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
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