Year of the Tiger

The Chinese Spring Festival celebrates the beginning of a new year according to the traditional Chinese calendar.  This year became the Year of the Tiger on February 1st, and my son was ready for it with an outfit made by me!  He thoroughly enjoys the fabric store as much as I do (I’m so lucky) so on one such visit he picked out this tiger striped micro-suede fabric from the remnant section asking me to make something of it.  I obliged him by choosing to sew the tiger print into crazy pants.  That wasn’t going to be enough to keep him cozy since he is easily cold in winter, so I turned a knit remnant from on hand into a turtleneck.  Now he has a full mom-made outfit!  I love enabling his personal style.  He is as intrepid as a tiger here, ready to make his presence known with some admirable confidence in a roaring bold look

THE FACTS:

FABRIC:  just over 1 yard of polyester micro-suede for the pants, and 1 yard of an all-cotton interlock for the top (leftover from this project, posted here)

PATTERNS:  both are Burda Style patterns – “Rollneck Top for Boys” #132 from October 2020 and then “Trousers for Boys” #129 from August 2019

NOTIONS NEEDED:  lots of thread and just enough elastic for my son’s waist

TIME TO COMPLETE:  not long at all – it took me 3 hours to sew each piece and they were both finished February 2, 2021

THE INSIDES:  left raw, as neither fabric really frays much, but I did zig-zag stitch over the micro-suede “just in case”

TOTAL COST:  The microsuede was a discount remnant for about $7 and the knit and elastic piece were remnants on hand so I’m counting them as free

We asked him, “Show off those socks!” so he pulled his pants legs up!

It is a convenient fact that my son’s school ‘family group’ color is orange for when they have school wide events and divide up into ‘teams’ to compete in a trivia match or athletic race. Now, for such events, these wild and obnoxious but totally individualistic trousers are just the thing he can appropriately wear! In fact, I took it a step further and dyed one of his surplus plain white school polo shirts to be a matching toned, solid, bright orange. Of all things, I actually happened to have a bottle of tangerine liquid RIT dye on hand, so it was too easy of a fun ‘refashion’ to pass up. Most importantly, though, my son was totally ecstatic over the crazy idea, so much so that we even threw in a pair of plain white socks into the dye bath pot on the stove! Yes, we were literally ‘cooking’ up some fun that night. I’m proud to see he takes after me, it seems – my son is also assertive in being himself and letting his fashion choices reflect that, even if it means not being “the norm”. After all, he is not far off to think that the best stuff to wear is handmade by mom, anyways!

I simplified the pants and streamlined their construction since this was just a crazy fabric that was going to be for him to wear for fun and play…nothing nice to be worn at church.  The waist was given full elastic waist around rather than the called-for partial elastic with mostly drawstring fitting.  He is too skinny for drawstring waists, I have found out from some ready-to-wear items.  Taking it a step further, the front fly is here just for show too, a faux detail and non-working.  These are just pull-on pants, pretty similar to the waists of pajamas.  I was not in the mood to do a full fly with a fiddly, tiny, 5 inch zipper – especially not for play pants, as I have said.  Besides, my son was watching the entire pattern tracing and construction process, as well as helping me along the way, so I wanted to make this project appear easy to him.  It would be intimidating (no doubt) from his perspective to see how a zipper fly goes in, but I know it also would have made him think I can work miracles at my sewing machine.  More on this topic later down in my post!

Nice pockets are a must for me, but especially so for my son.  This is why this Burda pants pattern was fantastic…four roomy pockets!  I love how the front inset pocket flows right into the back booty’s applied patch pocket, connecting together at the side seams (see picture at right).  It is little well thought out touches like this that I appreciate in menswear (whether for big or small boys).  There is not much exciting that can be done with the overall general seam lines for most masculine clothing, so it all comes down to how the small stuff is refined.  All he cares about is if he has room for lots of nose tissues, rocks, food snacks, pencils, and all the other oddities that he loves to stash in his pockets.  It was a win-win for both of us.

