Vintage wrap-blouse

vintage wrap blouse

In the olden days I used to worry that I wouldn’t have enough to blog about but now it seems I’m capable of even forgetting that I’ve made stuff to blog about!

This lovely pattern was generously gifted to me by Anne of Mercury Handmade. Not only did she post me a much-wanted, missing copy of Burda Style magazine back in August but she also enclosed two surprise gorgeous vintage patterns. This being one of them. If you’ve not caught up with Anne yet, I seriously advise you to pop over to her blog for all the inspiring and perfectly made clothes she makes for herself and her two lucky daughters

Bestway D.3,109 blouse pattern

The pattern is Bestway D.3,109. One of those mail order sorts, by the looks of it. And I’m thinking early 1950s.

I love the flattering neckline and the extended sleeves. The back is just one piece which incorporates the sleeves and there are interesting yoke pieces which incorporate them on the front. The ‘collar’ lays flat, sitting on the collar bone to create that lovely opening. And its beautifully shaped to nip in at the waist.

It’s held closed with just two vintage buttons. The third is for decorational purposes but at some point I would add an internal button or snap to keep the under-wrap in position. For the time being I generally tuck it into my pants!

lighthouse blouse buttons

I used a nice crisp cotton from the goldhawk road. It’s printed with lighthouses which seemed a perfect choice for this blouse.

vintage lighthouse blouse

I love wearing vintage style blouses. There’s always something a little bit quirky about them. And they are so easily paired up with a circle or pencil skirt. I’m slowly getting away from the easy-to-wear jersey tops that I used to wear all the time. Just need to make a couple more so I can ditch the rest of my tatty go-tos!

vintage lighthouse blouseAnd in case any of you are wondering. I wouldn’t ordinarily be out in December without a coat. It is winter as I post this and it is very, very nippy out! We just ran across the road while the sun was out to take these shots and ran back in before the goosebumps set in!!

I’m now about to add about 10 more layers and head out into the wild and crazy world of Christmas shoppers! I’ve not even scratched the surface yet. Please don’t tell me you’ve all done yours!

 

 

Handmade Secret Santa pressies

gold bag on the railingsWhen I saw this bag in December’s Burda Style magazine, I just knew it was the one I’d been storing in my head for over a year! I’d seen a very similar 1940s Vogue pattern floating around on the web, time and again but never for sale, at least not with a reasonable sale ticket!

vogue bag hat pattern v9837

Source: http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com/wiki/Vogue_9837

I’d almost resigned to self-draft my own but couldn’t quite get my head around the order of sewing. Didn’t really try hard enough tbh! But Burda saved the day yet again with another simple well-drafted design.

burda pouch bag

Source: Burda Style magazine December 2014

And so when I found out I was to make a Secret Santa pressie for the adorable vintage-wearing Emmie Ink Fairy, it was a given!

The instructions suggested leather, which I did originally go looking for. And believe it or not there is such a great colour choice as well in the Goldhawk Rd! But even after a good rummage, I couldn’t find a gold piece big enough to fit the pieces. I thought two pieces of gold lamb was a bit excessive and then gave up on leather altogether when I couldn’t remember if Emmie was a veggie/vegan. That might have gone down like a lead flipper!

As always it was A1 Fabrics that presented me with a better fabric solution: some lovely soft, gold ‘pleather’. Perfect!
It was an education to work with. A leather needle made light work but boy did we have a fight to press the stuff! Didn’t really think that through properly.

Gold pouch bag

Pleather is plastic, fundamentally, and will melt if it comes into direct contact with a hot iron. I’m not that daft. I did use some parchment paper as a pressing cloth. But it just boinged back the minute I stopped pressing. The heat was being retained and making it too pliable. So I grabbed the nearest ‘clapper’ I could find, in the shape of a heavy book, to slap down on the fabric once I lifted the iron off. It did the job in cooling down the fabric quicker and so holding the press a bit better. Not nearly as well as a woven fabric would have pressed but better than a poke in the eye for sure!

gold pouch bag

Burda’s instructions stopped at a facing but I wanted neater than that, so I made a lining to attach to the bottom of the facing, and of course included an ooobop label! Not such a secret now but I liked it as a finishing touch!

inside gold pouch bag

I stupidly didn’t get a picture of Emmie with it adorning her wrist but it didn’t look out of place with her beautiful pink sparkly dress.

We were at a lovely Christmassy do hosted by the BHL girls. So honoured to be part of the evening with so many wonderfully familiar faces.

We dined and beered at a local-to-me Polish restaurant called Patio. I seriously don’t know how those girls catered so brilliantly for over 30 of us with so many different menu choices. They were amazing.

And look what some gorgeous and not-so-secret Santa made for me!

quilted cup and saucer

I seriously couldn’t believe that someone could have made this quilted cup and saucer but when I realised it was the uber talented Rachel Pinheiro, it all made blinding sense!!

What’s not to love about the colours, the french men in their Breton tops, the moustaches and the candy stripes? Perfect to keep all my sewing notions from rolling around the table while I’m sewing and also for sticking pins and needles in as I go.

