DIY: Pom Pom Bag Charm

pom pom charm bag gwenstellamade

What happens when a girl loves straw bags, has a huge stash of yarn, and is developing an obsession with pom poms? 

I have always had a soft spot for cute summer bags. Be it vintage wicker bags, straw bags, weaved basket bags, bamboo bags… whatever you like to call them, anything that goes under one of the aforementioned categories of bag make me go weak on my knees.

pom pom charm bag gwenstellamade

pom pom charm bag gwenstellamade

Wearing: #Gwenstellamade gingham dress (original post here), second-hand straw bag purchased online

While I appreciate the beauty and versatility of a plain straw bag, I also enjoy changing styles and adding pops of colour to my looks. Adding pom poms in coordinating colours to my beloved second-hand weaved straw bag seems to be the natural thing to do!

pom pom charm bag gwenstellamade

I made this pom pom bag charm on the same afternoon that I refashioned my old heels with pom poms. This mini DIY project took me less than 30 minutes from start to finish, including the time that it took to make the pom poms. Here’s how I did it:

pom pom charm bag gwenstellamadepom pom charm bag gwenstellamadeMaterials:

Yarn in desired colours
Pom pom makers in different sizes
Beading accessory (in clockwise from top left): Lobster clasp, folding crimp, jump ring
Scissors
Round-nose jewellery pliers

Steps:

pom pom charm bag gwenstellamade1. Make 3 or more pom poms in different sizes using a pom pom maker. Ensure that you leave a long tail for each pom pom. This is important for adjusting the length of the pom pom charm later.

pom pom charm bag gwenstellamade2. Hold the cluster of pom poms together and place it against your straw bag. Adjust the length of each tail of each pom pom for your desired look. For example, I made sure that the brown pom pom is the longest of all 3 pom poms, while the other 2 pink pom poms are about the same height. Trim the tail according to the desired final length of the pom pom charm.

pom pom charm bag gwenstellamade3. Using your jewellery pliers, secure the end of all the tails of the pom poms with the folding crimp. Add the jump ring and lobster clasp to the folding crimp.

pom pom charm bag gwenstellamade4. Wrap the tail around the handle of the straw bag and hook the lobster clasp around the strands of yarn. Voila! You now have a pom pom charm hanging on your straw bag!

pom pom charm bag gwenstellamadeIn hindsight, it might have been better to use a different shade of brown as the brown I picked looks too much like the colour of the bag itself. But I guess having a low-key look with the cluster of pom poms isn’t too bad either.

pom pom charm bag gwenstellamadeTry making one yourself if you have some time (and yarn) to spare this weekend! I’d love to see your versions!

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Vintage 80’s does 50’s Pink Candy Cane Swing Dress

VINTAGE OF THE MONTH

Sharing a vintage a month, since September 2017!
Gwenstellamade VOTM 80s does 50s pink swing dress

Wearing: Vintage 80’s does 50’s swing dress, Sunjellies basket and sandals

Hi everyone, I am back with my VOTM post for the month of October! In my last VOTM post, I shared a beautiful 90’s does 30’s Betsey Johnson dress and talked about how fashion keeps going in cycle. This month, I am sharing another dress in my favourite colour – pink!

This sweet pink number is an 80’s does 50’s swing dress I purchased a couple of years back. I may have purchased it from Hong Kong or from a seller based in Singapore – I honestly can’t remember.

This dress is made of polyester fabric with diagonal pink & white pinstripes. The bodice isn’t lined so I had to wear a white tank top with the dress. The skirt, on the other hand, is lined. It has a comfortable elasticised waist and a roomy, boxy bodice. The sleeves, despite being considered “short sleeves” were still too long for me and I decided that wearing the dress with the sleeves folded up made it look better.

Gwenstellamade VOTM 80s does 50s pink swing dress

Details: Elasticised waist, boxy bodice, full circle skirt

My favourite thing about the dress is the fun, full circle skirt. Who doesn’t love twirling in a circle skirt?

While this dress has a silhouette that is reminiscent of the 1950’s New Look style, everything else about the dress which I have described about is a dead giveaway that it is not from the 1950’s. I guess people in the 1980’s valued comfort over fit, which explains the elasticised waist and unfitted bodice. Also, fashion in the 1980’s was big on the large underarm ease! And of course, mass production came into place and polyester is a cheap fabric option. For anyone who is new to vintage and slowly building a vintage wardrobe, an 80’s does 50’s dress is definitely a good place to start, as they are usually cheaper and easier to find than true vintage pieces from the 1950’s.

