Friday, 10 February 2017

#twirlywintercoatcollab with Butterick 5824

It was seriously time that I made myself a proper winter coat! 

The vintage one I have had for a while now, is so riddled with holes in the lining, that at this point, there are more holes than there is lining. (not one word of a lie!)

I realise that re-lining my coat seems simpler than making a whole new coat, but that may just be the most boring sewing task on earth, so it just won't get done! 

A brand new project is always better at keeping my attention!!

Naturally, with the option of making a coat, a dramatic swing style in an equally dramatic colour combo was inevitable!

I used Butterick 5824 , which is an oldie, but goodie. It is of course a Gertie pattern, oh how I love Gertie, she designs the best retro patterns!

Such a lovely, classic shape!

With dolman sleeves, a shawl collar and twirly skirt, this coat is a real show stopper!

Of course a collaboration isn't complete without a collaborator.
 So let me introduce Bianca from Vintage on tap which is one of my all time favourite sewing blogs!
She is the most fabulously dressed, sassy stitcher, who makes the most wonderful sewing videos of her makes.

Bianca has used a classic plaid fabric to make her coat much more of a wearable, everyday piece. With the classic shape which dramaticly swishes when you walk.

I spy some fab pattern matching going on here! I do love a pattern matched seam!
High five on that one Bianca!

Ooh, the lining of her coat is such a glorious pop of colour! I most definitely have a weakness for a snazzy lining!

If you like a vintage inspired make, her blog is a must.
Pop over to her blog HERE to check out the details of her beautiful twirly coat!

I knew immediately when I saw this Butterick pattern, that I wanted to make it a red coat. But when I thought up the leopard accents I was in two minds whether to go ahead.
Leopard and red are a classic, neutral combo to me though, so I had to do it! 

When I made the toile practice version of the collar, it just didn't sit right, so on my wool collar, I did do a bit of fancy stitch work. 
Half way through the hand stitching I did think it was a hideous waste of my time(it takes a lot of time) but it does hold the collars shape well and gives a lovely roll to it too. So it was worth the effort after all! 

A shawl collar really is very lovely in the back! 

And bound button holes, I always think they look super fancy!

I had to do a matching cuff in the leopard print, just to tie the whole look together!
Though the cuffs weren't included in the pattern, they are really just rectangles of fabric so weren't hard to add. 

I really do like those cuffs, they are such a chic finishing touch!

Pockets are one of those things that you really miss if you don't have them, especially in a coat. 
It does take a bit of extra time, but was worth every minute!

Lining is a make or break element to me. I like a slippery lining to make it easier to slip your arms into the coat when you put it on. And it just looks so put together and professional with a full satin lining.

How gorgeous a coat looks, really does become irrelevant though, if it isn't warm.
So to really insulate the body, I interlined the lining of the bodice and sleeves in lambswool/domette. 

It is now super duper toasty! Which is such a pleasure to wear on a cold day!

Personally I don't like an open lining, I like everything to be neat and tidy. So I went off-piste with the instructions and did a bagged out lining. I think it looks much nicer all enclosed with the little bias cotton facing.

This coat really is all about the skirt!
It is made for twirling and brings out you inner child who will prance and twirl in this coat with every step! (or maybe that's just me)

It is very full and will easily accommodate a circle of gathered skirt with a full petticoat underneath.

I'm super excited to have made this coat as it has allowed me to practice some new techniques as well as being able to swan about town in my red coat!

After all, every girl needs a red coat!

And sewing along with a fellow stitcher is such a support. You can scheme and plan your ideas with someone else, and have that backup for when things aren't working out as well as you had hoped. 

Thank you all for reading my post today, and thank you Bianca for such a fun project!



Saturday, 28 January 2017

Afternoon Tea at Sketch

It's been a while since I have done an afternoon tea review, so I'm jumping back in with a splash! Spoiler: I think I found my favourite afternoon tea!!!

I always think of afternoon tea as a summer pass time, which is silly because they are indoors, safely away from blustering winds and hair ruining drizzle!

So on a gloomy day, I headed to Sketch, in Mayfair. Ooh, fancy I know!!

Sketch is a vintage girls dream!
 It has the feeling of a luxury boudoir with blush pink velvet and gold accessories, yet the quirky artwork brings in a fun element too.

This was a decadent menu, very in-depth tea and champagne options that the waiters explain thoroughly.  Some unusual choices. There was an earl grey infused champagne, which was lovely!

Followed by a lovely black vanilla tea, scrumptious!
You don't need to limit yourself to one either, try as many teas as you like, all included!

So many lovely bites!

Everything was exceptional, and looked so pretty too.


I have never tasted sandwiches that compared. So moist!!!

Not to mention, totally refillable, as many times as you want. Yes!!
I may have taken liberties with the sandwich refills, but why not!

The little panini was wrapped in a pink ribbon which was such a pretty touch. Why don't all sandwiches come wrapped in ribbon??

Buttery goodness!
Though I'm not sure why there was a rogue blueberry on the clotted cream.
 Anyone know?

I had to sneak in a picture of the loos!
White alien pods lined up, bizarrely with toilets inside. Part of the quirky, odd character of the place. 

