STYLE: Freddies Four Ways

If you’re a vintage gal into mid-century style, then you’ll most likely have a pair of high-waisted denim in your possession. I own a pair of high-waisted denim shorts that I purchased from a high-street store in Sydney years ago, as well as another pair of high-waisted skinny denim from H&M (also from a couple of years ago). Unfortunately, they create a more pin-up look than I like on some days, and give me a wedgie every few hours.

Ever since I discovered Freddies of Pinewood on Instagram, I have always been a big fan of the authentic mid-century design. I never thought I would actually buy one because of their rather hefty price tag. Months passed, and after a period of deliberation, I finally made a leap of faith and ordered a pair of Lana capris that was on sale. This happened a couple of years back and I have never regretted that decision.

I love the way it’s snug around the waist and roomy around the crotch. I have to admit, the waist felt a bit too snug on me at first, but they have eased pretty nicely and quickly over time – just like the website promised.

Lately, I have been wearing them more than usual on the weekends. It’s perfect for those lazy days when you want to be casual but still keep that vintage style. Here are the 4 different ways I have styled my Freddies of Pinewood Lana capris recently:

Freddies of Pinewood Lana 4 ways Vintage Style

Wearing: Gwenstella Made 50’s inspired blouse, thrifted & refashioned wicker bag, shifted Nine West shoes

Freddies of Pinewood Lana 4 ways Vintage Style

Wearing: Tara Starlet blouse, Sunjellies jelly shoes, thrifted Chinese takeaway box purse

Freddies of Pinewood Lana 4 ways Vintage Style

Wearing: Tara Starlet blouse, plastic granny-style retro sandals (from Hong Kong), Sunjellies Jasmine Atomic tote

Freddies of Pinewood Lana 4 ways Vintage Style

Wearing: High street brand basic striped tee, high street brand black loafers

What is your favourite way of wearing your vintage style high-waisted denim? Do you have a go-to casual vintage look?

SEWN: 1950’s inspired gingham blouse and skirt

Wow, I can’t believe that this is already the second “Sewn” post for the year. This has been an incredible year of sewing for me so far (and it’s only March), and I am so excited to share this recent make with everyone! This green gingham fabric has been in my stash for a long long time. I remember purchasing it because it was cheap (which is a bad choice in retrospect) and putting it away with the rest of my stash while waiting for the “right pattern” to come around. When I purchased the Simplicity 1426 pattern late last year, I knew I wanted to use this fabric to create a cute 50’s inspired look with any of the bra tops in the pattern, complete with a matching skirt. It seemed easy when I planned it out in my head…

Back when I bought the fabric, I was a young and naive sewist. I didn’t know matching pattern was a thing. Watching The Great British Sewing Bee taught me a lot of things. For one, it taught me that pattern matching could either make or break a finished garment. As I began to plan the placement of pattern pieces for this project, my feelings towards this chirpy green fabric turned from that of happiness and hope to a kind of fear and resentment.

Alas, the fear of matching large gingham pattern got the better of me. I decided to shelf this project for a while (and later moved on to cutting and sewing my first handmade PJs set).

Somewhere in November, I finally mustered enough courage to start sewing the pieces together. Everything came together surprisingly well! It’s not perfect in all the spots, but I think it’s pretty darn good for someone who is doing pattern matching for the first time.

Sewing Simplicity 1426 Retro Vintage 1950s 1960s gwenstellamade

Fairly well-matched pattern

For the top, I made view A in size 4 which fitted me very well at all the important spots. As I wanted something that would look more like a top and less like a bra, I lengthened my bottom band to around 3.25″ wide. I also added some bra cups between the gingham fabric and the lining so that this could truly be a bra top and not worn with anything else underneath. More importantly, the bra cups help to fill up the top more than my boobies can!

I made the skirt without any pattern. It’s basically a long rectangular piece of fabric sewn at the ends to make a loop, then gathered at the top and sewn to a sturdy waistband. Working with limited yardage (as usual), I could not make a full circle skirt.

The first button: For days of multiple feasts

The second button: For more adventurous days

Both the bra top and the skirt have button closures. The top, in particular, has the cutest green flower buttons I found in my stash.

Have I mentioned anything about the buttonholes? Another thing that the GBSB taught me was the magic of a buttonhole foot. Every single button hole on the back of the top is of equal size. Every. Single. One.

In case you’re wondering, I wore my top over the band of my skirt

Wearing: Gwenstellamade top and skirt, thrifted wedges, vintage clutch

Moving ahead, I’m already in the midst of cutting up view C for another project. I also have this same gingham print in red and blue (in different yardage). Maybe I will be working on them soon in the next few months. If you like what I have been making so far this year, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and follow me on Instagram (@gwenstellamade) to join me in all of my adventures!

