{ Sewing } P-P-P-Polkadots!

I’ve spoken about Rolls and Rem’s remnant table before, right? This is yet another great find. Similar fabric to the Striped skirt I made, this is a stiff canvas-like cotton which just behaves beautifully through a machine. This Polkadot 50s dress was the perfect style for it!

melody mae 50s polkadot dress

The pattern I used for this dress was an altered version of the No Cock Nor Tails dress I made several years ago – the difference being that I added a ruched bustline by taking the bust of the pattern, slashing and spreading, and gathering it. It looks pretty adorable with the ric rac trim though, right?

melody mae polkadot 50s dress

I actually made before I went on a night out a year ago! I’d had a real problem with overestimating the ease and the finished garment ended up massive. So I threw it in the wash and it was set aside in my ever-mounting pile of alterations for another day.

Then after a re-discovery, I threw it through my machines and thought that was that.

melody mae polkadot 50s dress

But readers. This is me, and I am not a lucky person. The bloody thing shrunk in the wash without me realising, so the dress is preeeeeetty damn tight now. And I even had to cut out the bust of the original pattern which at this point pretty much served as a lining for the ruching. That was just to make sure I wasn’t giving myself pancake boobs!

However. The damn thing juuuust about fits, and quite frankly I love it. I’m still a bit of a sucker for a polka dot every now and then, and the off-white polkadots are a really welcome addition to my black obsession recently!

melody mae polkadot 50s dress

So! Lets get down to the nitty-gritty, yes? The dress is unlined as the fabric is thick enough without it, with facing on the entire neckline/arm scythe. I finished the hem with bias tape as I find it’s really just the easiest way to hem a full circle skirt without any weird puckering.

And you’ll be shocked to hear this, but there are NO POCKETS in this dress. I’d originally planned on patch pockets with ric rac trim, but honestly it looked pretty stupid and I’ve never really gotten around to popping in some in-seam ones – it might happen one day when I get too frustrated with keeping my phone in my bra, though.

melody mae polkadot 50s dress

melody maeEarrings: Bow and Crossbones and Luxulite
Necklace: Vintage
Brooch: Luxulite
Bangles: Vintage and Splendette
Handbag: Accessorize
Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens

Continue Reading

{ Sewing } Twilight Tartan

Often when I’m roping friends into taking photos for me for the blog, we get a little carried away with shopping and eating burgers. We then have to run about to find the last bit of light so I can get a photo. That’s exactly what happened with this tartan 50s dress – taken in twilight!

melody mae tartan 50s dress

You can tell already – it’s the trusty B5880 all over again! My versions of this dress has undergone some real changes from the original pattern. This time, I’ve ditched the neckline notches and done away with the sarong skirt in favour of a pleated dirndl skirt. I used box pleats for this skirt style, similar to my A Check-Ah, A Check-Ow dress but used a much longer length that other versions.

This tartan version sees the return of the original concealed side zip which makes it easier to get in and out of without help! The seams are overlocked, the neckline and arms are bias-bound. It also features possibly the biggest pockets on a dress to date – it fits an A4 magazine with a bit of room! If you love pockets as much as I do, I’m sure you’re going to appreciate that!

melody mae tartan 50s dress

The fabric itself is a lovely mid-weight wool blend Stewart tartan. Is a great fabric with nice texture, snuggly warmth and is light enough to hang well, but stiff enough to keep shape, which is my perfect sort of fabric!

We’re heading into spring now, and I’m going to be so sad to stop wearing this dress. Although I love my ginghams, I adore this dress too much to say goodbye right now!

melody mae tartan 50s dress

melody maeEarrings; Bow and Crossbones
Necklace&Belt; Vintage
Brooch; Luxulite
Bangles; Vintage and Splendette
Bag;  Sun Jellies
Shoes; Primark

Continue Reading

{ Sewing } Planten Un Blomen

I made this Japanese inspired dress the day before I was flying to Germany. I’d decided I had absolutely nothing to wear for the wedding we were going to. This really isn’t the case, but they don’t call me Last-Minute-Melody for nothing!

I needed a tried-and-tested pattern to make this as quickly as possible. Without even thinking, I grabbed my trusty B5880 pattern and got to business with my fabric.

melody mae japanese inspired dress

This fabric is a great medium-weight cotton in navy blue with a non-specific Oriental theme. I like to think it’s a Japanese print, but you can correct me if I’m wrong! I’ve had this fabric sitting around since my last trip to Goldhawk Road – and I won’t do that again in a hurry. Does anyone else come out of every shop getting nearer and nearer to panic attacks, or is that just me?

melody mae japanese inspired dress

As always (you can check out my other B5880’s here.), my B5880 is now very different to the original, without the neckline notches, an altered neckline and this version has a circle skirt instead of the original sarong-style.

The alterations on each dress seems to change with every new version, regardless of how big or small. This dress is the same, with the side zip moved to the centre back and some neckline differences. Seams are all finished with the trusty overlocker, but the hem and arm holes are bias-bound and catch-stitched.

melody mae japanese inspired dress

Since time was not on my side (my own fault!) I didn’t line this dress. Luckily the fabric itself is not see-through, so lining wasn’t so important – no worries of flashing here! The saddest point – I didn’t have time to put in pockets! The shaaaaaame!

Now I won’t lie – I don’t actually like this dress. I loved it in my head, I loved it once it was off the machine but once I wore it? Really wasn’t a fan. And I haven’t worn it since – do you ever get like that?

 

melody mae japanese inspired dress

melody maeHair Flower; Lady Luck’s Boutique
Earrings; Bow and Crossbones
Brooch: Luxulite
Necklace; Vintage
Bangles; Vintage
Shoes; Miss L Fire

Continue Reading

{ 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

Continue Reading

{ 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

 

Continue Reading

{ 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

Continue Reading

{ 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

Continue Reading

{ 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

Continue Reading

{ 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

Continue Reading

{ 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.

Continue Reading