Each year my local library hosts a fundraiser show called “Dancing With Our Stars”. It’s the same premise as the TV show “Dancing with The Stars” where local ballroom dance teachers team up with local “Stars”, like the mayor, chief of police, bank manager, etc…, and teach them to do a dance routine. This is all for charity and the “Stars” are responsible for raising money. Us teachers just get to be creative. This year I was requested to do a Bollywood number (yes, we are allowed to go outside the “ballroom box”) since the head of the Friends of The Atascadero Library board knew that I’m a licensed Zumba instructor and have taken many workshops with a Bhangra & Bollywood teacher in San Francisco. Plus the board president just really digs Bollywood. So my first step for costuming was to take a look at my Burda 7701 pattern. I used this pattern to make petticoats and choli tops. Then I found an excellent youtube clip on how to do those complicated saree wrappings. I needed some sarees, so I immediately hopped onto Ebay to search out some pretty ones at a reasonable price. There are some really beautiful ones out there and I was surprised at how quickly they shipped from India to California. I got these from this Ebay Seller: And I bought this group of Sarees from this Ebay seller. These are the ones we actually wore in the show: And here we are in the dance studio for a trial dress rehearsal. So far so good. We were able to dance in them and I taught the girls how to wrap sarees. Then at the official dress rehearsal of the show, to my dismay I discovered that since I was in several numbers, I had many costumes changes and not much time to do it in. I didn’t have time to wrap a saree and make it in time for the next cue. Yowza! So then I had to turn my saree into a Lehenga style outfit, meaning a skirt with a separate stole. I pulled Simplicity 5914 out of my pattern stash to make a skirt with a few modifications.I made View A and underlined the saree fabric with a red china silk.I had to cut off the gold border from the saree fabric and re-attach after the skirt was sewn (and hung for 48 hours to allow for stretching along the bias areas).On the inside waist band, I added a double wide bias tape channel and threaded a drawcord through it. That made it more secure to wear dancing with no fear it would slide down to my knees. Plus, I can use it again even if my weight fluctuates, which it is prone to do.Then the remaining saree fabric is used as the stole wrap. Thank goodness sarees have many yards of fabric! Voilà! A Bollywood outfit I could put on in just a couple of minutes. By the way, we raised $90,000 for our local library with this show. Wahoo!!!
Dame Angela Lansbury, a British-American actress (she has dual citizenship), has an acting career spanning seven decades in theatre, films and television. She first came to Hollywood in 1942 and landed her first role as the cheeky, sassily wicked cockney maid in “Gaslight” in 1944. She was just 17 years old and received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the role. Unfortunately her career with MGM never really took off, always being cast in supporting roles, which in my opinion was a huge mistake on their part, and she stayed on the “B” list of actresses until she got fed up and left in 1952 when she terminated her contract with them. “I kept wanting to play the Jean Arthur roles, and Mr Mayer kept casting me as a series of venal bitches.” -Angela Lansbury She went on to act in more movies as a freelance actress, but Lansbury found herself typecast as an older, maternal figure. “Hollywood made me old before my time”, noting that in her twenties she was receiving fan mail from people who believed her to be in her forties. I think it’s wonderful that she didn’t give up and continued to re-ignite her career on the stage and in television. I will always remember her as Jessica Fletcher in the popular TV mystery series Murder, She Wrote, which ran for 12 years. For me, she was the American Miss Marple. She is quite the role model, remaining active even into her 80’s, playing Madame Arcati in London’s West End in a revival of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit just last year at the age of 88 years young. Well done Angela Lansbury!
- Use your first ever vintage sewing pattern.
- Sew up a specific pattern from your stash.
- Explore patterns from a particular decade.
- Have fun patterns from a certain range of decades.
- Get creative with you vintage sewing patterns!
I’ll have to think about how I want to participate. Now I could pledge to 5 muslins, or even wearable muslins. That I think I could manage into my sewing queue… Yay! A new reason to go play with my pattern stash!
I was looking around the web for a swing era dress to wear to a WWII USO Swing Dance I will be going to, and found this charming site: Catnip Reproduction Vintage Clothing. The owner, Kristine Anderson, ran a vintage clothing store in San Diego, California, for 36 years. In 2010 she closed the store and put it all online so she could share her love of classic vintage style and design with a wider audience.
