New Year, New Goals

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Over the course of the last few years, sewing has become a passion of mine in a way I had never expected. When I first asked my mom to teach me how to sew at the age of 17, I never had expected that five years later that 75% of the garments in my closet would be made by me.

What bolstered me to keep up with this hobby of mine was my love of dressing retro and the inability to purchase ready-to-wear ensembles because: I’m way too particular with my style, very rarely can find my size and let’s be honest, most reproduction and true vintage clothes are really expensive!

I felt inspired to jump out of the norm of skinny jeans and baggy t shirts with the help of pictures floating around Pinterest. It helped me discover lovely blogs of women of today who wore dresses with matching hats and gloves. I discovered black and white photos of women walking down the streets in swishy skirts and confident smiles and candid shots of the women of Old Hollywood in their everyday attire. 566FFB89-E62C-4ACE-B591-20EF2D998F8BI loved it all and soon began to develop my aesthetic within the realm of the retro style.

Last year I made it my goal to expand my sewing skills and explore new techniques, new fabrics and new types of outfits. I made my first ball gown, my first swimsuit and my first dirndl! I made a handful of special occasion dresses and a selection of skirts and pants.

However, as my style is progressing, I’m wanting to wear more authentic-looking 1950s outfits that are casual and comfortable to walk down the streets with but still show off who I am. I referred back to the images I had pinned on Pinterested that had inspired me, and I realized my closet was lacking completed, matching ensembles. It was popular then to own outfits such as a matching jacket and skirt, a shirt’s collar that was the same fabric as the pants, a coat that matches the hat and so on.

Therefore, this year I want to work on creating outfits that perfectly go together. I want to revive the beautiful outfits worn by woman of the past. To breathe life back into these incredible designs and show how downright creative fashion designers were 70, 60 years ago. 3F08FFC5-FD39-4973-B5FA-E935EE4038A9E809AF4D-31CF-4ADE-8266-3E912B712031

The First Project of 2018 

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For my first outfit of the year, I was inspired by Lauren Bacall. She has always been one of my favorite style icons. I adore how her feminine outfits showcased strength and confidence, was fashion forward yet had a relaxed, comfortable element to them.

I love her usage of dramatic bishop sleeves, so I created an outfit inspired from this one 8A7E0B08-649E-4139-B2A3-DC484F602B07

This outfit gave me the perfect opportunity to whip out Simplicity’s newly reproduced pattern on sleeves and try out the 3/4 length (A). 346249DD-3E8E-45A5-BAE2-B72C2A0D3F57

In fact, I had to whip out a lot of new patterns, because I had to mix many of them to get the look that I wanted! For the blouse, I used an actual vintage
pattern – Simplicity 4676 – and replaced the pussy bow with a basic collar ( but one day I will make that blouse again with the bow!). The dress, which is a powder blue corduroy, was created from Vogue’s reproduction pattern 8789 for the top and I swapped the full skirt for a basic pencil skirt. And of course, I added side seam pockets.4D1DA016-9266-4ED6-ABA8-BC36BB7319AC2F97E321-DCD4-4A2A-B1F9-74DCECAE752E8F364EE9-272D-4191-B6B5-D09C2B9BD6FC2B3C96C9-58BB-4859-A5D6-7DA1D9AEF840

I’m very happy with the outcome. The pattern mixing and the fabric I utilized were extremely challenging, but it’s all worth it in the end. There’s little things that I’m not fully fond of, such as how large the sleeves cuffs turned out to be, despite me doubling the seam allowance. I also am uncertain about the center back zipper, just because it looked so noticeable. However, I really hate wiggling into side seam zippers, so.

I think that this is a great start to an exciting year. There will be changes in my personal life as well as changes to my wardrobe, and I cannot wait to see how both of them will progress!

Until next time,

Cheers, darlings!

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My Sabrina-Inspired Gown

 

IMG_0786I made it my resolution this year that I would truly challenge myself as a seamstress. I wanted to push myself to expand my creativity, learn new techniques and patterns and hone in on my skills. I think towards the end of the year, I’ll make a post about all the articles of clothing that I’ve made for 2017 that had exposed new elements for me to learn.

