Tag Archive | dolly kei

floral 40’s

Last week I finally finished the 40’s dress I have been supposed to be making as a ‘quick easy’ project. Er yeah! I have been seriously ill with various stuff (largely Chronic Fatigue, but also a cold and tendonitis in my foot) the past few weeks, and its got to the stage that I can only sew for about an hour a day before having to crawl back into bed. So this dress happened at roughly the pace of a snail.

Pattern (As used previously here, better pictures of finished dress here) is this one from 1940s……


Love this pattern to bits, my version is a 38″ bust and fits without any real alteration other than what I would do to a modern simplicity pattern (I’ve moved the zip to the back for easy access and I make the sleeves wider cuz my arms are fat).

It made up lovely…..

simplicity 4517 a simplicity 4517

It is not the most appropriate weather for a dress of this sort at the moment,  so there is no way I was wearing such winter garments as tights and shoes. I am really pleased with it though. At first I thought it was a bit too floral, but its grown on me, and it is soooo comfy, its made of some kind of stuff that looks like brushed cotton (though given its from the fabric stall could be anything) and its just really soft and drapey to wear. I buggered up the back a bit because I was that desperate to get it done that I did not wait for Jon to come home from work and pin the zip for me, I just sewed it as it was, and then I needed to put massive darts in because it was far too blousey and big for me. It is mostly fixed now, but ideally I’d take the zip out and pin some excess fabric out of it, but thats unlikely to happen because I’m too ill and lazy at the moment and its as good as ready to wear would be, just not quite good enough!

simplicity 4517 close up

This is the top of the dress. I am so proud because I managed to get the point of the v-neck, the seam down the front of the bodice and the seam down the front of the skirt all to line up, which you can’t really see from photos because of the business of the pattern, but it looks awesome in real life.

Despite the weather I’ve tried to style it up a bit for photos, the necklace (and matching bracelet) is from Topshop in the sale years ago and the hair flower from H&M. I intend to Dolly Kei the crap out of this as it gets towards winter, I have a cute little black knitted waistcoat and a black long net petticoat I think would go brilliantly. Though any suggestions gratefully accepted.

And finally…….



The inside of the dress, and all the neat little overlocked lines. I am getting so good at making my insides tidy these days.

I am not entirely sure what to sew next though. I have the fabric ready for a Sewaholic Cambie, but I don’t have very much energy at the moment and would have to make a bodice mock-up (from experience Sewaholic patterns waist measurements are about 4 inches smaller than mine) I have the pages printed ready to assemble for a Kitschykoo Lady Skater Dress, but it’ll take a day of being really well to cut and assemble the pieces (hate pdf patterns) and I don’t really have any fabric thats jumping out at me wanting to be made into that one.

I’ve also got the fabric at hand to sew the tops I’m wanting to make for my friend and finally collected the appropriate lace trimmings to make red and burgundy versions of this top. I am so excited actually, I think I have finally found a source on the internet of reasonably cheap Japanese quality lace! 🙂 About time too!

But I am really bored with making the same thing over and over again. I really want to be pushing myself and improving my sewing, though with my health as it is at the moment and maximum sewing sessions having shrunk from about 4hrs to about 1 1/2 I’m not sure how thats going to happen. Anyway, I think I’m going to ignore sewing for a week or so, heavens, theres enough housework I need to do, and see what inspiration takes my fancy. 🙂

The experimental top

So finally this weekend I got round to taking photos of the top I made a few weeks ago…..

IMG_3038     floral top



This top was based once again on my self drafted pattern and I was going to just make it in plain black, but the black venice lace I’d picked up from etsy turned out to be terrible quality (which is what you get if the price on something looks too good to be true) and I didn’t want to wait around for a new load to be delivered. So I had a look in my lace cupboard and realised I had a load of vintage blue stuff that would go perfectly which was great, but the pattern also needs a thinner lace, and the only one I had the right thickness was burgundy. So I looked at the fabric and well, it does have blue and burgundy in it, and then I had a load of yellow buttons lying around that were the right size (I think I got them as a free gift when I bought something else off etsy, so thank-you very much whoever those were from!) so I thought, either this is going to work brilliantly or be a complete disaster, but I had enough of the fabric for two tops and rather than wait to get more conventional looking supplies I decided to just go for it. The fabric itself is jersey from Lewisham market last year.

I think it has worked really well actually. I wore it to one of my Mum’s coffee mornings and all the ladies there liked it and thought it was a “proper statement top”. I am intending to style it up into a Dolly Kei co-ordinate at some point, but I don’t have a suitable skirt at the moment, so this will have to do. The necklace is an old one my Mum bought me from accessorise ages ago. Skirt made by me last month.

