It is not a secret that I love mid-century style. But lately, I have been slowly venturing into the fashion of the 1970’s. In my opinion, the fashion of 1970’s is a lot more easy to replicate than mid-century for everyday wear if you are just starting to experiment with vintage fashion. One of the more memorable trends from the 1970’s is the bohemian/prairie/peasant look.
This circa 1970’s vintage Butterick sewing pattern is an example of the classic peasant look from the post-Woodstock years. I thrifted this pattern a couple of years ago from a thrift shop for just 50c. And then, upon returning home, I discovered, to my horror, that it was missing the instruction sheet. Thankfully, there’s this thing called the Internet and I figured out how to sew it, lining and all!
Pattern: Vintage 1970’s Butterick 6124
Fabric: Baby blue gingham, polycotton
Modifications: 1) Reduced the bust size as the pattern is not in my size. Looking at the end product, I think the bust can definitely be reduced further. T_T 2) Added a white lace and ric rac trimming at the bottom because obviously it looks better that way
Up to this point, I still don’t know what I feel about the sleeves. I find them a bit too poofy. So poofy that they make me look like Popeye after 4 cans of spinach. What do you guys thinks? Should I downsize the sleeves further when I use the same pattern again?
P.S.: Yes, of course I would want to use the pattern again. Join me in my Butterick 6124
madness inspirations via my Pinterest board here.
Sears Catalog, Spring/Summer 1958
I have always wanted a pair of mid-century pants. I have several poofy mid-century style dresses, circle skirts, and super tight rockabilly high-waisted shorts. Those are great, but I have always wanted something more casual for a lazy weekend. Of course, buying true vintage or reproduction is out of question because of cost and fit. I can’t even find a pair of modern denim jeans that fit me properly because my hips are a size bigger than my waist.
And then my chance came with the Italian pattern making class. I can now draft my own pattern for a pair of pants that fits me nicely!
1.5 years on and most of what I wear is still handmade and/or from Sydney…
Pattern: My very own
Fabric: Black and white gingham seersucker
And also, this is the first time that I sewed a front fly zip! I have been avoiding doing this for the longest time because my mother told me it would be challenging. I should have known better – it was NOT too difficulty. I am not kidding. If you are scared of front fly zipper, don’t be. It’s not that difficult. There’s Youtube. There’s blogs. There’s the Internet.
Do you get the implication of this? Do you get it at all? This means that I can now make a zillion pairs of peddle pushers, shorts, pants in various prints – floral, polka dot, paisley… Ok perhaps a zillion is just an overstatement. But you get me.
So much happiness from simple a pair of gingham pants. x
SEWN: Hawaiian Boat Neck Top
Wearing: Handmade Hawaiian Boat Neck top, ASOS high-waisted bikini bottom, ASOS platform shoes
I recently attended a course on the Italian method of pattern-making and one of the things we went through in class was the drafting of kimono sleeves. And when we were asked to make a top with kimono sleeves (and any kind of neckline), I decided to make a boat neck top to match my Hawaiian shorts.
First things first, I am not a fan of kimono sleeves/bat wing sleeves. Sure, they are common in the 50s, but that doesn’t mean I am obliged to like them. I don’t understand the concept of having excess fabric under the pits. Is it supposed to help with air circulation? And how is it suppose to drape!?!?!
Despite the general contempt with kimono sleeves as well as the confusion with drafting a pattern with kimono sleeves, I went ahead to cut the fabric anyway.
If I had a Gwenstella Resort 2015 collection, this would be part of it.
I am embarrassed to admit that my first attempt at boat neck was abysmal at best. In other words, there was no boat, but a mess of fabric on my chest. Thankfully, the problem was fixed easily with some darts. My boat now stays afloat!
My kimono sleeves also didn’t turn out too great. I am guessing that they are supposed to be rounder and lower. 😦
All in all, disasters were averted with my alterations after putting everything together. I probably need to review that awful draft I drew again.
