Friday, March 13, 2020

Simplicity 3364: Blue Springtime Blouse

Here's a gem of blouse. Made from vintage fabric and a 1940 pattern.

Instead of my usual 1940 McCall pattern, I broke out and tried a McCall competitor from the same year. Enter Simplicity 3365 also from the year 1940. It's a very interesting design. If you look closely the short sleeve blouse has these interesting tucks on the sleeve which give a great puffed shape. There's an overlapped seam onto gathers with a button down front bodice.

I've had this vintage fabric in my stash for quite some time. It's a cold rayon and absolutely gorgeous. I don't remember where I got it from but I do remember wanting to make it into a dress and I was preparing to cut out, I noticed that there were several stains on the fabric and right in the middle! So I turned to thinking about using the non-damaged parts of the fabric to make a blouse!

And I'm so glad I did! It's such a pretty blue and I love the pattern and feel of the crepe fabric.

It goes absolutely perfectly with my 1940 McCall suit make--which is probably one of my favourite makes in my wardrobe.  So now I can say this entire outfit is made from patterns from the year 1940!

Overall, the blouse itself was straightforward to make. The sleeves were a bit interesting as I had never done tucks before like that on the sleeves. And I must say they are a bit tricky to iron.

I wish I had taken more progress photos to show you but I was just so enamoured by the fabric and the pattern that I totally forgot!

I found some small buttons that are blue on the outside and white in the middle as I really struggled with buttons that wouldn't distract from the print. Hopefully I found some that blend in well! I like them!

It's funny because I would say that I make 80% dresses and then 20% other things--as I tend to not wear a lot of separates. But I forget how nice making blouses and skirts can be! Maybe I should try making some more for a more mix n' match wardrobe! What about you? What do you mostly sew?

Ph: top by Sally Sparrow Photography, bottom by Tigz Rice
MUAH: top by Bethany Jane Davies and bottom by Miss Honey Bare
shoes: Bait Footwear

Thursday, March 5, 2020

1950s Spanish Rose Outfit

ooohhh...So excited for this ensemble. Living out my Spanish Rose and Carmen vibes and being the closest possible representation of my favourite emoji 💃🏻

I used McCall's pattern 8947. It's an absolutely delicious pattern for all the details it includes.  The pattern has options for a skirt, halter top, shorts and bolero.

I made the bolero, halter top and skirt.  I found this absolutely AMAZING Mexican/Spanish print. It's a bright red with gorgeous flowers and horizontal stripes.  I almost always start with the fabric before I pick the pattern and this fabric told me it wanted to be made into a fabulous circle skirt--that's when I matched it up to the McCall's pattern.

I made the skirt first about 8 years ago. I wore it quite a bit always with a fab red petticoat.  The photo above is from the Day of the Dead two years ago where I thought this skirt was perfect for that!

It took me ages to finish the halter top. I don't know why it sat in my unfinished projects pile for so long. I think it was because I had cut out the fabric in a light blue to match the small amount of light blue in the skirt fabric. And then I had a moment of indecision. What right blue the right colour? Would it clash? And there it sat until I picked it back up recently.

Sewing the halter top was very straight forward. It has some amazing waist dart shaping and a pointed bottom--so it looks like a waistcoat. I also really love that the halter top has an area for the contrast fabric around the collar (it's not a proper collar but more like a trim).  I also used some great vintage buttons I had in my stash on the blouse.

The flatlay photo really shows the shape of the bolero --which I am absolutely in love with. It's brilliantly drafted.  It's one pattern piece and it covers the shoulders and buttons at the neck. It goes perfectly with the shape of the halter. I just love this pattern piece so much.

I was saving up this outfit for a special location. I had a work trip to Mexico and thought that would be the perfect chance--but I didn't actually have any free time to take photos on that trip. So a couple of months later I had the opportunity to go to Spain for a long weekend and it was just perfect. 

This outfit really suits the Spanish Old Town and makes me feel like a Spanish Rose :).

I accessorised with some great hair flowers that I got from Auntie Beanie. They match perfectly.

