Simplicity 4827: All Sewn Up – 60s Maternity Top & Skirt

Luckily for me I got gifted a lot of vintage maternity sewing patterns when I told friends our news, unluckily I have been too tired in an evening or too busy with the impending arrival to spend time sewing. I have, however, had the last week off work to do some nice things and generally just have a break from my busy job (who knew growing a human inside you would make you so tired?!).

I finally got round to making the skirt and top view from Simplicity 4872, which looks to me late 50s/early 60s. I know vintage maternity patterns aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but after extensive research online I really couldn’t find that much that had been made up for me to look at. So if you’re considering making vintage maternity clothes this may be the post for you.

Before I start I would like to say that I wear tight maternity clothes as well as not so tight ones, so when I considered this pattern I was drawn to the skirt and top – knowing that stretch fabrics weren’t commonly used back in the day I knew it would be a bit of a boat load of fabric situation, especially the skirt as it wasn’t the old style with the cut out bump part which seems to be more commonly in use in the 40s/50s.

Getting slightly annoyed with the fact that a lot of modern maternity clothes are black I went with some lovely colourful Robert Kauffman raindrop maternal for the top, and some orange cotton for the skirt.

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The Top

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I should really say at this point that I have never used a pattern with hole punches marking different parts of the pattern (i.e. darts etc) – is there a name for this sort of pattern? Truth is, I’ve always been a little put off and scared by them. It seems a little bit silly now I have used one, as there’s no difference really once you follow the instructions!

With that in mind I had everything cut out (I shortened the pockets a little as I was short of fabric) and marked everything up double checking that I  marked the pattern pieces correctly.

The top was relatively easy to put together apart from when it came to the pleat extension parts at the side.

As usual with vintage patterns they do expect that you know a lot of what you’re doing as everyone was making their own clothes back in the day.

I couldn’t tell if it was my dyslexia or not but it made little sense to me. I eventually did work it out and pinned and pressed.

Once I started putting the facings in though I soon hit a problem. Neck facing, no problem; armhole facings bit more of an issue.
IMAG0511Turns out my pleats weren’t right, but I was loathe going back and messing about with them again so I made the best of it and added an extra crease, hoping it would work out when I did the final press.
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IMG_20160331_195200I added some vintage style buttons I had from an old issue of Mollie Makes magazine and voila, my top was complete.
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The Skirt

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The skirt went together quite well. I was unsure of it to begin with and some of the instructions took me a while to figure out (dyslexia strikes again) – I think it’s because of the markings, how to differentiate which dots mean what is a little tricky on these sort of patterns if you haven’t used them before. Point and case in the photo below!
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It was only when I started stitching the back waistband (front is elasticated) that I realised exactly how much material there was.

The Completed Outfit

To say it makes me look huge is an understatement, but here it is in all its glory.

Needless to say we had a good old laugh when we were taking the photos and in the end I gave up even trying to make it look good.

The truth is, the skirt has to have a lot of material because it’s cotton but it does have the unfortunate effect of making me look about twice the size.

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Alas, all was not lost. I actually quite like the top, even if I would rather never wear the skirt.

So I went and put a pair of my skinny mat jeans on and it looked quite good. In fact, I will be wearing it without a doubt.
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What do you think? I’d love to hear people’s views on this, or if you’ve made any vintage maternity clothes? Let me know and thanks for reading.

 

Simplicity 1360: All Sewn Up – 70s Inspired Gold Maternity Gown

For my first sew of the year I decided on adapting this new maternity pattern to make a vintage style outfit.

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That’s correct, if you don’t follow me on Instagram then you might not have seen that I’m preggo, up le duff, got a bun in the oven etc.

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I am not going to go all modern, I have picked up a few vintage patterns and my friends have loaned me some so there will be vintage maternity wear being made at some point but I thought it would be quite interesting to see how they compared against modern ones to make up.

Thinking along the lines of “if I lengthen this dress and make it glitzy it could totally look 70s disco-a-go-go” I opted for buying in a boatload of gold lame, without really thinking of the consequences.

Namely that lame is a bitch to sew.

While I was waiting for it to arrive I finally managed to clear out my lovely little sewing space in our dining room and started to read through the instructions (I also put a load of my spare vintage patterns on ebay if you fancy a look).

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Which made no sense. How confusing is this? (or at least how confusing does my dyslexic brain want it to be).

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I put my faith in the pattern and hoped when I cut the pieces out it would make more sense.

