Friday, 15 January 2016

2 Skirts and a Cape - from Ikea?

I'll warn you now - this is a bit of a rambling post, taking in everything from Ikea to Vincent Price, 80's Butterick to pattern matching, but stick with it - you might have some fun!

I've written before about how I usually end up overspending whenever I visit Ikea, and more often then not I end doing most of said overspending in the fabric section. This time I had a reason to be buying fabric, as Mr Needles was getting a long held Halloween request for a cape fulfilled. He's a big fan of horror movies, especially those from the 60's and 70's, and wanted to conjure up a Vincent Price look for Halloween - a combination of this:

Vincent Price in 'Masque of the Red Death'

and this:

Vincent Price in 'Witchfinder General'
I drafted my own pattern using the ever helpful (though at times a bit complicated) Natalie Bray - the cover (picture below) actually features the diagram for drafting a cape:

I used this pattern for the hood, which I lengthened to get the right amount of drapey, spookiness necessary:

I'm terrible at estimating fabric, and nearly always overbuy and this was no exception. He'd requested it be nearly floor length, so after playing around with the pattern pieces on the floor of the living room, I estimated about 4 metres would be enough. 

Pattern making in action - when only newspaper is big enough for your pattern pieces.

 Next stop Ikea, where I found  this plain red, medium weight fabric for only £4 per metre.

Lenda from Ikea

The cape was basically lots of long straight seams, and I wasn't going to bother with lining or anything, so it went together pretty quickly:

At the halfway stage

Hood fitting session with Mr Needles
And just to add a little touch of the baroque, I added this closure made of buttons from my stash:

Here's the finished product, on Halloween night:

I only really got these pictures - too busy having a good time!

So that was the cape. But what about the skirts mentioned in the title? Well, the overspending and over estimating on fabric came in handy, because I was able to get a couple of skirts for myself out of the leftovers and a sneaky remnant I bought at the time.

First, a pencil skirt using this 80's pattern:

I really liked the idea of the pockets - always handy! - and the button back closure. Here's how it looks:

The skirt seemed a little baggy at first, so I took it in a little through the side seams. Fits great, but the only concern is that now I have to be careful with any bending, as any extra strain on the buttons can be disastrous. I've already popped one, and sent it flying across the room! If I made it again, I might replace the buttons with a seam and zip.

Close up of button closure
And pockets are always a great addition:

So a piece from the remnant bin at Ikea also managed to come home with me - 1.5 metres of this over sized check:

Berta Ruta fabric from Ikea

I decided it would be perfect for the other skirt in this pattern, but without the back buttons, and the checks would make some really interesting lines:

Because of the limited amount of fabric, the back and front seams match, the sides not so perfectly, but you can't win 'em all!:

And again, pockets! - which I cut on the bias, so no need for any pattern matching:

I've worn both of these skirts at least once a week since I made them - they're just really handy to throw on with a t-shirt or sweater.

Hope that wasn't too long for everyone - see you soon!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Christmas Dresses, Two at a Time

Hello! Hope everyone's had a lovely holiday. I know I've eaten my own weight in chocolate and cheese, so that counts as a resounding success. I don't know about you, but I always like some new stuff to wear for Christmas, whether I need it or not. I had made my mind up to make one final dress for the #vintagepledge, and at the last minute decided to knock out one more, because as you'll see, the first dress, although a joy to wear, is not the most practical when roasting a turkey.

Christmas dress number one is from this 1967 Simplicity pattern:

Simplicity 7088, 1967

I can't remember where I saw this pattern, but when I did I knew I had to have it. I raced around loads of sites looking for it, and eventually bought it from ogy0531 on eBay. It was nearly £20 with p+p, which is more than I would normally spend on a pattern, but I had to have it! And it isn't even the right size - this is a bust 31, I'm more of a 36, so I used this pattern which I know fits me straight out of the packet, to grade it up to my size:

I used reams and reams of tracing paper, and even made a toile, which looked like this:

At this stage, I was concerned that I was going to look like this:

Agnes Moorehead as Endora in 'Bewitched'

- but I carried on despite this. But a part of me always loved Endora's sense of drama, so in tribute to her I decided to go for a gold and black look, courtesy of some cheap lame knit from Walthamstow market.

