Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pennylane, Joni, Hiroko, Bianca and daisies!

Today's post is a sort of mega sewing update post! 

As you may know I don't get to blog every day like I used to, and while the blogging may be slow, the sewing isn't! And if I wait to post photos of the things I've sewn, well you won't see the things I've made last winter till next winter at this rate!

So, instead here are a couple of things I have made over the last year that I've not had a chance to blog or perhaps they don't really need a whole post to themselves anyway to explain their awesomeness! 

If you want to see more detailed photos of each item, I've created a Flickr album which will have all those pics that I normally include in longer posts so if you are sewing the item yourself, you can check on the look and details there! 

First up we have The Pennylane skirt. So named because at the time of sewing I was watching the most wonderful film Almost Famous. Miss Pennylane the loveliest groupie of them all wears a similar suede button front mini in the film. 

My version is made from tan corduroy from my favourite mini skirt pattern Burda 08/2012 #135. I modified the front so that it would have a buttoned opening by cutting up the middle of the front piece and adding seam allowance and a facing.

As I was sewing from off cuts of another project, the nap on the corduroy isn't the same direction on all the panels of the skirt. But I sort of like that as it makes if look more like a multi-panelled suede skirt! 

Next up is a sweet dress named Jane - so named after the ginger haired Jane Asher. She wore many sweet dresses in this style while she was dating Paul McCartney. I took Jane along to the same photo shoot for this dress for Makers Society with Leesa. 

Jane was sewn up using McCall's 2078 from 1969 in view B in a floral cotton from Lincraft. The gingerbread-y colour led me to ginger haired people and then of course Jane! See the link?

Anyhoo - this one was a simple one to whip up and has little press studs on the wrist to close the cuffs and has stabilsing tape on the inside waist like to hold onto the gathers. I finished and wore this dress around this time last year to a Christmas in July event with a friend to decorate gingerbread cookies while nursing a terrible flu. So that is the the memory that now sticks with this dress - Christmas, gingerbread and the flu!  

Next on the list is Hiroko. The bodice of the dress is made from a modern Japanese sewing pattern from the book Formal and Little Black Dress. The book features a lot of William Morris wallpaper throughout it so I had this pattern in mind when I picked up this William Morris print at Spotlight late last year. The sleeves come from one of my 60s patterns. Unfortunately I can't remember exactly which one, but they are just simple bishop sleeves 

Hiroko is named after Hiroko Matsumoto - the beautiful Japanese model who posed for the Pierre Cardin in the 60s. 

And now onto Mary! I hope I don't have to explain the namesake for this dress too much?

Mary was happily waiting on the sewing pile one day when an invite for a work party came through. The party was dress up and the theme was "Game changers." I was happy to know this dress was waiting because I knew she would be great for a Mary Quant dress up! 

I bought a black bob wig and made a little Quant daisy badge and off I went! I didn't have to explain to too many people who she was and why she was a game changer in the fashion industry so that was good! 

ooh its Mary Quant!

I used Simplicity 8193 from 1969 in view 4 for the dress. Sewing the v-shaped facing was a little awkward but I got there. I used a rather cheapish quality navy cotton. I can't remember why I wanted to make this so cheaply... or maybe I had trouble finding navy fabric at the time. It's a little itchy but it was just fine for the night. I didn't have time to sew on the buttons before the party.

Next to follow is a corduroy pinny named Joni - after folk music heroine Joni Mitchell. This dress is made from the same tan cord as the Pennylane skirt. The skirt was actually made from offcuts of this dress but was sewn up after the skirt. 

I used McCall's 2070 from 1969 in view B with pockets at the front. The edges are all finished in different shades of brown bias - I just used up whatever leftovers I had in the sewing box!

When cutting the dress I didn't add enough allowance in the hips so I had to add it on by sewing some triangular shaped patched along the sides. Unfortunately the nap is also facing the wrong direction on the patches, but if anything it just adds to that handmade folk-y look.  

Ok! Only two more to go!

Earlier this year I was invited to a sales awards night for my work. I did have to work a little on the night but otherwise there was plenty of wine and food so I wasn't going to complain!

