Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sewing a reproduction vintage pinafore or jumper

I've always liked pinafores, dungarees or any kind of skirt with straps that go over the shoulder. I've had 'vintage pinafore' saved on my eBay saved searches for years. But I've not had much luck. For some reason the pinafore skirt doesn't seem to crop up much in the UK. There's been a bit of a fad lately to have little skater skirts with braces attached to them but nothing really substantial.

So I decided to make my own.

I began searching online for patterns, and wasn't having much luck, but then I had a break through when I spotted a gorgeous pinafore on The Fiercest Lilliputian Blog (an awesome blog btw) and I saw that she called it a 'jumper'. Now in the UK a jumper is a wooly thing you have to put over a head (a sweater to my US friends) so I was a tad confused.

I took to eBay again searching for 'vintage jumpers' and got a load of Cosby sweaters...

But change that search to 'vintage jumper pattern' and a few results popped up. And then I saw on in my size (just about) from the US. It was a size too small but I was confident enough that I could adjust the pattern so that it would fit so I went for it. Being a pattern, international postage wasn't expensive and it only cost around £4 in total.

As soon as it arrived I went fabric shopping as I thought this would be a perfect Autumn transition outfit. I chose some softer green twill that was mid range in price, it cost about £16 for all the fabric I needed. I added extra full facing to the inside of the top because I wasn't doing the ric rac or binding from the pattern and that was a bit of a pain logistically. At one point I sewed the waistband on back to front and I had to unpick the WHOLE THING - that was 2 rows of stitching :( Oh, and fitting the bust was a nightmare! I've got to get a dress form.

Anywho, here's how it turned out!

Detail to the top (I LOVE top stitching!):

So here's the final product. I've not taken proper pictures yet, but I think the dress is a little too wintery for August/September so give me a few weeks. But you get the idea.
Saying that I'm pleased is an understatement. I think this will be the perfect transitioning into winter dress! I'm not on a mission to make it in ALL THE COLOURS!

If you like the look of a vintage style jumper/pinafore then Collectif's new season has a lovely one with a flock polka dot. I'm going to save up for that one now too as I'd love to try it out!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Swing coat on a rainy bank holiday

The bank holiday on the last weekend of August traditionally signals the beginning of the end of summer for us Brits so naturally bank holiday monday brings rain, yey.

I'm actually not a person that minds rain, I think as long as you're prepared for it then it can be really nice to go for a walk in the rain.

For this rainy bank holiday I decided to wear my new 50p car boot sale coat over the top of a late 50s early 1960s check dress. I also broke out the black tights, that definitely means it is no longer summer.

My shoes are Doc Martens, they are pretty cool with a buckle fastening and a bit of a heel. I bought them in the Office sale for around £40 in about April and its been too hot to wear them so far so I figured this was a good time to break them in. 

You may recognise the umbrella from some previous posts and it was the one that I had at my wedding and my graduation. I would quite like something similar in a darker colour for darker days.

I have been longing for a full skirted coat for a really long time but its not a style that's around a lot. I think the dream would be to one day own a Lilli Ann vintage coat but that is a dream for a day far in the future when I have all the monies.

For now my 50p car boot sale coat will do. It is from Next, although I have no idea when,  I think the fit is so great and it has pockets! Its just a little short. But it will be perfect until I can get hold of a Lilli Ann, or a coat inspired by her (like this one by Hell Bunny).

Since it was raining, I also decided to wear a hat. I got this had in a vintage hat job lot from ebay and I love how snugly it fits on my head.

Here is a picture with the coat open so that you can see the dress underneath.

Outfit details:
Dress: Vintage via Leyburn 1940s weekend
Coat: Next via car boot sale
Shoes: Doc Martens
Hat: Vintage job lot
Umbrella: A shop in Durham that's not shut :(

I have a couple of posts to make about some late summer bits and pieces, but after that I will be busting out the big coats (of which I bought a few vintage ones in the summer for scandalously low prices).

Did you do anything nice on the bank holiday?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A Vintage Hibiscus Style Print Dress

As we approach the end of summer I've been reflecting on how obsessed I've been with tropical prints lately. Hawaiian, tropical, hibiscus and tiki are great summery prints and they come in lots of different variations on colours and styles.

The repro shop collectif usually have a bunch I great designs in tiki (and more) for the summer months and this can be a great place to look but, as usual, I was after a bargain.

I found this dress on eBay (as always) and it was not very loved with only a few bids. It's. It's not often that you find anything vintage with its accessories intact so the fact that this one came with a belt too was very appealing. So I decided to take a punt and buy the dress (for just under £10  in the end).

 I have always loved the colour teal and turquoise so I was immediately drawn to this dress and I think the huge pinky orange flowers are charming (are they hibiscus?). I also really love the fact that there are buttons on the back of the dress so that you do t see any fastenings at the front or sides!

 I don't really have any idea when this dress is from and it has no labels that I can see so who knows. 

I was quite concerned about the fit. It is not often that I am able to find a more fitted dress that has a large enough skirt in which to fit my very ample arse :( But when it arrived it was near perfect! A tiny bit tight at the bust but generally pretty spot on! I also adore the patch pockets. It is a tad shorter than I'd like but there is quite a bit if hem I can let down so that's a problem easily solved.

I took these pictures on SUCH a windy day, as you can probably tell from the blustery hair so I felt that I had to tie my hair up and out of the way.