A few years ago, my mom bought me 3 yards of a beautiful embroidered satin. I fell in love with it, but fretted that I’d never be able to use it. It’s quite fancy-schmancy and I don’t have many events to go to that requires satin.

Until now! The Air Force Ball happens every other year and this year they were celebrating 70 years. So what better time to remind my husband that we never had our chance at prom due to our long distance relationship? 😉

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My first attempt to sketch my designs to help me visualize better all the ideas that pop in my head. I’m not good at drawing, but I found the whole process to be a a great stress reliever

I eagerly pulled out the satin from the bottom of my fabric stash and began designing. First and foremost, I loved the popular 1950s concept of belted evening gowns and an overskirt. I used the overskirt pattern from Gertie’s B6353. I had it gathered at the waist and sewn onto the belt. That way I could take it off whenever I needed to.

 

I decided to use Gertie’s Butterick 5882 pattern for the bodice and Butterick 4343 for the skirt, because I could get the seams for both pieces to match. It was my first attempt at boning, and now that I know what the outcome is, I’m hooked! I’ll definitely be doing it again.

 

It was finally time to start cutting. Before I  begin on that process, I want to give a shout out to the one that was there for me the entire time, always by my side in moments of frustration, the one that became my very best friend on this project:

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My trusty seam ripper

(The seam ripper end got slightly chewed up during this time. I think it’s because my puppy felt a little jealous that it had received the most attention, so there was a lot of time chasing the doggo around the couch trying to get it back.)

What I’m trying to get at is that this dress was DIFFICULT.IMG_0017

I found a stunning gold crepe lamé to utilize as the pleated bra and overskirt. Although fairly easy to sew, carbon print markings did not show up, so I had to resort to using a bright pink marker. It also did not like to get pleated and lay flat, so I laid the bra to a flat surfice and laid heavy weights on top for two days. I also had to do that with the plastic boning because it wanted to curl.IMG_0050

I thought the bra and the boning would the the most difficult part, until I had attached the skirt and the zipper and tried the garment on. It looked terrible! Anyone who’s worked with Butterick 5882 may understand. It’s a funky pattern! Normally Gertie’s patterns are too short waisted for me, but the one and only I’ve made with boning just happened to be too long for me. Also, the bust part sat too high and the strap was slicing my boobs horizontally. It looked a little better when I wore a structured push up bra, but this dress ideally should probably be worn with a strapless bra, because the push up bra was way too visible.

With my handy dandy seam ripper, I went to town undoing the bodice. I cut out a new strap that thinner, because the original was overwhelming my small frame. I broadened the width of the  bust by an inch and a half and lowered it three inches. I also unattached the front boning and snipped them both down an inch each. Trying it on again, it still gave me a weird shape with a  strapless bra. I tried putting bra inserts and that didn’t help either.  I just had to use the structured bra with straps, because it looked much better. Therefore, ripping out the strap seams, I had to place them right where my bra straps were. IMG_0797Then I had to make gold inserts in the front to hid the part where the bra cup is attached to the strap.  I honestly had to make quite a few inserts, handstitching them to the lining, trying it on, having it not work, ripping them out and starting the process over again.

The skirt ended up being slightly shorter than I would have liked, because satin shreds A TON. Ever have one of those moments where something bad happens and you distinctly remember your mom warning you do to something to avoid this exact event? I maaaaay have a memory of my mom telling me the very first day she taught me how to sew that stay-stitching is important to avoid the fabric fraying too much and I had immediately ignored that extra step for five years. It finally came back to haunt me.

After all the ripping and re-doing, it still was not 100%. Satin doesn’t iron very well, so I had to keep checking the strap to lay down and arm movements made the gold inserts bunch up and the pleated bra to stick out. There was a lot of fashion tape used for the ball!

IMG_0641However, I still am totally in love with this dress. It is more than just an evening gown. It represents the grueling three weeks I spent working on it while going through a handful of stressful events and stress-induced sicknesses. If there is one way to showcase perseverance,  it’s this garment.IMG_0626

I had to keep working and re-working over and over again to get this to fit the way that I wanted it to and I think it did alright in the end. I was still successful in cutting a rug on the dance floor and my husband and I had a fun night!

