Thursday, December 16, 2010

Take a Bow

Petersham Bow

Sometimes when I lose my inspiration to sew all I need to do to get it back is to make something really simple, quick and easy. Usually this involves refashioning rather than actually sewing something new. Since I've been lacking motivation recently I decided to give a cardigan that I don't wear very much a bit of a makeover.

Bow Cardigan

I have quite a big stash of vintage sewing notions that I have picked up over the years at various op-shops. I hardly ever use them on big sewing projects but they are great for embellishing plain things.
Using some ribbon from my stash I made some really easy petersham bows and then hand sewed them onto the cardigan. I'm actually quite pleased with the way it turned out because I wasn't sure whether I would like it or not.
Now that I've got my sewing mojo back I'll have to get back to my Christmas dress otherwise it wont be finished in time.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Christmas Dress Muslin

I've just returned from being away for a few days and have realised Christmas is looming ever closer. I want to make a dress to wear on Christmas day. We usually have a pretty casual Christmas (I'm pretty sure my Dad wore stubbies last year) so I will probably be ridiculously overdressed but I don't care.
I have had some poinsettia printed fabric in my stash for a while that I got off Trademe. I'm hoping it looks slightly Christmassy but not so much so that I can't wear it at other times of the year.

Poinsettia Fabric

For once I decided to do a muslin. I used a weird tablecloth type thing I had in my stash as muslin fabric.
I inadvertantly cut off the top of my head in the photo (which was in fact probably for the best because I couldn't be bothered putting makeup on this morning).
The details aren't very clear in the picture but the bodice is really basic with kimono sleeves and a slight scoop neck. In the poinsettia version I'm going to take in the shoulder seams and the side seams slightly.

Front Muslin

The skirt front has four pleats on each side which face the centre front. The back has two box pleats. The skirt is based on a vintage dress I saw on Etsy.

Muslin Back

Now I've completed a muslin hopefully I'll be able to make the final dress before Christmas.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hello Sailor!


I don't usually wear trousers being more of a skirt/dress type girl but I love sailor style pants. To make these I used this pattern from Burdastyle and modified it slightly.
I wanted a pattern that had a side invisible zip rather than a front closure and this was the only pattern I could find at the time. The waistband was really small and I wanted them to be high waisted so I made it about double the size of the one in the pattern. This was actually my second pair. The first are in navy wool with white buttons but I haven't managed to get a photo of them. These ones are made of some bright red drill cotton. The weight of the fabric is perfect but it is prone to wrinkling, as you can see in the photos.

Sailor Pants

The buttons aren't actually functional. There is an invisible zip closure on the left side. This was far easier than doing a button placket (not to mention the fact my machine hates doing buttonholes).
I also skipped the lining that was in the pattern because I didn't feel like they needed it.
Although it's too hot to wear them now, I wore the navy pair a lot when I first made them. They are really comfortable and have pretty much become my version of wearing trackpants (I abhor trackpants and would never own a pair so highwaisted sailor pants are the closest I'll ever get).
They aren't perfect but I'm pretty pleased as these and the navy pair were only my second brush with making trousers (I made a pair of horrible brown plaid baggy trousers in high school but let's not talk about that).
The photos aren't very good and I think they look better in real life. They also make me look taller which is always an added bonus for someone as short as me.
The top I'm wearing is another Port Elizabeth. I love this pattern. It's so quick and easy. At this point I've made five of them.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ugh exams!

Vintage buttons on wallpaper

Sorry about the lack of posting. I start exams in less than a week. After they are over I will be back- with a vengeance. I have so many sewing plans for summer which I'm looking forward to starting on. In the meantime here are a couple of my latest finds. The vintage buttons above were from the Shabby Chic market and are mounted on some gorgeous French wallpaper. The fabric below is actually a full length cotton nightgown. There's tons of fabric so I think I'm going to make a blouse out of it.