I lengthened all the hems of both items by several inches to accommodate his fast rate of growing.  This is why you see the pants roll cuffed and the top’s sleeves pushed up his arms.  In sewing, catering what is made to the body it is intended for is presented with an extra challenge when it comes to kids.  My son grows so darn fast!  At least I know he always only gets longer in the limbs and taller in his height, but never really fills out.  Thus I can fit his waist and torso as it is, but only have to add an extra 2 something inches in length so as to give him an extra 9 to 12 months of wear.  Custom garment sewing really pays off when I sew for him, because what I make gets worn for a longer period of time than my son’s store bought items.  This vintage jacket I made for him (posted here) was able to be worn for three years because I thought ahead and added length.  Yay for my mom brain, which thinks ahead!

The turtleneck was super simple and much appreciated by both of us.  I love the fact there is a pattern for this because I rarely see kid’s turtlenecks for sale – he loves them because he is so easily cold but having something snuggled around his neck keeps him happily cozy.  There were only 4 pattern pieces for the win, too.  I triple stitched everything in a tighter zig-zag stitch than I normally use because this is for him…and if you’ve ever seen the way he plays, moves, and can be rough on his clothes, you’d understand.  Cotton knit does not have as much of a rebound or return in its stretch as a polyester nit does.  Yet, it is lofty, thicker, and more breathable than a poly…thus perfect for a turtleneck.  It was the perfect way to use up something long hoarded.  Hubby can’t believe the remnants I save, but no matter how small, they really do always become worthwhile.  My son’s top was made from what was left of a project of mine back from 2013, but at least it was a full yard!

My son was totally invested in curating this outfit and I was so happy he wanted to be included in the making of it, even if he was not the one sewing.  He is determined in the desire to learn to sew and make things for himself, yet even with something simple I make he is blown away with “how cool” (as he says) it all is.  My one time comparison of working the machine foot pedal to a car’s gas pedal is something incredibly appealing enough alone for him.  I don’t think he has a bigger view of the whole process yet, or sees exactly how what gets done at the pattern stage relates to what the finished piece will look like, but that will come.  Crafting clothes really is much easier to achieve than it looks in the end, I tell him, and I think how quickly the pants came together really made an impression.  From a fabric roll he picked out at the store to something he can wear, the whole thing took one afternoon and he was ecstatic.  To him, this is much more complex than the pillowcase bags or hair scrunchies the girls in his school classroom show off to him from their sewing classes.  It’s weird that after teaching sewing for hire to a bunch of stranger’s kids over years, I suppose I will now have to share my sewing class lessons with my own son in the future!

This project was incredibly easy and fun.  A good part is due to the fact that it is really satisfying to make something special for my boy but I also enjoy working with Burda Style kid’s patterns.  Burda patterns also seem to not be as wide and short proportioned as other kid’s patterns, even vintage ones, which is good for my tall and lanky son.  They turn out well for him and are much more available (and appealing) than any of the paltry offerings “the Big 4” pattern companies offer for kids.  I love the details and the accurate sizing to Burda’s children’s patterns, as well as the fact they fairly cater to both boys and girls with what offerings are in most magazine editions.  

Why can’t a home seamstress have the tools needed to make interesting boys’ clothes, too?  Why is it assumed that boys are not either recipients or participants in home sewing realm?  All the kids patterns offered from most companies are primarily for girls, it seems, and little men only get patterns so basic (i.e. pajama pants) that buying anything better than loungewear from a store is a more attractive option.  I want to make my son fashion apparel, something that has a good cut as well as something that is unique enough to warrant its making, and I do not want to pay for a design that looks so basic and unimaginative I might as well draft it myself.  Offer something better or more unique than ready-to-wear, and a pattern company would have an appealing edge that would attract me and others in my position, I am sure.    

