Monday, March 23, 2015

Lucha Libres, Luscious Ladies and Butterick B5880

When I saw this pattern I immediately thought "I'VE GOT JUST THE FABRIC !!!"
About 50 years ago (give or take )Spotlight released a bunch of really lovely retro Hawaiian print cottons and I bought up a stack.  In ye olde days I used to buy fabrics but then get a dressmaker to whip me up something fabulous. Pfft!
In my stash I had some luverly buttermilk yellow Hawaiian print fabric that I thought would be perfect for this sarong style frock!
Now, I would LOVE to tell you that it was a piece of piss to make and I just whipped it up in a couple of hours but..... I would be lying through my lilly whites.
I had to quick unpick it a number of times.  I lost count of the amount of times I THOUGHT I'd done what the pattern said but it would be upside down or back to front so I would unpick it and then suddenly like a light from the heavens I would suddenly GET IT.
ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh THAT'S what it means!
Those front pleats almost gave me a nervous breakdown!
HOWEVER, now that I have made it, I would definitely make it again because once you understand what the pattern instructions actually MEAN it is actually pretty simple to make.
I would love to make this next in a nice classic navy satin back crepe.
How amazing is my hair flower from Kat's Cadillac Vintage!!!
The lovely sewing legend Mz Andrea invited a few of us from THOSE DARN SEW N SEWS
(my illustrious Facebook sewing group) around to her home for a light lunch & some delicious (and may I say professionally garnished ) mocktails to chat about all things sewing and fabric. 
The weather was super steamy but this was all but forgotten after sipping on some super refreshing mocktail bevvies. THEN a delicious lunch of slow cooked pulled pork on home-made (by Andrea's mother) bread rolls with coleslaw.
It was just wonderful to just sit around with Andrea, Kim & Andrea's Mum sipping on cool drinks by the pool near her gloriously kitsch outdoor TIKI bar!  If I squinted I could just imagine we were in the Maldives. Thanks Andrea you are wonderful.

ERMEGHERD The perfect frock to wear to see instrumental surf band Los Straightjackets !!!!
I freaking LOVE LS and remember vividly dancing like a crazy woman to them last time they toured.
So I was mega excited to be seeing them again & I must admit I was a bit chuffed with myself that I was going to be wearing something that I had made myself with my chubby little fingers!
The whole night was just fantastic.
The Hi- Boys are freaking lunatics and I reckon are just one of the best rockabilly bands out there purely for their sheer energy & raw crazy performances. Shit even after breaking ALL (I think) of his guitar strings from going positively psycho on stage Scottie the lead singer & guitarist just kept on going.  Now THIS is what rockabilly is !!!
Then it was the legend himself Big Sandy with his Aussie back up band "The Oz-Rite Boys".
As usual, Mr Sandy was his charismatic self with a voice that is smoother than a melted block of Cadbury.  The great thing about The Zoo is THERE IS ROOM TO DANCE!
Alas, I did not dance as I was too busy chatting to everyone but it was great to see a few people up taking advantage of the space.
Then it was time. 
I quickly dashed to the stage to get right up the very front with the other girlie fans.
What can I say?  From start to finish I bounced up & down, did the twist, did the Charleston when they did a rockin' version of Sing Sing Sing, jumped, shimmied and shook and SCREAMED!
The crowd went nuts and the addition of a mystery lead singer who looked suspiciously like Big Sandy just added to the excitement.
I do not know how those blokes can play in that heat in suits WITH Mexican Lucha Libre masks on!! CRAZY.
And when I say play.........Los Straightjackets don't just get up on stage & play.
No no no.
They put on a performance!
I love their little choreographed dancey moves and how they interact with their audience. 
Crowd favourites were La Bamba & Tequila. Personally, I loved Sing Sing Sing and the theme from The Marlboro Man. 
I reckon by the end of their set I had lost 5 kilos in sweat and had nearly lost my voice.
The darling Kel got a bonus when Big Sandy ripped off his sweat soaked mask at threw it to her.
Yes she was so excited she immediately put it on.
Tracey. This lady is the main reason I took up sewing.
She is a sewing genius & makes the most incredible frocks!

My Big Fella
Thank you SO much to Lori Lee of Robot Productions ( )
for another crackin' night. You're the best!



