outfits

Easter Sunday’s New Look

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist, looking in purse Vogue 1950's cover

I hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend, dear readers, wherever you are. If you are located in Canada, or many other parts of the Northern Hemisphere, you might just have experienced what I did this last weekend: SNOW! Yes, we got a snowstorm last Thursday, and it didn’t let up until Saturday night. I was glad when Sunday dawned bright and clear but, alas, the sun was not warm enough to melt all of the snow away, and we still have snow covered ground out there. All of my visions of Easter bonnets, and flowers, and easter egg hunts and just Spring in general, were quite hopelessly dashed! My visions of a lovely Easter photo set outdoors, were also dashed as well! I didn’t feel like doing supposedly “Spring” photos in a snowdrift! (Especially as last year was so sunny and bright . . . )

So, in order to avert a small blogger crisis, I decided to take a page from Vogue, and many other photo shoots of years-gone-by, and create a set in the living room (by literally moving all of the furniture, opening doors, putting pins in the wall and generally tearing apart everything in sight. . .  don’t worry- it’s back in order now). This minimalist backdrop (aka: a white bed sheet) worked out fine in a pinch, and as this outfit is rather “New Look” in style, it lent itself well to the very minimal background and gave me a chance to try out some fun 1950’s poses. Most of these poses are based off of Vogue covers from the 1950’s, or other famous poses (such as Dior’s bar suit)

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist black and white

I originally planned to wear something bright and colourful and well. . .  “Springy” for Easter Sunday, however, that didn’t happen. Of all the days in the year, Easter Sunday is the day when you just have to wear an Easter Bonnet, right? Since none of my more colourful dresses had coordinating hats, I decided to forgo the brighter colours in place of a hat and ended up with this cream coloured straw, which is probably my best hat, and this new-to-me vintage dress, which coordinated nicely with the cream tones.

This dress is the one I picked up last fall from the thrift store. It is a true vintage piece, but it desperately needed some work before it was wearable. It is made out of some kind of synthetic material (which creases terribly, I discovered!), some of the dye has faded in places, the bow on the front was rather limp, there were rips under the arms that had been mended very poorly, and the hem was about two inches too short. I was able to bring the side seams in about 1.5″ on each side, to fix the holes, as well as fitting the bodice better, I reshaped the bow, and also let out the hem. I believe that the dress had been hemmed by the previous owner, as the hem was hand sewn- but with three different colours of thread! 🙂 It is too bad that, whoever she was, she trimmed her hem, as I wish that there had been one more inch to let down. It turned out rather nicely though, despite not having that extra inch in length.

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist, gloves detail

After I had let down the hem and altered the dress, I realized that what the dress really needed was a petticoat, in order for it to hang right- as well as giving that nice “New Look” silhouette. I didn’t have a petticoat that worked with the dress, though, as mine was much too full to wear with it, so two days before Easter Sunday, I got the crazy idea to start “Operation: Save The Petticoat”. I managed to alter my existing one – in the process sewing 17 yards of netting into submission – and finished it just in time. (ps. I will have a post in the future about how I altered the petticoat.)

It was rather fun to wear such a recognizably vintage outfit like this on Sunday- with the hat, shoes, purse, gloves and full skirt. I don’t usually go all out like this, and instead wear more “vintage inspired” outfits on a day to day basis. It was kind of nice to break that mold and do something new- or rather – should I say “old”? 😉

Did you get snow for Easter this year? Do you like to wear an “Easter Bonnet”? And do you like to dress in a more recognizable “vintage” styles, or do you dress in a vintage/modern hybrid – or do you even dress in vintage at all?

Outfit Details:

Dress: Vintage

Hat: Vintage

Purse: Thrifted

Jewellery: Gifted and thrifted

Gloves: Vintage

Belt: Vintage

Shoes: Gabor

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist, portrait

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist, back and dress details

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist, on a chair

Easter Sunday's New Look, the artyologist, outfit details

A Spring in My Step

spring in my step, feature, the artyologist

This may not look like it to some of you who are living in significantly balmier climes, but Spring is in the air! The pussy willows are out and the tulips and crocuses, and even our peonies are starting to poke their brave little heads up out of the dirt. The day we took these photos didn’t really feel like spring; in truth it did feel more like a crisp fall day, because it was overcast and rather chilly, and everything is still brown, but nevertheless I know that it is indeed spring. And that knowledge is indeed cheerful, after the many months of winter! I love my winter clothes, but I am more than ready to ditch the tights and the wool and the scarves and the many layers.

