How to get the vintage look with modern patterns – 1930s Glamorous Beach Pyjamas

beach pjamas1

The 1930s saw a glamorous trend in beachwear – wide legged trousers – usually in lightweight fabrics known as beach pyjamas. It has been re-invented – you might see it in the sailor outfit style of the 1940’s and it was seen again in the 1970’s.

It is often the outfit I love to when I watch any of the Agatha Christie’s Poirot series – all that lounging around in the sun looking chic with big wide brimmed sun hats.

Long before lycra – these wide leg trousers give glamour to any girl – just ensure that you accentuate the waist and if you are short (like me) avoid going too wide! You want to roughly be balanced as an hourglass – try not to take the line beyond the shoulders. If you want to go wider – use a light chiffon or these beautiful light polyester silks – it will flow nicely but won’t stick out!

Beach Pjamas Vintage photography

Tops don’t have to co-ordinate but it can look very stylish if you do.  If you don’t want to go that far, just add a small matching detail – like covered buttons, a small scarf or a little frill edging to bring the outfit together. The illustration below shows just how many variations of tops work well with this style.

beach pjamas three

I love the first detail in the illustration above with the turn ups, not quite so easy to make – but if you like the 1940’s style – well worth the extra effort.

All these designs have a central seam and very little gather at the waist, notice the garment is fairly fitting until about mid thigh, then it becomes fuller until the bottoms end up a lot wider. This is what makes this style work – it accentuates your natural curves – not hides them under voluminous material.

The  illustration also shows that the length you are aiming for – the feet just peep out. A good length is just above your shoe to avoid tripping up on them (especially important for dancing!)

Beach pjamas 1930

You know this is a 1930’s style from the hair styles – no victory rolls! The diagonal stripes are used very effectively in the centre – a nice challenge but you will need double the quantity of fabric to get the stripes right.

M7577_aThe McCall Pattern M7577 is just out this Spring, it is very similar to the beach pyjama style of the 1930s. What I love about this pattern is that it is flattering for nearly every body type – in a really fluid fabric it will ensure you look very Chic on your summer holiday and it will keep you cool as well.  It is very retro 1970’s with the full sleeves but as a basic for your 1930s style – it is a great start.

M7577

You don’t have to use the top section of the pattern, you can simply make the trouser element and then use delicate lingerie elastic at the waistband which will make it delightfully comfortable.

If you like your retro look to be completely authentic, then take out the gathering at the waist and insert a side placket to fit from the mid thigh to the waistline – not quite so comfortable but a neater finish if the waistband is going to be on show.

M7577_02

 

I would also use a top from another pattern – the faux cross over is nice, if you added a sailor collar it would work, but the back lace detailing is a current trend not usual in Vintage style.

M7577_03

If you love the 1970’s then the bell sleeves are perfect and look flattering as well. Given that I am shorter than the pattern average – I would shorten the sleeve length, so that it sits on my wrist.

M7577_01

This pattern would also make some great pyjamas – even in the shorter length. What attracted me to the pattern is the potential for the short length to create some pretty French Knickers – the line is very flattering.

Overall – this pattern is very versatile and makes a good addition to the sewing room.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Enchanted April – spring is here!

MAKES

OH! what bliss it is to wander in Spring sunshine without a coat! It has been a delightful early spring so far, March went out like a lamb and April has been all sunshine and smiles!  The Crab apple trees on our daily walk are beautiful leaving a carpet of pink among the grass! There seems to be an abundance of pink everywhere we look –  pink is the colour of self love.  It is hard not to be affected by the burst of positive energy all around – life feels great.

I have been rifling through my seasonal clothes and have been re-united with some of my lovely summer dresses – everything feels lighter and brighter. The seeds I planted are coming along well, and we have been enjoying longer walks in the evenings – which lifts my energy levels and makes me feel better.

Spring

I unearthed my supremely comfortable pink (of course!) walking  boots and we headed to the local woods to see if we could find any wild garlic -we spotted clumps of white among the bluebells but the carpet of white flowers were anemones! They look so pretty and fresh among the vibrant greens, but I am not sure they are edible.

Primroses in the woods

These little beauties were flourishing at the side of the path – I remember when I was a child the woods would be covered in a carpet of blue, yellow and white – so it is nice to see there are still abundant wild flowers.

Old tree trunk in the woods

This tree trunk looks like some sort of Velociraptor (see the jaws on the right?) goodness knows how long its been there, but it is beautiful.