But now my fringe is on the way out!! Yes!!!

It is finally long enough to put in to rolls (although not long enough to not be a real pain when doing them). So I have been practising to try and get back into the swing of it again.

These are just 3 asymmetric elevated pin/barrel curls to get me started. They're far from perfect but it's a start!

Do you have a favourite summer dress this year?

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Highclere Castle a.k.a Downton Abbey

I have something a little different today.

During holiday periods my parents like to go on excursions to see the sights of the UK and last week my Mum was telling me about their latest trip to Highclere Castle in Hampshire. She told me about how amazing the architecture was, and how photographs inside the house were completely forbidden and... how other people on the trip were frolicking around pretending to be moody Lady Mary or Matthew Crawley...

It wasn't until this point that I realised where she was talking about! My parents had been to visit DOWNTON ABBEY!!!

This actually really confused me as Downton is set in Yorkshire (in the North) but filmed in Hampshire and Oxfordshire (in the South) but I can't really argue with filming locations of a TV show, especially one so grand as this.

I have spoken about my appreciation of Downton before on this blog, and I was so excited at this point and demanded to see pictures. I am lucky because my Mum is a really great photographer so I knew I could trust that her pictures would be fantastic, and indeed they were!

She agreed to let me share a few of them, it might show you Downton in a light you've not seen before:

I love the vapour trail in the background of this one, that wouldn't be allowed on the show (unlike plastic bottles)!

They also went to Bampton a small village not too far away (although in a different county) and had a look at the now famous St. Mary's church where some of the characters in the show tied the knot *spoilers*!

Some of the streets around the church are used as scenery and sets for the show too and I think it looks pretty weird to see all the cars parked there.

If you like her photos, you can check out my Mum's instagram feed @JanetteWPhotos.

Hopefully one day I will get to go and see the inside of Highclere Castle too!

Have you ever been to the set of a TV show or film?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A trip to Hyper Japan

So a few weeks ago I went to Hyper Japan at Earls Court in London. It was an event celebrating all things Japanese and it was a lot of fun!

I went dressed as Princess Zelda form Skyward Sword (you can read about that costume here) which was actually a pretty good choice as Nintendo had a big presence there. They had lots of games to try although queues were quite long as there wasn't really any other game presence there. I did get to have a go on the 3DS version of Smash Brothers where I played as Kirby and won my bout (haha).

I also met Pikachu! But he was quite a bit bigger than I imagined...

They also had examples of the new Amiibo s which are sort of like a Nintendo version of Skylanders or Disney Infinity. The figures were beautiful to look at, really detailed and well thought out I can't wait to get one! Sadly the picture doesn't really do their wonder justice.

There was also a lot of Tomodatchi Life around to play on, but since I have that game I gave it a miss. My husband had a lot of fun wanting to buy everything at the Official Nintendo shop but he exercised great restraint... unlike me :S

The official Nintendo store was not the only presence they had, there were plushies, cosplay props and novelty t-shirts galore!

The shopping was pretty great in general, there were lots of imported goods, and while things weren't exactly cheap, they weren't exactly expensive either.

So many bonsai...

Yet more Nintendo...

Oh how I want this Rilakkuma bike, I never thought I would want a brown bike.

There was also quite a lot of Sailor Moon around. I loved this laser cut jewellery by Glitter Bomb so much so I bought a heart transformation brooch necklace inspired by Sailor Moon S.

There were also some really awesome Sailor Moon bows and collars for costumes sold by The Naked Lace Company:

I wouldn't say I went completely crazy shopping wise, but I did get a few things I was lucky enough to win 3 pairs of false eyelashes at the Dolluxe stall.

But my most favourite item by far were my Les Kyoties cat ears from the Lady Gadget stall. They were so adorable and the pink matched my costume so perfectly how could I not wear them home?!

There are so many different colours available, I'l thinking I want these to b my cat Princess Peach/Zelda ears and I will get some others to go with more general outfits. You can see all the colours here and like Ladt Gadget's facebook page here (although its in French).

I also spotted that Retro Chick posted some cat ears on her blog too.

I read on Retro Chick's blog that she had a lot of trouble getting something to eat and I can completely agree that there either wasn't enough food outlets to cater for the number of people or they simply weren't efficient enough.

My husband and I were very lucky that we brought our own breakfast sandwiches so that of set out meal times compared to the rest of the people at the convention. We got some really yummy shaved ice around the time most people were getting their lunch, then we got some takoyaki while there was an after lunch lull at about 3pm. We still had to wait about 15 minutes but that wasn't too bad.

It was worth the wait... yummy!!!

There were also a few random exhibition pieces, for example the outfit from Kyary Pamyu meme-tastic video Pon Pon Pon:

And some really cute tiny robots that could do amazing things like dance and climb:

And then there was the cosplay. There was no where near as much cosplay as I have seen at some other events but what there was was pretty good! Hyper Japan held the heats for the European Cosplay Gathering and had some previous winners as guest judges.

Cersei Lannister


And eventual winers of the team and individual competition:

Last but not least there were several drawing areas proving that manga is just as popular as ever...

Images ranged from the simple and super cute:

To the absolutely beautiful:

There will be a Hyper Japan Christmas Market in November with I'm sure just as many goodies as their summer event (check here for details).

Have I tempted you to try a bit of Japanese culture?

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