Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Free pattern drafting book

Nothing beats an old pattern drafting book....especially when it's FREEEEE. Thats right guys, no money. Zilch. None. As free as the wind. This book contains general sewing info and garment finishing tips, PLUS both women and mens pattern drafting. Yep pretty cool huh!? 

It originally came with what I presume are very basic patterns such as slopers that one would change using the diagrams provided. If you have slopers and at least advanced beginner skills you'll be able to whip up some pretty cool vintage repro garments. 

I found this while trawling the internet and I thought I would share it with you all. Sharing after all, is caring. 

You can access it here for download
You can look at the digital record here

*This was not reproduced by me, this is available through the National Library of Australia records*

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Vintage sewing pattern pledge 1: The nightmare dress....finished! & how I made it wearable


If you've been following me you probably know that I have been battling with this monstrosity! Oh my gosh! Do you ever have a pattern that you have to change SO many times that you start to wonder if its really worth it? Can it be done? This was one of those patterns, I mean HOW was I going to make the flowery flour sack of a dress look even remotely not sack like? But I think in the end my perseverance worked out, sure the insides are as ugly as Lord Voldemort's soul but thats not the point. 

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, there are a lot of things that are wrong with it but it doesn't look bad. Considering it was chopped up, re-sewn and yelled at many times it didn't turn out that bad. So i'm guessing you might want to know what adjustments I made, after all my pain is your gain. You can learn from my mistakes and make an awesome dress without all the agony of making it up as you go along. 

  1. I changed the distance between the above bust and below bust area.....anyone who has larger boobies will probably need to do this.
  2. However if you adjust this area you may also need to make 'armholes' otherwise the elastic will be annoyingly high ender your armpits. I just used the seam allowance, nothing fancy, it might be easier to cut an armhole in when cutting the fabric.
  3. Instead of shirring elastic I used contrast bias binding and elastic to make an elastic casing. I think this looks much better and defines the waist area more which is quite flattering. 
  4. I gathered the bust, turned it over and added elastic which I then tacked to make it lay flat. I was originally going to add the straps shown in the pattern straight onto the gathered bust but decided afterwards that it felt too 'poofy', so I then added the elastic and different straps.
  5. Instead of the tie straps I made two small rectangles which I sewed to the dress 
I hope this helps anyone thinking of trying this dress, its not an awfully hard dress to make once you know what to do.

Happy sewing! 

Alecia xx

* Photos were taken by my lovely boyfriend*

Friday, 13 March 2015

Friday update: 5 facts about me

 1. I HATE matches. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. Lighting candles is not my forte, not unless I have a lighter like the refillable ones from Dusk. In an apocalypse I would probably be useless because of my inability to hold onto a match for more than 0.05 seconds. In fact I don't think I have any skills that would come in handy during an apocalypse....someone buy me the Zombie Survival Guide for Christmas??

2.  I don't drink coffee, not because I don't like the taste (I do), but because It makes me feel ill. 

3. My favourite decades fashion wise are the 30s, 40s and 50s. I would not like to have lived in those decades though. I think it would be fun to visit just to hoard vintage clothes and objects, maybe buy a house to live in the future. I don't think I could live happily in times when women and many minorities were treated even worse than they are now. I think as a modern woman I would find it quite hard. 

4. I love socks. Thick, wooly socks with awesome patterns are one of my favourite things in the whole world. I once received a pair of fair-isle double layer fluffy socks with grips on the bottom and the day they become unwearable is the day the world will be flooded with my tears.

5. Everything item of stationary I own for uni has some form of animal on it. Print or sticker....it's there. I am such a mature 'mature age' student. 

Alecia xx

Thursday, 5 March 2015

McCalls spring pattern round up

Have you seen the release of McCalls patterns for spring? Although I don't have any more sewing updates (I just got back to uni) I thought I would give you a round of of my favourite and not so favourite designs. McCalls has never really been my cup of tea but I genuinely do enjoy some of the designs and I love how the 'costume' or 'fancy dress' patterns are always super fun and imaginative.

M7116 dress
I love this dress, the gathered shoulders and bust paired with the bias skirt leads to a 1930s/1940s feel which I think is really nice. It's also labeled as an easy pattern which is always good. I'm really excited about this pattern, I love when modern patterns have a distinct vintage feel. Don't get me wrong, I love authentic vintage patterns and vintage reproductions but authentic patterns are fragile and expensive and reproductions usually cost slightly more than 'normal' patterns. I think this is a beautiful pattern and I can't wait to get it.

