Sky Dye blue dress

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Have you seen Dawn Porters new tv show ‘This Old Thing’ yet? It’s an absolute must see for any vintage and upcycling clothing lover in which Dawn gives loads of tips and tricks to make your own brilliant personal wardrobe (and help convince any vintage-foob in your household to love the pre-loved).

In the very first episode they gave me a brilliant upcycling idea which I’ve successfully put to the test: dyeing a plain boring white dress into a vibrant blue piece. After the episode I walked into a local shop where they had fabric dye on offer, I’ve always wanted to try that so I took it as faith and bought a packet of blue dye.

blue fabric dye

Remember my 1950s / Call the Midwife dress I made last year out of white cotton, mainly to test the vintage pattern. Well I never got round to make a proper copy out of fancy fabric (partly because of the sheer amount of fabric involved, partly the work in it). But it being plain white it was a little too much ‘nurse’ for me to wear the dress out. The perfect piece to try some dying. Besides in Call the midwife the midwifes dresses are light blue so that would make it more like the show too.

CTM white dress

I filled a bucket with hot water as instructed (always follow the instructions and test on a scrap piece first), added about half the packet (I didn’t want a dark indigo as on the packet) and dropped a piece of scrap fabric in the dye. Taking it out after 15 minutes (long before the instructed 45 minutes) the fabric was way too bright blue for my liking, so for the actual dress I diluted the mixture a lot more.

On the show they did a brilliant job dip dyeing so the bottom was a lot darker than the top of the dress. I tried to do the same, but at the same time didn’t want the dress to turn too dark by leaving it in the bucket too long, so in the end only when you lay the top and bottom next to each other you see a colour difference. Still, I love the light blue colour it turned into.

CTM blue dress

Funny enough, because of the dyeing the originally blue decorative stitches turned a bit greyish, which makes them still stand out from the fabric. And the buttons, well they look like they were made for this colour all along.

x Ilse

Sew for Victory completed

Sew For Victory

Ready for the warforce. Sew for Victory blouse with black pencil skirt.

Just before the deadline I’ve completed my Sew for Victory blouse. Initially I was planning to make a top and bottom, thinking a month gives me plenty of time to sew. Well no, not combined with essays, exams and other uni stuff. Also I think this blouse has given me enough skills to show off; sleeves, collar, button holes, tucks, gathering, fit, it’s all in there.

This was the second time I attempted attaching a collar, no idea how I did it first time, but got many a confused moment this time, think I spend an evening staring at the pieces, assembled it to only take it all apart the next day. Think I sort of know now how it’s done, but help is welcome. I’m still not a big fan of this collar, the attachment is fine now, they’re just a bit too pointy and big for my liking, but it is more 30/40s style like this.

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Straight line down the sleeve!

Back blouse

Neat matching up stripes and gathering, no?

I have to admit, I probably wouldn’t have bought this shape blouse in a shop. Not that I don’t like the end result and won’t wear this one (because I’m wearing it right now and loving it). But the tucks that make it tight at the bottom and wide in the body did feel strange to sew for me. This pattern is perfect for big boobs, which I don’t have so there’s just a lot of fabric flapping about.

If I were to make it another time I’d find a way to use less fabric, but maybe keep a little more down the bottom. The puffy sleeves and big collar are both probably period appropriate, but not my style so I would cut on them too. (Guess I’ll be using a lot less fabric.)

Having said that I’m very proud of my sewing skills on this blouse, practiced a lot of skills and think they came out pretty good. Though the bottom darts felt strange whist sewing, wearing the blouse with a pencil skirt they make perfect sense to ease it under the skirt and make it nicely puff above.

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Oh yes I’m happy with my new blouse.

Finally I’m very proud in the make-do-and-mend style, apart from the pattern that I bought at Wearing History, I haven’t spend one penny on this blouse. Already had the fabric, waiting to be used and the buttons are from a button card that I once got at a flea market and used for display.

x Ilse

Sew along for Victory

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That I am obsessed with dressmaking and vintage style is no surprise. Recently I discovered Rochelle’s blog Lucky Lucille and I am in love with her 1940s style and selfmade wardrobe. At the moment she is running a ‘Sew for victory’ sew-along and though I usually go for a ’50s look I decided to go a little further back in time and join the sew-along.

Continue reading

Meringue skirt

Dear me it’s really been too long since I last posted something. Though that doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting still without crafting. As the weather seemed to have skipped winter I’ve already started on my summer wardrobe.

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For christmas I received the ‘Colette sewing handbook’, I would recommend it to anyone starting dressmaking. It is loaded with instructions, tips and tricks on dressmaking, from reading a pattern, altering to techniques and 5 lovely patterns to put what you’ve learned into practice. I started at the very beginning with the first item: the meringue skirt. Now I’m usually one for wide layered skirts and this one was a lot more figure hugging. Continue reading

Call the midwife dress

A couple of months ago I bought an original dress pattern from late 1950s. As sizes have changed a lot over the last 60 years I decided to first try it out on a white bed sheet I never used.

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Having finished it the size is pretty good. Only feels like quite a shame to just trow the white version out, so I decided to cheer it up with blue buttons and some embroidery stitches from my new (yes again, long story) sewing machine.
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I do like the outcome, however 1950s, white and blue, makes it look like I could easily join the nurses from BBC series ‘Call the Midwife’.
Suggestions how to make this dress less ‘nurse’ are welcome. I might just cut up another sheet for a second dress, this time a stripy Cath Kidston one. Hoping it will look like the stripy dress on the pattern.