Sleeveless aline dress in retro style, Burda 7680 , London map pattern
Next in our featured member series is the lovely Alana of Lazy Stitching. I am completely obsessed with the way she presents her pictures so if you’re not already following her blog, the images below will give you an idea of all the gorgeousity you’re missing…
Hey Alana! How long have you been sewing and what machine do you use?
My Nana actually taught me to sew growing up and all the sewing machines I’ve had until now have been hand-me-downs from her. Sadly she passed away in 2005 but I have so many lovely memories of sharing the dressmaking process together.
In New Zealand I have a 1970s overlocker, named the green-machine, and a solidly built Elna. When I got to London, I purchased a cheap and simple Elna which isn’t so sturdy but does the job fine.
You’ve just moved to London, England from New Zealand. I know we’ve got a ton of vintage enthusiasts in London, but what’s the scene like in New Zealand?
The vintage scene is pretty good in New Zealand. I remember in high-school Op-shopping (shopping at opportunity/charity shops) was a keen pastime, in particular there are some phenomenal vintage stores on Karangahape Road in Auckland, like Fast & Loose, and the Paper Bag Princess.
I’m pretty new to vintage sewing so I find what everyone else makes incredibly inspiring.
Now that I’m in London the availability and proximity of so many vintage shops is a real delight. I like reading a blog called thevintageguidetolondon.com which put me on to Brick Lane and my favourite vintage fabric stash at ‘the shop’.
What is it that appeals to you about sewing vintage?
From a practical level, I adore the attention to little details in vintage patterns. When I wear a complete vintage look, I feel a little costume-y which is fun but isn’t always practical, so I love utilising the vintage details in more modern patterns and in that way sewing vintage is really versatile.
And from an emotional level I love the way it ties to the past – like I can imagine my nana sewing the exact same pattern when she was my age.
Being plus-sized, vintage patterns are sometimes rarer to come across in my size so I’m often making it up as I go using a franken-pattern but after sewing my first vintage pattern a few months ago I’m challenging myself to sew vintage more often.
The images and the vintage pattern illustrations remind me of paper dolls I played with as a kid, which motivated me to start a little side-project, paperidollatry, where I’ll sew a monthly garment inspired by a vintage paper doll.
How was Crafter’s Ceilidh?
Amazing! I almost missed it though – I realised at 6am that I’d read the time wrong for the airport bus so I had to make a last minute dash for the train instead!
All was forgotten, though, as soon as I met all the engaging Edinburgh crafters and the hosts Kristen, Kerry, and Debi. I was on zero budget as I was still un-employed at that stage (update: I started a new job last week!) but I’m so glad I went.
And let’s face it, if we are talking vintage sewing, then meeting Debi of My Happy Sewing Place is like meeting the queen (you know if the queen is an amazingly talented and warm new friend).
What’s your favorite outfit that you’ve made? (more than one is fine too)
It’s like Sophie’s Choice! In terms of basics I love BurdaStyles high-waisted 50’s style pencil skirt (Jenny) and I’ve made it many times but, in the end, my all time favourite is this one shouldered dress I made for a work industry event.
I’ll probably never wear it more than once but the colours, the print and the full length just make me happy, and in the end – practicality be damned – happiness is all that matters.
Thanks Alana! Isn’t she a treat? Be sure to appreciate her in the comments!
The featured member series was born out of a desire to mine the incredible diversity of our community here at We Sew Retro. Invitations are issued to contributors who create great work and great posts. You can catch up with previous featured members here: