Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sail away with me honey*

I'm pretty sure I've expressed my love of novelty prints about a million times before on here. One of the best places to get vintage style novelty prints is in the children's section. Ages ago, I found some awesome sailboat printed fabric in the kids fabric section on Trademe for $7. I was going to use it to make a skirt but then I saw this sailboat print shirt by Milly (it costs US$230 which is like NZ$300!!!).

Image from here

I wanted a more 50s style than the Milly shirt so pulled out Butterick 9405. I've already made this pattern twice so it went together pretty quickly. I made view D.

What on earth is that woman at the front doing?

I did darts at the front instead of tucks but that's the only change I made. I did french seams where I could because I am obsessed with them.

Vintage Butterick  9405

I actually finished this a little while ago but the print made it a total nightmare to get an okay picture of it. I tried three times to take photos but the bright white background of the fabric made all the pictures blurry.

Close up of Butterick 9405

I used some vintage buttons that I love but haven't been able to use until now because there are only three of them. It closes with a snap at the top because there's not enough room for a button.

So my fabric + notions cost less than $10 vs the $300 Milly version. I think I win.

*Incidentally, I don't like sailing or going on boats because I get seasick. My face turns green and I think I'm going to die.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Well, you must tell me, baby, how your head feels under somethin' like that?*

I love leopard print. I'm sure it started when I was about seven and my Mum made me a little black jacket with a faux fur leopard print collar. I wore that thing until it fell apart. I have been seeking the perfect leopard print jacket ever since. I do have a faux fur leopard coat, that was given to me by a friend, which I love. The only problem is that I can only wear it in the depths of winter because it's so warm. I wanted something that could be worn in spring, summer and autumn so I could have leopard print for all seasons.

I bought McCall's 5525 on sale. If I hadn't seen a few versions of it on the internet I never would have got it because I think the fabric/styling on the pattern envelope is hideous. This is why I don't like modern patterns. I can't look past the ugly pattern envelopes. Vintage ones are so much prettier. I also found the perfect leopard print cotton sateen at Fabric Vision (which is now gone). I think the fabric cost me $45 for 3 metres. I almost didn't get it because I am so miserly and that seemed like way too much money. Then the pattern and the fabric sat in my stash for about a year. I'm not really sure why I didn't have the motivation to sew it up but I'm glad that I waited. My sewing skills have improved exponentially in that time.

McCalls 5525 leopard print jacket and matching hat

I started this the other week and even though it has a lot (over 100 I think) of steps it went together pretty fast. I followed almost all of the instructions and only changed a couple of things. I raised the pockets because, I don't know about you, but I don't find inseam pockets starting at my thighs to be very comfortable. I also made them bigger because they were teensy. It's like they don't actually want you to use the pockets or something.
I also used the sleeves from view D because I like wearing bangles and full length sleeves are not very conducive to this.

McCalls 5525 jacket and matching hat

I made the tie belt (I'm wearing it in the above photo) but I probably won't use it because I quite like the A-line shape you get without it (top photo). I used a red lining fabric and I like the way you can catch a peek of it when I lift my arms or put my hands in the pockets.

McCalls 5525 Jacket and matching pillbox hat
Argh! I'm losing my hat

I had some fabric left over so I thought a matching pillbox hat was in order. I made a pattern from one of my vintage hats and used a combination of the instructions here and guesswork.

I made a frame out of buckram which is a stiff fabric used for hatmaking. I then covered it with the leopard fabric and lined it with the same red as the jacket is lined with. I haven't quite finished. I need to attach some elastic so that it actually stays on my head.

I'm so happy with the way they turned out. I love them. I think they look really 60s. I've already worn the jacket twice and will be wearing the hat once I buy some elastic.

*Under my brand new leopard-skin pillbox hat? Pretty good, Bob Dylan, pretty good.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Or as it's more commonly known, bakelite. To me, bakelite, sounds like some sort of weird diet cake mix or something but it's actually one of the earliest plastics, developed in 1907 by Leo Baekeland. It used to be used for all sorts of things, from radios to fittings, but most importantly jewellery. I'm a little bit obsessed with bakelite bangles. The carved ones are especially swoonsome. No diamonds or gold for me, I'll have plastic, thanks.

Bakelite Bangles

Because they can be ridiculously expensive, I only have three bakelite bangles (the top ones). The carved orange one is my favourite. The colours have food related names like creamed spinach and pumpkin. They do look good enough to eat, after all.

Fun fact: if you rub bakelite it smells like a science lab because it's made with formaldehyde.

I had my last exam yesterday so now I have some serious sewing/reading/relaxing plans. My sewing plans may or may not involve a leopard print jacket.