Men desperately need to bring a sense of style back into mode, and what better way to do that than to start ‘em off on the right foot than when they are young.  Sewing pattern companies need to realize this and start offering interesting boys patterns, too, because sewing is not just women’s work and cute dresses are not the only thing worth sewing for all moms out there.  Maybe boys will even want to sew their own clothes if there are better pattern designs?  Home Economics is generally catered to girls, but I say that needs to change.  If they learn how to sew, maybe those boys will be capable of taking care of their own wardrobe as they grow into adulthood, and (if anything) be able to darn their own socks, patch tears, and attach buttons just the same as any woman.  After all, sustainability is for everyone, and taking take of what you have is the responsible thing to do, not restricted to ladies only because it is sewing related.   Just the fact sewing is very math oriented is enough to appeal to my son, besides the fact he wants to be like mom.  My rant is not done, but over for now.  Nevertheless, I truly think my son’s outfit is a good opportunity to recognize the gaps in the tools available to the home sewing community and see the progress in introducing boys (or men) to sewing that needs to happen.  Let men and boys be as creative and assertive in the sewing realm as women.  I’d love to see it!

Graphic + Novel

There are unfamiliar clothing items that I would like to try and wear – things that the rest of the world is wearing.  I can remotely picture myself feeling good in such things, but the “play it safe” side in me pulls up my insecurities with my body every time.  I am so self-conscious about my physique.  Take into account that some of those things for my wilder-and-not-so-vintage side are really hard to find to suit my taste – like a really good quality pair of skinny jeans that will actually fit (with a high waist) or cool logo tees which are sustainable yet affordable.  I haven’t found either yet, which is why I don’t have them already!  In lieu of the misery of searching in vain I have used my sewing capabilities to fill in the answer.  After all, if I sew them, those bolder (for me) fashions become a source for a pride in what I made, a sense of accomplishment stronger than those insecurities which make me think I can’t wear what I fancy to imagine!

Here comes Wonder Woman help me out with that!  With a little ½ yard of graphic printed cotton and some too tight t-shirts back from when I was a mid teen, I have a new tank to remind me to own confidence, strength, and inner beauty.  But the remnants for making the Wonder Woman tank were enough to also update another yet uninteresting and unworn top from my wardrobe, too!  I totally ended up with the best deal ever, and made thoughtful and purposeful reuse of what I had on hand to now have new – novel – items that I am so happy with.  It’s a win all around. I swear – refashions are like a gift that keeps on giving. They make me feel like a wonder woman of the sewing world.

THE FACTS:

FABRIC: Pants: 100% cotton twill, in 7 oz. weight with a brushed finish on the ‘right’ side, bought from “ebpfabric” on Ebay (here is the listing).  The color is a bright orange-undertoned red, “cayenne pepper”. Tops: two girls size cotton knit tees (at right), one in a semi-sheer slub knit in white and the other a solid navy double knit, were my starting point with a 100% cotton woven print for the front of my tank.

PATTERNS:  Burda Style’s “Vintage High Waisted Trousers”, from year 1957, #129, from April 2015 and self-drafting for the two tops.

NOTIONS:  I used whatever was on hand, which was thread, some bias tape, and a zipper for the pants fly

TIME TO COMPLETE:  The two tops only took a few hours to make on the afternoon of May 9, 2018, and the skinny pants were made on two afternoons and finished on October 7, 2018.

TOTAL COST:  I only spent $10 on the jean material and as my mom had bought these so far back, I’m counting them as free!

These tops I will show you are not the most stupendous things I have made by far, but everyone needs basic yet fun pieces in their wardrobe, right?  Mine will be all me-made if I keep this up…and I intend to!  You see, I’m systematically going through many of the clothes I still have from my teen years and updating them for my current fashion taste and place in life rather than immediately sending them to a resale store. This is the most eco-conscious means to refashion, not to mention a cheap and challenging way to have something new, but I sense that this is helping me find myself in a very special way by evolving my wardrobe while still remotely staying the same.