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I made my husband party sleeves as well!

 

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Dirndl Fever

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I have been dreaming of making a dirndl for a couple of years now, but never felt that I had the skill to accomplish one. Sometimes, I would lackadaisically browse the rows of fabric stores, looking for fabric that would fit the look of a dirndl to encourage me to just try it out. I never found anything that inspired me, so I would quickly revert to the many other sewing ideas that had popped in my head.

However, on my latest trip visiting family in Germany this summer, my great aunt and my mom went with me to a fabric store in downtown Karlsruhe. We excitedly found the perfect prints and trimmings for a dirndl. As soon as I was back home in America, I immediately started on what is my most difficult, detailed article of clothing I have made thus far.

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I had already purchased the Gertie’s Butterick 6352, so I decided to stick with that, rather than using a dirndl pattern from Burda, because I like to make things more difficult for myself.

Just kidding.

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The Gertie pattern was inspired by a dirndl anyways and I felt that it would be easy to make changes to fit the image I had in my head. Besides, I had already purchased it on sale for $1.99 and the Burda patterns were over $20, so…

My hope for the dirndl was to have a traditional look to it, but still show off my style and taste by giving it a retro flare. I had to nix the gathered skirt from the pattern, because I didn’t want to add the ruffles at the bottom and the skirt itself would then be too short for me. Therefore, I created a circle skirt with many pleats and side seam pockets (always gotta add my pockets!) to give the look of a dirndl skirt, but still have a 1950’s element to it. I also did not make the puffy sleeves, because my great aunt had gifted me with a traditional white blouse that goes underneath the dirndl bodice.

Really, I just used the bodice pieces from the pattern.

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I took a few snaps of the process to send to my mom and great aunt on the progress

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Traditionally, dirndl bodices do not have boning, but they are sturdy. I also decided not to use boning, but my bodice fabric was thin and slippery. So, inspired from a suggestion from a seamstress on the Gertie WeSewRetro page who had commented that denim would be good interfacing, I went with a duck canvas blend because of its neutral color and it had thickness and a nice stretch to it.

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I made my own bias tape out of leftover fabric from the skirt for the armscyes and hand-stitched the trimmings and buttons. The pattern called for sewing the zipper in the front (which is the more traditional way), but I changed it to be placed in the back, because I wanted a smoother look in the front and felt more confident doing a center back zipper.

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Making an apron out of lace and ribbon was perplexing. I have never worked with lace and could not find anything online for suggestions, so I just went with what I thought would work. Wanting to avoid the lace getting stuck in the dog feed when I was gathering it, I pinned strips of toilet paper and then ripped them off after the basting was finished. The plan was effective, but I’m sure there’s better methods out there.

For the side seams, I did a rolled hem. However, looking back it would have been better if I had purchased a thin ribbon the same color as the waistband to hid the seams that way and give it a neater finish.

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In one month, I finished the project. It involved many nights of staying up late, because I was too excited to stop and hours of mulling over ways to approach the many different challenges sewing this dirndl came with. I put all of my knowledge of sewing into this garment (which isn’t a lot) and came out learning so much more. It’s most definitely not perfect, but I still love the way it has transpired. I caught the dirndl fever and plan to be making more in the future. Perhaps a winter version is in order??

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I’m really appreciative of my mom and my great aunt for wanting to be so invested in this project. They gifted me with the lace and the bodice fabric and their words of encouragement and suggestions throughout these weeks were really helpful.

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Proof that I have an obsession with edelweiss accessories

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I hope this post was helpful to anyone browsing for inspo when making a dirndl or for wanting to go their own creative route and using pattern pieces as base lines.

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Prost!

Dirndl Fever

1940s Waves Tutorial

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This post is a bit different from my usual sewing projects, but I’ve gotten a lot of questions on other social media sites on how I style my hair and I think that making a blog post on the topic is the best way to cover all aspects of hair care and hairstyling that I’ve discovered works good on my hair type. Over the last six years or so of dressing vintage, I think my hairstyling has improved. I mean, we have gone from these:

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It was a rough day 

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My mom always told me to never brush out my curls because they will disappear, so my first few times pin curling, I literally went to school looking like this. It’s just… so… so embarrassing…

To this:

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Its a little better, don’t you think?

