2012 a year in review for The Tailor's Apprentice!

Estelle 1942 wedding gown dress pattern
2012 was a big year for me as I launched my first dress making patterns, it was a very proud moment for me.

The Miss Page Vintage Pattern Collection has something for every aspect of the WWII war years.

We also attended many Living History events, travelled to England for the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, I stitched an entire Regency wardrobe for myself and my partner.It was a busy year!

1820s Archery gown completed ... well almost!: As part of the Jane Austen Festival Australia I took up the challenge to make the Archery Gown from the Manchester Gallery.

An a la polonaise gown: I commenced this, but didn't finish it, I still need to finish the trim and make a period bum roll, oh and loose weight, I have become too plump to close up the bodice sadly, too many Cornish cream teas on our English trip I fear.

A Titanic ball gown:I joined the Facegroup Unsinkables group, however, my work on my 1940s patterns meant I never finished the project, but the toile was created and I shall continue the project for 2013, which is the rue 100 years since the sinking of the Titantic.

What Australian women wore between the wars: I am extremely fortunate to have a collection of dresses made by a local Blue Mountains dressmaker Miss Violet Florence Page. What fascinates me about these dresses and gowns made by Miss Page, is that they represent what women wore during the years of the 1920s through to the 1950s in Australia. When I do costuming, particularly in anything prior to the 1950s, the dress style and fashion is very American, British and Europe centric. While I love the gowns made by the couturiers and ateliers from overseas, I'm Australian and l would prefer to reflect style as it was here, in Oz, during these times.

A jazz afternoon at the Parragon:  This was such fun! A good friend of mine performed jazz age music from 1920s Berlin, we danced, ate delicious food and drank champagne cocktails. I wore my Madam Vionnet gown that I made for the 2011 Australian Costumers Guild Ball.

Real Tweeple Project: Iggy Pintado recorded me for his #RealTweeple Project in November 2011 after one of my classes, I didnt post it until 2012, d'oh!

The Italian Renaissance Challenge:  Once again my pattern work got in the way of me finishing this challenge, but I did draft my pattern, start my partlet, buy my fabric and do all the research I need to complete in 2013.

The Launch! The Miss Page 1940s pattern collection: On June 6th on a cold, wet and very misty day in the Blue Mountains I launched my Miss Page 1940s pattern range, clothes worn by Australian women throughout the war years.

In The Paragon Cafe in Katoomba it was warm and cosy, music of the era filled the air, champagne flowed and trays of canapes circled throughout the crowd carried by youthful helpers.

Dinner dress, House of Drecoll, my take: My student wanted something special for her daughter's wedding and she chose this gown as her challenge.

 Jane Austen Festival Australia, my impressions: 'Off on pleasure bent again Lizzie' Mr Bennett, Pride and Prejudice, and so it was for we lucky attendees at the 2012 Jane Austen Festival Australia run by the Earthly Delights Historic Dance Academy and for me, it was the best costuming event I have been to in many years.

Preparing a Regency wardrobe for Jane Austen Festival Bath: I spent many months this year preparing a complete travel wardrobe for myself and my partner, I was extremely pleased with the result.

Jane Austen Festival Bath, my impressions: What an event over 500 costumers from around the world celebrating all things Jane Austen and all things Georgian and Regency.

A 'medieval/renaissance' wedding gown: A look at how I go about making wedding gowns for my clients.

So, what is happening in 2013? Well I am making an 1813 wardrobe for the Jane Austen Festival Australia to celebrate the 200 years since the publishing of Pride and Prejudice. Finishing the uncompleted projects mentioned above, promoting my 1940s world war II fashion range, helping set up a fair trade sewing factory in the northern hills of Thailand with a daughter's friend, and publishing a set of 19th century patterns, so watch this space ... its going to be a very busy year!

I'm The Tailor's Apprentice and I have created The Miss Page Vintage Pattern Collection. 1940s WWII dress making patterns for the 21st century woman. Patterns created by me from my extant 1940s gowns. All my patterns are available on Etsy and my website where you'll find out more about me as well. This year I am publishing an 1820s gown wardrobe pattern.


A steampunk jacket for Winter Magic 2011

1899 jacket
Winter Magic is our Blue Mountains winter solstice festival and dressing up is an essential element of the day.

I've made my bustle skirt already, I used this fabulous tutorial The Incredibly Easy Bustle Skirt, as always, I adapted the method and the look and I intend to do a post about it after Winter Magic.

This year, my inspiration was a European jacket from 1899 which shows the very heavy military influence in women’s clothing during the last few years of the 19th century, perfect for my SteamPunk personna. 

I used my Laughing Moon Saloon Girl jacket pattern as the base for my adaptation. I've made the pattern up before, it works well, fits well and goes together quickly. The jacket is boned which means it sits well and I won't need a corset if I choose not to wear one.

This is another stash project and I found the most beautiful black wool hiding there, Georgio Armani no less! I bought it from Tessutti's bargain table a few years back, its perfect for the project. The lining is a shot green silk I found in a second hand shop. The photo doesn't do justice to either I'm afraid.

The original Laughing Moon pattern has a low neckline and three quarter sleeves, I adapted it to accommodate a Mandarin collar and lengthened the sleeves. The jacket will be black with red braid and details.

First stage:
I cut out the three fabrics, wool, silk and cotton interlining and stitched all together. Its great not to have to fit the jacket as the pattern adaptations were made last time I made it up, that really helps in a 'quick-quick' project like this.

I interlined the black wool to give it more body as the fabric has such a soft hand, a bit of a shame I know, but I wanted the jacket to have the military stiffness of much heavier wool.

The project came to a stop as I had no boning or braid in my stash.

Stage two:
The Queen's Birthday long weekend and gave me a chance to get on with my project. 

I added the boning channels and inserted my cable tie 'bones'. Steel is recommended in the pattern but I find them too unforgiving and prefer the whale 'bone' feel of cable ties. 

I eased in the sleeves in both jacket and and lining, added shoulder pads to give a more military feel and then stitched in the lining.

I wanted a high military style collar so drafted one up and tested it with a toile and it worked very well, most pleased. This will be in scarlet wool, along with the sleeve cuffs.

The Georgio Armani wool was beautiful to stitch and has a glorious sheen, the photos do not do it justice.

I wanted to wear this jacket to Winter Magic, I had the collar to add, fastenings and the braiding to 'pimp' it up.

Final stage: Pimp up
 Front before pimping

Back before pimping

I was going to use braid to decorate the jacket, but that meant a trip to the shops and the weather was dull and very wet, so did not leave home.

I used the red wool to make trim for the jacket, I think it works well and gives the 'uniform' feel that I was after and the gold sun buttons look well against both red and black.

Unfortunately I have gained a bit of weight since I last made this pattern up and closing the jacket is a tad difficult. So, I replaced the smaller black placket which is meant to be hidden, with a much wider red one that displays down the front, and that did the trick!

I hand stitched down all the trims and the jacket was finished for Winter Magic. 

Sam on the left and me on the right, I should have worn my corset!