Mum and I decided that we were going to move away from jeans as our go-to casual pant. It turns out we were having similar thoughts about jeans for a while. We wanted a casual-appropriate tailored trouser. Mum found some good trouser options for her from local fancy shops, and I dove into my pattern stash.
The pattern that solved my problem was Simplicity 7584, circa 1984. View A tickled my fancy. No fly zipper, no back zipper, no side zipper, and POCKETS. Yeah, these pants have no zip! The left pocket is only sewn partially and the waistband closes with a skirt / trouser hook. That's it. That's the closure done. Incredible! The pants can be made in less than 1 day and have already been in heavy rotation.
The pattern is for a size 30" waist which is perfect. The only mod I made was to add 4cm in the back rise (ie, not messing around with the crotch curve, but adding the length just below the bottom of the lowest dart point). I came to 4cm by measuring the back length of a pair of trousers I liked the fit of and comparing that to the Simplicity pattern. It was a fly by the seat of my pants (get it? rofl) adjustment and I didn't make a toile. Super glad that is worked out well in the end.
The trousers are slightly tapered at the knee-to-ankle, but there is so much width through the hips that it's barely noticeable. I suspect they will be easy to cut straight down to 40s-er-ise the style.
I am so chuffed with these trousers, I can't even explain it. They are easy to make, easy to wear, comfortable, AND I can stash stuff in the pocket! I was so delighted that on their first outing, I had to do a "I Made These Pants Dance". Please see images below as proof.
These trousers definitely fill the brief for me: a casual pant that is not made from denim, but are still very practical. So much win.
After the success of these trousers, I immediately shopped my stash and found a mystery beige/black woven something as well as a herringbone stripe brown drapey blend something. I have already finished (and worn) the beige/black woven pair. The brown herringbone pair will hopefully have a wider 40s leg and will be made soon!
Jumper: Knitted by me from a 1970s pattern
Trousers: Simplicity 7584 with wool blend from Spotlight
Warm squishy socks: Somewhere in New York, c. 2013/14 ish
Shoes: Ziera from eBay
This button back blouse pattern has proved itself a strong staple in my casual and professional wardrobe. If you don't have this pattern and you dig 1940s fashion, you should go and get it!
Rayon isn't the best fabric to work with, but boy do I enjoy wearing it. It's light and floaty, delicate and soft. What a dream! It gathers nicely too, especially at the neckline in this top. The fabric was wriggly to cut out, so I pinned and pinned. I cut it on the fold because LAZY, but it all worked okay in the end.
For the sleeves, I didn't add the gathered binding at the cuff edge. I wanted this to flow and settle over my arm rather than bind it. That means the sleeve hem does droop down a bit, but I actually like the softness and shape that results. Not to mention, I can drive a car without tension over my biceps, and its nice and breezy in the summer.
The blouse was paired with a tonal matching pencil skirt which I wore to a job interview. (Unsuccessful with the job, but successful in style!) Now there are three of these blouses in my wardrobe and I think I might be done with this particular pattern. At least for a few months... Doesn't mean I'm done with button back blouses though!
I have some of this rayon fabric left over. I wouldn't mind making something to match, like 40s shorts or skirt? If you have any ideas, please let me know! I'm open to suggestions here as my mind is blank.
Blouse: Button back hack of Simplicity 1692
Skirt: Simplicity 8652
Brooch: Sarah Coventry, bought at Rock N Roll Markets at Manning House.
Hair: Princess Leia on Endor #leiaforever
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
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.