thematerialgirl — Fri, 08/31/2012 - 14:26
Then on Sunday we had another adventure - a game of crazy golf on top of Selfridges. It's a pop-up (what isn't pop-up these days?) crazy golf course from Bompas and Parr - "British jellymongers and food architects".
It's a nine hole course with each hole made to look like a London landmark.
Many jelly St Paul cathedrals
It was brilliant - busy, but everyone queued nicely, encouraging the people ahead or commiserating with them. It was also fiendishly difficult - plus you had a maximum of 6 shots on any hole. I came last out of the four of us.
On this day it was the turn of a dress I made from on of my Japanese sewing books - which I could have sworn I had blogged about before but looking through the whole site it isn't on here. I did post on Burda and on PatternReview about it ages ago though - so I will add a gratuitous from when I first made it too.
It's a simple A-line dress with a tie belt from the Japanese pattern book "Feminine Wardrobe". I loved the photo of this as soon as I got the book - it looked like a great summer dress. I wasn't disappointed.
The book has lots of lovely patterns - mainly dresses and blouses.
And here's a photo of it I took at the time I made it - in the old flat
I've really like this dress. I've been meaning to make it again in something light and airy. It would look great in a Liberty fabric - especially one of their silks - but it takes a whopping 3.5 metres of fabric so it's only going to be made in cheap-n-cheerful fabric for the time being.
thematerialgirl — Thu, 08/30/2012 - 15:33
Actual sewing in The Material Girl's house is still non-existent at the moment - too many visitors coming to see the new place and too much to do on non-sewing related things.
On the plus side I've almost built a table for one of the sewing machines - well, when I say "I" I mean Mr Material Girl. Not that I couldn't do it myself of course - but I didn't quite have the brute strength to get the screws through the wood. Hopefully by the end of this weekend I will have a table with a sewing machine on it.
So, not a lot going on sewing-wise. But in Blue Peter style here are some things I made earlier.
Last weekend (not the bank holiday, the one before) my in-laws came down to see the new place and we had a couple of trips out as the weather was glorious.
So first up is a Burda Anda I made about 2 years ago for a holiday to Sri Lanka - in fact, come to think of it, I was still making it on my holiday. I remember a few happy afternoons sat in the sun hand-stitching on orange bias binding!
We were at Frank's Campari Bar in Peckham - a wonderful place. It's an open air bar - on top of a multi-storey car park just of Rye Lane. It's concrete and functional and magnificent! The views are wonderful and it's where you can view all of Peckham life.
And on the roof terrace of our house with Jean, my mother-in-law. It was gin-and-tonic O'clock as you can see!
Here it was 2 years ago in a tea plantation in Sri Lanka.
With the Anda, I remember I skipped the instructions and instead of adding a tie along with the casing, I simply stitched on some thick elastic to gather the waist.
The fabric was something cheap and synthetic I picked up from a vintage textiles fair.
The dress is nothing to write home about - which is probably why I didn't blog about it when I made it - but it's a nice simple summer dress. The synthetic fabric was a bit hot though.
I will post about the Sunday dress tomorrow.
thematerialgirl — Fri, 08/17/2012 - 11:24
Well, doesn't a couple of months fly past!
I know, I've been missing in action - but I have a number of excuses:
I baked a cake
I went to see an orchestra in a car park
I planted some herbs
I went to the Olympics (Table Tennis if you are interested)
And there was something else..what was it now…
Oh yes – I moved house !
We now live in Peckham – or perhaps East Dulwich if I’m feeling posh.
It had been in the plannning stage for 18 months - months that included one disaster where our buyer pulled out the day we were to exchange contracts, a double dip recession and a move to a temporary flat (hence previous pictures with Canary Wharf in the background) as we couldn't match up our date of sale and date of purchase.
But it is now done and we have a lovely big house with.... (drum roll, trumpet fanfare) - a sewing room!
I have big plans for the room - but they will take some time. I quite fancy a table each for my sewing machine and overlocker and perhaps even a big cutting table as well. I also want to add a bit of colour - 'm also thinking of mood boards, and having my reels of thread out on display too.
However, that’s all in the future as it currently looks like this.
Not a lot of sewing just yet as I haven’t fixed up a table but plenty of room for my growing library.
Japanese sewing book anyone?
Or perhaps a Burda magazine
Or just some general books
I have great plans for all the things I will be making in my fit for purpose sewing room – so you’ll have to wait and see!
thematerialgirl — Wed, 06/06/2012 - 11:30
It was the Jubilee weekend and it seems like most of London has turned red, white and blue - even me!
To get into the party mood I made and wore a new Colette Ginger made from fabric so packed with Union Jacks that they are quite hard to see. Hopefully it will get a lot of use for the Olympics too.
Here's a closer shot...
Unfortunately the sun didn't come out for the Queen but thousands of people did. I was on the tube first thing Sunday morning (before the flotilla) and it was packed with people heading to the river.