I think we might be wearing some of the warmer pieces and layers for a while yet, but I have been attempting to lighten up my colour palette a bit the past couple of weeks. This outfit I wore last week looks a bit more fall inspired than spring inspired to me, now that I look at, though. Maybe it is because of the mustard yellow, which is a bit more of an earthy colour. Oh well! I felt a lot more seasonally appropriate than I have felt for a long while. Changing seasons can be a rather awkward time for ones wardrobe. . .

This week I am planning to rotate my wardrobe to more seasonally appropriate attire. Mainly that means just putting my thick wool skirts away, and moving my winter coats to the extra closet and switching out my winter hats for my straw hats. It is so nice to switch things up and revive for the season. Because even if it doesn’t quite look and feel like it, Spring is definitely here!

Do you switch out your wardrobe seasonally? How do you transition for the seasons in your dress?

Outfit Details:

Pinafore Skirt: Made by Me

Shirt: Thrifted

Sweater: Thrifted

Necklace: Gifted

Tights: HUE

Boots: Thrifted

a Spring In My Step, without sweater and branch, the artyologist

spring in my step, tree, the artyologist

crocuses-2, spring in my step, the artyologist

a spring in my step, the artyologist, pearls

branch-and-pussy-willows, the artyologist

shoes, spring in my step, the artyologist

walking and peony, spring in my step, the artyologist

crocuses-coming-up, spring in my step, the artyologist

walking away, a spring in my step, the artyologist

Vintage Vogue Covers: Vogue April 1, 1956, The Spring Bonnet

Vintage Vogue Covers, Spring Bonnet, Vogue April 1, 1956, the artyologist

In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade. . . 

With the awakening of Lady Spring, a floral covered bonnet will surely not be amiss in your seasonal wardrobe. A natural coloured straw lampshade hat, completely covered in multi-coloured blooms of all varieties is the perfect statement piece for the early days of this season leading up to Eastertide. The white outfit and pale pink earrings recede, allowing the playful blossoms to take centre stage. A flourish of bright and bold lipstick is the perfect final touch for an ensemble that so clearly heralds “Spring”.

Inspiration for this fashion look from the magazine cover of Vogue April 1, 1956.

Vogue cover, April 1, 1956inspiration image source

The Green Caped Crusader, In Butterick 3642

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist

Capes are amazing, don’t you agree? Superheroes wear them. Medieval warriors wear them. Little Red Riding Hood wears one. Movie starlets wear them. In short- you should wear one too. (Except if you are talking to Edna Mode in which case she will advise you “No capes!”) I had a black cape once, a few years ago, but unfortunately it hit me right at the widest part of my hip and I discovered that was a rather unflattering length. So after many years of admiring capes, I decided that it was high time I finally made a cape for myself. After all, how hard could it be to make a cape?

Well, considering that it is now March 17, and this is the first project I have completed this year… apparently it was a little more work than I first thought it would be. . .

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, portrait

The first step to making my cape was choosing the fabric. My first thought was a length of plaid wool I picked up a few years ago. However, the mistake I made when I bought it was that I only purchased 1.5 metres, which is not enough to do much of anything with. I thought that I might be able to squeeze a cape out of it, but, alas, a cape takes a surprisingly large amount of yardage, and it was not to be. I was on the lookout for a nice wool, but the fabric stores didn’t have anything I wanted. Then, in January, when I was at the local thrift store, my sister noticed a length of green wool for sale for $10.00, for 2.8 metres. Thrift score!

I decided to line the cape in a gold/tan, because there was no green lining available. The other choices they had at the fabric store were brown or black, but I like how the gold picks up the warm tones of the wool. If you look closely at the wool, you will see that it is woven with gold, green, brown, cinnamon and russet coloured threads. If you can’t match your lining, it’s fun to contrast it so it becomes a feature.

