Saturday, September 26, 2009

Making a fabric belt - for the lovely Jodie

Now, I don't profess to be a very good seamstress, you just need to look on the reverse of my dresses to realise that. However, I am improving with every new garment I add to my collection!

My lovely friend Jodie recently asked me how to make a fabric belt to compliment a vintage outfit, in her case she will be using material cut off the length of a vintage dress to make the matching belt. I thought, why not post the info right here at Alice Jeans for anyone else to refer to. Up until a couple of months ago I was quite daunted at the idea of making a fabric belt myself, but plunged in just the same and discovered was so much easier than I imagined - so here goes - forgive me if you are brilliant seamstress...there will probably be things I am doing wrong, but I have been happy with the results just the same!

(These instructions assume at least some knowledge of a sewing machine, and basic sewing, edging, and neatening skills.)

You will need:

1. The ladies at my fabric and craft supply store did not know of any particular name for this, but I will describe it as 'Fabric belt inner stiffening' - explain to your local supplier what you are after and I am sure they will be able to help. It looks like thick, stiff white tape. You will require your waist measurement plus about 20cm extra for overhang.

2. Length of fabric to accommodate your tape plus about 7cm for end. It will need to be twice the width of your tape, plus seam allowance.

3. Belt buckle of choice, with hole large enough to thread your belt tape through.
4. Thread

Step One

Fold material in half with wrong side facing outwards and tape laid inside against the fold. Pin (or baste if you prefer) along edge of tape so that both sides of fabric are pinned together - do not pin tape, you should still be able to slide tape out. Your material should be approx. 5cm longer than your tape. Take tape out and sew along pin line.
Step Two

Sew one end of fabric to close. Then turn tape inside out through open end.

Step Three

Insert tape into pocket. It should be a lovely snug fit.

Step Four

Fold open end over once and sew in place.

Step Five

Place belt buckle right side up on the inner side of your belt. Fold end of fabric over belt buckle 'stem' and hand sew into position. Almost finished now !

Step Six

If you wish you can make a holder for the belt overhang by hand sewing a little fabric loop onto your belt in the position that suits your particular belt best.

Well done - you now have a lovely little finishing touch to your favourite vintage look garment ! Matching fabric belts really polish an outfit off perfectly !

Monday, September 21, 2009

Home Grown is best !

I found this wonderful page in my Women's Weekly Diary 1999. Not specifically about home grown eggs, but a true vintage lifestyle saw people with their own chooks, vegie gardens and fruit trees in most suburban and provincial backyards.

With the trend towards home grown produce of all kinds (home-made cakes, home baked bread, home grown eggs,veggie patches, fruit trees, etc) that is sweeping our communities right now, comes the overall return to the vintage lifestyle I so passionately advocate. What could be healthier for our human consumption, as well as for our communities, environment and even animal rights (!) than backyard production of great food. Yes it does require a little extra effort, but the benefits are so worth it - rubbish is recycled (compost bins, chook scraps), less waste is produced (think no plastic packaging on your apples, bread etc), better animal welfare(chickens are not kept permanently cages), and you save $$$$$ (to be spent on your next vintage pair of shoes !!).

If we could see a return to locally produced foods, local independent greengrocers, deli's, bakeries and the like, our farmers might actually begin getting what they deserve for their toil - instead of bottom dollar prices as they compete with Safeway cheap food imports. I believe our rural (and urban) communities would also grow stronger through a 'home grown and locally produced' mindset - a better paid farmer can employ more farm hands or farm contractors, and this, in turn, flows to our towns - shops, cafes, social groups, - everyone wins !

I find this concept so compelling (I have written a number of essays on the topic), particularly due to my involvement with the largely artistic vintage community. I cant stand mass production, cheap imports, lack of creativity, the mindlessness of 'going with the herd' ! With a locally based society, communities would develop their own flavour, their own culture, their own skills and craftsmanship, their own identity. It is only in the last half of the 20th century that beauty, uniqueness and creativity has been fazed out for the concept of 'mass appeal' and 'mass markets'......all to create a broader money making capacity for a small few at the top of the tree. And everyone is scrambling to try and be one of those few at 'the top'. Doesn't it suck ?! Life should (and can) be so much better than that !

So from this article about humble old eggs comes my crazy little lifestyle philosophy........I always knew that the vintage lifestyle was a winner !

Would love to hear your thoughts and comments about these ideas if you have the time to post a comment !

Oh, the possibilities in Nagambie !

My husband and I adore the architcture of this wonderful old shop located in Nagambie, Victoria. A beautiful and most picturesque country town, just a short drive (2 hours aprox) from Melbourne, this shop always grabs our attention whenever we drive through or visit. The stuff of dreams - wouldn't it make a darling vintage restaurant/cafe/diner? Or a fabulous vintage cultural centre? Swing Dance Studio? Car Museum? Classic vintage wares shop? Or all of the above ! Our imaginations always run wild when we see it..........

