Friday, 24 March 2017

Curtain Couture - Backyard Swagger







Yesterday a sun-bleached curtain, today a psychedelic maxi skirt. This is my latest creation, made from the superbly named Swagger, a 1960s screen print by British textile designer, Peter McCullough.


Any sewing aspirations have been scuppered of late. Whenever I've been struck with the urge to make something, I've cracked open the fabric box only to come up with a big fat nothing. Plenty of wild vintage dressmaking patterns to use (this is just a tiny part of my collection) but no funky fabric to do them any justice.


The 1973 skirt pattern on the bottom left is the one I used to make my maxi.

Vintage fabric either doesn't turn up or, like buses, several arrive at the same time or, in my case, the entire bus depot decamps and parks outside the house. Within minutes of abandoning a sewing project due to lack of material up popped an email from my friend Jayne (she of the legendary packages of retro partyware & vintage clothing) asking if I'd like a motherload of fabric she'd found in her grandparents' attic. Within 24 hours I had another email from my friend Nikki, telling me she'd had a clear-out and wondering if I'd be interested in giving it a home.

Vintage fabric? In the words of Tom Hardy in Taboo, I have a use for you.


This is Nikki's donation (which included the Swagger fabric I made my skirt from). The incredible 1960s orange and lavender Marrakesh by Jonelle is going to become the curtains in our ongoing VW campervan rebuild.


Jayne's contribution filled two huge boxes. I'm dying with excitement over the 1970s Mughal photo print fabric.


My stash is too big to fit in my blanket box now, just the way I like it. Not so much a fabric pile as a mountain of endless possibilities. Within a few hours one of these old curtains, bed covers or off-cuts could be transformed into a pair of maxi culottes, a floor length waistcoat, a catsuit, a halterneck sun dress or a bastard massive sleeved mini dress. Watch this space!


Anybody who tells you that dressmaking is an expensive hobby ain't no charity shop shopper. Lots of chazzas have boxes of notions, patterns and thread going for a pittance, as sewing is still regarded as a dying skill nobody uses any more. These five vintage Sylko cottons, metallic embroidery thread and the contemporary uncut Simple Sew pattern I found in town this morning cost me £2.50. I'm not a fan of jersey wrap dresses, they shout middle-aged to me, but I'm curious to see what this kimono dress will look like made up from a funky 1970s cotton bedspread. I've never used a modern pattern before but the Simple Sew website looks great with lots of tutorials and videos to help novice sewers along.

WEARING: Me-made psychedelic maxi skirt, mustard lace-up bodysuit (retail sale, get me!), Vintage tooled leather belt with lion buckle (33p, charity shop)


We've got this weekend off as, inexplicably, the world of vintage comes to a grinding halt on Mothering Sunday. I'm not sure why as not all of us have mothers nor have any aspirations to become them. No matter, it'll be a wonderful weekend of unplugging the PC, sewing and watching TV instead, the rum's already on ice.

See you soon!

79 comments:

  1. That pile of fabric certainly raised my heartbeat just looking at it. The maxi skirt you made is beautiful, and the killer sleeves on your top are inducing some serious envy.

    Have a wonderful weekend off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I get so excited by vintage fabric it's ridiculous! xxx

      Delete
  2. I don't know anyone as inept at sewing as me, but even I got excited but those beautiful fabrics!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly, my sewing is far from perfect but who notices a wonky seam with prints this cool? x

      Delete
  3. What a fabulous pile of colourfully printed fabric. I can't sew, nor do I have time for it, but I'm seriously thinking of retiring and learning how to, as I already have lots of vintage buttons as well as thread in every imaginable colour, which I inherited from my mum and grandmother. I love the psychedelix maxi skirt, and swagger is a very apt name for the fabric. Oh, and I'm sure that any wrap dress made by you will look anything but middle-aged! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You must learn! I'm self taught and it gives me such a thrill. xxx

      Delete
  4. wow what a stash! looks like you have something for every week of the year to work on now! I love the mustard top you are wearing today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm working on a whole new Spring wardrobe! x

      Delete
  5. Also, some of us mom's would love a good vintage shopping day with my offspring. Seems like a list opportunity. Jersey dresses are my go to, but I don't have your figure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, my Mum would have much prefered a day out vintage shopping rather than a bunch of supermarket flowers and some horrible roast dinner (I'm a chip off the old block!) xxx

      Delete
  6. That sounds like a good weekend to me!

    The skirt is beautiful and I love it with your mustard big sleeved top all wonderfully offset by the belt - 33p? What a weird price.

    That is a truly fabulous collection of material - you're going to have so much fun with it all...

