SEWN: 1950’s style 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!

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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

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! XD

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

OUTFIT: Happy 2016 and my Missguided Red Lace Dress

Missguided Red Lace Dress 1950s Style

Oh hey everybody! It’s 2016! *insert party popper emoji*

I hope everyone had a smashing holiday over the Christmas and New Year’s weeks. One of my goals for the new year is to get back into the rhythm of blogging and to write more frequently. This MIGHT be something I mentioned last year… but with the new year comes new hope! Perhaps this year is the year that I really make it happen…

So, what did everyone do for the holidays? My boo and I spent Christmas in the States; we spent most of the time in Texas with his family but also took a little road trip down to New Orleans (aka food heaven). For New Year’s, we went out for a date in the evening to celebrate our 2nd year anniversary.

Missguided ASOS Red Lace Dress 1950s Style

Missguided ASOS Red Lace Dress 1950s Style

Missguided ASOS Red Lace Dress 1950s Style

I have been saving this dress for a special occasion and that definitely was it. This is a MISSGUIDED dress which my friend bought via ASOS. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit her so she passed it to a friend that would be able to wear it (aka yours truly). Lucky me!

Missguided ASOS Red Lace Dress 1950s Style

Missguided ASOS Red Lace Dress 1950s Style

Vintage 1950s Earrings

All the accessories that went along with my outfit are at least 2 or 3 years old. Yes, I like old things. My bag is a vintage beaded evening purse which I thrifted from Vinnies several years back when I was still living in Sydney. My earrings are vintage 1950s and they are actually Christmas presents from my boyfriend’s sister. I’m so smitten with them! Those heels are also from ASOS; they are about 2 years old and are getting pretty worn on the insides. I’m going wear them until they disintegrate.

That little Union Jack thingy is a Rimmel London smokey eyeshadow palette. Umm I bought when I was still in Sydney. Umm, that makes it at least 3 years old. Umm, I don’t think they even make this Union Jack eyeshadow palette anymore? Don’t judge me, these colours are EVERTHING. I am still constantly using them every weekend on my eyes. The only other thing that I should have included in the photo is my MAC Ruby Woo lippy, which is about 2 years old.

And there you go, a quick break-down of my New Year’s day outfit. Put your hands up if you think red and black are best friends! xo

DIY/MUST-HAVE: Vintage-inspired Saddle Shoes

DIY Vintage Inspired Saddle Shoes

*This post is also featured as a guest post on Atomic Amber’s fabulous pin-up and vintage style blog.* >>> here!

Saddle shoes were very popular in the 1940s and 1950s, and are a must-have for anyone that loves mid-century fashion. Back in 2012, I made a pair of two-tone oxford brogues using bronze fabric paint. Now that I am slowly progressing towards a more vintage-inspired wardrobe, I find that I need a pair of black and white saddle shoes to supplement my wardrobe. And being me, I’d much rather make a pair myself than to buy a pair online.

So here’s a simple tutorial for everyone out there who wants to make a pair too!

Materials:

DIY Vintage Inspired Saddle Shoes

A pair of white plimsolls – I got mine from Target
A pot of black fabric paint
A paint brush with a flat or sharp tip for precision during painting
Black fabric marker
Sticky tape – I used wash tape I have in my stash

Steps:

DIY Vintage Inspired Saddle Shoes

1. Remove the shoe laces. Place sticky tape somewhere off the centre of the shoes. Also, tape the tongue of the shoe down so it doesn’t get in the way while you paint.

DIY Vintage Inspired Saddle Shoes

2. Use the black fabric marker to mark a semi-circle on the back of the shoes. I followed the stitching pattern that was already on the plimsolls.

DIY Vintage Inspired Saddle Shoes

3. Start painting away! Don’t be too worried about getting paint on the eyelets because you can wipe the paint off before it dries.

DIY Vintage Inspired Saddle Shoes

4. Wipe off any paint you have on the eyelets. You can also clean the insides using cotton buds.

DIY Vintage Inspired Saddle Shoes

5. Allow the paint to dry for a day, then set the paint with an iron. Avoid being too close to the rubber soles because you don’t want to melt the rubber!

DIY Vintage Inspired Saddle Shoes

6. Put the laces back on and smile, because you now own a pair of saddle shoes!

DIY Vintage Inspired Saddle Shoes

Wearing: Freddies of Pinewood Lana jeans and #gwenstellamade vintage-inspired saddle shoes

DIY Vintage Inspired Saddle Shoes

DIY Vintage Inspired Saddle Shoes

A couple of weekends ago, I wore my “new” saddle shoes for the very first time. I’m so excited about all the different ways I can incorporate it into my mid-century outfits in the future! Let me know if you make a pair for yourself too. I’d love to see your projects! x G

 