Earlier in the day I had been to a work Christmas lunch. Yes I know, 2 Christmas do’s in one day. And I was still standing! One of my secret-santa friends bought me this gorgeous sewing pattern. She is so bloody clever and so thoughtful! I can totally see myself in this dress already!

Vogue V2410 vintage dress pattern

I consider myself truly spoilt. Not just with do’s and gifts but with the plethora of amazing friends that bring me so much joy and make me laugh so much. That’s got to be the best part of any time of the year.

Have you made any gifts this year or is it all just too much?

 

Georgia the party squeeze!

BHL georgia dress

Meet party girl, Georgia! She was meant to be my party dress for last Christmas. But well, you know what happens. I make a plan… and then I make another plan!

But nevertheless, here she is for this season’s line up of parties. Kicked off at London’s Bob Bob Ricard’s no less, for my good friend’s 50th birthday celebrations. I even had the foresight to ensure I coordinated perfectly with the lavish decor of black and gold.

Mr Ooobop wasn’t available to do his paparazzi bit, so many thanks to the lovely @Alphabeckles for this impromptu snap.

Georgia dress at bob bob ricard

The pattern and instructions for the BHL Georgia dress are dead easy to follow. And the online sewalong is a great back up for the finer points.

I made some personal pattern adjustments that included a little FBA, a little shortening of the straps, and a not so little gradation from a 12 at the top to a 16 at the hip (Well that certainly was a surprise!).

I dutifully made the above alterations to a toile but the age old problem was that my toile fabric, although relatively the same weight as my chosen fabric, had a little more give. My gold and black heavy silk-like, embroidered viscose brocade had absolutely none, zilch, diddly-squat!

Yes I know! I know damned well the By Hand London ladies recommended a fabric with a little stretch so please don’t remind me that I totally ignored their perfectly perfect advice!! But you see I got sucked in by the gorgeous tartan version that Sally Bee made! And she used a woven with no stretch!

It must be mentioned that although I was exceedingly honest with my measurements for this dress: over bust, full bust, waist and hip. I neglected to take into consideration my underbust measurement. I think I have a disproportionate bird rib cage to be fair!

And so once I realised that I was going to twist my spine out of alignment or at best pull a muscle doing up the side zip of the actual dress, (which actually wasn’t going anywhere above waist level anyway) I figured I’d have to gain an inch at least from somewhere. So I claimed half inch from each side seam of the skirt side panels and accounted for that in the side-seams of the bodice too.

It fitted. Boy did it fit. No room for sharp intakes of breath but it looked pretty damned good, even though I say it myself.

I grinned and beared it… all day (yes I wore it to work before hand!) and all night.

But at some fateful point over that corsetted period I acquired a little uninvited breathing space!

BHL Georgia rip

This happened of course because I had left the teensiest of seam allowances to glean my inch and although I serged the tiny seam edge, it frayed from the strain!

Lucky I wore a ‘modesty jacket’! Which incidentally was a panic dirty rtw purchase the day before, from Monsoon. I say dirty, not because it is, it’s very clean and lovely in fact, but because there is an element of shame that I broke my routine of only hand made clothes for at least two years. I’ve only allowed myself underwear and cardi purchases from the high street. Anything else to be bought from charity shops. I could so easily have made this jacket. It’s not dissimilar to the Victoria Blazer. But time was not on side and nobody needs to see those fleshy underarm bits in daylight hours!

The jacket did it’s job and clearly hid the naughty side split until I got home too!

So now my dilemma. I want to wear this to at least 2 more parties which are coming up soon. Like next week… eeek! Do I patch it up or do I re-cut two new panels taking new seam allowances into consideration? I do actually have enough fabric.

TBH, I don’t actually know how I’d patch it up. So I think I know the answer. Unless of course anyone has any an amazingly good solution…. please?

 

ooobop! review: Burda Style December 2014

Burda Style Magazine December 2014 issue
Over the last few months I’ve been having a spot of bother getting a copy of my favourite mag from my local WHSmiths. Well from any Smiths actually. They are getting slack in their orders of big quantities or sometimes any orders at all!

But last month and this month, I decided to order it from an online newsagent and I think this is the way forward for me. It costs an extra £1.60 for post but I get notification of it’s arrival date and it is delivered within 2 days. I love the sound of the thud of the post landing on the mat and I certainly don’t miss the queues to the awful automated cash desks at Smiths!!

So here we are. Although not overly festive. But that’s ok.

The opening section, although very monochrome displays some lovely structure with a touch of shimmer.

Burdastyle December 2014 art deco section

A: Described as a long blazer but I think more a classy occasional coat. I love the asymmetry and I’ve seen some gorgeous silk-like viscose fabric that would work amazingly well. Could really do with one of these. I don’t have any party outer-layers! Burda suggests it could be a mini dress too.

B: I didn’t join the ‘peplum gang’ when they first got fashionable. But I might be persuaded by this one. I really line the clean lines of this top. It’s got a midriff that has sold me and I like the slit at the neckline.

C: A classic sparkly sequin jacket. But not for me I’m afraid. Too shapeless. Too scratchy. And I can just imagine all the cat fluff that would get stuck around the sequins!