When I was first wanting to dress more retro, there wasn’t as many resources online on styling vintage hair as there is now, and it was even harder finding more authentic styles, as oppose to the more modern pinup hairstyles. Instagram was still in its beginning stages, YouTube didn’t have as many tutorials as it does now, and I didn’t know about Facebook hair groups. It’s awesome how much the style has been booming the last five years and has formed such a positive online community.

I’m actually appreciative of not having as many resources though, because it taught me that the best way to look how I truly wanted to look, was just trial and error. I experimented with many different setting patterns and different curlers, and different hair cuts and hair products. Sometimes it turned out okay, other times… not so much.

So this is my best advice – just keep giving it your best shot, learn from what’s working and what’s not, and don’t be afraid to experiment! We all have such different hair types, hair cuts, lifestyles etc. so the best way to find what works best for you is to just start working on it! Don’t expect perfection at first, it takes time!

So now it’s time to get into the dets:

Hair Type

Our hair types definitely determine what we can achieve with our wet sets and how we should go about taking care of our hair.

My hair is naturally very straight, very fine and rather thin. Because it’s so straight, I don’t have any issues with my natural oils distributing themselves down the hair shafts, so it looks oily by the next day. I also don’t dye my hair or put much heat to it. Therefore, my hair is extremely healthy, which equals to making it harder to hold volume and curl. There’s no hope with a curling iron or hot rollers for me. If there’s no hair product, my hair feels exactly like baby hair – it’s that soft and that lacking of texture. It just drives me crazy!

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What my hair looks like when it’s straight

Hair Care 

Because my hair is fine, I can’t put heavy products that could weigh it down or make it look any oilyer. I wash my hair with a simple drugstore shampoo and then spritz my hair with a dilution of apple cider vinegar and water. I haven’t used conditioner in five years now, because I realized, for me, it was making my hair more dried out and very staticky and it made my hair look greasy. If you do want to try out the vinegar rinse route, please make sure it’s 50% vinegar and 50% water . Vinegar is still acidic and too much can damage the hair. I also have tried nixing shampoo and using baking soda instead (Yes, I read that propaganda on Pinterest too) but it never improved my hair and after researching more into it, I learned that it’s actually abrasive to the hair and not recommended.

I wash my hair about 3 times a week. Once a week, before I hop into the shower, I use a mixture of jojoba oil and rosemary oil and massage it into my temples and run the remnants through my hair. I leave that in for about 10-20 min. I started applying this mixture last year, because I was experiencing some hair fall out due to stress, so I did the oil treatment and was taking prenatal vitamins (prescribed by my doctor for other reasons, but it does have biotin in it and helped with my hair as well). I got some hair growth from it and my hair doesn’t fall out as badly anymore.

• A quick word on prenatal vitamins/ biotin pills. If you have a thyroid problem or are about to get your thyroid levels tested, please disclose with your doctor that you are taking biotin, because biotin can interfere with your thyroid levels. You can find more information here

After the shower, I wait until my hair is about 70% dry and then I add Big Sexy Hair root plump plus to my roots for some texture and volume (seriously the best root lifter ever) and then blow dry it upside down before I begin wet setting. Some may find that a wasteful task because I’m going to wet my hair again soon afterwards. Maybe it is silly, but I want to lock in as much volume as I can and I think (maybe it’s not true) that the blow drying helps activate the mousse to work better and takes away the stickiness of it.

Hair cut

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I’m due for another cut, but the last time I did cut it, the stylist sat down with me and we discussed what would be best for what I was going for and my hair type. She knows the Middy very well and knows that in reality, it’s a shag cut. Also it’s very very short. Even the Femme Fatale, which is the longest middy cut, is only six inches from the head, all around. It doesn’t work  for everyone, unless you’re truly dedicated to having your hair curled in the 50s style every single day. Although my hair is curled almost always, my stylist said that because my hair is so straight, that that many layers wouldn’t be great. So we decided for now, I would have a deep U shape cut with absolutely no layers.

