Geometric Yellow Marianne Dress

Following on from the success of making the In The Folds jersey dress for the second time, I decided to make another Marianne Dress (by Christine Haynes). The fabric was from Fabrics Galore, quite a while ago and I originally wanted to make a Closet Case Patterns Ebony Dress from it but I ordered 1.5m and not 2m. And I’m quite glad as I really like this Marianne dress. I really liked the other one I made, but I made it a little late in the year so haven’t worn it too much. But I’ve worn this one several times already!

I made the size 4, as before, but with the long sleeves and the cuffs. Plus I added pockets. Because pockets! I borrowed the ones from the Emery Dress and although they don’t sit perfectly flat, because the jersey is quite stretchy, it’s still a great thing to have pockets in a dress!

I feel as though this version doesn’t fit me quite as well as the other version, probably because of the sleeves. I don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to fitting jersey, so I don’t know how to fix the drag lines under my arms. I did sign up to the Tilly and the Buttons Learn to Sew Jersey Tops Class a while ago so hopefully I’ll pick up some tips from that once I get around to taking it!

I really should have ironed the hem before I took these photos!

I really like the little cuff details on the long sleeves. They’re supposed to have buttons on, but I like them without.

And this is today’s outtake. No. Idea.

Do you have a favourite jersey dress pattern? I’ve made quite a few, but mostly only once or twice, I don’t have a tried or true pattern yet.

November Makes and December Plans

November has been a quite quiet month for me sewing-wise. I only finished 2 things, though one of them was a shirt and I like taking my time with shirts to make sure all the top-stitching is all neat and lovely. And this white Archer shirt definitely contains some of the neatest topstitching I’ve ever done. I really took my time because this was the really nice quality fabric I bought at the Great British Sewing Bee Live, plus I discovered it marked a bit when pinned and a lot when unpicked so I made sure to unpick as little as possible! The eagle-eyed reader may spot I haven’t sewn on the buttons yet – that’s for this evening in front of the tv!

My other finished item in November is possibly my favourite thing I’ve ever made – and I’ve had a lot of compliments each time I’ve worn it. I think it might be one of my best instances of matching pattern and fabric. It’s my first Sew Over It Nancy Dress. I signed up to the PDF club because of this pattern and it’s the only one I’ve bought this whole year!

I’m going to try to be as realistic as possible about how many things I’m likely to make in December, and I’ve come up with 2-3, though I know I won’t get them all finished! One thing I do have to finish, though, is my dress for New Craft House’s Winter Party next weekend. One of my friends at work gave me this dress which doesn’t fit her and it doesn’t fit me either, so I’ve unpicked it and am planning to make it into a By Hand London Sophia Dress. I’ve muslined it once and have made some tweaks, so just need to make a second muslin to check the new fit, then hopefully I can get cracking!

The other thing I’m hoping to get finished is this spotty melilot shirt. I cut it out a while ago, so I just need to get cracking.

I’ve got one or two Christmas presents I want to make, too, so it’s going to be a busy month! Plus I haven’t started any of my shopping yet! Does anyone else like Christmas but find the lead up to it a bit stressful and overwhelming?!

 

 

Book: Edith Head

I was very lucky to receive this book from The Boyfriend for my birthday this year. I didn’t even know I wanted it until I got it. He had to pop to work for a couple of hours in the morning on my birthday so I spent a happy hour or so looking through this delectable book!

Edith Head was an American costume designer who won 8 (8!) Academy Awards for her work. She designed for so many famous films, including Sweet Charity, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Vertigo, To Catch and Thief, White Christmas, Sunset Boulevard, and countless others – just look at her page on IMDB! One of the things I really love about this book is how we see the sketches for the clothes and the actual clothes. I wish I could sketch like that!

Edith Head’s iconic image includes these dark glasses – apparently they were so she could tell what the fabrics would look like in black and white.

I love this photo of Edith as a young girl – shes’s on the far right. It shows clearly the fact that she was born in 1897! Amazing considering how many iconic films she costumed throughout the 20th century.

