Wednesday, February 17, 2016

• 1950s Wintry Gray Ensemble •



Also entitled, “The Outfit of UFOs.”
;) This outfit took a very long time to come together, but I’m quite pleased with it now that it’s done! My original plans were for an “ice skating outfit” to wear on our trip to Duluth last year. The colors of the plaid were not only my favorite, but they also happened to be the perfect colors to match my ice skates.

I started making the plaid flannel into a half circle skirt, but soon found that I DID NOT like the way it looked, or hung, or…pretty much anything about it. Into the UFO drawer it went. Or did I hurl it? ;)


Meanwhile I started on the blouse, made out of some coordinating gray cottons from the local quilt shop. I was…extremely confident in my sewing abilities, apparently, because I thought that I would just cut out a blouse shape, sew in some darts, and make myself a beautiful blouse.

The only problem was, it didn’t work. At all. It was too small, the darts were in all the wrong places and were all the wrong sizes, AND I had serged all of the seams. Guess where the blouse ended up?  ;)

Periodically I would pull the blouse and/or the skirt out of the Drawer of Shame and examine its possibilities, but it would soon be rehurled into its chamber of disgrace. Finally, last fall, when I got my 18th century cloak, I got the itch to make one myself! The wool cloak that I have is actually a half-circle with some simple darts sewn in to form “shoulders,” so it gave me the idea that my partially-made skirt could be turned into a cloak! I quickly started unpicking the basted seams, resewing them, and what do you know? It was starting to look fabulous!

The next problem was finding a suitable lining. It just so happened that I had some gray houndstooth flannel in my fabric stash that was formerly destined to be a jacket of some kind. It matched so perfectly, and there happened to be the perfect amount of it, that I just couldn’t resist using it!


I used Simplicity 5794 for the hood, and simply eased the "neckline" (formerly the waist of the skirt) onto it. Since I was lining the whole cloak, there was no hemming involved, just a little spot of blind-stitching! Yesssss!! ;)


Once my cloak was finished, I decided I wanted to tackle the blouse once and for all. If I recall correctly, I was able to use the original back bodice (minus the ill-fitting darts), and cut out new front bodice pieces from the little bit of extra fabric I had leftover. There was so little fabric left that I had to piece the front bodice at the waist. Thankfully it doesn't show when the blouse is tucked in, and even when when I wear it untucked it doesn't look that out of place. Make do and mend, right?!?


I used a vintage pattern that we have for the collar, and (as far as I remember) just my basic bodice sloper for the blouse bodice. The sleeves are from Simplicity 1692. I decided to do contrasting bound buttonholes, and I really like the effect!! The buttons are vintage. I even have an extra one leftover! The only problem is, it's down under the seat of our car, never to be seen or heard from again. I have this amazing knack for dropping buttons when I'm sewing them on in the car in just the right place so that they are utterly irretrievable. There are...several different ones down in there. ;) Thankfully I still had enough left to finish this blouse.

Meanwhile we are driving around in a vintage button museum! ;)


The back cloak seam came out quite well. :D It's always so fun to be able to match something up and actually have it turn out!


This gray skirt is actually store-bought!!!!! (insert gasps of horror!)

I bought it about 5 years ago at TJMaxx, and have gotten a lot of wear out of it since! Admittedly, it's not the most amazing-looking skirt for vintage wear, but until another alternative comes up, it will do. ;) It's a wool blend, which makes it nice for winter.


It's time for a shoe-admiring break. 
;)
No, really, these are my favorite shoes EVER. I've been looking for low-heeled, everyday-vintage-style shoes for SO. LONG. So when I found these beauties (that actually come in size 11!) from Shoe Embassy, I knew I had to have them. They are made well, immensely comfortable, and they match pretty nearly everything. It does take an eternity for the shoes to arrive, and the customer service at Shoe Embassy is some of the worst I've experienced, but if you do manage to get your shoes, as I did, you'll love them. I ended up with an extra pair of these due to a mix-up, while my mom's shoes were "disposed of" by the Royal Mail authorities. Long story short, don't order two pairs in two different sizes at one time. :| And be sure not to get any kind of shoe spray or protectant, because that is apparently what the Royal Mail system calls "illegal or dangerous items." And it's always a good idea to demolish a pair of shoes because they are in a box with an aerosol can, right? 

