Friday, 29 July 2011

There's art in them there streets!

Last week Mdblm & I went to see an exhibition at a small, artist run gallery in Collingwood. The Backwoods Gallery tends to show mainly street art and obscure artists so you'll never know what you'll find. The gallery's most recent exhibition was 'Oriental Elements' by Japanese artists Usugrow and Toshikazu Nozaka. Their work didn't really blow my hair back but this little guy was kinda cute, if you can ignore his skeletal grin.

More exhibition pics & artist bios can be found here

We had a bit of time to kill before the gallery opened so we took a stroll down Easey Street. Collingwood and its surrounding area is known for its street art and I have to say we were more impressed with the work on display in the streets.

This one was a favourite, I think you can see why.

Rockabilly Girl (Detail - I asked her to dance)

Happy Friday everyone!

- Tamara

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Midnight Blues

This 1950s top, Simplicity 1625, is another UFO which has been hanging around for far too long. It's yet another work Christmas party garment (2009) which, although worn, wasn't quite finished. The neckline was too big and I hadn't shortened the waist (again) and being made of a remnant, I had neither the fabric nor the time to fix it. I ended up using a large, diamante brooch, pinned at the neck to bring the neckline up and hide the extra fabric in the band. It was a very clever fix and although lots of people commented on how nice I looked, I knew it was unfinished.

Simplicity 1625
This week I dragged out my bag of UFOs and unearthed this top; the shoulder seams were already unpicked and pinned, as were the armhole facings. I'd even sourced some near identical electric blue satin to remake the neckband. I honestly don't know why this top hasn't been finished before now, I can only guess that because it had already been worn, it slipped waaaay down the priority list.

Anyway, after 2+ hours of meticulous hand sewing last night, this top is now complete. It has been christened The Midnight Blues top in reference to the many hours I spent trying to get it finished the first time round.

 At the time I wore the top untucked (it's made to be worn either way) because I liked the lines it created with my super wide-legged pants.
This time round, I'm imagining it tucked into a sexy black satin wiggle skirt.
- Tamara

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Thoughts of embroidery

Over the last few months I've been thinking of trying my hand at embroidery. It's something I have done before but not for many, many years. I found this still attached to the hoop so it appears I was relatively good at it once upon a time...

Sorry about the wrinkles, it fades the transfer.

Not to mention some of the pretty patterns in my collection which have come complete with their original embroidery transfers...

I decided to start with something fairly simple so I chose an anchor from a 1930s pattern in my collection. Rather than waste the original transfer, I traced the design onto a piece of paper, then transferred it to the fabric. Easy peasey. That said, my enthusiasm evaporated fairly quickly and this was as much as I could manage before I got bored...

Man, was this ever tedious! I just couldn't sit still long enough to complete it; maybe that's what happened to the tea-tray cover...?

- Tamara

Friday, 22 July 2011

Fashionable Friday

Welcome to Fashionable Friday! This week I've some more Weekly Times Fashion pages, circa early to mid 1930s, to share. I adore the art deco page design of this particular collection.


I love the girl in the centre with her hands on her hips, so sassy!

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

So much junk, so little time...

According to "The Op Shop Guide - Victoria" there are no less than 11 opportunity (thrift) shops located in the Bendigo area; as the title says, so much junk, so little time...
The main purpose of yesterday's trip was to acquire wool (mission accomplished) so the chances of visiting even half of these potential treasure troves were slim. Incredibly we only visited one and that yielded very little of interest. We did manage to get to several of the antique shops in View St, but I was disappointed to note all but one of the traders seemed genuinely happy to have potential customers in their store. That said however, I was able to take couple of pics of some the fun stuff on offer.
A framed 1930s era chorus girl poster.