Gwenstellamade VOTM 80s does 50s pink swing dressThese photos were snapped on the day that I last wore this dress. I sold the dress a few months back as I am slowly culling my wardrobe to make more space for #gwenstellamade pieces and mid-century pieces that hold a special place in my heart. If I can’t even remember when and where I bought this dress, then it’s obvious that this dress has to go.

Gwenstellamade VOTM 80s does 50s pink swing dress

Details: Centre-back buttons, #Gwenstellamade hair tie (tutorial here), vintage 60’s hoops

Stay tuned for next month’s VOTM post! Judging from the progression so far, I have a feeling that next month I will be sharing something from the 70’s… xx Gwen

 

MAKE DO & MEND: Pom Pom Heels

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIYA lot of people have asked me about my heels from the last blog post on my new Gwenstella Made 1950’s Style Country Garden Dress. I have been keeping quiet about it because it’s a DIY project that I have been meaning to share! I have had this pair of pink mid heels for a good 3 years or so and they have turned kinda filthy. When I say filthy, I mean.. really filthy…

The faux suede surface is scratched in many different areas, the soles have worn off, and the interior is slowly peeling away. It is tempting to simply chuck them away and get a new pair. But there’s still so much wearable lifespan to them and I hate to send them to the landfill so soon. Really, it’s still overall a very structurally-sound pair of heels. And so, obviously, I had to make do and mend!

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIYI was inspired by a few different pom pom heels I have seen online, and I knew adding pom poms would be a super quick and easy way to make my heels cute again. This took me less than 30 minutes from start to the end. Here’s how I did it:

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIYMaterials:

  • A pair of heels
  • Foam soles
  • Yarn
  • Pom pom maker
  • Hot glue gun
  • Felt
  • Scissors

Steps:

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY1. Trim foam soles to fit the soles of the heels. Glue them in place.

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY
gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY2. Make 2 pom poms. Trim them and make sure they look almost identical.

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY3. Flatten a side of each pom pom and glue a small piece of round felt on the flattened side.

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY4. Play around with the position of the pom pom on the heels. This is important as you want to make sure you get the right spot before securing it with hot glue gun. When you think you’re ready, secure the pom poms on the shoes using hot glue gun!

gwenstellamade pom pom heels DIY

I am so happy with how this DIY project turned out! This is also a great stash busting project for anyone who has too much yarn lying around, like me. I have a few other pom pom projects lined up for the blog. If you like pom poms as much as I do, you can look forward to seeing here! xx

SEWN: 1950’s style Blue Country Garden Dress (Vogue 8789)

Gwenstellamade Vogue 8789 Country Garden

Gwenstellamade Vogue 8789 Country GardenIs it just me or is the year flying by at the speed of light? I can’t believe that it is already October and this is only my SECOND dress of the year. Only 2 dresses so far!?

Surprisingly, I actually made this in record time of less than a month. The queen of procrastination is procrastinating no more! At this rate, I am hoping to complete at least 1 more dress, 1 pair of shorts, 1 bra top, and 1 skirt before 2017 draws to an end. *insert strong arm emoji*

This dress was made using Vogue 8789, a reproduced vintage pattern from 1957. I made adjustments to the bust and waist, as usual, to fit my under-developed bust and very average waistline. Grading this pattern down to my size was super easy with its simple design.

The fabric I used for this project is a beautiful floral fabric from a collection called “Country Garden #11”, something I purchased from Spotlight many years ago. I have a couple of other designs from this series and I can’t wait to sew other things with them.

Inside out.

Topstitching around the seam between the bodice and the skirt. There was so much fluff underneath because of the gathered fabric for the skirt!

Invisible side zipper

The pattern asks for 4.75 yds of 45″ wide fabric for size 6, but I only had 3.5 yards of this 45″ wide fabric. So, instead of cutting 4 rectangular pieces to make up the skirt, I only cut 3 pieces. In spite of that, I actually still managed to get a rather decent body to the skirt with a petticoat underneath. I wonder what it would look like with the full volume as stated in the pattern!

Hem of the skirt finished with a rolled hem foot on the sewing machine to save yardage! Also, I’m a fan of leaving the selvedge of a fabric in the finished product so I can always remember what the the fabric is called.

Centre front seam – perfect match!

