Saturday, July 18, 2020

The Art Deco Gem of the Skies

YAY! My second 1920s make --which I made for the perfect occasion, the Napier Art Deco Festival.

Back before everything went a little crazy with the world, I managed to get out (just in time) for my FIRST trip to New Zealand. I've been planning this trip for some time and I'm really lucky that it took place in February because not more than two weeks after returning, the UK went into lockdown and we are just now emerging from that! I feel so so lucky as I know many people had holidays disrupted.  

The Art Deco Festival is the most amazing vintage festival--set in the completely preserved Art Deco town of Napier with lots and lots of activities over the course of the long weekend. I'll be doing a separate post about the festival--I'm hoping to go back in the future, it was so much fun!

One of those events was the opportunity to ride in a DC-3 vintage airplane. These planes were the Art Deco gems of the skies and continued to be made up until the 1960s and there are about 200 still flying across the globe. I was so so excited to get a chance to flow in one of these low flying vintage planes. 

So, of course, I had to make a special outfit for the event. I have a small collection of late 1927 McCall patterns (I'm specifically collecting pattern numbers from 5000-5100) and one of them is this gem:

I love this pattern and it's been so fun to explore sewing 1920s patterns (this is my second). And if you've been following me for awhile, you won't at all be surprised that I didn't quite finish this dress before I got on my long haul flight to New Zealand. So I actually finished the collar by hand in various hotel rooms (hahaha).

I actually made the dress and chose the fabrics to match this awesome cloche hat that I got in Edinburgh at Fabhatrix:

I then found the feather boa and shoes in Napier and the outfit was complete!

The actual flight itself was amazing!  The plane was very small and was gorgeously preserved:

There were small square shaped windows with curtains! I remember curtains from the older airlines and it was so fun to see this again. The seats were quite large:

No air conditioning in the airplane--so it was quite warm. Luckily I had a matching fan that I also got in Napier. It was perfect!

And wow! The flight was amazing! It was loud and low-flying but the views were PHENOMENAL!

It was quite a windy day so we had to do an alternative route and you definitely felt the bumps of the wind. I don't mind that at all luckily!

I posted a short video of the ride on Instagram (unfortunately it's too big to post here) taken by the amazing photographer Robbie Cancian who also took these pictures.

Yipppeeee...what an amazing bucket list item to tick off. I will never forget this amazing adventure.

What about you? Ever sewn 1920's? Do you enjoy flying? Would you ever go on a vintage plane ride?


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

McCall 3658: The Stairway to Heaven Dress

Finally getting around to blogging about this dream dress pattern.

My creative process always starts with the fabric--never with the pattern. I find a fabric I love and then decide which pattern matches it best. This allows me to sew most frequently from my stash and gives me lots of creative freedom to play around with different vintage patterns and decades.  So when I purchased this AMAZING and lush Liberty of London print fabric, I knew instantly that I wanted a pattern that would show it off. I only purchased about a meter and a half so I knew it would have to be part of either a dress or made into separates. I've been less into separates lately and more focused on building my dress and suit wardrobe.

Enter McCall 3658, the most perfect pattern for showing off a fabulous print! The bodice of this dress is quite simple with a button down shirt front. The really unique detail is that there is a matching jacket but the jacket uses part of the bodice fabric ATTACHED at the back to the jacket to form the bow. It's really quite unique! You can see it in the line drawings on the pattern cover:

I made the rest of the dress--the skirt and the jacket from a great sturdy purple gabardine fabric:

I really adore the look of the jacket with the bow:

And because the bow is sewn onto the jacket back, it sits perfectly under the edges of the jacket, I really love that design feature. You can also see the vintage-like buttons that I found that match the olive green pattern in the fabric and blend in a bit more than a purple button might:

I can also wear the dress without the jacket and love how it looks like separates but isn't:

It's funny how most of my fabrics in my stash are already 'destined' for certain patterns...I have it all in my mind. So when I pick up the fabric say three years after I bought it, I know it's 'time' to match it with the pattern that I always had in mind for it. This is such the case with this fabric and I'm so happy to get to sew it to it's vintage pattern match!

We took these photos at a local garden just outside of Edinburgh--and we were the only ones there!  It was very beautiful! Thank you to my dear friend Darja for the taking these photos.

What about you? Do you start with the fabric? Or does your creative process start with the pattern? Or do you start by looking at inspiration pictures?

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
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