Sunday, March 9, 2014

Charlotte, the dancer

Oh hi there! You've come back! Hurrah!

Last week I promised I would post the pictures of my Charlotte dress like the next day, but I never got the chance to.

It was a very eventful week last week. In both good and bad ways

Bad because I was swamped with work one day which required me to stay back, I fell ill with a cold and needed to go to bed early and then had a super large hangover yesterday

But also good as I was randomly invited to see Phoenix on Wednesday with a friend, had my birthday on Friday and birthday dinner on Saturday (hence the hangover) and then an urge to cook a lot of fancy things on Sunday whilst hung-over. 

We had roast pork with all the trimmings and I made banana bread for this week’s morning teas! Yummy! 

So you see. I'm very bad with time management lately, for both good and bad reasons. Add the warm weather lethargy and I'm just a hopeless sloth! I really must learn to get back on top of it because my sewing is looking quite neglected =( 


So finally, I will now give you my lovely Charlotte! 


So you must understand first of all this dress is all about the sleeves! Look how grand they are! 

I had gained the inspiration for this dress after seeing the below image of a "Flower child" couple at the Windsor Jazz Festival in 1967. The girls dress with its ruffled and flared sleeves were the real hook for me. I didn't end up adding the ruffle on the hem to mine as it was decided though an Instagram opinion poll (not really a poll) that it was fine without it. 

The name of this dress by the way, comes from the fact that from the front the girl in the below image looks a little like Charlotte Martin, 60s model and girlfriend to Eric Clapton and Jimmy page. I don't think its actually her, but she was such a popular icon of the time, I think she deserves her own dress. 

I wish I had a giant flower like hers for taking photos with

When I finished the dress I spent and awful lot of time dancing around the house swinging my arms about like a semaphore signalman. 


To make the sleeves I took the angel sleeve pattern from Butterick 5513 and narrowed it slightly. 

I then cut a length of fabric - I think it was 100cm x 15cm, sewed it closed, hemmed it and stitched a line of basting stitches with my machine.

I pulled the thread tails till it started to gather and became the same size as the sleeve and stitched it on. 




At first the sleeves looked too big and I was thinking of narrowing them down, but I decided it would be easier to hem the ruffle up one more time and that seemed to balance it.


Such a serious face for me!

For the actual dress I used what used to be my faithful shift dress pattern. But because I haven't used it in ages, I forgot to make all the adjustments I usually have to make, like widening the hips, changing the bust dart angle and taking the excess out of the back. All very silly things to have to do and made me realise why am I using such a dumb pattern that needs so many adjustments? 

So it went in the bin…

I've made a few very good shifts in the last year so I may retrace one of those and work on this to be my shift dress block.


The fabric being cotton, has stretched around the hips though, so it’s not so tight any more.

It’s actually kind of nice, but around the shoulders and bust it’s still too tight. You can see a kind of fold in the bust there - I call this a mono-nipple

The fabric I used was a cotton from Fabric.com called Dear Stella Hadley Paisley Atlantic. The print is quite bold and very interesting with paisley, Indian type motifs and floral details


Shame I didn't match the fabric at the back!

Other then the practice one, this is my first proper lapped zipper. Not too bad aye? 

But on the plus side, I also mastered a new technique!

I sewed a lapped zipper into the back using this tutorial buy Lauren from Rosie Wednesday. It uses a short cut to get the perfect lap – I love short cuts, especially in sewing   

Pretty awesome overall I think!

It’s a great dancing dress, and I can see why sleeves such as these were popular in the late 60s, they were wonderful to move your arms around with, doing all those sorts of dances that require you to use your whole body. For some reason I think it would work well with a song like this…





What do you think? I really hope you like it

Enjoy your week lovely ones!
Cat xo

46 comments:

  1. Fabulous sleeve you have made. So very sixties! :)

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  2. I love bell sleeves and these are no exception! You are such a doll, I'm swooning over the last photo. <3 xoxo

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    1. Thank you! xo. They really are pretty, though not very practical! Getting some punch or feeding fish a pond might be tricky!

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  3. I'm very impressed you ate a whole meal with us without your sleeves ending up in your pizza! I never would've managed this. It's a very striking dress...

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    1. Haha! I was hoping we didnt order soup or something! Thank you! xo

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  4. Oooh it looks amazing! I love me a bit of paisley print and those sleeves are fabulous - swing those arms and dance away!

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    1. Thank you! My shoulder were very sore after!

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  5. Your Charlotte dress is incredible! It turned out really well - those sleeves are too perfect. And I completely with you 60's dresses having big flamboyant sleeves, it just makes you want to dance! And Happy Birthday for friday, too! I don't think I need to ask whether or not you had a good time!