When the lame arrived I fell in LOVE, It is sooooo beautiful and undeterred I set about lengthening the pattern and cutting the extension pieces out (excuse the slippers).

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I ran a few pieces through the machine to see what the fabric was like to sew. This did not go well. Now, I have always been told to use a zig zag stitch for stretch fabrics (I don’t own an overlocker) but this didn’t work.

After a stressful and annoying night I managed to get the front of the dress completed but only after a lot of turning the air blue and wondering why in the hell it wouldn’t sew like it was meant to.

Truth is, I’m still not sure – is it because the weight of the fabric is too heavy, so it’s not your typical stretch? (If anyone does know please tell me!).

The front knot part actually was pretty easy after I had the pieces in front of me – funny, it’s never the thing that you think is going to cause trouble that does, is it?

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I sewed up the two back pieces and put the neck facing in and by this point I had opted to go for a straight stitch as it appeared to be working much better than zig zag and wasn’t making me want to cry. Damn the consequences.

What was the worst that couple happen? I could spend hours unpicking it when it didn’t hang or stretch properly? (yes….yes that is what could happen).

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The sleeves, I decided, would be sewn in the cheat’s way as the fabric was so tricky.

Rather than sew them up then set them in, I sewed them into the arm holes without the sleeve seam sewn up, then sewed the seam of the sleeve at the same time as the side seams of the dress (try saying that quickly!).

I have to say, when they were in, it looked pretty good.

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I tried it on. It looked good, it actually stretched the way it was meant to (thank the sewing Gods) so I could fit it over my ever expanding bosom and tum.

Now all I had to do was hem the sleeves and the dress, which turned out to be not that challenging, With the aid of clips (and pegs) I managed to get the length more or less right the first time. I only needed to adjust it slightly and once sewn up I was ready to go.

So here I am in all my shiny gold disco glory, pretty happy with how it’s turned out, even if I do look like a preggo space babe from the future.

Gold Maternity Dress
Gold Maternity Dress
Gold Maternity Dress

Cotton Couture: 1950s Commissions from Manchester (Manchester Art Gallery)

I stumbled across this fabulous exhibition when I was researching a blog for Time Out Manchester. You may have read my Gallery of Costume Dior blog a couple of years ago – I’ve always wondered what’s in the vaults there and it turns out this is.

This exhibition runs until the end of August, and is all features dresses from the Catwalk as featured by the Cotton Board and many of them modelled by Barbara Goalen (swoon). If you live in, or are planning on visiting, Manchester go and see them before they get packed away again. These are fantastic pieces which your heart will melt over.

The exhibition is free, as is the rest of the Art Gallery (although donations are welcome).

 

 

 

1950s Commissions - Manchester Art Gallery

1950s Commissions - Manchester Art Gallery

1950s Commissions - Manchester Art Gallery

1950s Commissions - Manchester Art Gallery

1950s Commissions - Manchester Art Gallery

1950s Commissions - Manchester Art Gallery

1950s Commissions - Manchester Art Gallery

1950s Commissions - Manchester Art Gallery

1950s Commissions - Manchester Art Gallery

1950s Commissions - Manchester Art Gallery

1950s Commissions - Manchester Art Gallery

1950s Commissions - Manchester Art Gallery

Children’s Raincoat: Robert Kauffman Ann Kelle Chicken Print

And now for something completely different….

A few weeks ago I went off to Birmingham to a sewing show with my Step-Mum. We spent the day mooching about a huge space looking at lots of pretty fabrics and patterns, when this gorgeous laminated cotton caught my eye.

That would be perfect for a kid’s raincoat, thought I, and I had just the loveliest little boy in mind whose birthday was fast approaching.

So I bought my yardage and took it home and maybe was slightly concerned I had bitten off more than I could chew.

I couldn’t find a decent pattern anywhere so I searched the net and came across this tutorial from Riley Blake Designs. I sourced a hoodie for the template and bought my notions.

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I decided to use some of my leftover cotton from different projects to make the lining, which turned out to be a bit of a mish-mash of designs, but I assumed he would look like quite the dandy in his super bright lined coat.

I instantly made a mistake by forgetting to put the seam allowance on my first two pieces, but luckily enough I did have enough extra to make that mistake, only I had to forgo the pockets in the end.

