{ Sewing } Moody British Picnics

I’m British, and part of being a Brit is constantly being let down – especially being let down by what is supposed to be Summer.

Case in point;

melody mae butterick b5209

Yeah.

This face is an accurate representation of a dreary day.

Anyhoo.

I MADE A THING.

melody mae butrterick b5209

I bought Butterick B5209 pattern a long-ass time ago with the idea that one day I would make a glorious 40’s style sundress with it and swan about the beaches being a perfect summers-day princess. Instead I used it to further my long-term goals on becoming a picnic basket with this cutesy gingham-and-fruit-print cotton. And stand in a park on a grey day.

As usual, I never make anything in the way the original pattern intends.  I swapped out the gathered skirt the pattern calls for with the same skirt from my Swirl dress, since I liked the way it fell on me so much.

Straying from my usual construction, I didn’t line this dress at all. I finished the seams with my overlocker, and the neckline, hem and arms with bias tape and a catch stitch.

melody mae butterick b5209

The dress is wonderful but there was some fit issues along the way with this pattern.
I made the dress up in a size 20, straight from the pattern with little adjustment. As with all patterns, I did my usual pinch-out in the top of the bodice to limit my usual gape. Apart from this disaster of a bust!

It seems to be a common issue in 40s style dresses with this sort of bustline – that it sits at least two inches higher than where my boobs actually start. It’s not the worst thing that could happen, but does make me feel a bit cut off at times.

melody mae butterick b5209

Aside from all of this, I actually love this dress, I think the silhouette is really good on me, and I love how comfortable and floaty it is – and I think this new calf-length skirt I’ve been playing with is a good-un.

melody mae butterick b5209

melody maeDress; Butterick B5209
Brooch: Luxulite
Bangles: Vintage
Shoes: Rocket Originals
Bag: Collectif

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{ Style } Pastel Colours, Pastel Dreams

I’m not going to lie to you – the whole pastel thing is not my thing.

Until I had pink hair, wore a mint green Collectif Caterina dress and stood in front of some pastel houses.

melody mae collectif caterina

I walk past these houses on Camden Road every day on my way to work, and every day I would say to myself  “Damn, what a cute location for a pastel shoot!” So armed with my photographer (read: boyfriend) and a bundle of pastel sweetness, I gave my pink hair a final goodbye to forever be immortalised in a perfect setting.

The dress is the Caterina Swing Dress from Collectif, a mint green/light blue shirtwaist which is as soft as it is adorable. I’m a big fan of shirtwaists in general, but the shape of these suits me so well I have the navy version, too.

melody mae collectif caterina

And my favourite part? POCKETS.

For this dress in particular I’m wearing a 22, since I found the smaller sizes to be a little too tight in the bust and sleeves. I find that shirtwaists look sweet slightly blousier around the bust, thanks to the cinched-in waist, so that’s no issue.

melody mae collectif caterina

melody mae collectif caterina

The only thing that really irks me about this dress is that since it likes to creeeeease. But it’s 97% cotton, which makes it a perfect summer dress, creasing aside.

I don’t have a wardrobe made for pinks. It made putting together outfits quite difficult with this hair colour and my penchant for matching. Luckily white works with this look so I could kinda get away with these Miss L Fire Sundae shoes!

melody mae collectif caterina

 

melody maeSunglasses: Collectif
Brooch: Luxulite
Dress: Collectif
Handbag: Vintage Atlas (Bought in Spitalfields Market)
Bangle: Vintage Celluloid (Charity shop score)
Shoes: Miss L Fire

 

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{ Style } Toucan Play At That Game

Notice anything different? Yes, my hair is PINK! I’m going pink for a little bit for a super secret reason – and although it’s not my first colour of choice, I kinda love it! And if there was one outfit that need pink hair, this Collectif Toucan Set is it!

melody mae collectif toucan

This is the Toucan print that Collectif ran for their Spring/Summer 2014 collection (now out of stock). It was one of those prints that I adored as soon as it came out! But as someone who doesn’t wear fitted clothes or shorts, the sarong styles were so far out of my comfort zone.

