SEWN: Refashioned 1970’s Inspired Midnight Bohemian Skirt

I am going to start by making it clear that this is not a style I usually go for. But when I found out about the #SewFrosting Challenge organised by Heather Lou (of @closetcasepatterns) and Kelli (of @truebias), I knew I had to make this.

This sad, oversized vintage 1970’s dress had been sitting in my wardrobe for the longest time since I got it. (Why and how I got it, I can never recall or imagine) I love the print of the fabric and the soft, slinky feel of the polyester, and I knew I could alter it easily to fit myself, but I also didn’t think I would enjoy it in its very form – a midi length, long-sleeved dress with a pussybow.

Obviously, sending this to the donation bin is like a death sentence for the dress (and the fabric). Who would save a dress like this except for someone crazy like me? So, I did what I had to do – I butchered it and then stitched it together again.

I wanted to stay true to the era (i.e. 1970s), so I decided on the following 2 key design elements:

  • bias drape
  • ruffles

The result? A skirt that is 1 part goth, 1 part bohemian, and 100% ready for disco-dancing. Here’s how the magic happened:

  1. Unpicked stitches for sleeves and pussy bow collar
  2. Unpicked stitches for skirt
  3. Cut skirt the following ways (while checking that the final measurements will fit around my hips and knees):
    • sloping from back to front along the waist (so that the front will end up shorter than the back, and for that faux bias drape)
    • sloping from top to bottom (so that the width around the knees will end up narrow than the hips)
  4. Stitched along dotted line
  5. Folded down and stitched along the dotted line to create an elastic casing. Insert elastic.
  6. Cut sleeves to get rectangular pieces
  7. Aligned rectangular pieces as such and stitched them together to get a long strip of fabric. (This photo shows 4 rectangular pieces – 2 from each sleeve. I ended up getting 2 more rectangular pieces of the same measurements from the fabric from the bodice of the dress.)
  8. Gathered the long strip of fabric and stitched it along the hem of the skirt
  9. Stitched the unpicked seam of the pussybow collar to get a belt

This project was so fun to make and I loved doing something different on a whim. Anyone else here taking part in #SewFrosting as well?

I had been in a weird funk with my sewing since making my wedding dress and I think I finally got my sewjo back with an unusual sewing project like this one! No patterns, no regrets – just all about having fun! xx

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Vintage 1970’s Floral Dress with Bell-sleeves


Sharing a vintage a month, since September 2017!

So it seems to me that I had completely forgotten about my VOTM post for December 2017. My apologies for that, and let’s pretend that I was on a holiday somewhere…

Welcome back to my “Vintage of the Month” series!¬†This month, I am sharing another piece from the groovy 1970’s, and discussing some very lovable details in this well-made vintage garment.

Wearing: Vintage 1970’s dress, vintage mid-century leather purse, very old RTW heels

I got this beautiful 1970’s Japanese vintage dress when I was on a holiday in Hong Kong a few years back. It’s just about 1/2 to 1 size too large for me, but I couldn’t let it go because of its beautiful shade of meadow green and those graceful, subtle bell-sleeves.

The bell-shape design wasn’t only restricted to pants in the 1970s. They also made their way up and crept into the design of sleeves! Bell-sleeves started becoming popular in the late 1960’s when the free-love hippie movement came about and fashion took on a boho-chic angle. It continued to stay in fashion in the 1970’s, especially in the years when the Gunne Sax and the Little House on the Prairie look became in vogue. Many knee-length and floor-length dresses in those years feature a sleeve design with a wide opening, and a length that goes up to the elbow or beyond. Just like the bell-bottom pants, these sleeves are called “bell-sleeves” mainly because of how they resemble the shape of a bell. The more exaggerated versions with even wider sleeve openings are sometimes described as “angel sleeves” too, because they look like wings when you spread your arms out with these unique sleeves.


I wore this dress for the first time to a friend’s wedding in 2016 and these photos were taken on the day itself. Notice that I have shoulder-length hair in these photos. ūüėČ

As with many pre-1980’s vintage garments, there are many hand-stitching details in this dress. Let’s zoom in and have a look:

Blanket stitches on hook and eye

Blanket stitches on hook and eye

Hand-stitching on the facing

Hand-stitching on the facing

Thread belt loop

Thread belt loop

Sheer polyester fabric with embroidered leaves

Sheer polyester fabric with embroidered leaves

These are all beautiful hand-stitching details that I would like to learn to incorporate into my own sewing. I have only used regular straight stitches when sewing a hook and eye, but I really like the way the blanket stitches look. Yes, I definitely should make it a point to start using blanket stitches when sewing hooks and eyes!

What is your favourite detail of this dress? And to all my sewing friends out there, what kind of vintage sewing technique do you incorporate in your everyday sewing?


Vintage 1970’s Faded Glory Denim Jumpsuit


Sharing a vintage a month, since September 2017!
vintage 1970's faded glory denim jumpsuitAh… the 1970’s. What a glorious time!

