Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Butterick 5152: The 'Empress' Dressing Gown

Hello!  I know it's been awhile...things have been busy here as of late BUT I have managed to fit some sewing in!  One of the items I have wanted to add to my wardrobe the most is a 1940s dressing gown.  Enter Butterick 5152, a reissued vintage pattern from 1948 in perfect time for the Sew for Victory 2.0, a 1940s sew-along:

I made the dressing gown out of a rich and heavy silk jacquard fabric.  I've used a similar version of this fabric before (in red) to make a 1930's gown.  It sews like a dream.

The pattern consists of a yoked shoulder front, long 'puffed' sleeves and a wrap front held in place by a hook and eye.  I didn't have enough fabric to make the belt and my local fabric store is no longer carrying this fabric.  But I think that's fine as belts on robes are sometimes a bit annoying!  So I just wear my sans belt.  There are also subtle gathers on the front waist and more gathers on the back yoke.

The dressing gown goes perfectly with my 1940 McCall 'Wish Upon a Star' nightgown!  It's nice because the dressing gown doesn't have a collar which allows the collar and ties of the nightgown to show through.

I really adore the big puffy sleeves and I feel so glamorous when I wear this around the house!  Plus, it's nice and toasty – perfect for virtually every season here in Scotland!

Awww...look at the kitty...our dearest little Echo 'Chickpea'.  She's such a sweetie!!

I'm really trying to develop an entire wardrobe of 1930s and 40s inspired 'at-home' lounging and nightwear garments!  I just love how beautiful all the garment designs are from those time periods!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Guest Post: David's Top Ten - Part 2

     Here is the second half of my top ten.   It really has been difficult to choose, but I’ve enjoyed going back through the photos, with the images sparking memories of how Debi has worked through each project, and the fun we’ve had on the photo shoots.  It's been interesting developing our communication as "model" and "photographer," and I've enjoyed seeing its progression affecting the quality of the images over time.

6. The 1939 'Marlene Suit Jacket' (McCall No.3260)
     I believe this was Debi’s first attempt at a suit jacket, and she did an amazing job.  It’s not easy (and I know this first-hand).  I love the patterned wool, and the cut of the whole suit really works on Debi – it’s playful but serious when needed, just like her.  This was also a particularly enjoyable photo session.  She totally nailed the pose.   This brings me to…

7. The 1941 'Yipppppeeeeee Trousers' 
(in navy, brown tweed, green and black) (Simplicity No.3688)

     Definitely one of the most versatile and oft-worn of her sewing creations, these trousers really suit her, and paired with her collection of “me-made” blouses, and Ness Tweed Jackets, it’s a good everyday look.  The current Ness Tweed Jacket collection can be viewed at their site.

8. The 1943 'Raspberry Sorbet Dress' (McCall No.5384)

     I thought this dress looked amazing when she made it, and I hope it makes a comeback this Spring.  I really like the colour on Debi, as well as the details in the sleeve caps and pockets, and the short yoke across the top.

9. The 1940 McCall dress (No.3638)

     This dress is another staple of Debi’s wardrobe, and I love both the fit and flow of this particular fabric.  I also really like Debi’s choice of buttons.   The grey goes well with her Ness jackets, shoes, and bags.  You can see posts of those pairings here.
     I remember her finishing this dress, then quickly donning her wellies as we ran out to climb East Lomond Hill, hoping to catch the light, leaning on me to change into her shoes, as it was muddy.  The view from the hill was great, and we got some interesting images.  
     I also liked it paired with her The 1940 '
Faux Bunny Love Jacket' (Simplicity No.3529).

10.  The 1952 'Now or Never Halter Top' (Simplicity No.3879)

     I haven’t seen Debi wear this one in a while but as it’s been winter, I’m not really surprised.   Hopefully it’ll re-emerge later this Summer, if we get halter top weather.  
     I enjoyed helping her with this one, making the belt out of a Ness tartan scarf, to match her shoes and purse.   We took theses photos on a trip up to St Andrews, in the ruins of the Cathedral.
"This one goes to 11…"

11. The 1939 'Lady of the Lake Dress' (McCall No.3228)

     I love the look of this patterned fabric on Debi (it's very silky as well),  the details of the mother-of-pearl buttons and buckle, and the small, white ruff at the collar.   This was a great photo shoot, where we got out on the rocks into theWater of Leith, with the sun streaming through the trees.

Honourable Mention:
     Well, I could quite easily go on, as there are more of her “me-made” creations that certainly warrant mention on a “Top” list.   If Debi needs another guest post, I'll continue the list with the above outfits.

     Of my own wardrobe, my favourite item of clothing is one I’ve only worn once but so much went into it that we will have to find another formal occasion that requires it:  It’s the Prince Charlie Kilt Jacket Debi made for me on the eve of my graduation from The University of St Andrews.   It fits incredibly well, and the detail is flawless – Debi put even more care into it than she usually does, and it shows.   

