Me Made: A “Gertie Fabric” Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

My wardrobe has been feeling a bit lackluster recently – everything feels old and tired. I logically know that’s not the case, but you know how it is. If you don’t get something new and exciting every once in a while, NOTHING is right. So I planned a new dress!

This dress was a bit of a sudden decision but, now that it’s finished, I feel like it was meant to be. I rarely go to the fabric store without a plan, though a few of the newer fabrics from the Gertie Hirsch collection at Joann Fabric really caught my eye. These fabrics seem much higher quality than the usual Joann offerings, and include some nice rayons. A rare sight! While I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of the collection as a whole print/pattern-wise, a couple of the designs look quite authentically vintage – count me in!

I ADORE the combo of this fabric and the sewing pattern I used. The fabric is a cotton sateen with a floral sketch print. This design also comes in a rayon, but the background color for that one is a beautiful sunny yellow. The fabric washes and dries well, though it has a tendency to crease quite easily. The bodice is lined in a beautiful white cotton sateen from Renaissance Fabrics, which I also used to make my Regency stays and I plan on using as the lining of my 1860s corset (do not buy the solid sateen from Joann, it hardly looks like sateen at all). Highly recommend!

My pattern is Butterick B5209, a modern pattern that’s a 1947 reprint. So this counts for the Big Vintage Sew-Along, hosted by McCalls! I love the reprinted patterns, because they’re authentic but accessible. They’re an excellent place to start, although the downside can be that the fit and the instructions have been “modernized.”

The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

I cut out one full size smaller than my envelope size, and it fits wonderfully. Alterations: I shortened the strap slightly, adjusted the position of the bust, and fit it particularly to my waistline rather than following the pattern’s waist. I also ignored the complicated hemming instructions and used my customary machine-sewn blind hem.

The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

This pattern is listed as easy, but I would label it for the courageous and advanced beginner i.e. someone who is confident of their ability and has the basic skills very solidified. Certain elements were quite fiddly, confusing, and/or annoying. The end result, however, makes all this worth it. I am obsessed!

The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

The dress is very comfortable and light, and it can be dressed up or worn for more casual outings. I’ve already worn it three or four times, can you believe it? I worked really hard to match the patterns on the front midriff piece, as well as placing similar roses on either bust piece. Not everything was possible to match, as I found out for the back bodice, but I still tried to make it look cohesive. I’m very proud of the result!

The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

All in all, I would say this pattern is worth trying. It gave a beautiful result after a bit of adjusting and fiddling, and I’m sure I’ll be using it again.

 

What’s your favorite sewing pattern(s) to use? Modern or vintage or otherwise?

Do you have summer wardrobe plans?

Have you worked with any of the Gertie fabrics?

 

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

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Me Made: A Bedsheet House Dress

Fairly recently I discovered that house dresses in the vintage years were nothing like the house dresses of today. I think most of us associate these with something like a mumu or a shapeless robe for bumming around in. What does this have to do with simple vintage glamour?

Well, of course vintage gals – or, rather, designers at the time – knew exactly what they were doing. Women were encouraged to be put-together from the moment they woke up. From a feminist standpoint, this seems rather stifling, but I also like to look at the other side of the coin – the idea was that it made a woman and her family feel more upbeat and optimistic, which was even more important during wartime in the 1940s. I know personally that I have a healthier attitude in general when I feel good about how I look and dress.

A housewife spent much of her time, as you’d imagine, in her house. The vintage solution to looking prim and proper while cooking and cleaning? The house dress. House dresses were a bit looser but maintained the same lines as their daywear counterparts. I believe the house dress began in the 1920s and continued from there. Common elements include wrap fronts, less detail, large external pockets, and hardier, brightly colored materials. You can read more about the house dress in various forms on Gertie’s blog, on Festive Attyre, and on Vintage Dancer (1920s, 1930s).

I saw the below pattern cover from Simplicity and fell in love with the short-sleeved option. Of course I was too impatient to find the pattern, buy it, and wait for it to arrive, so I cobbled together my own pattern. I altered a vintage blouse pattern from my collection for the bodice and freehanded all the rest.

