Wednesday, 29 February 2012

McCalls M6044: Update

So this week I've been delving into the otherside of sewing, menswear. This is the first time I've made anything for a man and so far there really isn't anything different.

The only obvious differences is that this shirt is not fitted, so no darts, and the sleeves have been split into 2 pieces meaning when I sew up the sides I carry on sewing to the sleeve hem.

I've been a bit of a slow sewer this week, and have only progressed a small amount really.
This is what I have so far....

So the pockets are on, the yokes are on, front & back are attached and the sleeves are on ready to be sewn with the side seams.

Next are the cuffs, front facings, collar, hem, then the snaps & buttons.

I also wanted to share what I've been using as interfacing for this project, and I'm wondering if anyone else has done this? When buying the fabric for this shirt my husband couldn't find good enough interfacing. The woman working in the fabric shop told him to use Aida fabric instead, which is primarily used for cross stitching. So on her advice he brought home a metre of the stuff, and so far I have to say if you're wanting very stiff cuffs, or pocket flaps etc.. this stuff works!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Old Hollywood Inspiration: Jane Russell

Jane Russell was born in Minnesota in 1921, and died exactly 1 year ago today at the age of 89.

She made her acting debut in 'The Outlaw', directed by Howard Hughes in 1941 which was the film that catapulted Russell into the limelight. However due to the way Russell was portrayed in the film (namely her 'assets') the film had some censorship issues and wasn't allowed to generally released to the public until 1946.

Russell continued to make movies during the late 1940's but her most notable success after 'The Outlaw' was 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' alongside Marilyn Monroe.

After this time her film career became somewhat staggered, many attribute this to Howard Hughes as he had signed her on a 7 year contract, during this time she missed out on many roles that would have cemented her into Hollywood history.

During the 1960's and through to the 1970s Russell only made a handful of films, most unsuccessful.

After this time she retired from acting.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Howdy Cowboy!

This week will see me take a break from sewing for myself, and will see me tackle my first menswear pattern. As I mentioned before I recently bought McCalls M6044 to make for my husband, who has been patiently waiting for me to make something for him. This pattern has 5 variations, but the most appealing and the one I will be making is Version E which is pretty much a cowboy shirt.

One Saturday when my husband was in town shopping he picked up (all by himself, no less!) some fabric for the shirt. He decided on some lightweight denim in an almost gray marl weave, and for the contrasting shoulder pieces, some black cotton. He also picked up some ready made black piping for the detailing and some pearlised snaps.

Needless to say I was pretty speechless when he walked through the door and handed me the bag! He's certainly a man who knows what he wants!
And as a 'thank you wife for making me this awesome shirt' he'd also bought me some crsip white cotton so I could make another version of my leopard print blouse.

For your viewing pleasure here are some ready to wear denim shirts that I'm using for inspiration

I also stumbled upon this Butterick Pattern whilst 'googling', couldn't resist posting it!

Just look at that onesie! Tres Sexy!

All images sourced through google images

Friday, 24 February 2012

Finished Project: Hollywood 785

It's done! Just to recap, this week sees the Acadamy Awards theme over at Sew Weekly. The aim is to recreate an outfit from an oscar nominated movie. After a few ideas, I finally decided to create a dress worn by Kate Beckinsale in Pearl Harbour.

Not quite an aircraft hangar, but you get the picture?

My version was made using Hollywood 785 (undated, but presume early 1940's) in black polyester crepe. My version does not come with a peplum (I didn't end up having enough fabric) but I'm not bothered about it as the full gathered skirt really doesn't need it.

As previously stated, and you can tell by the photo from the film that my version does indeed have a fuller skirt, but as this was my first time using this pattern I didn't feel comfortable straying too far from the original design.

I had a few 'firsts' with this dress which was exciting, starting with the bound buttonholes mentioned in Wednesdays post, and I also made my own shoulder pads. I was a little skeptical about the shoulder pads at first (I had flashes of Joan Collins going through my head) but I have to say that this dress wouldn't look half as good without them. They really do give it that extra va va voom that it needs!

Inside the dress I bound the waist seam with some left over leopard print from this blouse, as well using it on the shoulder pads too. I hand stitched the hem and the sleeve hems.

Onto the problems... not as many as I thought there would be to be honest. The bound buttonholes were a little fiddly, but the more I do them, the better it'll be. Attaching the bodice & skirt together was the trickiest as the pattern doesn't call for the usual, 'right sides together & stitch' like every other pattern I've used. With this one you have to turn in the seam allowance of the bodice and pin it over the skirt. This at times was a little tricky, but I got there in the end. However, my top stitching needs to practised for sure!

All in all this dress was a welcome challenge, and I now know what to look out for the next time I make it. I'm thinking next time maybe navy, or a dark green?

Also as I was making this, Gertie revealed her next online sew-along course 'The Starlet Suit' pretty similar huh?

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Things I Love Thursday: Mad Men

This week I wanted to join in the much hyped excitement that is currently sweeping the internet, Mad Men is returning to our screens for its 5th season!

To celebrate this I know of 2 sew-alongs that have already been mentioned, and I'm sure as the season progresses a lot more will happen. JuliaBobbin is asking for people to recreate their favourite look, and Sew Weekly will also be having a Mad Men theme during March. So why the hype around this show?

For me, like many others I enjoy the period accurate fashion, and the fact that the show takes place during such an exciting & revolutionary time for the world. So far we've seen the characters go through the Kennedy election & assasination, Marilyn Monroes death, the continuing threat of nuclear war, and most recently 'Beatlemania'.

But this is a sewing blog after all, and with 2 opportunities to make myself a new dress I need some inspiration! So when it comes to the female characters of the show we have Betty, Joan & Peggy as the main three, but in the background we have Jane, Megan, & Trudy. When watching the show as most eyes dart towards Joan, I've always found Peggys wardrobe more appealing.

She seems to be more inclined to take a risk, and wear something quirkier than the rest. Especially during and after her friendships with more bohemian types.

But of course, nothing beats a dress that shows off your curves & Joan certainly does it best.

So much food for thought!? I have a few ideas, and have already begun looking through my patterns for similar silhouettes. Certainly looks like March is shaping up to be 'Mad Men Month'

All images sourced from google images

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Pearl Harbour Dress Update

Hey! How's everyones week going?
Mine has been a pretty busy one courtesy of this dress.

Hollywood 785

So far so good!

So this is how I started my week by getting the bodice all attached

I then did the same with the skirt panels (5 in total), and added large stitches around the top ready for gathering. I then got the sleeves ready by adding 2 darts to each sleeve and hemming the ends by using a narrow bias facing in matching black cotton.

I then attempted something I've never done before.. bound buttonholes!
This was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be considering I've heard from quite a few sewing blogs that they are a nightmare. What do you think? Here's a close up shot of my attempts

Not perfect, but not bad for a first try no?

I've also attached the front facings, and have got the collar ready to be basted then sewn onto the neckline.

Next up will be to get the bodice & skirt attached together, then to make up some shoulder pads (another first for me).

I'll keep you posted!