janetheclerk

Archive for the ‘clothing’ Category

cherry pie

In 50s clothing, clothing, dresses on 13 May, 2011 at 10:41 am


isn’t this fabric wonderful? it’s pure cotton, amazing to work with, has enough weight to hold it’s shape in the classic 50s skirt, and it’s adorable. however, it is not cheap. hence, this dress was made for a friend of mine.

the design of the dress is very simple; top section to empire so that it could be tapered in, with a basic bust dart, a midriff section to slightly below the waist, and then full circle skirt. i can’t quite remember the debate on the straps, but once i saw the design of two pieces and then a tie at the shoulder, we decided that this was the way to go.

maternity wear

In clothing, maternity on 8 May, 2011 at 9:21 am

as mentioned a good while back, my good friend sam was pregnant. she had her baby, gorgeous giulio, just after christmas, but i managed to get a christmas dress to her on time. another friend, anja, my long suffering friend who has actually shared a house with me (gasp), was also pregnant, and gave birth to christiaan in late april. i thank anja for contributing another taurean to the world; there can never be enough of us.

all three of these were based on the same basic pattern; i altered the details and sleeves according to what season people were in. while these weren’t difficult at all, it was definitely a lesson in making sure the head opening was big enough to do away with the need for a zip; when you can’t see your toes, who has time to do up a zip? i think in my last post on this, i said i would put a zip in, but i think i changed my mind about that. the other lesson i’ve taken from this is to transfer the idea that two thirds of the waist girth is at the front, to making shirts for men who have something of a tummy.

the rose print dress is made from a stretch cotton poplin underneath, and a sheer jersey knit polyester overlay. the green shirt is made from a printed cotton; anja was wearing this in summer, hence the capped sleeves. all in all, a very successful project.

swing dress

In 14+, 50s clothing, clothing, dresses, kids on 5 May, 2011 at 9:42 am

i’m not sure where i got this idea, but it’s hardly surprising, considering that i love 50s clothing, and the idea of dancing the night away. i found all of the stretch netting very cheaply at a waste shop; the stretch poplin in plain white was a little harder to come by, so the netting lay patiently in wait for quite some time.

i learnt a few very good lessons in the making of this style:

  • bust and waist darts are a good idea for the under layer, but the top layer should be without them
  • with the black and beige dress, i should have sewn the two layers of fabric as one, so that the dark seams weren’t so visible
  • for a real swing look, the under layer should be made from fabric with a bit of weight to it – the black and beige dress just doesn’t hold its shape unless a petticoat is used


i was so excited in making this dress for my niece. i had kept the netting especially for her, and i measured her, and it was going to be so wonderful. and then i did something very silly. i waited about four months between measuring and making; she was 8 at the time, and growing at a significant rate. the whole thing ended in tears, as she loved the dress, but it didn’t fit. i was so disappointed in myself. but, we move on. my niece still loves me, and we’ve had a good chat about the whole thing, and i’m allowed to make things for her again.

current project: mccalls 5777 from 1961

In 50s clothing, clothing, current project on 21 October, 2010 at 9:45 pm

a friend of mine routinely clears out things she doesn’t use. i don’t grasp this concept at all, but happily, i’m the recipient of some of the things, such as this pattern. i love this style of dress, especially as it can be made up as an evening dress, but also as a day dress when made in cotton with a collar detail. now, the pattern’s a bit small (not sure i ever had a 33″ bust, never mind a 20something” waist), and it doesn’t have the skirt pattern pieces for the four-gore gathered skirt. no worries, this is the easy pattern piece to make.

i love the kimono style sleeve as it is just that much looser and more comfortable, but most of all, i love the neckline. it’s like a grown up baby-doll neckline. i might make my pattern a bit deeper on the cleavage, but that’s just me. i’m very excited about making this dress, i’m going to make a test one out of cheap fabric, and will then take my time choosing just the perfect one for the final product.

i’ll make the slimline version when my winter weight has gone to wherever winter weight goes . . .

current project: maternity dress for sam – finished!