This nifty little record player has a built in CD player and USB port, all wrapped up in a funky retro casing.
I was particularly taken with these adorable little beaded animals but we already have our quota of pets.
Another fun thing which can be found in View St, is the Bendigo Art Gallery. They often bring international exhibitions to rural Victoria and I'm really looking forward to the upcoming ones. Next month sees the opening of 'The White Wedding Dress: 200 Years of Wedding Fashion' which I plan to see and will hopefully have some pics to share too. Then in December there's 'Made in Hollywood: Photographs from the John Kobal Foundation', a collection of studio portraits from the 1920s - 1960s. And finally, the big one, 'Grace Kelly: Style Icon' in March 2012. These exhibitions have the potential to contain so many beautiful things to swoon over, make sure to mark it in your diary!

- Tamara

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Cabin Fever Cure

The weather here has been less than inspiring of over the last week. It's been so grey and horrible all I've managed to do is curl up in the armchair and read. Fear not though, I have a couple of new projects in the works so it'll be back to sewing real soon.

Today Mdblm & I took a drive to Bendigo, roughly 1.5 hours from where we live, to buy wool. "Wow, long drive just for wool" I hear you say but the Bendigo Woollen Mills have the best wool around. At this point I should probably mention I cannot knit to save myself, but my recommendation comes from several hardcore knitters so who am I to question? One of these knitters has kindly offered to make me this really pretty vintage style sweater, provided I supply the wool.

Pattern from Vintage Knits

My chosen colour combination: (clockwise from left): Storm, Ghost, Oceanic and Brick
This is the most accurate pic I could get of the colours; Storm (purple) is to be the main colour; Oceanic (blue green) will become the red wave; Ghost (soft grey) is to be the black line; and Brick (red) will be the fine pinkish line under the red wave. I'm still having trouble picturing it but am confident the combination will rock.

As for the cure for cabin fever... It's colour!!! Just look at the pics below, I know the brightly coloured bundles of wool instantly lifted my mood.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Bastille Day Baking

I know this post is a day late but yesterday's Bastille Day baking turned out to be more of a challenge than expected.

First up, Bastille Day: France's national holiday on July 14, is seen as the symbol of the end of the French monarchy and the beginning of the First Republic. It was on this date in 1789 the French stormed the Bastille Prison in Paris, triggering the French Revolution that toppled King Louis XVI and the aristocracy. As a historical symbol of revolt against injustice, Bastille Day is commemorated world-wide.

As my own personal tribute to France's national day, I decided to make some delicious little cakes called Madeleines. These bite-sized lovelies are so light and fluffy, you just can't stop at one. Unable to locate my usual recipe, I turned to my 'go to' recipe book for French cuisine "A Little Taste of France" by Murdoch Books.

Everything I've made from this book has been a success and I was confident there wouldn't be any problems. Not so I'm afraid. The eggs and sugar need to be whisked until they're light and airy, just off forming peaks, but this recipe is quite vague in its explanation. My arm also got tired fairly quickly so I stopped well short of the desired consistency. Qu'elle horreur!! The first batch turned out like little rocks. I tried adding a splash of milk to the second batch to thin the batter and while they looked a lot better, they still tasted ordinary.

Foreground: First batch of rocks;
Background: Second, better looking batch

Refusing to give up on satisfying my Madeleine craving, I found my original recipe and started again. This time however, I got smart. One of my cooking implements has a whisk attachment, which for some strange reason I've never used, so I put it to work. It's fantastic! No more hand whisking for me! The batter was a lot lighter, in both colour and texture, and the finished result was just reward for sticking at it. Ta-da!!

Now that's more like it.

Vive la Revolution!!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Things that make you go SWISH!


I've noticed most of my 'Sewing Projects' posts have been of garments I've not been all that excited about so today I thought I'd show you one of my favourite dresses. It's made from Vogue 5659, undated but circa 1940s and, as promised, it was easy to make.

The fabric was something I had in my stash, grape & white Koshibo (?) print from Spotlight. When I bought it I had no particular project in mind but at $3 p/metre it was too good a bargain to pass up. The fabric turned out to be a dream to sew, no puckering and no fraying, so I only had to use the pinking shears on the seams. It's also a really nice summer weight material and falls beautifully.

