Category Archives: Fashion

Fashioning Masculinities Exhibition

Last year the V & A had an exhibition called Fashioning Masculinites which was all about the history and evolution of menswear, using art as well as clothing to illustrate the changes and themes. I managed to go in pretty much the last week and I’m so glad I made the effort as it was super interesting.

Like some previous fashion exhibitions I’ve been to, the clothes were arranged in themes rather than purely oldest to newest. So the first room was all about underwear – the shirt started off as underwear and evolved into more visible, but still underneath other layers, and then into outerwear.

I liked how much the exhibition touched on gender expression, including displaying binders alongside boxers and briefs.

I also appreciated that it wasn’t just British/European fashion, but clothing from other countries too, like this Jama from India. It’s hard to believe it’s over 170 years old too, it looks brand new!

in the underwear room there was some discussion of Victorian prudishness, and I particularly liked this leaf that was made to cover up the genitals of a copy of Michelangelo’s David! Lol!

But I think my absolute favourite thing in this first room was this trompe-l’œil Jean-Paul Gaultier jacket. When you stand close to it, it just looks stripey, but stand back and you’re treated to a very sculpted nude male body!

I loved how the exhibition made it clear that dressing flamboyantly is nothing new, and has been happening for centuries!

I couldn’t believe how intricate this breastplate is!

So below it looks like 2 versions of the same cravat, but in fact the brown one is carved from wood! It was once owned by Horace Walpole, who used to wear it to greet guests to his house. I’m not gonna lie, I kinda want a wooden cravat/tie now.

The amount of work that must have gone into the fabrication on this jacket, was pretty astounding!

And this outfit is even more ornate – and it’s been toned down!

Below you can see a modern garment that was inspired by the above outfit. This is why I especially enjoyed the way the exhibition was arranged. It made the connections through time much clearer to see.

OMG this was one of my absolute favourites! I kind of want to try to recreate it for the Dressmakers’ Ball – but obviously I wouldn’t be able to do that amount of beading/embroidery so I’d have to find some suitable fabric I could use instead. Either way I think I definitely want a cape, even if I don’t recreate this actual outfit.

So beautiful!

There was a rainbow section, where the outfits were arranged by colour, which I particularly enjoyed – because who doesn’t love a rainbow of clothes!?

This suit was worn by Harry Styles – I had to wait a while before I could get a photo of it because it was definitely one everyone was taking photos of, and a lot of people were taking photos of themselves with the suit.

I particularly enjoyed the juxtapositions in this section.

So good! I would wear either of these outfits!

I love the green tartan suit, below.

The section on how military uniforms have inspired fashion was especially interesting – like we know when a detail is ‘military inspired’ but seeing them side by side made it even clearer where those influences came from.

I freakin’ love this photo – and they used it for the cover of the exhibition book, which I think was a great choice. I did treat myself to a book – and because it was like the last week or so, it was reduced – score!

An actual outfit worn by actual Nelson!

There was a quite large selection of tuxedos and black suits – but they were pretty much impossible to photograph! They had on worn by Gary Oldman on the red carpet – complete with the glasses he wore in the pocket!

I couldn’t not include a slightly crap photograph of a Marlene Dietrich suit, though.

After the black suits and tuxedos – through history and as fashion on the red carpet – there was then a small display of how men’s evening wear has evolved somewhat for the younger generation.

It was very cool to see this Gucci dress worn by Harry Styles in person! I mean I’ve seen the photographs from Vogue, but actually seeing all the detail and layers and work that went into making it was pretty amazing. Whenever I see proper couture clothing, I realise why the ateliers are the best in the word and why the designers are so sought after.

Another Billy Porter outfit – I remember seeing this for the first time on the Oscars red carpet and thinking it was amazing. I still think it’s amazing. He really does have genuinely great style!

The last outfit in the exhibition was a dress from Drag Queen Bimini Bon Boulash, who was one of my favourites on her season of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Who couldn’t fall in love with her with lines like ‘the nipples are the eyes of the face’!

I do really love going to fashion exhibitions – they always give me so much inspiration and knowledge I didn’t have before. I think the next one I’ll be going to (hopefully, if I can get tickets) is the Chanel exhibition, also at the V&A. It opens in September I think.

Style Crush: Tár

A few weeks ago I went to see the film Tár – it was right up my street: Cate Blanchett and Classical Music! Also, like a lot of people, I fell in love with the clothes and Lydia Tár is my new style icon.

Image source

Near the beginning is a scene where Tár is measured for a suit at German Tailor Egon Brandstetter’s atelier. I read somewhere that the director wanted someone who looked like they knew what they were doing in the short montage of tracing the pattern pieces onto the fabric and then starting to sew it together – by hand. So the tailor himself plays the tailor in the film!

Image source

I like it when directors care about verissimilitude – and that carried over into the musicians, who were pretty much all actual musicians – there’s nothing more distracting than someone miming playing an instrument really badly!

But back to the clothes..

Image source

I love the mostly neutral tones they dress Tár in and the relaxed fit of the trousers and shirts. I’m definitely leaning towards more loose fitting clothes these days – the closer I get to 40 (18 months away!), the more I’m totally uninterested in wearing fitted clothes.

