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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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)

STYLE: Gingham all the way! (Part 1 of 2)

Gingham pin-up outfit

Wearing: Gingham peasant blouse (ASOS), retro ‘Call Me’ telephone bag (Betsey Johnson), everything else from eons ago or eBay

A few months ago, I bought a new gingham peasant-style cropped blouse from ASOS (when it was on sale) and I went gaga over it, wearing it almost every weekend in different styles. If you are following me on Instagram, you would have seen a few of those outfit posts. And now, I will be sharing more photos and talking about the outfits in details on the blog!

Let’s start off with the outfit that turned out to be the most pleasant surprise… This outfit was in part inspired by pin-up fashion and in part out of the sheer desperation from the chronic “I have nothing to wear” syndrome that so many of us battle with. I wore the gingham peasant blouse with my uber tight-fitted 4-year-old denim pinafore and my (?)14-year-old pink heart belt.

Gingham pin-up outfit

Gingham pin-up outfit

Oh sweet thing – I think I bought the pink belt when I was 12. I can’t really explain why I have held on to it for so long. I can’t even remember the last time I wore this belt. Have I ever worn this belt? I don’t even know now. Maybe I kept it with me because it felt special to me and I thought it would come to good use one day.. and also, it’s super cute! Honestly, I don’t know where I could get belts like this anymore. Seriously, I would love to have this in EVERY COLOUR. Bumblebee yellow, black, baby blue, forest green… etc.

Betsey Johnson Retro Call Me Telephone Bag

That little Betsey Johnson ‘Call Me’ telephone bag is something newer but still very special to me – it was a Christmas present from my boo last year. The coolest thing about this bag is that the phone actually connects to your mobile and works as a functional receiver. The sound quality from this receiver is actually really good, definitely much better than some random $3 plastic piece of crap I got from eBay years ago.

Betsey Johnson Retro Call Me Telephone Bag

But, as with a lot of things that are special, I don’t use this bag enough. The same goes for my special dresses and special accessories. Yeah, I’m the kind of person who saves the best piece of meat for the last when eating. I guess I do the same for material goods I own.

Also, pink eye shadow to match my pink belt...

Also, pink eye shadow to match my pink belt…

Close-up

Close-up

My boyfriend often laments about how I haven’t worn a few of the vintage accessories he got me as presents. Well, I just want to save them… for something…!!!(???) But then again, he will definitely be glad to know that I am keeping those presents for at least 14 years, just like what I have done with my sweet pink belt. One day, my pink belt will become a vintage item. Ha!

Anyway, if you like this outfit that I have shared, please stay tuned for the other outfits I created with this gingham cropped blouse in the next blog post!

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Do you also like “saving” things for something special? Tell me all about it!

 

SEWN: 1970’s Baby Blue Gingham Prairie dress

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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

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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.

SEWN: Mid-century inspired gingham pants

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...

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.

photo 4-3

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