Live Simply

My quote this week reflects my decision this year to seek out the small pleasures. I know that Simple Abundance is having a huge impact and I feel as if I am waking up from a deep slumber. Once I began to mindfully, taste, touch, smell and hear it connects me with nature,  – everything you need is right here, right now, and there are gifts everywhere.

4475fccc363e02091aa42ab82429ca42

I am a real fan of older films – this is from a film called Enchanted April made not that long ago in 1992, it is perfect Sunday afternoon viewing. Its available on Amazon for under a fiver.

A careworn middle class woman, Lottie Wilkins sees an advertisement to rent a small castle in Italy for April – England seems to be endlessly raining and her life seems so small and drab, She spends her life seeing to the whims of her husband.  When Lottie notices another lady, Rose Arbuthnot – looking just as downcast and in need of a holiday, they agree to rent it together. Two other ladies join them, a socialite Lady Caroline and a dowdy, widow Mrs Fisher. Italy works its magic and we see the women flourish among the terraced gardens and turrets of the small castle.

The book, by Elizabeth Arnim was written in 1921 – and is semi-biographical created when she was physically, and emotionally exhausted, having recently become a single mother. To recover  she travelled to Italy to get away from dreary England – and one day she observed the beautiful gardens below her study, and so she transformed the magic into a story of hope and liberation.

What the book highlights, is just how burdened women can be – and not just from responsibility but their own continual desire to ensure the happiness of those around them, family, friends neighbours. Nearly 100 years later women are still juggling with these same issues of commitments and family stress.

Women run on expectations, the way a car is fuelled by gas. And it doesn’t matter whose: unspoken assignments from parents, bosses clients, children and lovers all crowd our calendars’ borders in ink only we can see.

While the film is delightful, I am finding the book has more depth, you read from each character’s perspective – you get inside their heads whereas the film can only hint at hidden motives. I found the character Lady Caroline more interesting, she is stunningly beautiful – but it is a burden that perhaps I had not appreciated until reading her tale.

hair do

My beloved son, Will is the Director of a Salon in Hampshire every 6 weeks my friend Jo and I  jaunt off for the day to have our hair done together. We usually spend a couple of hours browsing the shops and head to the Salon just after closing hours. We have the whole salon to ourselves.  Afterwards, we head out for a bite or two, sometimes we go jive dancing -depending on how exhausted he is after working all day!

Afternoon tea

Mothers Day was a protracted affair, my daughter and son in law came over for Afternoon tea, and then my son came over for a meal the following weekend, so it has been a great family time all round. I adored Mr D’s swirly sausage rolls and had more than one … or two!

Staffie in the woods

Staffordshire Bull terrier, Barney with ball

Of course, we can’t let a week go by without a Barney picture.. the ball is still intact surprisingly, although it did start out as a cuddly pig, but the pig fabric ended up decorating the lounge floor!

Happy Sunday. x

Sunday sevens is the delightful invention of Nat.. read her blog here. 

How to Display a Hand Embroidery Sampler

embroidery-sampler-preparation

 

The joy of going through my things is that I discover many of the tiny sample pieces I did for various projects. This hand embroidery sampler was for a class I was running bringing with it memories of many happy hours making it. It seemed such a pity to leave it forgotten in a box, so I decided to mount it on a canvass and turn it into a piece of artwork.

 

I added a 2 inch fabric border around the outside just to frame the sampler, and then I added some contrasting plain fabric to the bottom and top, as my little canvass was a bit too long for my piece. I also had a number of felt flowers and hand made buttons in the box so I added them to the top for a little more interest.

felt-flower

I padded the back with a little wadding and quilted a couple of small areas, before mounting it to the small canvass with a hot glue gun. It’s not easy, I found I had to hold the fabric quite firmly – I should have left more material so I could have secured it round the back instead of round the sides.

spring

The colours are much more garish in these photographs, the whole project is done in muted pastel shades which seem to have changed a little when photographed!

I love the spring colours – it adds to my little Spring Display. I found the bird ornament in a charity shop and could not resist it.

I am delighted that I can admire all that hard work – and that it is now a piece of artwork and not crumpled forgotten in a basket.

 

My love is like a red, red rose…tea cosy!

crochet-tea-cosy-red-rose-basket-stitch

This is my latest crochet project… its a completely made up pattern, because I find following a pattern the equivalent of doing someone else’s algebra homework!

