I have never been one for clothes made in animal print. UK readers will know of one of the longest running soap operas here – Coronation Street – and it used to have a character called Bet Lynch: big, bold, brassy, busty, peroxide hair piled on top of her head – she smoked and drank and spoke her mind, and yes, she wore animal prints. I don’t watch, nor ever have, Coronation Street but everybody knows about Bet. This is what I associate with animal print – trash! There, I’ve said it!
Neither Dior, Burberry, Armani or Gucci or any other design house has managed to rid me of the horror of Bet.
Then, sweet and darling Anne at Prttynpnk starts a sort of sew-along thing and the theme is animal print! I like to please Anne, cause she’s scary when she’s annoyed so I tried my best. Here’s my contribution to Jungle January 2013.
Way back in July last year, Anne unexpectedly gifted a genuine vintage Vogue pattern to me.
One piece dress. Slim skirt joins the bloused bodice at the waist-line. Left side front buttoned closing above released pleat. Oval neckline, below elbow or short kimono sleeves. Self tied or novelty belt.
Unfortunately a size 14 then is NOT a size 14 today – the pattern needed grading, 2″ on the bust and 4″ on the hips in order to fit little ol’ me. I put SWAP aside and brought out the tissue paper and got to work. I’ve been reading about the slash and spread method for enlarging patterns, but THIS IS VOGUE – you can’t do that to a genuine vintage vogue – so I diligently set to work measuring and drawing and adding and folding, so that the original tissue is intact.
The instructions for the pattern are exquisite – lots of drawings and arrows – but this was not an easy make. Five bound buttonholes to hold the dress closed, darts in the back sleeves (lovely little detail), it’s not a wrap but a pleated front, and of course, I made it even more difficult by lining it and adding pockets in the side seams. The facings have to be slashed after sewing in place to release the button holes – a really scary moment when everything you’ve sewn so far could be trashed.
I love the wide neckline, the darts in the sleeves make for a shaped sleeve that bends easily with the natural lie of the arm, I like my pockets and the 5 buttons are surprisingly secure.
The Fabric is a wool and poly mix from local store and sewed up a treat and creased excellently under steam but doesn’t wrinkle when wearing. It’s a dark grey with a fine pinstripe – very business like. I made another button belt to complete the dress.
But where are the animals, you cry?
Well, I wore my new shoes……(Clarkes 50% off) Does that count? No…..
I made a tie belt (scarf) and hankie for the vent pocket from satin leopard print. Does that count? Getting closer……
Animal print used, sewn and worn. I contributed to Jungle January and my style integrity is intact. Everyone is happy and Anne won’t be round to our house for a fight!
Go check out the more adventurous sewers than I on Anne’s blog to see what wonderful and scary creations they are making – inspirational!
To add to your reading pleasure click here to watch and hear Rita singing – now that’s a girl who could wear animal prints!