September 30, 2009

Vintage finds

Pictures! I'm finally home by daylight, on my own, without being crazily busy, so I decided to put my somewhat camera-shy self in front of the camera to show you something I found at one of my thrifty market stalls last week.

First up something less intimidating.

These two handbag were mine for 8 euros. There's a good bit of age to them, which shows in their nice clasp closures, leather linings and old-fashioned pulls on their inside zipper-pockets. They've also both seen better days. Especially the handles are in a sorry state. I'm thinking about replacing them. I've got some black metal chain in my stash, but it should really be yellow metal, don't you think?
The one on the left might be eel-skin or reptile and the one on the right snake. However, on close inspection it is clear that there made from leather or even plastic stamped to look like exotic skins (which is good). The 'snake-skin' looks like paper with plastic scales on it when you study the torn bit at the handle. I'll have to ask my bag-o-philiac friend if she can date them or tell me anything more.

The thing for which I had to pose is this:

It's a half circle skirt in soft red leather. Oh, and it has pockets.
I'm always on the lookout for cheap second hand leather items which I can cut up and use to make bags. This one, I found at a stall where I don't usually shop. It was 5 euros. I was intrigued by it but had my doubts about the elastic waistband. But at that price, what could go wrong? It would either be a special garment for me, or several bags.
I threaded in new elastic, making the waistband a bit tighter and I have to say, I kind of like it. The length, fullness and weight of the thing give it, at least in my mind, a bit of 'New Look'-appeal. It may not be practical in real life, but I'll give it a try. Here's one skirt which won't have a date with my scissors any time soon...

September 29, 2009

Of 16th century fashion and withdrawal symptoms

I know, I promised you pictures of my recent vintage/thrift finds. And I haven't delivered. Tomorrow I'll make up for it, I promise.

I'm feeling a bit out of touch with the sewing world, since I now know I'll be without my sewing machine for at least another week. I did make some fitting samples for a friend over at M's place today and I managed to come up with one knit design for which I could really get away with using my serger only, but overall withdrawal has set in nicely...

Knitting isn't really my sort of thing and although I finished the cowl-thingy I started on, I'm not happy with the result (the yarn was from stash and didn't last anywhere near as long as I hoped). And although I love pattern making, all that paperwork without even being able to try out a single thing get discouraging after a while.

Now the complaining is over and done with, I should tell you something. There was a reason why I mentioned my recent DVD-viewing to you in my last post. Costumes! Whenever I focus on something, I tend to develop some form of professional deformation (literally translated from Dutch, so I'm not sure whether or not that makes any sense in English) pretty quickly. So whatever I'm watching, I can't help but notice the costumes.

The Tudors is a wonderful recent historical series from the BBC (they just finished broadcasting season 3) about the life of Henry VIII. Despite being quite a history buff, I loved every bit of it. As far as I can tell the series is fairly historically acurate (although somewhere on the web, someone mentioned how by season 3, king Henry is looking way too handsome. That someone is right, but who would really want that to be different? After all, TV is a visual expierence first)

The costumes are very nice indeed. Rich in detail and you can actually see the passage of time in the changing fashion as well as in the aging of the characters. I have spotted some (mostly) ladies' styles which I don't believe to be genuine 16th century fashion. Anne Boleyn's dancing costume from season 1 for example, and at the end of season 2, you see Jane Seymore in a dress which shows her natural body shape, not as you'd expect, the angular lines of period corsetry.
One thing I missed in particular, was a fashion said to be introduced at the Tudor court by Anne Boleyn. The lady supposedly had an extra digit on one hand which she would try to hide with a clever choice of clothing. In her time as queen she introduced dresses with long, trailing sleeves or decorations at the sleeve which would cover part of a lady's hand.

These comments however, should not even be considered criticism. Of course, choices have to be made when the 'look' of a TV-series is created and it would be impossible to put every detail in.

September 22, 2009

Another picture-less post, and my reasons for it.

I still have no new creations to show you all. Nothing new of and for myself, that is. I'll explain how that came to be.

First of all, as I told you before, I've been helping designer friend M get her collection ready for not one, but two important event. The second one of those was a big succes (for this very small eco-brand) and the fall-out of it has kept us busy ever since. Tomorrow, I'll take some pictures to add the new looks to her website. We hope to keep people interested and hopefully, this will allow us to actually make some money for all our hard work.

Secondly, I had a small asignment of my own, resizing two vintage dresses (one of them only needed a new, shorter hemline). Working on that led to the third, sad reason...

My sewing machine broke down. My beautiful, expensive, high-tech sewing machine which I've only own since the end of May suddendly had a problem. Whether turning automatically, or by hand, the needle wouldn't go down to it's lowest position. None of the usual causes were there. No bent needle, no tangled thread. I took it to the shop and the repair guy agreed with me that this was all very strange... That was last Wednesday. The machine had to stay there, so hopefully they would be able to find out what was wrong with it and repair that. If not, it will have to be sent back to the factory. In Taiwan.
(did I mention before how I really need my sewing machine? Not just for my peace of mind but also because right now, it's my only way of making any kind of income.)

Of course, M is happy to let me do my sewing at her place if necessary and my machine is still well with in its garanteed time, so everything should work out in the end.
For the time being, when I not working, I'm drafting patterns, doing a bit of knitting, tell myself I really should work on making a website, read (I found some great fashion history books at the library), watch DVD's (Tudors and DS 9, what does that make me? ;), and somehow buy a lot more at the thrift stalls than usual.

Check back later this week for pictures of my thrifting adventures and a lot more sewing, fashion and clothes related rambling.

September 9, 2009

Getting ready for autumn

I'm a bit late in posting about this dress. I actually finished it a few weeks ago, but for the reason I posted about before, I didn't get the chance to photograph it until today. Just one picture for now, because I'm actually pretty tired and don't feel much like modeling today.

I year, I make the solemn resolution not to 'run out of season' with my sewing again. However, it's so tempting to keep making summer dresses as long as there's bright sunshine outside... I think I started drafting the pattern for this dress, really trying to keep this promise to myself this year, by the end of July. It was meant to be a wear-it-in-many-ways-dress. To make that possible, it's got a big double box pleat at the back which can be closed to the waist with buttons and fairly deep side slits, also closed with buttons. For the rest of it, this is a wide, button-down, A-line shirt dress with raglan sleeves and in seam pockets. I really like the look, as shown in the picture. The many other options, however, didn't work quite as well...

September 2, 2009

Still here, just busy

I feel like I should apologize for the lack in posting these past few weeks. I've been incredibly busy helping my wonderful friend and indie designer M design, draft and sew an entire summer collection of 16 pieces, in just one month. It's almost done now and I promise to try and get back to more regular posting by the end of next week. I still managed to make two garments which should get some attention here. So they'll be up first, as soon as I have the opportunity to take some pictures.