I bought a yard or so of this lovely knitted fabric with repeated pear print in Sydney AGES ago. As the fabric itself is kinda quirky and attention-grabbing, I decided to make a simple shift dress with it, using a long knitted dress I have as a base (i.e. no paper pattern involved). I have never worked with knitted fabric prior to this and boy was I in for a ride. I finished the neckline and the sleeve openings using bias tape I made with the same fabric and.. all I can say it that it needed a lot of patience..
And then I decided to get a little creative and do a curved hem for the dress. That was the worst decision I made in the process of making this dress. The dress turned out a little too short to be a real dress but still a little too long to be a tank top. It’s still really cute in my opinion but I am just finding it hard to reconcile with the ultra mini length.
Maybe all I need is a pair of white plastic hoop earrings and white go-go boots, then I’ll be good to go. Swinging sixties look, of course.
|Before (left) and after (right)
A close friend of mine gave me her old Hawaiian dress several months ago. It’s a vintage blue Hawaiian dress she bought when she was on a holiday in Hawaii back in the 80’s! I love old clothes.
Unfortunately, the dress wasn’t quite my style. Seeing that it’s made of easy-to-deal cotton fabric, I decide to bust out my Elna and give it a modern twist. And here’s the result…
|Wearing: Refashioned vintage Hawaiian cropped top and skirt, thrifted necklace and bag, ASOS platforms
All I did was cut the shirred top off and finished off the raw edge with a zig-zag stitch. Then, I shortened the skirt and added an elastic waist to it. Easy-peasy! It originally looked more like a holiday dress… as in something you would only wear when you’re on a holiday. But now, it’s more like a ready-to-wear item. This is definitely something I can wear often in hot and humid Singapore! x
I once wrote about the almost countless yards of fabric in various Hawaiian prints in my fabric stash on my old blog here. That was about a year ago. Fast forward a year and…, I have only sewn one pair of Hawaiian shorts and this Hawaiian dress.
I started this dress when I was still in Sydney. I vividly remembering cutting out the various pieces for sewing and then packing them neatly in a ziploc bag before placing the bag in a box (along with the rest of my fabric stash) for shipment back to Singapore.
I only finished this dress in … I think September? I guess I took such a long time because I got distracted by other things that were happening in my life and also, I made other stuff in between.
I got this amazing fabric with a Hawaiian border print back in Cabramatta in Sydney. It’s 100% cotton and I like how the stiffness of the fabric makes the skirt look kinda poofy when I wear it. Looking at the example on the front of the dress pattern envelope, I think that’s the idea of it – for the skirt to look poofy.
Pattern: Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 2250, skirt length for B and strap design for A
Fabric: 100% cotton with Hawaiian border print
Modification(s): I scrunched up the bit at the chest area a little more than instructed in the pattern.
What I dislike about this pattern: That bodice. It was a tad complicated to sew.What I love about this pattern: That bodice. It was a tad complicated to sew BUT it gave me a chance to improve my skills! Oh, and did I mention that there are pockets!?
I love this pattern because the it is really unique and I love how the border print along the bottom of the skirt turned out. I know I am definitely using this pattern again. Now excuse me while I strum my ukulele and daydream about Hawaii…
So, things have been rather quiet around here lately. Yes, I have been busy. In the time that I have been absent from blogging, I have sewn 6 kitty cushions; sewn 2 lion-head cushions; completed my Hawaiian dress; made a crochet flower pot. If you follow my Instagram @gwenstella89, you would know that I haven’t been lazy!
Ah, 6 kitty cushions. Six adorable kitty cushions.
I found this fabric panel featuring a bunch of random kitties while casually shopping at Spotlight one day and decided to buy a panel for a quick project. To be honest, I can’t remember if it was 0.5 m or 1m. All I know is that I got 6 kitties out of it.
This project was so easy and I had so much fun matching the kitty fabric with a contrasting fabric. I chose a fun but simple purple floral fabric for the grey kitty; a plain red fabric for the brown floral kitty; a plain pink fabric for the purple floral kitty. To add some creativity to project (and to add more charm to the kitties), I made the ears bendable and added bells inside the ears!
Trust me, the jingling bells doubled the cuteness factor of the kitties.
