Hundred Years Wardrobe: 1970s

Over the Summer I was invited to a 70s party with the brass band that I play in – and it was the perfect opportunity to make my first Hundred Years Wardrobe make. I had the idea for this project at the beginning of the year, but thought I wouldn’t have time to make anything so shelved it until I had the chance to make a 70s outfit. I wrote a post about 70s fashion quite a while ago so I knew there were loads of trends to choose from – hippy, disco, punk, flares being obligatory. I did what I usually do when faced with something like this – went to Pinterest and searched for some iconic 70s figures to get some inspiration. I was pretty close to doing a Bowie look (but which one?!) but then I happened upon this amazing Zandra Rhodes outfit worn by Freddie Mercury and my mind was made up – I’ve always loved queen and thought what better outfit than this!

This was made by Zandra Rhodes and I thought it looked relatively simple to make – I would just have to master pleats!

I started with this really big, thick piece of cardboard I got from work and thought it would work as a pleating board, but in fact it was too thick.

Waaaay too thick!

Instead, I used a piece of thick paper/thin card I already had and it worked much better. For a pleating board, you need something thin enough that the pleats will be sharp. I used this tutorial on YouTube, but I didn’t back it with fabric – which I would definitely recommend if you’re going to try pleating a lot of fabric as my board kept expanding when I put the fabric in. But I just about managed it.

Once I’d made the board, I tested it and it seemed to work – and the fabric seemed to hold the pleats once ironed. The fabric, which was actually much thicker than would have been ideal, was a viscose-something mix (I can’t actually remember) which I bought in my local fabric shop. It was super wide and the ladies assured me that it would hold pleats, which was the main characteristic I was interested in.

I bought 4 metres of the fabric and used about 1m for the trousers, which I didn’t really photograph, either while making them or while taking the final photos. I used the Gertie Cigarette Pants pattern from her book Gertie Sews Vintage Casual as a basis, adding triangles to each side of the leg to make the flares. This was the same pattern I used for my Dressmaker’s Ball dress and I made some tweaks here and there, but it was a good job the fabric has quite a bit of stretch as it made them a bit more forgiving fit-wise and more comfortable to wear!

With the rest of the fabric, which was luckily really wide, I cut it in half parallel to the selvage to make about 5.5m of fabric which needed to be pleated! I got into a rhythm after a while and managed to pleat it all over the course of 2 evenings – of course I left making this outfit until really late so I was in a hurry and working on it every spare hour I could find.

I used some paperclips to try to hold some of the pleats in place as I moved on further down the fabric as I was worried the weight of the fabric would mean the pleats would drop out.

With the majority of the fabric pleated, I used every other little scrap of fabric to make the yoke pieces. But first i cut them out of calico, to be the under-layer which would hold most of the weight of the pleated fabric – and it was heavy! If I made this again I would definitely use something lighter!

Here are the front york and 2 back york pieces sewn together at the shoulders – a lot of this was guess-work, and holding pieces of paper up to myself to figure out how big to make them, but I did use the facing from the Inari tee and dress as a basis for the length and shape of the neckline.

I’m pretty sure the original Zandra Rhodes outfit only had one seam in the pleated fabric, probably at the back, but I had to have 2 so I had one at the front and one at the back, so I stitched the front seam together before I started pinning it to the calico support structure.

I then pinned all of the pleated fabric onto the calico under yoke. In the original outfit, I think it looks like there was more fabric in the middle of the front and then it’s a tiny bit more spread out as you move up Freddie’s body and over the shoulders, but I didn’t have anywhere near enough fabric to make it look exactly like the original – I would love to know how much fabric is in the original, I think it could easily be twice as much as I had.

After sewing on the pleat to the calico, I then cut the front parts for the yoke to cover all the stitching and everything, from the main fabric. I added a seam allowance so I would be able to fold the edges in, like a patch pocket. I also overlocked the edges as the fabric frayed like crazy!

After lots and lots of thinking about how to construct the top – mostly when lying in bed trying to sleep –  this was the only way I could come up with to make it. I figured it didn’t matter what it looked like on the inside as the outfit was for one party, but I would love to have a look at the original and see how it was constructed.

When pinning the front part on, I pinned the necklines together (which were the same size as I didn’t add seam allowance there), then worked from the middle out towards the shoulders, to try to make sure it was straight compared to the layer underneath.

At this point, I was pretty excited with how it was looking – and to be honest pretty pleased with how it was looking.

It seems that it was at this point that I stopped taking photos – I was stitching the top yokes on in the afternoon of the day of the party so I assume I was so rushing to finish that I didn’t document the rest of the process, but the back was pretty much the same as the front, which looked like this when it was all finished.

I then added a facing around the whole neckline, again using the Inari pattern as the basis. Then I added some eyelets to the back, to be able to lace it up (which facilitates being able to get in and out of it.

And now after all that writing and the in progress photos, I couldn’t resist trying to recreate the Freddie photos at the top of the post.

You can see in this photo, below, how there wasn’t anywhere near as much fabric in my version as in the original, but you get the idea and it was good enough for a one-off party.

Hopefully with my next Hundred Years Wardrobe make I won’t be in so much of a hurry (though who am I kidding, I love working last-minute to a crazy deadline!) so I’ll maybe have more than one post to write, about some new techniques I’ve discovered or some more inspiration images. But at least I’ve got the ball rolling!