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, cape lining Butterick 3642

Now that I had the fabric picked out, the next step was the pattern. For a pattern I chose Butterick 3642. This was for no special reason, other than that I was at my local fabric store and this was the only cape pattern they had. I could have bought an indie pattern, but I never really thought about it, and this one seemed fine. I think that this pattern is actually out of print, and there was just one lone pattern left at my local shop! I was planning for a WWII nurses cape style, and the drawing on the back of this pattern looked quite similar in style to that. I decided that I wanted to make the cape knee length, which would put it at the hem length of most of my dresses and skirts. The pattern had two choices- mid calf and mid thigh- but it was simple enough to adjust the pattern to the length that I wanted it to be at.

At this point, I was a bad blogger and dove right into the project without taking any pictures! All, I got was a picture of the stack of fabric before I started cutting it. Oops. The cape went together fairly well, although it took forever to cut out the pieces as there was just enough fabric to fit all the pieces on, and it was like a puzzle to lay them all out exactly! It took me about two days to sew together the pieces, the lining, the collar and the buttonholes. . . and at this point you might wonder why I am writing this in March, not January.

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, collar detail

Well, once I got the cape pretty much together, I realized that whoever designed this pattern must have planned to dress football players. The shoulders in the cape were much too wide and the shoulder point hung way off the edge of my shoulder. This resulted both in throwing the direction of the fabric off, as well as looking way too big. I was swimming in fabric. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a cape being too large- but this one was. At this point I was in the depths of despair at the thought of all the work I had done so far, and now had to undo, so I threw it away in disgust and didn’t pick the project up again for a month. (In defence, I was also busy during February preparing for my art show, so I didn’t have a lot of free time to devote to working on a fussy project that was turning out to be more complicated than I originally thought.) So, the abandoned project sat there until last week. I knew that if I didn’t do it now- it would never be done- and I really wanted to wear it! When contemplating what to wear for St. Patrick’s Day, I remembered that I own very little green, and knew that this cape would be the perfect thing. There’s nothing like a deadline to force you to hurry up and sew 🙂 (ps. I do have a small bit of Irish heritage, but have never done anything more to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than dressing in green!)

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, cape neck detail

In regards to fixing this pattern, I ended up pinching out about three inches of fabric from the shoulder and tapering it to the hem. Taking out that fabric made all the difference to the shape and fit of the cape. Instead of looking like I was wearing a blanket, it now falls somewhere between the fit and flare of a nurses cape, and a 40’s swing coat style.

The two things I do not like about how the cape turned out are, one, that the collar likes to roll out. I did everything, including cutting the under collar smaller, and steaming it in shape, but it does still like to flip out. However, if I decide that it bothers me too much, I can always wear it with a fur collar over top. The other thing, is that the hem puckers a bit. I’m planning on taking it in to my local dry cleaners for a pressing. I have gotten garments pressed before (without getting them dry cleaned), as it is actually quite cheap and gives a much more professional finish to a project that you just can’t achieve with an iron. I think getting home sewn garments professionally pressed is totally worth it- especially where wool is concerned.

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, cape details

So there you have it. After all the trials that the fitting gave me, I wasn’t sure I was going to like the finished cape. I do have a history of getting my projects finished and then not liking them, but I actually love how this one turned out this time! I think I will be able to get a lot of wear out of this piece. This colour of green goes very well with so many colours, and capes are great for those chilly days where you need some form of outerwear, but not a buffalo robe. In other words, because I live in Canada, I am going to get a lot of wear out of this before Spring and Summer come around 😉

Would I sew Butterick 3642 again? I don’t think I would. The pattern doesn’t actually call for a lining, and adding a lining to a pattern is always tedious. The aforementioned fit problems were kind of bothersome too, so even though I have fixed them now, I don’t know if I would want to sew it again. I would also like to try a different style of cape, with a different kind of un-seamed shoulder. Maybe I’ll try an indie pattern next time!

Do you have a cape, or wish you had one? Do you have any recommendations for a different cape pattern than Butterick 3642? And, do you observe St. Patrick’s Day, and are you wearing green today?

Outfit Details:

Cape: Butterick 3642, now out of print

Hat: gifted

Shoes: Hispanitas

Dress: Thrifted

Brooch: Gifted

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, green cape

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, twirling

It passes the test: it’s perfect for twirling in!

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, twirling, vent detail

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, brooch detail and cape

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist, shoes

The Green Caped Crusader, Butterick 3642, the artyologist