Hawaiian Vintage

This post is particularly relevant as it is Makers for Fashion Revolution Week, a campaign which asks the question “Who made my clothes?”  Whilst I make most of mine it has set me off thinking more about where the fabric I buy has come from.  I am sometimes guilty of succumbing to the temptation to buy lovely new fabric without too much thought about how or where it was made.

However, I do also buy secondhand fabric and we spend a LOT of time in Chichester’s charity shops, usually doing a trawl of most of them on a Saturday.  Our favourite, as I’ve probably mentioned before, is the St Wilfrid’s Hospice Retro & Vintage shop at Eastgate Square.

Over several recent visits I’d noticed a folded piece of fabric tied with string and labelled “?1960s vintage fabric”.  I picked it up more than once but the colours weren’t really what I would normally pick so back on the shelf it went.  I eventually decided that at £6 I might as well just buy it!   There turned out to be three large pieces – I’ve not measured them but there is at least enough for a dress and a skirt.

On further inspection I spotted the wording on the selvedge and did some research.

I discovered that a Conrad Von Hamm moved to Hawaii from Germany in 1890 at the age of 20 where he worked for a successful local businessman named Alexander Young.  He later married the boss’s daughter and he and his father-in-law set up the Von Hamm-Young Corp.

After his father-in-law’s death in 1910 Conrad took over and expanded the business and as well as selling machinery and automobiles he began to produce fabric under the name THC Hawaiian Textiles.  Apparently any fabrics with a VHY tag is from the 1950s – 60s, THC means that it was produced in the 1960s-70s so the shop label was correct.

Here’s the fabric in all its glory.  I’ve no idea what type of fabric it is.  When I visit Ditto Fabrics at the weekend I will ask for an expert opinion.

The design has started to grow on me since I posted the image on Instagram and had several positive comments!  I think I might try making a dress using Simplicity 1609 as this is a re-issued 60s pattern.  I’ve already made a bedsheet toile.

I would dispute the term Jiffy in relation to this pattern as there are a lot of darts to sew – neck, bust, back and seam – but miraculously the bodice is a perfect fit so no changes needed there.  I cut the 10 but did need to reduce my seam allowance slightly at the waist for breathing room.  Yes, I have put a zip into the toile – Mr Jane Makes is wonderful in many ways but not so hot on pinning someone into a toile to check the fit!  I’ve since waited a week to walk off a large Easter egg and it is still OK fit-wise!

There is a front seam too but after a conversation with @vintage_charity (who has made this dress up several times) I think I may eliminate the seam allowance and cut it on the fold to avoid the need for pattern matching on the front.

A New Arrival

We’ve had a very happy addition to our lives recently.  Mr Jane Makes became a grandad and I’m very happy to be granny Jane or whatever name we settle on!

Here he is with his adorable granddaughter on their first meeting.  She is absolutely beautiful!

I knew I would be sewing for her but I didn’t want to make a start until I knew she’d arrived safely in the world, which she did on what would have been my dad’s 87th birthday.  My sister and I were so pleased as it means the day will continue to be special.

I remembered that Zoe had posted earlier in the year about her favourite free children’s patterns so that was my starting point.

First up was the Ringer t-shirt by Brindille & Twig which is suitable for the age range 0M – 6Y and you can choose to just print the size you want.  I decided to go for the 3 – 6 months option.  The t-shirt has neck, hem and sleeve bands which avoids the need for hemming but I did view the TINY sleeve band with some trepidation!  However, everything came together really well on my sewing machine and I trimmed all the seams right back to avoid anything that could irritate delicate skin.  I made three t-shirts and have never taken so much care over sewing anything.  Despite this I somehow managed to sew the neckband on back to front on the first one – and get the fabric upside down on the hem band so the farmyard animals are lying on their backs with their legs in the air!  Hopefully she won’t notice!

Next up were dribble bibs.  Zoe had also posted a tutorial for these but it involved drawing your own pattern so to save time I downloaded a free pattern from See Kate Sew.  I made a bib to match each t-shirt and invested in a tool from The Eternal Maker to add plastic snaps as I’m sure I’ll be making more of these.  I had a quick demonstration in the shop of how to use it but it turned out to be much easier than I expected and the snaps are very secure once they’re in.  I used a soft fleece type fabric for the reverse as I couldn’t find any suitable towelling.

In my rush to wrap everything up ready for our first visit when she was a whole week old I failed to take any photographs so these were taken after they were unwrapped and are not brilliant.  The farmyard fabric was from The Eternal Maker, the dinosaurs from C & H (although I can’t find the fabric online) and the cherries from Clothkits.

I was able to make a t-shirt and bib from half a metre of each and I still have some scraps left.

I had also been tempted by this fabric from The Eternal Maker.  In my excitement I’d failed to notice that it was very narrow and I didn’t have enough for a t-shirt.  Thankfully I found another free pattern for an incredibly cute hat.

This is a brilliant pattern – very quick to make and the brim is attached so the seam is hidden and the inside is nice and smooth against the baby’s head.  Obviously there had to be a matching dribble bib.  The hat is still a wee bit big for Baby J but hopefully she will soon grow into it!  Mind you, my mother said that about my school raincoat and it was still too big for me when I did my O Levels!

I can definitely recommend all these patterns and thanks to their creators for making them available for free.

There will be more small sewing.  I’m meeting up with Zoe and some other bloggers on the 29th and now have a very good excuse for buying more fabric!