And of course, I have matching stockings in red from What Kati Did. I do love my colour seamed stockings :) And decided to do yellow shoes with the outfit (so much colour going on! lol) and just love how it looks with these ones that I got from Bait Footwear.

These amazing photos from Spain were taken by Heather (@thatphotofilmgirl on instagram) and my hair was styled by my lovely friend Eva (@evka.allen).

This outfit can also have great Carmen vibes like in the photo above from Veronika Marx!  Most of all, it's fun to twirl with that massive skirt and petticoat!!  I got the petticoat from Vivian of Holloway.

I'm so glad I stuck with the colour combo--I now love it and can't imagine it any other way!  I also really love the pattern and could see having some fun with it in gingham and other fabrics.

What about you? Do you like the Spanish/Mexican fabric prints/styles?

Friday, January 24, 2020

Butterick 6286: The Blade Runner Suit

Is this pattern testing whether I'm a replicant? Delighted to showcase my suit inspired by Rachael from the Neo-noir movie 'Bladerunner'.

I'm a big fan of all types of film noir and also Neo-noir or more recent movies that play with the film noir styles.

One of my favourite Neo-noirs is Blade Runner...produced in the mid 1980s (with the 1980s love of the big shoulder just like the 1940s), the movie is set in the fictional time of 2019!  I just fell in love with Rachael's suit.  It's an amazing grey colour-block that suits the moody nature of the film.

So when 2019 rolled around, I knew I had to make a nod to this film classic with my own rendition of Rachael's colour-blocked suit.

Enter Butterick 6286, a reproduction pattern from the year 1944.

View B allows for colour-blocked suit and I knew it would be perfect for my Rachael suit.  So I found three different colours of grey wool that I thought worked well together.

I just came across this photo of my dear little Echo kitty when I was going back through my pictures. Here she is helping me cut out this fabric last January (2019). She unfortunately passed away in May but I now feel like this suit is especially blessed! Maybe it will be my good luck suit?

I put the lighter grey wool on the top as in the inspiration suit and used the darkest grey the bottom of the jacket and for the skirt.

The skirt was really simple and quick--it's a great skirt pattern to have.  The jacket sections came together quite easily. I kind of wish I had colour blocked the sleeves as well but that may have been too much!

The pattern was pretty straight forward EXCEPT for the jacket collar. Maybe it's because I've used so many vintage patterns but I sometimes find the newer (even repro patterns a bit confusing). I finally got it in the end but it required a bit of head scratching to begin with.

I decided the jacket needed some serious shoulder pads. Like the ones in the movie to help lift the shoulders.  There are two things I hate doing sewing-wise that this jacket entails (but that I didn't do..hahaha).  Number one is lining. I hate lining. With a passion. I will almost always leave something unlined OR if it's a coat, I'll have a go but with serious thoughts of grrrrr...I hate this. hahaha. The second thing I hate doing is making shoulder pads (though I hate this less than doing linings).

So instead of making my own shoulder pads, I bought some FABULOUS ones from MacCulloch and Wallis, a haberdashery in London. Check out these babies (which you can also get online):

Shoulder pads make all the difference, even then I could have probably brought the coat shoulders in by a smidgeon.

Overall, really pleased with the suit. Now I want to make a matching 1940s hat! I also have quite a bit of the dark grey fabric left. Trying to think if either a pair of trousers or an overcoat would be good (need to check how much of this fabric I actually have!)--even a pleated skirt would be nice.

Enjoyed playing with the Blade Runner props! haha. Living my Rachael cosplay dreams! teehee.  Are there any movies that you want to recreate the clothes from?

Photography: Alt Studio UK
MUAH: @evka.allen

Sunday, January 19, 2020

McCall 3872: The 'Mr Sandman Pyjamas'

Mr Sandman, bring me a dream..... the dream of making these lush velvet 1940s pyjamas. Thank you very much.

The idea for this project came when my friend Rachael decided to host a vintage pyjama party at her vintage store, Carnivale Vintage. I was so excited as I have been wanting to to make some vintage styled pyjamas to match one of the 1940s bed jackets that I bought from her. The peach bed jacket has amazing red velvet buttons and collar.

So enter McCall 3872, a 1940 pattern that I've been wanting to make for some time. I decided the cropped top version B might be perfect for a bed jacket.