She was clearly a fan of the bob throughout her life – and why not!? If you find a style you like, you may as well stick to it!


She designed quite a lot of costumes for Mae West, and I had to share this quote.

Here is Veronica Lake in a dress that was originally designed for Kay Linaker – Edith would recycle and reuse looks from other films for publicity stills. I can’t imagine this happening now! Apparently Veronica Lake said “excuse me while I put on my other head”. 😀

A very young Bette Davis here, in Beyond the Forest, after she parted ways with Orry-Kelly and Edith started designing for her.

One of my favourite facts from this book is that Head would mock up her costumes on dolls before she would make them full size.

Edith Head designed the iconic brown gown that Bette Davis wears in All About Eve. You can see from the sketch that it was meant to have a square neckline, but I read somewhere online that due to a measuring issue, it ended up being off the shoulder instead.

Although Head was so known so wearing plain clothes, at home she wore loads of bright colours, and she had this amazing house – Casa Ladera.

Edith sort of designed clothes for Audrey Hepburn, though of course a lot of her film (and I think real life) wardrobe was made by Givenchy. It seems like Head would design for the whole film, but then not make the clothes for Hepburn?

I love how this book puts colour sketched next to black and white stills, so you can see what colour the actual clothes are!

Ah Grace Kelly. So beautiful. There’s a great story where Kelly and Head conspired to trick Hitchcock into thinking Kelly was wearing padding in her bra because he didn’t think her boobs were big enough I guess (gross), but Head pretended she’d added padding, while Kelly just stood up as straight as she could and they successfully tricked him! Excellent!

Ah, these sketches are so amazing!

Slightly later in her career Edith designed the costumes for Butch Cassidy – I’ve mostly included this photos because Paul Newman.

One of her biggest hits of the late 60s was Sweet Charity, which is a great musical, featuring the song Hey Big Spender.

The Sting was one of the latest films she ‘designed’ the costumes for, though looking at the quote from Bob Mackie, it seems like it was controversial for her to take credit for it.

I definitely have a bit of a crush on young Robert Redford. And I like how Edith designed clothes for men as well as women.

Katharine Hepburn brought fabric swatches with her to the consultation with Head about her costumes for Rooster Cogburn.

Obviously there are loads and loads more photos in this book – it has 400 pages so I can’t share them all! But I hope I’ve whetted your appetite to want this book for yourself.

I find since I’ve been sewing more and looking at more things that inspire me, the more I look at costumes in films and TV and think how good they are generally. I would be interested in retraining to become a costume designer, but I can’t afford to do another degree – do you have any tips for how to get into it?

 

 

Stripey Jersey Dress

One of my favourite dresses I’ve made is this electric blue one, from a free pattern by In The Folds for Peppermint Magazine. I always get compliments whenever I wear it, and I love the slouchy shape, though it still makes me feel put together.

I love buying new patterns, and each time someone releases a shiny new one (Closet Case Patterns Sasha Trousers, I’m looking at you!) I find it really hard to resist buying them. I have so many patterns I’ve not yet made so often I make things once and think ‘I really like this, I’ll make it again’…..and then I don’t. So I’m trying to remedy this by making more versions of things I’ve liked making and wearing but have made only once or twice. This is the first of those patterns.

I made the size 10, as before, and the only change I made was to cut off the pockets (which are attached to the front and back pieces) and cut them out separately as I couldn’t quite fit the pieces as they were on the fabric. Speaking of which, this fabric was the one piece I managed to snag when What Katie Sews did an Instagram destash a few months ago. I could cheerfully have bought loads of things, but I was mostly too late, boo! But I did get this great stripey jersey. It’s nice and thick but still has a bit of drape so the dress hangs really nicely.

I was telling my friends at the Sewing Bee Live that I’m not totally convinced about raglan sleeves on me, but looking at these pictures, I don’t know what my problem is! I have a hang-up that my shoulders are wide, but given that that is often the place where things are too big on me, I think I might be a little bit mental! Since making this dress I’ve cut out another Linden sweatshirt, to give it another go as I wasn’t totally in love with my first version – but that may have been due to the fabric more than anything else.