I am absolutely in love with the simplicity of the pattern. It was easy to sew and the style is such a classic 1950’s look. If I made the dress again, I’d definitely want to add a lining to the bodice, and use the same fabric for the armhole facing rather than a plain white fabric like I did for this dress. Finishing the armhole facing with bias tape wasn’t something that the instruction asked for, but I thought it would make my dress look more “finished” on the inside. I’d do it again for the next time I make a dress with this pattern, perhaps even with a fancier bias tape just to make things more interesting.


Do you have this pattern sitting in your stash? My recommendation is to dig it out and start sewing! xx G

DIY: Dainty Rose Choker

So in my last Vintage of the Month (VOTD) post, I promised that I would share the super quick and dirty tutorial for making the dainty rose choker that I wore in the outfit. Here it is!

There’s tons of 90’s inspired choker tutorials out there on the Internet. In my opinion, doing it with a ribbon and some chain is definitely more ideal but I wanted to work with what I have (i.e. yards and yards of elastic) instead of heading out to buy new supplies, so this is what I came up with.

Materials:
Needle and thread
Little roses
Wide, black elastic

Steps:

1. Measure the diameter of your neck. Add 0.5″ seam allowance on both ends for sewing. Cut the required length of elastic. For example, the diameter of my neck is about 12″ and I wanted 0.5″ as seam allowance on both ends, so I cut a length of elastic measuring 12″ + (2 x 0.5″) = 13″.

2. Sew ends of elastic together. Ensure to sew 0.5″ from the ends of the elastic. You now have a basic, plain elastic choker.

3. Sew 3 little roses together to form a cluster of 3 roses.

4. Sew the cluster of roses to the centre of the basic choker.

5. Pull, stretch and wear over your head!

I hope this tutorial is useful for anyone wanting to make some elastic chokers! xx G

If you’re thinking to yourself that the little roses look awfully familiar, you’re right. They are the same ones that I used for my 1950’s style Baby Doll PJs set!

Vintage 90’s does 30’s Betsey Johnson dress

VINTAGE OF THE MONTH

Sharing a vintage a month, starting this month!

Vintage 90's does 30's Betsey Johnson dress

Every vintage lover (and dedicated follower of fashion) knows that fashion comes in cycle. Most people  estimate that fashion cycles around on the average of once every 30 years. When shopping online for vintage, I have come across many examples of the 30-year cycle rule. I have seen tons of 90s does 60s, 80s does 50s, as well as 70s does 40s on the internet. But never have I thought of or came across 90s does 30s… until I chanced upon the listing for this dress on Instagram.

Pink
Velvet
Betsey Johnson
Bias cut art deco vibes

 

These are all the things I love… embodied in a single dress. Something truly magical happened in the 1990s for this dress to come to be.

Vintage 90's does 30's Betsey Johnson dress

Vintage 90's does 30's Betsey Johnson dressI kept this dress for several months and waited for the right occasion to wear it. That chance finally came along when my partner and I decided to have dinner at The Black Swan for date night a while back.

The Black Swan Singapore - art deco vibes

The Black Swan Singapore - art deco vibes

The Black Swan is a dreamy restaurant and bar oozing with glamorous art deco vibes, set in a beautifully restored 1930’s building in the heart of Singapore city. I visited the restaurant for the first time with a couple of friends from work, and knew right away that I had to revisit the restaurant all dressed up in 1930’s inspired style.

The Black Swan Singapore - art deco vibes

The Black Swan Singapore - art deco vibes

The service at The Black Swan was excellent during both of my visits, and my partner thoroughly enjoyed the fact that he could select the steak knife to use for his steak.

I wore my 90s does 30s pink velvet gown with a pair of black heels that I have had for many years, as well as a vintage beaded black purse I found in a thrift shop in the USA. My hair was basically the result of a failed wet set and a dozen of bobby pins. Nothing is more classy (and easy) than a low, messy chignon!

Vintage 90's does 30's Betsey Johnson dress

To give the entire look a bit of a quirky modern edge, I also made and wore a black choker. I am working on a post to share with everyone how I made this little choker. Stay tuned for a super easy and quick tutorial!

xx G

Click here to see all ‘Vintage of the Month’ posts

 

SEWN: 1950’s style Lemon Drop Dress (Vogue 2902)

sewing vintage 1950's dress Vogue V290208

sewing vintage 1950's dress Vogue V2902

Summer is my favourite season. My fabric stash is usually made up of fresh prints and vivid colours made for summer, and nothing screams summer like this vintage 1950’s style lemon print fabric.

gwenstella made sewing vintage V2902

gwenstella made sewing vintage V2902

I have had this fabric in my stash for a few years, but I have never quite gotten around to making something with it… I think I had been waiting for the “right” pattern to come to me. When I bought the vintage reproduction pattern Vogue 2902 a few months ago, I knew it was the perfect pattern for this fabric. The bright lemon print needed something to “frame” it to make it stand out even more, and the contrasting band on the bodice for V2902 was just what I wanted.