D: Quite like this dress. Very classic and very flattering. It’s actually an extension of top B. But I would question that choice of fabric. Impossible to pattern match and so the optical illusion draws attention to a pokey out belly even when the model doubtfully has one!

E: Probably not that clear from this little pic but this is a sparkly turtle neck top with blouson sleeves and a lovely wide cuff. Love the silhouette and for me it’s a perfect work to night out top. There’s a tute to help the process. This one’s on the list!

F: There’s that peplum again! I’m not that enamoured with it but I like the idea of mashing some interesting fabrics together: Pinstripe suiting, lace and embroidered something!

G: This is a great skirt. The fabric choice is stunning. Graphic and structured. You can’t really see the detail but involves a hip yoke and a deep pleat at the centre front.

H: This outfit isn’t my thing. I don’t like the silhouette. I don’t do culottes or drawstring waists. Not on the list!

I: This lacy top looks so pretty in the picture. You’d never be sold by the line drawing. It looks really wide and strange but the draping effect is a winner.

The next section gets some red in with some festive flair!

There’s some cute little girls garments here but only up to age 10. LMO is 10 but wearing age 14 clothes so as much as I’d like to make her coat B, I’ll have to sort my grading skills out or just admire them on the page.

Burda december 2014 festive flair

A: Lovely simple dress with a structured skirt and a petticoat underneath. None too girly but still with a pretty fitted silhouette.

B: Double breasted child’s coat with cute peter pan collar. Sewn up in top notch wool it is truly a classic forever coat. Well at least the child grows out of it! I think I like the grown up dress too. Love the simplicity, the red, the deep pleat and the neckline. But the sleeves are worrying me. They look kind of too big at the top.

C: A raglan blouse (or peasant top in my book!) and an extended version as a dress. Like both. And they would be very simple to make for presents. Don’t have to be too precise with the sizing either.

D: Scarf blouse and skirt with ties says it all. Too much flounce for me. They are both made in crepe too. Maybe that’s what is putting me off asides from the dipped pink and coral combo all clingy like that. Proper girly Christmas wrapping!

E: But just in case that scarf business appeals, here’s another variation on a dress with longer ties to tie in two places. Genius. But not on the list!

F: I think this is the same little girls dress as A but without sleeves. I don’t mind mums semi fitted brocade number but it does look a tad mumsy at that length to be honest.

G: They lost me at ‘loose cut’! And drawstring!

H: Boxy jackets always look good on children! The simplicity of the style can make way for some statement fabric.

A departure from girly to freestyle. Some very interesting fabric combos. And I like that.

Burdastyle December 2014 Free Style

 A: Hopefully you can just about make out the giant underbust fringe! It’s a maxi top sewn in a crushed jersey knit with an asymmetrical draped collar. I don’t wear strides but if ever I did I may have to pair up with one of these. Just because!

B: This is indeed a master piece! Military made beautiful. Slightly fitted wool coat with trumpet sleeves, asymmetric collar and buttoning. And that gorgeous design you can see up one side is appliquéd lace no less. I’m still revelling in my coat from February but I can totes see myself in this. Maybe next year!

C: Described as a bell skirt. Nothing much to see here but some lovely overlaid fabric and trim has planted some seeds for sure.

D: Gotta love a cape. Proper sturdy one too. I do want a cape but not this one with its belts and panels and epaulettes. It looks a bit overly involved for me. Don’t dislike it though.

E: There’s that top again. Same as E in the first section but in a totally different fabric. Making it more jumper than blouse for a more casual approach. You wont be able to see from the little pic but the seams are ‘outwardly open’! Why? Imagine how irritating when everyone and their aunt asks if your top is inside out!

F: In interesting patched shirt using patched stretch jersey, stretch faux leather and wool. You could use any kind of combo but I’m finding this all a bit too much. I do very much like the leathery sleeves though. The skirt looks more interesting than the pencil skirt it is but even though it is relatively straight I think that top needs to be worn with a much less interfering bottom half!

G: Pretty sure this is repeated from the festive section but I love how much more retro it appears with a shorter hemline.

H: Tube dress with rolled collar in a stretch knit lace. Great on the right bod. But not on mine!

I: I like this dress. Lovely defined bodice and flouncy skirt in an overlaid lace tulle. Sold on the colour too. Eliminates girly girly and makes it more day time. I can’t decide whether I like the sporty grosgrain straps or not. Actually I do!

J: I’ve been thinking of a poncho. Not like the one my mum made me wear in the 70s but something understated like this one. In truth I’m being lazy so as not to have to get involved in a cape! Its just a rectangle with minimal sewing, yay!

Burda’s designer pattern this month comes with a nod to Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. I love these little insights into the lives of designers. JC professes to be inspired by love andcuriosity. I like that! Just as much as I like this straight cut mini-dress with its massive pocket details and topstitched standing collar. 

burda december 2014 JC de castelbajac dress

I’ve made pj bottoms for 3 other members of my family but never for myself. It’s just occurred to me that I’ve got the most raggedy selection of nightwear and that things must change. Here’s some pretty things and one seriously crazy pair of pj bottoms!

