Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Outfit Emergency!!!

This coming weekend is the Rose Seidler 50s Fair - the vintage festival I most look forward to every year.  I've been planning and collecting vintage bits and pieces for my outfit for a couple of months now - all inspired by this gorgeous vintage pagoda shaped parasol.

Isn't it magnificent - and in beautiful condition too!

So I trawled etsy and purchased all the pieces for an outfit that I thought would be wonderful.  Here is my 'mood board' for the outfit.

I bought a different hat, but everything else here now belongs to me

Now I LOVE the dress (I'm wearing it today actually) but its a very dark navy, and when I put the whole outfit on it just didn't work as well as I'd hoped.

Panic Stations!

Trying to get to sleep on Monday night I was obsessing about the whole thing and realised I *could* wear it, but I just wouldn't be happy, and its such a big event for me that I really want to be happy with what I wear.  So then my mind wandered to the vintage patterns that had just arrived that day, and I realised this one would be PERFECT!

And luckily for me Tuesday is my day off!  I made sure I was at Spotlight at 9am Tuesday morning so I could buy my supplies and get back home as quickly as possible to get started.  I also realised I was going to have to cut some corners to make this happen, but hey - I like being inventive!

The corner that I cut that most concerns me is not pre-washing my fabric.  I just didn't have time!  This dress will be very gently treated in the wash in future and I will have everything crossed that nothing goes wrong!  I'm sure you'll hear if there is a problem...

Anyway, I got the pattern out and did some measuring to see what I needed to do to make it fit - not much as it turns out!  What I would normally do is redraft the pattern piece to the correct size, but I didn't have time for that, so here is another corner cut:

Yes, I got out my chalk pencil and drew my adjustments directly onto the fabric!  All I needed to do was add half an inch to the bodice front and back pieces - simple!  I got cutting, and then I got sewing!

But of course I don't want to make things too easy for myself!  I decided to add some contrasting trims to the collar and the skirt so it wasn't just a navy blue dress.  Here are the finished collar pieces:

I did a bit of thinking before I did this part, because I needed a clean result that matched at the collar seam since it was going to be such a focal point.  Of course, you could attach the ribbon to the collar piece and then sew them together, but I have found that technique a bit of pot luck in the past, and really I was trying to do this as quickly as possible... so this is what I came up with!

I realised that if I matched them at the seams first the rest would be a piece of cake, so I sandwiched the lengths of ribbon in between the fabric pieces and then sewed the seam.  After that, I ironed the seam flat and stuck the ribbon trim pieces down in place, and sewed them!  TA-DA!!

Thats another corner I'm cutting, I'm using hemming tape in two different widths to stick down the trim before I sew it on.  Ideally it would all be hand sewn, but who's got time for that???

The first one took about twice as long as the second one (why is that?) but in record quick time I had them together and on the bodice.

Then it was on to the skirt!  When I bought the pattern it was pointed out by the seller that the pieces had been cut at the 'lengthen or shorten here' line and the pieces that were cut off were not included.  Not that this is a major issue, but I expected that I might have to lengthen the pieces, so I measured them.  They were cut to 31 inches and the perfect skirt length for me is 27-28 inches - HOORAY!

I started sewing all the pieces together and pinning the pleats (they are soft pleats so only need to be held down until they were sewed to the bodice).  I cut another corner at this point - I didn't do my normal seam treatments, I just cut them with pinking shears.  If it was good enough for home sewers in the 1950s, its good enough for me!

The skirt and the bodice sewed together in record time and the zipper went in without a drama.  I hemmed the skirt to my preferred length, and started putting the trim on the skirt.

You can tell when its getting late by the quality of the lighting in my photos!

This trim is all being stuck down with hemming tape too, and then it will be sewn, just like the collar.  I'm measuring the distance from the bottom trim and the hem, but the rest of it I'm doing by eye (my eye is reasonably accurate).  I haven't finished sticking the ribbon trim on yet, but I couldn't resist taking a photo to show you all!

I need to explain about the cream cotton satteen thats draped over the shoulders.  It is going to be a bolero, but I haven't started it yet, so I just draped the fabric for illustrative purposes.  The reason I chose cream is because of the light colour on the parasol AND the lining and fold-over bits of my basket purse.  Besides that, it also makes the collar really stand out!

And here's another photo of my accessories - I'm so in love with all of them!

And in case you were wondering, the bangles are bakelite.  I've discovered a seller on Etsy that polishes bakelite, removing patina to take it back to its original colour.  Seriously, I've never seen anything like it!  Go and check out Brighter Bakelite!!

