Art Deco Carnaby Dress

This is my first – and no doubt last – Nina Lee Carnaby Dress and I love it! This was one of my planned Summer makes and I did make it last month, but just as the weather started to turn a bit chiller. Hopefully I will get some wear out of it with tights and a cardigan in this Autumnal weather. I do slightly wish I’d made it without sleeves so I can wear it with a long-sleeved top underneath for extra warmth, but c’est la vie!

And it has pockets! I really like how they’re hidden in the hem seam.

The fabric is some lovely cotton from Sew Over It, which they sadly don’t have any more. In fact I got the last metre and a half/ 2 hours (I can’t remember which). When I first saw the fabric, I thought it would make great pyjamas, but they didn’t have enough left for the Carolyn Pyjamas.

I made the size 10 and the only change I made was to use an invisible zip instead of the exposed one called for in the pattern. I also spent ages trying to pattern match across the back seam and on the pocket seams but it didn’t seem to work as well as I’d hoped. I managed to just about get it to look matched across the back, if not perfectly centred.

The pocket seam is almost hidden, but again, not as well as I’d hoped. I think I just need a bit more practice at doing it – I haven’t done much pattern matching before, so I’m not the best at it!

I really do like this fabric – there will be lots of colours of tights and cardigans I can wear with it. And it was a pretty quick make. This was my first Nina Lee pattern (I have plans to make the Portobello trousers before the year is out) and I’m impressed. The drafting seems to be good – often I find sleeves and shoulder seams really tight, but this fits and is comfortable right out of the packet. The instructions were also really clear and easy to follow. Next time I might do the exposed zip she recommends as the instructions for that seemed really clear too. I would definitely recommend this if you’re relatively new to sewing, or if you want a quick make that will give you a really chic dress.

With this and my jungle print laurel, I have definitely rediscovered my love of the simple shift dress.

p.s. I might keep my eyes open for anyone selling more of this fabric as I would still like some really chic pyjamas – let me know if you see it anywhere!

 

 

Book: Balenciaga – Shaping Fashion

After I loved the Balenciaga exhibition at the V & A, I had to fight not to buy myself the book of the exhibition as I didn’t really NEED to carry it home from London! And then I was very fortunate to receive a copy for my birthday from The Boyfriend’s parents. And it’s definitely a good reminder of all the amazing clothes in the exhibition.

I would definitely recommend going to see the exhibition if you’re able to – it closes on February 18th. But if you can’t make it, then I would definitely recommend the book. I haven’t had a chance to read much of the words yet, but even having it for the pictures, it would still be worth it!

My mind is still blown by this beading!

I’m not entirely sure I knew what Balenciaga looked like until I looked through this book!

Kind of tempted to try to recreate this coat, for the lols!

In my whole life I don’t think I would ever get this good at embroidery!

I think I love this hat?!

This coat was in the exhibition – the engineering of it still amazes me. There are ribbons on the inside to hold everything together, but it looks so effortless it looks like it’s just draped on the model.

I LOVE this coat. Another recreation to add to the list….

This beading is mind-blowing.

This is a page of swatches of different fabrics and colours from 1967 – a sheet like this was made for each season to easily keep track of what was what and which model was wearing each outfit.

Although I love Balenciaga’s more out-there designs, I also love his more wearable pieces, like this tweed suit. I love the shape of the collar.

The House of Balenciaga had a ginormous building in Paris, which was featured in French Vogue when they included maps of all the big couture houses.

I really love this coat – it’s made of mohair and was described by British Vogue as ‘almost the equivalent of bubble bath in froth’. I would love to know what colour it is – unless it’s creamy white like the froth?

You can definitely see Balenciaga’s Spanish roots in this dress on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.

This dress is really pretty and was a commission for a specific client.

And I find it even more amazing when you see what’s going on underneath the seemingly simple silhouette on the outside – there’s a whole corset and underwear inside the dress to give the wearer support.

Let’s not forget Balenciaga designed cabin crew uniforms, for Air France.

This is a semi-circular coat with rows and rows and rows of flounced lace attached to a net lining, over satin trousers. I don’t think it would seem weird for someone like Tilda Swinton to wear this on the red carpet now, and it was made in 1960!