Burda december 2014 nightwear

 A: Cutesy bustier and French knicker set. Piping, ruffles the lot!

B: Isn’t the idea of a boyfriend shirt that you just nick one off your boyfriend? I’m not sure I can afford to invest that much time into making a proper nightshirt. Piped collar, inverted back pleat, button placket, breast pocket with embroidered monogram and inseam pockets too!

C: Lovely little ballerina slippers. Could be a lovely little Christmas present perhaps.

D&E: A traditional set of pjs. What’s not to like? Love the cool crisp blue.

F: This is a knitted coat and I want it! I don’t want to knit it though. I’d be bored of it before I finished it, I’m that slow. But I’m sure someone out there would love to whip this up.

G: And theres those crazy palazzo trouser pjs! Can’t do those. I’d get myself in a pickle for sure.

H: Camisole and French knickers. Now you’re talking. Maybe this is my Christmas present to me!

I: This nightdress is pretty too. Ruffles top and bottom are a bit cake-like for me but I like the elasticated empire line.

As is traditional, it’s the plus fashions that bring the party to the fore.

Burda December 2014 plus fashion

A: Long jacket and pencil skirt. A classy pairing. The jacket comes with an optional belt but I’d leave that out unless you want the dressing gown look!

B: Low cut V-neck tunic top. I love the contrasting black band around the neckline. Very feminine and perfect with pencils and skinnies.

C: Bit odd this ‘volant’ tunic. Burda’s word not mine! Longer at the back than the front with ruffly bits. Not really my cup of tea.

D: Described as a peplum dress but someone more sophisticated than that I feel by the way that the centre point extends. Very jewel-like indeed. I’m not keen on the colours but greens and blues would do it for me. Or blacks and reds! A lot of precision sewing though. Only for the more patient among us!

E: Ah! There’s that long jacket with the belt. See.

F: Can’t make my mind up about this skirt. Its fundamentally a pencil with satin bands that run down the back. Apparently they make the bottom look slimmer. Are big butts out now then?

G: In the right drapey material this tunic dress would be gorgeous. I’d prefer not to look like a galaxy but I do like the contrast of the black bands and a busy print.

H: This colour-blocked peplum blouse is a no from me. Too much like hard work. Too much going on in such a small space. But I bet somewhere out there, there is a quilter who is itching to get going on it!!

Well that just about wraps things up. I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek. I failed in every way to make this a shorter exercise but no regrets. I thoroughly enjoyed spending the time to look closer at each garment. And of course it always makes for a great record to come back to.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend x

 

UK v Germany: A Burda-off! PLUS a tiny feature

Burda UK v Germany covers

I’ve been an avid collector of Burda Style Magazines for three years or more. It’s my monthly inspirational treat and over the years the collection has become my now go-to library for instant pattern pieces and reference. I just love a sit down with a cuppa and a mag and a pile of Burdas at my feet. A perfect way to unwind, recharge and replace my head-soup with a wishlist of sewing plans.

Before ooobop ever was an idea, I used to drool over the projects on Burdastyle.com, wishing I hadn’t given up sewing; jealous of all the lovely contributors and the time they’d dedicated to create such amazing garments. (At the same time, wondering how the heck they found time to maintain such a hobby around work and ‘smalls’.) Then one day I could stand it no longer. I bit the bullet, signed up and submitted my first project in July 2010. I was so proud of that little jump dress. Even moreso that I made the pattern myself. It still hangs in my daughter’s wardrobe. I’d like to believe she is proud of it too and that it’s not just a case of pre-empting a breakdown if mummy sees it in the bin!

The realisation that I could make clothes that created joy for me and my daughter at an outlay of 75p was encouragement enough to carry on. I have to be honest and declare that the outlay has increased somewhat over the years but then so has my confidence and ability. And it is really so wonderful taking some time out today to look back at where I started and how things have moved on. And how I did find time.

There have been a few proud moments along the way where individual projects have been featured on the site but recently I got an Email from an editor of the German printed Burdastyle magazine who asked if she could feature this skirt and my shorts in the November issue. I have to be honest, I thought it was a spam Email at first so I didn’t reply straight away. But then I checked out the links and a little chuffed warm-glow filled my boots! Of course, I would be most incredibly delighted and honoured! Transpires they couldn’t feature the skirt because I’d self-drafted it but I submitted a photo of the shorts and here it is on the printed page!

Burda Germany shortsWhen the magazine arrived in the post I was more distracted by the quality of the magazine and quite forgot that I was in it! The German version is so much more glamorous. It is ‘perfect-bound’ as opposed to ‘saddle-stitched’. Those are the proper publishing terms but in lay-person terms that means that the German one feels more posh as it has feels more substantial and has a spine like all the high end glossy fashion mags. More substantial because there are more pages and because the pattern section is separately bound inside with it’s own cover. Saddle-stitched meaning stapled!

pattern section

This pattern section is perforated so that presumably, you can remove and keep it separately. There are images on the inside front and back cover of that section so you would have reference of the finished garments but personally I like the full page fashion shots to fire me up and therefore I would have a need to keep the two together.