By the end of the season, peer pressure and a hefty discount persuaded me into buying. I bought the Kiki Crop top and Sarong Skirt… And promptly left it in my wardrobe untouched. It stayed there for a year until I decided ‘Fuck it, why not?’ and here we are!

melody mae collectif toucan

I’ve spent so long in flared dresses that I’ve actually forgotten that I have a body under all those petticoats! Now. I won’t lie, a sarong skirt is still so far out of my comfort zone that looking at myself in it makes me slightly uncomfortable.

I gave up on pencil/fitted skirts a while back because I just didn’t like how they look on me. It’s probably been about three years since I last wore something this fitted!

It makes me wonder – is there a certain style of clothing that you never wear? And if you do, how do you feel when you do wear it?

melody mae collectif toucan

melody maeHair Flowers: Lady Luck’s Boutique
Necklace: Primark
Brooch: Luxulite
Crop Top, Skirt, Cardigan: Collectif
Bangles: Lady Luck’s Boutique ; Splendette
Shoes: Miss L Fire Aloha (SS13)

 

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{ Sewing } Platform Closed – A Gingham Swirl Dress

So. We’ve established by now that I’m useless at sticking to deadlines, right? Right.
This gingham swirl dress was made for Sew Retro Rose’s Swirlalong… which finished in NOVEMBER.

melody mae black gingham swirl dress

Yes, a whole seven months after the deadline closed I’m showing you my dress! I finished this in March, actually, and was left aside for so long because it went so wrong. I’m not sure about you guys, but once things start going wrong I have to walk away. Especially before I cut the damn thing to pieces – and sometimes it just takes months to come back to it!

The pattern for this dress was McCall’s 5411 – Which Beccie (Sew Retro Rose) turned into a PDF for those joining the sewalong. I love a Swirl, and it’s one of those vintage dress styles I knew would get on well with my shape and style, so why would I not give it a go? I set off to Rolls and Rems in Holloway Road to grab my favourite gingham fabric and set down to make this up.

melody mae black gingham swirl dress

However there were a few issues – the bodice ended up five or so inches short, and when I lengthened the pattern back, I forgot to true up the backseam so it hit the right side seam, which caused serious gaping issues, length issues (it screwed up the back bodice so that it was suddenly 5 inches too long. Nightmare) and screwed up the whole fit of the dress.

So like the slapdash sewist I am, I hacked off the excess fabric and added in a series of buttons down the back to keep it closed without gaping. “It’s not a mistake, it’s a design element” I chanted to myself whilst rocking back and forth. 

And to add to my further dismay – I somehow managed to cut the neckline so wide it shows my bra straps (which you can see above and below) which bothers me to no end.

melody mae black gingham swirl dress

But despite all that? This is the dress I wear most often. It’s fully lined in a lightweight cotton so it’s good for sunnier days, but with correct undergarments can easily be worn in the winter for a pop of summer memories when it’s grey and dark.

And the thing I love about this swirl dress? I look so put together regardless of how my hair looks or if I’m wearing makeup, and I love that!

melody mae black gingham swirl dress

melody maeHair Flower; Lady Lucks Boutique
Necklace; Vintage
Brooch; Luxulite
Bangles; Splendette
Shoes; Miss L Fire

 

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{ Lifestyle } My Vintage Wardrobe on Huffington Post

If you haven’t been keeping an eye on my Instagram last couple of weeks, you may not have heard about this little thing I did back in January. Me and my bet damn friend Siobhan did a ‘My Vintage Wardrobe’ article with The Huffington Post! How exciting is that?

melody mae my vintage wardrobe

We wanted to put an emphasis on reproduction clothing as we find the vintage scene views it as a ‘bad word’. We both work for Collectif which is a repro company, so unlike previous MVD articles, the aim of the shoot was to mix repro and vintage. What we wanted to show was that no matter your size, shape, budget or taste you can always look amazing.

melody mae my vintage wardrobe

Jennifer Barton came to photograph us at the Collectif Spitalfields shop, and the photos were just perfect! Both myself and Siobhan were self-styled, we did our own hair and makeup and mostly clothing and accessories we own. We did, however, borrow some What Katie Did and Miss L Fire goodies! Because why wouldn’t you when you’ve got three brands under one roof?

melody mae my vintage wardrobe

As I say in the article, my size really stops me from accessing vintage. Women just weren’t this damn bootylicious back in the 50s! This is why I love reproduction brands, especially when their sizing goes beyond the straight sizing of 8-18. It makes vintage styles accessible and affordable for the plus size woman.