Monday, October 18, 2010


Frocktober Dress

On Saturday Frocks on Bikes held Swing into Spring, a market with food stalls, vintage clothing and bikes and a swing dancing demonstration. I picked up two lovely dress for just $35. Because of the escalating price of vintage I don't tend to buy much any more but one stall had really reasonable prices. The woman running it actually has a vintage store called Retropolitan which sadly, I think, sustained some damage in the quake and I'm not sure what's going to happen to it.

The dress above has a bit of damage at the back but someone has repaired it really carefully and matched the cotton they used exactly to the print. It's also on the back around the armhole so it's not very noticeable when it's on.

Frocktober Dress Two

Both dresses are a little big but I couldn't resist the gorgeous prints. They will be perfect for summer I think.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Computer Problems

Sorry for the silence lately. I have been having issues with the new power adapter I bought for my laptop. Namely it started smoking when I plugged it in. It means I'm now without a computer for about a week. Anyway, so this post isn't completely boring I thought I'd show you a picture of the kind of jacket I really want to make. I went to the Shabby Chic market on Sunday and there was this lovely short wool coat with a fur collar. The only problem is that it was brown (definitely not my best colour) and the fur was real. I don't mind if other people wear vintage fur it just creeps me out having it that close to my face (I am neurotic like that). It was a really good price and if it weren't for those two things I would have snapped it up in a heartbeat. I found a picture of a similar one from Dear Golden Vintage on etsy.

Obviously it's the wrong time of year here to be thinking about making winter jackets but I am definitely going to save this in my mental 'stuff to make' file. I think a red wool would be nice with perhaps a faux leopard collar.
Hopefully my computer will be up and running next week and I will finally be able to show you some pictures of the sailor pants' I've been making.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Beaded Cardigan

Beaded Cardigan

This is actually the picture I took for day four of SSS but I never ended up posting it. I got the cardigan at an op-shop about a month ago. The photo isn't very good but the cardigan's amazing. It's made of wool and the bodice is lined which is something I've never come across before. I think it may be from the 60s. The beading continues around the back of the neck as well. I'm a bit scared to wear it too much just in case any of the beads come off.
I've been trying to get back to posting regularly but after the earthquake my laptop cord decided to stop working and I've only just got a new one.
I have a couple of pairs of sailor style pants that I'm almost finished sewing so I will try and get some pictures of them this week.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Franken-Dress (and earthquake update)


Sorry I haven't posted in a week. Things have been a bit crazy around here since the earthquake. Thanks for all your sweet comments on my last post. We have continued experiencing aftershocks for the last week and they may well go on for the next couple of months. The damage to my house is worse than we originally thought but we got both the hot and cold water restored yesterday which was nice. The novelty of being able to turn on the taps, flush the toilet without a bucket of water etc, has still not worn off. I'm so incredibly lucky though. Many people, including some I know, have lost their whole homes or their businesses.
I don't want this post to be all gloomy so I thought I'd show you a dress I finished a couple of weeks ago. It was originally meant to be a wiggle dress, using the bodice of Simplicity 1192 but after I had cut out the skirt I realised the fabric had a big hole in it. The floral fabric, which I bought at Stash Rehash, had quite a few holes in it but I thought I had made sure to avoid them when I was cutting out. Obviously I hadn't. The bodice was fine so I decided to try and find some fabric that went with it to make the skirt out of. I spent ages trying to find a similar blue to the flowers but I had to make do with a sort of turquoise colour. It's not perfect but it's alright. The skirt is just a couple of rectangles with some pleats in it. I like that it kind of gives it an early 60s feeling.
The sash is made from a piece of left-over fabric and just ties around my waist.
While the dress itself is quite simple it took me months to finish because I couldn't find the motivation after so many hiccups. I finally had to impose a rule that I couldn't start sewing anything else until I finished it. This actually worked and I got it done if only so I could sew other things.
It's not my favourite dress but I probably will end up wearing it a bit because it is simple and comfortable.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


