Search results for "excella"
When it came time for the HSF Challenge #23: Gratitude (make something utilises the tutorials, patterns and research that so many of the historical costuming community make available for free) I was in a bit of a quandary. I’ve got a list of tutorials and patterns that I want to use that is a mile long, and kilometres of fabric and lace that have been gifted to me by generous people, but every one of these tutorials and patterns was would be a very involved project. Stupidly I’d scheduled the ‘Generosity’ challenge right at the end of the university semester, and I was up to my neck in marking.
What to do!?!
I had a browse through the HSF photo albums and finished projects for inspiration, and was reminded again of the Hooverette dress that Jen did for the Robes & Robings challenge. It’s simple, it’s sweet, I’m madly in love with it, and I want one! Also, Jen did a bunch of awesome research on Hooverette and wrap dresses from the 20s-40s, making reproducing one easy.
After looking at all the different types of Hooverettes, I was particularly drawn to the early-mid ’30s styles with shawl collars and little puff sleeves, such as this one, and this one. I don’t think I’ve worn little tiny puff sleeves on anything since I was about 5, but every once in a while my inner Anne gets her way!
I had some 1930s inspired quilting fabric in stash, and I actually own a late ’20s wrap dress pattern:
Excella E3244 late 1920s wrap dress
The pattern simply calls it a ‘wrap around frock’ and it’s a bit early for the look I’m going for, but I used it as a pattern base, and drafted my own slim 1930s skirt and a shawl collar, and borrowed puff sleeves from another 1930s pattern.
Things started out easily enough, and then I decided to get complicated and have a contrasting collar, and the white for my collar and cuffs and sash was too white, so I tea-dyed:
The middle fabric is dyed, the outer two are not – I just wanted to cut the brightness of the white the tiniest bit.
As it turns out, that was the beginning of my problems – I forgot to dye the sash pieces, and then couldn’t get them to match, and then cut the sleeve cuffs wrong, and had to re-cut them out of un-dyed fabric. In the end, my sash, cuffs and collar were all different dye jobs!
Then there were sewing headaches with getting the wrap of the shawl collar to sit right,but in the end, I persevered, and I’m extremely pleased with the overall result:
(OK, so I wish the collar was wider and more crazy-30s, but I’ll get that right next time)
The pattern has cunning little tucks at the waist to give it shape:
I edged the collar, and cuffs in tiny red ric-rac to give them definition.
It’s very subtle, but provides just the right contrast and pop to the dress.
Or at least I think so!
I repeated the ric-rac on the pocket and added white piping to keep it from blending into the dress:
I couldn’t do it on the waist ties though, as they would have been too stiff.
The proof of the pudding, is, of course, in the wearing, and let me tell you, this wears well!
I’ve already worn it to do a last bit of university work, to hang out the laundry, wash dishes, make dinner, and tidy around the house, as well as to teach a sewing class.
It was a fantastically warm day in Wellingon: almost too warm, and brilliantly sunny. In between doing housework and errands I stopped by Madame O’s house for a photoshoot. Like many people in earthquake-wary Wellington, she’s having her chimney removed, so when I arrived she was literally shoveling out dirt from a hole in the floor where the fireplace had been, but she climbed out to have a cup of tea and take photos of me.
We sat in her pocket handkerchief back garden and I posed with the roses and lemons and old-fashioned grapes:
We weren’t the only ones enjoying the sun. Frogelina was loving the weather. I was posing and Madame O was snapping away and then I noticed Miss Frogelina hanging out and watching the show.
I’m in love with the dress as a whole, but I’m particularly in love with the pocket. It’s big enough for my car keys and a coin/card purse and a lip gloss.
Or a lemon. Lemons are good too!
The Challenge: #23: Generosity & Gratitude
Fabric: 2m reproduction 1930s print quilting cotton ($4 per metre on sale), 1/3 metre white lawn for the collar, cuffs & sash ($5 per metre)
Pattern: My own, mushed together from various vintage patterns and with a bit of drafting (hmmm…this sounds really familiar).
Year: ca. 1934
Notions: Cotton thread, vintage ric-rac, vintage bias hem tape, all inherited.
How historically accurate is it? While the print is accurate, quilting/craft cotton is not an accurate weight or hand for the 1930s (which is why all those reproduction prints are so annoying – perfect pattern, not at all period fabric!), so the dress doesn’t wear or hang as a period original would. My construction is all period perfect though. So 70%.