Monday, March 9, 2015


If there is an event within 100 kilometres I'm telling ya The Brisbane Vintage Mafia Social Events Aficionado Mz Billie is all over it like red lippie on a pin up .  
I'm not ashamed to admit that when she invited me along to a private tour and Q&A with Christopher Salter one of  the curators of "Costumes of the Golden Age of Hollywood" and the actual OWNER of the costumes Nicholas Inglis , I felt a tad light headed and giggly......
 and for a change it wasn't because the I had an extra Codral Night time tablet.


I wore an original 1940s novelty print silk rayon frock  that I had bought from Atomic Martini Vintage.
This exhibition is drawn from a sole private collection owned by Brisbane resident Nicholas Inglis who has been collecting motion picture costumes and memorabilia for close to two decades.
Nicholas has amassed around 300 costumes and this exhibition features some of his favourites.


From the moment I walked through the front door of the exhibition I was swooning and gasping. I  had my hand pressed to my heart like some sort of duchess in Downtown Alley who would  shortly be in need of some smelling salts!  From start to finish my mouth was gaping in awe & wonder.


I think I was not only overcome with delight at seeing the simply beautiful costumes but I was also in joyous disbelief that this collection lives here..... in Brisbane!!
Every single piece is truly breath-taking.  
Slowly & deliciously surely Chris & Nicholas talked us through the pieces and in some cases the incredible ways that Nicholas had acquired them.  In one case he had what most of us vintage fashion lovers dream of when he had a "Storage Wars" moment. Some people had bought a container unseen & it was filled with boxes of costumes from MGM and didn't know what to do with it all & so contacted Nicholas.  I can just imagine how his heart must have been pounding as he opened each box to find the treasures within.

But this exhibiton is not just about a clothing. No no no. 
Complimenting each outfit is an original movie still showing the costume in it's scene and also colour televisions adorn the walls playing reels of the actual movie scenes in which the costumes appear.
To see the outfit not 5 metres in front of me and then to watch some of my favourite actors & actresses on screen in the actual outfit really did leave me feeling very emotional and overcome by the beauty and of it all. Quite surreal.

As a budding dressmaker extraordinaire (cough cough) I almost fainted dead away with wonder at the costume design art that was also included.  Each framed piece was just sublime and featured the drawing of the actress in costume, the name of the actor, the movie it was for and to my absolute glee a swatch of the fabric to be used.  Incredible.
What I wouldn't give to have these in my little sewing den!

It almost IMPOSSIBLE to pick a favourite outfit because they are all incredible on different levels.
I mean there are outfits worn by Julie Andrews, Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando, Judy Garland, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner, Barbra Streisand, Esther Williams, Gene Kelly AND MORE!!!
Each with astounding work-manship and detailing.

I think my favourite outfit was probably the Judy Garland outfit from "Easter Parade". The jacket is just so unusual in its design & is just timeless.
 At the end of the tour, there was a Q&A time with Nicholas & Chris and they happily answered our flood of questions. 
I thanked them on behalf of the BVM and told him in all honesty how much we appreciate that someone is preserving such works of art and for making them available to be seen & enjoyed by the general public. 
I'm not exaggerating when I say that the majority of us had tears in our eyes because we were so overcome with joy and amazement.  
I must also commend the curators on the lay out of the exhibit.  It is just fabulous and truly works well to showcase each outfit. The colour scheme and the lighting is magical.
Nicholas and Billie.
 All of us glamourzons headed to Jo Jo's restaurant for some lunch & light bevvies.  We were very spoilt because Nicholas came along for a chat and a rest after a very exciting morning.
Unfortunately, I missed out on the stampede to buy his book.  At the restaurant the dames were quick to pounce on Nicholas, pens poised to get him to sign everyone's copy!
You couldn't wipe the smiles of their faces! They looked quite flushed but that may have been because of the cocktails.
What an absolutely glorious day of incredible mind blowing fashion. I feel so blessed to know this bunch of amazing stylish hilarious women & am so grateful to Billie for organising it and for Nicholas for sharing his collection with us and conducting this private tour & for taking time out to join us crazy broads socially afterwards.
Note - I'm only holding the cocktail for effect . Nicholas & I. 
Taking photos was not allowed in the exhibit and so I would also like to thank Nicholas from the bottom of my heart for giving me permission to use his photos in my blog.
If you are at all interested in fashion and in particular the costumes of MGM studios from the 1920's to the 1950s I encourage you all to check out Nicholas's personal blog:
The Brisbane Vintage Mafia - spreading the word of timeless glamour where ever we go

The Exhibition is on at The Museum of Brisbane at City Hall in King George Square and will be running until 24th May.
For more information on the exhibition go to the Musuem of Brisbane website:

Stay stylish

Monday, March 2, 2015



Each time I sew a new project I try to up the ante and try my hand at something a tad more complicated.   I fell in love with this repro vintage pattern as soon as I saw it. 
With vintage fashion I have a real love affair with very simple styles that have quirky little detailing.
This blouse has unusual pleating at the collar & a nice curved hem.