Have a read of the article – and let me know your thoughts!

melody mae my vintage wardrobe

melody mae

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{ Sewing } Check, Please!

You know who loves a 50s style gingham dress? THIS GIRL!

melody mae 50s style gingham dress

I made this dress back last year for a cousin’s wedding, and GOD DAMN do I love it. The pattern is self-drafted, which I adapted from the No Cock Nor Tails dress. The only difference between the NCNT and this dress is the addition of shaped shoulders and a pleated dirndl skirt.

 melody mae 50s style gingham dress

I bought the fabric from Rolls and Rems in Holloway Road – and it’s literally everything you could hope for in fabric. It’s definitely not 100% cotton, but you really wouldn’t notice since it’s so soft! It’s a 1-inch gingham, perfect for the knife pleats of the skirt and it just looks much more striking than smaller checks.

melody mae
Hair Flowers; Lady Lucks Boutique
Shrug&Belt; Collectif
Bag; Vintage
Shoes; Miss L Fire

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{ Sewing } A Check-Ah, A Check-Ow!

I have a thing for Gingham.

melody mae navy gingham dress

I don’t know exactly why I love it so much, but there’s something about gingham that draws me into it. This cotton gingham in particular is a dream to work with – large woven check, behaves itself and although it can fray easily (as with most cotton) pinking is no problem for seam finishes.

melody mae navy gingham dress

There’s so little I can say about the making of this dress, because you’ve seen it all before. Yes, it’s that damn Butterick B5880 bodice again!

Much like the last three. damn. dresses. I used the B5880 bodice with, I have omitted the neckline notches, graded the bodice up and down and all around, added a sort-of-Kimono-sleeve – and then whacked on a box-pleated dirndl and rectangle patch pockets for good measure.

melody mae navy gingham dress

There are a couple of “new features”, if you will, though. Unlike previous B5880’s, this one features a centre back lapped zipper (explaining the fancy-ass zip picture) instead of a invisible side zip, which actually makes this dress really hard to get in and out of without help (balls.) I’ve also lowered and widened the neckline to be more of a boatneck, although I’m not to sure on it.

I also attempted a tip that came up on Twitter quite a while back about hemming – which was basically just sewing your fashion fabric and lining fabric as a normal seam and just pressing. It’s my sort of tip – the lazy girl’s way! At the very least, it gives a nice, invisible hem.

melody mae navy gingham dress

Construction-wise, you’d really think I’d have this damn bodice down perfectly – but no! This was one of those months-long projects that kept getting thrown in the bin because things weren’t working out – then I’d leave it for a month, correct it like it was no problem, and something stupid would happen and it’s back in the bin.

I’ve still not worked out the best way of fixing the bodice gape, and let’s not talk about the sleeves being weird and baggy – unless you have a suggestion of how to stop that asap.

melody mae navy gingham dress

 

melody maeHair Flowers; Lady Luck’s Boutique
Brooch; Luxulite
Belt; Collectif
Stockings; What Katie Did
Shoes; Irregular Choice

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{ Sewing } Whatever Floats Your Boat, Sinks Your Battleship

It’s Sew Dolly Clackett time!!!

It’s like university all over again; the deadline is steadily approaching, I’m sewing like a sewing madman, I can’t do simple maths to work out pleating. Everything has gone wrong and I’ve even cried, BUT I HAVE DONE IT. Pulled it out of the bag with little room to breathe before the deadline, but it’s here.

If you’ve been living under a sewing rock, you might not know what Sew Dolly Clackett is, (Shame on you.) but the lovely Sarah from Rhinestones and Telephones made a sewalong-come-wedding-present for the gorgeous Roisin of Dolly Clackett‘s upcoming nuptials. You make a dress inspired by her frankly substantial self-made wardrobe, and enter it on the Flickr for prizes and notoriety!

sew dolly clackett melody

Fang Rock Dress | Green Ginger Dress

 I used the inspiration of Roisin’s Fang Rock dress for the bodice and sailor theme, and her Green Ginger dress’ pleats. Using the Butterick B5880 bodice  I tried to re-create the BHL Anna bodice (badly) she used, and the skirt is a ‘self drafted’ pleated dirndl.

sew dolly clackett melody

I made this dress from a gorgeous cotton, bought from my local shop Rolls and Rems. It’s got printed navy stripes and red anchors – who doesn’t want that in a dress?