OUTFIT/MUST-HAVE: The Oriental LBD

In the Mood for Love 1960s style cheongsam

A couple of weeks ago I took my man out to the Fullerton Hotel for a birthday buffet dinner. It was the perfect opportunity for me to bust out this tailor-made cheongsam that I made in Shanghai a few years ago. I am ashamed to say that this is only my second time wearing this cheongsam! The last time I wore this was a year ago…

In the Mood for Love 1960s style cheongsam

In the Mood for Love 1960s style cheongsam

The cheongsam is probably the oriental version of the LBD, in my opinion. It’s a great piece to have in anyone’s wardrobe. A tailor-made cheongsam accentuates your curves and adds instant glamour to your look. Also, it’s great for creating vintage-inspired looks! Some of my favourite inspirations are the long and slender looks of Shanghainese ladies from the 1920s – 1930s, as well as the stiff high-collar design of 1960s cheongsams like the ones in “In the Mood for Love”.

Mid-century cheongsams

 

1930s Shanghainese cheongsams

 

I paired my cream floral cheongsam with bright pink satin chunky heels and a vintage beaded bag for a vintage inspired look. I wanted a 1960’s look, so I wore my mid-century cluster clip-on earrings.

1960s vintage inspired cheongsam

1960s vintage inspired cheongsam

I have 2 other cheongsams in my wardrobe, of which one has never been worn. SHOCKER! I should wear it soon…

How about you? For those people who own cheongsam(s), when was the last time you wore a cheongsam? For those people who don’t own a cheongsam (yet), do you fancy a cheongsam in your wardrobe?

(Note: The pictures of the 1930s and 1960s cheongsams are from Pinterest. Unfortunately, none of the links for the images worked, so I apologise for not including the original sources.)

SEWN: 1940’s style Retro Rosie Floral Dress (Pink version)

1940's vintage style retro rosie floral dress in pink

Last week I wrote about the purple version of my Retro Rosie dress that I made using the Retro Butterick B5209 paper pattern. Guess what? I have another version of the dress in pink!

Sometimes I can’t help but laugh at my own silliness. Yes, I bought the same fabric design in 2 different colours and made 2 similar dresses out of it using the same paper pattern. Blame it on my old soul, but I have a weakness for coordinated wardrobes like people used to in the past. If I had enough fabric I would even want to make a separate skirt! And then for a whole month, I would be wearing items from the same series on the weekends. Hehe.

1940's vintage style retro rosie floral dress in pink

1940's vintage style retro rosie floral dress in pink

1940's vintage style retro rosie floral dress in pink

Wearing: Handmade 1940’s vintage style Retro Rosie floral dress; pink sunnies from ASOS.com; black ballet flats from London Rebel; handmade pink peony hair pin

Butterick Retro B5209

(via)

This pink version of my Retro Rosie dress comes with sleeves and the original gathered skirt. Nothing major happened throughout the cutting and sewing process. However, similar to the purple version, the bodice turned out a little loose on me. Fortunately, the sleeves and the presence of a back piece made it all look ok and not too baggy on me, so I didn’t have to do any adjustments like I did for the purple version. I’d definitely resize it if I ever made another one again!

1940's vintage style retro rosie floral dress in pink

1940's vintage style retro rosie floral dress in pink

And now that you’ve seen both versions of the Retro Rosie dress, tell me, which one is your favourite? I’d love to hear your thoughts! x

SEWN: 1940’s style Retro Rosie Floral Dress (Purple version)

1940s inspired style Retro Rose Floral Dress

1940s inspired style Retro Rose Floral Dress

A (long) while back, the McCall Pattern Company reproduced and reprinted a series of Retro Butterick patterns. One of the Retro Butterick patterns I purchased is Butterick 6582 (1960s pattern) which I used to make the Edith dress. The other pattern I purchased is Butterick B5209, a pattern that was first printed in 1947. I chose it because I was smitten with the classic “New Look” silhouette and the fact that the sleeveless version of the dress looks so much like the famous white dress worn by Marilyn!

Butterick Retro B5209

(via)

Unfortunately, the sleeveless version of this pattern didn’t fit me so well in the bodice area and I had to make a few modifications to make it stay close to my body. I shortened the halter neck strap, added elastic along the back, and even added boob pads on the bodice front so I could wear it without a bra. Yes, the slightly plunged neckline at the back makes the wearing of a bra tricky.

1940s inspired style Retro Rose Floral Dress

And… worst of all, by the time I was done with the bodice, I realised that I didn’t have enough fabric to make a gathered skirt like the original pattern. I must have forgotten to plan out the cutting of fabric or I just didn’t get enough fabric – I don’t remember which happened. Regardless, I solved the problem by making a half circle skirt instead. I am so happy that everything turned out just fine!

1940s inspired style Retro Rose Floral Dress

1940s inspired style Retro Rose Floral Dress

1940s inspired style Retro Rose Floral Dress

Now that I have worn it for the first time, I am still feeling kinda iffy about the positioning of the boob pads. I might take them off and sew them on again, this time closer to the centre. And then, I’d be looking forward to wearing it again.. and again.. and again!!! xo