Saturday, April 21, 2018

McCall 3588: The 'Town and Country Dress Suit'

Ah, McCall 3588 – I love this pattern! It's a classic dress suit, perfect for town or country.

This project has been sitting in my sewing queue for quite a while! I had the dress all cut-out for several years. The red dress fabric is a very nice stretch cotton, which was a dream to sew with.  The dress features two princess seamed sections (attached with overlapped seams):

The skirt features several pleats in the front that line up with the princess seamed bodice and the bodice centre front. I do love a pleated skirt:

In addition to the dress (which you can do long or short sleeves – I opted for the latter so that I could layer up through most of the Scottish seasons), this pattern has an amazing jacket:

I recently sewed this jacket up in a silk/linen blend fabric (see blog post here). I was actually working on the jackets at the same time.  I like doing that sometimes--cutting out the same pattern in multiple fabrics. It's amazing how differently the pattern looks with different fabrics!

One of the annoying things I did with this dress was sew the buttonholes too close to the bodice edge. Urgh! So aggravating. So I get a bit of a bodice gap (see the photo above).  The dress actually closes with a side zip as well as the bodice buttons. I'm thinking of maybe sewing up the bodice front (so that it's not a functional opening)--as I think because this is stretch cotton and a v-neck that I could still get the dress on without opening the front.  That would certainly satisfy the gap problem!

I absolutely adore the wool jacket fabric that I found in a local UK fabric store (Manchester, I think?)
I have enough of the wool fabric to either make a matching pleated skirt to go with the jacket OR to make a swing coat to go over the whole ensemble. Hmmm....I'm leaning towards the latter as there are several nice 1940 swing coat patterns I have and I just love the matchy-matchy look from the 1940s.  The look of having matching fabrics for the swing coat and the jacket underneath!  What do you think? Skirt or swing coat?

We took these photos at the base of Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park. Look at these little guys photobombing! hahaha.

I do love a good suit and the best thing about sewing is that I can match it to my shoes and other accessories! woohoo!

YAY! Super happy for a new office AND weekend appropriate outfit...and the fact that it's finally Spring!!! 

Photographs: Darja Bilyk
Location: Near Holyrood Park


Friday, April 13, 2018

True Vintage: Gothic Romance

My hands down favourite vintage dress is this late 1940s dress from Xtabay Vintage. Since today is Friday the 13th --it's the perfect day to showcase this film noir, gothically inspired dress.

As a Portland native, I've been following Xtabay Vintage's blog since right back when I started this blog--and I have always loved seeing the beauties that pass through their brick and mortar shop.  When I go home to visit family, it is almost like a pilgrimage now to also visit the Xtabay store.

So I was ecstatic when on my last visit, I tried on this beauty and it fit like a glove.  So off it came with me to Edinburgh, Scotland and it fits right in with the beautiful romantic architecture and slightly grey days!

The details on this dress are exquisite!  It includes a button loop trim and lots of interesting angles. The sleeves end in a point towards the wrist and both the front and back peplums also have nice triangular shaped features.

Best of all is that the peplum in the back ends at an inverted pleat that then flows the length of the dress. Gah. DREAMS ARE MADE OF THESE!

I just adore this dress and so happy to have found it.  Happy Friday the 13th :)

Dress: Xtabay Vintage
Stockings: What Katie Did
MUAH: Vanity Thrills
Photography: Philip Stanley Dickson 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

McCall 3588: The 'Dragon Jacket'

My latest 1940 McCall make is inspired by the amazing 'Chinese lanterns' exhibit we recently had at the Edinburgh Zoo.  When I saw that these gorgeous lanterns were going to be in Edinburgh, it gave me the push I needed to use some very precious fabric that I had bought in Japan about five years ago – you know those fabrics that are so precious that it takes a lot of time (and courage!) to cut into them? This was definitely that fabric.

It is a fabulous silk linen blend with the most beautiful dusty blue dragons with a splash of reddish-orange.  The design makes the fabric looks hand painted using water colours, it's so beautiful!

So it seemed only fitting that I sew it up for dragon-esque pictures!  How amazing are these giant lanterns?

It took forever for me to decide what to make out of this fabric. Originally, I thought maybe a shirt and then I thought a 1950s skirt might be nice.  But in the end, I thought the classiest and most wear would come from making a tailored blazer jacket.  Enter McCall 3588, a pattern that I was already working on for another project that includes the dress and the jacket (almost finished!).  I just loved the lines of the jacket with the subtle rounded collar and the tucks that lead into the pockets--giving a nice waistline effect.

It does have front and side front pieces as well as back and side back pieces--which was a bit tricky with the dragons.  However, the great thing about this fabric is that the dragons are going in all directions --which ultimately made it easier to match the pieces and gives some fun detail that you don't notice unless you look really the upside down dragons on my pockets.. teehee. I love that.

I'm super duper proud of these pockets too.  The silk linen fabric was a dream to sew with as the linen gives quite a bit of control.