As you may know, Christchurch, where I live, was hit by a massive earthquake in the early hours of yesterday morning. Apart from being the single most terrifying experience of my life, we escaped with minimal damage. Our chimneys collapsed and there are cracks in a few of the walls but it is nothing compared to the devastation experienced by many. Self-stitched-September has, for the moment, gone out the window. At 5am this morning, in the cold and without power, I put on as many clothes as I could find. I'm happy that family, friends and my fellow Christchurch bloggers are all okay. Thankfully, at this point, there has only been one death in the city and mostly minor injuries.
As I write this we are still experiencing aftershocks and it will probably be a while before the city is functional again. I'm incredibly sad for those that have lost everything but so touched by the kindness of my neighbours, who came over at 4.30am, in the dark, to check if I was okay and who removed the chimney bricks that were in danger of falling off the roof.
I hope everyone in Christchurch is staying safe and warm.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Self-Stitched-September Day Two


I have, on day two, already run into a slight problem. Usually I wear an old pair of jeans and a hoody while dying my hair but when I went to dye my regrowth yesterday I realised I didn't have any 'old' clothes that I have made. I wasn't willing to wait until the month was over to get rid of my roots so that's how I found myself dying my hair in my self-made pyjamas. Miraculously, I managed to keep them free of dye.
After that slight hiccup I changed into my grey wool dress, made from the bodice of Butterick 5032 and a self-drafted skirt. Obviously I am on a purple kick at the moment. In the last three posts I've done I've been wearing purple.
The belt is the sash from another dress I made.
I tried doing a 40s style headscarf to cover my wet hair but I ended up looking more like a washer woman than Rosie the Riveter. It's strangely appropriate given I spent the day doing washing and other mundane jobs.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Self-Stitched-September Day One

SSS Day One

I don't think I have posted my pledge for Self-Stitched-September yet so here it is:

I, Camelia Crinoline, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-September. I endeavour to wear only handmade and refashioned items of clothing (excluding underwear, hosiery, shoes, cardigans and accessories) every day for the duration of September 2010.

Basically I will try and wear only skirts, dresses, blouses, pants and pyjamas that I have made. I briefly considered whether I should make some cardigans out of some knit fabric but I already own a lot of cardigans (like over 20) in almost every colour. It seems a waste sewing things I don't particularly want or need for the sake of being able to wear them for SSS.

For day one I wore my purple version of Burdastyle's Jenny skirt and also one of my Port Elizabeth tops from a pattern by Goldfinch and Eagle.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Sorry for not posting lately. This week was the last week of the term at uni so I had a 30 page research paper and an essay to finish (sometimes I wonder why I pay money to torture myself like this).

Circle Skirt

When I did maths at school I used to like geometry, especially anything involving circles. Now the only time I use maths regularly is when I'm working out what something will cost with 20% off and when I'm sewing. Making a pattern for a circle skirt combines my love of sewing with the fun (totally subjective) of geometry. It's probably one of the easiest patterns to make yourself. Basically, it's just a big circle with a smaller circle in the middle the size of your waist. Mine's actually made up of four pieces, rather than two half circles, because I wanted the stripes to be in a chevron pattern. Sadly, I spent ages cutting out the pieces and matching up all the seams and you don't actually notice the chevron pattern when I wear it.


The fabric is a thin cotton with purple stripes. I used about three metres to make this skirt but that was mostly because it wasn't very wide and I needed to match the stripes.