I had originally wanted to sew with silk velvet but the fabric store didn't have any shades to match my bed jacket. BUT I did find some stretchy velvet which did. I've never sewn with this type of fabric but it was such a perfect match I had to get it!

The trickiest part was by far the bodice. The interesting thing about this bodice top is that there are NO closures. It pulls over your head. Also the bow at the bottom is mostly for decoration.  The pieces themselves were relatively easy to sew --the fitting is a bit tricky with stretchy velvet. Already, I'm thinking I might need to add either 1) some elastic in the bottom bit OR 2) another dart or pleat to the back because I think over time, this will definitely stretch because of the fabric I've used. What would you recommend?

The trousers were fairly straightforward--though a ton of fabric. But they are basically gathered to the waistband. I used some basic but soft interfacing for the waistband --as I do want to sleep in this!

The fabric was much easier to sew with than imagined. My feed dogs on the sewing machine had no problem and I didn't have to use a special needle.

YAY! Super happy with how it turned out (minus the need to address potential stretching in the bodice to avoid under boob! hahaha)

I think it's also interesting that the trousers close with a button AND zipper at the back! Ladies weren't kidding about dressing for bed!  It's actually very comfortable.  I did a feature over on my instagram about these type of pyjamas that could also actually be worn outside (with a jacket/coat if needed) that were popular in 1940 because of the war and the need to be prepared to go to the bomb shelter at any time of night. It basically meant you had to be presentable to the public even in your loungewear. Apparently Churchill himself had a pair of velvet 'lounging' pyjamas made for the likelihood of having to go the the air raid shelter!

I'm so happy to get to take some very vintage looking pictures with these PJs. These photos were taken by Nicola in her vintage bedroom set. I just love them!

This is part of my 1940 McCall project--where I attempt to find and sew all the patterns produced by the McCall pattern company from the year 1940. You can follow my attempts on this page. I'll be updating this soon with all my projects! YAY!

Friday, January 3, 2020

McCall 3601 'The Mulberry Hill Dress'

This may be my FAVOURITE 1940 McCall make of 2019. This pattern has turned into the perfect 1940s day dress!

Perhaps it's the fabric or maybe it's the autumnal/winter brown but with a splash of colour? Or maybe it's the tailored shirtwaist design?

I used McCall 3601, which has quite an interesting bodice design. There's these little pocket type things on a somewhat princess seam. The pattern also features a four panelled skirt and my favourite--pleated sleeve caps!!

The bodice shape is actually quite slimming. It fits really well but I probably could have done a minor  Full Bust Adjustments (FBA) to get rid of that horizontal crease on the bust line.  But I'm actually ok with it because you can't really tell it's there with the fabric print unless it's a close-up!

I was super excited to find this fabric as it reminded me so much of a very similar fabric I saw in one of my 1940 McCall's magazines! I was actually holding out to use the fabric with this exact pattern but I still haven't found that pattern and I really wanted to use the fabric!

I even had the most perfect buttons in my stash--I got these many years ago on a shopping trip with Mena from Make This Look to one of her favourite haunts!

My friend and stunning photographer, Darja Bilyk, took these photos at the Edinburgh Botanics Garden. All of nature seemed to match the colours of the dress! It was magical!

They had set up the park for a holidays light show in the evenings--so we conveniently used the Christmas props! Love it!

The fabric I used is a mid-weight dress cotton --which is nice for this time of the year and holds the lines of this more tailored dress well including the shirtwaist!

And I just love the pleated sleeve cap detail. One of my favourite fashion trends from the late 30s/early 40s! I actually like this sleeve detail much better than gathered sleeve caps (and it's much easier to sew too)!

My other lovely friend, Ariana, put my hair up into a nice 1940s set that lasted for days!

I'm wondering if I should make a matching belt for this dress or whether you think it's fine without? I opted for without as I don't know if it would show up--but maybe it would look nice? What do you think?

YAY for classic shirtwaist dresses. There's some blue in this fabric as well--so I think I can play with that and wear this year round, even in springtime!

I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and best wishes for a 2020 filled with sewing, vintage fashion or all the things you love!
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