(via)

As usual, I didn’t have sufficient yardage to reproduce the pattern in its entirety. This is not shocking news when you don’t buy fabric with a project in mind and end up deciding to make a dress with a full circle skirt! It was definitely disappointing initially, but I think my decision to replace the original design with a simple gathered skirt worked out beautifully as well.

I love that having a gathered skirt means there’s no pressure to wear a petticoat to give the dress the structure for a more authentic 1950’s look (as illustrated on the envelope). I have always wanted this dress to be a casual, vintage style summer dress anyway! But still, I didn’t want the skirt to be entirely… limp.

sewing vintage 1950's dress Vogue V2902

sewing vintage 1950's dress Vogue V2902

And so, I decided to add just a itty bitty bit of structure to the skirt with a lining that resembles a petticoat. Here’s how I cut the layers for the lining:

FullSizeRender

Making the lining

I could add more layers to add more volume, but I decided that 3 sections was sufficient. As a general rule, you would want the next layer to be 1.5 times the length of the previous layer.

sewing vintage 1950's dress Vogue V2902

Cutting the pieces to make the lining, with the skirt layered underneath for comparison of length

sewing vintage 1950's dress Vogue V2902

Sewing up the lining

I chose different colours for the layers of lining because:

1) I wanted a coordinating colour to show if my lining does peek out by accident
2) I was afraid that a completely blue lining might make the skirt look more blue or somehow just show under sunlight

sewing vintage 1950's dress Vogue V2902

Peek-a-boo!

Replacing a circle skirt in a pattern with a gathered skirt is such an easy hack, and I had so much fun adding a fun lining to the skirt for my dress. The design of the bodice for this dress is such a classic vintage look, I think I will continue to have fun hacking the pattern. How about a wiggle dress with this same bodice next? Let me know what you think about my version of the V2902 pattern in the comments below! xx

sewing vintage 1950's dress Vogue V2902

DIY: Sweet Hair Bow & Tie in One

Living in hot and sunny Singapore means that I have my hair tied up when I am at home most of the time. After completing my adorable 1950’s baby doll pjs set, I decided that I had to have something just as cute to tie my hair up with.

A bow is the simplest thing you could add to your hair for an instant cute and retro flair. Using a ribbon to tie a bow to a ponytail is a very popular hairstyle in the 1950’s and 1960’s. While I like the idea of having bows in my hair at home, I don’t quite like the trouble of using a regular hair elastic and then adding a bow in later.

I wanted something quick, easy and fuss-free. And so, I decided to make a pair of these hair bow ties for use at home. It took me less than 5 minutes to whip both of them up, so I decided to share how I made them with everyone too!

Materials:

  • Toilet paper roll (or a pipe, a slim glass, or even a lover’s wrist – just something to tie your elastic around with)
  • Elastic (at least 28″ for 1 hair tie)
  • A pair of scissors

Method:

1. Lay your elastic under the toilet roll. Ensure you have at least 12″ to work with to the right of the toilet roll.

2. Hold the elastic on the right with your right hand, and the elastic on the left with your left hand. Cross them and pull one side under the other.

3. Create a loop on each side and cross your left loop over the right loop as shown in the photo.

4. After pulling the left loop over the right loop, pull it from under the right loop.

5. Pull the loops gently to tighten the bow.

6. Pull the elastic that is still wrapped around the toilet roll to tighten the bow even more. Neaten as you go along.

7. Cut the excess elastic off once you are done neatening the bow, to create the bow that you want. You may want to have a bow with longer strands coming down.

8. You now have a sturdy, and sweet hair bow tie!

I have been wearing this hair tie at home a lot with my baby doll pjs. Now all I need is a pair of pink fluffy house slippers to complete the dreamy 1950’s stay-home look!

SEWN: 1950’s style Baby Doll PJs Set

This is a project that I had planned as part of the basic 4 patterns for the year for my vintage pledge. To be honest, I didn’t think I would actually begin sewing this so soon. I have been busy working on a few different sewing projects concurrently for the past couple of months, like the lemon dress and pineapple bra top. However, progress for those projects have been slow (for reasons that I shall not elaborate on for the purpose of this post), and I decided to start on something new and simple.

