Back in October I posted on here an introduction to a big sewing project I was taking on: reproducing a version of Charles James’ Tree Gown:

Charles James: The Exhibition - Threads

My excuse for tackling this, apart from the challenge of it, was to wear at the 2014 Toronto Garrison Ball.  Which was actually last weekend – yes, the dress was finished beforehand ;o)

This project was made possible/feasible by the generous loan of a pattern taken of the dress’ foundation made by a former curator of the Chicago History Museum for their Charles James exhibition in 2011.

I documented the process at each step along the way and blogged about it, but didn’t post all of those here because I thought they’d get tedious.

But now it’s FINISHED and I’ve caught up with my blogging (that lagged when it got to the stress-sewing point) so I’m sharing here again!

Here’s a brief(ish) retrospective on the process:

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And finally I ended up with this:

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A CHARLES JAMES GOWN OF MY VERY OWN!!!!

I cannot tell you how RELIEVED I was that it actually turned out well, lol.  I was nervous about it right to the very end.

If you’d like to follow the process in more detail (there is some fun stuff in there) here’s a link to all the Tree posts.

You can go here if you just want to see more of the finished dress – and the “superhero” evening cape I made to wear with it!

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McCall’s 7456 & Simplicity 6693, from the 1980s & 1970s, have been getting lots of use at my place…ever since I saw the guitar gods in Cracker, both wearing Western shirts at a concert & thinking, “Hey, the Roommate should be able to dress like a guitar god, even if he doesn’t play guitar!”  A request from a friend for a similar shirt, led to me making 2 shirts, because I couldn’t resist doing one for his little boy, too.  The yoke/cuff/placket contrast for both is from some fabric I got on our trip to West Africa, so it’s authentic wax print.  I’m running out of that, though, so used some regular cotton for the main part of the boy’s shirt, and some Marimekko from Crate & Barrel Outlet for the main part of the men’s shirt.  Find out more on my blog, Bella Industries, Inc. 

 

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I’m at the final stretch of finishing this dress, but am having second thoughts about it.  I did the pink view, but used navy fabric as a contrasting ruffle – thought the flowers to be too much.  Now the dress fits nicely, but I’m getting the feeling it’s more like a fancy old-lady potato sack.  Any thoughts?  Should I continue as is with the navy trim?  Get rid of the ruffles altogether?  Do the ribbon like on the green dress?  I wonder if putting some navy bias tape on top of the princess seams just to break up the pattern?  Or just scrap the whole thing?  (Excuse the bathroom selfies – and I haven’t set in the sleeves  yet)  :)

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I’ve been trying really hard to bolster my winter wardrobe (and only sort of failing). This dress is part of that effort.

I used Simplicity 3010 which is from the late 40s. I choose a teal corduroy to make it up in.

Of course, I had to do the view with the pockets! I really do love this dress. The color is great.

Alas, it’s already time to pack this dress away for warmer weather. More photos over on the blog.

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SURPRISE! I’m back! Quick, right? Today I have a project that I consider more throw-back than vintage: Simplicity 5399 from 1981. Truthfully, I don’t think there’s been the same type of evolution in men’s fashion as there has in women’s. Most men’s patterns seem timeless to me. These shorts were my first foray with sewing a men’s garment. Aside from the obvious, sewing these wasn’t much different than sewing clothing for myself. This came as a surprise. A certain competitive design/sewing television program had led me to believe that menswear was somehow more difficult or challenging than women’s.  It’s not; with the exception of the client. ;-)

Both my husband and I are thrilled with his new shorts. Now that I’ve tested the water, I see more menswear in my sewing future! Do you sew men’s garments?

See you soon,

Michelle 

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Hello!

Long time, no see :)

In the past few weeks I’ve been incredibly busy with school but I managed to take a break from learning and squeezed this cute capripants in my schedule. The pattern I used is Gertie’s Butterick 5895 which doesn’t seem to be very popular. That I don’t really understand because the pattern is amazing! It leaves so many options to adjust the trousers to your liking.

For example, I made heart shaped pockets for the back and sewed a one-sided zip (I hope that’s what you call it in English :/ ) in the back. The waistband is a tad bit wider than the pattern suggests but that is okay (only about 1/2”) and in the end I wish I had made beltloops…well, next time!

I will make one more adjustments at the hems. I plan on tightening them around the knee area and sew slits on each side, so they’re more summery.

