Saturday, July 14, 2018

McCall 3595: The 4th of July Playsuit

So excited to be able to share my me-made 1940s 4th of July playsuit!

I used McCall 3595 -- another pattern from The 1940 McCall Project.  It's an amazing button down all-in-one shirtwaist playsuit with a matching skirt.  I didn't make the matching skirt as I already have a great navy vintage one in my wardrobe that goes perfectly with the playsuit.

The playsuit was slightly tricky to construct --especially all those buttons!  It's also tricky to wear as it's all one piece (which makes using the loo tricky as you virtually need to disrobe! ha!)  and you can imagine that you need very good posture to ensure the buttons don't gape!

I was gifted this amazing shirt-weight red and blue striped fabric from my friend Magdalena.  As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for something 4th of July related --and then I settled on this playsuit pattern.  The buttons are vintage ones that I already had--so that sealed the deal for making this pattern!

The back also has a shirtwaist effect and is slightly puffed with an inverse pleat on the bodice back.  

The waistband is set in and I made it so the stripes were horizontal for the belt section:

Overall, quite pleased as I was treating this as a wearable muslin test run for this pattern.  I probably would go in a darker colour the next time as the pale fabric can look a bit washed out against my very pale skin! hahaha. 

But I do love the stripes in the shirtwaist playsuit--it is very evocative of the 1940's look!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

McCall 3857: The 'Pink Pinafore and Blouse'

Bright pink pinafores and floral blouses – this is my idea of heaven!

I used McCall 3857, an absolutely adorably feminine pinafore pattern.  I just love the slightly widening shoulders on the pattern and the princess seams that lead into an A-line skirt.

Overall, the pattern--because it consists of the slightly flared panels –makes it easy to adjust.  I do love the wide shoulders but I also need to remember that I have narrow shoulders and need to adjust (even sleeveless) patterns to take out some width in the shoulders.  I think it's ok on this pattern but I could have probably gone a smidgeon narrower.

I do love me some princess seams! So pretty!  

We took these photos at the Botanic Gardens--and I just love the glasshouse building!

The back has a pretty line because of the fitted bodice which flows directly into a nicely draping a-line skirt.  I could have probably taken out a small bit of length in the back bodice section but it's not so noticeable when I stand up straight :)

I got the hot pink wool blend fabric on a trip to Viet Nam several years ago--and it's a DREAM to sew with (and feels very nice to the touch).  I got the colourful print for the blouse (which is a very lightweight cotton) from Edinburgh Fabrics.  The funny thing is that I sat with this fabric for ages...I would go between loving it and then feeling it was too busy for me.  I think as a blouse it's perfect as the hot pink pops of the flowers really coordinate with the hot pink pinafore.  

And bright pink is definitely becoming one of my FAVOURITE colours (I even have shoes and seamed stockings to match....yipppeeeee).

I love this very Debi-esque version of the 1940 college pinafore--in some bright and cheery colourful fabrics! 

Hair: Ariana at Vanity Thrills
Photos: Darja Bilyk

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The 'Secret Garden Dress'

Welcome to my secret garden..full of greenery and the brightest red roses!

I know I say this about every outfit I make (well almost every one...), but this one may be my favourite!!  I used a tried and true vintage pattern (Style Print 1283) for a classic 1950s shirtwaist dress.

I've used this pattern twice before and have made both of the pattern views.  The last time I sewed a full waisted shirtwaist from this pattern was my 'Midcentury Madness' dress using a perfect autumnal 50s print:

When I came across this AMAZING vintage red roses fabric at the W. Armstrong and Sons vintage store in Edinburgh, I immediately thought of the Style Print shirtwaist pattern.

The fabric suits the pattern so perfectly. I just love it! I think the fabric might be a barkcloth type fabric--it's a little heavier and more textured than most cottons.  And the colours are phenomenal. I just love the red roses on the grey background!

I even had the perfect little vintage buttons in my stash --way back when I won a pound of vintage buttons from Tasia at Sewaholic.  I'm still working my way through the stash of buttons and these ones were a match made in heaven --1950s red buttons with cute little fake diamonds in the centre.

I paired my dress with a red petticoat that I got from Vivien of Holloway, red seamed What Katie Did stockings and grey BAIT footwear shoes:

I am so delighted with this dress! Shirtwaisters with unique vintage fabric are a great match!  Plus the other nice thing about this dress is that the fabric seems like it will be long-wearing and easy to travel with (doesn't wrinkle too easily)--which is a major bonus!

I wish all my dresses were covered with large red roses :)  What about you, any fabric in your stash that you absolutely love?

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The 'Purple Paradise Dress Suit'

This project has spanned seven years in the making and includes a blouse from a 1970s pattern, a skirt from a reissued 1960s pattern and a classic waistcoat from a 1950s pattern!

I'm so pleased with how they all fit together so well!  I made the skirt back in 2011(!) but it started out it's life as a 1970s poncho (that I also made):

I actually bought the fabric in a charity shop and just loved the purple tones.  After sewing up the wool poncho for a sewing challenge, I realised I was never going to wear it as a poncho because 1) it can be windy in Edinburgh and the poncho just ends up around my ears (ha!), 2) Edinburgh weather is variable meaning layering is almost always essential – it's very hard to layer over a poncho (double ha!) and 3) 1970s looks aren't really my thing!

