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Costume Journal 2012 // Lady Mechanika

3 Jan

Happy New Year friends! Hope you’ve all had a relaxing and inspiring break – or not! For those of us who work in retail or hospitality, it’s usually pretty exhausting! But now here we have a brand new, fresh-out-of-the-box year… some assembly required.

This is a big one for me – I’m starting my third (and final) year of costume school, and while at this stage I’m not exactly sure how that is going to run for me, I do know that I want to devote more time and energy to my own personal sewing goals. After all, this is what I love doing, so why let procrastination ruin the fun?

So here it is, the big one, my personal Holy Grail for 2012. Something I can sink my teeth into, that will stretch my craftiness, my niftiness, my powers of fabric-persuasion:


Lady Mechanika

Lady Mechanika Cover #4


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Playsuit Love

7 Dec

Playsuits, rompers, onesies – I’ve seen so many in shops this season but for the most part they seem to be elastic-waisted 80’s inspired creations that are not really my style. Summer gets so hot here that some cute overalls seem mighty attractive right about now. There are a few suppliers of lovely 1950’s – style bathers around, like the all-Aussie My Sister Pat, but they are a little out of my price range :(.

Of course, a crafty gal always options, so I’ve done a bit of research for the purposes of making a playsuit that suits me! They’ve turned up in various incarnations every decade since the 1930’s, with variations on the theme of ‘shorts attached to a bodice’, and there are plenty of vintage patterns around to provide inspiration.

Some come in two parts, wth a bare midriff, but I want to be able to wear my playsuit at work (with stockings) and around town without worrying about my tummy showing too much. So as cute as this 1940’s ensemble is, it’s not quite right. Love those sleeves though. From Sandritocat

So cute! …so costumey! Maybe for swing dancing or a photoshoot, but while I love dressing up, a hardcore sailor-girl outfit is never terribly versatile! I’ve determined to sew more clothes that are wearable on an every day basis. Sigh! From WearingHistory

I do have a bit of a soft spot for this tennis dress, but sleeveless tops with a big collar are not my favourite thing ever. Culottes are cool though, right? From Missretromodern.

Separates! A dress, shorts, an overskirt… so many options! I really do like these 50’s wardrobe packages where they give you everything to make several outfits. The playsuit pictured is also nice and plain, which appeals to me because its enough of a standout item that it doesn’t need to have too much extra detail. From DeLaBelle.

Yes yes… I know I said no bare midriffs! I had to put this in, I have such a soft spot for it. Those bubble shorts! So good! I have a feeling they won’t do my thighs any favours but a girl can dream. Such a cute pin-up look, I may very well let myself be inspired by this pattern.

There are a few options for my playsuit project. So far I prefer one piece suits with a waist seam, with wider shorts and perhaps shoestring straps rather than sleeves. Maybe buttons up the front? Definitely a high waist. There are some more great patterns to study on the Commercial Pattern Archive, where they have done a feature on bathing suits and playsuits

Now all I need is the perfect fabric, some perfect buttons, and a sunny weekend to look forward to…

White Christmas Dress

23 Nov

Even when it’s 40 degrees outside and we are sweating over our prawns, us Aussies like to hope, that by some festive miracle, snow is going to fall on Christmas Eve. The Swing Sesh Christmas Ball is appropriately themed ‘White Christmas’, complete with hazers and paper snowflakes, and given my usual preference for black or red I decided I probably have to make something more evocative of a European winter’s night.

Does it have to be white? Swing dancing events usually means dressing slightly vintage, but even the most stunning 30’s or 50’s evening dress ends up looking faintly… bridal.

via allencompanyinc on etsy

I started thinking of some other festive colour combos, with the proviso that I have to able to wear the dress again after Christmas. So no red/green, but red/white is pretty versatile, right? Spotlight and Lincraft were a bust on pretty fabrics, but Ikea turned up trumps with a lovely heavier-weight cotton.

I love that slightly baroque floral print! The pattern I found in an op-shop; it’s from 1959. It has a lace overlay yoke which I am not completely sold on yet, but if I can find some nice off-white netting or lace I might do it. Otherwise I will make the full-skirt version in a strapless style.

The white taffeta I was thinking of using as lining… but it might make the whole affair boiling hot! I can’t rule out the possibility that it will be a scorching night.