M7133 Jumpsuit

I'm not one who usually likes long jumpsuits, I feel a bit claustrophobic knowing that I'm in an all-in-one.....I'm sure that makes no sense whatsoever but it somehow makes sense to me. That aside, I love this, I think it's very elegant and even though it's not completely my style I love it. The cross over front with the collar, the fitted bodice with the big palazzo pants.....It's just great. What I love even more is that it comes with a crop top / pants alternative. I think the crop top would look stunning with a skirt. Points for versatility! I think it would look so much better in black.

M7121 dress
I think this is a good simple maxi dress made for stretch fabric. It's nothing special of course, there are many patterns out there for similar designs but I think it would be great to wear. I would make this in a solid colour to wear to uni, some days you need something fuss-free and comfy, garments like this are perfect for days like that. It also comes in a short version. I'm not a fan of the colour combo or fabric choice, but hey it's not terrible.

M7126 top

This comes with a circular peplum which I like much more, it also comes with a longer sleeve length and sweetheart neckline. Square peplums always make me think of compasses, she obviously has a strained expression because her top wants to point north. Hey, at least it comes with options, thats a win! 

M7119 dress

I love the wrap front with the tie and the fact that it has a couple of variations. I like the variation that finishes above the knee best and I could imagine myself wearing it all the time in a nice fabric with polka dots. However, I HATE mullet hemlines. If I'm going to wear a long dress and risk tripping down everywhere (I'm clumsy and completely accident prone) I want to be able to NOT shave my ankles.

Mullet hemlines = all the fuss and increased tripping risk associated with maxis and none of the shave free coverage.... BOOO

M7131 Misses shorts and pants

Did Butterick not just bring out a long pleated front culotte pattern? Nothing makes me feel so cheated than having two almost identical patterns brought out by the same parent company in the same season. I mean, they both used floral fabric. I get so excited for pattern releases and it almost feels like a waste to have such similar patterns. 

M7123 dress

Okay, the only thing I don't like about this is the tail. I don't like tails on clothes and this one just reminds me of a magpie which is ironic considering that this is a spring collection. For non-Australians, google or youtube 'magpie swooping' and be glad that you are safe. 

M7124 Formal dress

I imagine this could be quite a pretty prom/formal dress. I like the version with the yoke and no flounces best, I think that one is personally more my style. She looks like a mix between a giant blue bell flower and Elsa from frozen. 

M7130 Dress and skirt

This is quite a simple pattern, I've seen many skirts like this in stores lately so I guess this will probably be a somewhat popular pattern.

M7117 Dress

This is quite a pretty pattern with a nice swishy skirt and comes with different strap and skirt lengths. Good news is that the bodice comes with different pattern pieces for different cup sizes. Nothing turns me off buying a pattern quite like knowing its going to take a lot of extra effort to cater for my boobage. 

M7122 Dress, top and leggings

This is a learn to sew pattern with a t-shirt dress, maxi version, long top and leggings. I love the long top and leggings, I think they would make awesome lounge wear. The shirt dress would probably also make a nice dress for lounge/housewear when you want something comfortable but cute enough to open the door in. 

M7118 Dress

90s Kwik Sew.....is that you?!

M7120 Dress with variations

Another learn to sew pattern. I like how there are quite a few variations included, while none of them are exactly my style I still think that they could look very cute.

M7115 Playsuit

I can't decide whether I love this or dislike it....I'm not one for gathers starting on the hipline....but I think the model pulls it off. To be fair....I'd probably wear it if it was in polka-dots.

M7135 Jumpsuit, maxi dress and cardigan

I love this jumpsuit, I think the model looks fierce. Again, not my style but I think black jumpsuits can look so elegant. 

M7132 Jacket

I like the overall shape of the jacket but personally I would change the fabric and the placement of the fabric. 

M7128 Top

I don't know what these kind of tops are called.....bib tops? 

M7125 Top

I know this would look terrible on me. Instant fake pregnancy. I LOVE the top though, add flowing woven tops to the list of things that I'll never pull off (unless tucked into a skirt).

M7127 Top

I love the cross over back....can a sweatshirt be sexy? Is that a thing that can happen? I

M7129 Wrap skirt

Another learn to sew pattern. I think this is an awesome project for someone who likes 'vintage inspired' clothes. Is it not a written rule that when learning to sew you MUST sew a wrap skirt? I'd still sew this even though I don't consider myself a real 'beginner beginner'.


Taste and style are completely subjective, my opinion is just an opinion. Everyones opinion counts! Just because I don't like something doesn't mean it isn't or can't be awesome. I love that we all have different styles and I want you to know that if you like something I don't, thats awesome! Variety is the spice of life and we all had the same style life would be so boring.

Also none of these photos are my own and all were taken from the McCalls website. All credit to the photos and illustrations is towards McCalls.