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The verdict? I ADORE it. I feel so much more put-together when I throw this on for a day of laundry and cooking and cleaning. I also work from home many days and refuse to spend my days in sweatpants or leggings, so this is perfect. I wear it out occasionally, but generally I keep it to my house just like the vintage gals of yesteryear. The wrap style is especially pleasant to wear!

Me Made: A Bedsheet House Dress

I decided to bake up some cookies in true vintage spirit. Gluten free chocolate chip! They were yummy and easy to whip up with very few ingredients. My recipe came from Imma Eat That – no affiliation, I just found the recipe online and thought I’d share in case some of y’all are gluten-free too! (Featuring a glimpse of my true vintage 1930s apron.)

Me Made: A Bedsheet House Dress

In the era’s make do and mend spirit, I made my dress out of some bed sheets that we no longer had a use for at my house. The skirt is even pieced behind the crossover, so I feel very true to the spirit of the 1940s!

Also, take a look at my new-to-me shoes. They’re 1940s Red Cross slingbacks and I’m absolutely in love with them.

Do you have a glamorous home outfit?

Do you think the concept of fashionable at-home wear is a feminist concern or a brilliant invention to help the homemake feel lovely?

What’s your favorite cookie recipe?!

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made Monday: #twinning 1950s matching separates

Today I finally get to blog about my most recent make, a 1960s set of separates! On the pattern cover, the top and skirt are made from the same fabric and, when worn together, mimic a dress. To me, that screams VARIETY, so I was all in!

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My sewing BFF Rachel bought c. 1957 “sub-teen” pattern Advance 8288 for a dress to wear to Disneyland and convinced me to sew one too. We love to match so she and I went all out and did EVERYTHING the same! We chose one of Gertie’s newer fabrics – a lovely, supple rayon print – and trim from Joann’s notions wall for ease (we don’t live in the same area). Projects like this remind me that the big companies really do have some nice things to offer if you dig!

Me Made Monday: #twinning 1950s matching separates

Me Made Monday: #twinning 1950s matching separates

I did not use the pattern myself, instead Frankenstein-ing two different vintage patterns from my stash for the blouse and creating a simple dirndl-style skirt. It worked fabulously all the same and really upholds the look of the pattern art, I think!

We debuted our matching ensembles at Disneyland, which was so fun! Rachel wore her blouse and borrowed my PUG Italy skirt, since her skirt wasn’t able to be completed before the Disneyland trip.

This weekend Mr. Homemade Pinup and I took a trip to Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar, where I snapped some more photos. The fabric makes this set so wearable for the oncoming SoCal heat! I love me some rayon.

Me Made Monday: #twinning 1950s matching separates

Details: vintage metal zippers for both blouse and skirt, contrasting pink cotton pockets, deep machine-sewn blind hem on the skirt. My only complaint with this project is that the blouse is perhaps a smidge too big, and the waistband’s interfacing never really fused since I was afraid to use a hot iron on the rayon. Besides that, I really do enjoy the cheerful print and that I can accessorize with PINK! And I can really tell that I’ve mastered the blind hem technique, as my hem stitches are truly invisible – a very satisfying feeling.

Sherman Gardens was a great background for some snapshots and was such a nice retreat. I loved viewing all the different colors and textures of the plants, and since many were in bloom the gardens smelled amazing! I particularly liked the areas landscaped with all edible plants, like lettuce, strawberry, and herbs – Disneyland does the same thing in certain “lands” (especially Fantasyland) and it is so charming.

 

Are you feeling the spring weather yet?

Where do you go to escape the cityscape (if you live in a city like me)?

What’s your favorite vintage ensemble for warmer weather?

 

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

That’s A Wrap! (+ Vintage Simplicity 4130 Review and BONUS review by Gussets and Godets)

I really have been sewing too much for my own good right now. I have a backlist of posts and pattern reviews to write about the plethora of blouses that I’ve made of late. I hope you like vintage blouses cause… you’ll be gettin’ a lot of ’em!

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Today I’m blogging about my experience with vintage Simplicity 4130, lent to me by my vintage sewing BFF Rachel. A call back to my dancing days, I love a good wrap top for their ballerina-like beauty and their ability to instantly emphasize the figure. This one, made up in a gold-flecked cranberry knit, certainly fulfills those expectations!

