2014 seemed to be the year of Superhero parties.  I was turning 33 last year, and decided I would host a party, with a superhero theme.  I had decided this some time before a friend of ours announced a hero and villain party.

Given my pre-planning obsession, I had also already selected a suitably random superhero for my own birthday party, so this required some further thinking on my part to find a second (super)hero to dress as to attend the friend’s party, which of course, preceded mine (meaning I couldn’t go as the same character)!

Invisible Woman

For my own party I had chosen The Blonde Phantom.  A 1940s heroin, she was little known, but had a great costume (without the skank-quality of some of the later heroines), as well as being a clever woman.  Technically she didn’t have any superpowers, but she had a little mask, and carried a hand gun.

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So, for our friend’s party (which was early winter) I chose to go as Invisible Woman – one has to consider the weather when planning these sorts of things (nothing I hate more than being cold).

There appeared to be a few iterations of her costume throughout the years, but the key components seemed to be: blue fitted suit, black boots, black gloves, black waistband and collar, and of course the number 4 on the chest.

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And of course, being a sew-er..  I had to make my own costumes.

Given the wintery nature of this outfit, I wanted to go for a Ponti knit, but couldn’t get the right shade of blue.  Instead I settled for a scuba fabric, which had the right sort of look, however I discovered (a little too late) it wasn’t quite as stretchy as I had hoped.

The basic format of the pattern was to make leggings, a fitted top and then sew them together.   The leggings had to be remade, as I had used a pattern of other leggings I owned, but then discovered the scuba fabric wasn’t as stretchy… and I couldn’t get into the leggings.. so they got re-cut as my sleeves.

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The Number 4 I did in felt and appliqued onto the upper front.  Invisible zip up the middle front, and a black jersey fabric upright collar.

I had to make a few amendments to the back of the leggings as well (did not think out that pattern very well before cutting it) – and used a wide black elastic as the waistband.  The black gloves I already had (from a 1920s outfit!) and the black boots are my enormous Tony Bianco black suede heels…

My husband also got a costume – we chose Silver Surfer for him, and whipped him up some supertight leggings in silver ;-)

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Blonde Phantom

Meanwhile, I had to start planning my own birthday party costume.   I gathered pictures of the Blonde Phantom so I could get the design of the costume right.  The key components were the red, flowing skirt; the exposed midriff; the sweetheart neckline, and the little sun details at the corners (and of course the black face mask).

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Getting into the theme, I sent out the party invites, dressing myself as my character for them (as an obscure superhero, I felt I wasn’t really giving anything away by letting people know what I was going to wear..   (If anyone else would like me to illustrate them as a comic strip, please let me know).

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And then it was time for the fabric choice.  As a generally natural fabric gal, I had never *ever* used Spandex before, in my entire sewing history – never purchased, never sewn, never touched.  The nature of this costume though.. seemed I had no other choice.

But, gosh, was it easy to work with!! Red spandex for the entire dress – no darts needed, no gathering, no zig-zagging.. why have I never used this before!?  I also got yellow and white spandex to do the detailing, so the whole dress would move and stretch as one.

I interfaced the little suns, and straight stitched them on (appliqueing those warped the fabric something shocking).

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The bodice was double lined at the front to ensure clean lines and no funny hems at the mid-riff cutout and sweetheart neck line.

I purchased a little black mask and cut it down to size… and of course made a cake to match the colour and comic theme…

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And the last but not least touch, I purchased me some black LimeCrime lipstick… divine… not ever having been a goth, there was something really lovely about wearing black lipstick (matt black) and I wish I had an excuse to wear it more often!!

Oh, and the little gun.. that went ‘Bang’ when you fired it.  My hubby went as the Hulk – much easier costume then the Silver Surfer – this time I just dyed his old pair of jeans purple and ripped off the bottoms!!

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Whilst at the Clegs remnant sale, I snagged myself two lovely pieces of Ponti (or Ponte) fabric.  The versatile, stretchy, dense fabric that is my latest favourite all purpose fabric.   One piece was black and white striped, the other taupe.  My mission, to make some more high waisted ‘midi’ skirts for my Summer wardrobe – I already had a dark denim and black high waisted skirt, and the black is not so conducive to a hot day.

One of my favourite looks for work is a high waisted skirt with blouse, shirt or knit tucked into it.  It is also great with a short cardigan (of which there are many in the fashion books at the moment).

The striped skirt is based on my own simple pattern, a front skirt piece and a back skirt, with a wide waistband at the top.  The stretchy fabric means no need for a zip (too easy).

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After purchasing the Vogue Pattern 8866 for the “Pretty Girls Sew” jacket challenge last year, I have been working through the other outfits in the pattern.  The top within the pattern is fabulous, and I made that last year (I should blog that one too); and so with my taupe ponti I tried the skirt pattern.

The pattern is great – really good fit (needed to take it in a little bit for my size), but is super comfortable and looks great for work and day wear.   Given the very stretchy nature of the Ponti, I actually removed the zip from the pattern, and added a wide waistband for a more “high waisted” skirt look.

I’m so impressed with the pattern, that I’m going to make another one.. and possibly the dress version for Autumn/Winter – all out of Ponti!!

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Re-acquainting myself with my blog, I realised I posted *one* post last year… :-/  – that is appalling.   So, to you my followers, I apologise.  I will try harder this year!