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My bangs are about chin length. It’s good to have the front part to be a lot shorter than the back, so that you can have smaller waves framing your face. The horseshoe is a spectacular cut if you’re going for a 1940s or a 1960s hairstyle. It also is a lot easier for most hairstylists to understand what you’re going for and to to cut it. Lastly, it helps make thin hair look fuller and thicker. I’ve had this cut essentially the same in varying lengths for over a year now and here’s what it looks like on shorter hair:

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They See Me Rollin’

Okay now for the wet set! I like to sit on the couch and turn on some Netflix while I’m rolling my hair. I usually use a dilution of Lottabody and water in a spray bottle. The Lottabody instructions state 1 part solution to 2 parts water. I found that it was too heavy for my hair, so now I use a few drops for every 8 oz.  I lightly spritz the strand, focusing mostly on the ends. Motions foaming wrap is also a great setting lotion, but I don’t like having to get my hands cold, wet and sticky, so I haven’t used that one in a long time.

Pin curling is awesome, because it gives a much more authentic vintage style and it’s easier to follow 40s and 50s setting patterns and styles. Pin curls worked best for me when I lived in a dry climate. In the past two years, I’ve lived in much more humid areas and pin curls just don’t hold as much curl for me as I need, so now I resort to foam rollers.

1 inch foam rollers are the most popular and they seem to work great for most hair types. But I have to use 3/4 inch foam rollers because my hair curls much better with them.

• If your hair is straight and fine like mine, I’ve discovered it’s best to use smaller rollers, roll smaller strands and use more rollers.

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Gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette!

I’m a light sleeper, so I need to be as comfortable as I can be. I’ve taken out most of the plastic clasps from my rollers and inserted strands of cloth from an old shirt into the holes. So, all I have to do is roll my hair up, cross the two ends of cloth and place a curved bobby pin (not the bumpy, normal ones. Those are uncomfortable to sleep in for me!) through the cloth. This holds my rollers in place so much better than the plastic clasps ever did and it’s a lot better to sleep in!

When I’m doing the back of my head, I run out of regular foam rollers and have to resort to pillow rollers. I don’t find them very comfy, which is why I only use them in the center back. I’m a side sleeper, so I don’t have to feel them.

I have discovered that separating each strand of hair horizontally, makes it harder to brush out those lines the next morning. So I divide the strands diagonally, which works like a charm.

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I don’t use a specific setting pattern. I just try to jam in as many as I can around my face.

The only areas I use the clasps for are the bangs and the very nape of my neck. For the bang area, I use 1/2 in rollers because I want a tighter curl around my face. Those horrible clasps that don’t stay put too well, so I do a trick that I learned from the Vintage Vanity on YouTube: I insert a pin curl clip to pin the clasp down. I have to use the clasps for the nape of my neck as well, because there’s not enough hair for the pins to grip on to.

I then tie a scarf over all the rollers to hold them in place and let them dry overnight.

• When a more authentic 1940s style, don’t roll the back rollers all the way up to the crown. The 40s hair styles didn’t focus so much on volume, so start curling the hairs at the very bottom and then working your way up, stopping halfway at the head. Like this photo shows here:

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The Brush Out

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What I Use:

Denman styling brush

Comb

Teasing brush

Hand mirror

Alligator clips

Elnett Hairspray

Jojoba oil (occasionally)

Its important that when you’re taking out the rollers, to make sure that they are all completely dry. That will ensure longevity and bounciness in your curls. I like to leave my rollers in for 9-11 hours. If one is not completely dry, roll it back up and use your blow dryer for five to ten minutes all over the head and then wait until your hair is cooled down to take them out. To prevent the rollers from not being too damp in the morning, only lightly spritz the very ends before rolling your hair and either don’t use a head scarf or find one that is sheer so the hair can dry better.

When my rollers are out, I like to run my fingers through my hair to break apart the separations of curls. Then I use my Denman styling hair brush, because it’s a great one to break up the curls. If your curls are very crispy, use a bit less Lottabody in your setting lotion next time.

Once my hair is forming into the waves that I want to see, I grab the ends of the hair and brush them against my palm to smooth out the frizziness and to guide the hair to form together inwards.

Sometimes, I use a small dollop of the jojoba oil (it’s the lightest weight oil) and softly glide my hands down my hair to help with the frizziness.