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The pattern went together quickly and easily, which is a testament to an early 60s pattern. Things started to get a lot simpler in the sewing pattern world at this time — I’m talking printed patterns and instructions that don’t assume you already know everything about the sewing process.

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As vintage patterns, like their modern counterparts, are known for having ease, PARTICULARLY in the bust, a size 32 seemed perfect for my 34-35″ bustline. I wasn’t disappointed, and this pattern went together perfectly with little need to alter. Part of that is due to the nature of a wrap top, and that’s the beauty of the thing — you don’t HAVE to be perfect at fitting with a wrap top. Highly recommended for a beginning seamstress!

I made a couple minor alterations to the pattern since it’s made for a woven fabric and I used a knit. I simply removed the seam allowance (to account for my fabric’s stretch) and ignored the facings in exchange for a simple turned over hem. Easy as pie.

My FAVORITE part about this pattern? It’s reversible! I can get two looks out of one: a traditional cross-front wrap, or a sultry high-necked, low-back stunner. What more can you ask for?

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If you’re searching for a similar look, Butterick offers B6285, one of Gertie’s patterns. Though I haven’t used it, the pattern looks very similar to mine and it looks beautiful made up. I asked Christina of Gussets and Godets to write a quick review of B6285 for comparison. I think her top turned out beautifully!

This was my first experience of sewing with knits, and I’m not sure why I have never sewn with knits before. I don’t have a special machine for sewing knits, but this wrap top is super cute and I knew I could easily incorporate this into my wardrobe.

The pattern consists of only 2 pieces. One body piece and one for the waist ties. It is a very cleverly cut top and sews up so quickly because there are so few seams. I like that there is no shoulder seam or armhole to fiddle with, the dolman sleeve is sleek and smooth.

Instructions were very clear and easy to follow. Though they assume you know what you are doing so they don’t give any hints and tips on how to sew with jersey which would have been useful. Gertie published a tutorial post on her blog with step by step instruction, photos and advice which I found very helpful and is a nice resource to check if you are unsure of a step.

I sized down one size based on the measurements on the pattern envelope from my recommended size 18 to the 16 and it was definitely the right size for me. It is a very forgiving garment being a jersey wrap so if you are quite busty or flatter chested the fabric will stretch or mold to the body.

From my experience of sewing this knitted top, I can advise that using a ball point needle is a must! A slightly looser tension than for woven fabrics helps avoid snapped stitches when wearing your top and also on any areas under strain.

My verdict: I really love this top! It is so versatile and allows me to wear my pretty cotton summer dresses while still covering up my arms and back in the colder weather. Dress it up or down and it’s super elegant and comfortable! Overall a nice easy project, I didn’t get stuck or confused during the sewing and it was a nice quick make.

 

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Thanks to Christina, it seems like B6285 is a great alternative if you can’t find the vintage Simplicity 4130! Butterick is easy to find and the look is so close to my vintage pattern, except it has vertical darting instead of Simplicity’s pretty 45 degree angle darts. Additionally, B6285 is not MADE to be reversible, but I suspect it can be worn backwards if you wish. I put on a non-reversible Ralph Lauren wrap top I own backwards, and it worked just fine.

As my grandma says about cooking (via Emeril): there’s no kitchen police! And as I say… there’s no sewing police! If you want to change something up, do so. The pattern won’t turn you in. Wear that B6285 (or other wrap pattern) backwards if you want! Feel free to use a knit instead of a woven (with simple adjustments). Sewing is what you make of it, and that’s the beauty of the thing.

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In summary (TLDR):

  • Simplicity pros = made to be reversible, lovely 45 degree darts. Made for woven fabrics.
  • Simplicity cons = hard-to-find pattern and only sold, as all vintage patterns, one size at a time.
  • Butterick pros = easy access, very similar look, patterned specifically for knit fabric.
  • Butterick cons = not made to be reversible (though likely can be worn backwards), boring vertical darting (lol).

 

Are you fearless with your sewing or refashions? What kind of adjustments have you made to clothing you own that it wasn’t intended for (like wearing something backwards)?

