Mad Men Inspired

The fabulous Bobbie Barret was the inspiration for my entry into Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Dress Challenge 3. I chose Butterick 9497, with this lovely purple fabric from an op shop. I decided to make a hat to accessorise, as ‘business’ Bobbie is rarely seen without a perfectly styled hat, fortunately I had the body of a hat I had played around with just waiting to be embellished.

I have had some fun in this dress already, my daughter and I dressed up to watch Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face at a lovely old cinema on the weekend. By special request I had to whip up a dress for her in matching fabric, she also embellished her own hat, the base of which I had at hand. Here we are, it was VERY exciting.

This is the original pattern – I have many more photos over on my blog – this dress really was ‘quick and easy’ and I love it more than I thought, I do plan to make the full skirted version, perhaps for spring.

It has been ages since I have posted here, but I have been doing a lot of vintage sewing! Many separates, that get worn daily – including finishing off other people’s sewing projects, like this lovely gabardine skirt, which came to me through a friend, in a suitcase with fabrics and patterns, mostly 1970s.

I also have accepted a really exciting project, through some very talented women who have set themselves up to run workshops in millinery, corset making and vintage sewing (cool!). I was invited to document and blog a vintage sewing project with their vintage specialist – who in completing her MA designed and made a range of luxurious woollen coats using vintage techniques and based on coat designs from the 40s to the 60s. A couple of her coats are inspired by none other than Balenciaga, I had the pleasure of trying them on when we met on the weekend.

The collaboration was an opportunity for me to find a project that I would find challenging, one using techniques or skills that are new to me. So I brought a selection of patterns and fabrics, we talked and dreamed up several exciting projects, we had to chose one, and this is what we will create. The fabric and pattern are both 1950s, the pattern is unused and the fabric was a gift from a dear friend. I have many more photos on my blog including the projects that didn’t make it – this time. I was excited as I have a few (ahem, well perhaps more than a ‘few’) vintage fabrics that I hesitate to cut into, so it is good to go into a project with someone who has more experience – we both want to do justice to the lovely fabric and the gorgeous pattern. So, watch this space!

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After all of the indecision over the buttons, I settled for some plain black ones! So here’s a photo of the dress finished and the nice little godet on the back. I would have used a plain black fabric but I didn’t have enough leftovers so houndstooth it is :)

 

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Hi guys!

 

I fell in love with this pattern as soon as I clapped eyes on it! I finally got round to sewing it last night, im still deciding on buttons (it’s always a big decision for me) so it’s not completely finished yet.

I had to do quite a bit of adjusting on the pattern because im pretty short. I chose a torquoise and black houndstooth and a plain black trim. Theres a godet in the back centre seam, which I also did in the houndstooth.

Anyway heres a quick photo and I’ll post one of me wearing the dress once I’ve put the buttons on. Im really pleased with how it turned out :)

 

 

 

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here we are and finished in all it’s splendour is my blummin gorgeous 60s blouse a la Joan Harris (nee Holloway).

Joaniegreen

Having never made a blouse before I wasn’t entirely sure what material to go for. I decided on a trusty poly-cotton which meant the drape would be a bit stiffer than the one shown in the picture but I did want the collar to be a little stiffer, and as I wasn’t sure how this would all play out I thought not splashing the cash on fancy fabric would be the best option.

I went about cutting the pattern, fabric and interfacing out and I was quite happily thinking “less pieces, less work than a dress”. Ah, the young sewing fool inside me.

At the end of the first day I’d made the bodice and the collar. It dawned on my when I finished that I’d absolutely breezed the collar this time, I think I’ve been so caught up in worrying about the set in sleeves that I appear to have somehow mastered collars without thinking about it. Pretty good eh?!

Butterick 2475

Now, I made a little list of goals at the beginning of the year (some have totally fallen by the wayside already) and one of these was to master set in sleeves by the end of 2014. So when I went into this part of making the blouse I did so with a new determination that I would not simply settle for “that’ll do” and I would set these sleeves in over and over until I got them perfect.

Plenty of people gave me advice (thank you everyone for all of your helpful tips and guidance) but I really owe massive thanks to Clare at www.sewdixielou.com for spurring me on when I was halfway through ripping the sleeves out for the second time (and on the verge of having a little cry) who simply said “I never use gathered way hate it. I do it by hand gently easing larger fabric pinning every 1/2″. Then when happy pin in between pins then baste by hand. Remove pins check how it looks then machine”.

Now, this may strike you as odd (but probably goes a long way to explaining more than bit about me) but I never considered for a moment that I should use any other method than gathering.

It’s what everyone had shown me; books, sewing tutorials online, pattern instructions. All gathering. It’s a rule right?

Wrong. I am learning more and more that sewing is about finding what works for you and just because people say you should do it this way, it doesn’t mean you have to do it this way.

In the end I went for a bit of both, I gathered a little and then pinned and pinned. I sewed from the inside of the sleeve ; calmly, slowly, gently and smoothed as I went. Et Voilà! A perfectly set in sleeve!

Butterick 2475

So overjoyed was I that I ran about the house and told Tim he should come and look, at which point he did and we embraced and then I did my little happy dance (literally). Then I proceeded to set the other in, with no problem at all and then made Tim come back every five minutes to look at my beautiful set in sleeves on my fantastic blouse.

Needless to say, it wore a bit thin (for him- certainly not for me) after the 50th time, saying that though he was very chuffed for me.

Next up were buttonholes and buttons, which I forgot to buy.  I finally located some small-ish ones and add them to the cuffs and the front of the blouse with a pop stud opening at the top (which is covered when the collar is done up) and here we are, the finished article.

Butterick 2475

Butterick 2475

Butterick 2475

Butterick 2475

Butterick 2475

I have refrained from modelling this as I really want to get the skirt made in March so that I can wear both together, just like Joanie.

I really feel like I’ve made sewing skills progress with this blouse.

If you’d like to read more or check out other things I’ve made, please visit my blog www.staceystitch.com 

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