Beaded necklace

My favourite embroidery/ beading time is Sunday afternoon when there’s an Agatha Christie repeat on telly and I can just vaguely pay attention to it (I’d seen them all several times before) and do the crafty stuff at the same time. Last year, I bought a whole load of cheap beads when an online shop had a closing down sale, planning to make some beaded necklaces while semi-watching old whodunits. I started one then got a bit busy and forgot all about it. There were no more Agatha Christies to watch. The half-finished necklace was destined to linger on, half-finished until last week, when I was forced to watch a whole load of recorded BBC4 documentaries – the box was running out of space. So now the necklace is finished and looking great:

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I got the idea for it a few years back when I saw something similar in Vogue and made a slightly narrower one in different colours and to a different pattern at the time. This one is, I think, a better fit around the neck and a decent finish so I’m very happy with it. Here’s a photo of it on the old dummy

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I really dislike starting projects and never finishing them, sometimes I just lose momentum, sometimes I’m a bit too ambitious and think I’ll do it but then don’t have any spare time. Anyway, really pleased I managed to finish at least one beaded necklace and can’t wait to wear it, it’ll look very good against navy or grey. Now, where did I put the rest of the beads…

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Dress finished, yay!

Sometimes my vintage dress pattern purchases from ebay are a bit questionable. I’ve built a nice little collection of them but some I am not sure that I’ll ever make. I wasn’t too sure about this late fifties (I think but could easily be wrong) shift dress with a fitted midriff but then I thought below the knee length is quite big for winter and then I had this very soft charcoal wool with a bit of stretch that I thought could work. Anyway, for the past two weeks I’ve been working on the dress – again decided to make entirely by hand, otherwise would have been done in a day or two and, I finished it this afternoon. Here is the result: 

Gathered front panel, fitted waist, pleated skirt (darts in the back) and a pocket on the right hand side too! Totally impressed with that. Also rather like the photograph – turned black and white and then applied lomo.

 

Side and back views.

Side front closer up.

The pattern also featured a cummerbund and a detachable collar. I originally really liked the idea of a cummerbund but now quite like the austerity of the dress so not sure if I’ll make one – should be in a different fabric anyway. Collar idea I really like. Beaded or sequinned so shall have a rummage through ‘crafty cupboard as am sure there are beads and sequins about.

The Guardian’s measure this weekend had a rather good idea of wearing below the knee skirts/ dresses with bare legs and ankle boots – it actually worked quite well when I tried it on. Beloved thinks it’s quite sophisticated, don’t you know.

All dressed up

An outfit (well most of the outfit) post – had a wedding to go to yesterday, this is what I wore. It’s a dress I made last year, using another vintage ebay pattern. I made a lot of it by hand while watching bad TV. Fabric came from favourite fabric shop in South London – I think they must have only just had that fabric in so I got very lucky. The white of the petals was added on later so you can feel the paint – someone who knows told me that means whoever produced the fabric didn’t do discharge – in any case, they ended up with a simply marvellous printed silk. Can’t believe it’s only the second time I wore this dress too, must give it some more outings.

In other news, am still working on the charcoal wool fitted shift, it’s nearly finished but must go out now before the shops close and get a zip – have loads of zips at home but none are long enough. With a bit of luck, will finish the dress by end of weekend.

In the works – getting there

So the late fifties fitted dress is coming along nicely. Top part is done:

Pinned to the dummy as fitted midrif too fitted to go over dummy (no collapsable shoulders, dummy a bit old). Was a bit worried that it wouldn’t go over me either as forgot to buy a longer side zip but have tried on and looks fine so far.  Working on the skirt part now, finish this weekend is looking doubtful, never mind, the weather is still too warm to wear anyway.

While searching for best light in flat this morning to take photo, this nice little accident happened, love the colours:

In the works

I’ve built up a nice little collection of vintage dress patterns from ebay, mainly 40s dresses but, this summer I got a few late fifties and early to mid sixties dress patterns too. I get obsessed for about a month at a time, looking daily for anything with an interesting front, good cowl, draping, and so on but also try to control myself and not spend a fortune. This recent addition to my pattern collection:

is not what I usually go for but I liked the very fitted waist and the simple shape. I also loved the fact that it has a cummerbund. I’ve always wanted a cummerbund! Such a brilliant word that.

I’ve started making it in a charcoal wool mix – not sure of the fabric content, it’s definitely wool and has some stretch in it. Bought it last summer for a pair of trousers but never got around to making the pattern for them so when I looked at recent ebay purchases, it seemed right to forget the trousers and use the wool for this dress.

Making just the dress, not the cape, shortening the length a little – not mid calf but it will be below the knee. Also making it by hand. If I work v.v. hard I may finish this weekend but perhaps not – it’s quite hard going sewing dark fabrics by hand. Machine would have done it in a day (I started last Sunday). Undecided on what to make the cummerbund in and also thinking of possibly making the detachable collar – beaded or something. That would make a good transition from day to evening and also not make it look too plain. Think I’ll decide on that once I’ve made it up.

‘Works’ finished – 40s top

Last night I finished the 40s top I’d been hand sewing for two weeks in a lovely flower print chiffon. Although it takes ages, I find hand sewing very relaxing and a great evening accompaniment to crap telly. Actually, not all telly watched while making the top was crap – decided to watch all of Twin Peaks again as it’s been a very long time since I’d seen it.

Anyway, here’s the top:

Think I need a taller dummy stand as this pic makes it all look a bit squat – current dummy stand is old tins of paint. Think I need 3 instead of 2.

Love the fabric and the shape, it has a gathered front panel and a high cowl neck. Tiny bit loose in the back – pattern came from a vintage 40s dress pattern that had a sort of belt for the back but I decided against the belt. Lengthened the hem too, otherwise would have been too short.

Another soft side view:

Resisted temptation to pull clothes out of wardrobe and try it on with everything – only because I worked out what I could wear it with while making. Think it could prove quite a useful little number, as long as I don’t make it look to vintage-y.

Started a dress today, thought it best to get on with as much as can make before my next course starts in a few weeks time.

In the works

I suppose I haven’t been that interested in terrace watch this past week because I’ve been working on something else. Finally, after a fairly long ‘contemplation’ period, I’ve found use for this marvellous flower print chiffon.

Apparently, it was an old Paul Smith fabric – at least that’s what the label in the shop said. Bought it last summer, thinking I’d make a top and it’s been neatly folded among growing mountain of fabric ever since. I didn’t really fancy making my own pattern for this so decided to see if one of my vintage 40s dress patterns had a top part I could use instead. Settled on this:

Have had the pattern for a couple of years, from ebay. Lengthened the hem by a couple of inches and decided to make it entirely by hand. It’s looking pretty good so far, have neatly finished all seams although that might not be the case once the sleeve comes in. We shall see. Actually, making it by hand, although time consuming, has been a pretty good idea as chiffon + sewing machine don’t like each other all that much.

Making the short sleeved version and the sleeve has darts! You don’t see many of those anymore. The front is lined too so it’s taken a bit longer to make the whole thing, have been working on it for a week now.

Coming along nicely – just need to finish hemming, then make up and set the sleeve in, add some buttons on the back neck and poppers on the side + press. Side view:

Definitely needs a bit of pressing. Hopefully I’ll get it done by next week and then let’s also hope that the weather doesn’t get too cold to wear it, actually that’s never stopped me before… Rather excited about wearing it soon.