SEWN: My first handmade PJs set

Sewing Retro Blue Floral Pyjamas

Sewing Retro Blue Floral PyjamasGrowing up, I never owned any PJs. What  I usually wore to bed were a ratty tee and a pair of ugly, loose shorts. These were usually the same T-shirt and shorts that I wore to bum around at home and sometimes, for a quick run to the stores. It was not the classiest ensemble, but it was very comfy.

I always thought that PJs was a bourgeois practice. Why a different set of clothes was needed for going to bed was something I never understood.

But oh, how the times have changed.

Sewing Retro Blue Floral Pyjamas

Sewing Retro Blue Floral PyjamasI no longer wear any ratty t-shirts when heading out for a quick trip to the store, and I’ve grown fond of the idea of putting on something sweet and delicate after my shower in the evening. Yes, I’m turning towards the life of the bourgeois.

I’ve had this royal blue rose garden print flannel fabric in my stash forever. I think I found it in a fabric remnant bin and bought it for less than $10. I always thought I would make something Cath Kidston-inspired with it, like a purse or a hat. But I never got around doing that, and when the idea of making a pyjamas set came to me, it was clear that this was the perfect fabric for the project.

As I only had a short yardage to work with, I decided to make a simple sleeveless blouse and a pair of shorts – nothing too stuffy for bed in Singapore!

Sewing Retro Blue Floral Pyjamas

Front and back

Sewing Retro Blue Floral Pyjamas

Buttons

For the blouse, I drafted my own simple button-front top with waist darts on the front and back. The armholes were finished with bias tape. This is my favourite method for finishing sleeveless armholes.

Sewing Retro Blue Floral Pyjamas

Sewing Retro Blue Floral PyjamasFor the shorts, I used New Look 6055 (option E). In order to work with the limited yardage I had, I eliminated the pockets. I also created a curved hem and added ruffles along the hem of the shorts to make it look cuter than the regular pair of pyjamas shorts. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough fabric to make some ruffles for the blouse too.

Sewing Retro Blue Floral Pyjamas

Sewing Retro Blue Floral PyjamasNevertheless, I’m really happy with how this pyjamas set has turned out. The fact that the print reminds of Cath Kidston’s designs is an absolute bonus.

SEWN: 1950’s inspired Bateau Neckline Blouse

Dancing Couples 1950's Vintage Style Blouse Bateau Sewing

Wearing: Matching boat-neck blouse and skirt, and pom pom headband (all me-made)

Dancing Couples 1950's Vintage Style Blouse Bateau SewingI’m a real sucker for matching sportswear. They have endless outfit possibilities and let me pretend that I have created a collection for my own pretend fashion label for Fashion Week.

Ideally, I want to complete my matching sportswear within a month of making each item of clothing. But very often, that is not possible because of my general disregard for time. (I’m slowly getting better at this, I swear.)

I wrote about the “Dancing Couples Flared Skirt” back in January 2015, but only managed to make this matching bateau neckline top several months later, in October 2015. And for some reason, after completing it, I put it back in my closet and only wore it out for the first time in May this year for Me Made May. (What is wrong with me???)

All right, let’s get over the embarrassing timeline and focus on the subject of the post. The bateau aka boat-neck design was a very popular cut in the 50’s. Using pictures of vintage 1950’s sewing patterns I have found online as inspirations, I drafted my own pattern for a fitted blouse with a bateau neckline and cut-in armholes.

Front view

Front view


Dancing Couples 1950's Vintage Style Blouse Bateau Sewing

Back view

The construction of the blouse was easy. I didn’t even make a muslin for this. The trickiest thing was actually deciding the kind of fastening I wanted for the top. As the blouse has a pretty fitted waist, I needed something with an opening that was large enough for my arms, shoulders, head, and (non-existent) boobs. I didn’t have any separating zippers (and didn’t want to buy one), so I simply made do with an invisible zipper that I had.

Centre-back zipper fastening

Centre-back zipper fastening and contrast thread


Armhole finishes with bias tape

Armhole finishes with bias tape

I somehow managed to find a balance where I could *just* fit the blouse over my head. (Thank you, non-existent boobies.) But in hindsight, I probably should look into doing some research on vintage dressmaking techniques and doing a proper vintage fastening, like having the bottom fastened with buttons so I won’t have to do the wiggle every time I put this blouse on.

Dancing Couples 1950's Vintage Style Blouse Bateau Sewing

Dancing Couples 1950's Vintage Style Blouse Bateau SewingWell, live and you learn.

