Loving life, family, cooking, eating, knitting, sewing, lots of fabric and enjoying a few bottles of wine on the way...( not when changing the baby or operating the overlocker though!)....

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

1940s dungarees, A pattern review.

Phew! Well I made them, the Wearing History 1940s dungarees, but it certainly wasn't all plain sailing. I think I made the common mistake of thinking that as a fairly experienced sewer, I would have no problem!
Big Mistake!

Oh there is nothing wrong with the pattern and Wearing History have done a great job of adapting it to our modern figure shape without losing the essence of the original. It was my hurry to get them done and not as the pattern company suggests, reading up on past sewing terms which was almost my downfall.
That and being in too much of a hurry to make a toile of course.

The one thing I did do was be very honest with my measurements. Despite the fact that according to the pattern sizing I appeared to be making a garment about 3 sizes bigger than I normally would. It was a very good job that I did because even then it really fitted where it was meant to!
The other thing which I almost slipped up on was the low rise. Fortunately I checked this out almost as an afterthought and I am so glad I did. Without losing the integrity of the 40s style when all trousers had a much lower rise than our modern equivalent, I still needed to lift the seam about 2 inches to prevent it almost hitting my knees.

The biggest learning curve though was the button placket or as the pattern puts it left facings. I could not get my head round cutting both front and back double. Especially as I was using denim.
I had decided to deviate a little by lining the front and back bodice, as I don't like faced openings, and so cut one each of the the side facings plus a second in lining fabric to keep the bulk down a bit. I also lined the pockets. I would be interested to hear how others dealt with the button opening as if I had followed the original directions there would have been five layers of fairly thick fabric once they were fastened! Perhaps I still misunderstood the pattern here!
I did eventually sort it out to my satisfaction whether right or wrong, and I do love the finished garment. It still niggles me though as I like to know what I am doing wrong if I can't fathom a pattern.
As you can see from the pictures I wore these to the latest pop up Olive & Edna shop last Saturday and they were really comfortable and very practical. I think they will be getting quite a few outings in the future.

Thanks once again to Claire at Liberty Rose Grantham for the friendly welcome and help, and to all the lovely folk who came and supported us. If you are interested in Vintage and Collectibles there is a Vintage Fair at the New life Church St Catherine's Road Grantham this Saturday, 22nd November and another that I will be attending at Liberty Rose on Saturday 6th December. So do come and say hello if you are in the area.

Off now to make vintage pinnies and some more Christmas slippers,

Jenny xx

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

On my doorstep

Its so true what they say that you rarely see whats under your nose.
We try to get out and about every couple of weeks and are often scratching around to find somewhere we haven't visited.  But twice in the last few weeks we have found glorious places so near to home I am almost ashamed to say we have not been before.
Today I will share out visit to Wollaton Park in Nottingham.

The day we chose followed a very wet and windy Saturday and we were expecting it to be overcast with a fair chance of more rain, but to our delight the day dawned bright, crisp, even sunny and amazingly warm!
Wollaton Hall was designed by Robert Smythson and completed in 1588 (the year of the Spanish Armada) for Sir Francis Willoughby. The exterior remains much as is was originally and is considered to be a masterpiece.
The interior was remodelled in 1642 following a fire and again in the 18th and 19th Centuries by Sir Jeffry Wyatville for 6th Lord Middleton.
It opened to the public in 1926 and is home to the city's Natural History Museum.
As well as the stunning house, whose period rooms you can visit by joining one of the guided tours, the grounds are well worth a visit. Stunning in Autumn they would make an excellent place for Summer picnics, with acres of space (approximately 500 now, though originally it was 790 acres). There are deer and plenty of wildlife and birds as well as formal gardens.

My post is a little picture heavy, but I hope it conveys the space and delightful variety of vistas. We thoroughly enjoyed the visit and indeed the Natural History Museum and will certainly be keeping this in our places to revisit book for next Spring and Summer.

Have a lovely week and I hope the sun keeps shining a little longer for you as it certainly is here today.

