“Betty Draper on acid”? (to quote @angelfishcrafts on IG)
LoL- I have totally played around with the filters of this pic!! It really is on acid!
It started with the fabric, of course. How could it not? The fabric was pulled out with tremendous glee from a rummage bin in Abakhan fabrics, Manchester. My fondness for visits to this shop & all the loot I have scored over the past few years has been well documented on this blog. Most of my early visits did not even make it to the shop’s upstairs to the rolls of fabric in the more traditional fabric buying part of the shop, so much was there to investigate in the rummage bins.
And this delight was too good to put back. Now I have been on the hunt for some fabric with wide stripes to make a horizontally striped box pleated skirt, but have struggled to source something apparently so simple in two colours. And I do believe that serendipity often plays a role & the reason I hadn’t found any two-tone wide striped fabric is because if I had, I may have not been so darned sure of what I would make when I encountered this wondrous fabric.
Let’s have a tour of the fabric shall we? Well, it is vibrant, indeed, with a safe navy background but plenty of cerise & wide stripes of varying sizes containing two different flavours of pink vintage roses- one of these on a turquoise stripe. And in between? Two different (but similar) stripes of what I feel should be described as scrolly lattice/ tracery type pattern – in pink of course. Maybe there is a more succinct word? There is also however what I think is a discordant stripe within it – it’s a gold scrolly stripe on a cream background right through the centre which I think looks out of place with the rest of the pattern. I hid this stripe in the skirt by taking a canny seam, but I could not avoid it appearing slightly on the blouse back, despite careful pattern placement.
With self cover buttons
So we’re onto pattern placement next aren’t we? For the top I used Maria Denmark’s Edith blouse pattern (this is a dress & a blouse in one with grown on sleeves, front & back darts & a cute turn back collar with curves (oh & back shoulder darts too which I like a lot!). I cut each front out separately anticipating the turquoise stripe being the strongest feature flanking each side of the buttoning up.
I also gave careful thought about what to centre on the back & as above, could not avoid a small amount of the gold stripe peeking in at one side. I suppose I could have created a centre back seam…. But that didn’t occur to me at the time! But I didn’t want to have to include an extra seam hiding the gold stripe in a blouse – I thought it would be a bit too clunky. The collar was fun to plan - what part of the pattern could appear on the lapel? Bearing in mind the turquoise front, I thought the navy striped roses would make a good contrast, but use a different part of the pattern for the back collar. I cut each front facing individually to make sure they were in balance.
The skirt was my own invention for box pleats – a straight piece of fabric, with a waistband. As mentioned above I hid the offending gold coloured stripe then had to play around with which stripes I wanted to fall at the hem/ waist before knowing how deep to cut the skirt. I needed to know the depth (or length) before I embarked upon setting the box pleats up. I opted to keep the turquoise stripe at the hem, furthest away from the predominantly turquoise blouse front.
With all the navy at the top of the skirt, I did feel that the turquoise stripe would make the best waistband, but wanted the pattern to fall a particular way, with the edge of the stripe on the top of the waistband – ie the centre fold.
I followed the instructions to sew the Edith blouse as this was my first. This is a quick make – no sleeves to insert- help with the time saving, clearly! Some interesting design & construction details: no arm facings or bindings – Maria instructs you to turn the seam allowance (pinked) to the inside, clip & hem. I overlocked mine once I had clipped them, I didn’t pink) And the side seams are sewn after the armholes have been hemmed.
I have since made another (in white, shown in the photos) which I did my own thing- I sewed the side seams first then used bias binding to finish the armhole edges. It’s just my preference & is probably a bit more time-consuming. Apart from that I love this blouse I have to say. The styling is delightful! It is not only harking back to that glorious vintage look with nipped in waist & cute collar, but the capped/ grown on sleeves are sweetly nostalgic also. I love curved collars and often take the sharp edges off collars I sew, so was really pleased to see that the curves had already been drawn in for me! So lovely.
I am a huge fan of this type of blouse as I think they can be worn tucked in our out & be dressed up for work or casualified (good word?!) for home with shorts/ jeans even. I really want to make the dress & have two fabric contenders. I have already made two of these blouses in a week – there is a high chance that I love the dress so much I make two of those too! ( The dress looks a great summer make – no waistband, but darts to nip in the waist enough to give shape but comfort. Great for hot sultry days – if we have any more of those coming…)
I’ve already written so much about this so far I will save writing about the white blouse for when I have another Edith to show you – whether it is another blouse or a dress! As I need to give just a bit of info about the skirt. Not much to say really. I have discussed how I needed to work out length (for pattern placement) before setting the pleats. To set the pleats I started in the centre with a box pleat meeting at that point, then every pleat I then made was reflected each side of the centre. I kept measuring the width of the skirt, knowing what my destination waist measurement needed to be, & finished the pleating in relation to this. There is just one seam – the centre back. Which of course means no side seam pockets- so if you wanted pockets, you’d have to incorporate side seams into your design & pleating arrangements.
Lengthwise- I felt it could be longer than my usual to balance out the top when it gets worn together – those vertical stripes create the illusion of a long torso which would look even longer with a shorter skirt!
I was always going to make this up as a two piece, once I realised I had far too much fabric for a skirt. Thank heavens for the sewcialists’ #oonapalooza month as it brought making this combo forward. As soon as I saw this July theme, I reckoned this would be something rather colourful, eye bending & joyous. Oh yes! Would Oona be happy that I dedicate this outfit to her? Fingers & eyes crossed…
But then what’s happening on Ada Spragg’s blog? There has also been a two-piece- set-acular launched & in a strange way, this fits that too! Not quite the chic elegant babe look that it was perhaps initiated with, but hey, it’s a two piece never the less! And the benefits of a two piece? Why, you can wear it as separates. I am really enjoying wearing the skirt with the white Edith blouse for sure. And it is early days, too early days having only just finished it this week, to have stories to tell about other wearing fun!