I still have maybe a quarter yard of this fabric available. I should look into making an accessory with the rest of the fabric, like a hat, a belt or a little purse. We’ll see!

Dancing Couples 1950's Vintage Style Blouse Bateau Sewing

Dancing Couples 1950's Vintage Style Blouse Bateau Sewing

Check out my post on the Dancing Couples flared skirt here.

SEWN: 1960’s style Plaid Shift Dress

vintage 1960s inspired plaid shift dress sewing dressmaking

*wipes the cobwebs off this blog*

Ah! How time has flown once again. I have been so busy with moving and everything else that I haven’t had the time to write a blog post. Now that wifi is set up in my new home, I am excited to be back and sharing something again!

In my previous post, I shared with everyone a shift dress I made a few years ago using a fabric with a Mondrian inspired print. That sleeveless dress was made using a New Look pattern, so this time I thought I oughta challenge myself by putting my amateur pattern-making skills to test and draft a shift dress with sleeves.

I thought it would be easy but I was wrong.

vintage 1960s inspired plaid shift dress sewing dressmaking

Wearing: 1960s inspired plaid shift dress (handmade), black glitter thigh high socks (ASOS), cat eye glasses (ASOS), black purse (won in a giveaway eons ago), vintage white clip-ons (thrifted)

vintage 1960s inspired plaid shift dress sewing dressmakingI know it looks fine in the photos but there are so many things I am unhappy about. First of all, the collar is a little too high *chokes*. Next, the darts don’t lie flat despite my best sewing attempt. Finally, the sleeves took 2 drafts to finally fit (and when I mean fit, I mean I can just barely move my arms in the dress).

Good thing I was cheap and I only used the expensive plaid fabric on the front of the dress in the attempt to create contrasting accents for the dress. If I had to make the plaids match front and back too, I would have died on the sewing table.

 

vintage 1960s inspired plaid shift dress sewing dressmaking IMG_5780But you know what, I am actually rather pleased with how the contrasting patch pockets turned out! They are a wee tiny but I think I have done a good job at sewing them on.

vintage 1960s inspired plaid shift dress sewing dressmaking As of now, I have worn the dress about twice as part of my current weekend capsule wardrobe. I am still not happy with the way the sleeves are making me use my arms like a T-Rex, and I am seriously thinking about either taking the sleeves off completely, or…. *cue horror music* try drafting the sleeves again for the third time.

We’ll see!

OUTFIT: Singapore Mod Swing 2016

Vintage Retro Mondrian 1960s Shift Dress Outfit

Vintage Retro Mondrian 1960s Shift Dress Outfit

A couple of months ago, while I was surfing Facebook on a dull evening at home, I chanced upon a page called “Singapore Mod Swing“. The word “mod” and the ska music on the page piqued my interest, so I clicked on.

And then, a recruitment post for “floorshakers” for a “gnarly vintage experience” caught my eye. I took a chance and signed up for it.

IMG_2066

Vintage Retro Mondrian 1960s Shift Dress Outfit

Wearing: Retro style round blue sunnies (ASOS from years ago), white round earrings (had them for as long as I can remember)

Several weeks and numerous dance practice sessions later, I did my very first flashmob with Soul Shakers Singapura right in the middle of the busy Bussorah Street on a Friday Night. And then we did it again on the day of Singapore Mod Swing 2016. And again at the A-Go-Go Night at Kampong Gelam for the Singapore Heritage Fest 2016.

It has been such an exhilarating experience dancing with the team of bright and happy people of Soul Shakers Singapura! And of course, Singapore Mod Swing 2016 was an absolute blast. I had the best time dancing along to the bands and soaking in the 60’s mod vibes surrounding me. Who knew that a 60’s mod culture existed in Singapore!

Vintage Retro Mondrian 1960s Shift Dress Outfit

Bits and pieces from the event – 2 strips of Photo Booth printout via Kombi Rocks and Singapore Mod Swing 2016 memorabilia! I was also interviewed by Rinniey for the Singapore Mod Swing 2016 zine!

Being a mod event, I took the chance to break out my handmade Mondrian shift dress and accessories that represent the swinging 60’s. To be honest, this 60’s YSL inspired Mondrian shift dress was not my first choice for the event. I made this little 60’s inspired dress way back in 2013 (here) and it has slowly made it’s way into my work wardrobe. I have this weird thing about separating my work from my weekend wardrobe. Putting a dress into the work wardrobe is almost like… a downgrade of its status. It’s like saying, “hey, you’re no longer pretty enough for the weekends. You’re just good enough for wearing to work.” Weird, I know, but that’s how my brain works. Alas, I couldn’t find the dress I was hoping to wear (I think it’s at my parents’ place), so I gave this dress another chance.

