On Saturday, our Social Sewing group (we really need a catchier name, I think) ventured forth to conquer fabric shops. Lots of fabric shops. I think the count was nine, in the end. I missed the first three, but still managed to make it to The Cloth Shop (Ivanhoe), Cutting Edge Fabrics and The Button Shop (Malvern), Astratex (an Italian fabric shop in Richmond), before finishing up at The Fabric Store and the Alannah Hill fabric counter at Clear It (Brunswick St, Fitzroy).

So, what did I finish with? Did my resolution to lessen my stash hold firm, or did I buckle under and fling my money across countless wooden counters with brass rulers embedded in them?

Well, no. I think my resolution was helped by two things: one, I missed out on Rathdowne Remnants (I had a couple of things I saw there last time I was there that I have been longing for), and two, I had left my wallet on a tram the previous Monday. So although I got it back when it was handed in to the Brunswick cop shop, I was on a meagre budget of cash that I couldn’t really go over.

However, according to the rules of my self-imposed ban, I did manage to pick up a few things, flensing my budget right to the bone.

First, the free stuff. One of the ladies (whose name I shamefully didn’t catch) brought an enormous bag bulging with patterns, free from the taking. They were, I think without exception, 70s patterns. I’m a bit of an era snob, but I still managed to pick these four:


The bottom left is the one I’m most excited about, and I think the one that someone else handed me as being my style. I’m just excited about those tucks on the blouses on the right. Suspect I may modify the sleeve for #2 if I make it. Not a fan of puffed sleeves in general, even if they extend do the elbow. Still, I have plenty of blouses in my stash, so I can sub in something more suitable. No drama.

The pinafore dress I grabbed to potentially make something for C, but I don’t think she’s very keen. Still, my housemate T (who loves 70s clothes) may be pleased to take it off my hands. (I could still see C in that green one at right. It would look so cute on her made up in her favourite shade of mint.)

The culottes I grabbed because I’m planning on making things like that for cycling. And possibly a cut-off variation for running (if I keep it up). I was pleased this fell in my lap – much more likely for this to happen than if I’d had to ask my mum if she still had the culotte patterns she used when I was a kid.

The petticoat pattern I took because it has become apparent to me that I need more half slips, to be layered as well as crinolines under my circle skirts. My mother shared that bit of wisdom received from her mum, and then Fate took it in her hands to make this necessity apparent later that week. I don’t know if this pattern is needlessly complicating matters, though. Gertie has a simple tutorial for a slip that I was planning on using. Still, the pattern was free.

The purchases:


Funnily enough, these were all bought at the last shop, Alannah Hill. Well, I suppose I was keen to dip into their notions again.

The fabric you’ve seen before; I bought it on my last trip there with Belle (blogged here). This goes with my personal rule that buying new fabric is permitted if it aids in the making of projects from my stash. I measured out the first round of this fabric a few weeks ago, and was disappointed to see that there didn’t seem to be enough for my new pattern. I couldn’t remember how much I was short by, so I just bought 1.5m. (Looking at the back of the pattern again, though, I wonder if I hadn’t read the wrong chart, because I’m pretty sure I *did* have enough fabric. C’est la vie.)


On the left, the pattern I was going to make; on the right, the pattern I wanted to make (Simplicity 2104).

In regards the wide velvet ribbon, all I can say is well played, Clear It, well played. There was some of that same fabric wrapped around a mannequin, and they had the velvet ribbon tied around its waist. And the colours looked so beautiful together. I don’t know if I’ll use it in this project, but I don’t really have any ribbon in my stash.

The thin line of burgundy is some satin piping. I do love piping, but the one time I attempted to make some scarred me for life. I’ve never attempted any since. I may use this in this project; we’ll see.

Close up of the notions:


Here you can see the two types of brown lace that I bought. One is a delicate sort of wavy pattern, and the other is a more densely embroidered bunch of flowers. I have no plans for either of these two, although I could almost see the floral lace on the front of a blouse (in two lines parallel to the placket).

There are also two sets of buttons that I bought. The black looking ones are actually a dark purple, with a tiny sprig of black flowers printed on them. The pinky-peach ones I originally put aside for Amanda of Bimble and Pimble, but there were heaps and I realised that they would look very nice with the fabric I already had. And it just so happens that the new pattern requires buttons.

It would probably be overkill, that busy pattern, AND those floral buttons, AND the burgundy piping around the yoke, AND the dark red cotton lace around the hem. But buggerit. It’s my damn sewing project, and I shall make it overkill. And then wear it once, get horribly embarrassed, and avoid wearing it again.

STILL! I’m kind of excited to get started on this one. After Oanh linked me to Lucky Lucille’s 40s sew along, I knew this was going to be the project I was going to sew for it. I mean, since I was sewing a 40s dress anyway.

I may actually have to work out how to put an image in the sidebar. Look, I’m an old Livejournal and Blogger girl. I don’t understand this WordPress nonsense.

But before I can get re-started on the dress, I have to finish the pencil skirt that’s in pieces on my sewing table…