Image source
Image source

I especially love this shirt and jumper combo – and the fitting of the jumper. I recently bought a couple of jumpers from Uniqlo (I knit waaay too slowly to knit all my knitwear) and I bought them in size medium and I love them!

Image source

Tár abroad – I do actually love the hat! and the shirt over a t-shirt and more casual trousers.

Image source

Ah, this suit is perfection! And she looks so comfortable and relaxed. It’s what I aspire to!

Image source

This might be the brightest colour she wears and I love it. It looks so good on Cate Blanchett!

Image source
Image source

And suddenly I need a tank top! I like the wider fit on the shoulders – any knitters out there know any patterns like this?

Image source
Image source

I’ve wanted to make myself a tuxedo for ages and maybe now is the time?! I’m thinking to get a ticket to the Dressmaker’s Ball this year (I went twice but not last year) and maybe I’ll wear a tux instead of a gown – though there are a lot of dresses I’d also like to copy.

Image source

I do love going to the cinema, especially when a film is as stylish as this one. Added bonus of having some tailoring scenes! Do you get inspired by film costumes?

Business in the Front, Party in the Back (literally)

So a while ago I saw a photo of a Thai actor in the below outfit and immediately thought about recreating it. Last year I had 2 weddings to attend and for one I was going to wear my Mersis Dress which I made the previous Summer. But for the other one, I figured why not make a new outfit!?

You can see that the above outfit is more of a jumpsuit than separates – the front is one piece, but with suit vibes at the top. I decided I wanted to make separates – much more practical for ahem going to the bathroom (you don’t end up basically naked!).

I wanted the trousers to be what I consider stereotypical suit trousers, so with some pleats, welt pockets on the back and with front pockets. I came across Butterick B6878 and while the illustrations and photos on the pattern don’t make it look amazing, I did some googling and decided to go for it.

There are 2 darts on the back and 2 pleats on the front. I made the size 10 and actually can’t remember if I made any changes and didn’t write any notes – normally I write fitting notes as I go so if I make the pattern again, I’ll know what I did last time. There are shorts, tapered leg trousers and wide legged trousers. I went for the wide legged version.

I ended up making 4 welt pockets in total as the jacket also had 2 – though double welts rather than single welts. For those keeping count, I had a total of 6 pockets in my outfit! Winning!

Obviously sometimes you need sustenance while you’re sewing. IMHO you can’t beat a good cup of tea!

The jacket pattern I used was the Ready to Sew Joe Blazer. I used this pattern before for my pink smoking type jacket and since I’d already hacked it to kind of be double breasted, I thought it would be a good place to start. Oh, a word on the fabric. It was this lovely blush pink linen/cotton blend I bought from a fabric shop in Abingdon called Mason’s. They have 3 craft shops in total and are kind of legendary locally. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by their range of fabric and they have every notion you could think of.

Before when I hacked the pattern I pivoted the fronts to make them wider but this made them on an angle, so this time I toiled it a couple of times to figure out how best to do it and went with slashing and spreading (again can’t remember by how much sadly). You can see above I pinned a little wedge out of the front to make it even more straight, then sewed the facing to the front along that line from the inside.

Of course there was also a lot of hacking to the back. I merged the back side and centre back pieces into one and then cut a semi-circle out of the back, leaving a bit extra for seam allowance. It was definitely a head-scratcher to figure out the construction to make it all look neat, but I figured it out in the end.

↑ business in the front

↓ party in the back!

The loop at the top which holds the ‘strings’ was 20cm x 11cm and sewn in half with a 1.5cm seam allowance. The loops were 74cm, 128cm and 146cm long, though I did have to slightly adjust some of them so they weren’t too slack or too tight.

I did really love wearing this outfit to my friends’ wedding back in August but there was quite the heat wave that week so maybe it wasn’t the most sensible choice! I was more than a little warm. I did take a t-shirt to change into in case I couldn’t cope with wearing the jacket and once I started dancing to the live band, I did admit defeat sadly.

Not to blow my own trumpet but I am really quite pleased with how the back in particular turned out, but also managing to make it actually look like a double breasted suit on the front – though the bottom set of buttons looks a little low proportionally, looking at these photos. Eh, the sewist’s curse, to always look for flaws that literally no-one else would ever notice!

While I may not get the chance to wear the whole outfit very often, I am definitely planning to wear the trousers with some other tops. And actually as part of Wear It On Wednesday I have already worn them once – I think when the weather gets a bit warmer they’ll get more into regular rotation!

To preserve my modesty I did add a popper to the front to make sure the lapels didn’t gape and show everything! As I’m sure you can appreciate I couldn’t wear anything underneath the jacket!

I did ask one of my friends to take a few photos of my outfit on the day. You can almost feel how hot it was in the photos – so sunny! I love hot weather but this outfit was not the best choice and I didn’t take any alternatives. Clever me!