Luckily we are temporarily living in Docklands and so have a great view of the Thames from our living room so we watched it all in comfort.
Just as the boats came to us though, the heavens opened so my photos are a bit of a washout.
And this was the same view with much better weather the day after.
thematerialgirl — Fri, 05/25/2012 - 12:38
Hello - it's been a while!
No, I haven't died or been sucked into a black hole. I've been moving house. Well, I've moved house once and am about to again. It's not been the most fun thing in the world - and I'm afraid stress and work has gotten in the way of my sewing and blogging. We've moved out of our place in SE1, London and are, temporarily, living near canary Wharf until our new house is empty. Almost everything I own is in storage - including my sewing machine and overlocker, all my patterns and fabric stash. I am bereft!
So, in the meantime I will "entertain" you with an earlier project which I haven't managed to write about yet. Also, the weather's been so bloody miserable I haven't been able to wear it anyway.
It's a skirt - and it's made from 2 tea-towels!
I took another photo inside - not so picturesque but you can actually see the skirt instead of shadow.
Here they are in their original form...
They were on sale in Mitsukoshi, the Japanese department store on Piccadilly. I loved them instantly and they were only £2.50 each. What's more Japanese than cherry blossom.
I cut the band along the side to use as the waistband and even used the little tags inside as tapes to hang on clothes hangers.
It was a straight-forward make - I put in a couple of darts the front and back skirt panels, cut the waistband to the right length and attached. Finished with a zip down the side.
And here I am pulling a stupid face in the sunshine. You can just make out my husband's shadow holding my iphone with it's kitty cat ears!
thematerialgirl — Mon, 03/12/2012 - 12:38
I was privileged this weekend to spend time with the pattern collection of a lady I have never met, and probably never will meet. A very good friend of mine has spent the last couple of years helping his Aunt who has dementia. Sadly she has now had to go to residential care and my friend and his family are clearing her house.
He mentioned to me one evening that she had been a very keen dressmaker in the past and he had a box of her patterns. I instantly told him to keep hold of them as vintage patterns can be quite valuable. I offered to look through and see if there was anything worth keeping and/or selling. Boy oh boy - am I glad he didn't throw them out.
I spent a lovely few hours on Saturday going through her collection. It contains about 100 patterns dating from the late 40s to the early 70s - but most from around 1959-1961. I thought I'd share some of these delights - some of which I can't even find on the usual Vintage pattern sites.
These are just some of the Vogues:
I'll post the full photo collection via my Flickr account over the next week - http://www.flickr.com/photos/tracy_mc_davis/. . I hope that one day (in the distant future!) that my collection will bring a smile to some sewer that hasn't even been born yet.
I'll be helping my friend post them on eBay and/or Etsy over the next couple of weeks so I will let you know when they become available. On that note - has anybody got any experiences on eBay over Etsy for vintage patterns?
thematerialgirl — Thu, 02/16/2012 - 13:44
This is going to be the first of two posts about the Creative Pattern Cutting course I did at Morley College last weekend. This was the second course I have done on both this subject and at the College - and so far I can readily recommend it.
The course is based on Tomoko Nakamichi's Pattern Magic 2 - the previous course was on the first book.
Over the two days I managed to make up four of the patterns with varying results. I attempted the "Like a jungle", "Fundamentals", "Vanishing Pocket" and the Cowl neck. As before the course is really about drafting up patterns using the books as guidance - so the aim of the weekend was not to have wearable garments at the end. That said, this time I did make up muslins of each item.
Like a jungle
The aim of this exercise is to create a multi-stranded bodice which removes the need for any darts.
So the basic bodice is split into sections - each of which the will make up a strand. One thing to remember is that no matter how spaced the strands get in the centre, they have to match at the edges where they will be reattached to each other to make up the bodice shape.
I used a bodice front to make up the sections and it does give an interesting - if slightly drafty - effect.
You'd have to be fairly brave to wear it in this manifestation!
One of the other women on the course had a much better idea - do the same thing to the back of a top:
As you can see, it becomes instantly more wearable. I can imagine this as both the back of an elaborate gown (think Oscar night) - but it could also be the back of a casual summer tunic.
Another lovely feature for the back was the cowl. To be honest this wasn't the most arduous of exercises but I want to draft one as they are just so useful. I'm a sucker for anything with a cowl so I knew it was a pattern I would reuse.
For this style the original back bodice is simply elongated across the centre and then the top is chopped off.
This is my version in calico - not the drapiest of fabrics so it looks little more like a gnomes hood than an elegant evening dress. But then again I'm probably more closely related to a gnome than to a film star!
thematerialgirl — Mon, 02/13/2012 - 20:27
This week is Pattern Magic week here at the Material Girl (I wish every week was). Over the weekend I have been on the second of the Creative Pattern courses at Morley college. I loved the first one which was split over two Saturdays - Day one and Day two. If anything this second course (based on the book Pattern Magic 2) was even better.