Fully lined in white cotton with a waist stay – this is technically my best-sewn item to date! The zip busted on me in the final try-on, which caused me to cry, but luckily I persevered on with a second zip and managed to get out of the house to take a few photos outside our door. True Dolly Clackett style!

sew dolly clackett melody

I’ve had a bit of a massive blogger crush on Roisin for a while now, and I make absolutely no secret of this – I love her humour and her face and her super-human sewing skills (I lose count of just how many dresses she makes in a month!) and her shoe obsessions have, much to my boyfriend’s dismay, inspired me to buy countless pairs of ridiculous shoes.

sew dolly clackett melody

Congratulations, Roisin and Nic! I hope you have an amazing gin-filled wedding and many, many happy years ahead of you!

 

melody maeNecklace; Vintage
Belt; Collectif
Shoes; Irregular Choice

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{ Sewing } Lace Be Honest, You Love A Good Pun, Right?

(This post on a handmade black lace 50s dress was originally posted on Bourbon and Bras on 8th March 2014)

In my Sewlutions round-up post I introduced the “Lace Be Honest” dress, which is a dress I wear at least twice a week.

melody mae 5b880

The Lace Be Honest dress uses Butterick B5880, the same as the Homage To A Mad Old Lady dress. Like the previous version, I omitted the neckline notches. Instead of the sarong-style skirt in the original pattern I made a pleated dirndl using 2-inch box pleats.

I fully lined this dress in a nice crisp black cotton to keep those pleats in check and create volume in the skirt.

melody mae b5880

The lace overlay was from the bargain box at my local fabric shop, Rolls and Rems in Holloway at the absolute bargain price of £8.99 for just over three meters -which is an amazing price considering the lace is £7 a meter as it is!

I made it to show off the scalloping of the lace by having the lining a tad shorter.

melodymae b5880

Also – POCKETS. Have I fully expressed my love for pockets on here yet – because I LOVE POCKETS. Screw everyone that makes dresses and skirts without pockets – where else will us laydeez put our knives? I make sure to tell everyone who shoes any interest in my clothes that they have pockets.

I used the scalloped edging for the top of the pocket, to match the hem (and I like scallops) and they were hand-stitched on with help from this tutorial from By Gum By Golly, and you know when you get your stitches perfect and they’re invisible? YEAH, BABES. I CAN DO THAT.

melody mae b5880

Necklace, Bag and belt; Primark
Bangles; Vintage
Boots; Rocketdog

melody mae x

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{ Sewing } Homage To A Mad Old Lady!

(This sewing post on a handmade 50s dress was originally on Bourbon and Bras on 3rd July 2013)

Years ago when fabric shopping, a kind yet mad woman wrapped me up in a makeshift sari, telling me that I would look make a “beautiful bride” for her son. I laughed the whole thing off, unwrapped myself and bought what I needed.

What I hadn’t seen is she’d thrown in a length of the fabric she’d wrapped around me! She told me “not to tell her husband” which confused me at the time, but once I’d got home and seen the fabric, I promised to make something pretty out of it and fondly remember that crazy woman.

melody mae b5880

Approximately four years later – I’ve finally used the fabric in a dress!

This dress uses the bodice from Butterick B5880, omitting the neckline notches, and has a pleated dirndl instead of the sarong skirt – and pockets!

melody mae b5880

I’m going to assume the fabric is a voile of some kind, and it’s frankly slippy as f-. Trying to get the checks to line up was a time consuming and ultimately fruitless labour of love.
But the fabric itself was nice to work with – it presses really quite crisp, isn’t so bad for fraying and my favourite part – you can shove it in a washing machine with no problem!

The dress itself, I love – it’s my favourite make so far. The bodice is roomy without making me look frumpy – and although .

I’d never made a pleated skirt before this, and it went by with only one problem – I had to take out pleats in the front for not having enough fabric. But it worked out nicely, I like the flatter front as it doesn’t make me look pregnant, which is always a bonus.

The only problem is that this fabric completely absorbs sunlight – whilst I was standing directly under the sun whilst on the Isle of Man, I was certain I was going to end up catching fire.

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