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!


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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