I wanted to make up something special for the night, so I bought some forest green polyester crepe from Darn Cheap Fabrics the Friday before and started sewing on Monday and was done by Wednesday. I used Simplicity 7715 from 1968 in view 3. 

The dress pattern is a wrap dress but more that it is fixed with a tie belt. As I was using crepe it moved and draped a lot so I needed the tie to be attached to the dress and wrap around through a hole in the back of the dress and around the front. This makes it more secure and less chance of there being any slips in the hem length at the bottom. I also added a hook and eye where the bust crosses over so that there were no Janet Jackson moments after a few drinks! 

The sleeves we drafted up with the width of the trumpet sleeve coming from a friends top that had massive cape like sleeves! I measured the diameter of her sleeves and transferred it over to the ones for this dress and they were so big and fantastic! The 70's disco look led to me calling her Bianca after Bianca Jagger, the 70's glamazon

And now lastly for this epic update post is a sweet little dress made of a simple daisy cotton in Butterick 5548 in view A. I got this pattern in a Spoolettes pattern swap. I really liked the open slit at the back of the dress, which seemed to be a rather trendy thing happening in tops and dresses this past summer, but I can't get by the idea of my bra flashing at the back, so I added a hook and eye at the mid point of the slit so that I wouldn't open too much. 

Also around the neckline I sewed on a little daisy lace trimming to compliment the daisy print in the dress

So! Now I have finally caught you up on the last 12 months of sewing projects that have been waiting in my folders for their day in the sun!

I still have more to show but they are nice enough to post on their own so do come again to see those! 

If you'd like to see more detailed photos just click here!

I hope you rather enjoyed that! Which one is your favourite?

Cat xo


  1. Whoa! You have been really busy. Everything looks great, but my favorite is the skirt and the jumper. Wow!

  2. So many gorgeous pieces, and you make a really cool Mary Q!
    I hate to pick favourites, but Jane, Hiroko and Joni get top marks from me! xx

  3. Phew! SO many lovely dresses! My favorite is the emerald wrap, I think you posted it on instagram before and it is really so gorgeous. The sleeves are great!

    ps i really like that little note on the last pattern (butterick 5548). i really enjoy seeing previous owners' thoughts on vintage patterns!

  4. That Mary dress stopped me in my tracks. MY FAVE. Great job. Love seeing all your vintage makes.

  5. Loved the Mary dress also - and your totally understanding the party theme and Mary Q's effect on fashion!

  6. Love the seaming detail on the last dress. So unusual - they just don't design them like that anymore!

  7. Wow! Nice work on all of them, I love! Especially the Mary Q. dress. I am already thinking of making one for myself ;) Maybe in red? Hmmmmmm!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Not only are your outfits lovely, I love the back story to each one. Mary Quant was certainly a game changer.

  9. gosh you have been busy. I love them all. i have a simplicity pattern similar to your 5548 and now def have to try it out if i can. The fit is lovely on you. vogue had a pattern similar, and their one is cut on the bias.

  10. So many lovely outfits! I particularly like Mary and Bianca, that green looks lovely on you x

  11. I love them all, it would be hard to pick a favorite one! I really like the Mary Quant one, and of course all the floral prints.

  12. Oh wow, so productive and so many wonderful garments! I especially love the first two, but all of them are so pretty.

  13. I love your Bianca dress - gorgeous with the wide sleeves!

  14. Hi, just discovered you via Closet Case Files link - love your work!

  15. What a fab round-up, it makes me feel terribly guilty for doing nothing but alterations for weeks! Love you in that black wig. xxx

  16. Oh wow, so many gorgeous things! I am in love with Mary :-)

  17. My, you have been busy! Jane is my favourite - very sweet.
    How similar is your pattern Butterick 5548 to my Simplicity 8498? All the pattern companies must have had their own versions of this style. Funny we've both made versions around the same time.

  18. All of them are awesome that it's very hard for me to decide which one I want to sew first... :))

    Anyway, thank you for this helpful post! :D

  19. Although all of them are gorgeous, the Mary style inspires me the most!!! Such a beautiful dress.


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