Loving the vintage vibe!

Here's where I'll share my obsession with vintage fabric! It's taking over my house!

I'll sharing with you my favorite fabrics, my 'adventures" in dressmaking using vintage patterns, some home furnishing ideas and no doubt I'll be telling you about any exciting finds! Love to hear about your vintage adventures too!

My first Shop was AudreysCat ( online shop May 2010) , but my new logo / name - WittyDawn , arrived Jan 2014.

I hope you'll have time to browse my shops too !

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Want to make the Great British Sewing Bee 50s wrap dress - hints and tips !

Firstly this was indeed a fun dress to make - and having made it yes I think I could happily run another up in a couple of hours.....and I intend to do so maybe with some design tweaks too!

As I am a fairly rubinesque size 16 and no longer in the first flush of youth , small waisted/big skirt designs are not always the MOST flattering look for me but the wrap/high waist design did seem to do me a few favours - OH seemed to approve anyway! 

I'm not going to do a step by step guide - you'll need the pattern for that - Butterick B4790 - BUT I am going to pass on what I hope will be some useful advice which might help you end up with a dress you'll be happy with .

1. This design comes up SMALL on the waist in my opinion. Measure your waist and use that to determine the size you need against the ACTUAL pattern piece - do not be surprised if you go up a couple of  sizes from your size in a modern garment. This is quite often the case in vintage patterns - even reissued ones. Unhelpfully the pattern has NO info' relating size to body measurements on the back of the packet! SO be careful f you can get into modern, often stretch'y size 16 jeans you ain't necessarily gonna get into a size 16 version of this dress !!

2. Choose a fabric with some body to it - by that I mean stiffness. A floppy fabric will not give you that nice 'sticky out ' 50s shape to the skirt or show that bodice shape as well. I used a heavier weight cotton - ( a rather nice find in a charity shop - grey plaid on on side, red on the other). I think this would be a knock out in raw/curtain weight silk / silk mix as well.

3. You might think you can put a net petticoat under that skirt - sorry nope - the under skirt/front is a closer fit than you might realise . HOWEVER I think it entirely possible to alter the pattern to have the underskirt as a fuller/lace/netted petticoat. I might have a go at this sometime!

4. Bias binding point 1 - 9 metres should be enough if you follow pattern exactly. I however wanted bias binding on overskirt hem and I didn't bother bias binding sides and hem ( where I used lace instead) of the underskirt. For this modification to the pattern I used 10.5 metres.

5. Bias binding point 2 - I would suggest using a fabric/bias binding combination where your fabric is stiffer/has more body that your bias binding. If you use a softer/thinner fabric with a coarser bias binding I think you could risk a twist in those front edges - which you want to keep nice and straight !

6. Bust darts ! I made this up , tried it on and bust darts tips were at least an inch higher that where they should be. OK - this MAY be just me LOL ! BUT remember this pattern was styled to 1950s undergarments and they tended to haul your 'ladies' up quite high and make 'em pointy . So unless you do the FULL vintage look with period appropriate bra/corsetry you may have to adjust the bust dart slightly .

I hope these tips help you out - I would certainly make this again and I look forward to wearing it when the weather gets just a bit warmer!

( BTW - The red comes over the shoulder more on my dress as I tweaked it to have some red showing on the front shoulder - If you follow the pattern exactly and use two contracting fabrics you won't get the same effect as on my dress )

EDIT:My estimated size info' on waist measurements. Max waist size, assuming front edges should meet and allowing 1 inch for narrow hem on back seam.

Size 22 - 35 inches
Size 20 - 33 inches
Size 18 - 31 inches
Size 16 - 29 inches

I have based this on actual pattern measurement from my size 16 -22  pattern . 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Sometimes you gotta LET IT GO....

So the thing is I've been lucky with my vintage thrifting/hunting recently....