The exhibit had amazing displays of the Chinese zodiac, so I found my animal which is the snake.  Apparently "people born in the year of the snake are very clever.  They enjoy seeking difficult problems and prefer to spend time alone."  Hahaha. Basically it's saying that I'm an introvert. Very good Mr. Snake! hahaha.  Any other snake sign people out there?

The Chinese lanterns were so beautiful at night when they were all lit up!

I paired my new jacket with a red Collectif clothing blouse, a true vintage skirt, a Vivien of Holloway red petticoat and some awesome red and white Bait Footwear 'Veida' shoes.

I just adore these pictures taken by Philip Stanley Dickson (who also shot my 'Film Noir Dress' and my 'Aviator Dress').  This photo captures perfectly how this new jacket makes me feel: excited, bright, and happy with a dash of cheekiness ;) !!

I'm really pleased with the fit of the jacket. I had to grade it up from a B32 to a B34 but with all the different pieces, that was thankfully straightforward by just adding a little bit extra to each seam.  I also lined the jacket with a very light blue fabric.  I have to admit, lining is my LEAST favourite thing to do ever. I don't know why but I will put it off.  Admittedly, the lining wasn't too bad in the end but I was so dreading it. Isn't that funny? I don't know why I hate that bit of sewing so much.  I often forgo lining and will just bind my inside seams but I knew this make deserved a bit of extra attention.  Is it just me or do you have dreaded sewing tasks as well?

Here's a fun behind the scenes photo that is on a time I am standing still while for about 60 seconds people are passing me by....hahaha. how cool is that?  And how massive is that dragon? I just love this photo :)

Happy to have a new dragon jacket in my wardrobe and delighted to get some awesome photos of it with this exhibit!!  For those in Edinburgh or who may be visiting next year--I think it is going to return (probably next winter time) --it's definitely well worth a visit!

YAY for more separates (as you will have noticed that I sew a lot of dresses) --this will be a fun addition to my me-made wardrobe!!  Now to plot and plan pieces to go with it!

Photos: Philip Stanley Dickson
Hair: Vanity Thrills

Sunday, April 1, 2018

McCall 3615: The 'April Showers Dress'

Happy April and happy Easter!  I'm just in love with my Easter Dress this year. It has all my favourite spring colours:

This is also my first revisit of an already used 1940 McCall pattern, number 3615:

I know that I've got quite the task to sew up the entire 1940 catalogue and should really be sewing new dresses but I just love this pattern so much. I first sewed this up as a replica 1940 Sears dress that my ex-partner designed the fabric from a Sears catalogue photo (see the blog post here). For that project, I made the dress in a medium-weight cotton and I've been wondering what it would sew up like in a lightweight synthetic crepe-like fabric.  Well, I'm in love...I just adore both this fabric and how the pattern turned out in a more dressy fabric:

I got the fabric on a trip to the Philippines a couple of years ago and then just this year, I picked up the 1930's belt buckle in Herman Brown, one of my local vintage stores.  I'm often on the lookout for vintage belt buckles and have been known to create entire sewing projects around them!

Edinburgh has had quite a cool introduction to spring--lots of April showers so far!  A perfect opportunity for vintage umbrellas (this one from another local vintage haunt--Carnivale Vintage).  

In terms of construction, the dress was quite quick the second time around and this fabric was a dream to sew. I really like the simple front with the high neckline (but only on the sides) and the gathers below the bust with a simple flared skirt.  I still want to make this pattern with the long sleeves as well!

I have a thing for pink--so have lots of it in my wardrobe, which is great because this dress matched my seamed What Katie Did stockings and my Bait footwear shoes (by the way, shoes is another thing I've been known to build sewing projects around! hahaha).

Oh, regular jacket (by local company Ness) is also hot pink! hahaha.  PERFECT!! I just love how this whole ensemble came together :)  I have lots more (hot) pink fabric in my stash--and am feeling a bit inspired for spring! 

I don't know about you but I just love spring colours (and also autumn colours for those in the southern hemisphere)--there's something about the change in the seasons that is so much fun for plotting and planning sewing projects!  What about you? Any fun spring/autumn projects in the sewing queue?
Photos by the amazing Philip Stanley Dickson
Vintage Half-Moon Nails by Cutie Cool Nails

Friday, March 30, 2018

McCall 3640 The 'PinUp Swimsuit'

I am so happy I finished my 'Pin-Up Swimsuit' in time for the Scottish Pin-Up Competition because it really is a special pattern and it deserved a special occasion (and let's be honest, I don't wear swimsuits a lot in Scotland! haha.)

I literally finished inserting the zipper and hand sewing the facing about 20 minutes before walking out the door last weekend (meep! nothing like a good sewing deadline, eh?)