Jenny xx

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Autumn fashion....Yes Please!

I seem to be having a skirt fest at the moment!. Despite the fact that as a hands on nanny I spend most of my time grovelling on the floor, or leaping about like some mad woman playing on the wii and therefore am more likely to be in my jeans, I do like to wear skirts and dresses.
Over time my taste has gone from the tailored smart to the comfy casual, preferably with thick tights and boots!
My pattern of choice at the moment is the pencil skirt from Angela Kane. After downloading a couple of her free patterns, which I quite liked, I decided to sign up. Now for just £25 joining fee I can download as many patterns as I like. Since there are about 28 ( and new ones being added) I think, that's not bad value at all. One of the best things though is the you tube tutorials. Even as a fairly prolific sewer, I have learned some excellent tips and short cuts.

My first attempt....1991 curtain fabric! I love it and am tempted to make a coat too. I have enough material!!

 You only got the bottom of this photo 'cos I was pulling the most stupid face!

A lined wool tweed, and a close up of the back pleat which I much prefer for Autumn/Winter skirts, much less drafty!

I also made an unlined brushed moleskin with patch pockets, but I loved it so much its been worn and is now in the wash.

I have made another Ponti dress.....

I wouldn't have thought of wearing the mustard with orange, but couldn't be bothered to change. However since the scarf does have both colours in I might be tempted. At least its very Autumnul!

In between busily sewing cushions, bunting and Christmas decorations for our next Olive & Edna pop up shop, I have also downloaded a 1940s dungaree pattern which I hope to wear on the day.......

Saturday 15th November 2014

I'd better get a move on or I could be wearing them with the pins in still...not a good look and somewhat dangerous!

If you are in the area do pop in if only to say hello and taste the wonderful cakes!

Jenny xx

Friday, 10 October 2014

A bird in the hand.....

Quite literally...

  This darling little fellow must have mistaken the reflection in our french doors as his flight path out of our garden!. DH was in the kitchen when he heard a thump and out of the corner of his eye he suddenly saw something drop. As he looked out of the door he saw this blue tit on its back on the patio not moving. He really thought that he was dead. He picked him up and gently cradled him and slowly he began to move.

He was obviously stunned, but didn't seem at all frightened as DH continued to quietly talk to him. He sat still for what seemed ages, though I know it was probably only for a minute or so.

As he recovered  he certainly didn't seem in any great hurry to fly away. I am sure that DH has a touch of the Dr Doolittle's about him as he does seem to have a real rapport with wild animals and birds.  I think being born and bred in the country, around farm animals and nature does make a difference.

So finally our feathered friend hopped onto DHs thumb, had a look around and flew off into the rambling rose above the archway outside the kitchen door apparently none the worse for his accident and having given DH and me a few minutes of absolute joy in watching him make a full recovery.

Isn't nature brilliant

Jenny xx

Saturday, 27 September 2014

How good it feels to bottom it!

As I use my sewing room almost every day I expect it to be a bit dusty. I use loads of fleece and knitted fabrics and cutting them out alone seems to cover every surface with a fine layer of fibres. I hadn't realised however until the other day when in the words of my mother I bottomed it just how mucky it really was! (This was apparently a well known phrase about 50 years ago in Yorkshire, but not used so much now! Although why it was a favourite of my mother a Kentish girl, I have no idea.)
Oh the shame! There was enough fluff to almost fill a cushion., so once I started there was no going back.
It did have its plus points finding as I did one or two things I had 'lost'.... Rolls of ribbon, small scissors and several reels of thread to name a few.
And now its neat and shiny again, for a few days at least and it really feels good.

I've rearranged and thinned out some of my vintage toys and sewing ephemera.

Hung some new bunting (remember the five sided hexagons I crocheted!) They look lovely now linked together and not such a stupid mistake anymore.

Organised my ribbons and trims and bought a couple more really useful boxes to tidy up my fabric overflow.

