Archive | January, 2013

Two Weddings and Birthday

30 Jan

I went over to Vancouver Island yesterday for my Dad’s hmm-umph th birthday.  It’s always so nice to go over there.  I can feel time slow down as soon as I get off the ferry and the frantic hustle of life settle itself into a low murmur.  We had a lovely day visiting old friends, and I got to see the new boat that my Dad is fixing up.  (I like old dresses and he likes old things with motors.)

The totally awesome thing that happened that I am about to get to was that my Aunt had found my Grandmother’s and other Aunt’s wedding dresses from 1936 and 1959 respectively.  My sister fit quite perfectly into my grandma’s dress despite it being a bit too short.  The dress is silk (I’m pretty sure) and the skirt is cut on the bias.  It has a bias cut slip that goes underneath that I think would make a pretty dress on its own.  There are I don’t know how many little buttons going all the way down the front to the floor. It was pretty wrinkled from being in a garment bag for seventy-odd years and the buttons are decontructing but other wise it is in pretty good shape.

1930's wedding dressDSCF3455  DSCF3457 DSCF3458 wedding photo

My grandmother in the dress on her wedding day.  She looks very petite in this picture, but I think she must have been taller than we thought as her dress nearly fits my 5’8″ sister and shoes couldn’t have been that tall in the 30’s.

I have the dress in my apartment now and I am going to make a pattern from it before it deconstructs completely.  I am so excited about this project.  30’s garments are not easy to come by and I don’t think I have ever got my hands on one before.  I think that once I have made the pattern for posterity I might be able to finagle it into a very cute dress.  I love the little collar and the bust treatment, and I am a total sucker for lots of buttons. I am thinking knee-length and cap sleeves in a rayon or something with a bit of drape.  Thoughts? How would you change this pattern to make it a wearable day dress?

On to more dresses.  This one was my Aunt’s first wedding dress when she was very young.  I absolutely love it and would definitely attempt to wear it if I was the marrying type, which I am not.  I think I might make something with asymmetrical tiers though.  That detail is just so pretty.

DSCF3461 IMG_1123

Terribly romantic isn’t it? That’s actually me in the back view, the dress fit me a little better being that me and my Aunt are of slightly curvier stock than my sister.  I couldn’t post the front picture of me the dress because I am making this weird cock-eyed expression that is halfway between ‘is it morning already?’ and ‘homicidal rage’.

Well I hope you have enjoyed my family history tour.  Do any of you have any family heirlooms of the dress variety? I would love to hear about them.

I will keep up the posts along my pattern making adventure.  I hope to eventually have a dress in my wardrobe in homage to each of them.


Two Christmas Dresses (with proper pictures)

6 Jan

A Sewing Machine and an Umbrella is proud to present… much better photos that should have been in that last post.

This was my first attempt at Victory rolls, and I have to say they are much more difficult than I had hoped.  I am not really a ‘hair’ person.  I usually spend my time putting together an outfit and then stick my hair on top of my head and swipe on some mascara.  I really love this hair style though, and I hope to one day be competent at it.  I spent a bunch of time looking at internet tutorials, the best of which, in my opinion is by Fleur over at Diary of a Vintage Girl.  Does anyone do this on a regular basis? Any tips?

vintage inspired look

vintage inspired cotton dress


Fleece lined Pockets!

Fleece lined Pockets!


I used some brown and white fleece to make the pocket bags and do the binding on the inside.  I think warm fuzzy pockets are a very important feature in a dress that is going to be worn in December in Vancouver.  Not that is gets that cold here, more so depressing.  I think that is the best way to describe winter in Vancouver two degrees with a chance of depressing.  Fuzzy pockets help.

vintage chtistmas dress

IMG_4922Stupid tag sticking out the back! That particular tag is the most persistent little bugger.

IMG_4931The fabric close up.  The colour is truer in the other pictures, it came out a little more red here for reason that only the camera gods can understand.

So that’s Christmas dresses.  Now onto spring!

Two (or actually one and a half) Christmas Dresses

4 Jan

Hello Blogoworld! (I like that better than blogosphere I think.) I hope you all had a great holiday and got to eat food with loved ones, and didn’t do what I did and drink ALL THE CHAMPAGNE on new years.  Seriously, don’t try to buy any.  It’s gone.

I have here a not very good blog post.  You still with me?  Aww thanks.  I just wanted to do something to get me back into blogging so instead of putting it off until I happened to be wearing makeup and had someone around to take the perfect picture.  I tend to go from zero to sweat pants the second I get home and have a hard time getting out of them again which makes it hard to get pictures of party dresses.

vintage inspired dress

Ok so slightly grainy camera phone picture but we shall move past that for the moment.  The fabric has little birds and berries on it, and I became completely obsessed with it back in October.  I had one of those occurences where you don’t buy something and then you spend three weeks thinking about it so you know it’s meant to be.

I used a irridescent purple taffeta for the flappy wing details (technical term people) and belt.  This is the first belt I have made from one of those little vintage kits.  I maybe didn’t pick the easiest fabric to work with as the taffeta frayed quite easily but the project was definitely doable.  The only problem I had was that they give you this little double-sided sticky thing to adhere the fabric to the buckle and it was all dried out from age so I made a new one from layers of double-sided tape.

Has anyone used one of those kits?  Do they all use the same method? I feel like there must be another way to cover the buckle.


This is the half a dress, because as you can clearly see, I have not photographed the bottom.  The fabric was an amazing kitschy vintage Christmas print.  It has little story books, poinsettia lamps, and snow flakes- J’amie! I shall take much better pictures of this dress and a close-up of the print because I need to share my crazy pattern pride.

Last year I saw someone on Sew Retro with a really kick ass Christmas print shirtwaist and I thought ‘I gotta get me one of those’.  The sad part is I finished sewing this on Dec 23rd so I only got to wear it once until next year. Sad panda 😦

Ok so that was my fairly paltry blogging effort for 2013, but I kind of feel into blogging again so that was the point I think.  I hope everyone out there has a happy, healthy, hilarious 2013.