Spring Fresh Lemon Slice

Prep. 25Mins
Cooking 35mins
Makes 24 squares aprox

125g unsalted butter – softened
¼ cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups plain flour, sifted

4 eggs
1 Cup castor sugar
2 Tablespoons plain flour
½ cup milk
Finely grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line base and sides of lamington tin with baking paper. Using an electric beater, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and creamy. Press into tin and bake for 10 mins. Let cool.

Put eggs, sugar and flour, milk, rind and juice in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Pour over base. Bake for 20-25 mins or until set. Cool and cut into squares. Dust with icing sugar and keep in fridge.

(Thanks to Better Homes and Gardens for this yummy little slice - very popular with my children !)

The divine Mill Markets !

Ooooooohhhhh how I adore this shop !! If you LOVE vintage, I wont take no for an answer - you simply MUST check out at least one of their warehouses ! At the moment there are 4 - Geelong, Daylesford, Ballarat and Warnambool - full to the brim with everything you could possibly want in the realm of vintage. Hats, shoes, gloves, clothes, jewelry, furniture, curios, toys, art, kitchenwear, mirrors, china, linen, I could go on and on and on !! But one of the best things about Mill Markets is their in house cafe's - I have never tasted such delicious chai late's in my life ! AND, the Geelong store also has a fabulous toy area for the kiddies - including a retro 'shoping centre' ride that runs without having to insert a dime (cent for all you Aussies!) ! My three littlies had the time of their lives in "Mummies special store" !

The way we wear - UNDERCOVER November 21 & 22, 2009

This is deffinatly one not to be missed ! The way we wear fairs are truely delightful with lots of lovely goodies to feast your eyes upon and take home for keeps. Lock it into your diaries - there is plenty of time up your sleeve to reserve this wonderful girls day out.

Associated with this event, I came across this most insightful article (Antiques and Art in Victoria, Aug-Dec 09) on womens undercover dressing, which was so terrific, I simply had to include it here on my blog. Having only recently discovered the great advantage proper 'undergarments' give to your whole vintage look, I highly reccomend pursuing your own corset/girdle/cincher supplier. Le Mistress in Sydney is a great place to start - Lou will take good care of you ! Check outdetails at

Other helpful websites are :

United Kingdom

North America

See you all at the fair !

Emma's Homemade Cakes

More divine and decadent culinary delights from Emma's Home Made Cakes. A feast for the eyes, delectability for the tastebuds, bliss for the soul - the goal of every vintage style cook! Contact Emma through this blog if you would like to know more or place an order ..........

Monday, September 7, 2009

Babies ! Choosing babies sex.....

OK, there is no delicate way to approach this. Babies. I have been asked so many times to explain what we did to have a baby girl after two boys, that I thought I would post this info online to refer people too ! This is defiantly not 1950's material, but it kind of fits the whole 'home-maker' career thing I guess.

My mother was apparently able to choose the sex of her last baby using this method, as were two of my close girlfriends, and I myself would swear that it worked for us....however, I want to stress that this is NOT a foolproof method. DO NOT rush to your singer sewing machine and start whipping up pink or blue garments for baby ! If anything, this method is purely to increase the odds in favour of what you want....but that's just it, they are still odds, and the X or Y chromisome on which you place your bet may still come in a poor second. However, it certainly does no harm to try your darnedest does it !!!!!

First thing's first

The first thing is girls, you need to be pretty regular in your cycle. And you need to spend a couple of months working out the days you are fertile. It all depends on this. (My apologies to any truly 1950's minded people who will baulk at talking about personal stuff like this !!!) One idea is to mark on the calendar the first day of your period and the last day of your period. You can then add up how many days your period goes for and how many days you are period free (woo hoo!!). If you don't run quite like clockwork, simply work out your average. Do this for about 4-5 months....this should give you a pretty good idea. Then go to a good ovulation calculator (there are plenty online)....this is a good one

Once you have the calendar with your fertile days marked on it, you are all goes !!


The male chromosome swims fast (just look at toddler boys and this will all make sense !!!). Female chromosomes carry more genetic material (apparently, - I am no Doctor or scientist !!) so they are heavier and therefore swim slower, however, they live alot longer - just look in nursing homes at the male female ratio and you will see this carry's into life as well !!

The theory to get a boy...

Your egg is usually released towards the end of the fertility phase on your calendar. So, to 'get' a boy, you need more male sperm there ready and waiting for the egg. As the male sperm swim faster, but die quicker, you will want to have sex on every day of your fertile phase...that gives those little fellas more chance to get there first when ever the egg arrives ! Now, I would not have sex 10 times a day or anything ('darn!!!' say's hubby) as I have read that the more times you have sex in a short space of time, the less male chromosomes are produced. Dont know how true that is, but it is worth keeping in mind just the same ! Once, or maybe twice a day if you're real keen, should be plenty!