The white tee was originally way too small on me – duh.  It was for a 15 year old, not the woman I am today.  Something that is too tight and doesn’t fit never seems proper when I actually know how to tailor, besides not even being comfortable for me.  I began my re-fashioning by first cutting off the confining sleeves, side seams, and shoulders.  Using the back body of the old top as my starting point to draft the front panel, and knowing my own personal body measurements, I traced the existing shape onto sheer medical paper and graded up to what it needed to be to fit me.  Yet, remember – only the back was going to be used on my new tank and it was way too small.  The front was not going to stretch.  So I added an extra 3 ½ inches to the side seams of the front panel draft, arched the armhole around to the back slightly, and added an extra inch to the shoulders.

When you take something meant for a knit and want it to work with a woven you automatically have to add in a handful of extra ease.  A knit has negative ease – meaning, you subtract wearing ease and the stretchier the knit, the more inches you have to take out for it to fit.  Not so with a woven.  Depending on what fit you want, 2 and 3 inches added make for a snug fit, and 5 and 6 inches give a roomy ease.  My top was half-and-half, though, and so went in between when drafting my pattern.  No matter how simple a tank top might seem, finding the perfect fit and learning the nuances of pattern drafting is always important to me.  Besides – no matter how simple, anything you make is worth the extra effort to make sure you yourself ends up happy with it!

I kept the original neckline for the back half of my tank, to make things easy, and the rest of the edges on the new addition were finished with some black and some red bias tape from on hand.  I also kept the cute little logo on the front of my old white tee – It was of a colorful bejeweled Italian Vespa motorbike…vroom, vroom!  This left some good, still usable remnants still, and of course, while I was on the re-fashioning mindset, I picked out something else to update.

There has been this plain knit tee in navy, way too conservative with its high neck and basic sleeves, but so luxuriously soft in pima cotton, languishing in my closet for just as long as the white tee which I had already cut apart.  I only ever used this navy top as layering piece.  The body, shoulders, and sleeves still fit me so it merely needed a slight change.  Therefore, it was the first thing I thought of to cut into.  Granted, I’ll admit what I did do to the top was probably not the best and most unique choice.  However, I did want something basic (navy and white is pretty easy to match with).  Even just a simple V-neck, short sleeve re-fashion is a major improvement that I feel okay with to wear now.  A couple of facing strips later and I have a fun contrast edged tee.

There isn’t much to say that I haven’t already said in the post about the last (also the first) time I had made pants with both this fabric and pattern.  I cut the pattern out as-is again, and turned it inside out to do a body fit again, too.  The waistline was significantly harder to do this time for some reason, but it turned out okay.  I splurged on the inside edge finishing and made my own bias tape from the fun floral cotton leftover from this 1943 blouse.  I did make the legs a bit longer at the hemline, and despite my hopes to make these more like jeans I did the same invisible zipper front as last time.  Only, these red hot pants forced my hand to turn them into what I had said I would do with them.

Have I ever said that I have a thorough love-hate relationship with invisible zippers?  I do.  They look so nice and give me such a challenge to accomplish…when they work, and it seems there is never any guarantee to that.  They are like a time bomb to me, waiting to fail, so although I do use them here and there, I never fully trust them.  For good reason! I was trapped in my 1930s royal blue satin evening gown because of an in visible zipper fail and unable to wear it to the occasion for which I made it years back.  These jeans were luckily only being worn in the house at the time when the invisible zipper I had installed popped open.  Thank goodness I had not yet left the house that night!  I had to carefully cut myself out of the jeans from the front.

Thus, I went back to my original plan and drafted my own mock-fly to cover the sturdy, vintage metal zipper which is sewn in the front instead.  This meant I needed back pockets, too.  I drafted some petite sized pockets and subtly monogrammed them with a fanciful cursive initials of my own design before sewing them down.  Do you see the ‘K’ then a ‘B’?  Yes, to make it easy for you to see the initials without staring at my behind, I took a close-up picture of them while they were off of me.

For starting with a vintage reprint pattern and outdated tees, this set really turned out fresh for my taste to try something more upbeat.  The 1950s really had some killer skinny pants that preceded the modern fad for the same thing (except back then they often relied more on good tailoring than the fact there is stretch in its fabric to fit)!  It would have been a bit bold to see Wonder Woman sported so overtly for the 1950s, because during the “Silver Age” comics she underwent significant changes which softened and adapted her image in the absence of her creator.  With the resurgence of a powerful and popular Wonder Woman today, this is the perfect retake, in my opinion!