If my hair is wanting to stay in a spiral form and not mold together, I grab my teasing comb and pull the ends downwards and lightly tease them underneath and then smooth out the outside. That also is great to add more fluff to the bottom.

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When I’m getting near the end, my focus is making sure all the hair falls together and there’s no separations. So, I put the brush down and rely on the comb, because the styling brush is used to break up the curls and the comb is great for a more gentle brush out to group the hair together. Remember to use your hand mirror to check the back of your hair. That’s where I always tend to find gaps of hair that I have to brush through. I lightly brush the ends that are still frizzy until I’m satisfied.

I don’t use alligator clips all over because I like my hair to be more free form. However, I use one or two on my bangs to secure in the S wave. I lightly tease the bangs at the roots (any more teasing and I start loosing the curl), spritz some hairspray and smooth the section back, slide an alligator clip inwards and then encourage the wave to come back forward and smoothing out the rest of the strand with the comb.

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Then I use my handy dandy hairspray and spray it all over my head, focusing more on the ends and the front.

And there you have it! A lot of people have told me that it must take me forever to get my hair like this, but honestly, once I got used to it, it really doesn’t take that much time. Rolling it takes about 30-40 min, but I’m usually watching a show, so the time goes faster and taking out the rollers and the brush out takes about twenty minutes, and then my hair is great for two to three days.

I hope this helps anyone who has been experiencing similar issues! Let me know if you have any other questions!

Until next time,

Cheers, darlings!

A Betty Haynes Recreation

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Hello! I’m back with another inspiring outfit, this one from Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas! This look is actually an entry for an online sewing challenge another Instagram user informed me about! Anyone else into sewing challenges? I really enjoyed the one I participated in last year, called the Dress Like Your Grandma challenge hosted by Tanya Maile Hughes (on instagram @tanyamaile and her blog Tanya Maile Hughes.) Unfortunately I was unable to participate this year for the challenge, because I was in the process of moving overseas. So I was happy to discover that I can participate in this other one – Sewing the Scene 2018, hosted by Jo Salt, @theunfinishedseamstress (you can find her  Blog here). This challenge involves finding an outfit from a scene in a movie or show that you particularly like and recreating it.

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I had a few selected and posted a poll on my Instagram Stories a month or so ago, and Rosemary Clooney’s outfit had the most high votes. The fact that Edith Head is a my favorite fashion designer, I was excited to recreate this classic look of hers.

I really love the outcome of this outfit, but I definitely struggled getting through! There were a lot of irksome issues that arose that made me almost want to give up.

Here are the patterns that I used.

Butterick 8024 is a true vintage pattern, but I definitely think Butterick needs to revive it, because it’s my absolute favorite one so far! (If you want to see the whole outfit made, check out my Instagram, I posted a few photos of it earlier this year!)  So if you see if floating on Etsy, definitely get it! I’m thinking for a future project, the blouse can easily be turned into a cozy 1940s bomber jacket with lengthened sleeves. For the dress I utilized Butterick 5919, minus the bow and collar and weird skirt train-tail thing (option c). I wouldn’t recommend this pattern if you actually have a bust or really hate sewing those square inserts. Which I qualify for both. So it wasn’t a pleasant experience 😣

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The first issue was that because I now live in Germany, fabric is very expensive. Sometimes, I can acquiescence to this, if it’s great quality. But even here, quality of fabric isn’t always up to par, and the prices are never fair. 4 euros for 100 m of thread? 12 euros for one meter of cheap polyester lining. Heck no! It makes me miss going to Joann’s with a nice amount of coupons saved onto my phone and all those big holiday sales!

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So here was my first attempt ordering online at http://www.fabric.com. The quality and price was nothing to complain about. But (and this is solely my fault) I ordered twill for the dress, thinking it was stretch twill, and it was not, so it was horrible to wear, and a starchy poplin in a much-brighter-than-I-expected buttercup yellow (I could not find any mellow yellows).

The problem with the dress that I discovered is, twill is great for pencil skirts for the wrinkle-resistant and sturdy-ness of the fabric, but horrible for a bodice if you want to, oh I don’t know, move your arms? Be able to zip the back up by yourself? Then the pattern came with a lot of fit issues. The neckline was originally too high and constricting (the twill added to the discomfort) so I gave it a one inch seam allowance and turned it more into a crew neck shape.