The theory to get a girl......

As your egg is usually released towards the end of the fertility phase on your calendar, and female chromosomes live longer (but swim slower), you only need to have sex once ('oh DAMN!!!' says hubby). You will want to have sex at the beginning of your fertility phase so that all those little male sperm have spent themselves by the time the egg arrives, and the slow and steady female sperm get the prize !

That's the theory - it is that straightforward. At your fertility time, lots of sex for a boy, sex once for a girl. Of course this is all on the assumption that fertility issues are not a problem for you and your partner.

Some other 'tid-bits'.....

There are a couple of old wives tales that you may like to throw into the mix if you want....

1. To get a girl, men should 'use a hair-dryer on themselves' before sex as male sperm do not like high temperatures. (Insert grin here at the visual image this one creates !!!)

2. To get a boy, women should eat plenty of high potassium foods - bananas, peanut butter etc - as this creates an environment helpful to male sperm. Obviously, cut out the potassium if it's a girl you want !

3. There are some theory's as to position during sex, but I didn't find these helpful as they more often than not contradicted each other. Position - who cares ! Just enjoy it !

Now that all that has been said, best of luck to you if you are trying ! And PLEASE contact me via this blog to let me know if you have success with this theory or not - it would be interesting to know ! God bless you and your future families!

Spring scarf style - perfect for windy spring days !

A wonderful solution to my pet hate - windy spring days that decemate all your hard work infront of the mirror ! This is the 1964 head scarf style (curtesy of the Australian Womens Weekly diary, 1999)

And this is the 1940's early '50s solution ! The do rag !

In the 1930s women wore bandanna-like fabric to fasten their hairstyles in place while they set. In the 1940s the style among women shifted into the workplace where they were taking over factory jobs and needed a safe way to keep their hair out of the machinery.

Note the wonderful soda shop set and cast from Christina Auglera's 'Candy Man' film clip.....a brilliant selection of do-rags !! From my own experience, the best effect is achieved when the fringe is curled either under short, or into defined curls, with gel/mouse/hairspray and a curling iron. Depending on your hair length, at the back hair can be put into a bun or small pony tail fairly high on the head, or left loose. Take a good look at the girls in this picture for inspiration!

Sucks to you windy spring days !

Art Deco Architecture in Deniliquin and Shepparton

Some snaps of a couple of inspiring Art Deco Buildings in the provincial cities of Deniliquin and Shepparton. Scott and I think we might re-create the Shepparton Court House as our house - it is simply beautiful!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Movie Club for September and October

After a wonderful night watching "The African Queen" (what a classic adventure/romance!) we have elected to watch two modern ventures back into the early 20th century at our September and October get togethers. As yet we dont know which of the following two movies will be playing in which month (depends on the postal service !!) but the movies are:

The Majestic

Starring Jim Carry (dont think Ace Ventura - this is one of his excellent serious roles), Martin Landau and the lovely Laurie Holden. This is an award winning movie set in the early 1950's and dealing with issues of cold war blacklisting, identity and belonging. A beautiful story with some wonderful 1950's imagery and details.

Tucker - the man and his dream

Starring Jeff Bridges and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this is the true story of an amazing man and his beautiful and 'before its time' creation, a innovative car. Gaurented to get your blood boiling, and also provide a visual feast for your eyes, this thrice oscar nominated movie is a must for any car enthusiast !

Dates for these movies are:

September 17 th

October 15th

Please contact me through this blogg for further details if you wish to join us - we would love to have you there !!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A visit to Deniliquin and the Summers Past Exhibition

What a delightful day I spend in Deniliquin this week just gone ! My family and I had a wonderful spring day out, playing in this fine old country town's central park, enjoying the ducks on the pond, and mammoth age old fig & date palm trees. We also had time to take in the beautiful heritage buildings that line the street (many art deco lovelies amongst them!) and enjoy an all too brief visit to the lovely 'Country Cottage Antiques and Linens' store located at 220 Cressy Street, Deniliquin. After a delicious mini lemon tart at the Bakery, we wandered around to the Peppin Heritage Center and was totally inspired by the beautiful Summers Past exhibition on display there until the end of September. A happy little family day out !

A couple of Deniliquin's Art Deco buildings

Summers Past Exhibition

A brilliant exhibition of glorious photographs from the 1950's and 1960's, depicting Australia's love affair with the outdoors in summertime - simply magical ! "Summer holidays were always the best of times and for today's baby boomers the exhibition images are bound to stir distant memories of idyllic days spent at the beach" Well, I am no baby boomer by any stretch and I simply love these glorious images....if you live in the nearby area and can get to Deni before the end of September, then I highly recommend you take a peek !

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