This pink dress is possibly my favourite (or one of my 2 favourites) of Balenciaga’s designs. And, again, I love it more knowing what’s going on underneath the simple silhouette.

And finally I couldn’t not include this amazing feathered dress, which was designed by Givenchy, who was a pupil of Balenciaga and shared his high standards in textiles and construction. Again, this was made in 1968 but still looks so modern.

Did you manage to see the exhibition or are you going in the last couple of weeks? Do you have any favourite designers or books you love looking through for inspiration?

 

 

Designer Inspiration: André Courrèges

I realised it has been a while since I wrote a post about a designer I love, so today I bring you André Courrèges. I thought I’d try a slightly different format, too, and put the whole biography at the beginning (it’s all copied from Wikipedia, the shame!) and then put all the pictures, so you can skip the words if you just want to swoon at some amazing 60s fashion!

André Courrèges was a French fashion designer who only died last year but was one of the main designers of the 60s whose designs were influenced by modernism and futurism. He also “defined the go-go boot and along with Mary Quant, is one of the designers credited with inventing the miniskirt.”1

“At 25, after studying to be a civil engineer, Courrèges went to Paris to work at the fashion house Jeanne Lafaurie. A few months later, he went to work for Cristóbal Balenciaga.

In 1961, Courrèges launched his own fashion house. He became known for extremely simple, geometric, modern designs, including the “little white dress” and pants for women. They were often paired with low-heeled white ankle boots, a style that became known as the Courrèges boot, and evolved into the popular go-go boot.

Courrèges was also known for the miniskirt, which he explicitly claimed to have invented, accusing his London rival to the claim, Mary Quant of merely “commercialising” it. Courrèges presented short skirts (four inches above the knee) in January 1965 for that year’s Spring/Summer collection. He had presented “above-the-knee” skirts in the previous year, with his August 1964 haute couture presentation proclaimed the “best show seen so far” for that season by The New York Times. Valerie Steele has stated that Courrèges was designing short skirts as early as 1961, although she champions Quant’s claim to have created the miniksirt first as being more convincingly supported by evidence. Others, such as Jess Cartner-Morley of The Guardian explicitly credit Courrèges with having invented the miniskirt. Alongside short skirts, Courrèges was renowned for his trouser suits, cut-out backs and midriffs, all designed for a new type of athletic, active young woman. Steele has described Courrèges’s work as a “brilliant couture version of youth fashion.” One of Courrèges’s most distinctive looks, a knit bodystocking with a gabardine miniskirt slung around the hips, was widely copied and plagiarised, much to his chagrin, and it would be 1967 before he again held a press showing for his work.

Courrèges’s favoured materials included plastics such as vinyl and stretch fabrics like Lycra. While he preferred white and silver, he often used flashes of citrus colour, and the predominantly white designs in his August 1964 show were tempered with touches of his signature clear pink, a “bright stinging” green, various shades of brown from dark to pale, and poppy red.

In 1967 Courrèges married Coqueline Barrière, his design assistant. They had met while working together at Balenciaga, and worked together as a husband and wife team for the rest of his life.

In 1968 Courrèges sold a share of his company to L’Oréal in order to finance his expansion, which, by 1972, included 125 boutiques around the world. That year, Courrèges was commissioned to design staff uniforms for the Munich Olympics that year. He began offering menswear in 1973.”2

 

 

I thought I’d start with some of his wackier designs! This is surely not at all actually wearable, but I do still slightly love it. I guess you could wear a polo neck underneath and some thick tights or trousers?

(image source)

I really like this one too – I think it’s the funnel neck collars and the swingy shape. Again, this would be wearable with something underneath. Or I’m tempted to try to recreate it but with a contrasting colour instead of the transparent section!

(image source)

And now onto the slightly more ‘normal’ looking clothes. He has a good line in jacket/dress combos. I’m not sure these would be flattering on me as I have a long body compared to my legs and I feel these would accentuate that, but I do think the models look really cool. Especially with his trademark ankle boots.