(Also, I always seem to look unhappy in my photos. I'm not. It's just I feel weird grinning like an idiot when I take self-timer photos and they always end up looking strange and forced).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Caped Crusader


Yesterday I went op-shopping with the lovely Annette from Helga von Trollop. She scored some great dresses and three pairs of shoes. She was also wearing the most amazing purple coat that used to belong to her partner's grandma.
I got this vintage cape which Annette dubbed the find of the day. We had seen a gorgeous blue velvet cape at the first op-shop we went to but I'm glad I didn't buy it because this one was half the price and far more practical. I got 5 cardigans, some zippers and two pairs of gloves as well. (I really must stop buying gloves but I wear them every day because I always have cold hands).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Things

(Or more accurately one new thing and two old things)

New Things

I said a couple of posts back that I wanted to make a faux leopard jacket. I had also mentioned this to a lovely woman I work with and the next time I saw her she brought me this jacket that used to belong to her cousin. I'm so pleased because it fits perfectly and now I don't have to make one.
The hat is a recent purchase from the op-shop. You can't really see it properly but it's a blue velvet 50's style.
I'm also wearing my new Melissa Vinyl shoes. I love them. They smell like bubblegum.

(I tried to make up for the terrible photo I took by playing with the fun effects on Picnik)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Port Elizabeth Top

Port Elizabeth One

I downloaded the Port Elizabeth top by Goldfinch & Eagle from Burdastyle weeks ago but only printed it out this week because I don't like the cutting out and taping together. Making up for lost time, I ended up sewing three of these in two days. I really love this pattern. It's so simple and stylish. I only made one change- instead of using bias binding on the neckline I drafted facings. This was mostly because I didn't have any bias binding that went with the fabrics and I don't actually know how to make it.
I made the first one using some floral fabric my Mum gave me from her stash.

Port Elizabeth Two

I made this one in about half an hour before I went to uni on Wednesday morning and then wore it. The fabric was the skirt of an ugly 90's dress I got at the op-shop.

Port Elizabeth Three Front

I used an old gingham shirt my Mum was going to throw away for this one. I cut the front of the top from the back of the shirt and the back of the top from the front of the shirt (if that makes sense) so that the buttons were down the back. As you have probably guessed by now I have a slight obsession with things that button down the back. I had to put a snap at the top to keep it closed because I couldn't cut it so there was a button there.

Port Elizabeth Three Back

I think I will be making a whole pile of these for Self-Stitched September.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Venus in Furs

Faux Fur Coat

I found this faux fur coat in the op-shop last week and I couldn't resist. It's unbelievably soft and has gorgeous, dusky pink lining. I know fur (faux and real) can be very divisive. Some people think it looks tacky but I love it when paired with vintage style clothes.
I've been wanting to make a vintage style faux fur swing coat for a while but faux fur is about $90 a metre here which is well beyond my limited budget. I think this is a far more reasonably priced substitute.

Thanks for all your sweet comments about my hair in the last post. This is it unstraightened. It's gone even curlier since I've had it cut!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jenny, Jenny, Jenny, Won't you come along with me

Jenny Skirt

I actually finished this version of the Jenny skirt a couple of weeks ago but haven't gotten around to posting it. This is my wearable muslin made out of $1.99 a metre bengaline. I quite like the pattern but I thought the instructions were terrible (it seems to be a common complaint). Since I've made a pencil skirt before it wasn't that difficult. Like some others who have made this pattern, I made my own waistband piece because I didn't like the fact that it was three separate pieces cut on the bias. I think in my next version I will taper the skirt more. I would have done on this one but the fabric has no stretch and even though there's a back split I was afraid I would have to take tiny steps if I did.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tea for Two

Sencha Number 2

I've finished my second Sencha blouse. This time I made view 3 with the tie front. I also did buttons down the back on this one rather than snaps. I made it using some floral cotton from Stash Rehash. Sorry I haven't managed to get a picture of me wearing it. As my Mum said, "It looks much better when it's on."

Sencha Buttons

The lovely Kat (who just got engaged- Congratulations Kat!), tagged me to answer some questions three weeks ago. I am really slack.

1. What is your favourite food?
It's probably a tie between cheese and chocolate.

2. What is your favourite childhood memory?
Spending three months in England when I was seven and meeting my Dad's family, most of whom I had never met before, was pretty amazing.

3. What is your guilty pleasure?
I'm not really one for feeling guilt about things that give me pleasure but I do indulge in eating homemade biscuits a bit too often.