    Enjoy your weekend off!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was actually 33.3333p - out of the three for £1 basket (the other two items were scarves!) xxx

      Delete
  7. The 70's really were an era of fabulous prints, weren't they?
    Love those colors & the swagger skirt is deee-vine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loads of people call the 1970s the era that taste forgot - they're mad! x

      Delete
  8. What a fabulous skirt! I love it. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you make with your material mountain!
    Enjoy your weekend off :)
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. What wonderful fabrics, I have fabric envy! The maxi skirt is great, I love it. Have a great, rum fuelled, weekend :) xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sally! Fabric makes me happy! xxx

      Delete
  10. Fabric lust to the max degree. Same with quilting, you can buy all retail but where is the fun in that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Racks of the same old stuff? Boring! xxx

      Delete
  11. Wow, what a stunning pile of fabrics! Love the maxi skirt you made too! I'm slowing making my way through my own pile of fabrics, I keeping finding the stuff in every charity shop I go into lately and it'd be rude not to buy it. Can't wait to see what else you make!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, grab it when you can. It's terrible when there's a fabric famine! x

      Delete
  12. Well done, give me a skirt instead of a curtain any time. You are a geniussssssssssssssssssssssss

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, yes, yes! from one skirt-tain lover to another! xxx

      Delete
  13. "jersey wrap dresses......shout middle-aged..." yes - totally! :-D
    the universe is with you! sending lots of fab fabrics your way in the moment you´v craving for. your newest skirt is a stunner - esp. the break up of that print makes for a cool effect. chic with the mustard blouse!
    happy weekend at home! xxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! i knew you'd agree about the jersey wrap dresses! xxx

      Delete
  14. That is one serious stash of very cool fabric, what good friends to pass it on to you. I always get buttons, zips etc from the op shops over here, so much cheaper and usually the old stuff is the better quality any way. You always inspire me to sew again!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, buttons, press studs, zips and hooks and eyes. I can't leave them behind especially when they're in their original packaging, the fonts are always so much more interesting! xxx

      Delete
  15. I know what you mean about getting twitchy when the stash starts to diminish....I'm a bit like Gollum "my precioussss" when it happens at Gnat Bottomed Towers. 33 pennies for a belt...you were had my girl.....that's a jumble sale price round here....great bargain!
    Arilx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you, Aril! I bought that bolt of lame last week and was scared to cut into it as it was all I'd got left in my stash! xxx

      Delete
  16. That's a fabulous stash ...so much potential. Nothing raises the spirits like a fecking massive pile of vintage fabric. I have that very same Sew Simple pattern and it makes up nicely with snazzy fabric. You'll Vix it to the max!
    Loves ya!
    xxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to give it a bash now I know it's got the Em seal of approval! xxx

      Delete
  17. What a lucky duck! Some of those patterns are just stunning.

    Your newest maxi skirt is wonderful and hey...so is that retail bodysuit. I never in a million years would have guessed it was a bodysuit. I've noticed that lately the 1970s remakes are all over the retail shops.

    I cannot wait to see what you will create with the rest of your stash.

    Enjoy your weekend. It sounds wonderful.

    bisous
    Suzanne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been 25 years since the last 70s revival - it's about time. A great opportunity to snap it all up now the hipsters are bored with it and it's all half price in the Spring sales. xxx

      Delete
  18. What a fitting name Swagger is, it conjures up Mick Jagger in that white frilly shirt....there was a lot of swaggering going on in the 60's I believe! You've transformed it wonderfully, the sight of that vintage stash must have made you swoon and could the Mughal print fabric have found a better home?!! Loving the 33p lion head belt.
    As another childless, motherless woman, I'll be thinking of you on Sunday and raising my glass. xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Swagger sums Mick up to a tee! As soon as I saw the name printed on the selvage I knew it had to be my next project!
      I raised my glass to you, too. xxx

      Delete
  19. What a motherload of fabric!! You look so fab in that mustard blouse and skirt. Myself, I've succumbed to buying charity shop sheets and curtains with a view to making some funky maxi dresses. Fabric shops are expensive!! I have a couple of those Simple Sew patterns, haven't tried them yet xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sheets are perfect for maxi dresses, decent fabric in the quantity needed for a long dress is so expensive! xxx

      Delete
  20. Mother's day in North America is Mid-May, not sure why they are so much different. Enjoy playing with your stash and have a fabulous weekend my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mothering Sunday is a Christian festival celebrated on the 4th Sunday in Lent. It didn't used to be about cards and presents until fairly recently. xxx

      Delete
  21. sewing is a dying art form, which is way we have no fabric stores in my town. Love the new to you fabric stash. I'm still in the middle of making 15 Empire bodice, pleated skirt dresses. 7 lighter blue, 8 darker blue. Feel like I've been making the same dress for 3 weeks. OH, wait....I have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God, if I had to sew for a living I don't think I'd get so much joy out of it!
      It's mostly Indian ladies who sew here and we've still got lots of shops and a dedicated market selling sari fabrics and blingy trims. A joy! x