I had a short break from work over the summer and started to get my summer wardrobe into order (long overdue).   I did also go to the Clegs remnant sale… so picked up lots of lovely fabrics there.

However, first cab off the rank -I should go back to a blouse I finished that I never uploaded.  I finished the blouse June 2014.. I started the blouse June 2013… my excuse was that i was waiting for buttons.  I was waiting for buttons, but not for that long!

Cat shirt

You may notice it is very similar in pattern to my Spring Blouse that I had previously made.  It is the same pattern (one of my own poorly drafted patterns), but I was pleased with the previous success, so I did it all again!  The difference with this one is the sleeves and neck tie are both chiffon – that was mainly due to the limited fabric I had for the body of the blouse.

And yes, the fabric has tiny cat heads on it – what else was I supposed to do with it, but make a Cat Blouse.

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Alright, I’m on Instagram and follow the @prettygirlssew, who have monthly sewing challenges – they choose a pattern and everyone sews along.  This was the January-February challenge, that I thought I’d have plenty of time to complete.. but I only just finished :(

Anyway, it is done now, and I’m very pleased with the result.  The pattern chosen for the month was Vogue 8866, which included a short trench coat with a very flouncy peplum.   As I cut the pattern, I decided there was a bit too much flounce for me, so I edited that component of the jacket to a more conventional peplum cut.

I chose a navy outer, and a green, white and navy geometric print to line the jacket and to accent it – buttons, belt pockets, collar (if you haven’t guessed, I’m choosing navy and green as two of my stable colours for the upcoming autumn/winter season).

Vogue_TrenchI had the buttons and belt made by the lovely Kate at Buttonmania, here in Melbourne.  The Vogue pattern is great – good fit, and probably the only thing I’d change is the pockets (make them actual pockets) and add little tabs to hold the belt in.   The pattern also comes with a great top/dress, which I’m presently busy making outing a ponte fabric, for the autumn.

 

Simplicity 1777 – So, I saw this pattern in the catalog, and because it was Vintage/Retro I had to buy it!  For a long time I didn’t have any fabric that was appropriate, and then I received a gift voucher for Tessuti for my birthday… and I found the “Noon Yesterday Ponti – Digital Print” fabric – it was perfect!!

I set to work laying the pattern out carefully to fit the repeats evenly into the pattern pieces.

Simplicity40s_1 As usual I had some assistance from my fluffy friends..  The pattern was really good – it was a little bit fiddly around the pleated detail at the waist and hips, but the end effect was well worth the effort.

The fit was amazing – perfectly contoured to fit the body.   I went for the 3/4 sleeves in the end, and the dress is a lovely ‘important work meeting’ day dress.  So all in all, I was very stoked with the end result.

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Last year, or perhaps the year before.. my friend and I went to the Alannah Hill Outlet, where the lovely people of Alannah Hill sell off rolls fabric that they are no longer using, and remants (I really should go back there again!).  I picked up this remnant gorgeous creamy, slightly stretchy, floral print – thinking that it would make a really nice blouse.

Much time passed before I was finally both inspired and confident to cut the fabric into a blouse.  I really wanted to make a long sleeved blouse – and there was not quite enough fabric.. so I cut out the main pieces, and had to cobble together the back yoke by sewing the offcuts back into a useable piece of fabric!

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I also didn’t have enough fabric for collar or cuffs… I really wanted contrasting details – and was hoping to be able to get fabric that was the dark green-teal colour that some of the floral pattern had.  Unfortunately, no fabric store had that colour.  I also wanted to have silk satin cuffs, and matching silk organza collar tie.  I tried a an orange.. didn’t work, and I didn’t want pink.. so I ended up settling for the dark blue you see here.  I was really please with the end result, it picked out a nice highlight in the blouse colours.

The cuffs I spent a bit of time on – I’m really starting to dislike regular button holes.. so for the cuffs I used bound buttonholes instead, which produced a much lovelier outcome.  The blouse has an invisble zip up the centre.

Okay! So, when my husband’s expensive, fine wool suit work pants wore away to a form a massive hole in areas where there should not be holes.. I thought ‘90% of this fabric is in perfect condition, what a waste it would be throw the pants out’.

So I got thinking about what could be done with the suit pants material.  I unstitched both legs so I ended up with two sizeable pieces of fabric.  I salvaged the silk, paisley waistband lining, all the buttons.  Placing the two legs upside down on my dressmakers form, I realised that if cut the legs cleverly I would have enough fabric to make a pinafore.

Using a rough pattern of another dress, I cut two upper bodice yokes – front and back to get the neckline.  This was taken from the hip area of the pants where the fabric was broad enough to fit a pattern piece, and added details of pockets that give an indication of what the fabric used to be.

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Looking at the photos, I can see I really need to iron the dress – so apologies!  However, once I had laid out the pants as the dress form, I added diagonal darts (took that idea from the 1960s vintage pattern).   I cut the dress reasonably short, given that the fabric is quite conservative.  Sewed it all up, lined the yoke.. and then put together a little belt from the salvaged waistline fabric.   Voila! A pinafore from hubby’s old pants.   (There is another pair of pants waiting in my sewing room to be converted into something… maybe a bodice..)

PS.  The dress is super easy to wear, and breathable – they do make these suits out of lovely fabric!

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