I really enjoyed trying to recreate an outfit from photos I found online. I’ve done it a couple of times before (both outfits I wore to the dressmaker’s ball were red carpet copies [1 and 2]) but I definitely want to do some more of it. I just need some occasions to wear some more formal outfits…

Galentines Outfit (for the Pink and Red Party

I used Megan from Pigeon Wishes’ Pink and Red party as an excuse to make a new outfit – because why not when I’ve been sitting in my house for 11 months and have slightly lost my sewjo (because I sewed all the things I needed for my wardrobe last year!). So I made a sort of a suit!

I talked about my inspiration for making a colour-blocked suit in this YouTube video (I’ve resurrected my YouTube channel after making one video 2 years ago! Lol!)


I used the Joe Jacket pattern from Ready to Sew for the jacket – which is also the pattern I used for the jacket of my corduroy suit. I used a suit with a more smoking jacket-type jacket worn by Claire Foy for my inspiration and so this involved a little pattern hacking.

I sat for way longer than I would care to admit trying ti figure out how to hack the pattern to get it to overlap at the bottom – and then it turned out to be relatively simple! I just slashed up the pattern front, from the hem to almost the neck line, and pivoted the whole front edge outwards – simple! But lots of head scratching to figure out if this was correct!

I added patch pockets instead of the welt pockets – which is actually way easier than welt pockets! I used the pocket pattern piece from the Honetone Coat as a guide.


I also, of course, added the tie to keep the jacket closed, as in the inspiration one. I thought about adding a couple of belt loops on the back to hold it in place, but figures this was an unnecessary step as I don’t think I’ll really wear it open, so the belt doesn’t need anything to keep it in while it’s untied, if that makes sense?

I talked about the construction and fabric etc in this YouTube video:


The fabric was all from Fabric Godmother and the pink and blue fabrics are Tencel twills and the lining was a cotton (with a little stretch). The Tencel is very drapey so possibly wasn’t the best choice for something as structured as a jacket, but it is a pretty relaxed style of jacket – and I made sure I interfaced absolutely everything that would get any wear or that needed structure. There is quite a lot of interfacing in a jacket anyway, so that certainly helped.

I do love a spotty lining! Stupidly, though, when I pre-washed all the fabrics, I put them all in together and the blue Tencel really ran so I ended up with blue spotty fabric instead of white. Sigh – that wasn’t the look I was going for. But after washing it a couple of times with some colour catchers the colour mostly came out. You would think after sewing for so many years, I would have learnt better!

The trouser pattern I used was the Dawn Jeans as I’ve made them a bunch of times and after spending so much time hacking the jacket, I kind of wanted something I knew how to sew for the trousers.

I made the size 4, as I’ve done before, but took it in only 1.5cm on the back seam (as opposed to the I think 2cm I did on my other pairs) and sewed the side seams with a 1cm seam allowance (instead of 1.5cm) as they seemed a bit snug somehow! The waistband miraculously still fit!

I sewed the wide-legged version and I actually can’t believe I haven’t before! There was a while where everyone was making the Persephone Pants – and I made them as the trousers for my suit – but the fit was never great on me and I don’t really wear them much as a result. But I get the same look from the wide-legged Dawns so I kind of want some more wide-legged jeans/trousers in my wardrobe for days when I don’t want skinny jeans!

These are definitely going to become a Spring/Summer wardrobe staple once the weather stops being below zero – anyone else in the UK fed up of being so cold?! I know we’re known for talking about the weather ALL THE TIME but I’m a naturally cold person so when the weather is so cold I get really fed up really quickly! Roll on Summer….

I really hope I get to wear this outfit to an irl sewing party one day! Though I’ll probably use an irl party as an excuse to make another outfit, because why not, eh?!

Did you join in with the Pink and Red Party? Are you like me and you only wear pink (or only red?). I tried to force myself to wear red by knitting a cardigan years and years and years ago but I wore it, I think, twice because you can’t make yourself feel nice in a colour you don’t actually feel good in! Though speaking of knitting, I’ve rediscovered my enjoyment of knitting in front of the TV so maybe there’ll be some knitting projects coming soon(ish)….

A Christmas Dress (in April)

Back in December (when Christmas was in the future), I was invited to a Christmas party for the band I’m in. I decided to make a new dress for the occasion – because why not!?

I was in the mood for something sparkly/shiny and found this amazing fabric from the New Craft House. I think I got the last metre, which was just enough to make this dress.

I used the Inari pattern from Named as the basis for this dress, but I wanted to add more fullness to the hem than the dress version is drafted with. I didn’t, however, write any notes about what I did. If memory serves, I placed all the pattern pieces on the fabric and extended the tee from under the arm to as wide as it would do for the width of the fabric.

Since this is a woven fabric, I used the facings included with the pattern but I think I stretched out the neckline of the dress a bit – it’s definitely wider than I would have preferred. Lesson for next time – stay stitch the neckline.

I do enjoy how slinky the fabric is and I hope this dress will be a little more wearable for more occasions than a lot of the other things I’ve made for specific events.

I think one of my favourite details of the Inari pattern is the sleeve cuffs.

Did you sew a Christmas dress/outfit this year? I bet you’re not as late sharing it as me!