I found this lovely set of Poole Twin Tone in the colour that I collect in a local charity shop
 ... and - as usual... I've been TOTALLY unable to pass by some fabulous fabrics...

but my cupboards can only hold so much so I've gotta LET SOME GO...

If you check out my ebay page I got some great items I'm 'releasing' back into the world!

I've listed lots of Vintage fabric DIY cushion pieces - which are being snapped up - and some great bundles/job lots like these....

I've also got some vintage clothes for sale, some of my WittyDawn items and I'm FORCING myself to rationalise my china collection, so these items are up for grabs too !

Why not check my EBAY listings out ;)!

Friday, 6 March 2015


Ok I'm having a little clearout

Do YOU like vintage barkcloth fabric ?
Do you like a bargain ?
Would you like to add to your vintage stash WITHOUT slogging  through charity shops/car boots/ebay listings ? ?


Head over to my WittyDawn Facebook Page for details of how to make a bid for this lot -

There's enough fabric in this lot to make the fronts of a LEAST 17 40cm cushions....

Friday, 27 February 2015

A little revamp DIY project - Footstool Makeover!

A very satisfying and quite quick revamp / renewal of this little footstool
From this rather sad looking thing ... to this smart little stool with a super vintage Sanderson fabric :)

I really should have taken more pictures of the stages involved BUT if you are interested this is what I did ....

1. Remove feet and strip bank to wood - the old foam etc was rather yucky and NOT for reusing! I didn't bother removing all the tacks on the edges of the wood base as I had a cunnng plan to cover them up and in any case was going to use a staple gun to tack fabric on underneath the stool .
2. I used the wood base  to create a circle tamplate - I used this to cut foam, the polyester wadding circle/strip, and the lining fabric circle and strip and another circle of fabric to sew on underneath to cover up base at the end . I made sure that the side strips of wadding and lining fabric had a generous overlap of fabric to allow them to be stapled to underside of stool base - about 5cm deeper than foam.
3. I handstitched the circle of wadding and side strip of wadding over the foam - now you COULD just use foam by itself BUT the wadding gives a smoother finish - also any roughness in foam edges is masked AND those tacks that I couldn't be bothered to prise off are also covered up :)
4. I machined sewed together the circle and strip of lining fabric - I always prefer to line upholstery projects like this but you could just put your top fabric straight on. You could just use one piece of lining fabric and staple it on BUT if you fit the lining fabric it minimises the pleating/fabric gathers when you come to staple it on-  I think it results in a smoother final finish.
5. Making sure I had a reasonably tight fit I put foam on base , put lining cover on and stapled it on with an upholstery staple gun ( such a useful bit of kit!). Staple underneath at one point first , then pulling fabric fairly tauntly/firmly directly opposite staple again. Do the same but at right angled to you first pair of fixings - so basically you have staple at each quarter of the circle ( sorry this is a bit of a rubbish explanation! you then can work between each set of staples aimimg for lots of small gathers/pleats, rather that one or two larger ones, to get a smooth a finish as you can. What you DON'T do is start stapling at one point and work your way round! you will end up with a huge wad of excess fabric at the end - trust me on this....
6. Then I stapled on my top fabric in same way ( a great vintage Sandersons one - was actually an apron when it came to me!) and trimmed off excess fabric underneath . You will see that I didn't make a fitted cover as I wanted  a single piece of fabric to show off the design. You do have to do a bit more gathering and pleating but it's not difficult if you remember to do lots of small ones :)
7. Finishing time ! I hand sewed a hemmed circle of lining fabric underneath covering up raw edges of wadding/lining/fabric /staples. I then had this very pretty embriodered/scalloped edged floral bias binding which I hand sewed on the bottom edge - it didn't NEED this to cover up anything but it is a good finishing touch. I screwed legs back on through the lining fabric underneath - ALL DONE

When I read it back this looks like a lot of work - it really isn't ! although if you aren't keen on handsewing ( I like it) you might want to skip some of the finishing BUT in my opinion it is those bits that make for a neatly finished project.