This is her “USO” dress. I love the polkadots and the contrasting bright red buttons. The rayon fabric will ensure that the skirt drapes prettily and swishes when dancing.This capris and cropped top outfit looks like the ensemble worn by one of the models in the movie “How To Marry A Millionaire”.This hawaiian playsuit looks great for hot weather.And if you want the complete look, Kristine carries lingerie too, like this Tigress Garter Panty ensemble. Va Va Voom!She even carries the delectable Miss L Fire shoes. I’ll be asking Santa for these shoes!Have a Merry Christmas!
If you are in the mood to sew toys for Christmas, there a lots of vintage soft toy patterns out there on the internet. Cruising around the web, I found many vintage doll and stuffed animal patterns available. And who knew Raggedy Ann & Andy rode on camelback?
I’m sure serious collectors are on the hunt for this vintage Micky & Minnie Mouse original pattern and will have to pay big bucks for it! The dolls on the McCall pattern have strange looking eyes to me. Maybe they look cuter when sewn up. And the red eyes on rabbit on the left look evil. I would choose less demented looking eyes. These Advance patterns look like they’re meant to be a bit floppy. They could be stuffed to be like “Beanie Babies”.Have a Merry Holiday!
Well now that Thanksgiving is over here in the USA, and we’re just left with eating all the leftovers for the next few days, my mind turns to Christmas sewing. I recently acquired Hollywood Pattern 779, and the artwork on the envelope triggered a memory.If you reverse the plaid on View 1 to the top and make the skirt plain, it reminds me of the ensemble Barbara Stanwyck wears in the country dance scene in the movie “Christmas In Connecticut”.Although if I were to sew this pattern anytime soon (it’s way back in the queue), I find the plaid skirt on the pattern really appealing. It could make a very fetching outfit for a holiday party.
My dress for Miss Crayola Creepy’s Crazy Cat Lady sewing challenge is almost finished. The side seams are basted, so I just need to do a final fitting and then hem it. I’ll have it finished tonight but then it will be too dark to model it. So my dress form is wearing it so I could get a photo of it up in the Flickr group before the deadline.
Here’s a close up of the kitschy kitty detail on the bodice where the loop goes around the center gathers.
I used New Look 6935 although I wanted to use my vintage pattern.
Unfortunately I didn’t pay attention to the fabric requirements even though I did get what was listed on the envelope. Turns out it was for fabric without nap or a one-way directional print. I had my fabric laid out on the cutting table and when I looked at the cutting layout diagram I uttered a very bad word. The dress pieces are flip-flopped around to utilize every inch of the fabric.And my “Atomic Tabby’s” print from Michael Miller has a definite one-way direction.Chalk up another sewing lesson – pay attention to ALL the information AND take a quick look the cutting layout BEFORE buying the fabric. Isn’t that along the lines of “measure twice, cut once”? Lesson learned.
The short sleeve style looks like something I wore to grade school in the 1960s, especially in plaid. I think mine was a red and navy blue plaid.Since I haven’t worked with plaids in ages, I picked up this cheapie plaid from Walmart to practice with. It would be nice if it turned out to be a wearable muslin. We’ll see.
Alice Faye was an American actress and singer who starred in films during the late 1930s and the war years in the 1940s. She sang in a husky, honey contralto voice that many song writers of the time loved, like Irving Berlin, who was once quoted as saying that he would choose Faye over any other singer to introduce his songs, and George Gershwin and Cole Porter called her the “best female singer in Hollywood in 1937″. In her acting she displayed solid comic timing and had a flair for carrying off the era’s popular and lucrative cookie-cutter starry-eyed romantic musicals. After her break out role in the film “1935 Scandals”, the Fox studio decided to give her look a make over. She was transformed from a version of Jean Harlow to a softer look with a more natural tone to her blonde hair and more mature makeup, including losing the notorious “pencil” eyebrows.The following are photos of her beautifully sculpted WWII era hairstyles. With her beautiful thick hair, she must have been the studio’s hairstylists dream. I so wish I could replicate these styles!