However I seem to be, rather worryingly, getting a bit obsessed with deep cleaning at the moment.  I'm glad (in more ways than one) that I am well past child bearing age as this sudden urge to tidy my nest might have other connotations. Last week it was the cooker this week the sewing room, whatever next?
I can see I may need to take up yet another hobby before I actually begin to plan Housework!!

Right off now to embroider a baby blanket before I start cutting out and making a mess again.

Hope you have a good week
Jenny xx

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Just bits and bobs.....

September...almost over, I can hardly believe it!
It seems no time since we were basking in sunshine and spending endless days in the summerhouse and now its almost time to put it to bed and start thinking of cosy nights inside. Sigh!!.....

Well I haven't been completely idle over the past weeks, but I must say I have definitely slowed down....Lots of bits and bobs really..

I finally finished my grandson's jumper.......and it still fits!

and started one for his brother (I hope to finish this one a little quicker)
I've repainted another fireside chair. We only had one in the dining room where DH likes to watch his sport on the bigger TV, but the grandsons love being in this room so we thought we would take out the child's chair we had here before and give them both a 'grown up' one now. Cant make up my mind though whether to leave the green covers which I made previously or make some more in a toning red or taupe fabric!
I've had to remake the red checked chair cushion too as the springs underneath had worn the  bottom away .

I've been playing with my embroidery machine too! I love all these cushions with deer heads and while looking for some machine embroideries to my taste, I found an article about 'picture stitch' and remembered that this was a function of my machine. So I found a photograph of a deer, and a hare which I also love and set about converting them to embroideries and this is the result for the deer.....

I love it! I know it isn't perfect and no doubt if I were a bit more savvy with photoshop I could make the original image much sharper which would then make the embroidery have better definition, but I think for a first attempt it's not bad. So it looks like I'll be making a few cushion covers in the next few weeks. They'll be lovely to add to the knitted deer cushion I hope to make from the pattern lovely Lucy from Lemonade Kitty wrote out for me earlier in the year.

So together with the pile of dressmaking I have lined up I guess it's just as well the weather's changing and the nights drawing in as I could be locked in my sewing room for some time.

 That is when I'm not glued to Pinterest or playing with this awesome App.....

 A corner of my bedroom and Winnibriggs House in glorious watercolour!.......What do you think. I think its awesome in fact I think I will print off the house picture and frame it........

Well enough of my ramblings, I hope you all have a good  and productive week...

Jenny xx

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

TWINWOOD 2014......Just fabulous again!

Well we certainly picked our day this year. On a somewhat unpredictable weekend we spent Sunday at the fabulous Twinwood Festival and had a glorious day. Though not quite as hot as last year it was perfect for walking about and out of the wind was quite warm.
This year we planned ahead a bit and took fold up chairs.

We found our spot up on the bank so that we could observe the main stage, arena and dance floors and then took ourselves off to visit all the lovely stalls, do some people watching and enjoy the atmosphere.
And that's just it, something we noticed on our first visit last year, everyone is so friendly and there is such a joyous vibe over the whole festival!

It really doesn't matter how you dress whether you come to observe or really go the whole hog. It's a festival that is just so welcoming. Families,couples, groups all having a whale of a time to excellent and varied music from the 30s to the 50s.
Outfit details.....Navy hat, Miss Sally Victor (Ebay), navy floral dress, Simplicity 1587. 
Brown hat, Tootsie and Tiger Ltd Truro, Yellow spot dressButterick B5281

We had some lovely comments about our dress, were asked to pose for some photographs by a gentleman who had just become the new owner of a vintage motorcycle company, and had lots of conversations with other festival goers about where we got our costumes and just generally about the era. It was like being on an outing with loads of friends!

 Gorgeous frocks for sale

Fabulous vintage cars

Young and old getting into the swing of it.

There were some amazing acts and bands from rock n roll to swing, check out the Twinwood brochure for more info here and so many actually dancing it was a real pleasure to watch, in fact there were times when I wish I was 16 again.
So well done Twinwood yet again. We will be back!

Hope you enjoy the rest of the week, the weather is supposed to improve again, so hopefully the children will get a bit more outdoor fun before its back to school.

Jenny xx