I’m sure everyone will agree with me that bell bottoms are the most iconic style from the 1970’s. I am usually more of mid-century style gal, but there’s something about bell bottoms that makes my heart sing and my hips shake to the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever.

vintage 1970's faded glory denim jumpsuit

vintage 1970's faded glory denim jumpsuitWhen I found this denim jumpsuit in a Buffalo Exchange in Colorado earlier this year, it was love at first sight. I have been searching for a vintage (denim) jumpsuit for as long as I can remember, and to find a vintage one in a resale shop is just like a dream come true! Of course, the fact that it fits me is the icing on the cake.

vintage 1970's faded glory denim jumpsuitFor me, the bell bottoms and label are dead giveaways for the age of this jumpsuit. I have thrifted a couple of items by Faded Glory previously and I immediately recognised that this ornate design appears to be an older version of the one they have in other items I have, like this straw bag I used to own (pictured below). Usually, I would consult the label resource on Vintage Fashion Guild to confirm my suspicion. Unfortunately, there’s no entry on Faded Glory on the site currently.

A straw bag by Faded Glory with a different label design. I thrifted this a few years ago in Texas.

What I usually do next is a bit of detective work – I would look up other items with the same label that are listed on online sites such as eBay and Etsy. True enough, many people have also described this label as something from the 1970’s.

In addition to the design of the company label, the “Made in Hong Kong” label provides another detail that supports my guess. Most high-street items these days are made in China and other developing countries such as Vietnam and Bangladesh (where labour is cheap, sadly). When industralisation started gaining speed in the 1970s, many factories that produced clothes were located in countries like Hong Kong and Taiwan. Some quality vintage items from the 1950’s and 1960’s may even be labelled as “Made in British Crown Colony of Hong Kong”.

So there, in summary, these are the details that helped me decide the age of the jumpsuit:

  • Decorative design of the company label which is different from what I know
  • “Made in Hong Kong” label
  • Iconic bell-bottom design

Do you like the fashion from the 1970’s? What’s your favourite part of the 1970’s?

MAKE DO & MEND: 1970’s Inspired Pastel Bohemian

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

As I bravely declared in one of my Instagram posts, one of my goals for 2016 is to work on more sewing projects. This includes altering a garment so it works better for my body and my current style, as well as dressmaking projects.

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

This is an alteration project that I completed quickly in 2 nights earlier in January. Silly me, I got into the project so quickly I didn’t take a proper photo of it before the alteration. This 1970s pastel peasant dress is one of the vintage pieces that came with a vintage lot I bidded and won on eBay. It was too large for me and the original band around the top was losing its elasticity so I decided to unpick the stitches and reinsert new elastic bands.

The waist also came with a tiny and frail elastic thread that wasn’t really doing its job anymore, so I also took that out and put in a thicker elastic band around it. I am pretty proud of how neat the gathers around the waist turned out!

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Left: The altered dress on the mannequin
Right: Close-up of the gathers of the waist on the right side

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Left: Close-up of the bodice
Right: Close-up of the top band with elastic inserted on the inside

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Thick elastic band on the waistline on the wrong side of the garment. I’ve taken a bit of the sides in after sewing the elastic band… bad planning…

Unfortunately, I miscalculated the width of the waist and the dress turned out a little baggy even after inserting the elastic band. I fixed that by taking in the sides a little. No way am I going to unpick all 3 rows of stitches in the thick elastic band! I know that sounds awfully lazy, but I swear I do more unpicking with dressmaking projects when something goes wrong.

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

I know it looks better on the mannequin, probably because the mannequin has a bigger bust than I do…. Yes yes yes, on hindsight, I probably should have measured the width of my chest and width of the top of this dress, and altered the sides accordingly.

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Make Do Mend Vintage 1970s Pastel Peasant Dress

Experimenting with elastics in this project was fun and I am pretty happy with the way it looks on me right now. Pop on a large sunhat and coordinating accessories, and I am ready for a lazy Sunday afternoon in the park.

xx G


Wearing: Vintage 1970s babydoll peasant dress (eBay), white sunhat (Target Australia), white clip-ons (thrifted), white necklace (nondescript shop in Sydney), vintage white purse (thrifted), retro square sunnies (ASOS), vintage-inspired huaraches (ASOS) 

More Make Do and Mend projects on the blog right here

OUTFIT: Just a hint of blue

It just occurred to me that the months have gone past so quickly this year. Or maybe it does the same thing every year. And now I am feeling a little sad about how I still have so much I have not achieved for the year.

This year is extra special for me because I got a step closer to fulfilling my dreams (and reaching my late twenties).

I finally started gee whiz! – a vintage clothing business that I have always dreamed about! I set up shop with the very limited stock I had in April on Phonographic Day (otherwise known as Record Store Day) with the good folks from Retrophonics Records and FLABSLAB in Singapore. And then, I launched my Etsy shop in¬†June and have been working on adding more inventory to the shop. If you didn’t know already, juggling¬†a full-time job, pattern-making classes, a vintage clothing shop, and maintaining a social life is tricky!

It’s been several months since I started gee whiz!, but it is definitely still far from what I envisioned it to be. But I am definitely going to continue with what feels right for me and hopefully, everything will fall into place someday!

And so, here¬†I am, out on a brunch date with the man and wearing a vintage 70’s dress that was supposed to end up in the shop. Yes, I shop for myself and gee whiz! at the same time when I shop for vintage. How am I supposed to resist? Sometimes I find it really hard to decide if I want to keep a vintage piece of clothing or put it in the shop! But alas, I only have one life and one body, so good things must be shared.

If you like this dress, you may also like some of the other things I have in my shop. Visit gee whiz!’s Etsy shop to check them out. Click on the gee whiz! logo to go.

Alternatively, you can read more about my inspirations I get from vintage style on the gee whiz! blog.


gee whiz!

SEWN: 1970’s Baby Blue Gingham Prairie dress



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

Butterick 6124



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.