So I took the poncho fabric, unpicked the lining and turned to Simplicity 2154 to make a classic pencil skirt:

I should really wear pencil skirts more – they are very versatile and super easy to make.  The pencil skirt has a very straight line (as compared to the super duper fitted ones from the 1950s) with a small slit/vent in the back.

Here's a better close-up of the wool fabric pattern and my handpicked (!) zipper insertion:

Here's a picture of the back with my matching What Katie Did purple seamed stocking (yay!) and you can maybe glimpse my feeble attempt at a waistcoat tie at the back (do those things actually have a purpose??)

So the skirt has been in the closet for ages (7 years!) but it lacked any companions. I'm actually not that great with separates – I much prefer dresses unless I make the separates to go with each other at the start!

So for the blouse, I turned to a 1970s pattern (McCall's 4609):

I've been wanting to add some me-made pussybow blouses to my collection --it's such a timeless look.  So I had some purple silk fabric and thought that might be a perfect companion to my purple wool skirt.  I had partially cut out the fabric about 2 years ago --so it was great to revisit that (I actually cut out TWO pussybow blouses--the other one is almost done as well!)

However, as I was finishing cutting out, I realised I would not have enough fabric for two long sleeves!  And McCall's 4609 doesn't have a short sleeve option. I thought about what type of sleeve might work best with this silky fabric and decided to go very minimal.  So enter Sewaholic Patterns 'Alma' and their flutter sleeve!

Overall, I think it works well!  I do wish I had more of this fabric because then I could make a matching jacket.  But I think this is the perfect seasonal transition outfit (wool BUT short sleeves).

And last but certainly not least is Style 637 – the most exquisite 1950s waistcoat pattern:

I've had really good experiences with Style patterns from this era and this one is also fantastic. I just love the longer cut of the waistcoat, the faux tab pockets and the small buttons up the front.

Overall, really, really happy with the ensemble!  We took these photos in the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens and aren't the flowers CRAZY beautiful?  We sought out all the purple ones--and they are just so lovely and a fab backdrop to my purple ensemble :)

I really love this look and think I'll have to make more three-piece dress suits!  It's such a nice outfit for work!  I also think I don't have nearly enough purple in my wardrobe. I tend to wear more blues, reds and pinks and purple is a nice subtle but warm change.

I also think it's fun to mix and match decades!  Wouldn't that be a fun challenge? The three decades challenge--try and sew or wear pieces from three different decades in one outfit....hmmm...maybe I will have to host something like that :)

Hair: Vanity Thrills
Photography: Darja Bilyk
Location: Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh

Sunday, May 20, 2018

True Vintage: RAF Compact

Today I'm sharing one of my absolute favourite vintage pieces --this amazing RAF compact purse.

I got this compact purse from Herman Brown Vintage and it was still in it's original wrapping complete with fake cigarettes in the side, the original powder puff (I've since added power to the container), mirror and lipstick case.

The woman at the vintage store thought it would have been a possible gift for the military wives whose husbands were serving in the RAF.

I'm so excited to have found this! I just love the vintage RAF colour as well. I think I will try and make a military inspired dress to match the exact colour!!

Happy to give this exquisite piece a second life! YAY!

Photography: Darja Bilyk

The 'Caley Dress'

This 1960s dress make is inspired by the old Caley Train Station gates that are still visible in Edinburgh.  In the 1890s the Caledonian Railway Company wanted to build an Edinburgh city centre station that rivalled that of the Edinburgh Waverley station (still the main station today).

Here's a photo of the Caledonian Railway Company's 'Princes Street' Station in 1963 (more history and source of picture available here):

Picture: TSPL
Two years later in 1965, the station was demolished.  The dress I made is from a basic Butterick sheath dress pattern from around 1963-1965.  So I felt it was perfect to recreate what it must have been like to be in Edinburgh at the time of this other great massive station (which by the way is now right at the back of the Waldorf Astoria and these gates lead into a car park!)

I bought this vintage yellow flowered fabric with subtle grey tones from an antique mall in Washington and have been waiting for the perfect project for it!  I didn't have a lot of fabric so I knew I had to do a fairly simple type dress (no big shirtwaist dress pattern for this amount of fabric!)

I'm so happy with how it turned out!  And looky at the matching belt I made (matching belts make me so happy --in fact, matching colours makes me super happy! lol.).  Speaking of matching colours, the dress goes perfectly with my Bait Footwear shoes (actually, I bought the shoes after I already had the fabric! My favourite thing about sewing!!)

Here you can really see the gates against the Waldorf Astoria Hotel:

The dress consists of a narrow panelled skirt attached to a basic v-neck bodice with a side zipper.  I did extend the sleeve length a bit so that it is a bit longer than the pattern called for. 

 The suitcase is from my Grandma--from around this time..probably 1950s.  It's great inside as it has fabric barriers for each side that slot into hooks.

Overall, quite pleased with this great spring dress. Makes me want to take a steam train trip! ;)

I hope to get more into train travel history in the UK--it's so interesting and I just love all the old train posters...would be fun to learn more about which stations still exist and the histories behind this great way of traveling!

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