Overall, the content is the same. The fashion shots identical. Though I bet the instructions are clearer in the Mütter tongue! Some of those translated terms in the UK edition have me head-scratching and reading ten times over before I’ve got whats going on. But there are additional features on accessories and a few full page glossy ads which ironically enough give it more of an upmarket feel. That’s not a hint by the way, Burda! You’ll not sell me anything via an ad in a mag!

I’m pre-empting some comments regarding my absence from Burda reviews of late, so I’ll apologise up front. I’m considering a return but need to find a quicker way. It takes so much time. That time I’ve since allocated to actual sewing but I have selfishly realised how much I rely on my own reviews when it comes to planning my next makes – far quicker and easier to track back a blog post on the hop than to wait for an opportune ‘sit-down with a mag moment’! So don’t hold your breath. I’m planning a return.

However, I shall leave you with some of November’s shots in case you didn’t get hold of a copy. See. I just can’t resist!!

Burda November 2014 Black and White

Burda November 2014 Black and White

Burda November 2014 High Society

Viva La Diva Burda Nov 2014

Viva La Diva Burda Nov 2014

Key Note Burda Nov 2014

Key Note Burda November 2014

Burda Baby Clothes Nov 2014

Homewear burda November 2014

Plus Homewear Burda November 2014

Happy Bonfire Night, peeps. I’m off to watch the fire in the sky… in the rain! Keep safe.

Love ooobop x

Virgin wool win!

front of basler skirt

I visit charity shops on a regular basis, almost always blinkered, and head directly to the fabric section and back. But a couple of weeks ago I was drawn magnetically to the back rail and to this wonderful tartan skirt.

tartan pleated skirt
The lady who served me knows me all too well and said she just knew it had my name on it!
The label read ‘Basler Collection’, which I hadn’t heard of but I was assured it was sign of good quality.
Back at base and on further inspection, that was verified…

Basler label generous seam allowance
The seam allowance is very generous for RTW. Even on the lining seams.

French tacks held the facing in place.

The pattern matching is faultless, across all pleats and seams.

And an internal button and loop adds that extra safeguard to zip-ups and unintentional zip-downs. Fine quality zip too!

internal button loop

The hem is blind stitched by hand. Though I can’t guarantee this was an original feature.

I only say that because the detective in me has spied that the previous owner had made adjustments to make it smaller… by making two fat darts at the back of the skirt. Inclusive of the lining. Very lazy and detrimental to the positioning of the side seams but I suppose that’s the sewing-snob coming out in my know-it-all self!

fat darts

All the above aside, this lovely skirt was way too big for me and way too granny-long. And so my mission which I chose to take to the table, was to fix it and properly. I put my £7.99 where my mouth was and turned this beaut into something that should have already have been in my wardrobe.

Yes I know I could have made one from scratch. It’s not that tricky. But not for anywhere that price tag. The label says 100% virgin wool. Virgin, I tell ya! I even had to Ask Jeeves what that was! Transpires that stuff can sell between £20 and £80 per meter!!

And so I was already quids in. And so I decided it was worth the work.

First to unpick those fat back darts.

Initially, I was going to pin the excess at the waistline whilst wearing the skirt. But have you ever tried to do that without stabbing yourself or at least getting both sides even.

Common sense prevailed thank goodness and I opted to measure my waist, measure the waist of the skirt and deduct the first measurement from the second…. doh!

Once I determined how much I needed to lose (6 inches in total!), I divided by 4. I needed to mark 1.5 inches down each side from the top of the waist band and gradually blend in with the side seam where it felt natural. I was quite keen to keep the width of the pleats and to create a more A-line silhouette at the same time

I needed to separate the facing from the skirt and also the lining from the facing. More detail was revealed in a 1cm fusible stay tape at the top, sandwiched between the main fabric and the facing.

inside facing

Inside, between facing and main fabric – small seam to unpick

right side facing unpicked

Right side facing: Top edge of waistband unpicked.

side seams chalked

New side seams marked with chalk along a French Curve

excess cut away

New seam sewn and excess fabric cut away

Once I’d stitched and pressed the seams open I tried it on for fit.
All was good so I evened up the seam allowance and overlocked. I left a generous SA as before as there’s every possibility I’ll need an increase after Christmas. This skirt is definitely in for the long haul, baby!

I didn’t reduce the width of the lining. Merely pleated the excess to one side. Never a worry to have the lining bigger than the skirt.

Lastly, I just needed to shorten it. Luckily this skirt was cut perfectly so all I need to do is follow the horizontal line of tartan to cut.

I overlocked the edge, pressed well and hand stitched with invisible stitches

New Hem

New hem

Ta darrrrr!!

Me in my new perfectly fitted Basler tartan skirt!
I wish I’d have taken a before picture now. There is such a difference. The shaping has made a much better silhouette and the shortening of the length has made if much more modern!