(image source)

He definitely likes stripes! I like this double-breasted version of the jacket – and it has a matching striped lining to the skirt! Not sure about the hats though….


(image source)

(image source)

 As well as the short/cropped jacket and dress combos above, Courrèges also has a good line in dresses with matching long coats, like this cream and blue number. I love how the piping on the neckline of the dress lines up with the piping on the collar of the coat.

 

(image source)

I’m not really a brown person, but I like the combination of fabrics on this one.
 (image source)

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know how much I like blue, and particularly navy blue, and particularly navy blue with white/cream, so this is amazing to me. I can’t really see the dress underneath, but I do kinda want to copy this outfit, even though I would probably never wear it!

(image source)

But actually this is definitely my absolute favourite of the long coats I found searching for images of Courrèges’ clothes. I wouldn’t make it in red, but I really might add this to my list of makes, once I vaguely learn how to draft things for myself – and learn how to draft something as complicated as a coat! Maybe I could pattern hack something, so I at least have a starting point. Maybe the Closet Case Patterns Clare coat (though it has raglan sleeves)? If you have any other ideas of a pattern I could hack to make this, please let me know! I have plans for another coat this year, but I could make this one early next year and still get some wear out of it!


(image source)



(image source)

The other main category of garments I found when researching Courrèges was, of course, shift dresses. He definitely seems to use really interesting seam lines and shapes to make his stand out from what was probably a very saturated market!

(image source)

I do really quite like the scallops on this one. And I like the orange, though it wouldn’t be a colour I would usually wear!

(image source)

Fabric choice is definitely key for this cream dress, though, again, there are interesting seam lines and details. He seems to emphasise the seam lines with a sort of piping, as below. Does anyone know how it would be done?

(image source)

I put this one in to show how a dress with a massive hole in can become wearable with a polo neck underneath!

(image source)

Yellow is really moving up the list of my favourite colours to wear, after blue, of course. I really like the lines on this dress and the modest – for Courrèges anyway – cut out at the neckline. I like the faux wrap style of the bodice too, I think it’s really cute.

(image source)

And here is Diana Ross in an amazing yellow dress and coat – I particularly like the coat – and a slightly blue wig!

S(image source)

 

Whenever I do one of these posts, I really want to make a copy of pretty much every outfit I find! Which would be the one (or the first one) you would want to make/wear?

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Royal Blue Coco Top

After the success of my first coco top with the funnel collar, I thought I’d make another!

Royal-Blue-Coco-1

The fabric was a massive ‘remnant’ from Rolls and Rems – there must be at least 3 metres of it, so I think I’ve got enough left for a dress – maybe a Marianne? It might be a bit thick for that though. Maybe I’ll make a matching coco dress!

Royal-Blue-Coco-3

I was fairly lazy with this make to be honest! After mentioning the fact that my last one sat oddly across my upper chest, I was having a day (or two) or cutting out ALL THE THINGS and totally forgot that I needed to make any fitting changes. It’s not enough to super bother me, so maybe I’ll change it next time!

Royal-Blue-Coco-4

This time I remembered to do the side splits! Little tip (which I learned from trial and error, trust me!) – don’t use a twin needle to stitch the split. I used my twin needle for the hems and neckline, but it stretched out the little splits. Definitely a normal ballpoint needle is fine, with a straight stitch – it doesn’t need to stretch so you don’t need a zig-zag.

Royal-Blue-Coco-5

I added the cuffs this time. I wonder, though, if the finished length of the sleeves is a little off? Should be either longer or shorter maybe?!

Royal-Blue-Coco-6

I don’t really have much else to say except I love this top almost as much as the other one – I’ve realised I really love wearing bright turquoise, it makes me feel happy and like I look nice. I like all shades of blue, but maybe turquoise is particularly good on me 🙂

Royal-Blue-Coco-7

Goofy face!

Royal-Blue-Coco-2

I can definitely see coco becoming a wardrobe staple for me – I have a t shirt version cut out ready to be sewn together too, along with a hemlock (and I’ve already made the plantain tee twice – 1, 2) so hopefully I’ll have a lovely wardrobe of tops I love.

