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!

Vintage 50s blouse with monogram

simplicity 2195 blouseThis is vintage Simplicity 2195 . . . or a great substitute for a bowling shirt fit for a game with the Spoolettes! Who are the Spoolettes you may well ask? Well hop over to Sew Dixie Lou to get a little insight.

vintage 50s blouse with monogram

I’m gutted I didn’t get any photos of our fabulous sporting event. But if you want a bit of inside info, Charity Shop Chic has posted some great ones here plus you get to see her amazing bowling shirt refashion too!. We sure did rock Bloomsbury Lanes with all sorts of complimentary comments coming from the staff.

I struggled to find an actual bowling shirt pattern but I’m quite glad I found this one as it works very well as an every day shirt. I wore it to lunch today at Carluccios with Mr O. Teamed with self-drafted half circle skirt and my favourite ankle boots from Office.

simplicity_2195_1

simplicity_2195_4I knew the hand embroidery was going to be a challenge for me. The last time I entertained such a thing was at the age of nine. But I thought this would make a lovely project to take on holiday back in August. (An efficient bit of planning on behalf of those Spoolettes meant that this sewing challenge fitted in superbly with my holiday!)

So first in the suitcase was the needle and thread and a hoop and a half made shirt with a piece of freezer paper ironed in position. As with most things I didn’t spend too much time reading up on the best way to go about this and the only transfer pencil I had was red, so I traced my initials from the original transfer, supplied with the pattern, on to the freezer paper. I couldn’t bear to cut up and ruin the original!

I had, however, read somewhere at some point, that ‘padding stitches’ were a good idea to raise the ‘satin stitches’. And so I set about tracing the edge of the monogram with some small running stitches.

monogram

A long process but not too much hardship when you are sat outside a beautiful Maltese villa, watching your children have so much fun in the pool, whilst all 40 degrees of sunshine warms your toes!

All was going swimmingly until I came to pick off the darned freezer paper. Gah! Never again. It took sooooo long!!

padding stitchesBut once it was off It was a pleasure to sew. A bit wonky here and there but it worked, kinda! Just wish I had used some stabiliser on the reverse to stop the stretching that happened too.

monogram_embroidery

I’ve got plans on making a gingham one, just as the pattern cover pic. Yes I’m still harping on about gingham but I happened across some gorgeous egyptian cotton gingham. Well at least that’s what the lady sold it to me as! But to be perfectly honest, it may be a way down the list as this sub-zero-like weather does not inspire me to make anything other than slankets right now!

simplicity_2195 pattern

Postscript:

I completely forgot that I’d asked the waitress to take the following photo. Feast your eyes on a table full of splendidly hand-made bowling shirts sported by an amazing team of beautiful and talented Spoolettes…

Spoolettes

The dress that nearly wasn’t

. . . but I’m so glad it is!

Spotty rose dress

Following on from the vintage rose print dress, I fully intended to make the next one from some gorgeous red rose cotton. But I knew I should improve on the fit of the bodice beforehand. I’ve turned once again to my trusty Elisalex bodice pattern. Why fix it if it’s not broke, I say!

I’ve taken the advice from the By Hand London site to perform a full bust adjustment. Something I never thought I would ever need to do for me. But on closer examination of my last version, and the one before, the upper bust was defo a tad too big whilst the fabric was more than snug over ‘the girls’. I’ve always gone by bust size and increased the waist, but never thought to go down a size and increase bust and waist. More than anything I plainly couldn’t be arsed! I must also learn to take bust measurements with whatever bra I mostly intend to wear!

Well. Big fat lesson learned. I now have a properly fitting bodice pattern that fits under arms, across chest, over bust and waist. Not bad for 2 years of (not) trying!

properly fitting bodiceAnyhows. This is not the reason that this particular dress didn’t happen. This spotty rose fabric has been sitting in the bottom of stash mountain for eons. I bought it from a charity shop and quickly decided it would only ever be suitable for a toile after doing a burn test.

Let’s just say I nearly burned down the kitchen in the process. Once the flames died down and the stinky fumes dispersed, my science test revealed that this fabric was totally synthetic and was never going to be acceptable in sweaty weather.

So I used it, with my dramatically altered bodice pattern to make a toile. Really not bothered if at first I didn’t succeed. I really didn’t want to cut into the lovely red fabric without knowing the alterations worked. But they did. Clearly. And all of a sudden I can forgive the fabric for being so unnatural! It’s amazing how blurred one’s vision gets when one is blinded by a darned good fit! I really must learn to be so snobby about fibre content!

front view of spotty rose dress

That said. I am still holding out for some 100% cotton gingham. How hard can it be? A sleeveless number in poly is fine but I can’t imagine having a sleeve, however short, in such close contact with my pits, in summer!

I wore it out to the park today in a sticky 26 degrees. Extreme test for a plastic dress. But because the skirt is so full and the fabric is so thin, it was remarkably cool.

Wearing the dress in Ravenscourt Park Gardens

Smelling the roses

I am still going to do the red rose version but I’m so pleased with this Brucey bonus one that I landed up with in the process! It has a 1950s vibe to it and of course is the perfect base dress to accessorise with a pair of crazy heels.

spotty rose dress

These heels being of the pink, furry leopard-print kind, of course!

sitting pretty on the doorstep

spotty rose dress

And I think you’ll agree that Mr Ooobop worked his magic as usual!