4. If you won $1 million tomorrow what would you do with it?
Pay off my student loan (which is thankfully not anywhere near a million dollars). Actually go on the trip overseas that my Mum and I always talk about. Save some because I am boring and sensible.

5. Who is your biggest inspiration?
My Mum, who taught me to sew, bought me my first sewing machine and is always patient when I ask her endless questions about whatever pattern I'm currently making. She also taught me to be a proud and independent feminist.

6. What are you reading at the moment?
I just finished The Children of Men by P.D. James and I'm about to start Dr Adder by K.W. Jetter.

7. If you had a theme song what would it be?
I'm not sure I would say it's my theme song but I love Piss Factory by Patti Smith.

The fabulous Helga, also passed an award on to me. I'm meant to tell you five things about me.

1. I can't stand cooked peas. They make me gag but I love picking fresh ones and eating them raw.

2. I just got my hair cut and it's the shortest it's been since I was seven.

3. I like watching Doctor Who while I'm sewing.

4. My handwriting is terrible. I'm usually the only one who can read it.

5. I like making mosturisers and cleansers. I found an old book of my Mum's a few years ago on how to make your own cosmetics and haven't bought mosturiser or cleanser since.

I am a spoilsport and on holiday so I can't be bothered passing these on. Sorry.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On Location

At the moment I'm on holiday at my parents place in the middle of nowhere. It's great because I can do lots of sewing and try and get some schoolwork done (it's also nice having someone to do my washing).

Simplicity 1411

Yesterday, I finished Simplicity 1411, a short-sleeved jacket pattern from the 50s. Embarrassingly enough, I started this at the beginning of May but I abandoned it because it reminded me of doctor's scrubs. I'm glad I picked it up again because I'm actually quite pleased with the way it looks.
I made it using some sea foam green poplin and purple vintage buttons. The colour's actually greener than in the photo and the buttons are brighter. I didn't do the version with the detachable cuffs and collar so mine looks more like a blouse/jacket hybrid.

Simplicity 1411

I'm also wearing my unfinished version of Burdastyle's Jenny skirt. It's still without a waistband and the suspender straps but I didn't bring any clothes with me that I could wear with the jacket. I will do another post on it when it's done.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blueberry Bomb*

Sencha Blouse

I finally jumped on the Sencha bandwagon and I'm so glad I did. I knew I'd love Colette Patterns as soon as I saw the cute pattern booklet. The instructions were so well written even I could understand them.
I made view 1 using some printed broderie anglaise type fabric I got at Stash Rehash. The print is of little blue berries. They look more like cherries than blueberries though.
I'm definitely going to be making a whole pile of these in anticipation of Self-Stitched-September

Fabric for Sencha Blouse

*Cherry Bomb by the Runaways is one of my favourite songs

Monday, May 31, 2010

Me-Made-May Days 29, 30 and 31

Me Made May Day 29

Today is the last day of Me-Made-May. I can't quite believe that it's over and that tommorow I can get dressed without having to think about whether I'm wearing something that I've sewn. It has definitely been a challenge and I'm excited about wearing whatever I want again. Visiting the Flickr group and seeing everyone else's take on MMM has been really interesting and I found some great new blogs.

Me Made May Day 30

(who is a genius) has already thought up the next sewing/crafting related challenge, Self-Stitched-September, so if you want in on the fun visit her post and sign up.

Me Made May Day 31

Friday, May 28, 2010

Me-Made-May Days 27 and 28

Me Made May Day 27

It continues to pour down with rain. The sun porch is filled with buckets (at least it's the only room in the house that has a leaky roof) and right now I'm wearing a pair of tights with two pairs of socks over the top but I'm still quite enjoying the downpour.

On Thurday I wore my navy pencil skirt, and a navy cardigan, navy coat and navy gloves. There would have been more, if I hadn't put a hole in my navy tights and my navy shoes were appropriate for rain. Obviously, navy is my black. On a semi-related note, when I was in high school there was a girl who only wore one colour at a time. So some days she would be head to toe red and others head to toe green etc. I always thought she looked amazing and admired her dedication.