The top is Butterick 4685 which I shortened to waist-lenght.

Fabrics:

Pants: denim-stretch

Shirt: Cottonblend (used for blouses)

(whoops forgot to take out some basting stitches ;P )

Hope you like them :)

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My first pencil skirt (from Burda 2012-05) with a tiki blouse (from Burda 2009-09), a little 50′s way …
I didn’t know if I will wear it, but my lover’ve said to me : go !

Denim for the skirt and italian cotton for the blouse (2 years in my wardrobe to wait)

Have a nice day

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I’ve always loved the round retro cushion, but I just couldn’t justify the expense of buying one – cushions are serious investments these days! So, I decided to make one and show you guys just how easy it is to make your own as well!

You can find the full tutorial on my blog. The bulk of the cushion is hand-sewn, so it does take longer to make than your traditional square cushion cover, but the results are simply gorgeous (the centre grid on this cushion took me about 2-3 hours to hand sew one evening). It also gives you a chance to practice your hand sewing and it’s really quite forgiving if you’re a bit rusty.

While the cushion itself looks complicated, I’ve hopefully made the process much easier to understand and once you get the hang of it, it’s a little like knitting with it’s repetitive stitches which makes it great t.v sewing.

 

If you do give one of these a go, please let me know!! I’d love to see them.

xx

J

 

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Hi there everyone,
My friend at work is leaving for pastures new this week. I’m really sad she is leaving, she quite often keeps me sane! Because she is also a really creative person I wanted to make her a leaving present rather than buy something.
When I was about 5 years old my Nana bought me a cute little broderie anglaise apron. Nana wasa thrifty gal too and I’m certain she bought it at a jumble sale! I loved that little apron and wore it when we baked (well Nana baked, I just rolled a bit of pastry around until it turned black) and sometime just because I wanted to.
So inspiration hit! I will make my friend an apron so she can look vintage glam while pottering around the house.
I didn’t have a pattern so after a couple of hours soaking up vintage inspiration on Pinterest, I drafted my own.
And here are the results…
I think I will make more of these little aprons. They make great little vintage inspired gifts. You can see more pictures and info on my blog.
Hope you are having a great Monday folks.
Love, Eliza Brown x

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Hi!

First time poster- long time lurker- but I finally have something that I felt I needed to share!

 

This swimsuit was made from the Pin-Up Girls 2901 ‘Denise Swimsuit’ pattern, which is one of Beverly Johnson’s patterns. I have actually been lucky enough to take her master swimwear course!! It’s a 2 week course, all about making swimwear, and I just finished my first week of the course!

This is the second swimsuit I’ve made- and after my first, more plain suit, I knew I wanted to go with a vintage vibe for my second (who doesn’t secretly want to be a 50′s bombshell on the beach?).

So out came the flower print and in came the ruching!! This is a princess seamed suit- and I thought it would be perfect for that really retro look- so I added this ruched modesty panel to the center front.

A modesty panel is a piece that comes over the front and is supposed to hide the crotch area- it can go much lower almost like a skirt in the front. As you can see I’m not overly modest and mine stops at the top of the leg, haha, I added it more for the ruching.

What I love so much about this suit- beyond the fabric and the overall bombshell goddess feel- is that it’s really figure flattering, between the princess seams and the ruching over the tum- I’m laughing- well let’s just say that I’m confident enough wearing this that I can post a picture of myself on the internet in a swimsuit (eeek)!

But the really cool part about this swimsuit is the interior construction- this one has a ‘floating bra’ inside that is made with swim foam and regular channeling and underwire. If you don’t know much about Beverly Johnson aka ‘The Fairy Bra Mother’, her real forte is making custom bras and lingerie- so she has really incorporated that into her super supportive and flattering swimwear.

This really helps to give a much shapelier , 50′s hourglass look in a swimsuit!

After this course is over I can’t wait to go home and make swimsuits for all my super busty friends who refuse to go swimming with me because they can’t find swimsuits supportive enough to fit them!

I feel like I can take on any wave in this without any worries of a peek-a-boob incident- this suit isn’t going anywhere!

If you want to know more about this suit, swimsuit construction and this course, I am posting everyday of my course over on my blog!

Also I’m putting all my finished swimsuits up on PatternReview  if you want to know more about the Pin-Up Girl’s patterns!

Why can’t it be summer right now?

xo erin

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