Euphemia Gertrude Thomas V9127

Happy weekend everyone. I’m laid in bed feeling sorry for myself as I write this. I have a cold with a painful cough and am distracting myself with blog reading and Web surfing! So I thought I’d write a post about the Dress Like Your Grandma challenge hosted by Tanya of blog Mrs Hughes than ran this past month.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

This is a vintage sewing challenge where family history can inspire your wardrobe. You take a photo of your grandma (or your granddad, great-grandma, mum, auntie, someone else’s grandma – you get the idea!) and re-create an outfit or piece that they are wearing using vintage or reproduction patterns. It isn’t a competition but a way to challenge yourself with a special project!

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

My Grandma, was called Euphemia Gertrude Thomas (nee Nutt). She lived with my Grandad in a little village called North Ferriby in Hull. This picture is from one of my Grandparents regular trips to the coast – we think Scarborough. They always liked to dress up for a trip to the coast and walk the promenade. I love this photo so much. Look how committed to each other they look. Perfectly in sync.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

To recreate the dress I used Vogue 9127 and rose print polycotton from Birmingham Rag Market. I used poppers instead of buttons at the front and kept the dress a little shorter. I added red shoes (my Grandma wore red shoes on her first date with my Grandad) and curled my hair for a similar look without chopping it all off. Sadly I couldn’t make it to the coast in time for a photo.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

 I ran out of material for the sleeves as this dress is fabric hungry and couldn’t source more which was disappointing. I also wish I’d made a front fastening belt like my grandma is wearing but I’m generally pretty happy with the result!

To see my previous version of this dress see this post.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

My grandma was also an avid dressmaker and probably made her dress from the photo. The sad thing is I only found this out at her funeral. For most of my life she had severe alzheimers and she was here until her early 90s. It was so bad she couldn’t talk to anyone coherently or make sense of the world so I didn’t really know about her wonderful skills when I started sewing. I knew she had a sewing box but assumed it was for mending and small projects. However I did inherit her hand crank machine that my Dad discovered in the loft. Plus a pair of pinking shears with her name tag on them which my mum had been using but Grandma used to take to a social sewing session at her Church. These two items are a great way to feel she’s helping me sew and like I know something real about her. Decades apart we’ve followed the same actions; cutting fabric, stitching darts, sewing on buttons and even pinking seams with the same shears.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

For years I’ve wanted to make a replica of this dress for The Vintage Pledge but could never find the perfect sewing pattern or fabric. I think I came close in the end though. My poor friends (including Marie, founder of the pledge) got dragged around so many fabric shops to find this material. They were really supportive in finding the right rose design so thank you ladies!

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

This was a really great challenge to help feel connected with my Grandma so thank you Tanya so much for giving me the push I needed. On my next free weekend I might try and head out to Scarborough for a photo on the promenade just like this one. Wish me luck!

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

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Leslie Caron wannabe

almond rock american in paris burda dress

I love a good musical, especially a Gene Kelly musical. An American In Paris is completely fabulous.

When I saw Burda’s Viva La Diva spread in issue 11/2014 I fell hard for the AIP inspired dress. This collection featured iconic gowns from favourite films. The Eva Green Casino Royale gown and Marilyn Monroe Gentlemen Prefer Blondes halter dress are also gorgeous but the Leslie Caron dress had me hooked. Deliciously vintage looking and the perfect next #vintagepledge dress.

almond rock american in paris burda dress

almond rock american in paris burda dress

I haven’t bought Burda since a terrible incident with a dress in 2012. Those pattern sheets are HORRIBLE. But I’m a different sewist now… and apparently I can handle Burda magazines again! As luck would have it, this back issue was in the office so I borrowed it to get started on this dress.

almond rock american in paris burda dress

I wanted to use this polka dot satin from B&M Fabrics in Leeds with its scattered spots that dissolve into almost solid red. The border actually runs across both selvedges but I bought 3m to account for that. I knew I’d use the border print along the skirt hem.

almond rock american in paris burda dress

The bodice has an outer layer, an interlining which I interfaced and a lining. The drape is made by gathering three edges. The drapes look terrible when the dress is hung up but then when worn they sit really well on the body. The rouleaux straps and side zipper are the only support so I decided to add boding to the back bodice seams.

almond rock american in paris burda dress

I didn’t use the skirt frills as I though that would be overkill and just used the gathered skirt underneath. I finished the hem with an overlocked rolled hem.

almond rock burda dress american in paris

There’s actually a really nice version of the dress with a full back bodice that extends into sleeves. I might make this too at some point.

almond rock american in paris burda dress almond rock american in paris burda dress

Overall I’m really happy with the dress. I wore it to a longtime friend’s wedding where I gave a reading about the cosmos (“we are all made of star stuff”) while I stood under a huge oak tree. It was a lovely day and the dress is now a lasting reminder of that. Maybe I’ll wear it to a showing of the live stage version of American In Paris one day! Or just out for dinner in Paris?! A girl can dream.