Not quite as exciting as a brand new make. But I’m so glad to have gained a great quality skirt at a fraction of its worth and to have given it a second life… and of course the feel good factor of having donated to a good cause in the meantime. Win, win, win!

back of basler skirt

And throughout the whole sewing process some totally fond ‘virgin’ memories sprang to mind …

Bombshells and Seashells

bombshell swimsuit

Try as I may I can never skip the post-holiday blues. But hey, the sky in London town today is so blue and cloudless and sunny so at least we can be gently and pleasantly eased bashell 3ck in to our daily duties. seashell

But before I stick my head into that stinky case to launder the smalls, I’d like to present a long overdue blog post. About my bombshell swimsuit. With me in it!

bombshell swimsuit in the pool

I wasn’t sure whether I’d be brave enough to do this and my nerve was duly questioned by work colleagues and family alike, but I have to say, it’s a lot easier when you’re posing on a lovely Spanish beach and not at your local city pool! And made easier still when the cozzie is so modest and flattering. If you Google Closet Case Files Bombshell Swimsuit I hope you will agree that it is such a wickedly clever design that looks great on everyone, any size, any age. So thank you Heather Lou for your great pattern and for eliminating the usual cringe-factor from my holiday snaps!

bombshell halter swimsuit

As near as I live to, and search as I may, I could not find the right cozzie fabric in the Goldhawk Road. One or two shops tried to sell me some spandex but there wasn’t much colour choice and none of the necessary extras I needed, like swimsuit elastic and swimsuit lining. So I braved the rave of the Fabricland website. Go there if you dare (for a fab selection of lycra and spandex), but beware flashing lights and neon starbursts upon every scroll… you have been warned! That said, the service was spot on. I ordered by phone one afternoon, from a lovely, helpful lady and it was delivered the next day.

bombshell swimsuit front and back

I was busy as some bees leading up to the holiday so I had to make this cozzie in small bite-sized shifts. And I’d be lying if I said I found it a breeze. Stress head and senility probably plorange shellayed a part in the confusion but I did find it difficult following instructions for one version whilst looking at pictures for the other.

The rouching was a bit fiddly and tbh I didn’t really know what I was doing until it all came together, if you know what I mean! It’s not my greatest work. There are flaws, namely in the consistency of the zigzagging. Incidentally, unlike some other lucky sewists who breezed through with an overlocker, my vintage overlocker is of the three-thread kind that just neatens edges and doesn’t sew the seam, so I chose to use the zig zag stitch on my machine instead. This works absolutely fine but leaves the insides looking a bit rageddy. Or maybe I’m just not used to working with stretchy swimsuit garments. Gimme French seams and flat fells anytime!

shellI sewed cups into the halters. I did that just by encasing them and then with some tiny hand stitches to secure them in place. I just knew the icy waters would leave an unwelcome impression on the photos, otherwise!

bombshell swimsuit splash

I couldn’t say how long exactly this took me to make, because I did it over three or four days or more but I would guess about 5 hours. Longer than I’d anticipated. But worth it. I bought some black swimsuit fabric to make another but just didn’t get enough time to make the two. The red and white polka dot seemed more apt for a Spanish holiday in any case.  shell 3seashell

I will make another and I will make a few changes. Namely: making the elastic a bit tighter round the leg holes and adding a little bit of length to the body. I will also take more care with the topstitching, especially round the front, where it notices. And I will probably overlock the stitching after I’ve sewn the pieces together.

Dan was of course the fantastic photographer but my son took these next two which are priceless. Oh the glamour. Oh how he laughed!

bombshell swimsuit photo by Alfie

We were staying in the pretty town of Denia, just south of Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. The locals were lovely and very patient with our pigeon Spanish! It was very very peaceful. Out of season, I guess. And I really didn’t expect the weather to be so fab. 24-28 degrees mostly. It’s amazing how much better I feel for some sun on my skin… and a week of no work. Dan got up at silly o’clock most mornings to climb Mount Montogó so that he could get some pics of the sun rising over the sea. He wasn’t disappointed. For anyone who’s interested, I’ll be sure to point you to them once he has selected his favourites.

OK. I think my time is up. Thanks for visiting. Cozzie’s off. Apron’s on. Hasta la próxima, mis amigos!

Sabrina, checked and tested!

Remember Sabrina Duncan? She was my favourite Charlie’s Angel. She was the leader, the rebellious one. Not the one who spent any amount of time on her flicks. Nor ever to be heard complaining about a broken fingernail and her martial arts skills were unrivalled and unhampered by flares. So cool.

What’s that got to do with the price of fish you may well ask… Well this is my Sabrina dress. This is By Hand London’s latest lady and my new go to dress. Not named in honour of my Sabrina as far as I know but in a roundabout way she led the slightly unorthodox approach to this dress.

Sabrina dress in kensington

When I was asked if I’d like to pattern-test this one it was a no-brainer. Not only was the dress named after one of my childhood heroines, it had princess seams that presented a perfect project to utilise some of that inspiration that I sucked from the JPG exhibition. A clash of the Tartans!

Not anywhere near as edgy as JPG himself but I love it all the same.
A great chance to kick start the Autumn wardrobe too.

Minerva kindly supplied the fabric and I knew exactly where I was heading to search for the cloth in question. I’d been trawling recently and had seen these two tartans together. Blackwatch and Royal Stewart – such a great contrast that had to work.

