Going space age

We were invited to a 50th birthday party recently.  The theme was “dress in what we thought we’d be wearing today back in the 1960’s”   AKA Retro Modernism.   Now, this was a theme I could really get into.    And I had to come up with outfits for both myself and my hubby.    I started out gathering ideas on my Pinterest Dress-up box board.

My outfit started with a $50 silver wetsuit dress which I found at the Red Cross (thrift shop) store.  The old lady at the counter was rather worried about my dress sense, but seemed to relax somewhat when I told her it was for fancy dress.  It was way more than I’d normally spend, but the dress was just so perfect and I had to have it.     I added a silver cage skirt, silver boot covers and a ray gun.

My hubby’s outfit consisted of some upcycled skiing skins, a quilted silver breast plate, $3 belt from the thrift store, a wig and bobbly things for his head.

Sorry about the crap images – light was low and smart phones were the only camera option.   Read on if you want to know how I made them.   Basic sewing knowledge is assumed.

silver dress space man

So, first up we have the cage skirt.    I’ve put a closeup so that you can see how I constructed it.

cage skirt

For cage I used 3/4 wide inch elastic for the waist, 1 inch wide ribbon for the verticals, 1 3/4 inch ribbon for the hoops, 1/2 inch cheap fashion boning, glue gun and silver spray paint.    I found that the cheap boning doesn’t hold it’s shape if the circle gets too big, so I kept my largest hoop to a diameter of 22 inches.

I started with sewing the elastic to fit my waist.   Then folded the wide ribbons in half and sewed along both sides to make channels for the boning.   I then fed the boning into the channels and used a glue gun to secure the ends.  Next step is to attach the vertical ribbons to the elastic and three layers of hoops.  It’s really important to measure the gaps carefully so that the cage won’t end up wonky.    I then sprayed the whole thing silver.   Only problem with the spraying is that it took the pliability away from the ribbon – resulting in the ribbon not relaxing into shape.   Next time, I’d take a bit of extra time to find the right ribbon colour to start with – or perhaps compromise on ribbon colour.   But even with the added stiffness of spray paint, I was still quite pleased with it.

The boots (pictured above) were made with cheap stretchy silver fabric.   To make a rough pattern, I wrapped my boots in cling wrap and then in duct tape.  I then sliced the duct tape off the boots and flattened it onto the fabric

boots 1 boots 2

The resulting pattern was a bit too wide, but it was close enough to work with.  I just kept reducing the width of the boot cover till I got it right.   I used Sticky Dots to secure the top of the fabric to my boots.   They give a good grip, but are removable.

My ray gun was really simple.    It’s just a $6 water pistol from a toy store.    The original gun was grey, pink, orange and green.   I like the grey and the green, but the pink and orange had to go.   I solved the problem by covering colours I liked in masking tape and plastic wrap and spray painting the rest black.  It took a few layers of paint, but worked out pretty well.    The sticker on the back is a bit of clip art which I printed onto sticker paper.   The front end is an egg beater which was inserted and stuck in place with a glue gun.

ray gun

OK, onto hubby’s outfit now.

His breast plate is made from cheap woven silver fabric which is very shiny and frays easily.    It’s constructed using a solid front and two back pieces with a hole cut for the neck.    Each piece is fabric top and bottom with cheap poly batting in the middle.  I used a heap of pins to hold my fabric and batting sandwiches together and then quilted it all down.   I guess the quilting was overkill, but I do love quilting and so quite enjoyed it. I then joined the pieces at the shoulders (with about a 25 degree slope so that it would sit well) and finished the neck hole.   Just for a bit more overkill, I bound the edges with strips of fabric cut on the bias.    The back of the neck should have velcro or a button or something to hold it together – but I got lazy and used double sided tape for the night.

breast plate

You can’t see his pants in the photo, but they are a pair of vintage skiing skins with flared bottoms.   These pants went out of fashion over 15 years ago but he would’t part with them.     Until now.  Bwhaha.     I cut wide strips of bias from the woven silver fabric, sewed them into long cylinders, flattened them with the seam hidden on the back and sewed them onto the hem.   Easy peasy.

space pants

 

Phew!   I think that’s it.   A lot of sewing for one night out – but it was a great catch up and we had so much fun.

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Fishtail Skirt

A recent event had me a busily sewing a skirt which I could wear with my new corset.   Much deliberation with a friend had me finally decide to make something inspired by this long fishtail skirt

fishtail skirt inspiration

I started out with dress pattern Simplicity 1541 to give me the fit I required for the top of the skirt.    I made a calico mock up of the longer skirt and then extended each gore of the skirt with more fabric to add the floor length fishtail.    I also tapered in the original pattern substantially around my knees to create a figure hugging style.

1541

It all came along rather well until I realised that the amount I’d taken the skirt in around my knees meant that I couldn’t pull my skirt up to attend calls of nature.    I remedied this by widening the black layer a little and by ending the seam of the red top layer a couple of inches higher.   It could also be fixed by sewing with stretch fabrics in the first place.

The skirt is made of two layers, the hip area of each layer being identical.     This will fit together when the skirt is complete.

The top layer is shorter than the bottom one and not flared to the same degree.  I have split it up the back and added a satin bias binding around the bottom.   Hemming flared fabric is just too difficult for me to contemplate.

The bottom layer started out with the same cut as the top, but longer.    I then added large wedge shaped fabric pieces in the lower side seams of the skirt to add volume.    The layers of ruffled lace at the back have been sewn onto another large wedge and fitted into the back seam.    I also finished the lower edge of the bottom layer with ruffled lace.   The lace I chose was 5 1/2″ wide and I gathered it using a ruffler foot.  I worked using 3:1 ratio of gathering.   I’m so in love with my ruffler foot!  Makes gathering a breeze.

IMG

 

Apologies for my dodgy drawings, but hopefully they make sense of how I described the construction of each layer.

Once the two layers were complete I basted them together and attached to a waistband.  I then inserted corset grommets for the lacing down the back.     There is no zip on the skirt – I have to lace myself in and out of the skirt.    The lacing is open at both the top and bottom.

IMG_4418 IMG_4411IMG_4427IMG_4432

 

All in all, I’m very happy with the result.   And had a fabulous night out with the girls while wearing it.