This Halloween, my lovely said to me, why don't you whip up something for the Halloween party? You can make a dress in a day or so, yeah? ... Paraphrasing here of course. But that was the general jist of the conversation.
Cue a trip to Spotlight where their Halloween fabric range was on special for $8.00 / m. Sign me up! Bought 4m in total - 2m for the skirt, 2m for the blouse. The fabric was pre-washed and then thrown in the dryer for ultimate shrinkage. I prepped the pattern at about 10.30pm and cut everything out. As the skirt is a collection of rectangles, I didn't cut the fabric but just did the ripping trick. If you have a rip-able fabric this is such a great and quick technique to get on grain rectangles.
While working on the outfit, he kept saying this looks like my shirt from London... You know the one? I couldn't remember the one. He kept describing it in detail and I truly had no recollection. Turns out the fabric was a perfect match! Look at him remembering exactly what his clothes are. This is a Vivien of Holloway shirt that was purchased in London April 2019! We were all matchy-matchy for the party. It was fun.
The skirt is a basic gathered skirt with side seam pockets and back lapped zipper. The blouse is the button back blouse hack of Simplicity 1692. I didn't use the little loopy ties for the neckline and cuffs. Ain't nobody got time for that.
Seriously, I love this button back version of this pattern. I don't like side zippers at the best of times (especially with my shoulders) and invisible zips in side seams for tops is just plain dumb. Why make something so hard to put on with no give through the high bust / armpit to armpit section of the top? Silly. Button backs are great and the spacing of these tops mean I can get fully dressed myself. I'm a regular dressing wizard.
As a side note, I also put the grey ribbon on his hat along with a little mottled brown feather for Guys and Dolls in September 2019 - he played Sky Masterson. Grey suit, black hat with matching grey ribbon. Perfect.
The plan was that if I made separates then I might be able to split them up and get a bit more wear out of them. And so far, I have! All in all, a very successful hurried Halloween outfit.
Please see the success of separates below.
Blouse: Salme Patterns Kimono top in silk from Marrickville
Skirt: Self drafted pencil skirt
Blouse: Simplicity 1962
Gosh this is bright for me. I'm not usually one to pair bright colours with other bright colours. But I think I am sort of liking this combo? Maybe?
The blouse is me made from a vintage pattern, McCall 7265 that I bought on eBay a while back. I don't know the date of the pattern but I suspect late 40s / early 50s judging by the cover drawings. I made it in a 100% cotton from Spotlight in this mad floral print on a dark navy blue background.
It's a kimono sleeve / cut on sleeve with a little point cuff to finish it off. I have matching yellow seam binding on the inside of the cuff which no one will ever see. But I know it matches the yellow vintage buttons on the front. Yeah, I know the yellow buttons aren't the same yellow of the skirt. But the buttons match the yellow in the shirt print! Too many yellows for me to match.
Marked button placements on blouse patterns are never right for my torso. I never use them. My hot tip - try the blouse on, mark where the button should be at the bust line, and then sort of where the top button will be. Take off the blouse and then evenly space buttons from there. It's a MUCH easier method and suits my ratio better than the suggested spacings.
This skirt is a recent purchase from Dangerfield. It's a cotton broderie anglais with a full lining. So... no pockets. :( But it's cute and I dig the rich colour.
What do you think of the bolder colour combo?
Blouse: Made by me from McCall 7265
Earrings: Bow & Crossbones
Alternatively named the best blouse ever!
This is the Smooth Sailing Blouse pattern from Wearing History. Their website can be found here. Have a look and drool around there. You'll thank me for it later.
There are many beautiful and creative finished versions of the Smooth Sailing blouse online only a mindless Google search away. You will be scrolling through awesome projects of it until you cramp or die of dehydration.
Wearing History sell patterns in either PDF / download format, or full printed paper format. I went for the PDF pattern for 2 reasons.... 1: I want it now, 2: Australia. Shipping here is slow and stupidly expensive. It didn't take me long to tape together the little A4 bits of paper and trace off the size 36" bust pattern. And I kept the shipping monies in my pocket (which I will surely spend on more fabric).