“Retro Forward” Burda Style – ‘The Starry Night in the Day’ 1957 Casual Set

Picture a breathtaking scene of a pastel colored, dramatic sunrise, eclipsing a lovely clear night sky setting of stellar sparkling in lieu of the light of day.  Such a sight is sadly not to be seen most mornings.  I see such a sight sometimes in our winter season if I suffer through the misery of waking up extra early and bundling up to brave the elements.  Now, I can at least wear a vintage-inspired set that calls such a display to mind for me!  To me, it has all the elements of one of my favorite paintings…”The Starry Night”, painted by Vincent Van Gogh in 1889.  With a richly cobalt textured “sky” behind me, and colorful, swirling bursts of movement above a creamy pastel palate below, this Burda outfit is a means for me to wear art in my everyday life.  Sewing can be an art form in itself, anyway.

My first, real, riveting fascination with this piece from Van Gogh was through “The Christmas Wish” episode of the infant videos, “Baby Einstein”.  When our son was one year old in 2013, we were given a handful of “Baby Einstein” DVD’s, and he would be just as relaxed and mesmerized as I was watching them.  They would show details of “The Starry Night” by Van Gogh along to the music of “Für Elise” by Ludwig van Beethoven.  This combo of picture and music has henceforth been intertwined in my mind, which associates both with something lovely which puts me in a happy place.  This is partly why it seems so very fitting for me to take an old maternity tunic, and turn it into something which completes this artwork inspired outfit.  My second and strongly passionate reason for saving my old maternity tunic is also the fact it is an old “Made in the U.S.A” garment, besides the wonderful feel and print of the fabric.

Just as Van Gogh conveyed the sky abstractedly in his own personal way, I too probably see the world of clothing differently (I’m sure) than others.  In my opinion this is due in no small part to my ability to sew and my studyies on history.  In a sea of grey, black, browns, and whatever colors are popular with the dye lots for RTW any given year, I enjoy choosing a variety of colors.  The world around us is full of color and beauty, and we all have our own individual beauty and personalities, so why not give that awesomeness it’s just manifestation through what we are wearing?!  I wanted new skinny pants that were not another dark color – and how could such a lovely color not make me happy (especially with matching footwear)!  The shop that my pants’ twill came from as a stunning variety of incredible colors, so why not pick some out for yourself and make something special that’s all “you”, like I did here!   

Funny thing is, it seems as if the Versace line and I were of the same mind (though I made mine first)!  Check out how scarily similar this outfit is from their Spring/Summer 2018 ready-to-wear collection!  Look – it’s the same high-waisted, figure-hugging styled bottoms, in the same orchid-toned purplish pink…with matching shoes, too!  In honor of the 20th anniversary since Versace’s murder, his sister has brought back a style for next year that commemorates both the styles of the 90’s and influential celebrities who were his friends.

However alike, my trousers are actually sewn using a true vintage 1957 release from Burda Style, while my top is only very vintage inspired.  (I do see a slight 50’s air in a number of Versace’s items.)  I’d like to think vintage offerings that come from modern patterns definitely help past eras transcend time to meld perfectly into contemporary wearing.  Burda Style especially does a good job at “updating” the image of vintage re-leases!  Designers’ rehashing the details and trends from the past also creates a whole new appeal, too, whether people recognize it or not.  What goes around comes around is certainly true in fashion.

THE FACTS:

FABRIC:   Pants: 100% cotton twill, in 7 oz. weight with a brushed finish on the ‘right’ side, bought from “ebpfabric” on Ebay (here is the listing); Top: a 63% polyester, 32% rayon, 5% spandex jersey knit refashioned from an old maternity tunic of mine.  Some polyester jersey knit scraps leftover from this last Burda make went towards the facing for the neckline

PATTERNS:  Burda Style’s “High Waisted Trousers” #129, from April 2015 with Burda Style’s “Princess Seam Boatneck Top” #104, from February 2014

NOTIONS:  I needed to buy the zipper for the pants, but otherwise the elastic, thread, bias tape, and small finishing notions were all on hand for everything else.

