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 !

Friday, 12 June 2015

A Tale of a Little Oak Tree...

Once there was a lovely couple - they worked their allotment together for many, many years . They grew sweetpeas and sold them to pay for an annual holiday and they were always happy to stop and chat. They also grew an little Oak tree, they pruned it to keep it little  - like a bonsai oak 'lollipop'!.

Time passed and many years went by ... but eventually and within a few months of one another... they too passed... and went on to garden in the 'undiscovered country' ....

The little tree stayed on the allotment but it's future was uncertain ... so it came to live with us.

It settled in well and coped with it's move but last summer had to move again .... it didn't like this 2nd move and it looked as if it's time too had passed....

BUT.... you never can tell... let's see what happens next Spring we said.

This time the leaves came and looked stronger but it was clear that lots of it's little branches and twigs had died. I had to be brave and cut out all the dead wood ( ... life is like that sometimes....).

While it's shape has changed radically ,  I hope it's original custodians will approve of our attempts to keep it going , but in my mind it will always be their little Oak Lollipop tree :)

Friday, 29 May 2015

Studio update - nearly there !

A quick update!

The roof is on and the next step is putting the windows and doors in .

And my quest for recycled furniture continues ....  the trolley was £2 from a carboot BUT may end up in my kitchen ... and the map chest was £90 , it had a date ot 1969 stamped inside :)

Lots of furniture renovations to do!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The builders are in..... and working hard on my Sewing Room!

Exciting times ahead - no longer will my poor family have to put up with piles of vintage fabric EVERYWHERE...

The builders have started! and I will soon have a dedicated hobby/craft room with a HUGE cutting table and all my vintage fabric will be in one place. When I make a dress I will no longer have to do the 'house sewing circuit' - YOU know the one... cut it out downstairs on dining room table, sew it in tiny box room, try it on my bedroom and repeat.. and repeat....

In the meantime I am acquiring 'projects' to furnish my space DAILY and each fabric I pick up is THE one on which to base my colour scheme , until the next one comes along that is ...

Now whilst you might think 'lucky girl' ... well ... yes indeed!... but.... this is the result of a savings plan that dates back  25 YEARS !!! .... so I have waited a while ;)

My objective is to furnish it as much as possible from recycled items and thrifted finds but even so the pennies only stretch so far - and realising just what an INSANE amount of fabric I have I have been selling some on via ebay - if you like vintage fabric you might like to check it out ?

This is what I have listed on Ebay this week !

At the moment I am on the lookout for a Architects Plan/ Map chest - to store my patterns and my artwork . The latter is 'stored' under an armchair at the moment - NOT ideal.

I'm also after either an Ercol or a Lloyd Loom chair as well. Then - in theory - I am sorted ( ish... famous last words .... )

Watch this space ....

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 .