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

 

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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. 

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!

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

 

MADE: 1960s style crochet twin set

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

Wearing: 1960s style crochet twin set suit (handmade), retro saddle shoes (DIY), vintage white hoops (thrifted op-shop find)

Last year, I wrote a blog post about a few vintage inspired knitting and crochet projects that I was planning to embark on. After completing a 1950’s inspired polka dot sweater, I immediately started working on the next thing that was on my to-make list – this 1960’s inspired crochet twin set.

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstellaThe pattern for this crochet twin set is from Patons Book 1318 Vintage Charm: Archive patterns from the 40’s to the 70’s, a pattern booklet I purchased from Spotlight (Singapore). I was initially tempted to make an identical one using pink yarn that is similar to the one used in the book, but I couldn’t find anything suitable in Spotlight. Every pink ball of yarn I found in the shop was wool, and wool is icky for hot and humid Singapore. Fortunately, I was shopping with a friend and she persuaded me to pick this sunny pastel yellow acrylic instead. I know, acrylic ain’t the best substitute but where do I find cool cotton yarn in Singapore!?

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstellaFibre aside, this colour was a great recommendation! I am glad that I listened to my friend and didn’t submit to my 16 year old mini-me on the left shoulder that screams for anything in cotton pink.

This crochet twin set has turned out to be such a lovely addition to my capsule wardrobe for the months of March and April so far. Matching twin sets are the best for people (like me) who are trying to expand their vintage/vintage-inspired outfit repertoire without hurting the wallet, wardrobe, or world. *insert twin heart emoji*

Here’s how I have styled my crochet twin set:

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

Wearing: 1960s style crochet blouse (handmade), second-hand vintage 90s does 60s mini-skirt (online purchase), vintage white purse (thrifted op-shop find), ballerina flats (ASOS), white hoop earrings (had them for as long as I can remember)

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

vintage retro 1960s crochet twin set suit handmade outfit fashion gwenstella

Wearing: New York Herald Tribune T-shirt (DIY), 1960s style crochet skirt (handmade), retro style huaraches (ASOS), wicker tote (thrifted op-shop find), ice-cream necklace (handmade), cat-eye glasses (ASOS)

Hooray to a versatile capsule wardrobe. I can’t wait to wear these out more often! xx 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

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.)

Cropped

1960s style pixie cut

1960s style pixie cut

Every once in a while, I feel the desperate need for a change in my hairstyle. Back when I was in uni, I grew my hair long for over 2 years with the grand plan of bleaching the tips and dyeing them a funky colour. I did it and loved it. Then I started work and hiding my wild roots proved to be pretty cumbersome. So, I chopped the coloured tips.

Last year, I grew weary of the hot, humid weather of Singapore and the constant need to tie my hair up at work. So, I chopped it to a little bob that was just above the shoulder.

Then my hair grew long and I was enjoying doing vintage long hairstyles on weekends. But the longer it grew, the more tiresome it became when tying it up for work. I often ended up with a slight headache at the end of the day for some reason.

I finally decided to get a pixie cut when I found myself being mesmerised by Viv Maguire’s style on Love Child (an Australian drama series set in the 1969). I thought doing vintage style with a pixie cut would be something new and fun, so I decided to try it out!

Now, I trawl Pinterest and the rest of the Internet on a regular basis for photos of Jean Seberg, Twiggy, and Edie Sedgwick. These style icons from the swinging 1960s are my inspirations.

Twiggy and her eye make-up:

http://nick-b.hubpages.com/hub/A-Brief-Fashion-History-Of-England-Part-2-The-Sixties-1

(via)

I have only given Twiggy’s eye make-up a try (just for fun) once. The additional eyeliner along the upper sockets of the eye doesn’t work the same way for my eyes (for obvious reasons), but I think I am going to give it another go just to see how I could tweak it and make it more suitable for myself.

Jean Seberg and her casual 1960s style:

http://cinyma.tumblr.com/post/52299659925/jean-paul-belmondo-and-jean-seberg-on-the-set-of

(via)

I haven’t personally watched Breathless, but this iconic t-shirt has definitely taken my breath away! I have some ideas brewing in my head for recreating this t-shirt. I can’t wait to recreate this classic, casual look.

Edie Sedgwick and her statement earrings:

(via)

I have a whole bunch of dangly statement earrings kept away in a jewellery box for the longest time. To me, dangly statement earrings have always been so pretty to look at but so tricky to wear. But looking at Edie Sedgwick’s photos just make me think, “whatever!” These black ornate statement pieces are stunning, and I think maybe I will try to recreate them too.

1960s style pixie cut

How about you? Do you have any style muse? Do you also consider hairstyle when searching for vintage style inspiration?

x G