In our house this dress is referred to as 'Lotsadots'. Mdublm made some offensive comments while I was cutting it out and unfortunately the name stuck. Me, I love this dress no matter what it gets called. When I wear it I feel like I've stepped right out of the 40s and it makes me 'swish' when I walk. Exactly what you want in a dress.

Swishing in the backyard on a summer's evening.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Fashionable Friday

I very nearly forgot, it's Fashionable Friday! Let's see what the 1930s Weekly Times fashion pages have on offer. How about some stripes to brighten the day?

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The future's so bright...

And I'm not sure I like it. This dress is a departure from my usual choice of era, and although I consider it a success, I hate it!! Strong words I know but it's been hanging around for nearly 2 years and just the sight of the green cotton in my sewing box is enough to give me a seizure. The story goes something like this:

Butterick 4483 was purchased in my early days of pattern collecting, well before I settled on the 1930s - 1950s time period. I was particularly taken by the intersecting panels on the bust and the bell sleeves.

Some time later I purchased a large quantity of lime green crepe fabric on eBay but the green was far too yellow-based for my skin tone. A girlfriend I worked with at the time was a huge fan of this colour so I offered to turn it into Butterick 4483 for her.

There was some resizing to be done but Mdblm took care of that for me, he's good with that sort of thing. Looking at the pattern you'd think it would be fairly simple but those feature panels became a major stumbling block. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get those suckers to line up! I even cut an additional, larger cowl piece in an effort to give myself more fabric to work with. It was of no help. In the end I had to hand sew three of the four pieces together and very slowly machine sew the last piece into place. While they're not exact, they're pretty damned close and I can live with that.

Here are some pics of the finished garment.

Detail of intersecting panels

The meticulously stitched lining.
Butterick 4483 was delivered to its new owner on Tuesday, better late than never, and by all reports is still fits. I hope to have a photo of it in action real soon.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Outre Art

Yesterday I ventured into the city and met up with a girlfriend to see the latest exhibition at Outre Gallery. 'Ofredndas' is a collection of paintings and prints by US based artist Sylvia Ji . To be honest I've not heard of her previously but I've a fascination regarding 'dia de los mertos' so thought I'd check it out.

The paintings themselves were beautiful but I don't think I could have one in my house, some of these women appeared to be watching my every move.


'Calendula' is available as a signed limited edition print.

'La Pelirroja' (detail)

Outre Gallery, 249 Elizabeth St, Melbourne.

The exhibition is showing at Outre until the 14th July.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Another one bites the dust!!

Saturday evening saw us seated in 'catwalk' seats at the early session of The Burlesque Hour.  Understandably I couldn't take any pics during the show but I managed to snap this one before the fun began.

The stage awaits...
I have been lucky enough to see The Burlesque Hour gals several times and they change the show slightly each time to keep things interesting. This year's show was considerably darker than usual but still entertaining. My favourite new addition to their repertoire was 'Homage to The Waterwall'. For those of you in Australia, the title does indeed refer to the NGV's water wall. Without giving too much away it involves a monologue recited to Prince's Purple Rain and a shower. Yes, I am prepared to get wet for art!!

Now on to my sewing project - Simplicity 1172. I'm pleased to announce I managed to complete this dress with plenty of time to spare. It could have something to do with the fact it was pretty much done when I unearthed it last week. Upon inspection I realised the only things I really needed to do were take 1" out of the peplum (and its lining) and hand-sew the sleeves. Easy done in no time at all and here's the result...

Ahhh, peplum blowing in the warm breeze of the heater.

This colour is difficult to photograph but it's a deep jewel-toned amethyst and is really comfortable to wear. As you can see, I stuck with my original decision to get rid of the sleeves and if you take a look at the pic below you can understand why. Hello Star Trek!

Cap sleeves - Beam me up Scotty!

While the fabric is incredibly beautiful, I wish I liked it more. I find it a bit ho-hum and not all that special to be honest. No matter, at least it's another UFO crossed off the list.

Happy Monday everybody!
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