TIME TO COMPLETE:  The pants took over 20 hours – I stopped counting after that amount!  They were finished on May 31, 2017.  The top took maybe 3 hours to make after maybe 3 hours of decision making about how and where to cut it out!  It was sewn in one afternoon, on June 13, 2017.

THE INSIDES:  Pretty nice!  The pants have every seam edge individually covered in bias tape, while the blouse’s insides still have some of the original serging (overlocking), but the rest are merely double stitched over.

TOTAL COST:  I am counting the top as free because it originally came from a thrift shop, probably for a few dollars, almost 6 years back now.  The pants cost me just under $15 for both material and zipper.  That total is probably just as much as I would pay for the cheapest pair of RTW skinny jeans, so I’m counting that price as an awesome deal for the fit, quality, and fulfillment of personal taste that has went into my pair.

I will say first off before any nitty gritty construction details that I absolutely LOVE both of these pieces.  These two projects might be the most versatile and my favorite Burda Style makes in a while.  The fabrics are first rate quality, and the designs of the patterns something not too readily found in RTW.  That said, they were challenging to make.  The top tested my mind trying to fit in the pattern pieces on the existing garment, while the pants were horribly drafted (for me at least), requiring some pretty tiring fitting.

Now, as for any Burda Style pattern, printing and/or tracing is necessary to have a usable pattern to lay on your desired fabric.  My pattern was traced from the downloaded and assembled PDF bought at the online store but if you have a magazine issue, use a roll of medical paper to trace your pieces from the insert sheet.  It’s at this preliminary step that you pick out your proper size and add in your choice of seam allowance width.  A scissor with a magnetic ruler guide helps immensely to quicken along the step to getting a finished pattern prepped.  Sorry to repeat something you might already know, but this is just an “FYI” for those that don’t.

I’ll start with the bottoms.  I must say they do run short.  I cut them the given length of the pattern, and I really didn’t have any room for a hem besides a slight bias fold in for them to come to my ankles.  This was the perfect length, but I wouldn’t have liked it any shorter.  I’m about 5 foot 3 inches height so anyone taller than that, figure in to make the hem longer.

As I wanted a perfect body fit and ultimate practicality for the pants, I simplified the design just to the bare bones.  A summary of my changes are no in-seam side pockets, no ankle zippers, no fancy waist facing, and a zipper right where I can see it…in front.  For my next pair of pants from this pattern, I think I will draft a conventional zipper fly, but for this first pink pair they have an invisible zipper up the front to make them easy (versus up the center back as the pattern suggests – how awkward).  To support the top of that zipper, inside at the top there is a small strip of cotton velvet ribbon (for softness!) to act like a tab placket, with a waistband hook-and-eye to close the waist.  The waistband itself was made by stretching a strip of ¾ inch elastic down to the top edge, then folding it in twice and stitching that down for a wonderful body hugging, but stretchably comfortable and smooth-waisted option.

Go ahead and call me “granny pants” because these are wayyyy high up on my torso!  I like them that way.  Come on, ladies, honestly – I’ve heard the truth from many women I’ve talked to in in town who’ve told me they like my pants.  Nobody really likes to spend their entire day picking up their drawers every time they move or bend!  I know I don’t like the feel that my clothes are falling off of me.  With high-waisted pants, there is no awkward bulge in the wrong place (muffin-top, anyone?) just smooth waist and hip complimenting.