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    1. I agree! I must make more things with big sleeves!
      Thank you darling! We had a wonderful time! xo

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  6. I can certainly attest to the fabulousness of this dress - as seen at the recent Sydney Sewcial! I must look up that lapped zipper method. Also happy birthday!!

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    1. Yay! Im glad you think so! And thank you for the birthday wishes!

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  7. I love it, it's beautiful, I really love the sleeves (I have such a thing for fancy sleeves).

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  8. I love that dress, I'd wear it in a heartbeat but I don't think I'd look half as gorgeous as you do!
    I wouldn't have noticed the mono-nipple or the miss-matched pattern unless you'd pointed it out.
    Happy Birthday! xxxx

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    1. Thank you! I new you'd love this. you could totally wear this!!
      I dont think ive ever matched a pattern well! as long as the total outfit looks good right?

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  9. WOW! This is truly a gorgeous dress, Catherine, and I always love your elegant poses. I also appreciate the song you posted here because it's one of my favorites and I have used this particular clip on my own blog. To expand on what you wrote, girls of the 60s wearing dresses similar to this one danced on television programs like Bandstand and The Lloyd Thaxton Show and these grand sleeves accentuated the motion of their arms. My own girlfriend wore dresses like this one when we danced at the Shady Dell.

    I 'm so sorry you caught another cold and dealt with a pesky hangover but I want to say happy birthday to you and wish you a very bright year ahead. Summer's winding to a close in your part of the world and cooler weather is on the way!

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    1. Thank you! Its good to know that dresses like these were on BANDSTAND! I always imagine Bandstand to have been a very conservative show. As always your girlfriend sounds like such a fashionista!

      Thank you for the Birthday wishes! Summer is still hanging around actually which is strange for March. Normally by my birthday i have to start taking out the cardigans and tights, but not yet! Perhaps after daylight savings it will cool down

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  10. It turned out amazingly, the sleeves are super awesome, and you look adorable! Sorry to hear you were sick, but happy birthday!

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  11. again a very nice dress Cat ! Sweet pattern and fabric !

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  12. Mono nipple?! Snort!!!
    Love love LOVE your Charlotte!!! So sweet. Fabularse fabric. Gorgeous!
    Bugger to being sick, but YAY to cooking up a storm!
    XXX

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    1. haha why did i know you would like that!? haha
      The sickness is gone, and so has the cooking bug. I managed to burn both the cookies i made and dinner. i think its the shitty little oven in my even shittier kitchen...

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  13. happy birthday!
    What a beautiful dress you've made. I just love the print. Those are some of my favorite colors right there. Awesome job on using different pattern pieces, too. Very creative :)

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  14. I just love the print on this dress and the sleeves are fabulous! I need to make myself a dress with big sleeves. I hope you had a lovely birthday and wasn't too hungover!

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    1. Oh yes! you should, they're so much fun!
      Thanks for the birthday wishes too =)

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  15. Cute as usual.

    Sassy Sewing Bees https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees ❀

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  16. Very cute despite the mono-nip (or uni-boob as alternative perhaps?). I do love a lapped zip too! (Ps you might like my latest dress, the Twiggy - I did attempt a pose but don't have your natural flair for 60's positioning! Haha ) :)

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    1. haha uni-boob is a good one too! Your Twiggy dress is fabulous!

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  17. yuuum banana bread it the best. and you did an AMAZING job with this dress. i love the super short hem and the really big sleeves. very cute!

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

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    1. Thank you! Its a great contrast - the hem and the sleeves! xo

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  18. A truly beautiful dress, and wonderful choice of fabric, I love that it looks mostly purple from a distance but up close is a lovely shade of green. I know what you mean about the sleeves, I can't help but wave my arms around like a crazy person whenever I wear angel sleeves too.
    I'm glad to hear that you had a happy birthday!

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    1. Thank you! And yes i does have an interesting colour! I was quite confused which colour thread to use as it has both the purple and green. The purple blended better so i used that.
      xo

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  19. Dream dress!! It came out so beautifully! I'm in love with those sleeves and the fabric print, ahh ♥

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    1. Thank you! Its a beautiful print. Id love to make more things from it!

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  20. I love this dress!! Your sewing skills are so inspiring!

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  21. Great work! I always fear doing lapped zippers and actually watched Lauren's tutorial the other day as I want to do them more when I am doing vintage dresses. I'm so used to invisble zippers. Eeek!

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    1. Its funny you should say that! i fear the invisible zippers! I use the fact that they might not be correct for the ear as my excuse! haha

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  22. I love this fabric so much I've just gone and bought some :-D Love the dress, looks super! Your lovely creations have inspired me to get out my own sewing machine and dive in! Have made some stupid mistakes but it's all part of the learning process, eh? Practice makes perfect (hopefully!).

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