When I was a child I had a beautiful tea set, with cups and saucers, a pretty matching milk jug and a lovely full bellied tea pot. Never, in living memory, did I ever play with a few mugs and a kettle! So it is no surprise that I am somewhat of a tea lover and a bit of a tea snob – I like leaf tea in a pot!

red-rose-tea-cosy-crochet

One of the many little things I missed – (when our house move fell through and everything… I mean everything went into storage) was our lovely big tea pot that my grandma gave me as a wedding present …over thirty years ago! (oh my! now I feel old) Given that we have three large containers full to the brim with boxes it was easier to be on the look out for a new one, than spend hours rummaging – plus visiting the storage yard, just makes me sad.

crochet-basket-stitch-tea-cosy

This beauty was sitting, looking somewhat rejected in the most delightful tea emporium in Bath. It had a big red sticker on saying REDUCED to a fiver! It seemed in perfect condition – apparently it was missing it’s inner metal strainer – and they could not find one to fit – hence the huge reduction in price. The lovely assistant then kindly went through a complete stack of metal strainers until she found one to fit. (at an extra £2.00). I whipped out my card, faster than a whippet at a racetrack, and the tea pot was mine, complete with strainer for £7.00, before the realisation of what she was doing sunk in. Not only do we have a great pot but a lovely souvenir of Bath at the same time. (Jane Austen would be proud!) 

red-rose-teapot

The wool has a delightful tiny streak of glitter – Mayfield Yarn, called Sparkle Baby, that gorgeous vintage shade – a mixture of green/blue that works so well with the deep red, which is – (sit up straight now) from the WI Brand. Both were lovely to crochet with.

It might seem a little odd, but I am actually quite lazy, the great thing about making tea in a huge blue tea pot is that you can keep going back for more with the same effort it takes to make one cup!

Mr D, struggles to get his porkie pinkies into a delicate tea cup, so he has a manly mug, while I play, with girlie delight, use a delicate cup and saucer – half the size of his – hence I go back more than once!

basket-stitch-crochet

I love the pretty basket cosies with flowers on the top so decided to make one of my own, it is a very easy pattern. I find knitting hard on my hands so found a delightful youtube video on how to do a crochet basket stitch, it is quite a thick chunky stitch providing good insulation.

rose-tea-cosy-crochet

The roses, too, are crochet, but in one long strip and rolled together – and they look so lovely. I made a little crochet button and button hole to go round the base, just to bring it together and to encourage Mr D to use it. (he hates fiddling around with cosies – so it had to be easy to slip on and off).

I am not sure how I managed it, but my roses are all ready for Valentines Day… of course it is all perfectly planned

If you would like to make one – I can send you the pattern. I would suggest a black and white 1940 version of Rebbecca to crochet to while the rain lashes to the window pane.. last night I dreamt I was in Mandalay…

ttfn x

 

 

Looming adventures in Weaving

14-img_2553

Isn’t this delightful? I bought it at a small craft centre in Weymouth – I fell in love with the cheery mediterranean colours and the sloping hills reminded me so much of the lovely Dorset hills – I snapped it up right away.

I have a lovely friend, who weaves the most amazing cloth but her loom takes up a whole room in her house not to mention the two that take up a double garage! Weaving has therefore always felt a little out of reach until I was wandering round Hobbycraft, with a gift voucher hot in my hand, when I spotted this little loom.

 

09-img_2545

Yes, it is aimed at children… well those six and above, but the size is just right for a wall hanging and I made the concept of weaving much more approachable.

12-img_2549

This is a very simple loom, there are no forward and backward methods to make the weaving simple – but I actually liked the process of weaving the threads round with a needle, rather than a shuttle.

13-img_2551

It is not going to set the world on fire, but I am enjoying experimenting with the wool, playing around. (well it is a child’s loom after all!) I would like to do a little more weaving – there is so much inspiration on Pinterest, fingers crossed I will be able to share something soon.

 

Foxy Cushions

 

 

While I was in Dorset, visiting the wonderful Becca’s Fabric Larder– I discovered this lovely quilting panel.

img_0952

My daughter has a lovely blue sofa so I thought they would make a good present! I machine stitched the one on the left, and hand quilted the one on the right. I have to say that the hand quilting was much more relaxing to do.

img_0953

They look so cosy together – she was delighted with them!

A log cabin square

I fell in love with this beautiful blue flower fabric at Beccas Fabric larder in Bridport. We were staying in Dorset for a couple of weeks recouperation. Not one to sit still for long I signed up to the log cabin quilt block class.

I haven’t done much in the way of quilting but I have always admired these blocks and it is always great to learn something new! The wonderful thing about classes is that you can meet other sewers and be inspired by their projects. It was a lovely class everyone was friendly and Becca was a great teacher!

By the end of the morning I had a lovely teapot stand. I edged it with a small crochet fan pattern at home. It’s a wonderful reminder of a delightful holiday.