Category Archives: Fashion

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!

 

 

Designer Inspiration: Yves Saint-Laurent

‘In 1985, Caroline Rennolds Milbank wrote, “The most consistently celebrated and influential designer of the past twenty-five years, Yves Saint Laurent can be credited with both spurring the couture’s rise from its 1960s ashes and with finally rendering ready-to-wear reputable.”‘ (source)

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YSL is credited with introducing the tuxedo for women, calling it ‘Le Smoking’. I was actually tempted to make a version of the original 60s tuxedo for the Sewcialite Soiree (for which I made a mustard corduroy suit instead) but decided if I got hot and took the jacket off, I would look like a waiter!

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I personally prefer the version above over the version below, but both must have been equally ground-breaking in a time when a lot of women probably didn’t even wear trousers, let alone a suit.

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‘At the age of 17, Saint Laurent moved to Paris and enrolled at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, where his designs quickly gained notice. Michel De Brunhoff, the editor of French Vogue, introduced Saint Laurent to designer Christian Dior, a giant in the fashion world. “Dior fascinated me,” Saint Laurent later recalled. “I couldn’t speak in front of him. He taught me the basis of my art. Whatever was to happen next, I never forgot the years I spent at his side.”‘ (source)

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‘Although Dior recognised his talent immediately, Saint Laurent spent his first year at the House of Dior on mundane tasks, such as decorating the studio and designing accessories. Eventually, however, he was allowed to submit sketches for the couture collection; with every passing season, more of his sketches were accepted by Dior. In August 1957, Dior met with Saint Laurent’s mother to tell her that he had chosen Saint Laurent to succeed him as designer.’ (source)

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‘In 1957, Saint Laurent found himself at age 21 the head designer of the House of Dior. His spring 1958 collection almost certainly saved the enterprise from financial ruin; the straight line of his creations, a softer version of Dior’s New Look, catapulted him to international stardom with what would later be known as the “trapeze dress”. Others included in the collection were dresses with a narrow shoulder and flared gently at the bottom. At this time, he shortened his surname to Saint Laurent because the international press found his hyphenated triple name difficult to spell’ (source)

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Saint Laurent was fired by the House of Dior in 1960 after less than stellar follow up collections but sued them for breach of contract and won. He then set up his eponymous line with his partner Pierre Berge.

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One of Saint-Laurent’s most iconic designs must be the Mondrian dress (which had a resurgence a couple of years ago thanks to the Sewing Bee). It’s so completely 60s! I do love it. Maybe I’ll make a version one day?!

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‘In the 1960s and 1970s, the firm popularised fashion trends such as the beatnik look; safari jackets for men and women; tight trousers; tall, thigh-high boots; and arguably the most famous classic tuxedo suit for women in 1966, Le Smoking. The 1965 Mondrian collection was particularly renowned. Saint Laurent also started mainstreaming the idea of wearing silhouettes from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.[citation needed] Yves Saint Laurent brought in new changes to the fashion industry in the 60s and the 70s. The French designer opened his Pret-a-Porter House YSL Rive Gauche in 1967 where he was starting to shift his focus from Haute Couture to Ready-to-wear. One of the purpose was to provide a wider range of fashionable style being available to choose from in the market as they were affordable and cheaper.’ (source)

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And, of course, like most big name designers of the 60s and 70s, Yves Saint-Laurent released sewing patterns!

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I love the yellow version (unsurprisingly)

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I think pattern envelope designers (from the big 4) could learn something from times gone by!

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I love this coat!

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I kind of love this dress, but I’m not sure how well it would work on anyone with boobs! I guess that’s true of a lot of 60s fashion though.

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What’s your favourite YSL look?

Sequined Bomber Jacket

Quite a while ago Fabric Godmother had this amazing sequined fabric and I had to snap some up!

And my immediate thought was to make a bomber jacket out of it – especially after googling to find inspiration pics and finding out that loads of designers make sequined bomber jackets.

Sorry not sorry for all of the photos, I’m in love with this make and want to wear it all the time!

The pattern is McCalls 7100, which looks terrible from the styling on the pattern cover, but is actually a great bomber jacket pattern when you look at the line drawing. I actually had this pattern in my mind for if I ever decided to make a bomber jacket after seeing Sew Dainty’s lovely floral version.

I made the size small and made no changes – it’s only semi-fitted and I didn’t want it to be skin tight, though I don’t think I’ll  be able to get a thick jumper underneath!

The ribbing I got from my local sewing shop, along with the zip. I’m not sure I love it as much zipped up, but I’m glad there is the possibility to zip it up. I used a pack of cuffs for the cuffs (obviously!) and 2 packs of ribbing for the hem band and the collar. Luckily this pattern comes with a pattern piece for the collar so there’s no guess work involved.

This jacket is not lined, but since the sequined fabric was see-through I underlined it and bound all the seams with a matching binding, also from my local shop. The lining fabric was (I think) from Minerva Crafts. I think the colour was peach as I kind of wanted it to look almost like my skin tone was showing through, but the fabric was a but more pink than I thought it would be – but I think it looks okay.

The binding isn’t my neatest work every, but it serves the purpose of enclosing and hiding all the raw edges.

I really like the detail on the front where there is a square of matching fabric either side of the zip before the ribbing is attached.

I went for black ribbing, zip and pocket flaps (which are made of some mystery black fabric I had in my stash) because the lines on the sequins are black and I thought it would be the most neutral colour to pick out of the sequins – and the easiest to match in all the different bits.

 

Do you every make something and think ‘this is bonkers, I love it’?!? I have! And I’m so glad I’ve got something silly to wear to cheer me up in the dark times we’re currently living through.

I think that’s why I love sewing so much – you can make something you can imagine in your head into a real garment you can wear. And I find what I wear can really affect my mood – if I wear something colourful or that I feel really reflects my style and what I want to present to the world then I’m in a much better mood than if I wear something dull (or have to wear 8 layers of clothes to be warm enough to be at work!). Do you find that?

 

 

The Hundred Years Wardrobe Project

Since I’ve been sewing for a while I’ve decided to try to challenge myself to expand my skills and to sew garments and with fabrics that are outside of my comfort zone. And so was born my idea for the Hundred Years Wardrobe Project.

I’m going to sew one thing from each decade of the 20th Century. There is no time limit for this as I want it to be a fun exercise and deadlines are often where stress lies for me.

I’m going to also try to do some posts about my research for each decade and share some of my inspiration. A while ago I did write some posts about fashion history but I ran out of steam with them – hopefully with a garment to relate the history to I will have more to say and more to share. Some of the makes will be inspired by fashion and some will be from films – either made at the time or set in the past.

I would love it if anyone else wants to join in with this project – I’m calling it a project rather than a challenge as there is no deadline and there will be no prizes, just the pride in having made something cool!

Spoiler alert: I already have my first make made and ready to blog soon!