A lot of nature and a bit of sewing

flowersGorgeous aren’t they?

We went to Down House, home of Charles Darwin this weekend.  If you are at all interested in science or nature I really recommend it. I think children would love it too: there’s lots of interactive stuff to explain the theories and the cakes in the tearoom are yummy….

The flowers were just outside his greenhouse / lab.

Darwin's greenhouseThis picture has the “bit of sewing” mentioned in the title. The top was once this dress

After alteringI altered it to this length but I still didn’t wear it; so now it’s a top and I’ve worn it a lot. I also raised the neckline a bit.  I’ve lost a tiny amount of weight and that made the dress gape a bit at the neck.

What is this?Another plant caught my eye but I don’t know what it is. It looks like it’s been painted pink and white.

It was a bit cold yesterday and I had intended to wear this:

1930s dress overdyedThis is my 1930s dress which I’ve now overdyed with Dylon’s French Lavender.  I think it will get a lot more wear now.  Somehow, the white background put me off and it’s such a shame not to wear something you’ve spent hours slaving over. The pink shoes are from Hobbs’ sale a few years ago.

I haven’t been sewing much for myself recently because my little sewing business has started to get busier nad I just haven’t had time. Plenty of plans in my head though.

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A Sunny Weekend

Day 25I went to a Vintage fair on Saturday, only to discover it was actually on Sunday.

Still, I got the chance to wear my lovely new shoes

New Shoes!These arrived last week from Kinky Melon.  1970s, unworn & my size. Aren’t they lovely?

Avoca dressAs the vintage fair was only a few minutes cycle ride away, I went on Sunday too. I wore this summery Avoca dress as it was such a lovely day.

Avoca dress close upI know it’s not me- made but I think it counts for MeMadeMay.  I had to sew up the front to make it wearable.  I have no problem with showing cleavage, but this dress gaped & I would guess that was why its original owner gave it away.  I also did a few minor repairs.  I convinced myself it counted anyway……

1930s buttonsAnd I bought these lovely vintage buttons – 1930s, I think.  I don’t know what I’ll use them for but use them I will.

Linking to Lakota’s Ta Dah Tuesday.

1930s Clothes

1930s Suit

I bought this 1934 copy of Home Journal about 20 years ago.  Included in it is this 1930s suit pattern – complete with blouse.

I’ve been recovering from an evil chest infection, so apologies if I haven’t been round to your blog recently.  To be honest, I’ve done hardly anything but I am catching up now.

All the sewing I’ve done recently has been for other people – presents, so secret and I might be about to start up a little business as I’ve had a few requests from other people.

In the absence of much sewing, I thought it might be interesting to look at some 1930s patterns and magazines.  Just click on the images to get a bigger view.  Hope you enjoy them.

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Pattern instruction page.  The pattern is on thin brown paper – a bit stronger than tissue paper and looks unused.  I’d love to make it, but I never wear suits so it would just sit in the wardrobe if I did.

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This is a 1933 Vogue pattern that I’ve actually made and worn.  I will definitely make it again some time.

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My version.

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Fabulous fashion ad for 1934. I fancy the “are you coming?” coat – second from the left on the top row.

A 1930s Sewing Machine and a Coat in Progress

This lovely 1930s machine was a gift and I think it is wonderful.  It is the only one of my 1930s machines left.

At one time I had four sewing machines but I sew in a very small room and I could hardly move.  Now I have only this one and a modern Pfaff.

This sewing machine can get through horse rugs without difficulty and yet it sews lightweight fabric really well.  A real treasure!

This what I’m working on at the moment.  It’s a man’s wool coat torn at the back. I’m hoping to get a coat for me out of this.

The before picture.

It’ll be a long time before I show the after photos, I think.

I Love Vintage Sewing Machines

This is a Frister & Rossmann’s “Vibrating Shuttle” sewing machine dating from the early 1930s. It sews straight stitch both backwards and forwards.

I bought it a few years ago and have used it for various sewing tasks- including sewing in a power cut.   Even in the 1930s this was old fashioned. Most machines could have a treadle mechanism added or even an electric motor on the back.  There are still treadle machines around but I wonder how long the electric motors lasted?

I found it hard to get started. Why are there skipped stitches? How could I wind a bobbin successfully?  I had to take professional advice. Now my confidence has grown I try to keep the machine working well by myself.

Both my machines have instruction manuals.  They are well worth reading carefully even if they do miss out vital stuff such as how to sew straight with only one free hand. It’s hard!

One of the best troubleshooting tips in these booklets is to remove all visible dirt (I use clean make up brushes) and oil the machine. It’s always the first thing I try.

Sewing machine oil only!

Some of the oiling points

 The machine has visible oiling points all over and the manual mentions some others.  It “runs like a well oiled machine”!

My silliest mistake was not to have put the needle in properly. I thought I’d checked absolutely everything – correct threading, bobbin in correctly, checked the tension, but when I started to sew again the needle fell out. No wonder it wouldn’t sew properly!

Needles go into this machine with the flat side on the right and are threaded left to right.

Winding the bobbins is a bit tricky compared to modern machines but the instruction manual was really useful there and it doesn’t seem so hard anymore.

Bobbin winder

A little bit of vintage life