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!

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

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

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

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!

***

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

 

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

SEWN: Red Hot Batik Summer 1950s inspired fitted playsuit

Red Hot Batik Summer 1950s inspired playsuit

Red Hot Batik Summer 1950s inspired playsuit

The Internet has helped me to realise that there are tons of vintage mid-century Alfred Shaheen playsuits out there. But unfortunately, it’s hard for me to find one with a print that truly speaks to me. Besides, it’s also hard to find an affordable one in my size. Aye, I expect vintage Alfred Shaheen to be expensive, but I am not sure if I am ready to spend that kind of money…yet.

McCall 3919 Playsuit and Skirt Sewing Pattern

McCall’s 3919 Playsuit and Skirt Sewing Pattern (via)

And then I came across this picture of a vintage McCall’s 3919 Instant Playsuit and Skirt pattern (circa 1956). My heart spoke and I did what it said; I drafted a pattern based on this picture, and took a cheap batik tablecloth out of my fabric stash.

Alfred Shaheen was known for using unique fabric designs inspired by the Hawaiian islands. On the other hand, batik fabric is a type of fabric design that is symbolic to and very popular in the Indonesian culture. Batik designs are also seen and used in many countries in Southeast Asia. The uniform worn by the Singapore Girls of Singapore Airlines is one classic example of batik design. These 2 designs come from 2 different corners of the world, but their styles are highly similar, and they evoke the same mood to me. Two words – exotic summer.

Red Hot Batik Summer 1950s inspired playsuit

Wearing: Handmade vintage inspired playsuit, rattan basket bag from Vietnam, laced up ballet flats

Red Hot Batik Summer 1950s inspired playsuit

I was really apprehensive about starting the project because it was my first time drafting a pattern myself after attending a series of Italian dressmaking classes last year. What if I failed!?!?!?!!

Fortunately, I didn’t. Well, I guess it wasn’t a very difficult pattern. I had to take the playsuit in a little bit more at the end, but that was it. The bust area fit fine, the facings match the main body, the armholes look tidy, and the centre-back button entry is right at the centre!

Red Hot Batik Summer 1950s inspired playsuit

Detail: Up close

Armholes

Detail: Armhole with bias tape sewn

Fabric logo

Detail: Unfortunate placement

Red Hot Batik Summer 1950s inspired playsuit

Back details: Centre-back button entry and one gold motif on each half of the back

The other challenge was cutting the fabric pieces according to the design of the fabric. I cut it in a way such that the front has a vertical design down the centre, while the back has a different motif in each half. I had so much fun figuring this out! And everything turned out rather well. The only thing I would pick on… would be the unfortunate placement of the logo of the fabric at the crotch. But I had no choice, the fabric was only a little more than a metre and I was trying to work with the design of the fabric. Good thing it’s not too noticeable.

Red Hot Batik Summer 1950s inspired playsuit

Front details: Vertical design down the centre and a round neckline

I guess the only difference between the original pattern and mine is that I have a regular neckline at the back instead of a lowered neckline. Looking back, the latter would have been a better idea because I can’t reach some of the buttons too easily – getting in and out of the bathroom takes a while!

Other than that, I’m super glad with how everything has turned out. This is definitely something I will keep forever. I am thinking that making clothes using batik fabric to emulate the popular vintage tiki designs might be an addictive business… xoxo G