorious 39 Fashions Anne wears A very slinky red satin evening dress with deep V back
Glorious 39 Fashions Anne wears A very slinky red satin evening dress with deep V back
A very slinky red satin evening dress with deep V back, you really have to see this in the film to see just how lovely it is as these shots just don't do it justice. {Top Row Images Source}
Glorious 39 fashions - Anne wears A blue suit jacket teamed this time with a black and white polka dot tea dress,
A blue suit jacket teamed this time with a black and white polka dot tea dress, blue gloves and shoes and look at that fab snood!!!
Glorious 39 Fashions Blue suit, Paired with red beret, gloves and belt, and a stripy red and beige knitted Jumper.
Blue suit again this time Paired with a red beret, gloves and belt, and a stripy red and beige knitted Jumper.
Glorious 39 Fashions - Anne wears A simple blue and black striped jumper paired with cream skirt and cream beret
Very Chic! I love how all of Anne's outfits reflect the tones of the shot, A simple blue and black striped jumper paired with a cream skirt and cream beret.
Glorious 39 Fashions - Simple tea dress in yellow chiffon, floaty chiffon sleeves with side slits
Simple tea dress in the most fabulous shade of yellow looks like chiffon layer over a cotton one, has lovely floaty chiffon sleeves with side slits.
Glorious 39 Fashions - Red suit again this time paired with a wonderful blue beret
Red suit again, this time, paired with a wonderful blue beret adorned with what looks like a silver feather?
Glorious 39 Fashion - chiffon tie neck blouse with a calf length linen skirt.
Lovely chiffon tie neck blouse with a calf length linen skirt which brings out the greens in the blouse.
Glorious 39 Fashions - Anne - Cream linen skirt used above a knitted jumper in white and blue
Cream linen skirt used above and what appears to be a knitted jumper in white and blue.
Glorious 39 Fashions - Embroidered dressing gown
How amazing is this dressing gown with all of its embroidery !! Oh, and look she sleeping in pin curls! I can't tell you how irritated I get watching dramas when they appear to go to bed un-pinned tresses and the next day they have miraculously curly hair!!
Glorious 39 Fashion - Anne - Red polka dot tea dress with a detachable sailor colla
Red polka dot tea dress with a detachable sailor collar her beau looks pretty dapper too!
Glorious 39 Fashion - Anne - Gold Lame Bolero and purple floor length gown
Wow, what an outfit! Loads of lame in this bolero and amazing ruched sleeves! Very simple but very elegant long blue/purple dress flecked with gold thread.
Glorious 39 Fashion - Anne - Burgundy Skirt with grey jacket and red beret
Same burgundy skirt from above suit, black pussy bow blouse, with a grey jacket and another outing for the delicious cherry red beret. I definitely need to buy a red beret!
Glorious 39 Fashions - cream top with interesting neck detail, simple pair of grey slacks
Jacket as above, worn over a simple cream top with interesting neck detail, simple pair of grey slacks and some wonderful brown and cream wedges.
Celia Keyes played by Juno Temple
Celia's wardrobe is full of, lots of cardigans in bright contrasting colours and ditsy prints and some very flamboyant evening dresses, her style is much more quirky and inevitably much younger looking than her sisters!
Glorious 39 Fashions - Celia - Long white evening dress and head piece
This very debutante long white evening dress and headpiece are just lovely.
Glorious 39 Fashions - Celia - Flower border cardigan with floral tea dress and stripy beret
Love this outfit it shouldn't work but with all the colours and patterns but it does, especially love the knitwear, the beret and cardigan are beautiful!
Bit heavy on the makeup! The headpiece is just gorgeous! Just love the colour of this dress.
Glorious 39 Fashions- Celia - lame collar on a long green velvet dress with elbow length puff sleeves and front button detail to waist
This is a very cute outfit, a lame collar on a long green velvet dress with elbow length puff sleeves and front button detail to waist.
Aunt Elizabeth played by Julie Christie
Julie Christie who is almost unrecognisable here has some wonderful outfits though very little screen time to show them off!

So there you are all my favourites, and as usual, I would happily put all of the above gorgeousness in my wardrobe. I'm off now to find some modern patterns to try to recreate some of these wonderful outfits, and also do a bit of TV catch up on the latest episode of The Hour - which is just fabulous if you haven't seen you must, the series so far is still available on iplayer so catch it while you can!

Wendy x

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Sew It - A Smart Dusting Cap

Whilst on the Isle of Wight I found this little pattern in one of the 1930s sewing books that I keep at my Mums, I took a quick snap of the page on my phone for deciphering later and now that I have had a chance to make one up, I thought it was about time I shared with you all. It did take me a while to decipher the instructions as the drawing in the book was more confusing than helpful, so I have redrawn it and added a bit more text which hopefully makes it a bit clearer.

A Smart Dusting Cap 
(approx. 1938)
The little dusting cap tied in a bow on the forehead is very quickly made. 

27" of 36" wide material - I used cotton gingham from my stash.

No pattern is required, just work the directions on to the material.
1. Open out the material and fold it in half the other way, so that it now measures 36" by 13.5".
2. Cut along the fold to within 12" of the other end.
3. Hem all the edges.
4. Join the two selvedges at the fold end and gather up this seam until it measures 5 ins.
To wear the cap, place it on with the gathers at the top and wind the two ends round the head, first crossing them at the back.

The cap is really very easy to make up, the hardest part really is the hemming. I chose to do a machine rolled hem as it was quicker than painstakingly doing it by hand, the only tricky bit comes when hemming up the slit in the middle, I rolled the hem up to the slit and then caught in as much as I could of the rolled fabric either side of the point of the slit, I am sure there is a knack to this which I don't think I have mastered here as it is a little messy, but as it's only for wearing about the house I am not too concerned.

You can tie it any way that suits you, as there is be plenty of length to play with, I will say that I found the bow quite hard to get right, but that has probably more to do with my big old head than the pattern!
Bow Style: It is a bit fiddly to get just right but worth it!
Turban Style: Tie a double knot on the top of your head and tuck in the loose ends
So there you have it your very own 30s dusting cap, the only problem is now there really are no excuses for not doing some dusting!

Wendy x