Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Butterick 6323: The MidCentury Goddess Dress

This dress has unexpectedly stolen my heart. It's not a style that I ever thought I would completely love...but I do!

I used Butterick 6323, a pattern designed by Gertie. I have been following Gertie since the early days as we both started blogging around the same time and I have just LOVED everything she has created.

This was one of the patterns that I saw at the local fabric shop when I was visiting family in the United States. It was a pattern that I bought because I really liked the illustration but I kinda knew I probably wouldn't get to sewing it soon. It's a bit of a departure from my normal 1940s style.

Wow, I couldn't have been more wrong about how much I love this style.  The thing that prompted me to sew it was the unique Nigerian wax print fabric that I got as a present on a recent work trip to Abuja.  I just love Nigerian fabrics and styles but this fabric also had a bit of a midcentury feel with the colours and the circles.  But as you can see from the fabric below, the border print was unique and I wanted a pattern that would really show it off (it's also pictured with some other fabric that I still have yet to sew with.....exciting!).

So I searched and searched through all my patterns for ones that would showcase a border print and up popped Butterick 6323 and I decided to give it a go.

The pattern was brilliant. It was my FIRST time sewing with boning and it was relatively painless after looking up some online tutorials (and having bought the supplies in the US).

I did struggle with getting the bodice to fit tight enough and I was a silly girl and didn't make a muslin of the bodice (I know, I know...). So I ended up with about a 1 inch gap in the bodice front where it was a bit too wide (but just at the front)! So I ended up just taking a tuck under the shoulder bow (you can kind of see it in the photo above, the small gathers under the bow--that's from my 'I should have made a muslin tuck'. hahaha.

I do LOVE the shoulder tie and how it lays...so classy.  In future iterations, I will also take a bit of length off the back and front bodice (not too much though).  You can see some small wrinkles in the back and in the photo below on the bodice front--especially in how it looks without the belt.  But if I stand up straight and wear a belt, it virtually disappears (or maybe the viewer gets distracted? hahaha. I'll take it!)

The photos above were taken in Abuja, Nigeria in their central park area--such a beautiful place.  The photos below were taken at a classic car show in California--for more midcentury vibes!

Overall, I am super pleased with how it turned out--I feel like it really makes the fabric happy :)  And I'm now wanting to try more unique 1950s styles!  This dress makes me feel like a midcentury goddess with the one-shoulder tie!

I definitely want to make more of these and will be on the look out for more fabulous and unique border print fabrics!  What about you? Do you love a good border print as much as me?

Photography: In garden: Godwin Oisi Photography
At classic car show: Spike and the Camera, MUAH: @lizcarrillomua
Shoes for both: Bait Footwear

Friday, July 12, 2019

Adventure 2 and 3: Dapper Day and Viva Las Vegas

Whooohooo...I'm making progress on my bucket list for my 40s.  This spring I completed two big things on my list-- going to Viva Las Vegas, the biggest rockabilly event in the world, and going to Dapper Day at Disneyland!

Let's start with Dapper Day.  I never really went to Disneyland as a child, it's only by getting into the vintage scene have I really started to appreciate Disneyland and all things Disney.

I think I was expecting to see more people in the actual park on Dapper Day--and we did see quite a few but gazillions of people go to Disneyland...so it's like a drop in the bucket.

But there is a separate expo for Dapper Day where it was great to catch up with everyone. Folks dressed in mostly 1930s-1950s styles and lots and lots of vintage and vintage inspired vendors.

Overall, I would definitely go again...Disneyland is so much fun and I want to explore Euro Disney too. I think Dapper Day would be most fun with a large group of people--so I'm hoping the Edinburgh vintage ladies can come to one of the Dapper Days!

Next up: Viva Las Vegas:

Holy Macaroly! Viva Las Vegas was loads of fun and something that is quite easy to go to on your own or with a group of friends.

If you've ever been to a conference or an event in a hotel, it's like that but all the rooms are jumpin' with music and fabulously dressed people.

There were huge venues for the burlesque and music:

There were some vendors but I was expecting a lot more vendors (and the vendors at Dapper Day were better in my opinion!).

But there were some good vintage shops and I did get one of my favourite dresses from Swanky's Vingage:

A highlight was the car show....I'm so in love with classic cars and they have some of the best. I also hear it's one of the largest classic car shows in the world....swoon!

I had an awesome time hanging out with Liz and Matt and just wandering off by myself and dancing like crazy to music....

I also got the chance to venture out and explore downtown Vegas and get some awesome photos from @spikeandthecamera! What a crazy and fun place. Was a blast....

