Saturday, October 31, 2009

To make do (but not mend)

I enjoy not only dressing in vintage fashion, but taking up certain elements of the vintage lifestyle. I love the thrill of the hunt and proudly parading my thrifted trophies. I love seeing vintage patterns come to life in front of me due to my own hard efforts. I can make do with what I've got, and enjoy the challenge of experimenting with different clothing co-ordinates and accessories in order to make an entirely new outfit.

But I hate mending.

I have two piles of projects in my room: the exciting, glittering pile of new fabrics and patterns I've yet to try, constantly emitting the siren song of procrastination and dragging me away from my study - "Bring me to life! Make me beautiful!" - and my mending pile, which has sat untouched and unmended for several months now. Perhaps I neglect it because there's no excitement or mystery involved, after all, I already know what the garment will look like. Or simply because it requires the most time and effort for the least reward (hello, hand stitching). However, I can't sew during my exam period (it is a little difficult to hear lecture recordings over the roar of the sewing machine) so I have restricted myself to cutting out fabric, and mending. Le sigh.

On a side note, 90% of the contents of my mending pile are from Route 66 (to my international friends, a certain rockabilly clothing store in Australia). I'm not sure if you have a business philosophy, Route 66, but I'm going to hazard a guess that if you do, it's "Treat 'em mean and keep 'em keen". The number of times I have been let down by your store, due to both shoddy workmanship (fraying pockets and hems - seriously, learn to finish seams - and trim that ends up a flufftastic mess after only one wear - warning: do not buy their sailor jackets! Both my friend and I had this problem from the same item, and I ended up having to unpick all the trim from the wrists to make it wearable again) and incompetent staff (such as taking 20 minutes to add up my layby and still overcharging me, or losing records of my payments and again overcharging me - lucky I keep my receipts!) but I keep going back because your designs are so gosh-darned cute. I've had a preview of your new season range and already I know I'm lost again.

Look! Playsuits! Be still, my beating heart!

Oh, Route 66... I wish I knew how to quit you.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ready for my closeup?

Exciting news! While taking my fabulous pants out on the town today, I got stopped by a street-style snapper for an upcoming magazine called "X and Y" - I am trying not to get my hopes up too much about whether they choose to include my picture or not, but it was something that brightened up what started out as a fairly gloomy day for me. Mostly I hope they include the photo so I have something to remember the outfit by - I didn't take any pictures today because I've come down with a nasty summer cold, so first thing I did upon returning home was plop into bed (and I don't have any nice vintage pajamas to take photos of! Though I do have some very nifty marabou slippers).

Today's outfit was inspired by the late 30s/early 40s folk look - something akin to the default uniform of the character Sofie in the old HBO series Carnivàle. I hope you vintage lovin' ladies have seen it (especially anyone interested in the fashions of the 30s!) It is a bit of an acquired taste - well, I absolutely loved it, but not many other people I know did... it does get freaky, however (as an advance warning).

I couldn't find any pictures of Sofie's outfit, but here are a few images to give you a taste of the show (and hopefully, to encourage you all to go out and watch it if you haven't yet):

It also uses the gorgeous song "Love Me or Leave Me" by Ruth Etting to very haunting effect:

Go on! You know you want to! There are two whole seasons of this deliciousness! ;) I am going to watch some in bed with large glass of vitamin C *toddles off*

Monday, October 26, 2009

Slim Skirt

Another procrastination-induced project completed! (You will understand why I am such a busy bee lately, when the alternative is revising lectures about the spinothalamic tracts D: )

This skirt was made from a pattern I bought on etsy a few weeks ago, and some impulse-bought clearance fabric (I think it was suiting, but I can't quite recall). I had enough material left over to make the cute little jacket to match, but I haven't posted up pictures of that as I am yet to finish the lining and choose button colours (any suggestions? I'm rather stuck for ideas here!)

It's not quite as form-fitting as I had hoped it would be, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with the end result (though it is yet more evidence that I need to practice zips and hems!) I'm now on the hunt for a something more akin to a wiggle skirt pattern, but it's so hard to tell what the fit will be like from looking at the drawings on the envelopes :/

(Also seen in the pictures are one of my favourite pairs of shoes - I got them from a friend, who got them for her birthday, but they were several sizes too small for her - fortunately for me! I love sensible, thick heels of a moderate height, with a fully enclosed toe, but they are so difficult to find nowadays! Curse you, peep-toe shoes - I told myself the trend would pass, and I'd be able to find cute shoes in no time - but here we are two years later and it is still impossible to find something that I can wear stockings under. *sighs*)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This dress leaves me breathless

One of the subjects I am taking at uni this semester is French Cinema, which concentrates on the films of the Nouvelle Vague – a period spanning the late 1950s to the early 1960s. Although the movies themselves have been rather hit and miss for me, the clothes and hairstyles of the film's starlets have been an absolute treat. So much so that I am considering making reproductions of a few of my favourite outfits! Or at least, dreaming of doing so *sighs*

Jean Seberg in A bout de Souffle (Breathless) by Jean-Luc Godard, 1960.

How adorable is this dress? I am contemplating buying a vintage shirtdress pattern off ebay for it, but I am terrified of working with stripes! The thought of wasting 4 meters of fabric because I failed to align the stripes properly is horrifying...

(Oh, if only I could be sewing this now instead of writing an essay on the movie it came from!)

Friday, October 23, 2009


My blog looks so naked, oh dear - I guess it it time to get the ball rolling! Forgive my newness at it all!
I am a terrible pattern fiend (90% of the items in my wardrobe have some kind of design splashed all over them) and it has become terribly hard to match things into a coherent outfit (my sister, however, is one of the lucky sort who is able to do 'street fashion' with ease - she quite literally pulls items out at random from her wardrobe and it still looks smashing on her! Jealous!)
I've been longing for a pair of simple pants that I can work with a lot of these colourful shirts of mine; however, I don't really 'do' jeans, and was unable to find anything nice or affordable in shops. Therefore I finally decided to take matters into my own hands, and chose my first sewing project of the summer: a pair of high waisted, wide leg pants. The pattern I ended up choosing was Butterick B5250, in view A (only without the buttons - I may add some later, though, tell me your thoughts!)

The project did not go as smoothly as I would have liked - I have only ever sewn costumes for single day events before now, and as such never needed to worry about pesky things like... reading the pattern. Finishing seams. Proper (ie not rolled) hems. Durability. And so on. (We are headed for disaster already!) I ended up butchering my fabric by not reading the instructions properly and hacking off the little extending piece meant to cover the fly (panic!). I didn't have enough fabric to cut the pant leg again, so decided to whack an invisible zip in the back instead and hope for the best.
Turns out that was not such a great idea either, as I do not have an invisible zip foot! One side of the waistline ended up sitting absurdly higher than the other, and despite reassurances from my father that it was "not really that bad" (lying, no doubt, from fear of aggravating my feminine neuroticisms), it ate away at me until I unpicked and redid the offending area.

One the whole, though, I am pretty happy with these! They fit like a dream and are very very comfortable - I am definitely whipping up a pair in black for work, and possibly some other colours (I saw a pair of high waisted pants in pastel pink and as much as I hate to admit it, the idea intrigues me...)

And so, without further ado - Pants!

(Sorry about the glare) Click to embiggen!