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Then there were the square side panels under the bust that became tough. Those panels are definitely a very 1950s dressmaking concept. However, they are a pain to sew, because you’re sewing two edges of a convex shape to a 90 degree angle concave piece, and that involves slow sewing, pivoting, and lots of stress during the entire process. I had to do this multiple times, not because there was any puckering (although that does happen frequently with these panels!) but because it kept cutting my bust in half and needed to be lowered each time. The larger bodice piece also just didn’t provide enough room for me. In the end, the panels have a 3/8 in seam allowance and it still is a bit restricting there. Luckily, it’s hard to see in black!

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I made this bodice before a couple of years ago and had a ton of issues there too. But that was due to everything being too large and kept looking funky with each adjustment. This time around, everything was too small! I don’t know, maybe the pattern shrunk or something??

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Wanted my simple LBD to have some unique pizazz!

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The blouse was fairly simple to make. However, I couldn’t figure out how Rosemary had her blouse closed at the front with no buttons. I thought at first that maybe she was actually wearing a skirt and not a dress, but I couldn’t see any waistband. Well, my pattern has a cute shirtband that I really like, so I just stuck with that and added just one button to close my shirt.

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The fabric was very stiff and thin, whereas Rosemary’s appears to be thicker and more blouse-y, but oh well. There weren’t many options for yellow online and I ended up liking the stark contrast of yellow and black. Reminds me of a nice little bumblebee 🐝

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The dress came out looking really nice, but boy is it uncomfortable! I don’t have many places to wear a black dress, and even if I did, I’m not sure I’d be excited to wear this one! I had planned of getting rid of the bodice weeks ago, because I was so upset with it. However, I wanted to persevere, because the keyhole back is so dang cute and I didn’t have more fabric to make a new top. Now that I’ve finished the challenge, I think I will let go of the bodice and just turn it into a simple black pencil skirt.

Ooooor it may just stay in my closet, ignored and untouched as new sewing projects pop up and interest me. Who knows??

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog! I wish you the best on your own sewing projects! Until next time,

Cheers, darlings!

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A Brigette Bardot Inspired Ensemble

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I started this year with a goal of recreating outfits from various actresses/models/designers. I was hoping to get a few done this summer, but with moving to Europe, waiting months for all of our household items to arrive (including my beloved sewing machine and fabric) and wanting to travel the beautiful countries that are currently surrounding us, I just could not squeeze in all the recreations I had envisioned.

However, I did manage to complete one look from Brigette Bardot. Although it was the 1960s and early 70s where she become such an international style icon, and we now have terminology such as  “Bardot bangs” and “Bardot neckline” from that era, its her style (surprise, surprise) in the late 1950s that personally inspires me

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What I appreciate about her style is how low key it was, and yet it was elegant, sexy and still put together. I decided to recreate the outfit of her black slacks and bustier top, because I had two patterns that look very similar to what she wore.

I’ve made the pattern of the pants before. They have been my go-to for high waisted pants for years. I’ve made pants from retro-inspired patterns and authentic vintage patterns, but I still love Simplicity 1371 the most. They fit great, they have pockets and they have enough room in the tush for me to feel comfortable.

The bustier top was a new one for me. However I’ve seen many sewers share their makes of this pattern on Instagram and they all look fabulous, so I was excited to give this one a go. Turns out, I absolutely love it. It provided a great authentic 50s shape and it was super easy to make. I did discover, however, that for me, the size the envelope suggested would fit me was too large. I made the pattern again later on with a different fabric two sizes below mine and it fit much better.

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Isn’t my backyard just stunning? We’re really enjoying our new home in the forest!

I loved the ensemble, because it was simple, sexy and the pieces can be easily mixed and matched with other garments. They’ve become great staples to my wardrobe!

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Now that I am settled into my new home, I’ll be able to focus back onto my goal. I can’t wait to get started on my next recreation! What style icon would you like to see recreated? Have you recreated an outfit from a celebrity/photo?