Hours to complete: 5 or 6. I spent way too much time fussing with the collar.
First worn: All day Wednesday to be a teacher and seamstress and housewife and friend.
Total cost: $9.50
And special thanks goes to: Jen, for the inspiration and research, and Madame O, for taking time out of her busy day to do a photoshoot for me.
For the past few months I’ve been part of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers group. I don’t do most of their challenges, because when they make patterns they have names like Tiramisu and Renfrew, and when I make patterns they have names like Excella and Anne Adams. They are wonderful women though, and one challenge/get together I was definitely in for (well, I had to be, it was my idea!) was a Craft Crawl of Wellington’s sewing and crafty goodness, using the wonderful Craft & Textile Lover’s Guide to Wellington that Maryanne of Made on Marion designed as a guide.
A Craft Crawl is like a pub crawl but way prettier, in every possible way, and just as with a pub crawl, we crossed off the locations on the map as we did them.
On this Saturday we concentrated on the outer-suburb craft locations.
There are actually over 20 Wellington Sewing Bloggers, but it was just Zara of Off-Grid Chic (who has a sewing cat almost as delightful as Felicity, and makes amazing detailed garments), MaryLouise of Thanks, I Made This Myself (who is teaching herself how to sew this year, and doing an awesome job of it) and I on the Craft Crawl.
Stop #1: #17 on The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington: Wellington Sewing Services in Kilbirnie Plaza.
We started out the day at Wellington Sewing Services, the best place in Wellington to buy a sewing machine or get one serviced, plus they have tons of quilting fabrics and yarns and ribbons and buttons all your sewing basics.
Zara discovered that cutting mats come in PINK (and this one was reversible – cm on one side, inches on the other, which is super helpful when you sew in NZ) AND they don’t even charge extra for it being a ‘girl’ colour.
Zara bought some thread, MaryLouise bought the cutest buttons ever (ceramic cats and sheep and hedgehogs made in South Africa) and an iron protector.
Purchases in hand, we popped around the corner to:
Stop #2: #14 on The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington: Stitchbird Fabrics.
Stitchbird is basically the home of all things cute and gorgeous and adorable and more-ish, particularly amazing designer fabrics like Echino and Alexander Henry etc. Everything is so gorgeous and tempting that you can’t decide what to buy! They sell fabrics like the stuff I made my Mad, Bad & Dangerously Green Shorts out of, and the Love at First Flight Dress. Yum…
MaryLouise bought some gift labels, and we resolved to have a WSB challenge that centred around Stitchbird fabrics, so that we would have an excuse to go treat ourselves to the amazing wares.
Just across the street is:
Stop #3: #1 on The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington: Asia Gallery
I love the Asia Gallery, but MaryLouise and Zara had never been there before.
Zara basically had a too-much-goodness meltdown moment:
MaryLouise found the thing: a child’s kimono, with a photograph of the child in it attached.
We all got super excited and bought a ton of fabulous fabrics. Zara pretty much bought a capsule wardrobe in kimono fabrics.
She got the honour of crossing the Asia Gallery of the Craft Crawl map:
After the Asia Gallery, it was into the cars, and ’round the southern coast of Wellington, past some amazing views…
…(crafts and scenery! So much goodness!) to…
Stop #4: #16 on The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington: The White Room Gallery at the Empire Cinema.
The White Room, located in the Empire Cinema, means that you can sample crafty gorgeousness before or after your film.
It’s more of a shop for already-made crafts, rather than materials, so perfect for birthday and holiday gifts.
The White Room is crammed FULL of pretty stuff, from an entire wall of owl themed things:
To jewellery and mobiles and cut glass and tins and pretty tea towels and napkins and a fabulous vintage book which (sadly) was not for sale.
I bought lip butter and a little sewing-themed tin to store my needles and scissors in when I travel (it’s so cute!).
After tea we got in the car and headed uphill to Karori for:
Stop #5: #12 on The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington: Piece by Piece Quilting Store.
So much delicious fabric! It makes me want to quilt…
Of course, you don’t have to use this stuff for quilting. I discovered that Piece by Piece carries vintage reproduction fabrics. Swoon!
There was so much goodness that we decided we couldn’t limit the ’boutique fabrics’ challenge to Stitchbird, so it will now include Piece by Piece and Nancys and Made on Marion on the list!