However, I'm going to keep you at the edge of your seats and leave that post until tomorrow - basically I haven't had time to edit my photos yet! However a fantastic account of the weekend can be found on my fellow attendee, Melissa's blog - www.fehrtrade.com/article/570/the-pattern-magic-2-course-at-morley-college
So, today, I'm going to hit you with a follow up from the work I did on the first course.
One of the items I loved the look of in the first book was the twist top which is rendered in a lovely looking brown jersey. The basic block is given for an "average" size which you then manipulate. After some reworking to make it this woman's average size I was ready to twist the basic pattern.
The strange corrugation you see is because I'm using packing polystyrene foam. I have rolls of the stuff left over from a house move that didn't happen and it was the only thing wide enough fo the job in hand.
Once you have made you manipulations, you cut out two of the same shape and stick them together (cutting of one arm and putting it one the other side)
After that it's a simple case of cutting out your one pattern piece and sewing the sides together.
I used a ribbed, thick (ooh er) jersey, which was probably a bit too stiff for the project (ok, enough double entendres for one sentence) - however, I'm really pleased with the result even if it looks nothing like the picture in the book.
There's really a bit too much material around the shoulders, but as the fabric is stiff it gives a really nice exaggerated effect. Also, the fabric does like staying in its twist and tends to travel around my midriff.
Rightio, that's your lot for today - more Magic soon.
thematerialgirl — Fri, 02/10/2012 - 17:01
I’ve been a bit of a culture vulture and went to the Fashion and Textile Museum twice this week. I know I only live down the road but that’s quite a bit even for me.
On Saturday I went along with my Girl Guide group – I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on the blog before but I am a Girl Guide pack leader (or Barn Owl as they call me!). Guides is bit different from my day and the badges that I remember from my past (which I can’t remember much of at all – in fact all I remember is rewiring a plug and putting on very bad theatre shows) have been replaced by things a little more 21st Century.
Recently we’ve been working on our Passion-4-Fashion badge. As part of this I decided to take the group to the Fashion Museum to see their latest exhibition on Catwalk photography. The museum is great for Guide groups – children under the age of 12 are free and they gave all the girls an activity pack to work on while they were there.
The girls loved their time there. Most of the work for the badge I’ve tried to keep quite “worthy” - we’ve been looking at fair trade practices, talking about sweatshops and cheap fashion and have been creating pillowcase dresses for the Dress a Girl around the World charity – so it was nice to have a frivolous end to the badge.
The second trip there this week was on Wednesday to take part in the Couture Inside Out session. This was just an hour – but what an hour!
The Museum curator, Dennis, took us on a fantasy trip around some of the museum’s Couture dresses. Obviously I’ve seen designer clothes before – but the step up to couture is lost until you see it person. The details and the fabric have to be see to be believed.
We were treated to a whole section of dresses from post-war to present day – but with most being from the 50s and 60s. I lost track of taking notes and can’t do justice to array of items – for a much better review of this see Karen’s account at http://didyoumakethat.wordpress.com
I made a complete fool of myself by going up to Karen, who I recognised as soon as I got there, and gushing about how much I loved her blog. It was only afterwards that I realised that sounded like a right weirdo stalker! If she ever reads this – apologies! I am normal (honest).
So here are some of the treats…
The hand rolled hem on a Dior gown
Some more internals from the Dior
What looks like a simple Balenciaga wrap style sarong
And the reality of that "simple" look
The famous Chanel chain to keep the jacket hanging correctly
You might recognise this as the dress that Halle Berry wore when she won her Oscar (not this actual dress I should say). It's by Ellie Saab
More detail from the bodice
thematerialgirl — Sun, 01/29/2012 - 20:47
I'm a fan of silent films (yes, even before The Artist became the year's big hit) and I'm also lucky enough to live in London where you can see these films as they are supposed to be shown - at a cinema with a live piano accompaniment.
The Prince Charles cinema, just around the corner from Leicester Square, is currently showing a silent film once a month and so on Thursday I went along with Andrew and our friends Rob and Jake to see The Cameraman - a Buster Keaton film from 1928.
Personally I don't think its one of his masterpieces but its interesting as it must be one of the first films to turn the camera on film itself as Keaton plays a street photographer trying to become a movie news cameraman. On the way he falls over quite a lot and gets the girl (and the cutest monkey in a sailor suit ever exploited for our entertainment).
It was also the first outing of a new blouse made from one of my Japanese Pattern books. The only translation I've been able to find for the book is the catchy "Lets begin to sewing the clothes, when we made decision of pattern".
I'm afraid the photos don't really show the blouse to its full advantage - but I think it shows our night to it's full extent!
It has a really cute sailor top effect - and next time I make it I will bring out that element a bit more.
And here I am eyeing up my next film - Nosferatu. The only problem is Andrew says he doesn't want to go and I think I'll be too scared to come home alone!
And finally, here I am channeling Jerry lee Lewis after the pianist had left. If any of the Prince Charles ushers are out there - I did not really touch the piano!