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!

SEWN: My first handmade PJs set

Sewing Retro Blue Floral Pyjamas

Sewing Retro Blue Floral PyjamasGrowing up, I never owned any PJs. What  I usually wore to bed were a ratty tee and a pair of ugly, loose shorts. These were usually the same T-shirt and shorts that I wore to bum around at home and sometimes, for a quick run to the stores. It was not the classiest ensemble, but it was very comfy.

I always thought that PJs was a bourgeois practice. Why a different set of clothes was needed for going to bed was something I never understood.

But oh, how the times have changed.

Sewing Retro Blue Floral Pyjamas

Sewing Retro Blue Floral PyjamasI no longer wear any ratty t-shirts when heading out for a quick trip to the store, and I’ve grown fond of the idea of putting on something sweet and delicate after my shower in the evening. Yes, I’m turning towards the life of the bourgeois.

I’ve had this royal blue rose garden print flannel fabric in my stash forever. I think I found it in a fabric remnant bin and bought it for less than $10. I always thought I would make something Cath Kidston-inspired with it, like a purse or a hat. But I never got around doing that, and when the idea of making a pyjamas set came to me, it was clear that this was the perfect fabric for the project.

As I only had a short yardage to work with, I decided to make a simple sleeveless blouse and a pair of shorts – nothing too stuffy for bed in Singapore!

Sewing Retro Blue Floral Pyjamas

Front and back

Sewing Retro Blue Floral Pyjamas

Buttons

For the blouse, I drafted my own simple button-front top with waist darts on the front and back. The armholes were finished with bias tape. This is my favourite method for finishing sleeveless armholes.

Sewing Retro Blue Floral Pyjamas

Sewing Retro Blue Floral PyjamasFor the shorts, I used New Look 6055 (option E). In order to work with the limited yardage I had, I eliminated the pockets. I also created a curved hem and added ruffles along the hem of the shorts to make it look cuter than the regular pair of pyjamas shorts. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough fabric to make some ruffles for the blouse too.

Sewing Retro Blue Floral Pyjamas

Sewing Retro Blue Floral PyjamasNevertheless, I’m really happy with how this pyjamas set has turned out. The fact that the print reminds of Cath Kidston’s designs is an absolute bonus.

SEWN: Hawaiian Boat Neck Top

 

SEWN: Hawaiian Boat Neck Top

SEWN: Hawaiian Boat Neck Top

Wearing: Handmade Hawaiian Boat Neck top, ASOS high-waisted bikini bottom

Wearing: Handmade Hawaiian Boat Neck top, ASOS high-waisted bikini bottom, ASOS platform shoes

I recently attended a course on the Italian method of pattern-making and one of the things we went through in class was the drafting of kimono sleeves. And when we were asked to make a top with kimono sleeves (and any kind of neckline), I decided to make a boat neck top to match my Hawaiian shorts.

First things first, I am not a fan of kimono sleeves/bat wing sleeves. Sure, they are common in the 50s, but that doesn’t mean I am obliged to like them. I don’t understand the concept of having excess fabric under the pits. Is it supposed to help with air circulation? And how is it suppose to drape!?!?!

Despite the general contempt with kimono sleeves as well as the confusion with drafting a pattern with kimono sleeves, I went ahead to cut the fabric anyway.

If I had a 2014 Resort collection, this would be part of it.

If I had a Gwenstella Resort 2015 collection, this would be part of it.

I am embarrassed to admit that my first attempt at boat neck was abysmal at best. In other words, there was no boat, but a mess of fabric on my chest. Thankfully, the problem was fixed easily with some darts. My boat now stays afloat!

My kimono sleeves also didn’t turn out too great.  I am guessing that they are supposed to be rounder and lower. 😦

All in all, disasters were averted with my alterations after putting everything together. I probably need to review that awful draft I drew again.

IMG_6407_fotor

IMG_6409_fotor

SEWN: Hawaiian Dress

Aloha~

I once wrote about the almost countless yards of fabric in various Hawaiian prints in my fabric stash on my old blog here. That was about a year ago. Fast forward a year and…, I have only sewn one pair of Hawaiian shorts and this Hawaiian dress.


I started this dress when I was still in Sydney. I vividly remembering cutting out the various pieces for sewing and then packing them neatly in a ziploc bag before placing the bag in a box (along with the rest of my fabric stash) for shipment back to Singapore. 

I only finished this dress in … I think September? I guess I took such a long time because I got distracted by other things that were happening in my life and also, I made other stuff in between. 


I got this amazing fabric with a Hawaiian border print back in Cabramatta in Sydney. It’s 100% cotton and I like how the stiffness of the fabric makes the skirt look kinda poofy when I wear it. Looking at the example on the front of the dress pattern envelope, I think that’s the idea of it – for the skirt to look poofy.

Pattern: Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 2250, skirt length for B and strap design for A
Fabric: 100% cotton with Hawaiian border print
Modification(s): I scrunched up the bit at the chest area a little more than instructed in the pattern.
What I dislike about this pattern: That bodice. It was a tad complicated to sew.What I love about this pattern: That bodice. It was a tad complicated to sew BUT it gave me a chance to improve my skills! Oh, and did I mention that there are pockets!?



I love this pattern because the it is really unique and I love how the border print along the bottom of the skirt turned out. I know I am definitely using this pattern again. Now excuse me while I strum my ukulele and daydream about Hawaii…

SEWN: Hawaiian Shorts


This is a sewing project that I completed late last year while I was still in Sydney, and while I was still writing my thesis and pining for summer. 

It’s not just about my love for Sydney’s summer – it’s also about my obsession with Hawaiian print. 


Hawaiian print – the mere thought of those words is sufficient to make me smile and do a pirouette. You might think that I am exaggerating. I can assure you that I am not. 

I can’t even remember where I bought this Hawaiian print fabric because it has been soooo long ago. It’s 100% polyester with a texture that is similar to Billabong board shorts. So, of course, I had to make a pair of beach shorts out of it.

Pattern: New Look 6055, option E
Fabric: 100% polyester in Hawaiian print
Modification(s): I shortened the hem and opted not to include the belt loop (mostly because I was too lazy to sew them).
What I dislike about this pattern: Nothing!What I love about this pattern: It’s super easy to sew and there are POCKETS!!!

Unfortunately, I have only worn this pair of shorts once thus far and it was not a trip to the beach. So, this is the only photo I have of the shorts to show to everyone.

I wonder when I’ll get the chance to wear this pair of shorts again…

Anyhoo, I have about 1 metre of this fabric left and guess what I’m making with the remaining fabric? A matching bag!! 😀

x g