Also I’m going to see Bohemian Rhapsody, the Freddie Mercury biopic, for my birthday in a couple of weeks. Would it be too much to wear this outfit to the cinema?! 😉

 

 

Crepe Mercury Trousers

As I mentioned in my Summer sewing plans post, one of the garments I wanted to make was some Marilla Walker MercuryTrousers made from this lovely Crepe from Sew Over It. Although I’m blogging only blogging them now, I did make them in early September when the weather was still sort of warm, but I maybe won’t get much wear out of them until next Spring.

But I do love them! And the pattern was really easy to assemble, especially because there’s no fly or buttons – they’ve got an elasticated waist so they’re easy to fit too. I made the size 2, based mainly on my waist measurement because there’s a lot of ease at the hips.

These trousers have excellent deep pockets – now I make my own clothes, I’ve realised my ready to wear trousers (the few I still have left) generally have pockets so small I can’t get even my hand in them, let alone anything else I might want to carry round.

Having said that this pattern was  easy to make, that was definitely true but I made a really stupid mistake. I had been ironing cotton immediately before ironing the centre front seam and I didn’t adjust the heat setting and melted a hole in the top of the trousers, right in the middle. I’m not going to lie, I threw a little tantrum over it and stopped sewing for a while until I’d calmed down, thinking I’d ruined some not-very-cheap-fabric.

But when I’d calmed down and had a think, I realised I could just essentially chop the top off by sewing the waistband on further down the trousers than the pattern called for. In the end I only lost 2cm and I think the trousers turned out fine – the rise was high enough on me that the adjustment didn’t give me a wedgie!

I made the view with the pleats and the cuffs on the bottom, but in these photos I’ve folded the calf up because the trousers are a little long on my, but I really like them and I definitely think I’ll make them again. I really like the wide-legged view too, and I think a pair in some lovely linen for next Summer would be perfect! I also really like the top that comes in the Mercury Collection, so I might give that a go when it warms up a bit too.

I think this might be my favourite ever outtake by the way. You. Are. Welcome.


Have you made the Mercury Trousers? Or do you have a favourite relaxed fit trouser pattern?

 

 

Cotton Lawn Kimono

Since the weather is now getting cold, I’ve made a kimono out of some beautiful light-weight cotton lawn from Sew Me Sunshine (she only has a remnant left of it alas). #sewingappropriategarmentsfortheweather

I used the Simplicity K1108 pattern which came free with Sew Magazine, which I only buy when there is a pattern I want to make. I can’t remember when it came out, but I knew I wanted to make it and I waited for the perfect fabric. I actually found this cotton lawn on a couple of websites last year when I was looking for fabric for the culottes I made for the New Craft House Summer Party (though I realise now it wouldn’t have worked) but it was sold out everywhere, so when I saw that Harriet had it in stock I bought it IMMEDIATELY!

I made the size medium and cut it at a length in between view D and C – they’re the versions without the more bat-wingy sleeves as they’re not so much my style.

Here is a close up of the gorgeous fabric! It fits perfectly into my colour palette.

The pattern is really simple to make – definitely a good make for a beginner. The only tricky bit was the bias binding around the whole neckline – and that was only tricky because I made my own bias binding using this brilliant tutorial from Helen from Stitch My Style and didn’t do the most accurate of measuring, so my binding was a bit too narrow in places so it was impossible to enclose all of the raw edges in places. I cut a couple of wider bits from the leftovers and just put them over the top of the narrow bits, it’s a bit shoddy but it worked. Sometimes you just have to bodge it!

I did manage to wear this once before the weather got a bit chilly! And I was promised that September would be warm, but so far it’s not really warm enough to wear a thin kimono as opposed to a proper cardigan. Boo.

I know that for various reasons some people really didn’t enjoy the heatwave/proper Summer we had in the UK this year, but I am lucky to live in a flat that is cool (because it’s old – the pay-off is that it is also freezing in the Winter) and I work in a place with air con so I am a bit sad that we’re heading back into Autumn and Winter again already.Also I barely got to wear my Birkenstocks! Although I like snuggling up when it’s cold, last year Winter seemed to go on forever and I get a bit sick of sitting at my sewing maching usually in 3 layers, with a hot water bottle and a blanket! Maybe I need to move to warmer climes…..

Anyway, season rant over.

Have you ever actually made a free pattern from a magazine? I think this is the first I’ve made and I deliberately don’t subscribe to any sewing magazines because I don’t want to increase my pattern stash exponentially with things I know I won’t make.

 

 

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!

 

 

#2018MakeNine recap

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a little while, and now we’re well over half way through the year, but I thought I would check in with myself to see how I’m doing with my #2018MakeNine.

I felt like I had made several of the things on my list of 9, but it turns out I’ve only made 3!

I’ve made the Marilla Walker Honetone Coat, 2 Closet Case Patterns Ebony dresses (1, 2), and a Nina Lee Carnaby dress (which I haven’t blogged about yet).

I sort of nominally planned one make per month and I was doing okay……until March apparently! I meant to make the 2 jeans patterns in April and May but I haven’t got around to either yet.

I’ve also decided to swap out the Victory Patterns Hannah Dress for the Style Arc Blaire Shirt. I have quite a lot of dresses in my wardrobe but I mostly wear separates, and mostly trousers and shirts (or other tops when it’s hot). And it looks like most of the last part of the year will be making jeans and trousers, which I do desperately need in my wardrobe.

I planned to join in with 3 of the Sew My Style projects and so far I’m not behind, as the bag and the bra are towards the end of the year. Although I did make my Kalle Shirt, I didn’t make it in time for the deadline, but I did make most of it in the right month.

How are you doing with your plans for the year? Are you as behind as I am?!