In clothing, maternity on 21 October, 2010 at 8:13 am

here it is, finished and sent off to london. i’m very happy with this, apart from the facing; something went wrong somewhere, and my pattern didn’t fit the garment. weird, and this doesn’t normally happen to me. anyway, i was very short of time, and i know that sam loves me regardless of whether i face her dress or not, so i decided to go with bias binding, which works just fine. it also needed the two rows of top stitching, which i think creates a good late 60s / 70s effect. i put the pink ric rac around the sleeves to create some detail in an otherwise quite plain dress. bonus about the dress is that it has inset pockets. women’s clothes should have pockets if at all possible.

current project: maternity dress for sam

In clothing, maternity on 14 October, 2010 at 8:13 am

my oldest friend is pregnant, and seeing as i can, i’m making her some pregnancy clothes. sam is petite in the truest sense of the word. so probably even at her most pergnant, her waist measurement will be smaller than mine; she’s getting UK size 12s, and they fit her just fine at the moment.

i’m basing her dress on the butterick pattern in the picture – i’m not sure of the year, but it must be post 1960, as the price is in cents, not pence (south africa moved over to rands and cents in 1960). the dress is going to be made from da gama shweshwe, mostly because blue is a great colour on her, but also because it’s 100% cotton, and gets beautifully soft with age, and because it’s 100% south african.

the outer shell has been put together, as soon as i’ve put the zip in, i’ll pop another picture up.

sunday session: open-back blouse

In 14+, 50s clothing, sunday sessions on 12 October, 2010 at 10:44 pm

by way of introduction, sunday is my only day off during the week, so i do whatever i damnwell want to on sundays. i’m allowed to sew anything i want to, watch anything i want to, and sleep as much as i want to. i generally end up sewing something for myself, or working on a pattern.

this blouse is the result of work i started a few sundays ago. i’ve seen the open-backed blouse in the late 50s and the 80s; i had one as a child in the 80s – although it might have been a dress. the purpose of this blouse is to be a relaxed beach / garden tea type blouse which is cute and comfortable – i wasn’t particularly concerned about being sexy or flattering, i just didn’t want it to be unflattering.

the pattern is simple enough, with a bust dart only, and the back cross over happening at the waist line. in the prototype, i made the cross over too high up, and the waist line wouldn’t sit well. i also adjusted the hip measurement from the original pattern; the angle between the waist and the hip was too sharp, and i ended up with a drapey / skirt look which just didn’t go well with the blouse – my original pattern had 3.4 cms taken off the hip measurement on each side. i also shortened my original pattern to keep with the 50s look of blouses to the tummy rather than to the bum. the shirt has interfacing along the armholes, and the neckline and back.

the fabric i chose for this is a pure cotton print, and is called: ‘topsy turvy’ a stonehill collection by donna wilder for fabric traditions.

outfit for ines

In clothing, kids on 13 May, 2010 at 1:11 pm

my friends have a very cute little girl, and they are super cool about me making dresses for her.  also, they don’t mind brighter colours that aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.  ines was also super cool about the making of this outfit, as she stood still for the measurements.  i took her measurements, and then referenced them against a comprehensive sizing chart that i found online – for her back and front waist measurements and sleeve length, three measurements i forgot to take.

the dress is made from da gama shweshwe, and i added 6cm seam allowance on the side and bottom seams – the dress can then be taken out as she grows.  ines lives with her parents in johannesburg, and i’m in durban, so it will be up to my mother to do the taking out.  in return, i will bake her a yummy chocolate cake.

the open shoulders with buttons makes for easy dressing and undressing, and i got to buy cute buttons.

the jacket really is as simple as pie, just made a bit bigger than the dress so that jerseys and other warming devices can be used.

i was amazed at how easy it was to make this little outfit, and less amazed at how much fun i had doing it.  as soon as i have a photo of the young lady in question, wearing the outfit, i will post it.

12 may 2010

In 14+, what i wore today on 12 May, 2010 at 2:07 pm

i got the idea for this dress while falling asleep.  i had found the red dotted arnil very cheaply at my local trimmings shop, and had by kismet found a stretch white cotton very cheaply at my regular fabric shop.  talk about a happy co-incidence.  i wore my superdooperdancing shoes, as they are just my most favourite right now.  please excuse the bruise on my leg, it comes from my nearly two year old puppy bumping into me on the same spot three days apart.

alice or jackie?

In 14+, 50s clothing, clothing, dresses on 14 April, 2010 at 1:14 am

i have finally gotten the a-line pattern right, and it’s a wonderful dress – flattering while covering all the lumps and bumps, of which i seem to have a lot lately.  the deep neckline gives the eyes something to look at, while the lack of waist darts gives room to have a big tummy day.  the shape of the dress is maintained by darts in the back.

with alice in wonderland fever all over the place, i started this one out as an alice dress; the blue fabric is reminiscent, and the delicate ricrac keeps it playful.  however, i ended up putting a very 50s style collar onto the dress.  the collar was a bit of a bind, i went through three iterations before getting one that looked good on the dress.  so, is this an alice dress or a jackie o dress?

the orange fabric will have a-lines made out of it, with 3/4 sleeves and a ruffle collar.  very exciting.  these will be on sale at euphoria in durban, and on etsy.