I bought silk thread (a new kind, which I haven’t tried) and Zara bought Piecemakers needles, and WE WILL BE BACK.
Down the other side of the hill is:
Stop #6: #3 on The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington: The Craft House.
The Craft House sells stuff for papercrafts and scrapbooking.
A long time ago, I actually did scrapbooking, and still have some of the supplies. I haven’t touched it in ages, but I mean to pick it up again to document my dresses: I think that a page with images of the finished dress, and scraps of fabric from it, and the notions, is the best way to keep a record of them. It will be like Barbara Johnsons album, but for my sewing!
I picked up some of the label holders that you attach to drawers and boxes so that you can keep a record of what is in them.
Just down the road is our final stop of the day:
Stop #7: #11 on The Craft and Textile Lovers Guide to Wellington: Nancy’s Embroidery Shop.
In addition to materials for every possible kind of embroidery, Nancys sells Bernina sewing machines, and yarn, and yet more gorgeous quilting fabric.
Zara and MaryLouise got excited about the embroidery stuff:
By this time I was pretty worn out, but managed a final smile for the ‘Hey, we did it!’ shot:
I headed home for a rest, but the last I heard the other two were still going strong, finding goodies to drool over and buy…
Next Craft Crawl we’re hitting all the inner city shops!
While I showed lots of different colour options in my By The Sea inspiration post, the classic nautical colours are red, white and blue.
I’ve got one last dress from Art Deco Weekend that I haven’t blogged about, and it just happens to be red, white and blue and (almost) nautical.
Everything is nautical when you pose by the sea and pair it with a giant white anchor, right?
The dress was a prototype for my Garden Party Frock, with sleeves borrowed from Past Pattern’s 1931 McCalls pattern. Interestingly, the skirt is nearly identical to the PP McCall’s pattern as well, but comes from one of my Excella patterns.
I ended up going with a easier to wear, more universally flattering, fuller skirt for my final Garden Party Frock, but I do like the slim lines of this one. The sleeves were another thing altogether. They look darling, but I had to get Miss Rachel to re-tie them for me literally every 15 minutes, all.day.long. She was so glad when I changed out of the dress!
I wore the dress on the first day of Art Deco Weekend, and started out in quite high lipstick red suede shoes for our annual 1st photo of the day at the bed and breakfast.
The hat is a quickie reshape, but is made from synthetic fibres, so didn’t reshape well, and was uncomfortable to wear, so I’ve since discarded it. The red belt is not of my making, it’s just something I have in the wardrobe.
Our lovely host was so enamoured of our frocks he got us to pose with his grandmother’s Art Deco tea set. You can tell that Miss R is the hostess, and I’m visiting, because I’ve still got my hat and gloves!
After tea it was off to Hastings for op-shopping, and off to Napier for more op-shopping, and then we checked into our hotel for the rest of the weekend, I gave up on the heels (my knee was still injured), and we took a walk on the waterfront in much more sensible shoes.
I was really hesitant about making this dress up in polka dots, because they are such a vintage cliché, but I ended up loving the dress (other than the annoying sleeves). It’s so crisp and fresh, was perfect for shopping in, and the tiny nod to nautical worked so well at a seaside town like Napier.
The dress is my extremely soft nautical entry, eligible on grounds of slight nautical inspiration, and because I realised two months after Art Deco weekend that I hadn’t actually finished hemming one of the sleeves (because you’d think after two hours of machine hemming you’d be done hemming a pair of sleeves, but no), and I needed to sort the sleeves so they weren’t a total pain in the neck to wear. So it did get finished during the challenge!
To fix (or at least help) the sleeve untyeing issue, I sewed a little loop of hat elastic to the sleeve for the ties to slip through, so hopefully they won’t come undone as easily.
Here is what the improved sleeves look like tied now:
The Challenge: By The Sea
Fabric: 3 metres vintage (1980s) blue and white polka dotted rayon from Fabric-a-Brac, 30cm vintage (1940s) white rayon for sleeves and bow.
Pattern: My own, cobbled together from three different vintage Excella patterns and Past Patterns #6731 (1931 McCalls frock)
How historically accurate is it? Quite accurate. All the sewing and construction techniques are period appropriate, and the fabrics used, while not always period, are quite similar to what would have been available. Say 90%
Hours to complete: 5 (and half of that was sleeves)
First worn: Napier Art Deco Weekend, Friday Feb 15
Total cost: $12