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Until next time,

Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

P.S. Remember that I have a Pinterest JUST for vintage style inspiration, organized by decade AND garment type! My Instagram is always a great place to follow my day-to-day happenings and outfits. And though it’s brand-new, I also have a Twitter that I will be using to update on new posts! Thanks for following, darlings!

Me Made Monday: A Wearable Muslin

Hello dollies!

It’s been a long, long while since I’ve posted, it seems. Too long! As some of you may know if you follow me on Instagram, I’ve been battling some health issues that are quite pervasive. While I’m not healed yet, I do believe I’m on the mend – I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Unfortunately, when illness or some other unexpected issue strikes, one is forced to rearrange their priorities. For me, that meant no blogging, reduced Instagram interaction, and few outings, all of which has affected me greatly. My natural inclination is optimism and a cheerful disposition, and I’m hoping that returns in full force as my physical health improves. I’m trying to force motivation into myself again, as something like this really has a way of draining you of your “normal” life and attitude.

This is a project that I finished a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t even tell you how much I adore it. The blouse is actually a “wearable muslin” for a vintage blouse pattern, Advance 6261 – I was testing out a few alterations, and lo and behold, they worked perfectly! The size I purchased is a 34, which is my true measurement, but vintage bust measurements are notorious for being quite roomy, so I pulled up the shoulder seams and reduced the sides by about an inch on each side. Perfect!

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{My apologies for the unsightly power lines in these photographs. The idea of gearing up to take photos at a distant location has been rather unappealing since I started feeling ill.}

In an effort to reduce my impact on the environment as well as my wallet, I used a dress I purchased 4 years ago from Urban Outfitters for the fabric. The dress was really atrocious – it was the kind of thing that truly wouldn’t be flattering on anyone, regardless of body type – and even then I only bought it because it was $5 and I knew the fabric could make something wonderful. I actually bought TWO of them, in two colors, and so this is the second redo I did. The dresses were a really lightweight cotton, perfect for the horrid weather we’ve been having in SoCal, so I’ve been wearing my newly re-made garment quite a bit lately. I wish I had a before picture, but this blouse came from the skirt of the dress – the pocket is now at center back, stitched together and trimmed off so it looks like a seam. Some artful finagling 😉 I’m pleased with how versatile this piece is, from skirts to pants to shorts, tucked and untucked.IMG_3305IMG_3306

I try not to buy buttons either, as I have quite an extensive collection gifted from various relatives and acquaintances, but the placket on this pattern was too big for my small buttons. I didn’t want the buttons to be swallowed in such a large space, so I purchased these lovely, woven-textured wooden buttons from Joann for something like $2 – not a huge expense, I’d say!

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All in all, I’m incredibly pleased with this quick project that resulted in a very useful, wearable, attractive piece to add to my growing collection of separates. I already have fabric to make more from this pattern! To be continued…

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

P.S. A quick thank you to everyone for sticking with me during the hiatus. I’m doing my best to get everything back to normal – I’m eager to get it back – so hopefully I’ll be sewing and posting up a storm soon!

Me Made Monday: {Pique-nique} Skirt

Today my Me Made Monday offering is one of which I am particularly proud! I named this special skirt “Pique-Nique” after one of my favorite words I learned in French class, not only because I love it but because English seemed far too ordinary for such a fabulous and fun skirt as this. I’m sure y’all realize that it’s pronounced just as it looks, which happens to be exactly how it is in English but call me a sucker for flair, if nothing else!

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The {Pique-nique} Skirt is made from vintage fabric (I think meant for upholstery), a vintage metal zipper, and even some vintage thread – simply because I was too lazy to wind my own bobbin and found a red one in the supplies that came with my 1970 sewing machine 🙂 She is a full circle, which is delightfully swingy as always, but I feel that my use of several couture techniques rocketed up the quality of this one far above my previous two circle skirts.

