Sunday, March 27, 2011

And the winner is.

Thanks to everyone who entered my 100th follower giveaway. I was really happy to hear so many of you wanted to enter, and that the pattern would surely be going to a loving home.

Drum roll please - generated the number 8, which means Kate you're the winner!

This little beauty is now yours :-)

We had a very wet day in Sydney today, perfect for sewing. I made Jamie some pajama shorts (I am trying to convince him to let me take a photo of them on him... haven't had much luck yet) and I made myself some bloomers using Colette Patterns free download. When I have better light I will post some photos.

Sam xox

Sam xox

Tea time.

Yesterday I had a bunch of girlfriends come over for a craft day. Each of them brought along the project they were working on. I laid the table with my favourite china pieces and a vintage embroidered cloth.

It was a lovely afternoon.

Don't forget my giveaway closes today at 8pm Sydney time (+11GMT).

Sam xox

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hot crossed yum.

I know we are still a while away from Easter, but with the cooler days over the past week I decided we needed a little warming and tried my hand at baking hot crossed buns. I had never made these before, but figured it couldn't be that different to making bread or pizza dough. Some flour, milk, yeast, and a LOT of kneading!

These were so yummy and pretty cheap to make. I think these will be a regular feature of my baking repertoire.

Here's the recipe:
(taken from Modern Classic's 2 by Donna Hay)

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
4 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
50g butter, melted
1 egg
1 1/2 cup sultanas
1/3 cup candied mixed peal (optional)
1/2 cup plain flour, extra
1/3 cup water
1 quantity glaze*

Place yeast, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and all of the milk in a bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. The mixture will start to foam, indicating that the yeast is active.
Add the flour, mixed spice, ground cinnamon, butter, egg, sultanas, mixed peel, and the remaining sugar to the yeast mixture and mix using a butter knife until a sticky dough forms.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 8 minutes or until it feels elastic.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow to stand in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Divide dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls.
Grease a 23cm square cake tin and line with baking paper.
Place the dough balls in the tin, cover with a clean tea towel, and set aside for 30 minutes, or until they rise.
Preheat an oven to 200C (400F).
Combine the extra flour and water, place in a piping bag, and pipe crosses on the buns.
Bake for 35 minutes or until browned and springy to touch.
Brush with the warm glaze while the buns are hot.
Serve warm with butter.

Makes 12

* Glaze: Place 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add 2 teaspoons powdered gelatine sprinkled over 1 tablespoon water and cook for 1 minute. Brush warm glaze on buns.

Sam xox

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crescent skirt pattern ordered.

That's right everyone! Tasia from Sewaholic has released her second pattern, the Crescent Skirt. This is the second original pattern designed by this clever lady, and it looks promising. The skirt pattern features three different views, piping detail, a innovative zipper insertion method, and pockets! I have already pre-ordered my copy of the pattern and I can't wait for it to arrive. Tasia is running a sew-along, beginning April 18, but seeing how quickly I sewed up the Pendrell Blouse, I have a funny feeling I may have this pattern finished before the sew-along begins!

You might think I am a little silly to be buying a skirt pattern as the southern hemisphere moves towards winter, but you see, our winters in Sydney are often warm enough to wear a skirt like this and tights... maybe only one month of the year is too cold for this.

I hope you're all having a fantastic week! We had a very wet weekend which resulted in some flooding a few hours south of Sydney. My poor vegetable garden was pooling with water - I thought my zucchini plants were going to float away. In an effort to cope with the terrible weather and the fact that I was couped up inside all weekend, I spent Sunday sewing a blouse using a Burda Style pattern. I am looking forward to showing you all some photos :-)

Thanks also for your lovely comments about my grandparents golden wedding anniversary. We celebrated the weekend before last with a big party at my Uncle and Aunty's home. 50 years is a very long time to be married - quite a milestone when you read the divorce rates of today. Nan and Pop are a fantastic couple who compliment each other perfectly. I am super lucky to have them as mine, and even more lucky to be able to be there to celebrate such a special milestone with them. Here are a couple of pics...

~ I even got to wear my newly made dress. ~

~ Cutting the cake ~
When Jamie and I became engaged, Nan gave me a cake knife as a gift, a knife that was given to her as a wedding gift. Jamie and I used that knife to cut our wedding cake. Last weekend, Nan and Pop used that knife to cut their cake... 50 years after the knife was given to them. I hope Jamie and I are able to do the same with that knife in 48 years time...