Hips are an excellent pivot point in women’s garment design and the decade of the 1950’s used that point to perfection – that wide spot we all love to hate comes in handy when you think of it as an anchor point.  A garment with a central mainstay above hips will stay in place…on ‘em, style has more of ‘sliding’ effect without the right styling.  Now granted, if you want something that sits at the hip, that’s fine too.  I wore everything at my hips as a teenager and still wear hip-hugging pajama bottoms.  I just think store offered RTW generally doesn’t offer much that will be most complimentary to an individual figure when it comes to a variety of pants’ fit, at least not like something made for oneself.  Only you know your body the best, and embrace that in whatever you feel makes you the best.  I like to go with my hourglass shape, and let my hips and high true-waist anchor my pants on my body, whatever the negative connotation for this fashion.

Keep in mind the fabric I used for my pants are non-stretchy – the twill material has little to no give like a knit might.  A really good, sturdy, quality twill that feels and performs like a denim that will hold its shape is what I wanted and used – especially since a material like this is impossible to come by in any in town store.  A non-stretchy woven is what the pattern called for anyway.  I can definitely see this pants pattern being much easier to make in a knit and turning out fabulously, so there’s a lot of versatility here.

The real secret to my fitting technique was to sew the center front (with the zipper) and the center back seams, then turn the pants inside out and have the side seams and inner leg seams pinned to fit around me.  This was a bit more challenging than it had to be because I was working on it by myself, but I really think this is the easiest, quickest, least painful way to get a body fit.  It would definitely be even easier with someone else’s assistance.  Once a good fit is pinned into place I marked the seam lines on both sides with water soluble disappearing ink pen, following that line for my stitching and washing it away afterwards.

As my fabric has no stretchy ‘forgiveness’, just to be on the safe side in the unforeseen chance that my body changes and I need to refit these trousers, I left a wide seam allowance…not a whole lot, but 5/8 to ¾ inches along the sides and inseam.  The thick denim would feel and fit a tad better I believe without the wide seam allowances, but having the possibility to keep what I made (and love as a wardrobe staple) for the long-term is something more important to me.

Speaking of items that endure from one’s wardrobe, I’ll move on to the top re-fashion.  My first step was to cut off the elastic empire waist for the tunic.  The body of the tunic became the bodice for my new top while the bust and sleeve sections managed to also be the new top’s sleeves.  Only because of the skinny princess seamed panels was this able to be fit in on what I had.  I did have to shorten the length of the hemline by two inches, but luckily that was the only way I had to “give in” and make a change for this re-fashion to work.  I like a shortened length anyway!  Too much fabric in the body might distract from the lovely off-shoulder sleeves.

The sleeves are really made of interesting pattern pieces of small rectangles curved dramatically on one side…and it turns out just wonderful!  I can completely adjust where I want the sleeves to sit on me for a slight change of look – I can pull them completely off the shoulder, or pull ‘em up like “normal” sleeves, but where they naturally sit on me is right over the angle where my shoulder ends and my arm begins.  Now, the back neckline did turn out a tad generous and it sometimes looks like a draped neck, but I’m okay with that.  The one major caveat is that strapless lingerie or a bandeau bra is needed with this style.

Both of these pieces can be similarly found in vintage patterns and some vintage reproduction garments, which why this is included as part of my ongoing “Retro Forward with Burda Style” post series.  The pants are already vintage from 1957, I know, but I’ve seen several patterns that remind me of their same style (see McCall’s #9221 from 1952 and McCall’s 4024 from 1957) so I just had to share!  In fact here is an interesting article to read, making me think that my pink trousers are technically “cigarette pants” or “stovepipe pants”.  The blouse seems to be a recurring style in the decade of the 50’s except they seem to call it, “a scoop neck, with cap sleeves set into armholes”.  See Vogue 8100 from year 1953, Vogue 9643 year 1958, an unidentified 50’s playsuit pattern, and “Unique Vintage” company’s 1950’s Marilyn top in either plus size or misses size for a few examples.

Ever since the most recent total solar eclipse several months ago (we were in the path of totality), I can actually look at this set’s inspiration in a whole new ‘light’!  That afternoon for us was truly a starry night in the daytime!  On a factual level, did you know Van Gogh actually painted “The Starry Night” from mental picture, as it was done during the day?  So my title is right on!  Do you have any artwork related creations!

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