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!
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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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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

McCall 1004: The 'Town and Country Wool Beret'


Here is the matching beret to my recent 1940 McCall 'Town and Country Tweed Dress Suit'.


This is from McCall 1004 -- a hat pattern from 1941 (so not technically part of my 1940 McCall Project--but close!) 


I'm wearing the hat with the pointy bit up--hahaha. Opposite the way they are wearing it on the pattern envelope. That's because I wasn't really thinking when I got my hair done and the victory roll is on the right--so it was easier to wear the hat this way!  I think it looks fine either way to be honest!


The pattern was very easy to put together--all the pieces go together like a charm.  It is a bit big and pouffy but it rests down into a nice beret shape.


I used the same wool tweed that I made the jacket from and then had some grosgrain ribbon on the top.  In retrospect, I probably would have sewn up a ribbon from the dress fabric instead of using the black grosgrain ribbon. But I think it looks fine!


We took these photos on a gorgeous Edinburgh day down by Arthur's Seat and Holyrood Park.  It has the perfect Scottish backdrop for the tweed!






Overall, very happy with the hat. I can't wait to try making more hats. There's about three patterns in the 1940 catalogue that I still have yet to try but I also want to try the other looks from this pattern too!


What about you? Have you ever sewn up any vintage hats?

Photos: Darja Bilyk
Hair: Vanity Thrills
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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

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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 
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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 closely...like 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 delay...so 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
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