I would score Sketch as follows -
  1. Mise-en-scène - 5/5 - Feminine elegance, vintage luxury and some fun, unusual touches. It had that Alice in wonderland, bizarre feeling. Glorious!
  2. Tea -5/5 - Spectacular! If I could have bought some to take home, I would have. 
  3. Scones - 4/5 - The scones were deliciously light, buttery and moist!
  4. Service - 5/5 - Attentive staff, very happy to help and wrapped up my leftovers very kindly. 
  5. Value -5 /5 - Ok, ok, it ain't cheap (£58 per person). But this isn't somewhere you would go everyday. It's a special treat and I was happy to part with the cash for such luxury treatment.  

Total: 24/25

I told you it was my favourite, and for good reason too. 

I have another afternoon tea review coming soon, they are like Pringles, once you pop you just can't stop!



Monday, 9 January 2017

Pink to make the boys Wink ;-)

Happy New Year dear readers!

For my first post of the year, I wanted to come in with style, and apparently fashionably late too, as the new year began a good week ago!

I have something special for you today, as an evening gown is most unusual outerwear for me (not so unusual worn casually around the house though!)

I came across this 1950s, fuchsia pink, satin cocktail dress whilst vintage shopping in Amsterdam in September. 
In fact I tried it on for a laugh more than anything else. But lo and behold, it fit, and dam, I felt a million bucks! So for €30, it came home with me. 

It wasn't until the yearly Harrods Staff Ball rolled around, that I realised I had the perfect dress to wear!
I wanted the dress to be a real show stopper, so naturally I added a sprinkle of seamstress magic to it!

I managed to find a fabric, almost the same shade (so close) and made a skirt to wear over the dress, with a full train in the back.
I started making this skirt the week before the ball, so it was being sewn right up the the last minute!
It was literally, a rectangle of fabric, pleated and attached to a waistband.

I pleated the fabric by eye, without a pattern, in a bit of a slap dash kind of manner, but it came together beautifully.

A 2am selfie from the night before, when I had just finished sewing the skirt.

I was clearly delirious with joy, having managed to pull the cat out the bag so close to the finish line.

I had to work the day of the ball, so I came in all dolled up.
False lashes and all. Lashes make the world of difference to a glamorous look, how did I not know that???

And there we have the finished look!
I'm so glad that I spent the extra time making the full train, it was a lot of fun swishing about!

Outfit Details
Dress- Vintage- (in Amsterdam)
Skirt- Me made
Pouch bag- Me Made (in 20 minutes before the event from fabric scraps)
Fur Stole- Vintage- Paper Doll Vintage
Gloves-Vintage-Beyond Retro
Earrings-Vintage- Alfies Antiques
Necklace-Absolute Pearls
Lashes-Eyelure Volume 100
Lipstick- MAC- Girl About town

I was channelling my inner Marilyn all night!

By some miracle, when an entire glass of red wine was spilt in my lap during dinner, it wiped off without leaving even a shadow of a stain! So it is either a magical dress, the dress is made is of a waterproof synthetic fabric or the 60+ years of grime build up have created a wine proof finish.
 Either way I was mightily glad that I escaped the red wine debacle unscathed!
And proceeded to swish about mightily smug for the rest of the night!

And a big thank you to my lovely team, who made the night a success and dressed up to the nines!
Finally an event I wasn't over dressed for!



Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Lady in Red

Was it just me, or did Autumn come and go incredibly quickly?

I have barely come to grips with dressing seasonally appropriate and the season has gone and changed again!

At least my newest make is a good transitional piece, so luckily I can wear it as much as I like in the coming weeks (well months, I do love it!)

I fell in love with this 1940s pattern instantly, but have held off making it for a while because the pattern was missing instructions and pattern pieces.

So it was like a Sudoku puzzle- not one of my strengths!
But it came together splendidly in the end, after many a mock up!

Sleeves! Why don't I make more garments with sleeves???
These are particularly fabulous, slim cut sleeves, with a triple dart at the elbow for movement.

I tried to photograph the inner elbow darts, but I am yet to find a pose which doesn't look ridiculous, suggestions welcome!
So you will have to take my word on the fabulous triple sleeve darts!

This pattern calls for soft shoulder pads, which have cured my irrational fear of shoulder pads!
 They don't make my broad shoulders broader at all! Instead they offer a little structure and balance the silhouette beautifully!

The cross over front was what I fell in love with!
 It is also what drove me insane trying to figure out, but I managed to compromise a solution!

For the eagle eyed among you, you may notice that the twisted front is not quite the same as the pattern.
 I did originally make the front as it is intended to be, but it wasn't flattering, so I have fed one of the ties through a dart and stitched it in. Less bulky in the front that way.

I added pockets, which is not part of the original pattern, but I always love pockets in dresses, so i'm glad I spent the extra time adding them!

The big bow in the back is a little dramatic!
But a bright red dress is never going to be subtle anyway. 

It is a soft drapey bow though, so I think it remains pretty elegant. 

Got to get those pictures of Autumn leaves in before they are all gone!

Outfit Details
Dress- Me Made from Vintage Simplicity 2178
Earrings-Vintage-Bang Bang clothing exchange

The fabric I used is a wool suiting, lovely and warm, which drapes well. Bought from Classic Textiles, Goldhawlk road, London.

What a fraying mess that was to sew, summer can't come along soon enough so I can get back to sewing with good old stable cotton!

I think this is only the second pattern from the 40s that I have sewn up.
I'm so proud of the finished result, which makes all of the hard work totally worth it!
I am actually feeling super in to the 40s style this season, so maybe a couple of more pieces might pop up!

X O X O