And, just to spice things up a little, I made the kitties wear my glasses. Geez, I was totally smitten with these kitties.
|That purple kitty looks flat because I was not done with filling it up before taking this family photo. I had run out of the polyester filling and HAD to take this family photo because I was giving one of them to someone who was leaving!
I’ve given all but one of the kitties away to my friends. One of the kitties now resides in Shanghai, another in Chicago, and the rest remains in Singapore. One of them lies in bed with me at night. Honestly, I’m NOT a soft toy person. But I DO like this kitty I made. xx
This is a sewing project that I completed late last year while I was still in Sydney, and while I was still writing my thesis and pining for summer.
It’s not just about my love for Sydney’s summer – it’s also about my obsession with Hawaiian print.
Hawaiian print – the mere thought of those words is sufficient to make me smile and do a pirouette. You might think that I am exaggerating. I can assure you that I am not.
I can’t even remember where I bought this Hawaiian print fabric because it has been soooo long ago. It’s 100% polyester with a texture that is similar to Billabong board shorts. So, of course, I had to make a pair of beach shorts out of it.
Pattern: New Look 6055, option E
Fabric: 100% polyester in Hawaiian print
Modification(s): I shortened the hem and opted not to include the belt loop (mostly because I was too lazy to sew them).
What I dislike about this pattern: Nothing!What I love about this pattern: It’s super easy to sew and there are POCKETS!!!
Unfortunately, I have only worn this pair of shorts once thus far and it was not a trip to the beach. So, this is the only photo I have of the shorts to show to everyone.
I wonder when I’ll get the chance to wear this pair of shorts again…
Anyhoo, I have about 1 metre of this fabric left and guess what I’m making with the remaining fabric? A matching bag!! 😀
Dreams do come… partially true.
This 1965 Yves Saint Laurent “Mondrian” Day dress is one of the reasons why I fell in love with the 60s. (That and the whole flower power movement and the Twist and Twiggy and british pop songs from those years and…….)
Ok, I digress.
Yes, this 1965 YSL dress is divine. All other (cheap) Mondrian-inspired dresses manufactured by clothing chain stores are crap. This F21 remake is an example.
But it’s impossible for me to own the genuine 1965 YSL dress. It is also impossible for me to wear a cheap remake without feeling repulsed. And so, I set my heart to making an acceptable remake of the dress.
You have no idea how I squealed when I saw this fabric in Mondrian print in a craft shop last year. The Little Gwen in my head even did a little victory dance.
And several months later, this dress was born. Life is good.
Pattern: New Look 6049, option A
Fabric: 100% cotton in Mondrian print (front), black polyester (back)
Modification(s): I shortened the hem and reduced the size of the bodice (as usual).
What I dislike about this pattern: Nothing!
What I love about this pattern: IT’S A SHIFT DRESS!
|Cherry is da bomb
Ah, a sewing post.
I made this dress over a year ago but never had the chance to write about it on my now defunct craft blog. So, here it is, featured as a sewing project for the very first time on my new blog! (Yes, check out the old blog if you are keen on knowing more about some of the things that I will continue to write about here.)
Pattern: New Look 6020, option D (bottom right)
Fabric: Cherry print in polycotton for skirt, red polyester for bodice
Modification(s): I shortened the hem and reduced the size of the bodice (as usual).
What I dislike about this pattern: Zipper on the side rather than at the back
What I love about this pattern: Two words – sweetheart neckline!
Despite reducing the size of the bodice, it still ended up a little too big. But that only means that the next time I use this pattern again, I’m going to continue to reduce the size a bit more and it’s going to end up perfect. Regardless, it’s a sweetheart neckline!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And you have no idea how much I love cherry print. Cherry prints are cute AND sexy. What are the chances for something to be cute and sexy AT THE SAME TIME!? I think I have made my point.
And because I am cheesy, I like wearing this dress with my very treasured pair of cherry earrings which I bought from the Sydney Rock ‘n’ Roll and Alternative Market a few months back. Oh god, I miss those days…
In other news, I have too many photos to share and too many things to write again. Stay tuned for another blog post soon!