So tonight, I hope to finish sticking the ribbon trim on and then sew it down, and then finish the arm holes with bias.  If that all happens with a minimum of fuss and bother, I'll start on the bolero!

Wish me luck!!!



This is for Doris Button and anyone else who'd like to know what hat I'm wearing with my outfit.  I bought this one, which REALLY needs a good steam before the weekend.  I'll add that to my list of things I need to do!



  1. AMAZING! You're a machine! Heheh. This outfit is going to be so killer!

    1. Thanks Esz! And to think I previously had problems with blue and green together...

  2. That looks great! Love the colors you're using.

    1. Thanks Mariela! The whole colour scheme was inspired by the parasol, hence the navy blue and green. The green of the jewellery I found is a bit more avocado/olive-y than the parasol, but since its much closer to the outfit than the parasol (does that make sense?) I decided to go with the olivey colour rather than the more vibrant green.

  3. Beccie, this looks amazing! And your emergency project reminds me so much of myself - I completely understand that you want to feel comfortable on an event so special to you, so it all depends from the right dress. I remember even sewing all night through to have a new matching outfit. (OK, that was back when I was very young and didn't have kids yet...). You can be so proud of your dress! Thanks to your skills you were able to do it in record time, and it really looks perfect with all the accessories and with the ribbons in particular. I especially LOVE the umbrella/parasol shape. Extraordinary...

    And guess, I recently bought the same pattern! So I'm very excited to try this pattern too and see how my dress will turn out. This is always an interesting part of sewing, looking at different dresses from the same pattern, worn by different persons.

    I'm curious to see what kind of hat you will wear, as you didn't show the one you actually bought. I started making my own hats now as I can't buy as much vintage hats as I would like (besides the fact that Switzerland is a desert regarding vintage clothes and accessories). So I'm always happy to see real vintage or vintage style hats to get some inspiration. And I was very lucky to find a Swiss manufacturer not far away who produces straw and horsehair trims since more than a century, now I have an excellent supplier nearby and maybe I will make more hats than I need for myself ... :-)

    I'm looking forward to seeing some pictures when you wear your beautiful emergency dress - I'm sure you will look wonderful and feel very special with it!

    1. Hi Doris!

      How funny that you recently bought the same pattern! I'm looking forward to making it up in a fabulous hydrangea print cotton sateen now - its a great pattern! The only think I've done differently is to run the zipper all the way up to the arm hole so it opens up bigger to get into and out of (I like my dresses fitted...)

      I'm wearing a little cocktail style hat. I don't need a hat hat because I have a parasol, but I still need something on my head to look authentic. I have updated the post to include a picture, so I hope you stop back in :)

      I'm going on my own but will make sure to beg a stranger to take some pictures of my outfit :)

    2. Beccie, the hat is lovely! That's the style of headpieces I like, truly, they are so - charming. Even though you have the parasol with you, the hat is still an important thing to have to be authentic, as you know yourself, because women at those time really used to wear hats. Sometimes it needs a little bit courage to get started, but once you love them, you will never want to be without them.

      I'm sure the "stranger" will be pleased to take a picture of such a wonderful and perfectly vintage-dressed lady. :-) Have fun!

  4. wow! i just dont even know what to say - you amaze me! lol. that purchased dress is beautiful and i love it with the rose at the waste and moodboard is so lovely. hat it didnt work out but what a save!!! and the ribbon additions are just so creative and a perfect detail. i hope you have a blast and know you will be the best dressed!

    1. Cross your fingers for me Rebecca!!! I'm at least going to take some business cards to hand out!!!

  5. Oh noes! And you are under soooooo much pressure to keep up your standards from last year!! LOL! I saw a photo of you in that stunning coffee god, perfection!

    1. AAAAAND I was just in a promo video and they called me a vintage fashionista!!!!!

      That ball gown is amazing, I actually own that one and have worn it a few times, including during the fashion parades last year (also did swimwear and Sunday best)

  6. WOW, how very creative, clever and FAST. That would take me forever to accomplish. Thank you as always for the inspiration.

    1. Thanks Lillian! I'm normally a sew pretty fast, but this one was a quicker make again because of the corners that I cut that I normally wouldn't. However, I tried really hard to not affect the integrity or the period style of the garment (ie - no overlocking)

      And I'm so glad I inspire you - I love to hear that :)

  7. Marvelous outfit -- love the ribbon trim!

  8. Oh my! Fabulous! The outfit AND umbrella are amazing!

    1. Isn't that parasol just divine Joanna - I had to have it as soon as I saw it!!!