Rather than my usual left-hand zipper and right-hand pocket, I decided to go for two pockets – because a lady can never have too much convenient storage. In an effort to use up some relatively unsavory synthetic fabric leftover from my high school prom dress (it’s been taking up space in my sewing storage since 2011!), I made the pockets from a bright red fabric rather than matching the print. It really does lend a fun bit of whimsy to this skirt to see the red peek out when I use the pockets. See below. Obviously, using the fun red pockets was wearing off on my mood 🙂

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I also used that red fabric to create a very wide facing to finish the hem, which by far is the most beautifully elegant way to finish a circle skirt. Though it’s quite time consuming – I turned and stitched the facing by hand so as not to see so many obvious thread pricks – the results are without compare. My boyfriend, who took these photos for me, noted that he feels this is my best skirt yet and looks of professional quality. That’s the goal, isn’t it? Who wants a homemade dress that looks obviously homemade? So I’m pleased as punch, and I’m sure you can tell. This skirt is such a joy to wear.

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The making, however, wasn’t without its mishaps. When cutting for the zipper, I didn’t take into account that a lapped zipper won’t lay flat in the fabric without a seam without some serious thought. I solved it by sewing a false seam down the center back, which worked wonderfully. Later, I sewed the buttonhole vertically rather than horizontally – TWICE – but the third time was a charm when I took a friend’s advice and butted the two edges up evenly with hooks and eyes. So all’s well that ends well. Ahh, I love a cleanly finished garment!

DSCF0542Unfortunately, the only glimpse of the red facing is in the above photo with my love, who was sick as a dog but still indulged me with a picnic and a photo. It really does look delightful when it peeks out! I think whenever I wear this skirt, I’ll be a bit happier simply because of the thought and detail that I included. It’s all in the little things, isn’t it?

I’m sure I’ll be “pique-nique-ing” plenty in this sensational skirt in the future. The use of such a thick fabric makes it drape in such a lovely way that I don’t even want to include a petticoat. Not only that, but I’ve been realizing since watching more and more vintage television (Leave it to Beaver!) that ladies didn’t necessarily wear the full, full skirts in daily life. At all! And my goal in dressing vintage is to look the authentic part, so my pettis will be kept aside for mainly formal and special events.

What is your intention or goal when you dress vintage? Be sure to tag your own garments on Instragram with #memademonday and @thehomemadepinup, and drop your blog link down below in the comments if you participate. I’d love to feature your Me Made Monday beauties each week as well!

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made Monday: “Ray of Sunshine” Dress and Vintage Reception

Hello dolls! As promised, my Me Made Monday contribution is coming a day late, since I couldn’t resist the opportunity to include photos taken at Disneyland in my newest creation. This dress was originally supposed to be the one I graduated in, as yellow is one of my school’s colors, but my sewing machine chose to revolt and conk out when I was about halfway through. Oh, well. Sometimes the sewing fates decide things for you.

In an attempt to make do and reuse (so forties), helping the environment as well as my currently limited budget, I remade a dress of mine that I completed back in 2011 (!!!). It was certainly not my best work, as I was still learning then, and was showing its age as well as its lack of style. I always felt the dress lacked a certain panache or detail; additionally, it had too short a skirt for my current taste, so apart it came! Here’s how it used to look…

tumblr_lklattQlSQ1qzm4qr tumblr_lkfsviKwtk1qzm4qrIt was originally sleeveless, though even then I covered the bodice with a sweater since the neckline didn’t turn out how I intended. (Also, I couldn’t resist including the latter photo. I’m wearing a pair of gloves my grandmother gave me, that her father gave her in the forties! Aren’t they divine?)

My new dress is constructed from Simplicity 1459, a delightful reprint from a sixties original. I may do a review of this pattern in the future, if y’all would like that! I think I’ll be using it again; the three-quarter sleeve option looks incredibly similar to PUG’s Birdie dress!

IMG_0262 IMG_0273The white collar and skirt panel were done by necessity – I simply didn’t have enough fabric leftover from the last dress to do otherwise – but I think they added so much more charm to this number! Additionally, gingham skirts with a thick white border are quite authentic and I think the effect is darling.

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And CHECK OUT how identical the below dress is to my own dress! Such an exciting find to run across a period photo that closely matches your in-progress piece.fe645b16fbe87a2a453f7a411f56e9caMontgomery Ward, 1959

The reception of vintage is unlike anything else, I’ve noticed. People respond incredibly well to these classic fashions, from young children to mothers and fathers and grandparents alike. I think there is something incredibly relatable to vintage era dresses, as they can be demure, sweet, sexy, adorable, and more all within the same outfit – a very hard thing to achieve, particularly within the limits of modern fashion.