A lot of reviews say this blouse is really high cut in the old armpits. I am broad of shoulder and long of torso, so naturally I was concerned. No need to fear! It's super comfy. Yeah, it's higher than a normal RTW blouse... but I have full range of movement in my arms. I even did my hair AFTER I put the blouse on. That is revolutionary for me.
There are no hacks or mods to this version. It's made from a gorgeous soft linen thingy from Spotlight. Little cream coloured buttons with silver edging finish the front. I also did some passable top stitching. 10 points to me. The back yoke is really lovely and it was easy to sew as well. I was nervous about all the little gathers through the yoke but I took a breath and followed the instructions.
You could argue that there should be another button at the bust line, but the front falls so nicely without it. I wore the blouse to work and was in and out of the warehouse. Didn't have any burlesque style moments at all.
Anyway, shhh. On to the photos!
Blouse: Smooth Sailing Blouse by Wearing History
Shoes: Charlie Stone Shoes
What an overdue post! My draft of this post is from January 2019! These blouses have been completed for a while and in standard work rotation in the wardrobe. I think it's time for a blog post!
These blouses were a long time in the making. I looked at them, I left them, I came back to them... . Rinse repeat! I am thankful that I finally just did it. I did the buttonholes, I did the finishing, I just got them done. And sometimes that is what life is about - just getting whatever done.
Over the new year break between 2018 /2019 I decided it was time to tackle this blouse once and for all. To help along the way, I had two gorgeous 1930s replica print cottons in my stash from Spotlight. They felt really stiff and full of starch so I washed them to force improvement. Best idea I had all day! They turned into the softest cotton which feels like a dream against the skin. To say they have been a delight to work with just doesn't cover it!
The pattern was cut out with only scraps left over. I think I would be able to squeeze in the pocket if I wanted. The collar points are just so... pointy. They take up space. Here is the blouse as a general shell so I could see the shape and the print. It's trés pretty. I always get excited at this point. It so early but you get the idea of what you're making.
The sleeves are shaped with three darts at the sleeve cap to create that dramatic 40s look. The pattern says to use shoulder pads, but I tend to rely on my own naturally large shoulders.
The blue blouse I made as directed with the pleats in the sleeve cap, and the simple narrow sleeve hem. It does make the sleeves sit just in the crook of my elbow which feels a moment too long for me. Workable, but not idea. Is it enough for me to take the hem up again?... no.
After my success with the blue one, I barrelled straight along into a red one - same fabric but different colourway. This collar is just... POW! It pops right into your face and demands attention.
Mods to the red blouse include:
10/10 would make again.
Blouses - Simplicity 8243
Pants with blue blouse - Retrospec'd
Pants with red blouse - Simplicity 3688 in brown mechanical drill
Amy Appel from Poison Grrls does it again. Cute, effective, easy, top down, no seams perfection!
This top is part of the retro Pink Ladies Collection. It can be knit in short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve and long sleeve options. This is the long sleeve version and knitted in a Medium size. Honestly, I could have knit the arms a smidge longer and a touch wider... but it's okay!
The yarn is from an Etsy shop called Trichromat Yarns, local Aussie shop, hand dyed, in a colourway called 'Flying Nipples'. It was a gorgeous yarn to work with and excellently priced for something handmade. I absolutely would work with this yarn again. The colour is a stunning apricot/peach/pink that is a dream to wear in my mid century wardrobe! Sadly, the colourway is no longer available. But there are some other inspiration colours for sale.
I had some issues with the needle cable size for the lower arm section. I'm not great with magic loop method and didn't have DPN's in the right size. Drat! I bought a really short cable needle in the 3.25mm and just struggled through - some of the most joyless knitting I've ever done. A change in tension can seen on my right forearm. This is due to that change in needles. The second sleeve was better at that change point as I purposefully knitted at a looser tension.
As usual, I added an extra row in each decrease set of the body to spread them out a bit and extend the length. Good idea. It a comfortable tuck-in-or-out length. Check my Ravelry page if you want some more info about mods etc.
This knit makes me happy.
Top: Beauty School Top by Poison Grrls
Pants: Simplicity 3688 in a chocolate brown mechanical drill
Hair flower: eBay trawling depths
Knitter. Home seamstress. Dance Teacher.