Me Made May Day 28

Today, I wore my grey gored skirt while doing some baking. Baking rivals sewing as one of my favourite things to do. I especially love making biscuits on rainy days. They're so delicious warm out of the oven.
My Mum made me the apron for Christmas (so I'm wearing something me made and something Mum made). It has polka dots, a pocket, vintage buttons and the fabric looks like a 50's novelty print with fish, flowers and shells on it. It's so perfect for me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Me-Made-May Days 25 and 26

Me Made May Day 25

It's now been raining heavily for four solid days which explains my boring outfits (since my main objective has been staying warm) and my even messier than normal hair.
I wore my grey wool dress on day 25 and my polka dot blouse on day 26. I didn't get a picture of day 26 because by the time I got home it was dark and I was tired (and I'm lazy). I have actually been doing some sewing but I doubt I will get anything finished before the end of May.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Me-Made-May Days 23 and 24

Me Made May Day 23

I'm quite glad MMM is over in a week because it's getting cold here. It's been raining the past few days and it's hard finding me made things to wear that are winter appropriate. I've also been really busy and haven't had time to do any sewing so I'm pretty much just repeating my outfits. Don't get me wrong, I've really enjoyed doing it and it has been a challenge. I love looking at the MMM Flickr group and seeing what everyone else is wearing. I'm definitely more motivated to sew and wear more of the things I make. I really admire those doing MMM who have made all the things they are wearing.

Me Made May Day 24

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Me-Made-May Days 21 and 22

Me Made May Day 21

Having run out of clothes that I've sewn that I actually wear has made me dig up some long forgotten projects. The dress I'm wearing below I made over a year ago but have never worn. The bodice doesn't fit properly and I was too lazy to try and fix it.
May is going scarily fast but with only nine days left I'm starting to miss wearing my vintage dresses.

Me Made May Day 22

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Me-Made-May Days 19 and 20

Me Made May Day 19

I was actually wearing my green polka dot dress on day 19 but my camera died before I could take a photo. I also wore the above pyjamas. I made them in sewing class when I was 13. I don't know which is more embarassing; the fact I still wear these or the fact that I haven't grown at all since I was 13.

Me Made May Day 20

Day 20 or I like to ignore style rules by wearing clashing patterns and brown and black together.

Brumby, a fellow kiwi, has opened and Etsy Emporium and is hosting a giveaway to celebrate. Visit here to enter. I hope I win because I kind of love this dress , even though the colour would look awful with my pale skin.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Me-Made-May Day 18

Me Made May Day 18

I wore my rooster dress today, plus about four other layers because it was rainy and cold. I'm smiling because I'm actually one of those horrible people that loves winter. Miserable weather makes me happy. I love rain, I love gloves and I love soup. I blame it on being born in July.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Me-Made-May Days 16 and 17

Me Made May Day 17

Today I wore a pencil skirt that I finally finished yesterday. And just for a change I'm wearing polka dots. Taking photos of my outfits every day has made me realise I wear red and/or polka dots a lot.
It actually rained all day so this is what I was wearing under my coat.

Me Made May Day 16

Sunday I spent catching up with uni work and cleaning. I wore the dress I finished last week.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Me-Made-May Day 14 and 15

Me Made May Day 14

Things I have learned so far during MMM: Updating every day is hard and I should really sew more separates.
I wore this to uni on Friday. I know lots of people dislike polka dots because they are 'too cutesy' but if you couldn't already tell I love them (on that note I don't even know why 'cutesy' is an insult).

Me Made May Day 15

I wore this on day 15 to Helga's blogger meet up where I was my usual shy, socially awkward self. Groups of people intimidate me. The theme was red/white so luckily I had a red dress that I had made. I know it doesn't look like it but I did actually iron it before I went out.