Then onto trousers and jeans…….

 
You-may-also-like-coral

Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress (Made Up Initiative) thumbnail Turquoise Coco Top with Funnel neck thumbnail Pink-Francoise-thumb 2

Save

Save

Designer Inspiration: Mary Quant

My latest designer inspiration is Mary Quant – I thought I’d continue the 60s theme from my last fashion history post as I love it so! I also love her famous Vidal Sassoon haircut. Should I copy it do you think?

Mary Quant Hairstyle - Vidal Sassoon

Born in London in 1934, Mary Quant opened her first boutique (they always seems to be called boutiques and not shops!), Bazaar, in 1955 on the King’s Road in Chelsea. It was from the very beginning that the mini skirt idea started to take off – this is something new to me, I always thought this was definitively a 60s phenomenon! The jury is out about who actually invented the mini skirt (which includes very short dresses) – it could have been Quant, it could have been Andres Courreges, or John Bates. She herself said “It was the girls on the King’s Road who invented the mini. I was making easy, youthful, simple clothes, in which you could move, in which you could run and jump and we would make them the length the customer wanted. I wore them very short and the customers would say, ‘Shorter, shorter.'”1 What is true is that Mary Quant named it, after her favourite car – The Mini (obvs).

 

(image source)

Quant is also credited (by some) with inventing the coloured and patterned tights that were so often worn with the new shorter skirts and dresses. It could have been Balenciaga who showed harlequin tights in 1962. It basically seems like several people were having similar ideas in fashion at the same time – but Mary Quant seems to have been the one associated with inventing/ popularising the most innovations.

(image source)

Another of these innovations was hot pants. Here is Quant and Grace Coddington (of Creative Director of US Vogue and giant red hair fame – she used to be a model, and she features quite a bit in The September Issue, which I would recommend) modelling hot pants underneath dresses – I assume this was a thing?!

(image source)

“Ernestine Carter, an authoritative and influential fashion journalist of the 1950s/60s, wrote: “It is given to a fortunate few to be born at the right time, in the right place, with the right talents. In recent fashion there are three: Chanel, Dior, and Mary Quant.””2

(image source)

After opening a second Bazaar store in 1957, Quant started to design more and more of the items she was selling, instead of merely ordering them in. “For a while in the late 1950s and very early 1960s, Quant was one of only two London-based high-end designers consistently offering youthful clothes for young people. The other was Kiki Byrne, who opened her boutique on the King’s Road in direct competition with Quant.”3

(image source)

From the 70s onwards, she moved away from designing clothes and concentrated on homeware and cosmetics – which she says are a part of fashion. According to her Wikipedia article, she claims to have invented the duvet – though a quick google tells me that Terence Conran was the first person to sell the modern duvet, or continental quilt, in Britain, having got the idea from Sweden.

(image source)

(image source)

She was particularly known for monochrome colour-blocking.

(image source)

(image source)

She also seemed to have embraced bright colours, like these dresses, in orange, mustard and red. I particularly like the mustard one, and I like the contrast collar, cuffs, hem and pocket on this one.

(image source)

(image source)

(image source)

Like so many designers from the 50s, 60s and 70s, Mary  Quant produced sewing patterns – I think it’s so cool how they all accepted people wanted to copy their styles so made patterns. I guess it probably wasn’t the same people who would buy the clothes and would make the clothes.

(image source)

I like the pose in the photos of this one!

(image source)

Not sure about this one to be honest!

(image source)

(image source)

I like this one with the high collar and the pleated skirt. Not sure how flattering it would be on me – the drawing looks better than the photo.

(image source)

(image source)

In 1966 she was made an OBE and in 2015 she was made a Dame. Not bad for someone who never studied fashion! Although she moved away from fashion design, for me – and I’m sure for many other people – the thing I will most associate her with is her mod designs of the 60s. I’m definitely going to look out for any of her patterns so I can recreate some of her looks!

 

 

You-may-also-like-coral

Fashion History - Early 1960s Designer Inspiration - Chester Weinberg Style Crush - Jean Seberg

Save

Save