Here’s a little bonus cat pic since it went down quite well last time heeehee.

almond rock american in paris burda dress

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Colour blocking

Colour blocking doesn’t seem to be fading in popularity. It definitely isn’t in my house.

almond rock minerva blogger network colour block viscose

I’ve been waiting to sew this cute little vintage pattern since I gleefully picked it up at a sewing meet-up/ swap. A May Minerva Blogger make seemed like a good opportunity!

There are three really good variations in this pattern but I was smitten with the inset variation seen in yellow.

almond rock minerva blogger network colour block viscose

This was a pretty simple make but I think it looks really effective. I used two colours of 56 inch wide plain viscose.

The back and outer front bodice are made from the navy blue and the inset from the purple, which is actually a really pretty violet colour.

I have to say the navy feels wonderful. I know they should be exactly the same handle in slightly different colours but the navy has a slightly softer hand. It’s also lovely and cool the way viscose should be.

almond rock minerva blogger network colour block viscoseThe inset is really easy to sew and only requires a little more focus when reaching end of the point.

As you can see these sleeves look different to the pattern. Because it’s quite loose fit in the bodice I felt a bit boxy in the kimono sleeves as well, so I removed them and added a fluttery cap sleeve. I even lined the sleeves in purple so every now and then they show a peek of colour.

almond rock minerva blogger network colour block viscose

And because the team at Minerva are so good they included the perfect colour match in gütermann thread for me to use – colour 718 matches the violet and colour 387 matches the navy. Perfect!

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Emerald or Teal?

So this is the story of my new jacket.
We’ve had a bit of a rocky time getting to completion but we made it out the other side.

It’s sort of my vintage pledge garment because my original pledge to sew a vintage shelf bust pattern was demolished when I sewed the modern Gertie dress.

almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

Meet Style 2563, a vintage jacket and skirt suit pattern dated at 1969. The cover art is misleading – three women on the envelope, but no variations in the pattern pieces, just additional cutting layouts for plaid fabric.

almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

I picked this up at the Knitting and Stitching Show last year as there is a regular stall holder with giant plastic tubs full of vintage patterns and I usually spend half an hour combing through it hoping for buried treasure in my size. A quick muslin confirmed it was a pretty good fit and only needed a few tweaks!

almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

The outer fabric is a textured wool from Barry’s Fabrics. I picked it up at SewBrum with the cheeky discount that had been arranged for us — thanks Charlotte! There was a fault running parallel to the selvedge about 30 cm along so I was actually given a further discount. Making this something like £9 a metre.

almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

The lining fabric was an eBay find! The seller had called it “stilletoes” print by mistake so it’s good I stumbled onto it. Such pretty colours! It’s a lovely satin that probably isn’t silk (even though she calls it that) but feels as nice either way.

almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

Aaah those buttons. These were the most expensive part of the jacket. Can you believe there were £3 each!? But since the other supplies were a steal, and wool covered buttons were ruled out, I wanted buttons I’d love and would LAST.

almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

So here’s my two pence about this jacket.

  • It’s too short. I lengthened it a lot and it’s still just a bit too short. Very frustrating. I get that it’s supposed to be worn with a dress or skirt but at its actual length your belly button would show.
  • The princess seams on this jacket are a bit crap looking. If you’re going to draft a princess seamed back and a two piece sleeve, the princess seam should curve to the armscye not the shoulder and connect to the sleeve seam.
  • There isn’t any allowance for the roll of the collar so the outer seam doesn’t roll under nicely. I did what I could with it but this is the best I could manage.
  • Why no pockets? Shouldn’t every good jacket have pockets? I really should have added some so it’s partially my fault. Some cute welt pockets would have been nice, possibly even with a little pocket flap, right?

almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket Chewie agrees – WHERE’S THE POCKET!?

almond rock emerald green wool style 2563 jacket

So there we go! A new jacket with a few problems but still pretty cute. I’ll definitely get a lot of wear out of it.

The only thing I can’t decide on is what colour this jacket is. I even got some paint sample cards from B&Q and it sort of falls in between their Teal and Emerald. Help me out here, what colour do you think it is?

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