Making it wasn’t too tricky, after I remembered that:

  1. I had to pin in the seam allowance (this is mean to me waterproof after all so not extra pesky holes).
  2. Sewing takes a little more time due to the pressure of not being able to get the seam ripper out and start again.

But I took a deep breath, and started sewing.

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After I had sewing the lining in, I washed the coat on a cold wash and hung it out on a hanger to dry and leave it crease free.

When it came to putting on the closure loops for the buttons I used clamps to hold them in place rather than pins

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All left to do was to wrap the coat and hand it over to N. It was a little big for him but he very much seemed to like it, if all the talk of “chicken” and “cluck, cluck” were anything to go by.

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raincoat

It was a little bit big….but hey, kids grow, right?

Simplicity 4579: All Sewn Up – 50s Fringed Skirt

Simplicity 4579

My Step Mum found this pattern for me and I instantly fell in love with it especially the fringe trimmed version of the skirt, who doesn’t like a bit of fringing after all? So when the fine folks at Zazzle.co.uk got in touch with me so see if I would collaborate on a couple of posts it was instantly clear that this pattern would be perfect.

If you haven’t heard of Zazzle.co.uk they’re a fantastic creative customisation website with a whole host of different products but obviously, for me, it’s all about the crafting. I can’t even begin to tell you how wide ranging their fabric options are as it would take a whole post up in itself and I’d never get around to showing you my skirt but I will give you a quick overview.

You can pick from various categories from colour, pattern to theme. I obviously went for retro of course, but there are lots of others to choose from. In those categories you can pick the type of fabric, as its summer here I went for a cotton obviously (and I am glad I did due to the heatwave we’ve had) and then there’s the fun bit of customising the pattern too.

The only tough thing I found about the process was narrowing down my fabric choices as there are so many.

Anyhoo, they are fab and you should check them out.

Simplicity 4579

To start the skirt is a 28 waist and 38 hip. Due to the lovely weather we’re having here in the UK, recently not being in the best of sorts and my love of dairy I am now sporting 40 inch hips. So I had to adjust the pattern.

Simplicity 4579

I started by tracing the pattern onto some Swedish sewing paper and marking it up, then I made the hip adjustment by cutting out a perpendicular section from the hip line to the hem line and fitting and extra half an inch in.

Simplicity 4579

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Simplicity 4579

I sewed up the darts and joined the sides and all went swimmingly. I put the zip in as instructed, even though it’s not the normal way I’d do the zip but it worked out okay if not a little fiddly. You don’t get anything from not trying though, right? Even if that something you do get is a little frustrated.

Simplicity 4579

Then it was on to the hem and the decision of what I should do about the fringing. For all intents and purposes the instructions said to leave a length of fabric under the fringing but after trying out all options I decided not to do this. It just looked a bit odd.

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So I took the skirt up a little extra and removed the split. Then I started sewing the fringing in. I have a little experience of sewing in fringing due to my previous burlesque dancing ways but I had only ever done it by hand. I did use the sewing machine this time and took a steady pace with it. No problems, no seam ripping, just a very happy me by the end of it.

Simplicity 4579

All that was left was hemming to do which, as usual, went without a hitch. So ladies and jellyspoons  here is my finished, sewn up skirt. What do you think? I;m super happy with how it turned out and it’ll look great for a work as well as a Sunday mooching round the vintage shops.

Simplicity

Simplicity

Disclosure: Fabric supplied by Zazzle.co.uk but all thoughts on their services are honest and my own.

A Tiny Break from Sewing: Flowers Everywhere

A few weeks ago I got notice that my application to sell my swarovskii encrusted hairflowers at Hebden Bridge burlesque Festival. So the last few weeks have been a non stop sticking shop.

I’ll be at the Bazaar on Saturday 2nd May with a huge array of pretty sparkly flowers, so if you’re going please come over and say hello!

Here are a few pics of what you can buy (husband not included!)

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Simplicity 7702: All Sewn Up – 60s Shift Dress

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

My first sew of 2015. A few weeks ago I put a blog up for advice, after I scored some gorgeous vintage style fabric from John Lewis in the sale, asking what your opinions were on the pattern to pick.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

In the end the simplicity won out. I wanted to try something different, something with a sixties silhouette different from the more tailored sews I’d done previously. The fabric seemed more suited to that. I decided to sew up a toile with some left over cotton that I had as I am a 34 in the bust but I have junk in my trunk, way more than is allowed for on the pattern.