Until next time,

cheers, darlings! 89DA4FE4-ABDA-4F1B-9C27-1A1FAA58E45A

Never Make Your Own Wedding Dress

 

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I believe there is a trinket of advice we’ve all vaguely heard once or twice before and that is: Don’t make your own wedding dress.

Despite the understandable rationale right there, I’ll admit that I had considered making my wedding dress when I was first engaged. The main reason being that there is only one person who can capture what I imagine my wedding dress to look like and that person is me.

I’m incredibly picky. I like sliced strawberries – not whole strawberries, nor blended strawberries. Sliced strawberries. I love blue hydrangeas, but white or pink hydrangeas? No, just no. Therefore, you can visualize my angst when it came to purchasing a wedding dress, especially when my preferred style leans more towards the aged photographs of what your grandmother used to wear back when she called herself a “hot toddy”.

However, I turned away from the absurd idea of making my own dress and surprisingly found a wedding dress I was very happy to purchase (along with a seamstress adding lace sleeves to it) , and instead I made a reception dress.

I knew I needed that reception dress, because my ceremonial gown is very heavy. It is graces with a long lace train and numerous layers of tulle and satin. Also, the lace sleeves had no stretch to them, so I could not move my arms very high.

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I’m the kind of gal who wants to get boogie on the dance floor, and my wedding reception is no exception. I  choose the Butterick Retro Pattern 5748, because it provided mobility in my arms and the simplicity of the pattern highlighted the pure white satin fabric I had chosen. B5748_aNaturally I made my own changes to the dress. As I always do, I researched the pattern on Google to see how other sewers recreated it, because honestly, how true to form is that drawing of the dress??

– Shout out to those talented seamstresses who not only make these retro patterns beautifully, but also post them on their blogs!

Due to personal preference, I decided to:

  • lower the neckline slightly
  • follow the B pattern, but keep the slit in the front
  •  I wanted the skirt to be fuller, so I used the largest size for the skirt pieces, added more fabric to the bottom and then gathered the waist. (Also I maaaay have used two petticoats..)

After the changes, I was very happy with the turnout. It was such a fun dress to dance in!
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My husband (HUSBAND! So crazy!) and I did the jitterbug for our first dance.

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Dancing with my Daddy

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And there you have it! My wedding turned out to be absolutely amazing and just how I dreamed it to be. I went to bed that night with cake splattered all over my skirt, my curls  gone, my feet completely bruised, and yet, giddy and excited for our future to begin.

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Cheers, darlings!

Introduction

When I gaze at a slightly crinkled sewing pattern, I generally prefer not to see the drawn icon the sewing company utilizes to attract it’s customers to purchase the pattern.. Instead, I attempt to challenge myself… envision what that piece can be if I add a little  bit here… or there… or what if I change the skirt? Lengthen the sleeves? Add some embellishments along the edge? What will make this dress truly my own?
11391323_911191468923203_8133647038455108112_nHere is a dress I had sewn last summer and it turned out to be one of my favorites. It was inspired by the Butterick 57085708. I had adored the novelty of transforming the neckline into four different ways. Also, because of my deep love for anything nautical, I needed a simple day dress to grant me a plausible excuse to use the sailboat print fabric I had purchased on a whim.

However, I wanted to move away from the circle skirt craze momentarily, because Oh my goodness, hemming a circle skirt is so tiresome! So, I made the bottom half into a slim-fitting pencil skirt.

When I had finished with my “Sailing Away” garment, I was appalled at how the bows awkwardly flapping on my shoulders were so large. I could truly use them as my sail and float away!

Therefore, I spent some time in front of a large mirror playing around with those limp straps and eventually turned the front ones to tie behind me in a knot and the two back ones gathered and sewn onto the front neckline

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So, here is a blog of my sewing accomplishments (and maybe my not-so-accomplishments), my outlet of experimental spurts, in order to help inspire all you lovely folks who also enjoy sewing or are sewing a particular piece and enjoy looking up what others create from that same pattern. Those folks who appreciate the 1950s/1940s, pin-curled hair and creativity.

If you have any garments that you have sewn, please share! I’d love to utilize this blog as a communicative outlet for us to share our accomplishments, our trials-and-errors, our tips and our questions!

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Cheers, darlings!