~ And what was inside that masterpiece you ask? Why chocolate and cream of course. ~

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway to celebrate reaching 100 followers. And following the celebration theme of this post, I have to add that this is my 200th blog post! Woohoo!

Sam xox

Sunday, March 20, 2011

1960's pattern giveaway.

To celebrate reaching 100 followers I want to do a little give away. I have not yet gotten around to sewing this pattern yet, and with the current to-do list I have set for myself, it seems this beautiful pattern won't be sewn anytime soon! Such a shame for it to be sitting on my shelf unloved... I want to give it a new home!

Here is a little bit about the pattern:

"Great 60s half size suit pattern! Vintage early 60s, Simplicity 5126, size 12 1/2, suit, scraf and blouse pattern.

Bust 33"
Waist 27"
Hip 37"

Misses' Suit, Scraf and Blouse in Half-Sizes: Blouse with high round neckline, short set-in sleeves, has center back button closing, is dart fitted. Slim skirt dart fitted at waistline has left side zipper closing and pleat at bottom of center back seam. Collarless jacket has rounded neckline and lower edges, set-in below elbow length sleeves, shoulder darts, patch pockets. V. 1 has contrasting braid trim. V. 2 has self fabric scraf, top-stitched trim. Jacket is lined.

Pattern is complete and in good, UNCUT, factory fold, condition. Envelope is in good vintage condition, does have a little yellowing inside and small stain at lower front."

The details:
* This giveaway is open to anyone, simply leave one comment in this post.
* If you're a follower of my blog and listed in the 'google friend connect' to the right of my page, then you're entitled to two entries (so make two please).
* Please include either a contact email address or link to your blog so I can find you if you win.
* I'm happy to post this pattern anywhere in the world.
* Giveaway closes on Sunday 27th March at 8pm Sydney, Australia time (GMT +11).
* Winner will be drawn by online random number generator on

Good luck!

Sam xox

Monday, March 7, 2011

Simplicity dress 4310 complete.

I purchased this pattern on Etsy about two months ago. It says it is for ladies 5'1" and under. Being 5'5" I was a tad concerned but I loved the dress/jacket combo so much I took a risk and bought it. The patterned turned out to be fine for my height.

As I worked a 6 day week this week, the only time I had to buy the dress fabric was Thursday evening. I made a quick dash to Lincraft (a standard large scale 'craft' store) and navigated my way through piles of hideous (and highly flammable) fabrics to find something that somewhat resembled a vintage print. I was lucky and found two fabrics.

The first was a fabric with a pink rose pattern printed on black, and I used it to make this dress. I decided not to make the jacket to match as I was worried that it might just be a bit too much on the... um... floral side :-)

This dress took me a day and a morning to make. I could probably do it in a day next time, but as it was my first time I had to make a few modifications to the pattern. As most women out there, I am not a standard body shape. My hips are two sizes larger than my bust, and my waist one size smaller than my hips. This pattern was my bust size, so I had to add 2" extra to the skirt pattern, and added an extra pleat too.

The dress fits like a glove thanks to having an adjustable dress form.

Ok, I have to be honest here. That is the first time I have ever inserted a back zipper the 'old fashioned way' with the bit that folds over. I was very impressed with how neat I had sewn it... the only hiccup coming when I realised it was sewn in about 2" to the right of the centre back. Woops.

I borrowed Casey's method of covering up serged hems with pretty lace. Love.

I am super happy with how this dress turned out. I would highly recommend this pattern!

Sam xox

Liberty print dress.

Thanks to Bella's comment today I realised that I never blogged about finishing this dress late last year. This dress was one of the final pieces I sewed near the end of my no-clothes project.

I used the Vogue V8184 pattern:

And some Liberty of London fabric - Ceaser in dark blue:

The dress only took me half a day to make as I have sewn this pattern before.

The Liberty Tana Lawn was great to use for this dress, as the lightness of it is perfect for a summer garment. I love this pattern because it is so quick to make, and has lots of options to mix and match. Thanks Bella for asking me about it!

I've also noticed that I've reacher the 100 followers milestone... stay tuned for a giveaway soon :-)

Sam xox

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sew retro.

