The Eliza M Alma Wiggle Skirt

Happy weekend, dolls!

Thanks to a long weekend here in the UK, I’ve managed to invest some time back in my sewing projects. And I FINALLY managed to finish my Eliza M Alma Wiggle Skirt!*

I have to be honest, my hopes weren’t high for this skirt. As long-time readers of Sew for Victory are already aware, I am the lucky owner of some serious hips. And I’m not being entirely sarcastic here, because hips are pretty fabulous. That said, I generally avoid wearing anything that makes them look 50% larger than the rest of my body. So pencil skirts are typically a no-go. But Eliza M’s pattern was shapely in all the right places and I ended up producing a skirt that I would be happy to wear any time.

The pattern itself was super simple to follow and, despite taking about a month for me to finish, can be sewn up in just a couple of hours. So this would be an absolutely perfect pattern for a beginner sewist. It includes a couple of skill-building details – waist darts and a cute back split are great introductions to producing more tailored garments.

It helped enormously that I made this skirt up in a thick tweed (bought during my Twenty-Something Sewers trip to Walthamstow market). Such an easy fabric to sew with. And after my disastrous attempt to sew with silk, I needed this victory! My experience with this pattern (and fabric) is a definite testimony to the best way of overcoming a dip in motivation. It really is ok to put complicated and frustrating projects to the side and spend some time working on a pattern that boosts your confidence and reminds you why you love to sew. Self-care must always be #1 priority.

So there you have it. A simple, but effective, pencil skirt, courtesy of Eliza M Patterns. Perfect as work wear but, I think, also totally suitable for everyday. I’ll definitely be whipping this one out as part of my regular wardrobe rotation!

*The Eliza M website is still putting up a malware warning, so I haven’t linked to it in this post. But the pattern is available via Fabric Godmother, and can be found here.

 

New Projects

Happy Wednesday, lovelies!

Congratulations on making it half-way to the weekend. It’s been a truly miserable week in Colchester – pretty standard for an English February, really. The major downside of cold and rainy weather is that I revert back to standard leggings/flannel combo, abandoning my lovely vintage wardrobe. But spring will be here soon! I’m waiting for the sun!

I’ve got lots of exciting things coming up sewing-wise. Hopefully one of these things will be getting around to properly hemming my Joan dress (hand-sewing is not my forte) – since I’m planning on wearing the dress for Valentine’s Day, I should probably actually get on this. But I’ve been too excited planning out my new projects!

For a while now, I’ve had the Eliza M Alma Wiggle Skirt pattern hanging around.* I bought a fabulous tweed fabric at the Twenty-Something Sewer Meet-up in Walthamstow, which I earmarked for this skirt. But I’ve been avoiding getting started until I found a pattern and fabric to make a complementary blouse. I finally found it last week in the Clara Bow Blouse from ‘Til The Sun Goes Down, which I’m going to make in a dark blue silk.

Hopefully this will make for a perfect combination! I was planning to have these made by next week for a work trip to the International Criminal Court (by day my life is VERY different) – I figured it would make for a great work-smart outfit. But it’ll require a massively productive sewing weekend, so we’ll see! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Enjoy the rest of your week and I’ll be back soon with more vintagey updates!

Laura x

* I’ve not been linking to Eliza M because of a malware warning on their website. But the patterns are available for purchase elsewhere. I’ve been purchasing mine through Fabric Godmother.

Inspire A Style: Gene Tierney

Studio_publicity_Gene_Tierney

I’m back in the UK and, while I work on finally making progress with my Joan dress, I thought I would stop in with another instalment of Inspire A Style. This time featuring Gene Tierney, one of my favourite 1940s starlets!

Who?

Gene Tierney was an American actress who starred in a number of films throughout the 1940s, and into the ’50s. Acclaimed as one of Hollywood’s greatest beauties, she acted alongside a number of the most famous stars of the time – Humphrey Bogart, Ginger Rogers, and Spencer Tracy among them. Perhaps her most acclaimed role was as Laura in the film of the same name.

Gene Tierney is also known for the ups-and-downs of her personal life. Suffering from depression and ill-health, Tierney contemplated suicide in 1957. Her journey to overcome her mental health problems – as well as the story of her career – are documented in the amazing autobiography Self Portrait (highly recommended!).

7443622308_cce5b813f8_b

Why?

Gene Tierney is the epitome of 1940s glamour. Hollywood starlets of the era obviously had access to some of the most glorious garments and stylists. Other than her effortless beauty, it is this style that makes Tierney such an inspiration for anyone who wants to replicate this vintage style.

In many respects, then, Gene Tierney’s position as a fashion role-model is not the product of her personal style. But it is rather a consequence of her fortunate place at the helm of Hollywood. However, she is far from a one-dimensional personality. I think that her personal battles dictated her approach to her career, and this is something that will always inevitably flow over into other areas of life – including, in my view, style. Whether as a representation of inner battles, or as a superficial cover for them, there is always a story. And Gene Tierney perhaps best represents this fact.

Gene_Tierney_photo_(1940)

What?

Gene Tierney represents a lot of what I love about 1940s glamour. There is a certain simplicity to many of her looks, a simplicity that separates this era from those that followed. Simple, well-constructed gowns were the order of the day, paired with pearls or diamonds. Throw in some gorgeous bright reds and deep greens and this is a style that pretty much anyone can replicate. Gene Tierney is also someone to look to in attempting to replicate 1940s hairstyles. Perfect curls!

Tierney 1

So where can a seamstress look for patterns to replicate the Gene Tierney look? My first recommendation would undoubtedly be Decades of Style’s Belle Curve dress – to me, this totally epitomises the 1940s style and works perfectly for communicating some Hollywood glamour. I sported my version over Christmas and received endless compliments!

There’s also the glorious Doris dress from Eliza M Vintage. Worn strapless, and paired with a set of pearls, it would be perfect. I’ve made up patterns from Eliza M before, and they are so well constructed and easy to follow. Definitely recommended!

Finally, get yourself a set of heated rollers, pop your hair into some soft curls, and you’ll be ready to go! Gene Tierney in the 21st century! And I’m sure, once in this look, you will find yourself closer to the courage and determination that characterises her story.

“Life is like a little message in a bottle, to be carried by the winds and the tides.”

Gene Tierney (1920-1991)

My First Dress

Good morning, poppets!

Today, I can declare victory over my first ever dress pattern – the Eliza dress from Eliza M.

Elise M Dress 1

For an amateur sewer, this pattern was amazing. Simple, easy to understand, and pushing my skills just enough. I had decided that my first foray into vintage sewing would probably be best served through a vintage-inspired modern pattern – and Eliza M has a great selection on offer! I made the dress up using the above sky-blue cotton with white polka dots. Super fun to work with!

But I don’t want to paint this like it was all sunshine and roses. There’s a fair bit of jerry-rigging holding the thing together. I learnt, for example, why it is SO important to iron out the coils of your zip (to avoid sewing into your zip by mistake). I also found that the bust darts ended far too high, leaving the dress looking a little *cough* nipple-y. I managed to deal with this by slashing the darts open and ironing the apex over a tailor’s ham – but next time, I think I’ll just try to lower the darts on the pattern (ooooo….adventurous!!).

Overall though, this was a fantastic pattern that made me feel sufficiently proud of myself! I’m already planning to make it up again using a different fabric! So YAY, first real sewing endeavour successful. I will leave you with more photos, showing my response to my fiancé shouting ‘STRIKE A FIERCE POSE’ at me, while snapping like paparazzi.

Elise M Dress 2                               Elise M Dress 3