     We stayed up all night the night before the ceremony, trying to get the lapel right – a real struggle, but a good learning experience, and the outfit turned out amazing.   The midnight blue British wool we found was perfect, and it looks “blacker than black” in photos, which is why the colour was a popular choice for formal wear in the 1930s and 40s.   A very special outfit that I will always treasure. 

     Well, that's me done - thanks for your patience while Debi's been away.   She'll be back next week with more of her own posts.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Guest Post: David's Top Ten - Part 1

     Hey, all!
     Debi is traveling on business this week, so she’s asked me to do a guest post.  

     I’ve chosen my top ten favourite outfits; a very difficult task, believe me, as I’ve loved her sewing projects, and delighted in watching how her skills have improved with time, practice, and helpful advice from other sewists.

     I’ll admit to being partial to the 1930s fashions:  I think Debi looks great in them.   I love the 1940s McCall patterns too but I really enjoy the silhouette and drape of the 1930's patterns on her.  Here are the first five of my favourites:

1. The 1939 'Birthday Dress’ (McCall No.3560) 

     Without a doubt, this is my favourite of Debi’s collection.   The simplicity of the lines, the fit, the fabric she chose, and the hairstyle… va-va-va-VOOOM!   I’m a lucky man, oh yes, I am.  

     I particularly like the pleats on the sleeve caps, the stand up collar and the drape of the twelve-gore skirt.   It looks amazing on her, and she knows it.  Meow!

2.  The 1933 'Art Deco Love Dress and Jacket
(Eva Dress reprint of Butterick No.5756)

     A very close second, this was previously my favourite outfit.  Katherine Hepburn wore it in the 1933 RKO film “Christopher Strong.”  

Photos Courtesy RKO Pictures LLC

     I love the way this outfit fits, hugging her waist and hips, then draping away into a full skirt.  The jacket has great details like cutout mutton sleeves that gives the outfit a strikingly bold silhouette.
     I’ve been hoping that Debi will make another one in blue with Grant Tartan for the jacket, to match me in my kilt when we go to a ceilidh or similar event.  The fabric is in the stash now, so it will happen.

(Wearing History‘s “Manhattan Melodrama”)

     Definitely a Valentine’s Day to remember:   Debi was making this dress up until we had to run out for our dinner reservation at The Voodoo Rooms.  I think I may have even had to phone ahead to push it back for half an hour.   It was an amusing start to a wonderful, romantic evening, and she looked ravishing – I felt like the luckiest man in the world (as I often do).   She wore it again for my graduation ball in 2012, looking classically elegant.  This is another one I like enough to see made again in another colour, but the red looks great on her, and was perfect for Valentine's Day.

4. The 1938 'THE Awards Gown'  (McCall No.9777)

     Another fast-paced, up-to-the-last-minute make:  Debi had to leave for London  shortly after the photo on the left was taken, to attend the Times Higher Education Awards Ceremony.  
     I love the colour on Debi, the opalescent pattern (she did an amazing job of matching up the vines), and the silhouette.  
     It’s graceful, powerful, and feminine.   It has just the right amount of slink for a formal occasion, and the bolero is an elegant accompaniment.  The waist is fitted down to the small of her back, where it drapes beautifully down to her ankles.   A eye-catching look for a black tie event.

5. The 1937 'Birthday Dress Suit' (McCall No. 9156)

     This was another great outfit:  The autumnal colours look really nice together and I really liked her choice of buttons and contrasting fabrics.  Again, I love what the 30's lines do with the tailored bust and waist, accentuating the graceful, long curve from her shoulders to the middle of her hips, where the fabric falls away, flaring slightly to mid-calf.  It's a very flattering silhouette.  The hat is pretty awesome as well.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Scotland Sundays: Rosslyn Chapel

One of my favourite chapels in Scotland lies just 40 minutes outside of Edinburgh city centre.  Surrounded by intrigue (home of the holy grail? history of Knights Templar? murder? ghosts?) and recently made famous by a certain novel (which has allowed for some fantastic restoration work), Rosslyn Chapel has it all.

It's one of the most ornately carved chapels, both inside and out.  I love the gargoyles that flank the entrance.  They seem much more ominous in the winter time when the sky is overcast.

I wore my me-made 1940 McCall hooded dress, with my Ness beret and wellies.  It seemed a perfect pop of colour for such a grey day!

Here are some pictures of the inside of the chapel and all the amazing carvings:

The famous 'green man' carving:

Everywhere you look, there is a surprise:

The legend has it that there was a master stonemason who was carving the pillars of the chapel.  He decided to travel abroad to get inspiration and materials, leaving his apprentice in charge.  The apprentice, who was just a wee lad, had a dream about an ornately carved pillar.  When he awoke, he set out to replicate what he saw in his dream resulting in the most talked about set of carvings of the time period.  When the stonemason returned, he became enraged and jealous that his apprentice outshined him and legend has it, he murdered the apprentice in the chapel. 