I have been accepted as a contributor to the Sew Retro blog!

If you haven't yet been to the Sew Retro blog, you simply must visit. It is a blog full of incredibly talented sewers and inspiring vintage lovers - I am thrilled to be a part of it! I just published my first post :-)

In other news, I un-picked all the lower side seams of the pink dress I thrifted. I restitched them with a very scant seam allowance, and would you believe it now fits me perfectly! Hip hip hooray for thrifty modifications! $2 always makes a girl smile too.

Sam xox

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thrifty finds.

I made some very exciting thrifty finds today at a local charity shop.

I went a little silly when I found this pink dress! It is made from soft pink fabric with embroidered detail. It appears to be handmade. It fits me perfectly on the top half, but is very tight on the bottom half. The seam allowances are really generous and there are 5 seams in total so i figure that will give me at least 2 1/2"... which hopefully will be enough. My fingers are crossed.

I couldn't resist this cardigan. It is very boxy in shape, but with a few alterations and some new buttons it will be super cute!

This yellow dress fits well, but is too big in the bust area. I am going to do some reading on making bust alterations so that it fits better. Also, I think I will do some top stitching along the bust seams as the lining is peaking up above the fabric.

I also bought this hand bag and a floral pillow slip.

Have you been thrifting lately?

Sam xox

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What's the value.

I have been doing a lot of ‘searching’ on Etsy lately. An act not motivated by shopping, but by the desire to learn more about vintage styles throughout the decades. And I think sewing patterns really are a good place to start this sort of 'through the decades' research.

When vintage sewing patterns were first printed, they were current for the era. The older pattern envelopes feature illustrations by artists - impressions of the finished garments. The artists interpreted not only the silhouette of the pattern, but also what the fabric colour or print might be if made at that time. The artists also included the hairstyle fashions current to the era on their garment models. Vintage patterns therefore provide great insight for the would-be vintage sewer who not only wants to sew with a vintage pattern, but emulate an outfit that would have passed as fashionable for the time.
Through my ‘research’ however, I have been struck by the significant differences in the pricing of vintage patterns. I can understand a bit of a difference in price due to the condition of the pattern pieces/envelope, but it appeared to stretch further than this. I began to ask myself “how is the value of a vintage pattern calculated by sellers?”

It seems to me that a lot of factors come into play when deciding on the value of a vintage pattern. From my searching I can conclude there are many factors that are considered before a vintage pattern is priced:
Condition – This seems the most obvious. Consider the condition of the pattern. Is the envelope in one piece? Is there yellowing on the envelope? Are all the pattern pieces included? Is the pattern cut or uncut? Condition is key to the value of a pattern.
Age – How old the pattern is does influence the price. As with most vintage pieces, older patterns are priced higher than newer ones.
Era – The price of a pattern can depend on the era the pattern was published. Many vintage styles/eras often come into vogue and thus these original patterns can demand a higher price.
Rarity – How many copies were sold? Was the pattern produced by a large company or by a smaller one? Does the company still exist? Did the company produce a lot of this pattern or was it printed for a limited time? Has the pattern been reprinted recently (think the ‘Vintage Vogue’ range).
Popularity – Patterns that were very popular at the time of print, or ones that have become popular now, also carry a competitive price (for example, the Walk Away Dress by Butterick is a pattern that is in as much demand these days as it was when it was first printed in 1952).
Size – From my searching, the vintage dress patterns on Etsy mostly range within the 32"-38"bust size. Sizes either side of this are often rarer and appear to be a little bit more expensive.
Garment type – What the pattern designed to make also influences the price. Etsy appears to be heavily saturated with vintage dress patterns at the moment, some you can pick up for only a couple of dollars. Other items, like vintage shorts and blouses, are a bit harder to find and carry a price tag that reflects this.
Phew! What a post. So glad to write about something with a bit of sewing meat to it, I feel like all I have done lately is post photos of my projects!

On a side note - all the patterns pictured in this post are available from Etsy seller Savage Spider. Please be clear that I am in no way affiliated with Savage Spider, I only came across their pattern collection during my 'research' and was impressed with their variety of patterns and their reasonable prices.

Last but not least, I just couldn't resist including this cute pattern in my post...

I wish I had that many dogs to cuddle!

Sam xox