Rant ended.


Back to the cloak! :) Here you can see the reverse (houndstooth) side of it, with the blue plaid showing on the hood. It is a very versatile style, and it works for quite a few decades (or centuries!!). I found quite a few examples on Pinterest of plaid capes in the 19th century.  


I'm so glad to finally have pictures of this outfit! I've been wanting to take them for ages, but since we seemingly haven't had a single flake of snow all winter, it's been a long wait for an appropriate background! ;)

Thanks for visiting! I'll be back next week with my mom's version of this outfit! :D

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26 comments:

  1. Oh, I love that cape and what an amazing save of a large amount of fabric that could've just sat in the drawer forever, never being loved. It's fantastic that it's reversible too, I can see you getting a lot of wear out of that.

    I've never actually bought from Shoe Embassy but, being the UK, I have seen their shoes in real life and think they're just gorgeous. It's sad to hear that their service isn't up to scratch though.

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    1. Thank you so much, Cate!! I do love the cape, and am so glad to have been able to rescue it!

      I'm sure you would love the Shoe Embassy shoes! Especially since you wouldn't be ordering them from overseas. ;)

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  2. Such a wonderful mix of winter and warmth! I love the combination of flannels on the cape, and a cape always looks so romantic and old-fashioned anyway. :) It's funny, I had picked up on a hint of a plaid circle skirt in an old post and thought, "I wished we could have seen that one". Well, here it is, in a tremendous refashion! :) The blouse is REALLY pretty and I would have never guessed it had sketchy beginnings. Ha ha! Are those bound buttonholes I see? I love the contrasting collar and cuffs, it may have been of necessity but I would purposely do that again. And hey, a storebought skirt is allowed once in awhile! ;) Especially such a classic piece. All the pictures are great, but the first one is just SOOO pretty!

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  3. Still laughing over that "Royal Mail Authorities" blurb lol....Okay, I am good now. I love your cloak, and how you retackled those projects! Great job!

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  4. Totally gorgeous! I love the wintry woolens look. And hahah..."drawer of shame!" I need one of those. I literally just sat down after grimacing over a shirt I have cut out that I'm already not interested in wearing, a jacket I don't have any lining material for...

    Your cape is totally gorgeous and it must be so perfectly warm for all that snow the rest of the country seems to be getting!

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    1. Thank you, Kira!! :D Yes, I think you definitely need a drawer of shame. ;) I hope you are able to rescue the projects you mentioned sooner or later!

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  5. Your outfit is such fun Esther! The contrasting bound buttonholes are beautiful, and that skirt looks perfectly vintage appropriate in silhouette.

    Blessings,

    Brigid
    the Middle Sister and Singer

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  6. This outfit is gorgeous. yay for finishing UFOs

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  7. This is very beautiful! Love it!

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  8. You looks so fashionable :-) I really love the idea of a convertible cape, it's such a versatile garment! And the hood looks super cute, also.

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    1. Aww, thank you, Draped in Cloudlets!! :)

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  9. Well done for salvaging an unfinished project with a very cute, totally wearable garment. I love the whole look. The bound buttons are adorable and can't believe your cape is reversible, that's amazing!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Christina!! :)

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  10. Absolutely beautiful! The color scheme is subtle and sophisticated. You look fantastic, as always :-)

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    1. Aww, you're too sweet, Lauren! :D Thank you so much!!!

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  11. Truly, truly lovely look, sweet dear. This is so classic and sophisticated. Plus, capes and cloaks for the win always and forever in my books. :)

    ♥ Jessica

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  12. Perfection! I love the cape. I've been looking for shoes like this and am seriously contemplating a pair of Easy Spirit shoes. I think they might fit the bill.

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    1. Thank you so much, Charlotte!! :) I hope the shoes work out for you!

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  13. Love the reversing cape, and you know that I'm mad for anything plaid! This is such a darling ensemble and those button holes are a thing of beauty. ❤

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

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    1. I love plaid too! :) Thank you so much, Bonita!!!

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