I decided to make it out of very cheap poly-cotton in a nice light steel blue grey colour for my first go.
That way if I stuff it up it only cost about $10 in fabric.

It was a bit of a tricky one this little sucker.  Man oh man I threw it across the room a few times I can tell you.  It's not the pattern that is tricky... it's just my interpretation of what the instructions are telling me.   It took me about 5 quick-unpicks to do the collar when I finally had an ARRRHARRR moment and I realised what I'd been doing wrong.

I buggered up the top of the back where you are supposed to put some loops so I bought a frog closure to cover up the dodgy stitiching.

I mucked up the bottom curved hem bit but you can't tell from the outside so I couldn't be arsed fixing it.

It was hard to get the pleats to sit all nice & neat so there is a little bit of poofiness but luckily the 'girls' push it out a bit.

 I finished it with a lovely marcasite looking button on the collar.
All- in all I'm pretty stoked with how it turned out.
I will definitely sew this one again now that I understand the instructions better.
Another piece to add to my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge 2015!
For information on the VSPP2015 go to A Stitching Odyssey:


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Everybody Loves Lucy stage show at QPAC

Two of the many things I love.  Getting frocked up and Lucille Ball.
So when my illustrious friend Mz Billie told me that she had gotten a bunch of us tickets to the opening night AND the after-show soiree I did an almighty fist pump in the air & yelled
"Hell's Yeah!"
Everybody Loves Lucy is a fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into a television icon.

We all met at the QPAC main bar area first for a few 'refreshments' before having a few snap shots taken in front of Mal & Lesil's incredible Cadillac. 
Suddenly the show beeper started blaring & the speakers announced that the
show was about to begin!

The show is quite short (only about 1 hour long) and is a condensed history of the "I love Lucy" show and how the fame & success of the show affected the marriage and relationship between Lucy & Desi Arnaz.    

The show was done in a really interesting and effective way. 
The left of the stage was set up as the BACK STAGE of the TV show.
The centre of the stage was the ON AIR TV show where they did 'bits' from the I Love Lucy show and the right side of the stage was a lounge chair with Elise playing a housewife who comments on the show.

The show had a more serious tone than I was expecting but the re-enactments of a few I Love Lucy skits were hilarious and made up for the more sombre tones.  In particular, the Vitameatavegamin skit was great and had everyone in the audience roaring with laughter. I also loved the 1950s housewife.
The leading lady Elise McCann has the most beautiful powerful singing voice and you could have heard a pin drop as she sang she was so mesmerizing.

All too soon the show was over & it was time to go to the after show nibbles & drinks.
I got to meet Elise, her extremely proud mother AND grandmother and they were just so lovely & friendly.

Doing our best "Lucy" wink.

We vintage dames did what we do best.... swanned around looking fabulous, socialised, drunk wine (I was on the mineral water) and took shit loads of photos/selfies. 
Some beautiful photos were taken by the QPAC photographer and our own personal paparazzi broads Susanne & Elizabeth.


After swishing about the room for a while it was then time to announce the winners of the BEST DRESSED competition. 
It must have been a nightmare to choose because everyone looked GORGEOUS.
We had all worn our best 'after 5' wear. 
Just between you & I, I think that at least 50% of us were dressed by Atomic Vintage Martini.



It was such a lovely night.  I get a bit ty-ty going out on a 'school night' but it just feels so good to do my hair & put on a really beautiful frock. Not only that but I got to see a great show and catch up & hug some of my favourite people in the whole world.
I think it was just what a bunch of us needed.

If you love Lucille Ball and want to catch a really nice little show I would recommend going to see the show.

Are you tired, run-down, listless? 
 Do you poop out at parties? 
 Are you unpopular? 
 The answer to all your problems is in this little bottle. 

ELISSA aka Lucille Ball