Enough of my waffling, here's the finished dress:

Of course, the most spectacular part of the dress is the back:

This is certainly the most comfortable 'glamour' dress I've ever worn; it sort of feels like a hospital gown because it's all loose and swingy at the back, and feels like it could fly up at any moment.

And the secret to the shape of the whole thing lies in this sneaky little bra extender, which is hidden inside and keeps the front portion close to the body and lets the rest hang free:

I lined the whole dress in a light weight poly to give it some stability, and the bra extender was hidden under the cape - here's a flash of the inside (excuse my big red bra):

Here's one more swish:

As much as I love that dress, it's more of a night time look, not really suitable for turkey and gravy on Christmas Day. At the very last minute - December 22nd - I decided to make a more wearable dress out of some stash fabric using a pattern I've used before:

Simplicity 9330 from 1971
I used some bargain-tastic viscose and light weight poly lining I picked up, once again, at Walthamstow market. I got it cut out and sewn up in 2 days, which is super quick for me, and it was my first invisible zip in a garment - milestone! Here it is:

It was all pretty straight forward, I knew it would fit so I didn't have to try it on along the way, and the invisible zip saved so much time:

Not bad for a first attempt - why did I wait so long to do this?!!?
The only slightly tricky bit is the collar/bow thing at the neck, which involved a bit of basting and a bit of unpicking to finally get right:

The fabric has a bit of stretch in it, so was ideal for sweating away in the kitchen, then eating all of the roasted goodness, as well as pudding and other sweets.

So all round a sartorially successful Christmas. Hope everyone had a good one and here's to a fabulous New Year!

See you soon!

Friday, 13 November 2015

A Winter Jumpsuit - Burda #130

Every now and then I stray off the vintage path and make something from the present day. This Burda jumpsuit caught my eye, partly because it reminded me of something which Clare at Sew Dixie Lou brought my attention to:

Joan Collins in 'Tales of the Unexpected', 1980

It's a massive stretch from Joan and her zips to Burda 09/2011 #130, but stick with me:

(Is it me, or does Burda Girl look massively depressed, so much so she's taken to drinking alone, while staring out the window, wondering where all the time went, or something...)

This is one of a number of projects waiting to be blogged, but I've been too busy wearing them. This jumpsuit has been a particular favourite, though I somehow couldn't get it to photograph at it's best. Excuse all the wrinkles and draping, the fabric was misbehaving!

I used a wool/poly/lycra blend from my new local supplier in Walthamstow, The Man Outside Sainsburys! (#TMOS), which was only £3 per metre. It took 3 metres, so a total of £9 - bargain! It's one of those in between colours, a bit brown, a bit grey, a bit khaki, but it handles beautifully and the stretch makes it really comfortable to wear.

Here's the back:

I'm used to wearing quite fitted styles, so something this loose and draped is a total departure for me. At times it feels like I'm wearing pyjamas. Unlike the girl in the photo, I have boobs and an open front to deal with, so I had to add a hidden hook and eye and press stud to keep it decent:

As I usually do with trousers, I lined the back seat section for stability and comfort:

I'm not a big lover of PDF patterns, but this one was really inexpensive - £3.99 - and wasn't as painful to put together as they usually are. 

The instructions are a bit vague, but it all went together pretty well. The only thing I would recommend is to use an invisible zip for a sleeker look; I used a lapped zip and it sticks out a bit. Might change it later...

Some other details - 

The sleeves are pretty long, but going by the picture they are meant to be rolled back in a cuff, as are the trousers. And there's pockets, which is always a plus!:

And I think that's it! See you soon!