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My close friend Rachel (who dressed in her own handmade gingham dress, hers from a forties pattern) and I received a great amount of attention, all positive! Young girls stared or pointed, several adults noted how they thought we looked lovely, and a few people even mistook us for cast members, which was the second best compliment, I think. The first? The Evil Queen herself (from Snow White) repeatedly called me a “ray of sunshine” (in a begrudging voice 😉 ) in this dress, which delighted the inner child in me! I think I have a new favorite face character at Disneyland – she was too fabulous. She whispered to me with narrowed eyes how my hair reminded her of that of another “fair maiden” (her name for me) that she knew. Disney goals achieved. Though my smirk isn’t nearly as epic as hers.

IMG_0305 IMG_0303 IMG_0306 IMG_0307Vintage has an effect unlike any other, and while I don’t sew for the attention, it certainly validates my efforts when complete strangers stop me to mention how much they love my garments.

What is your favorite compliment you’ve received while wearing vintage?

Until next time,

Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made Monday: A Bernie Dexter-Inspired Toile

Hello lovelies! I know I said my intention was to post a newly made garment each week, but unfortunately my ambition got away with me and I tried to work on three projects, meaning I completed zero. Of course. I’m sure one would have been finished if I had any clue how to work with stretch denim, but… I can make excuses all day long, right?

So today my Me Made Monday offering is one that I finished August 2013! I was inspired by Bernie Dexter’s Paris dress in Blue Toile and just happened to have the perfect cotton fabric to match. I also was aware of Dita Von Teese’s lovely paniered toile dress, so I’d consider that inspirational as well.

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My inspirations!

My dress is half lined, with piped straps, single piping all around the neckline to the back, and double piping at the waist. This was the first time that I ever attempted a lapped, hand-picked zipper, and to this day I’m very pleased with how that turned out!

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I’ve worn this dress a fair amount since making it, but unfortunately I knew little about flat patterning when I drafted it. Add on the fact that I’ve become considerably more busty in the nearly two years following, and the top of this baby doesn’t fit me at all; even then it didn’t fit very well, if you look closely. So no photos of the top of it from yesterday! The pictures above were taken soon after I completed it, when I was far less knowledgable about how to keep my curls looking good all day. Please excuse the blob of curls!

Recently, I only wear this dress with a cardigan or jacket on top, because I refuse to wear something that shows a quarter of my bra at the armscye – not classy. Yesterday’s photographs were taken by my boyfriend who was egging me on, which explains the amount of animation compared to my usual photos! (Pose! Model for me! Be a pin-up!) Despite this, it’s clear that my man is no professional photographer, as it seems I’ve lost my feet in several photos 😉

IMG_0982IMG_0980I’m most proud of the pattern matching on this piece, as well as all the detail work I put into it – the piping, the neat lining, the hand-picked zipper. Details like this are what I think really elevate a piece from looking simply homemade to looking custom and couture. 
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I will, however, be remaking this dress very soon – or at LEAST adding a side bust dart. I’d really like to be able to wear it without covering up the gaping after all the detailing I put into it! Look out for that alteration within a couple of weeks!

What garments are you showcasing for Me Made Monday today? Tag #memademonday as well as @thehomemadepinup on Instagram, and drop your blog link in the comments below! I’d love to feature your pieces 🙂

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

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Me Made Monday: Adventures in Circle Skirts

Two posts in two days?! Wow, I’m really jumping aboard this blogging thing 😉 In all seriousness, I’m planning on starting a NEW CHALLENGE for myself, which I am dubbing “Me Made Mondays.” A week is generally plenty of time to sew one garment, and since I work better under pressure, what better motivation than a weekly blog post?

I also adored seeing everyone’s “Me Made May” posts last month, and I want to invite ALL OF YOU lovelies to participate in my challenge. Whether that means sewing a new garment each week or simply wearing something you’ve made in the past on Mondays is completely up to you. Please use the hashtag #memademonday on Instagram – and though I’ll be checking the tag, feel free to tag me (@thehomemadepinup) as well so I’m sure to see it! I’d like to feature other Me Made Monday projects on the blog each week, if y’all are okay with that. If you blog, drop a comment below with the link to your post about your own amazing Me Made Monday project and I’ll stop on by! I am SO looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

So what’s my first contribution to this exciting weekly celebration of sewists, seamstresses, and creators? MY FIRST (yes, unbelievably) CIRCLE SKIRT. Somehow, though I’ve included them in dresses in the past, I just never got around to making a real circle skirt. Skirts are so much more versatile than dresses, aren’t they? There are an amazing amount of outfit options when you fill your closet with thoughtful separates.