I am not doing any sewing at the moment as I am still struggling with my health too much. I have a couple of woollen winter skirts ready to go as soon as I do get the chance, and then hopefully I will get to play with interesting gothy stuff after Christmas.

charity shopping… the successes and the failures

last Thursday I took my friend Liz, who has just moved into the area and is currently not working up to Beckenham for a spot of charity shopping.

The Beckenham Charity Shop Crawl has become such a popular activity for old ladies and hipsters on the weekend that I tend to avoid going there on Saturdays anymore, so Thursday was the perfect time to go.

We had a really good fun day, the weather was nice, the shops were productive and we finished with a trip to our local pub the Catford Bridge Tavern in the evening where conveniently an Unfined (vegan) Beer Festival was happening.

However I am somewhat kicking myself with what i bought/didn’t buy…..

Firstly the successes……


This may only be small, but its a really beautiful hair clip, perfect if I was going in a Dolly Kei direction and it was only £2.50 so I am well pleased.

The complete stars of the show……



These were only £3 each, which even by charity shop standards is ridiculously low for frames of that quality, basically because the frames were a little chipped ;nothing that a little nail varnish and a few strategic flowers or bows won’t fix!

I wasn’t interested in the pictures at first and infact was going to ditch them, when it was pointed out to me that a few strategically placed zombies or faries will make them immeasurably more interesting.:-)

It will have to wait a few weeks though as our printer is out of cartridge, and part of our next stage of house reorganisation involves replacing it with a photocopier style wireless one and I’m intending to go down the collage route rather than try to draw my own.

But I am so excited to get playing with them and get them on the walls.

Then there was the failure…..


I was so excited when I found this…….I spent half of last year looking for a plus sized version of those Wednesday Adams dresses that were so popular last year and couldn’t find one. This one from Wallis is sized 22, large for me, but easy enough to take in and looked in good nick in the shop, hence I forked out £8 for it, which is rather a lot for me for charity shopping.

When I got it out in daylight I realised the collar and cuffs were a bit grubby so I decided to put it in the machine with a load of stain remover and it should be fine…well it worked with absolutely every other black and white garment I have ever owned!

Got it home, checked the tags and it was cold wash only. Thought that was a bit wierd, but added loads of stain remover and soaked it in a bucket of cold water for a couple of hours anyway. And then I came back and realised the water was dark grey, the collar and cuffs looked way worse than before and if I didn’t do something soon it would be a complete emergency! 

So we drained it in the bath (permanently staining our white rubber non slip bath mat in the process) and as a last resort stuck it on its own in the washing machine at 40 with even more stain remover of various types.

Funnily enough the dress didn’t seem to mind a warm wash at 40 at all! However on a dress where the contrast between the collar and cuffs and main part of the dress is the whole point of it, the white bits are now a grubby shade of grey!


I mean really what sort of complete idiot company designs and then mass manufactures a black and white dress that isn’t actually colourfast? Grrr! And also irritation reserved for the original owner, they must have known it was a dud, in which case Don’t Send It To The Charity Shop If It’s Broken!!!!

I’m not sure what to do with it now…Part of me wants to send it straight to a fabric bank (the correct offloading point for substandard clothes) but I am tempted to cut the collar and cuffs off and use them as templates, I have a small amount of a really nice silver and black jacquard brocade I acquired off my favourite market stall that would work wonders as a replacement for them. And would be safe in the washing machine with a staining dress!

I have so many projects on the go already though!

I am also slightly gutted because I left a miniature white china ladies head behind in a shop, i looked at it, decided we couldn’t use any more ornaments and completely forgot that it was exactly the right size to store a miniature hat.

I also spent a good few minutes eyeing up a black glass bead necklace and left it behind as I got distracted when actually i desperately need one and that was quite good quality.

I am so upset in fact I may even go back tomorrow and see if they are still there after the carnage of the weekend. 

Its always the bits that you leave behind get you the most, I suppose cuz you never see them again and everything you actually buy becomes literally part of the furniture.

But I would just like to take a moment to remember the solid wood framed gold gilt oval mirror and black lacquer marquetry tissue box from when we lived in Finchley (I forgot you can buy stuff and then collect it on saturday, and my parents hurried me away) and the working ice cream maker and amazing tacky hand knitted xmas sweater from Hitchin (I was just being dopey, I thought £20 was a bit steep for a sweater, then I looked up how much they cost online these days)……never will I see their like again!