I am so, so glad that I decided to do this because the toile was far too tight on the hips and it was throwing everything off shape wise. So I got out the Swedish tracing paper, made some adjustments and came up with a much more pleasing and better fitting toile.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

I used this to cut the fabric and with gritted teeth marked it all out to ensure that I matched the pattern at the back of the dress, which turned out very well even if I do say so myself, first time almost perfect, I decided to leave it at that. It was only a tiny bit out of sync and I wasn’t about to tempt fate by taking the zip out again and seeing it all back in only for it to not match at all.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

This is the first time that I’ve ever sewn up a pattern putting the zip in the back before sewing the sides in. Easier x one million. I don’t even know why I haven’t considered doing it before. I think I’m just a stickler for the instructions. I must do what they say. I might remedy that in the future.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

I tried the bodice on and had a bit of a worry when the centre back wasn’t lying flat against my skin, until I realised I was wearing the shoulders a little high and they should have been sat a little further down.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

I then had the sleeve quandary. Knowing how much I dread setting in sleeves I considered the flat method for a while BUT I decided just to knuckle down and get on with it in the end and sewed the side seams before setting in the sleeves traditionally.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

They went in like a dream. I pinned and pinned and I ensured I sewed in slowly and carefully easing them in as I went and sewing from inside the sleeve side rather than the bodice side if that makes sense. After a good old pressing they looked great.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

I took three inches off the bottom for the hem allowance rather than the two and three quarter as specified on the pattern, and voila I was done.

So here I am in my new dress.

Simplicity 7702Simplicity 7702

Simplicity 7702

There are a couple of things to consider:

I have started going running. A lot. Which means my hips are now smaller than they were, hopefully I don’t look like I’m wearing a tent.

I love that it’s not fitted because I feel free! I love wearing more structured garments but there is something so gloriously comfortable about this shift dress while still looking super smart.

What do you think? Have you made anything similar? I;d love to see your version – link me up!

Help me choose a pattern (aka being indecisive sucks)

Well as you know we’re in the new house, all is unpacked and yesterday we had our nearest and dearest over for a housewarming. So lovely to have our friends over and the next generation ( not star trek – just our mates awesome kids).

Now the dust has settled I’m in the mood to SEW!

I took a little trip out to my local John Lewis last week and picket up this gorgeous fabric for half price but now I’m stuck on what to make with it.

A dress? Yes, but which one?

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These are the three I have to choose from:

Simplicity 7702

 

(View 1)

Butterick 2604

 

(also considering making the coat in the heavy gold satin I brought back from Vegas)

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(with sleeves)


I’m favouring the Simplicity or Vogue at the moment, the Butterick is gorgeous but it’s quite a similar shape to other dresses I’ve made in the last year and I’d like to try something different.

Any feedback/help in making my mind up will be appreciated. What would you make?

 

 

Our New Pad

We’ve been in the new house for a week, and what a week it’s been.

The move was okay but the unpacking took me nearly the full week to get done. Yesterday I changed the curtains and took the last of the boxes and others disposable goods (read – leftover crap) to the tip.

For my troubles I’ve been a bit under the weather. Mostly looking like I’ve been scrapping in the streets of Manchester, with a face swollen with the worst cold sore outbreak I’ve had for years and lumpy glands under my chin.

On the plus side though I have spread my crafting and sewing goods out and am no longer confined to half a bedroom. I’ve set up downstairs in the dining room as we have tonnes of space here and it’s much nicer to use the space as multi purposes, plus no traipsing up and down stairs to get enough room to cut my patterns out now.

I commandeered the 60s teak sideboard we have and filled it with my vintage patterns and other things such as felt, my hair flower supplies and other bits and bobs I used to have piled high, and I can have my sewing books out and close to hand.

My sewing machine is happily sat under the window and is spoilt with all of the light it’s getting. I really can’t wait to get cracking but I have to get better first, Enforced rest it is for the time being.

New House

New House
New House
New House
New House

New House

New House

New House

New House

New House

New House

and here’s our favourite spot, right next to each other in the living room. We always joke that we have to sit so close as we’re not used to having the space, but really it’s just nice to be near each other, isn’t it? 🙂

New House

Moving House….

On 2nd Jan we were hit with the news we’d be moving as our landlady is moving back into the house. As such I’ll be away for a few weeks while we finish packing (all my sewing/craft stuff was packed up last night), move and get hooked up to everything at the new pad.

See you on the other side folks!

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