      Delete
  22. Waving at you from the Lake District and the oh so cosy Pheasant Inn at Bassenthwaite. I want to live in this place it's very old and gorgeous.
    You've won the jackpot with the new stash of fabrics. Have lots of fun with it and can't wait to see what else you create. You're a clever one missus.
    Wait till you see the dress made me for £9 out of a £2 piece of barkcloth and there's a bag to match. I'll blog it when I get home.
    Enjoy the weekend. We took mum out last weekend because I cocked the dates up oops xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jealous! It's been chilly here, hope the Lakes was warmer!
      Can't wait to see Val's latest creation! xxx

      Delete
  23. You are looking very cute in that maxi skirt. Congrats on the new fabric arrivals.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Ooh, you look like a Spanish senorita in these photos. Lovely.
    What an amazing amount of fabric. I can't wait to see what your wonderful mind comes up with. Have a perfect weekend! xx

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'll watch your pages to see more creative results! Fabulous! Have a creatively restful weekend. xx

    ReplyDelete
  26. Wow Vix, I love the skirt you made. And the fabric stash looks inspiring. I'm feeling the urge to learn to sew (beyond the basics) now. Xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maxi dresses and flared trousers are really good - you can knock them up in a couple of hours! x

      Delete
  27. I am in love with your yellow blouse, it is fantastic! and those fabric patterns are amazing, such a contrast to the boring mute shades you see so many people wearing. Such a great skill to be able to turn them into something lovely to wear. Thanks for reminding me to find some vintage fairs to check, spring always feels like a good time for vintage shopping

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's arer that I like modern clothes but this mustard bodysuit made my heart sing! xxx

      Delete
  28. What a great pile of fabric, enjoy your weekend of sewing! x

    ReplyDelete
  29. Strange that your Mother's Day is so much earlier than ours over here. I'm glad to see your fabric stash has been replenished. There's a whole lot of Vix-i-fying potential in those piles of prints.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, that's two days I have to avoid Facebook! xxx

      Delete
  30. I have extreme fabric envy! I love your skirt too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Susie! There's some of your St Michael floral sheets in the pile, I thought of you! x

      Delete
  31. The skirt turned out fabulous and l love that bodysuit! Have fun with all that fabric! :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I love it when people know you love to sew and you get some great donations from friends and family - I love your new skirt :) I have a couple of simple sew patterns and they are great, very simple to use, look forward to seeing your kimono.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is great when you share interests with friends, you never run out of fabric or patterns! x

      Delete
  33. Hello beautiful! I'm behind in my blog reading. Politics and activism has been a main thing in my life these days.
    Sigh, Tom Hardy!!! xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good on you! Lovely to hear from you. xxx

      Delete
  34. Wow, I have severe fabric envy now. That yellow rose print is fab. I've been looking at buying some from Etsy as my local chazzas don't seem to get much in stock.

    As a fellow non-mother, I spent yesterday happily pottering in the garden, and cooking. I look forward to seeing what you ran up on your machine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's loads of that yellow rose printed toweling, wouldn't it make a great jumpsuit?
      Your non-mother day sounded perfect. Jon tried to get the cats to cook for me but they weren't having any of it. x

      Delete
    2. You're lucky, ours caught us two slow worms and a frog!

      Delete
  35. WOW!!! What a fortune! So excited for you!

    You are wearing my favorite colors today! Just love this combination. Mustard yellow looks fantastic with your black hair!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Natalia! Nothing is more thrilling than a pile of vintage fabric. xxx

      Delete
  36. such a fabulous lot of fabric!, and that means a lot of possibilities!!
    I always love your self-made maxi skirt, lovely and it looks even more lovely with your yellow blouse!, magnificent sleeves make everything better!
    I've never found vintage patterns in our local charities, but I don't give up!
    besos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Monica! You should tell the staff at your local chazza that you're interested in dressmaking patterns, lots of shops throw them away as they think nobody uses them any more! xxx

      Delete
  37. Wow, awesome fabric haul! Lucky you. Love your new skirt and that yellow bodysuit blouse is so good on you.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Woohoo!!!! Inspiration galore!!! I'm reconfiguring my sewing space and have been dragging my heels. It's been unmanageable for weeks but after seeing this, the sewing juices are flowing!! Those fabrics are delicious. I hate all the stretchy wrap dresses too and look forward to seeing what you whip up. xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope my post has whipped you up into a sewing frenzy. I always feel a bit flat when I haven't made something recently! xxx

      Delete
  39. Well, that all came at the right time! Fabulous!!! I love what you were sent and the skirt is beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeautiful!!! It looks so good on you with wafty sleeves too!x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was thrilled! I can't believe my luck. xxx

      Delete

Don't be shy, if you enjoyed your visit leave a comment, I can come and visit your blog if you do.
Love from Vix
xxx