The apprentice pillar:

Many people believe that the holy grail at one point resided in the chapel and that many other Knights Templar treasures may still exist somewhere within the chapel walls. 

Building on the chapel begun in 1446 and it has remained in the possession of the same family for its entire history (the St. Claire family).

The side of the chapel, with it's beautifully carved window:

There are a few gravestones and memorials in the chapel yard:

Overall, a fabulous (but windy) day, which caught me by surprise more than once! hahahaha

Blowy2 on Make A Gif

Have you been to Rosslyn Chapel?  Do you love mysterious stories from historic monuments?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Giveaway Winner and Thank You

Thank you everyone for your wonderful posts and participation during the Sew Grateful Week.  It's been so much fun.  There is still time to post giveaways, reflections, resources and projects

Today, I'm announcing the winner of the Weaving Destination fabric and 1940 McCall pattern giveaway.....

It's Emily:

Yay! Congrats Emily and thanks to everyone for entering!  And good news is that Weaving Destination is offering a 15% discount on all fabrics for everyone on Etsy.  The discount is good until the 10th of March.  Just enter the code SEWGRATEFUL during check-out.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sew Grateful Week: Projects Link Party

McCall 3769: The 'Lantern Army' Jacket

Today is the Sew Grateful Week Projects Day and I'm delighted to share my most recent make with all of you.  It's a 1940 McCall pattern (surprise!) but I felt that was the most appropriate for this week because I am so incredibly grateful for everyone's support and wonderful comments on the 1940 McCall project to date!  Several readers have sent me McCall patterns or links to patterns for sale and I am always incredibly moved by this!!  

For this week, I tackled McCall 3769, a beautiful jacket pattern that features really nice princess seamed lines that turns into pockets.

The second part of my Sew Grateful Project is to say thank you to my darling husband, David.  He chose the fabric and often helps me plan out projects.  He has an incredible eye for what fabrics will work with what patterns.  He also takes all the photos--and has been incredibly patient over the years for my desire to run all over Edinburgh (and elsewhere in Scotland) for the perfect locations :-)

The pattern was fantastic to follow.  I am especially chuffed about my jacket lapels!  Usually my corners look, ahem, suspect.  This time, they look like jacket lapels! yay!!

Thirdly, I want to say thank you to the wonderful sewists here in Scotland.  We recently met up in Glasgow and it was fantastic to meet everyone!  I heard about the Chinese lantern army that was set up in Old College, Edinburgh through Franca who blogs over at Oranges and Apples.  So we decided to head over there for the photos and what a lovely backdrop it was!  Check out more about this outdoor exhibition and her amazing photos over at her blog.

The fabric is a medium-weight wool that I got at Armstrong's Vintage store for super cheap (I think it was £10 for 3 metres).  I even have enough left over to make a matching skirt.

The front princess seam is attached using a lapped seam which almost gives it the appearance of being piped.  The bottom of the seam opens up into pockets.  I adore the sleeves on this and the sleeve caps are pleated.

These pictures were taken in Old College which is the University of Edinburgh's Law School.  So pretty….

You can sort of see it in this picture but the jacket is lined in a light brown lining fabric.  I really hate inserting lining--I don't know why.  I think in the future I will just use different techniques to neaten my inside seams.  With this weight of fabric, I don't really need lining and I don't mind the feeling of wool (I actually prefer it to the feeling of lining fabric).

The only drawback from the pattern is that I must have added too much width when grading up the pattern in the back.  You can see that it's just ever so slightly too wide.  I'm not too bothered about it but it's a good lesson that  I need to remember that I have a narrow back when grading up patterns!

Very happy with my new jacket and it goes perfectly with my Birthday dress.  You might have noticed that I also made a matching belt for my dress with a neat art deco belt buckle.  It's just peaking out but I'll need to get some belt close-up photos to show you the buckle.

I hope you've had a lovely Sew Grateful Week!  Definitely add your giveaways, reflection posts, resources posts and projects to the link parties before the end of the week.  And check out the amazing posts from others. I've been blown away by everyone's participation.  It's been so much fun to read everyone's contributions!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sew Grateful Week: Resources Link Party

Today is Sharing Resources Day! Just add a link to your blog post below.

Sew Grateful Week: March 1940 McCall Style News

It's one of my favourite days of Sew Grateful Week…sharing resources day!!  This is where you can share free patterns, links to your favourite and most used resources, scans of old magazines, etc.

To mark the end of February and celebrate the coming of March, I'm sharing scans from my 1940 McCall March Style News booklet.  Enjoy!

Which outfits are your favourite?
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