I used McCall 3640 --the only swimwear pattern from the 1940 catalogue that was generously gifted to me from Peter at Male Pattern Boldness several years ago.  I used fabric that I won in a giveaway. The fabric is swimwear (I believe?), stretchy and a beautiful bright cherry red with small white flowers (a perfect 40s style print).

I made version A which has the bodice connected to the shorts closing in the back with a zipper (yes, a zipper for your pool wear...hmmm...) and a tie knot:

I just adore the back!!!  Soooo cute.  I'll let you in on a little secret...if you go back to the pattern illustration, you can see there are a pair of trunks you are supposed to sew that go underneath this.  It makes perfect sense because if I was actually going to wear this in the water, the shorts would be up around my neck because there is so much fabric there.  Unfortunately, I didn't have enough fabric to make the under-trunks.  I don't think I'll be wearing this in the water anyways, it's more a poolside version.  I might make another version that is waterproof!  I also still want to make version B.

You can see from the photo below, the shorts has side front and side back pieces in addition to the main front and back pieces.  It's hard to tell in the photo but there is a pleat in the front and also in the back.  Took me ages looking at the illustration and pattern guide to figure out how to put the pleat in the back below the zipper.  I sort of winged it as I'm still not sure I exactly followed the guidelines. lol.

I love the bodice.  I faced it with a navy blue synthetic fabric (most likely not waterproof. ha!) because I like just the hint of navy blue on the front tie with the red and white fabric.

Super chuffed with the fit.  I actually totally forgot to grade this pattern when I cut it out and I'm so glad I forgot because with the super stretchy swimwear fabric, it was actually a little big--so I had to take in a little on each seam.

The BAIT footwear shoes are a perfect match.  I also had the hat in my collection and the hat was actually the impetus for me to use the navy blue interfacing (as it has a cute little blue bit on the crown). 

I got my hair and make-up done by the wonderful Arian at Vanity Thrills. It's amazing having one of the world's best vintage hairstylists in town.  I asked for Hedy Lamarr in front and Rita Hayworth in the back--and it's exactly what I wanted :)

Thanks to my friend, Magdalena for the pictures and another friend, Zara, took the photo below of me on stage. How excited do I look? haha.  I just love this swimsuit!!

Yipppeeeee! Sometimes sewing deadlines are good for moving things from sewing queue to real life. I am also super happy I was able to give this pattern a twirl in an actual pin-up competition--total 1940 Project McCall bucket list completion :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Scottish PinUp Competition 2018

I had the pleasure of being shortlisted as a finalist in the 2018 Scottish Pinup Competition that took place this last weekend.  This was my first time ever competing in something like this and I'm so glad I entered.  Instead of sitting at home in my me-made pyjamas on Sunday, I was pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, showing off my me-made clothes and meeting and making friends with lots of other lovely women!  I highly encourage those of you who love vintage and love the pinup look to enter your local competition.  It's such a fun experience, a great opportunity to practice some skills (like strutting your stuff and talking about what you like!) and also a chance to be appreciated for what makes you unique.  We all walked away feeling like winners and appreciated for our style.  And for those of you that may worry about how it portrays women – I can honestly say as a staunch feminist that this was probably the most inclusive and feminist experience I have had.  All of us were what you would call intersectional feminists --doing it OUR way--whatever that may be.  And that was completely empowering.

The competition started with a summer wear round:

I made my swimsuit from a 1940 McCall pattern (McCall 3640)--literally the day before the competition. It had been sitting in my sewing queue for years.  So I was happy to have an occasion to show off what I think is the ultimate swimwear pattern.  I'll do a proper blog post tomorrow dedicated to the construction of the swimsuit....but I'm super happy with the result!!

And I got to show it off onstage :)  How cute is the tie back?

The second round was evening wear and the interview combined.  I think it's safe to say we were all nervous about the interview but luckily we got the questions in advance so there weren't any surprises.  The three questions were:

1. Who is your pinup style icon and why?
2. What would you say your best feature is?
3. If a genie gave you three wishes, what would you wish for?

So nothing too challenging.  I was the last one to go for each of the rounds (they chose the order by random number assignment) and I really liked being able to listen to everyone's responses – the questions really did give everyone the chance to shine and showcase their unique selves :-)

Here's are some behind the scenes photos as we are getting ready for the last stage call.

I just love this picture of me and @markeedesaw getting ready:

There were many selfies and photos being taken:

Look at these glam girls!!!

I wore my 1938 McCall 'THE Awards Gown' for the final round:

And somehow survived the interview round – it is a bit of a blur what I actually said! haha

Everyone did phenomenal!  We had the most amazing judges too.  Below is Pedro, but there was also the amazing Claire Marie (@clairemarieglasgow) and Mini Blue (@minibluepinup).

Here's a handful of my favourite photos from the evening wear round:

And the winner was: Alice Higgins (@finella420 on instagram):

The winner and runner ups --everyone looks so happy!

 All in all, it was an amazing experience!  Something I would highly recommend to others :)

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