I cut the neckband with the stripes going the other way, not realising that the fabric only stretches one way. So I can barely get it over my head! I think I might remove the neckband completely and just turn the neck under as that is the one place on my other version that isn’t totally comfortable – it’s a bit strangle-y when I’m sitting down.

I didn’t add the cuffs, which I had done on my other version, so I just turned a small hem up on each sleeve end. I also left off the hem band this time as I felt it made it slightly long on the other version. I also couldn’t squeeze it out of the fabric, and I’m glad I left it off as I like the more a-line shape of the skirt when it’s not pulled in by a hem band.

I did have enough fabric to pattern match the stripes on the side seams, but the eagle-eyed among you may spot – if you look at the hem – that the hem is not straight when you compare it to the stripes. This is because I wasn’t as careful as I could/should have been when folding the fabric in half to cut out the front and back. It looked like the stripes were lined up, but they were one out so the stripes have actually formed a spiral around the dress, so it’s impossible to hem it with the stripes straight – I tried and I reached my starting point but was still pinning more and more out of the hem as the spiral moved up the dress! Oops! Lesson learnt.

And today’s outtake it brought to you by not making it back to my photo spot in time for the camera timer!

Do you make patterns more than once or are you seduced by shiny new ones, like me. Or a combination of the two? I think that’s what I’m hoping I’ll aim for as I don’t want to stop supporting all the wonderful indie designers, but also I don’t have unlimited money and time for buying and making new patterns constantly.

 

 

Style Crush: Allison Janney

I’ve been recently re-watching The West Wing (for probably at least the 6th time) and I remember each time I watch it how much I love Allison Janney and her character, CJ Cregg. I’ve also been listening to the podcast The West Wing Weekly, which is brilliant if you’re a fan – and I think it would make you a fan if you weren’t already.

CJ is one of my all time favourite characters in any tv show, not least because of The Jackal. There is a bit of build up, but it’s worth it. Apparently Allison Janney did this as a party piece and Aaron Sorkin liked it so much he put it in the show – but she had to do it as CJ and not as Allison!

I really love this suit. I may have to copy it! I have the Bellatrix Blazer pattern, which could be a good one for the jacket, and maybe the new Sasha trousers from Closet Case Patterns for the trousers. No idea where I’d wear it, but it would be fun to make!

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And here she is (I think in the same suit, but with glasses and different hair) with Melissa Fitzgerald, who played her assistant, Carol on The West Wing. She now runs an organisation called Justice for Vets, which helps veterans in the US who might be struggling with drug and alcohol addictions, to find treatment and get support. I think it’s pretty cool that someone who was in a show about politics is now running an organisation to help people and hopefully change policies.

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Also amazing is the fact that Allison Janney went and did an actual White House briefing in the actual White House (and made some in-jokes about The West Wing, including about the Jackal) to highlight the growing epidemic of opioid addiction in the US. We watched a Louis Theroux documentary about that very problem and in certain areas and states, it really is an epidemic. Pretty cool to use your platform as a well-known actress to raise awareness of people in much less fortunate situations.

She has a very good line in amazing gowns on the red carpet, which isn’t surprising given that she’s won 7 Emmys (and been nominated 13 times), 6 SAG awards (with 15 nominations) and 5 Golden Globe nominations (though no wins, oddly)!

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Christmas Party inspiration? Might be too much!

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If you had said to me to pair a floor-length sequined skirt with a slightly sheer blouse I probably would not have thought it would look good, but this outfit does look kind of amazing!

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The last photo has to be this one of Allison Janney and Kate Winslet kissing – Kate Winslet is evidently as big a fan as I am!

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To be honest, I think I mostly chose Allison Janney for this post because I love her and think she’s brilliant in everything. She’s up there with Emma Thompson with women I love and want to be best friends with!  I’d not really thought particularly about he style, but now I’ve looked into it, she’s pretty classic in the way she dresses. Like Tilda Swinton, she’s pretty tall and still wears heels. She’s not quite as out-there as Tilda, though!