Simplicity Turns 90

It’s amazing to think that Simplicity have been helping sewers to create their own style for years. I feel like a real newbie in comparison as I’ve only been sewing properly for a year! I noticed the Simplicity Summer Challenge too late last year and I hadn’t been sewing long so I was super keen to get involved this year!

Anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows that I’m a Dressmaker above all else. I make other garments (avoiding trousers like the plague) but I mainly make dresses SO I assumed I would opt for Dressmaker but I loved the styling of the 8342 pattern so I chose that instead, which is for the Vintage Category. I absolutely love that they included a plus size model on the front of this pattern.

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I talked about my fabric choices on my vlog and I decided to combine two fabrics for the skirt after many people suddenly they would work well together and I’m really glad I did.

I opted for the larger of the pattern options which is sizes 20 to 28 to give me a bit of wiggle room (literally) but my measurements meant I had to cut a 26 which seemed odd. Anyway, the pattern comes together really nicely, like most of the Simplicity patterns I’ve used. I followed the instructions for an amazing lapped zip! I’ve never done one before and I was really chuffed with it. I usually have to check in to YouTube too but not for this. Hooray!!

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The fabric was a dream to sew too. The check fabric frayed more easily so it was a bit tricky to gather but I’m glad I preserved with it. The frill goes upwards at the back of the skirt to produce a great feature. I love a wiggle skirt and this one is perfect for me!

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The pattern calls for 6 buttons but I was going to omit them, then I remembered these black vintage bead type buttons I got from Tin Trunk, a vintage place near me and used them. Vintage style makes need Vintage notions.

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The top was a real worry for me but I wanted to make the whole outfit for Simplicity’s celebration. I was worried it would make me look busty and I’m also don’t like not having sleeves. I bought a plain mustard jersey to pick out the yellow tones in the skirt and with the hope that it would allow the pattern of the skirt to take the emphasis away from my chest!

The instructions for it were really easy again and it makes for a really satisfying sew that has a bit more about it than a plain vest or Tshirt.

Two things I had to alter were to take the straps in by a good 5 inches, or else it would have been ridiculous. I also hand sewed the hole under the knot together with a ladder stitch as otherwise I would have been too uncomfortable.

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I’m pleased the top fits well around my bust, usually patterns and RTW dresses or tops which have separate pieces for the bust don’t fit me, but this fits perfectly across my chest.

I shouldn’t have worried about the shape because I actually think it’s quite flattering, though I still don’t like showing my arms. I would love to be able to do a sleeve hack and still keep the knot detail.

Anyway, that’s all the construction details. I wore them together as intended and I love it, it makes me feel very feminine and definitely has an immediate Vintage feel. I hope that it’s pretty flattering.

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The other thing I love about these two garments is that they can be worn separately too. I put my top with a RTW black pencil skirt and cardi.

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I put my skirt with a RTW wrap grey body but it will go with lots in my wardrobe!

I can’t wait to see how everyone else has interpreted this pattern! I’ll be having a good nosey over on instagram this weekend!

Double Vintage

I dragged my Mum round some vintage shops in, Stockport, the town where we were brought up a few months back and picked up some vintage paisley silk feel fabric. I got 3 metres for £9, which was a bargain.  I stashed it for a bit and then decided to return back to my 1970s Maudella dress. I love the fabric, the colours are so Autumnal.

Like last time,  I missed the collar out and put the zip in the side instead of along the front, which is much neater,  I might add. I graded it down slightly in the waist, as I felt I needed it last time.
I also made the sleeves a little larger just to make it more comfortable and I made them a bit shorter.

It needs lots of ease in the sleeves, but I like the effect.
It was the first dress for my dressmaker dummy too, which was fab to use, it made the hem length really easy. I have named her Suzie. I did the hem a bit longer than last time so it falls below my knee, not Suzie’s, she doesn’t have knees!

That’s it! I love this super quick make and I’m really pleased I chose a vintage pattern for my vintage fabric! I wore it to have a minichino with my lovely niece!

When your photographer is 5 years old

Statement Collar Vintage Blouse 

I have been enjoying stitching up some modern patterns recently like My Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress and My Simplicity Christmas Dress but I fancied going back in time to some more vintage makes so I had Vintage Butterick 5601 dated 1969 in my stash. It has a blouse,  jacket,  trousers and skirt within it but I was eyeing up the blouse,  which has a proper statement collar!

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I made no changes or adaptations to the sizing of the pattern, considering it is a vintage, although it is a bit snug at the hip. There are lots of darts,  which I quite enjoyed putting in. The fabric is a thicker,  floral purple chiffon from my local market and was surprisingly easy to handle.

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 I shortened the sleeves as I didn’t want to have the big puffy ones the picture shows. I also used binding instead of facing, which I do as much as I can get away with,  though I have started making friends with facings more recently!

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I love the fact that it is a zip back blouse instead of a button front.

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And I absolutely love the collar, it’s like a pussy bow blouse but really chunky so it looks more like a cravat. It’s fab.

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I haven’t had chance to wear it yet but I’ll post some pictures on instagram @emmaandhermachine and twitter @emmasmachine when I get chance to!

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Sewing, the gift that keeps on giving…

I’ve had a little unexpected surprise that I’d like to share… I met my hubby at his parents house tonight and they were all looking very suspicious, excited and grinning at me in a strange way. I was ordered to close my eyes and when I opened them…. This was waiting for me…

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I gave a strange grin right back at them… erm… ‘what is it?’

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THIS is what it is! Exciting or what?! Let me explain…

Kyle’s Nan no longer uses any of her sewing things, she was an avid knitter but is no longer able to sew as she once did. Kyle’s family very kindly thought of me and wanted me to have her sewing things. I’m so thankful, moved and flattered by this as there’s lots of little bits that I’m sure have some good memories for my mother-in-law and her sisters. It’s a real inheritance for me and something I’ll cherish. It’s the things like this that make sewing so special as when you use the things you were given, it makes anything you make extra special and nostalgic. So… overall a very happy sewer here!

All neatly packed away and kept were some vintage pinking shears and scissors, and a knitting equipment kit. Joan was a knitter so there are lots of little pearlised buttons for baby cardigans but also some really cool gold coloured buttons. I love the way it is all so organised, I think it really sums up that generation. There are lots of little boxes and tupperwares with buttons and safety pins; everything seems to have a place. She has bags buttons, tied with matching wool and a big needle, ready to go on her completed knits. Obviously, there are lots of threads for me to dive in to as well and also a huge bag of elastics and various bindings.

I absolutely love the retro Royal wedding tin, so very British Nan and it is full of threads. Every family I know had one of these as we were little but things like this don’t seem to survive anymore and I think it’s so nostalgic. The threads look like jewels; a proper box of treasure.

There’s also a little popper mechanism which is packed neatly in this little box, which I also love.

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Kyle is originally from Ashton and Katherine Street it still there – though no shops like this anymore, unfortunately. I love to see traditional old embossing and professional shop memorabilia like this from when packaging was quality and not ‘throw-away’, especially when people remember it and it means something. After investigations with Kyle’s other Nan, I discovered that Wild’s was once a jewellers… when Joan came to replace a nice pair of earrings with poppers, I will never know!

Lastly, but not least, is this beautiful metal, antique thimble. The detail in the metal is so gorgeous and I feel very privileged to own it.

It makes me want to sew RIGHT NOW!

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