The First of Many

Posted Friday, 2 February, 2018

I have decided to give blogging a go, so by way of an introductory post, I want to explain my choice of blog name and a smidge of what “retro” means to me.

As a long-term admirer of vintage fashion and dress I wanted a nod to what initially drew me back to my sewing machine in the title. 

However, as many of you may have surmised from insta, I don't dress “true-vintage”. I love to love it, drool over it, and just swoon in general, but for me, the heartbreak of how delicate vintage items can be is just too much to bear on a day-to-day basis. I also love the freedom I have to create something in a fabric of my choosing, for my measurements, reminiscent of beautiful garments of the past.

Enter the Francoise Dress by Tilly and The Buttons. She’s a beautiful example of a classic 60’s shift re-interpreted. Could I make this pattern more mod? Yes! Big printed florals or a geometric pattern would be to die for! But I could have also gone more chic and opted for something sleek, like a nice navy or charcoal and called it a day. (I still may do both of these things in future...)

 For this reason, “retro” is definitely more my style. I love to mix modern trends (which let’s face it, are usually interpretations of past styles) with the iconic silhouettes and styling of vintage eras. I just find I cannot commit entirely to one decade! I’d say I’m mainly a 60’s girl, but this is totally changeable. Annnnnd I don’t like feeling as though I should follow specific “rules” for an authentic vintage look – I mean, if it’s for a competition, then of course. But generally speaking, I like to mix and match how it suits me and I know that that approach may set true vintage aficionados’ teeth on edge! >__<

One thing that I really appreciate in modern indie patterns is the range of sizes and how they seem to just fit. I mean, I can do my regular adjustments and grade between sizes, of course. But I have found that any sizing issues are minimal. Having nested sizes just seems to make things a bit easier. Whereas vintage patterns, generally speaking, are a single size per envelope (and of course I usually fall in love with the ones not available in my size!). They are definitely a labour of love for me. A labour that I undertake regularly, please don’t misunderstand me here. The two styles of sewing are very much like chalk and cheese and I learn a lot from each. I just mean to say that for me it takes a little less planning and brain power when I choose to sew indie.

Also, there is the feel-good factor of buying from small businesses. That starts at buying from the designers themselves, right down to the interactions I have with my friends at Indie Stitches who kindly provided this pattern for review. (As an aside, they're my go-to for printed patterns in Aus, as I don’t have to wait for international mail!). I like that with these sorts of patterns you definitely get a sense of the designer. For me, it makes me feel like I’m in some sort of club.

Oh and I love sew-alongs. Although my approach to them is very similar to my Netflix approach. I love to binge in my own time! I wait until the series is finished and then go for broke. It’s so nice to have that support right there so I find myself tackling things that I may not have ordinarily considered because there is always help out there. This in turn helps me when I tackle my vintage lovelies.

The “novella” part in my blog name? All together I imagine that my rambling, sewing, and photos will form a series of novellas, after a fashion.

So that’s it. Welcome to Retro Novella. Broadcast to you from Outback Australia!

Does anyone else share a similar outlook when is comes to how they approach their sewing and personal style? What is next on your indie or vintage “to-sew” list?