 

Vintage Retro 1960's Mondrian Mod Outfit

Wearing: Mondrian shift dress (handmade), vintage 60’s purse (Granny’s Day Out, *now closed*), white tights, retro style saddle shoes (DIY)

Vintage Retro Mondrian 1960s Shift Dress Outfit

What a pleasant surprise! I had more fun dressing up with this little 60’s inspired number than I thought I would, and I’m reinstating its status in my weekend wardrobe for now. But that said, it’s not part of my current weekend capsule wardrobe so it’s just gonna stay in a corner of my closet for now.

 

Vintage Retro 1960's Mondrian Mod Outfit

Three things you need for the swinging 60’s look – beehive, long (fake) lashes, and frosty pink lips

Oh, speaking of weekend wardrobes, I have included a tartan shift dress that I have recently made with a self-drafted pattern in my current capsule wardrobe. I can’t wait to share the project with everyone soon! xxx G

 

OUTFIT: Happy, Happy Birthday Baby

1950s 1960s floral dress butterick retro sewing

A month ago I celebrated my 27th’s birthday. Wow, 27 years of existence. I never really used to celebrate my birthday in any remarkable fashion, but in the past few years, my lovely partner has always found a way to make it special for me.

cherry blossom sakura high tea singapore pollen gardens by the bay

This year, he took me to catch the cherry blossoms that are in bloom and on exhibit at Garden’s by the Bay (Singapore). The line to catch the blooms up-close and personal was too long and we were happy to just catch the ones just around border of the main exhibit. Of course we also took some time to appreciate the other exhibits in the garden.

The highlight of the day was high tea at Pollen, which was the best high tea set I have ever had in Singapore! Yes, I have had high tea at several hotels and cafes in Singapore, but Pollen is definitely the best one I’ve had so far.

high tea singapore pollen gardens by the bay

high tea singapore pollen gardens by the bay

high tea singapore pollen gardens by the bay

The menu consisted of a good range of savoury and sweet items. Even my partner, who isn’t usually a big fan of high tea or sweets, enjoyed the menu thoroughly. And did I mention that there’s free flow of tea and coffee? My partner had about 3 cups of coffee but I only tried 2 different types of tea.

1950s 1960s floral dress butterick retro sewing hell bunny petticoat

1950s 1960s floral dress butterick retro sewing hell bunny petticoat

1950s 1960s floral dress butterick retro sewing hell bunny petticoat

1950s 1960s floral dress butterick retro sewing hell bunny petticoat

Wearing: Cat-eye sunnies by ASOS (from 2 years ago), thrifted vintage bag, pink heels by ASOS (from more than 3 years ago), wooden fan (gift from a friend), and my dearest me-made Edith dress with the luscious Hell Bunny petticoat

1950s 1960s floral dress butterick retro sewing hell bunny petticoat

1950s 1960s floral dress butterick retro sewing hell bunny petticoat
And now let’s talk about the dress! This green floral dress is my beloved Edith dress. I made it back in 2012 using the retro Butterick 6582 dressmaking pattern and it’s been featured on my blog a few times (here and here too). And hey, if you’re observant, you’ll notice sometimes it’s a featured photo on my blog header too. Yes, my infatuation with this dress is obvious. This dress is very special to me because I made it around the time I started getting serious about both dressmaking and vintage style. Specifically, I made it so I could have something decent to wear to a vintage fair. It’s really a shame that I haven’t been making such dresses at all in recent years, and I really hope to change that this year! We’ll see…! *fingers crossed*

1950s 1960s floral dress butterick retro sewing hell bunny petticoat

Wearing: Brows by Anastasia Beverly Hills, eyeliner by KATE (Japanese brand by Kanebo), eye shadow by Too Faced, lips by elf, and not forgetting a pair of vintage cluster clip-ons

Do you also have a dress that holds a special place in your heart? xx G

DIY: Jean Seberg’s New York Herald Tribune T-shirt

The New York Herald Tribune t-shirt is an iconic fashion piece that was worn by Jean Seberg in the movie “Breathless”. Since the release of the French New Wave movie in 1960, the t-shirt, like Seberg’s gamine pixie haircut, has gained a cult following and inspired many, including me. There’s something about the combination of a clean white shirt and classic typography that is very appealing. Ever since I got my haircut and watch the film, I wanted a t-shirt like that to wear for casual days out.

