There is something quite comforting about visiting an old pattern. I made my first gypsy top almost a year ago and not only have I had great use out of it, it made a great addition to Dorothy’s ensemble too! Once again I used Butterick B4685, Fast and Easy… and indeed it was.
I used view D this time but omitted the front lace panel. I did originally include the underbust elastic but when I tried it on, tucked in a skirt, which is mostly how I intend to wear it, I looked a little (more) like the Michelin Man! So out came the elastic, quicker than when it went in!
I used a remnant of cotton gingham that I picked up from Oxfam, and used every last bit of it! So very satisfying especially as I’ve since found that 100% cotton gingham isn’t that easy to get hold of. Well not in a choice of colours. Despite my local plethora of fabric shops, they all stock poly cotton gingham, for the demand of school dresses, apparently. It looks just as pretty for sure but pure cotton feels so much nicer against my skin.
I prefer the sleeves and the simplicity of this style. Its less fussy and so quick to make up. I am going to make a few more, lined up for summer, and my eldest daughter has put an order in for one too.
It also made sense to enter this into Made by Rae’s Spring Top Sewalong 2012, just as I did last time round. Its not nearly up to the standards of most of the beautiful tops over there but I’m liking the annual inspiration of creating a new tops for Spring all the same! You can see this and all the other entries over at Flickr. My entry has been successful so I will keep you posted when it is time to vote! 😉
I wore it out to a trip to the Tate Modern yesterday with Mr and Little Miss Ooobop! and I have to say it is perfect gallery wear. It’s always soooo hot and stuffy in the galleries. The artwork made for a choice back drop too!
Hope you are all having a wonderful Easter break 🙂
Today, I took full advantage of my freelance status, ditched the children for a couple of hours and headed off to the Fashion and Textile Museum, near London Bridge, to see Designing Women: Post War British Textiles exhibition. What a totally self-indulgent treat!
The intro to the exhibition:
“Britain was at the forefront of international textile design in the 1950s and 1960s. The art of textile design radically changed after the Second World War and three women artists working in England in the 1950s were pivotal in this artistic revolution. The drab days of the War were transformed by the fresh, progressive designs of Lucienne Day (1917–2010), Jacqueline Groag (1903–86) and Marian Mahler (1911– 83). Designing Women: Post-war British textiles showcases their work beginning with Lucienne Day’s ‘Calyx’ pattern of 1951, featured at the Festival of Britain, and moving through textile commissions of the 1960s and 70s. The exhibition features more than 100 works.
Original artist designs with bold abstract pattern, as well as the use of saturated colour, marked a dramatic departure from conventional furnishing fabrics. This new wave of bold textile designs, helped to bring the influences of the art world, in its most recent, refreshing, and largely abstract forms, into the contemporary home.”
The influence of modern art is so strong in all the designs of this period. Its very easy to spot some iconic inspiration from Joan Miró, Alexander Calder and Kandinsky.
Lucienne Day, wife of Robin Day, was the most prolific and successful of the designers having kick started the ‘revolution’ with her ‘Calyx’ print in 1951.
Heals, though at first very sceptical, was her first client. The work was considered too modern but the risk proved to be a good and profitable move for both parties. Lucienne Day was the first artist to be credited on the fabric itself.
Lucienne didn’t limit herself to fabric, wallpaper and carpet design…
Jacqueline Groag was born in Czechoslovakia and emigrated from Vienna to London in 1939. She is one of the key designers in Mid Century Britain having worked with some of the foremost textile manufacturers and retailers, including John Lewis, Associated American Artists and David Whitehead Ltd. She also produced laminated surface designs for British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). The same company my mum used to make pilots suits for!
This ‘Pebbles’ design by Jacqueline Groag is so nostalgic for me. As I stood in front of it, it took me back to my home in the 1970s. I can’t be sure that it was exactly this design but similar enough to generate some serious flashbacks! My mum had great taste!
Marian Mahler was Austrian and emigrated to Britain in 1937. As artist and illustrator she combined both skills to generate designs for the younger, yet sophisticated clientele who were looking to create a stylish home. The fabrics were mostly rayon or cotton and the roller printing process made for fast production and an affordable end product. I just love the birds!
The temptation to ‘touch’ was too much!!!
Paule Vézelay was a painter and her skills transferred beautifully to fabric design. So much so that I think a certain Ms Kiely looks to have drawn some serious inspiration, don’t you think?!
And I wasn’t expecting to see any of these fabrics in dress form but just look…
I hope you have enjoyed this little preview. I do apologise for the quality of the photos. No flash photography was allowed so they are a bit grainy and really do not give any of the fabrics the justice they deserve!
Well, best I get on with my real work now… the downside of freelanceness!
This pattern is one of Audrey’s collection which I singled out immediately as a great skirt to dress up or down. I’m assuming it’s 1960s but certainly a classic and timeless style in my book! It has been waiting patiently in line to be made and completely jumped the project queue when I remembered the amazing buttons that Mr Ooobop! found for me in Portobello Market.
I didn’t want anything more complicated than black for the skirt and so I set out for a metre of cotton sateen. It has a little bit of stretch in it which makes for a comfy fit. But it is a bit of a collector of cat fluff I’ve since discovered!
The instructions didn’t call for a lining and so I didn’t make one. But that was clearly a bad move. It sticks horribly to my tights and rides up when I’m walking so I am either going to have to go back and line it at a later date or get me a slip! My mum would think this highly amusing as I did my very best to avoid wearing one when I was younger… tantrums and all!