Loved all the lights:

The pink slipper in downtown vegas (photo by Spike):

Viva Las Vegas was an AWESOME experience and I think I might have to go every year or every other year. It will definitely move from bucket list item to staple in my social life. It's just so nice to meet up with people that are into all the same things you are....the vintage community is amazing.

So what's left? Here's the current state of my 40 adventures list...

The 40 Adventures for my 40s List (in no particular order...)

Places to Travel:
1.  Namibia and Botswana
2. Cuba
3. Bali and the Pacific
4. Jordan (DONE and blogged!)
5. Myanmar (did this as well but want to explore more!)
6. Greek Islands (did this as well--coming to the blog soon!)
7. Morocco
8. Egypt
9. Bolivia
10. Argentina and Patagonia
11. Easter Island
12. LA/Hollywood/Disneyland/Dapper Day (whoohoo!)
13. Hebrides Islands
14. Mongolia
15. Japan
16. Croatia (going here at the end of the month!)
17. Sri Lanka

18. Alaskan Cruise (doing this in August!)
19. Ice hotel + northern lights + reindeer
20. Multi-day steam train journey
21. Tall ship sailing
22. Steam ship sailing
23.  Tiger Moth or Spitfire experience
24. Hot air balloon in either Cappadocia or Bagaan
25. Floating in the Dead Sea (coming to blog soon!)
26. Cruise on the Nile
27. Touring the UK in a vintage car
28. Route 66 road trip
29. Learning to ride a motorcycle

30. Up Helly Aa
31. Attending an international film festival (either Cannes or Sundance)
32. Vienna Opera Ball
33. Celebrating Carnival 
34. Attending Gertie's Sewing Retreat in NY
35. Lantern Festival in Thailand
36. Attending Viva Las Vegas (DONE!)
37. Goodwood Festival
38. Attending a swing dance camp
39. Seeing Wagner's Ring Cycle at the Bayreuth Festival

40. Freebie (to be decided later)

Are any of these things/places on your list?

Awesome photos by @spikeandthecamera
MUAH by @lizcarrillomua

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

1950s Inspired Dapper Day Dress

A dream is a wish your heart makes...these awesome photos were taken at Disneyland during 'Dapper Day'--an amazing vintage experience.  For the occasion, I made my fifth iteration of a dress copied off a dress that I got in Florence, Italy (see stripy dress in the photo below--that's the store bought one!).

It's quite a simple design. A v-neck, sleeveless bodice that leads into a pleated skirt (but where the pleats are only tacked down at the top).

The dress zips on the side and for this iteration, I made a matching fabric bow belt:

I like this dress because I can make it in a variety of different cotton weights and it's just perfect for traveling to warm weather places.

Here's some of my previous iterations. This blue version was made using African wax print --which is quite thick cotton:

This one is also a stiffer cotton. You can see both of these hold quite good pleats.

 The one I made in the picture below is the only one that I've made with a super light and soft cotton from Gertie's collection. It is the most comfortable...I just love it.  Really perfect for hot weather.

So I think I've reached my threshold with this dress--I do love the design but am itching to sew other designs.  Do you do this, sew multiple garments from one pattern? Which dress do you like best?

Friday, March 29, 2019

Butterick 8761: The Teal Pencil Skirt

It's been ages since I've sewn a pencil skirt--and I love them so much! So this new classic teal pencil skirt is a welcome addition to my me-made collection.

It features a high-waisted and longer length styled pencil skirt:

I used Butterick 8761 which is a 'quick 'n easy' pattern.  I made version A with the great tab detail at the back. I also really like the cute little faux pocket on Version B (hmmm...perhaps another version in my future?).  The pattern is literally one main piece that is then darted at four places in the waist front and four places in the waist back to create the silhouette.  It was pretty quick, taking about 2 hours to make! Score!

I had this amazing teal lightweight wool fabric in my stash from a previous project--this 1940s swing coat.  I made the swing coat about 8 years ago....so it's taken some time for it to find it's perfect companion in this pencil skirt!

I made this swing coat from a 1940 McCall pattern, which I subsequently gave away (now slightly regretting that as I would have liked to make version B with the belted back!--but alas, I have so many other 1940 McCall patterns to get to--so I hope it's new owner is giving it lots of love :)

The 1940s swing jacket paired with the pencil skirt is so reminiscent of the classic 1950s shapes. I paired the outfit with some amazing teal seamed stockings from What Katie Did UK and my favourite teal tartan Ness shoes.

