Thursday, October 30, 2014

Barbara Hulanicki - The patron saint of Sewingthe60s

Oh Barbara Hulanicki! How do I love thee!

Barbara Hulanicki of Biba fame.

In a recent interview with The De-brief, Barbara wisely tells readers, that if they want to achieve the 60's look the best way to do so, other then buying it, is to make it yourself!

"The easiest way to do the look yourself then? Make it. 'I think sewing is coming back like mad,' says Hulinicki. 'The high street is doing some simple pieces that actually look very 60's, so you can very carefully unpick the seams and make a new pattern from a finished garment. Then you can make the look your own.'

The right approach to fabric shopping might not be what you'd expect either. 'We used to use a hell of a lot of fabric for furnishing or curtains, which is actually the kind of look Prada’s just done a lot of,' Hulanicki says. If curtains are a step too far, then she suggests that 'fabric shops in the East End of London are fantastic for the brocades'.

And she is so right! I mean this blog wouldn't exist without that sort of motivation for myself to get the look down right.

If you are thinking of sewing vintage, but don't know where to start, check out your local sewing store to see if they do classes, get yourself a few vintage patterns or even some of the new retro patterns and give it a go! And just as Babs mentioned, use an old curtain or table cloth to start you off! 

If you think that's ridiculous, take a look at Vix's marvellous lace dress she made from a curtain and vintage pattern! Trendy and true to the 60's style 

Sewing your own clothes is not as daunting as it seems. There are plenty of books, youtube videos and tutorials on-line and many of us know a family relative who sews, so why not ask them to show you some basic steps! 

And now for those of you who are on the verge of finishing your Halloween outfits, I just have to share this link on Burdastyle of 10 Thoughts Everyone has While Sewing their Own Halloween Costume (in GIFs!)

Halloween is on/off in popularity here in Australia. But many of these feelings I still get when making Christmas or dress up party costumes.. or just sewing anything in general!

Take care all!
Cat xo 


  1. Yay! Thanks for the shout out!
    Barbara speaks perfect sense, with a bit of imagination there's no reason why anything can't be salvaged to make something wonderful, even manky old net curtains. xxx
    PS I can trace that pattern onto paper and send you a copy of you'd like one! x

    1. yes, gosh shes such a smart lady! and did you hear, she'll be doing a collection with House of Fraser soon! i wonder what sort of things she'll come up with?
      I'd love to do a little pattern swapping! ill send you an email! xo

  2. I just love Barbara, she's so lovely in real life too! Vix's dress is amazing isn't it, I will definitely be on the look out for old net curtains in the charity shops now.

    1. oh amazing! i think i would just die to meet her! I have a really nice table cloth, which i could use, but i actually like using it as a table cloth as well! haah

  3. Barbara speaks the truth! And Vix's lace curtain dress is a triumph! xxx

  4. thanks for this! I wasn't aware of who Barbara was until this post. I was just thinking about using some coral printed cotton from the furnishing department for a dress so her advice makes me happy.

    happy sewing

    1. oh we'll I'm glad to have introduced you to her! she is my idol (along with Mary Quant and Pattie Boyd) I love reading about Biba and the story of its rise and success and (sadly) failure.
      You should totally use that cotton! And be sure to post pictures on your blog! xo

  5. Barbara just seems like the most fabulous woman. I am so excited for the day when I finally get a machine and start sewing my own dresses. And Vix's dress is amazing, those sleeves!

    1. indeed she is! I am totally hanging on you to start sewing! you'll love it as soon as you make your first little dress! its too fun to know that you're wearing something you made and no one else has!
      Vix is a goddess! one of my other idols!


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