Apparently, Rodarte even released an almost identical design in 2010 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the film’s release. I’m not sure how much that t-shirt by Rodarte costs and I’m not even going to try looking it up, because I made one myself easily.

And you can do it too, with a print-out of the New York Herald Tribune logo. Tip: Search on Google!

Jean Seberg Breathless T-shirt 1960s Vintage Retro DIY

Materials:

1x piece of freezer paper
1x penknife
1x plain white t-shirt
1x print out of the New York Herald Tribune (ideally full A4)
1x pot of black fabric paint
1x paint brush
Some washi tape

Steps:

 

1. Trace the logo on the side of the freezer paper without the smooth, shiny wax.

jean seberg new york herald tribune t-shirt DIY 1960s fashion2. Cut out the letters on the freezer paper with a penknife. Some letters will be tricky, like “O” and “R”. You can choose to either cut the inner piece out and stick it on later (like my letter “O”) or cut the letters out like a stencil (like my letter “R”).

jean seberg new york herald tribune t-shirt DIY 1960s fashion3. Iron the freezer paper on the t-shirt. Notice that the inner circle of my “o” is missing in this picture. I stuck in on later.

4. And now the fun part! Slap on the paint over the letters and make sure you got all the itty bitty corners covered.

jean seberg new york herald tribune t-shirt DIY 1960s fashionjean seberg new york herald tribune t-shirt DIY 1960s fashion5. You may end up with some thin lines in each letter that don’t show up from your painting. Stick some wash tape to make sure you mark the boundaries and paint over with confidence!

6. Ta da! And it’s all done!

jean seberg new york herald tribune t-shirt DIY 1960s fashion

jean seberg new york herald tribune t-shirt DIY 1960s fashion

STYLE: Gingham all the way! (Part 2 of 2)

Read Gingham all the way! (Part 1 of 2)

So back in December last year I wrote a post on a peasant-style cropped blouse I purchased and played crazy mix and match with. Here’s the second part of the post featuring all the rest of the outfits I styled with this retro gingham blouse. Hopefully, this and the previous post will give everyone some ideas for doing wardrobe remix and for creating simple, retro 1950s pin-up/rockabilly style with basic pieces from your wardrobe!

As seen from the previous post here

As seen from the previous post here

And here’s how you can remix a top like this gingham peasant blouse. You can..

1. Pop on a pair of high-waisted shorts in a coordinating colour

Retro 1950s Pin-up girl style

2. Squeeze into a pencil skirt in a contrasting colour

simple retro 1950s pin up girl style fashion

3. Fool around in a circle skirt

simple retro 1950s pin up girl style fashion

There, it’s as easy as ABC! You know what, I even have a circle skirt in a similar gingham print and I’m hoping to wear that skirt with this blouse together one day. I did try it once but it seemed a bit too much at that point… We’ll see how that goes again!

I hope everyone has had fun reading this series wardrobe remix posts. I am planning to do more of such posts in the future. There’s only so much clothes my wardrobe can contain but the days for OOTDs are endless…

Do you like doing wardrobe remixes or capsule wardrobes? I’d love to hear from everyone!

xox G

Read Gingham all the way! (Part 1 of 2)

MUST HAVE: Sun Jellies Originals Tote for an Instant Retro Flair

Sun Jellies Jasmine tote retro 1950s style

I love plastic shoppers. They have a certain kitschy charm to them and they add an instant retro flair to any outfit.

Most of the retro and vintage bags that I have are pretty small and can’t carry much. This makes things tricky when I have to carry more than my bare essentials (i.e. lipstick, mobile, and purse) when going out.

Sun Jellies Jasmine tote retro 1950s style

Wearing: 1950’s style gingham swing dress (Hell Bunny), retro plastic jelly bag (Sun Jellies Originals)

Sun Jellies Jasmine tote retro 1950s style

Sun Jellies Jasmine tote retro 1950s style

Sun Jellies has a range of totes in delicious colours like white, pastel yellow, pastel blue and pastel pink (or you could also call them Serenity and Rose Quartz aka Pantone colours of the year haha). I am lucky to get my hands on the dreamy white version and I think it’s a lovely addition to my retro/vintage wardrobe. It’s a spacious carry-all that is perfect for trips to the beach and to the mall. Best of all, it has a clip that fastens the handles together so your things don’t fall out of the bag easily. Nothing beats the joy of having both convenience and style in a single bag!

Sun Jellies Jasmine tote retro 1950s style

1950's retro vintage pincurls Asian look

Also, I want to show my first attempt at doing pin curls on my short hair! 😄

You can find Sun Jellies Originals on their site/Instagram/Twitter/Facebook