Va va voom...pencil skirts are so sexy despite being quite modest!  I love the tab detail at the back:

We took these photos in an area of Edinburgh where I used to live when I first moved to the city and one of my favourite places: Dean Village.  It's almost a small secluded village type feeling right in the city centre. It used to be an old mill town on the outskirts of Edinburgh and well, the city just grew up around it. It's still a hidden gem--not immediately visible but super easy to get to and so beautiful!

I also really like my half poodle hairstyle done by Ariana at Vanity Thrills :-) I'm trying to experiment with more 1940s and 1950s styles!

Doesn't this look like a German village? I love the colours and I'm really so happy with this bright and cheery pencil skirt suit!

What about you? Are you a fan of pencil skirts? Swing jackets? Have you paired them together?


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Final Sewalong Post: Attaching the Bodice, Inserting the Zipper and Hemming the Dress

A massive thank you to Rachael from @ms.carnivale for co-hosting (e.g. leading) the sewalong...here's the LAST post!
Ok we are onto the home stretch now!

Let’s get this bodice attached to the skirt: now the 1940s way to do this is via a lapped seamed, which I will explain below. If you don’t want to do it thus, you can do a normal right sides together seam for ease. But I’ll behave and follow the pattern instructions.

1) Fold the skirt part along the 1/2” seam allowance and baste.

2) Overlap the skirt on top of the bodice and match key points such as the open edges where the zip will go and the notches. Make sure to match the raw edges. Pin.

3) Topstitch (sew neatly coz you’re gonna see it!) along the edge.

4) Press and finish the edge as you’ve done before (I used pinking shears on mine)

Before you can complete the hem, you should really allow the dress to hang for around 24 hours. This is so the skirt will lie evenly and is really important if your fabric is loose weave or on the bias as this will mean it ‘drops’ differently and you don’t want a wavy hem!

This pattern called for a ‘slide fastening’ aka a zip. There are various ways you can insert these, and most vintage patterns just write ‘refer to zip manufacturer’s guidance’. Yeah thanks for that 🙄

Generally though, your zip should zip up to under the arm, not the other way! And it’s usually on the left side of the body when worn, so hopefully you haven’t sewn up this seam (don’t laugh, it’s incredibly easy to forget about this!)

I’m going to describe my preferred method which is a hand picked zip done away from the machine. Honestly I find this this easiest (and I can do it whilst watching the telly so win) but if you want to use your machine, a quick google will give you a million zip tutorials. Just make sure to use a zip foot on your machine and do a lapped zip (unless you want to do an invisible zip but they are the work of the devil). Personally I like using vintage metal teethed zips and doing a lapped zip.

1) I start by folding over and pressing the seam allowance in so I have a nice clean edge to work with.

2) Ensure the zip is flat and straight by giving it a quick iron too.

3) Test the zip works! But keep it closed for now.

4) Working on the right side of the fabric, fold over the top fabric edge of the right side of the zip so it sits out of the way between the zip and the fabric. Pin.

5) Start on the right of the zip and pin the fabric against it near the teeth, continue down the side, using vertical pins.

6) At the bottom, use a pin horizontally to lock it in place at the bottom.

7) At the stage I spin the garment around to work on the other side.

8 Open the zip.

9) For this side, we want the fabric to cover the teeth, so pin it so there’s enough to cover the teeth but ensure the seam allowance won’t come loose.

10) Continue using vertical pins up and I close the zip as I go.

11) You need to ensure that whilst pinning the zip in place, that the bodice seam line will be matched on either side of the zip. Otherwise it’ll look stupid and won’t lie nicely. Adjust until it behaves.

12) Continue to the top and remember to fold the zip tab as you did before.

13) As long as it zips up and down fine, you are ready to sew.

14) Thread your hand needle and knot it so you’re working with double threads for strength.

15) I start on the underside on the easier right side of the zip (where it sits against the teeth) and start on the further side of the tab to ensure it is stitched down nicely.

16) Insert your needle to the right side and then immediately back inside, with only the tiniest dot of stitch on the front. Take a normal small stitch on the inside back to the front. Repeat tiniest dots on the outside and small stitches on the inside all around the zip.

17) Basically you should barely see stitches from the outside.

Not the fastest method but I find it never goes wrong which is nice.

For the hem, pop the dress on and check where it’s sitting versus where you want it to sit. There’s always a hem guide in the pattern, but as a shortie, I usually have to do more than this. A 2” hem for example is super easy.

Fold and press 2” under for example.

Then fold your hem in to the fold line and pin.

Slip stitch by hand inside so that no stitches are seen from the outside.

Press and DONE!!!

Well done folks, enjoy your new dress!!
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