Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Roman Holiday Summer Ensemble: a sunsuit with matching overskirt

Often when I make a garment I'll have a particular person in mind, usually a favourite movie star, and it's almost like I imagine I'm designing an outfit for her to wear in a particular movie. I can see Audrey Hepburn wearing my latest two-piece ensemble in Sabrina, or better still, as she was in Roman Holiday, zipping along through the streets of Roma on a Vespa, not needing to worry about the wind flipping up her skirt, as she's wearing a full-piece sunsuit underneath! lol

I'm really pleased with the result; I took care with cutting and piecing the double-border print fabric to make the most of the vintage-inspired ric rac stripes and cherry toss print:

The style is very easy to wear and very flattering - the high-waisted sunsuit shorts are not skin tight but slightly A-line, and a slightly more modest length, too (3 1/2" inleg):

I'll be making more of these soon! I have some fab Hawaiin-style hibiscus print fabric which would be great made into a 1950s bubble-leg playsuit with matching draped sarong skirt!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I've gone a bit mad over rompers lately - you know, those very very cute, very retro-looking all-in-one cotton shorts suits? Here are some of the designs I've run up, in different types of fabrics and with different styles of legs, some high-waisted and others empire waist. The one thing they all have in common is most are made from woven, not stretch fabric (my attempt to be faithful to the rompers of the 30s, 40s and 50s). There'll be more on the way, including more one- and two-piece suits that can be worn swimming!

How I love polkadots! "Minnie", made from stretch fabric:

The latest plaid romper, for sale on etsy:

Polkadot romper #1:

Polkadot romper #2, doubles as a swimsuit:

My own batik butterfly romper that I wore all summer a couple of years ago:

A cherry and ric-rac print sunsuit (and matching skirt) soon to be listed on etsy:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Most Beautiful Lounge in the Universe

The Most Beautiful Lounge in the Universe, at
I am suffering some serious Lounge Envy. I cannot get this wonderful mid-century aqua lounge off my mind or out of my greedy little heart. Of course, I don't have a spare $4000 lying around, and if I did, well, I'd hate to think how much it would cost to get it shipped out in a container from the US. So, rather than futilely hankering after it from afar and leaving it at that, I'm going to use it as the inspiration for my Lounge Room Make-Over. So unbeknownst to my partner, I am completely re-decorating our living area, and it's all down to The Most Beautiful Lounge in The Universe. I'll blame johnnyvintage when questioned.
Re-decorating in this case does not mean getting in an expert and paying squillions to have someone "do" my loungeroom. It means painting some bits and pieces to give them a facelift and a different feel, making new cushion and divan covers from some fab (yet economically viable) new or thrifted fabric, and picking up a few bits and pieces off ebay and etsy.

I already have a great faux leather 4 seater couch and a matching chair and pouffe that I got from Vinnies for $60. Here it is, here:

I'm going to have a theme of 1940s Hollywood Regency style - it has echoes of the previous 1930s style (sleek, low, a little ritzy, faux bamboo, metallics) but is also tipping over into the coming mid-century style. I have these two great gold damask mid-century chairs, only $40 from Salvos, what a great buy:

As we are renting, the curtains and swags pose a problem. They are made from a blue fabric which is neither dusty enough to be wedgwood blue, nor interesting enough to be much of anything else. They are purpose made for the space - 3 large floor to ceiling windows - so would be expensive to replace (and hard to store!). I'll meet that bridge when I come to it.

I've bought some wonderful cut chenille in powder blue from Spotlight (on sale, naturellment), which has an over-sized Damask pattern, with which I'll cover the divan (although it's huge and takes up too much room, we'll never get rid of it, it's so squishy and comfy for watching TV). Here's the fabric:

Then, I'll add cushions in peacock fabric and silk in various shades of aqua and blue:

I have a beautiful very 1940s convex mirror on hold for me, so Hollywood, from

I'm trying to figure out how to work in my starbusrst sconces and clock:

Then, finally, a few mid-century cachivachis (bits n pieces) made from brass or chrome, or wood:

(antelope head available at - but don't buy it, I want it!!)

This won't be a project I get finished in only a few weeks - my sewing workload is too heavy for that. I'll post photos when it's done!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Here is my latest creation - and so far, my absolute favourite!
(Please click on the images for greater detail)

I adore hydrangea flowers, and have several large bushes where I live. Of course, they are suffering in our drought. But still, the lush blue-purple fairly vibrates with intensity! I think of them as a very "old" flower, rather 'olde worlde' and nostalgic. So when I came across this wonderful cotton fabric on-line, I had to have it! It turns out it sells out rather quickly, so I had to wait to get my hands on some. Of course, having yards of fabric mailed over from the US is not a cheap process, so to begin with I bought just enough for two dresses (or so I thought).

I took my time deciding what to do with it - I almost couldn't bare to cut it! But then I came across some artificial hydrangea flowers when out browsing a craft store one day, and I had a 'Eureka!' moment. I knew what I had to do. And I had the perfect olive vintage taffeta with which to pair the lush hydrangea and raspberry print cotton.

So, it's a high-waisted 8-gore skirt attached to a sweetheart-shaped bodice, with matching bolero. The tiny jacket is rather structured and square shouldered, giving a small nod to the 1940s shoulder-line rather than the typical, more rounded shoulder of a 1950s bolero. The skirt has a 141" hem sweep - so it turned out I only had enough to make one dress after all! So, thus far, it's OOAK (one of a kind), in a size ML. It's available in my etsy store! More pics below.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

SUMMER FUN DRESS - Kaffe Fasset fabric

I very rarely get to make myself anything - or more accurately, get to make and KEEP anything - but I just ran myself up a new sundress and I will definitely be keeping this one!
It's made from my all-time fave Kaffe Fasset fabric, Flower Baskets in duck egg blue (sadly the colours are really flattened by the flash), a fabric which I'm pretty sure is out of print. The pattern is a mish-mash of a couple of different styles that I threw together, but is basically an empire-line tulip skirt style.

Okay, yes, it's quilting fabric, but who cares? I use drapery and furnishing fabric and all sorts of things to make clothes (please see my previous post about garments made from table linen).