Maximum ruffles: a pink pairing

Sunday, May 21, 2017

I was donated a big box of vintage patterns last year - mainly magazine pull outs from the 80's and 90s - and I've yet to make full use of them. So recently, I challenged myself to look beyond the sometime questionable prints/styling/use of shoulder pads and unearthed a blouse pattern that had the true potential to turn out either 100% ridiculous or totally on trend (it is the year of the sleeve after all). A last minute plus one invite to a wedding was all the encouragement I needed to give it a go, and along with some carefully-colour-considered culottes, I'm pleased to report that I think I just about pulled it off!

1992 Prima Magazine blouse and B6178 culottes
The pattern I chose to work from was from a 1992 edition of Prima Magazine. It's a bit new romantic, a bit Shakespeare in Love, and definitely more feminine than I'd usually go, but there's something about the oversized shaping that seemed to offset the girlishness of the ruffles. The fabric requirements were pretty large, particularly as a lot of the ruffles and ties have to be cut on the bias - 4m in total! - so I went for a bargain mauve poly crepe from Minerva. It was lovely to work with - light and drapey without being slippy - and only cost £16 for the lot!

October 1992 Prima pattern
I really enjoyed the process of making and gathering all the ruffles for the shirt. The neckline is probably too ruffled if anything - particularly for my bust - so I might tone it down a bit if I ever made the shirt again.

Distributing my ruffles!
The gathers at the neckline are encased with a neck binding, which was particularly tricky to topstitch neatly! Considering the bulk there - two layers of ruffles, one layer of shirt and the neck binding - it's not turned out too badly.

Topstitched neck binding
The sleeves were similarly tricky to topstitch, but it was turning the ties that caused me the biggest headache! I'd always been adamant that I didn't need a loop turner as I'd never make a garment with spaghetti straps, but I've never considered ties as embellishments/fastenings until now. I turned the first one with a pencil and a lot of patience, but I couldn't keep it up for the other 5 (2 for the neck and 2 for each sleeve). Luckily my friend Erin loaned me her loop turner, which worked like magic!

1 tie turned, 5 to go.
I was just starting to feel pretty optimistic about the blouse, and then I attached the sleeves... I knew the blouse was intended to be oversized, but the overhang on the shoulder was way too much and the heavy gathers at the sleeve head just drew attention to the poor fit. It looked totally clown-like and completely unwearable, so there was no other option but to attack it. Nothing fills me with more fear than armscye adjustments, particularly mid-make, but hacking a few inches off of the shoulder and re-distributing the previously heavy gathers on the sleeve to fit the new arm hole definitely saved the day in this case!

Before
After! :)
I love the blouse loose and it would look great with a pair of skinny jeans - if I owned a pair, must work towards making some! - but as a wedding look, it really needed to be cinched in at the waist, so I made these culottes using one of my favourite patterns, the Butterick B6178 (view D). The pattern is free with this month's Love Sewing mag too, so definitely worth picking up a copy!

A carefully considered combo!
I already have a couple of pairs of these culottes (blogged here) and I love it that each looks a bit different depending on the fabric choice. This fabric is a slightly heavier weight brushed cotton from the Hebden bridge WI Rag Market, which hangs really nicely and looks much smarter than my previous pairs. After my latest trouser making experiments, I also decided to use petersham at the waistband, which gives them a slightly more tailored finish. I've never been a particularly 'pink' person, but I keep finding myself drawn to these shades. I'm not normally one to consider how garments will pair together either, but I really did this time and I think (hope!) that it shows!

Styled with a RTW leather jacket, M&S heels and a vintage bag
Details
I had a last minute crisis of confidence and almost didn't wear any of it. But then my alternatives weren't perfect either - older makes that I loved at the time, but now I can spot the flaws in their fit and construction. On the morning of the wedding, I decided to go with it, paired with a leather jacket and heels, and I'm really glad I did!

With my boyfriend Chris :)
I have one more wedding on the cards for later in the summer, so I'm hoping to plan my makes a bit further ahead for this one - maybe the Trend Patterns Asymmetric Dress? What makes will you be wearing to weddings this year?

Stay in touch!


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12 comments

  1. This looks fab! You both look lovely together and I bet you got loads of compliments x
    I too am working on a ruffle sleeve in the form of a re-fashion.

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    1. Thank you Caroline! I didn't know anyone there other than my boyfriend, but I didn't want to blend into the background. I like the sound of a ruffle sleeve refashion :) x

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  2. Lovely sewing story---and a beautiful outcome.

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  3. I had my doubts but you really pulled this off: the whole outfit looks very stylish.

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    1. Haha, I had my doubts too Manju but I'm glad I stuck with it :) Thank you!

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  4. I'm glad you went with this outfit in the end, it's so stylish and original, you look fab! x

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    1. Thanks Jane! I was really unsure right up until the last minute, but I'm glad I stuck with it :)

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  5. love it - you really wear it well. Like Sewmanju above, I would have not thought it could look so well on seeing the prima pic.....I used love that magazine in the 90s....patterns and recipes - I still have a useful halter pattern from that magazine! think matching it with skinny jeans would work so well

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    1. Thank you Eimear! I had this vision in my head of how I thought it would look with the culottes, but I was still having doubts right up until the last minute. I'm really glad I stuck with it. There are a few more Prima patterns in my collection that I think would translate really well to today too :) x

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  6. I'm working on a dream dress, a OOP Vogue 2745 from 2093 in Kelly green silk crepe de chine to approximate Keira Knightly's dress in Atonement for my nieces wedding in June.

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    1. Oh wow! That will be an amazing wedding outfit - good luck with it! :)

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