I shortened it by 5 inches which seems to be usual for me when it comes to a vintage patterns. That said, it is still below my knee, a conscious decision, to keep it a vintage length but I’m more used to shorter length skirts and this length takes a bit of getting used to. I will have to wear it with heels so it doesn’t look to ‘grannyish’!
I wasn’t too sure how to measure off the pattern to check for any adjustments needed but given the button wrap around detail, the position of the buttons can be moved to add or take away an inch or two. I must learn to sew buttons on with my machine. This was the only tedious part but other than that I managed to whip it up in a couple of hours. I do regret not binding the hem or the seams. I think it would look much nicer. But I did sew the hem by hand. It would have been sacrilegious to machine hem in any case!
I have worn the skirt to work already and got some lovely comments. But I really must decide on lining/slip before I wear it again. Just don’t tell my mum!
I know, I know… I am meant to be making a jacket! But I have made an amazing discovery! If I embark on a complicated project (like my jacket) and I allow myself to be interrupted by other smaller projects (like a quilt block, a Dorothy dress and this blouse) the smaller projects all get done in really speedy record time due to the over-riding pressure of guilt waves, shooting out from underneath a pile of cut out jacket pieces! Its magic!
Its difficult enough for me to stay on track but it’s harder still when one is snared by such inspiration
as this . . .
This fantastic Clash Blouse was created by Lady Danbury over at Thinking In Shapes and it was a struggle not to rip it off (copy it) completely I can tell you. Red and black is one of my favourite colour combos and that shirt is soooo cool.
So the nearest I could get to it was this…
I bought the pattern, Butterick 556, on Etsy. Mainly because I am not as clever and talented enough (yet) to draft a pattern like LD! But also because, believe it or not, considering the hundreds of patterns that insulate my bedroom walls, I didn’t posses a patten anywhere near similar to a wing collar blouse! I’m assuming it’s 1950s. I never can find a date on these vintage ones. Can anyone shed any light?
That ‘over-riding pressure’ convinced me I shouldn’t bother with a toile as the fabric was cheap enough if it didn’t work out. And hey, I only had to add an inch round the waist, (admittedly, after I had put it all together), but I am quite pleased with the end result. Pleased enough to have lined up some more fabric for another! I’m a bit gutted I didn’t incorporate some red piping around the collar and sleeve cuffs to highlight the detail but rest assured I will be doing that with the next one!
I decided against a machined hem in favour of red binding for a proper vintage finish.
And those lovely heart buttons were part of a birthday gift from my eldest daughter.
That Cath Kidston doesn’t miss a trick, does she?!
Initially I mocked the idea of padded shoulders – as much as I love Joanie – but then relented as they do indeed give a more authentic and sharper look. Im sure too that the pattern has accounted for the extra space for a bit of wadding. It certainly looks more structured with them in.
This really is a great pattern. Very simple to follow and a really comfortable and flattering fit. The eight darts… 4 in the front, 4 in the back might have something to do with that!
I feel a high-waisted pencil skirt coming on now…. ooops I just did… ok just that one, then I promise I’ll carry on with the jacket!!
Photo credits of course to the very lovely Mr Ooobop!
World Book Day was last Friday but as luck would have it, Little Miss Ooobop’s school had to delay the fun by a week which gave me 10 days to get my act together. She had already decided upon Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and I was quite relieved to be honest! The aim was not to overcomplicate issues this time! Well that was the thought.
Butterick B4320 comes with a hundred miles of tissue pattern for each of the 5 very different costumes. It was bulging at the seams when factory folded so you can imagine me trying to stuff it all back in after I’d wrestled with it on the living room floor. Needless to say, the Dorothy pieces have been separated out into their own envelope for easy retrieval… if there is a next time!
Though pretty easy to follow, this pinafore dress is incredibly well thought-out and is not throwaway costume stuff. The waistband is cut on the bias which gives a good, comfortable fit as are the straps and the top band of the bib. Each of those pieces are interfaced and faced and the inside facings are hand-stitched for a really neat finish inside. The back of the skirt has a zip in the back centre seam. Its been a while since I sewed anything but an invisible one but I quite like sewing in the ‘visible’ ones too! The straps cross over at the back and button on the inside though to be honest the buttons would have been a nice feature on the back too. This was a first time using the buttonhole stitch on the Brother machine and it sewed like a dream. The two white buttons on the front waist band are for decorative purposes only but I think they are really cute!
The only tricky thing about making this was when I ironed the fusible interfacing to the waistband. The iron was too hot, on steam setting and I managed to stretch it out two inches bigger than it was supposed to be! Easily recified though. (Rather than cut another one…) I just put the waistband facing on top and trimmed the excess!
The fabric was a timely find in a charity shop. I had seen it the week before, thinking it would make a lovely blouse. Its 100% cotton. but held back with stash mountain in mind. So when LMO brought up the subject of Dorothy I made it my first point of call the next day and the fact that it was still there was amazing! £2 for a proper Dorothy pinafore dress is pretty good going methinks, even though its not proper gingham but ‘mum’s the word’!
You may have noticed I didn’t go the whole hog and make the underdress too. I was up ’til midnight on the pinafore… I wasn’t about to do another shift for the underdress… I’ve got a jacket to finish, don’t you know?! And so, did you recognise the little top underneath? It’s actually my peasant top I made last April 2011. I just pulled up the elastic round the neck and ‘hey presto’, it fits a 7 year old…kind of! I’ve just knotted the elastic so if I ever get it back I can still get wear out of it this summer. ‘Refashioned me-mades’ … oh how I have moved on!
Big thank yous to the lovely Little Miss Ooobop! who makes a fabulous model and to the gorgeous Mr Ooobop! for his amazing photography skills.