I’m big on blue, and bigger on nautical, so when I saw navy cotton fabric with white embroidered anchors, it was a NO BRAINER. If I’m not careful, my whole wardrobe is going to be US Navy themed very quickly… and I’m kind of okay with that. (My boyfriend is working his way towards joining the Navy, so it’s really not surprising how blue-and-white, anchor-ships-and-sails crazed I am. Go Navy!)

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This skirt is a self-drafted double layered skirt, with a full, separate lining. It has a hand picked lapped zipper at the left hip and a pocket (LOVE POCKETS) at the right. Look at me below, using my pocket. Look how happy I am! Pockets for all the things!

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I’ve been working on expanding my sewing skills with each new project, which is part of why I’m so excited for Me Made Mondays. It will be a chance for me to try out new techniques every single week! With practice comes professional results, and that’s what I’m all about. For this piece, sewing two circle skirts that are connected at the zipper, the pocket, and the waistband was challenge enough, and I figured it out… eventually. It isn’t perfect, but it looks lovely from the outside and really not bad on the inside. I’m big on beautiful interiors – I think it brings the professional quality up a huge amount, as well as adding loads of strength to your garment. Finished seams are a necessity to me, and I don’t serge; this skirt is finished with french seams.

Other new things to me include drafting and sewing pockets and blind hemming by machine. My first try sewing a pocket ended up too shallow (the project that one is in will appear on the blog later), and this one was deep enough but is barely big enough to allow my hand through. Thankfully, it’s the perfect size to drop my phone in and it’s easy to grab it out, so I didn’t bother picking it out and starting over.

For those who don’t know, a blind hem is when you catch a tiny amount of fabric every few stitches, with the other stitches falling in the seam allowance, so all you see from the right side of your garment are very small prick marks every half inch or so. When you spot a dress in the stores with a blind hem, it’s a mark of high quality craftsmanship – the vast majority of ready-made garments these days just do a simple, bulky, obvious straight stitch at the hem. Blind hems are also often used for things like curtains and pant leg hems. It’s a great skill to have under your belt, and though my first attempt isn’t flawless, I’m very proud of it – especially because it’s on a curved hem. If you want to try out a blind hem for yourself, I highly suggest you do so on a straight hem, perhaps for a simple gathered dirndl-style skirt! The curved circle hem just made it so much more complicated and anxiety-inducing than it needed to be. My hem for this skirt is a bit obvious, and perhaps needs another good press to make the stitches more invisible, but I’m pleased with my progress.DSCF0356

One last thing – this thing has a HUUUGE sweep at the hem! It’s really incredible how little fabric circle skirts require, but how expansive they look when worn. This only took about 2 yards for me, and the skirt is so full (helped out by the addition of the full circle skirt lining) that it looks really nice even without a petticoat. I decided to line this because the anchor fabric was quite thin and I hate a wimpy looking skirt, particularly when worn over a petticoat when it slumps in around the low hip, and the lining certainly resolved that!

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Other outfit details:

Top: Pinup Girl Clothing’s Bella Donna dress in Italian Landscape, worn as a top, from the annual Yard Sale.

Petticoat: vintage, Etsy.

Shoes: B.A.I.T. footwear’s Blanca heel, from their sample sale this weekend!

Oh, and while zoomed out editing these photos, I looked like I was wearing a skirted version of Wonder Woman’s famous ensemble. And I am totally okay with that.

Wonder Woman Lauren signing out.

P.S. Remember to hashtag #memademonday and tag me @thehomemadepinup on Instagram if you participate, so I can feature your lovely additions to this celebration of our homemade hobby. If you blog, link me in the comments below and I’ll come on by and check it out! That’s it for now, lovelies. Seeing your beautiful creations each Monday is going to make the start of a new work week so much brighter ❤