Warming up for Jungle January

I am not a proponent of the ‘pard, nor spruiker of the snake. The closest I’ve ever been to an animal print fabric was a bike seat cover in fake tiger fur. But for our beloved Pretty Grievances, in thanks for many years of sewing LOLs, I will sew me a zoo this month.

I thought I’d ease myself gently into this alternative lifestyle with a couple of almost-animal-prints. I took this here op shop pattern (Simplicity 8523) and modified it a little – added kimono sleeves, shifted darts, added length, bound the neck – to make a go-to woven tee pattern to use up all those little bits of lightweight stuff I’ve been hoarding.

The first is in a voile printed with fake ikat that looks a bit, if you squint, like snake scales. The second is a silk chiffon spot. Both are a bit ace to wear.

And next? Boldly, a frock, in true animal print. Well, sort of – not sure what animal these spots came from. This is a vintage Japanese silk twill remnant from Rathdowne Remnants. To the pattern stash!


Trousers, two tops and two and a half dresses

Contrary to the sluggish activity on the blog, the Ladies’ Lounge Sheltered Workshop has been a hive of activity since the start of the year. Before the reportage gets too unwieldy, it’s time to catch up.

Top one: Colette Sorbetto

Actually, I made this twice, but I ditched the first version to the op shop after it shrunk in the wash. Second bash used a remnant of vintage silk from the Rathdowne Remnants haul (I don’t know why it’s not in those pictures. Probably because silk is slippery stuff.) It was a tiny little piece but I loved it so, and I wanted to find a very simple shell that didn’t take much fabric. Enter the Sorbetto.

Colette Sorbetto top

Detail of the vintage silk twill

I’m not much for shapelessness and to be honest, it’s a bit borderline. But tucked in and cardiganned, it’s swell.

Top two: BurdaStyle 09/2011 Sleeveless blouse #128

There’s something about a neckline that’s high at the back and pleated that just looks so damn classy. So this one was a no-brainer. I shelled out my $5.40, printed it and glued it all together.

That's a lot of white space, Burda.

As usual, our friends at BurdaStyle (or BS, for short) have taken English and tortured it when writing instructions. It’s like an intelligence test written in another language. If you’re the introverted type, you feel stupid. If you’re extroverted, you get cranky and ranty. And Burda shelters all the way on the other side of the planet where our pins and dressmaking scissors can’t reach them. Not that I’d ever cut anything but fabric with my sewing scissors. They actually have “NOT WITH THE GOOD SCISSORS” written on them in tribute to Tony Martin in the Late Show, who also said:

My mother’s obsession with the good scissors always scared me a bit. It implied that somewhere in the house there lurked: the evil scissors.”

After the expected BS wrangling, this one is pretty nice. So nice that I made it twice. Once for me, and once for my friend for her birthday. Most edifyingly, she wore it for three days after I gave it to her. Less edifying, I didn’t take a picture. But here’s mine, made from a big ol’ mumu I bought from an op shop years ago. It would work best in something a little softer and drapier, I think, even though BS wants it made in poplin.

Burda sleeveless top

I thought it would make a good addition to my travel wardrobe because I’m off to the USA for a month in a couple of weeks. Squee! Also needed for such a rambling adventure was a new set of dacks, so may I introduce:
Trousers: Simplicity 3756
I’ve now made this pattern‘s welt-pocket-and-buttons version four times. Four times! That’s a record for me. The first was a test run in polyester houndstooth. Not so wearable. The second was a loose-weave denim that never, ever lost its cheap dye stink. The third – the Best Pants Ever. Bright red cotton twill with big turn-up cuffs. Ludicrous pants made ever more so because the fabric’s first life was as two red superhero capes. True story. Then I wore them to death, they lost much of their redness, and they were besmirched by the bicyclist’s curse:

Damn you, chain grease.

I picked up this denim with rainbow pinstripe for a song from Clear It years ago. I think it was $5/m plus a 20% off sale. Needless to say, I bought metres and metres of it. It’s made a dress for a friend, a skirt for me, and now these high-waisted, wide-legged beauties.

Clown pants, clown shoes. Perfect.

I’ve still got the two and half dresses to explain but I’ve rambled so long I reckon I’ll cover them in a different post a bit later.