Incidentally this is a poly viscose blend. Apparent from the prewash that future laundering of this dress would be a breeze; Hardly creases; A joy to iron. In fact if hung up to dry properly you could almost get away with not ironing at all.

bhl sabrina dress kensington station

I have a few nitpicky personal fitting issues to sort, namely a sway back adjustment and since studying the photos, I think there is some excess in the upper bust. Even though I made a muslin – I was never going to cut right into that fabulous fabric without testing the waters first!– I didn’t pay proper attention to a perfect fit. Plus its quite tricky when you are up late on your own and don’t have eyes in the back of your head. So with that aside, I made this dress straight from the packet. from one size, no adjustments.

It does fray, this fabric, especially when over handled. But given how the seams are pressed sideways, trimmed and overlocked seams were defo the way forward.

You may well ask why I would want to take on the added pressure of pattern-testing. After all, its not like I’ve got any spare time on my hands. Kids and all the outside school activities that get involved in, full time plus overtime self employedness, and contrary to the belief of my kids I don’t employ fairies to cook clean and bottle-wash and of course my night time activities are sewing! It’s not like it’s paid and its not like I’m given any lead time. And so I have even asked myself the same question. But in writing up this post the ‘why” suddenly presented itself to me in a duh sort of way.

sabrina dress stained glass

I have a list longer than both arms of projects I want to sew. Dresses, jackets, suits and hats. Mostly all of them are inspired by a ready-made pattern that have a ready-made image on the front or in the mag. It’s quite difficult to think outside the box when you are presented with something that fundamentally works already. But when you are given a computer generated line drawing or better still a rough fashion sketch of a dress that isn’t even invented yet, that’s more than enough to shake up all those creative juices and set my brain on fire with ideas, mostly above my station I might add. Leather, feathers, fur, gold lame. It doesn’t matter that most of these aren’t realised. They will be in time. It matters that I’m focussing on the textile rather than the design. That bit has already been done for me in this case by the By Hand London Ladies. So I can concentrate on what fabric will work best which will have greater structure, beautiful drape or sharp enough edges to carry it off properly. It excites me. That is all.

bhl sabrina dress phonebox

I don’t think I pushed the boat out too far with this dress but its a start on my journey of discovery. When I presented my Photoshopped image to Vicki at Minerva she was really excited to see the end result and said she’d never seen those two fabrics put together before.

I’d like to try some leather in place of the Blackwatch in the future but even a pvc might be as good. I think Ms Duncan is calling for some added tomboy!

The dress itself is such a flattering and simple shape. Nicely fitted to the waist and charmingly flared to just above the knee. Its also a great base for incorporating a collar, changing a neckline adding some bodice detail.

sabrina dress tube stn

It sews up real quick. Just be careful around the bust shape and watch out for puckers. That happened on my muslin.

It’s unlined. Just has a bodice facing which is all you need really for a medium weight woven. Doesn’t stick to my tights either!

The hem should be kept small to avoid gathering the excess in the flare and I would say that was the trickiest bit.

I kid you not its had more wears than any dress in my wardrobe and it’s the newest!

The above shots were taken in and around South Kensington and at the Victoria and Albert museum. That’s my favourite London hangout too by the way!

sabrina dress, victoria and albert museum

We were child- and fancy-free and popped in to see the Horst exhibition. Perfect inspiration for some glamourous dresses and stunningly lit fashion photography. Just Google Horst photographs for an eyeful of awesomness!

sabrina dress at the victoria and albert museum

Photography Daniel James Photographic
Shoes Lola Ramona
Handbag: FARA Ealing

Hog blop by a sleepy Ooobop!

It’s Friday. Well just about. I can’t quite believe how I got here or how my eyes have any juice left. The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a blur. Only myself to blame though. Bit off far more than I could chew, didn’t I, and ended up working a few 14-hour days. But it’s all done and it’s all good apart from I now don’t have the energy to to invest in sewing this evening.

Sleep is the order of the day. I know that. But I am strangely relishing the need to string some words together. And I did promise Karen from Fifty Dresses and Nicole from Nicole Needles that I would accept the baton and rise to the challenge of the Blog Hop.

If anyone knows who blew the starting whistle on this one, please let me know. Always good to give credit where it’s due.

And so I believe that the challenge is to answer four little questions about me and then nominate a further three bloggers to do the same. So here goes.

Q1. What are you currently working on?

I happen to have two works in progress right now, which is odd for me because I do usually finish something before I start another. Honest, guv’!

The first, being a Bombshell Swimsuit from Closet Case Patterns. I’ve rouched the back and backed it with lining. I know it’s a bit off season but lucky for me I have some winter sun booked in and I WILL have a new cozzie ready.

bombshell swimsuit in progress

Even if the chances of me looking like Mini Mouse’s granny are totally on the cards! I’m struggling a bit with the instructions for the next stage and rather than get in a tiz with it all I started something else instead…

The second, of which is a Mimi blouse from Tilly’s Love at First Stitch book which is coming together nicely in a drapey viscosey type fabric. I totally need more blouses and if mine comes out half as nice as Scruffy Badger’s then I’ll be making more of these!