Nothing screams classic mid-century home glamour like a baby doll pjs set. This Burda Style 7109 sleepwear pattern is an absolute anomaly for me. Specifically, it’s the one and only Burda Style paper pattern that I own. I am not sure if it’s a true vintage reproduction pattern, but the illustrations on the envelope and the description of the pattern on the Simplicity webpage suggest so:

Marvelous ensemble with all the charms of the 50’s: long, sleeveless night gown with elastic casing or shorter variant covering the knee, with short sleeves or cute baby doll with bloomers.

I always knew this light pink swiss dot fabric would be used for this project. When I dug it up from the abyss of my stash, I was afraid that I wouldn’t have enough yardage for the pattern. I only had 1.5 yards each of the swiss dot and the cotton lining I was going to use. This pattern suggests 2 1/4 yds for the top (option C), and 7/8 yds for the bloomers (option D) for the smallest size printed for the pattern – US size 10. Fortunately, after downsizing it by 2 sizes for it to fit my frame, I realised that I was able to squeeze all the pattern pieces onto just 1.5 yards of the fabric.

Only 4 pieces (excluding the ruffle on the top, option C)

Tip: I stitched a light pink cotton lining under the sheer swiss dot with the machine using a zig-zag stitch in slightly higher tension to make both pieces work together when stitching the pieces together.

Grading this pattern was easy peasy as it’s a very simple design. The most tricky thing about using this pattern was the cutting of the fabric. All of the patterns I have been using show the cut line on the pattern (i.e. 5/8″ seam allowance included), but this Burda Style pattern actually shows the stitch line (i.e. 5/8″ seam allowance NOT included). I forgot about this important piece of information along the way and actually cut the fabric along the stitch line. *gasp*

Oh the horror! And mind you, I only realised my mistake halfway through sewing everything. As you guessed, I did not make a muslin. Out of sheer luck, everything ended up fitting me pretty decently.

To give this baby doll pjs set an even greater and sweeter baby doll vibes than it already does, I decided to use floral bias tape binding, and added some ribbon roses to the centre front of the top and the sides of the bloomers. I’m so happy with how these details turned out. They make me feel that the reproduction is more true to the era, and give the entire set a more polished look.

I am not sure if I will make any more pjs for the rest of the year, since I have already made 2 so far (including this one). But I think this is a very versatile pattern which I will keep re-using. I am already thinking about making another pair of bloomers to go with a lonely vintage 1960’s baby blue pajamas blouse, and perhaps even making a variation at some point with puff sleeves. Hurrah to all the sewing that awaits! xo G

 

OUTFIT: ‘Til seams come apart

 

Wearing: True vintage 1960s dress, vintage London Fog sunnies, thrifted & upcycled wicker purse

You might find this dress familiar. You might be thinking that you have seen this dress on the blog prior to this post.

Yes, this dress was first featured in this post exclaiming the importance of owning a pair of white stockings for a vintage/retro wardrobe. You have seen this dress before, but today is the first time that you will be reading about the story of this dress…

This is a vintage 1960’s dress that I bought in Austin, Texas back in December 2014. I wore it out for the first time for Chinese New Year in 2015, then a couple more times after. It remained untouched in my wardrobe for most of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, until I took it out again for brunch a couple of weeks ago.

With the last week being Fashion Revolution Week, I am once again reminded of the importance of buying quality over quantity, and cultivating shopping habits that encourage sustainability. Admittedly, I don’t utilise my wardrobe as much as I want to, and I am still in the process of decluttering and learning to ‘choose joy’. Being a recovering shopaholic, I still have emotional attachment to all of the things I own and need a bit more time to learn to let go. But I always make sure I go through my wardrobe in cycles so my clothes get worn and I get to decide if I need to turn them in at a swap or sell them, in my own time. Check out my Instagram and you will see that the same few pieces of clothes will always tend to pop up for a certain period of time.

I love the concept of putting together a capsule wardrobe with what I already own, working through the pieces and being creative with the styling of an outfit. The same dress looks different when you roll up the sleeves, carry a different bag, and slap on a different pair of shades with it.

I don’t have a weekend capsule wardrobe right now, but I am working with a colour theme – pink. And so, here I am again with this pink dress which I first blogged about in 2015.The stressed seams on the front darts make it too precious to be worn out regularly, but every time I wear it, it’s like a new dress to me. You will probably see this dress on my Instagram or on this blog again some time in the future. Don’t be surprised if you do. Loved clothes last. x

If you are interested in learning more about the perils of fast fashion and the current dire state of consumerism, check out The True Cost documentary. I also love this article by The Telegraph.