Mimi blouse in progress

Q2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?

D’you know what? I don’t think it does, particularly. As far as I can see the genre is ‘sewing’ and I make lots of different things like lots of other different sewing bloggers. I don’t stick to a particular theme. Though I love working with an old vintage pattern, I get as much pleasure out of a modern indie pattern too. I don’t partake in too many sew-alongs or challenges. Mostly from fear of not delivering on time but also I suppose because I like having something different to report. Kind of contradicting myself by totally blog hopping onto this bandwagon but you get the picture.

Q3. Why do you write/create what you do?

I started sewing before blogging as a release from my computer-based design work. I love fashion and I’ve never dressed high-street per se… never had the funds to keep up in any case… so sewing my own clothes seemed a good way forward. I joined the Burda network for inspiration and that in turn inspired me to host my own blog. I believed this to be a good way to give myself a kick up the butt to keep sewing. If I don’t make anything I’ve generally got nothing to report and so the partnership of sewing and blogging has worked a treat over the last few years. I’d say there’s a bigger picture now in that the friends I have made along the way are the biggest and loveliest surprise ever. I really never expected that.

Q4. How does your writing/creative process work?

In a nutshell, I sew something. I write about it. And I hope thereafter that I’m not boring the pants off anyone!

My day job involves a lot of computerised visual stuff – designing, creating, retouching and tweaking graphics, photos and illos. I also get to read a lot of text but its skip-reading. Not for pleasure. Even if some of those manuscripts do have me in tears! So the opportunity to spill some of my own words on a page comes as pure therapy. I really enjoy it. My English teacher rejoiced in telling my mum that I had an awful case verbal-diarrhoea! And I am ridiculously (not so secretly) hopeful that one day I will have collected enough words and have realised a great idea for a book… and write it. There’s one in everyone, right?!

And now I must make a massive hop off  to far flung places in order to pass on this Blog Hop batton. My chosen three should they wish to partake in such blog hopping activities are:

1. Symon Sez

Fellow graphic designer who totally sings from the same songsheet as me. I love her honest approach and how she details her lovely makes.

2. Mokosha

Orignal and edgy. I found Mokosha on Burda and have loved watching her site mature. The snappy posts are perfect for blog gobbling on the hop and her photos are a joy.

3. The Renegade Seamstress

An endless supply of inspired refashions. I seriously don’t know how they keep coming. This lady is so clever and it comes as no surprise that she has recently been published.

Ladies, there is absolutely no obligation whatsoever. But if you choose to take on this challenge you must answer the same 4 questions and nominate a further 3 bloggers.

Wishing you all a wonderful and restful weekend, sweet dreams from Ooobop xxx

Burda Brigitte Blouse

First I must apologise for those who have had issues trying to comment on my blog over the last week or so. I won’t bore you with the tecchie issues but suffice to say all is now good at Ooobop HQ! (touch wood!) Thanks for bearing with.

It feels so good to be able to write a post. I knew how much this blog meant to me but didn’t realise quite how much. I found out quick enough when I thought I’d lost nearly 2.5 years of work! I’ve been such a bloomin’ grumpy pants all week, Mr O will tell you for nothing!

I feel like I should be making a bit more of a dramatic re-entrance, but I’m afraid we’ll just have to make do with a humble gingham peasant blouse.

burda gingham boatneck blouse

It’s a very nice gingham peasant blouse though. Care of Burda’s June 2011 edition Mag. It’s also available for download here where it’s featured in a sheer fabric.

I’ve made three sleeveless ones before but this one has long sleeves and no elastic. And it presented a fine oopportunity to create some bias gingham binding around the neckline and cuffs which is always lovely!

burda gingham peasant blouseThe fabric was sold to me as Egyptian cotton, which I had no reason to dispute. It is smooth and cool to the touch and feels like fine quality. But the pyromaniac in me is compelled to do a burn test, always. And the little black crumbly ash that resulted, confirmed the fibres as a poly blend, doh! Win some lose some. Should’ve sniffed a rat at £5.99 really!

But not a worry as it still feels nice against my skin and it’s not snug on the pits so remains a good choice for a warm summer’s day or an office with failed air-con.

The instructions suggested a gathered hem into another bias band but I was nervous about too much poof around my middle and given that I almost always tuck in my tops I just did a standard hem. But, note to self, I didn’t increase the length enough to compensate, and with one wave across the street, it comes untucked, whether I’ve tucked it in my pants or not!

burda gingham peasant blouse

It’s very quick to make if you can even up your gathers quickly. I faffed a bit too much with my gathers as usual, but it still got completed in an evening.

I love the raglan sleeves and the boatneck. So easy to wear. Great with a pencil and equally a circle skirt. And the plan is to make some capri pants one day, just like Burda’s styling, to come somewhere close to that retro Brigitte look.

burda gingham peasant blouse

Peasant blouse: Burda pattern, handmade by ooobop
Skirt: self-drafted & handmade by ooobop
Belt: H&M
Shoes: Rocket Originals
Photography: © Daniel James Photographic