Vintage Vogue Laroche 1951

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Hi everyone! This week I am posting a dress I made a while back but not yet blogged. It’s a vintage Vogue Paris Original Laroche and one of my favourite vintage patterns in my collection.

Laroche 1951 Pattern

And because I loved the way it looked on the envelope, I made mine in the same colour and gave it a similar look. I used a white cotton sateen from Spotlight for the dress, a white polyester organza from my stash for underlining and white polyester lining also from my stash. In hindsight, I think I could have used a silk organza for the underlining and a white silk for lining, but I have to say, it doesn’t take away from the dress having a good shape by using the synthetic fabrics mixed with the cotton.

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I really had to follow the instructions to the letter to construct this dress, as some parts were made up differently as to how I would have done them. The construction entailed a lot of exact sewing, especially in the back because the two back straps have to match up to pull the whole thing off correctly. They are actually not joined to the dress on the sides but are sewn onto the back of the dress. So there is a tiny gap visible on the sides between the straps and the main part of the dress, which wasn’t visible to me on the envelope. That was a bit tricky, but turned out well with some patience, as sewing always does! My verdict: anyone with a lot of patience can sew!

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I was going to use a white ponte knit for this dress but couldn’t find one in time and had the cotton sateen lying around, so whatever fabric I was going to use, it was going to be white. I think it looks like a real 60s space age dress in white! The pattern I used was size 10, which is usually my size, but I had to take in the front side panel seams a little, as I found they were sticking out a bit, even though I copied all the markings from the pattern onto the cut out fabric as exactly as possible. I also had to take in the bust seams a tiny bit.  I underlined the collar just like the rest of the dress but unfortunately find that it has a wave in the top part :-(. I may have to shorten it or use some fabric stiffener to keep it straight! But all in all, a very good fit. There was also a bit of hand sewing at the end to put the back straps into place. I used an invisible slipstitch to do that and not being much into visible zips (unless it’s supposed to be a feature), I put in an invisible one in.  

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I loved the brooch on the pattern envelope and bought a vintage-looking one at one of my favourite fabric stores before it closed down to style the dress. Short white gloves would look amazing with it, just like on the pattern, but I don’t have short white ones, so I used my white boots to make up for it (!) to give the overall look a modern 60’s twist.

This is an absolute classic cut for a 60’s summer dress with the cut-away armholes, high neck and slight A-Line skirt. At the same time, I think it is timeless and can be worn today without looking like too much of a 60’s overload if it is styled with current accessories and shoes.

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I will finish off this post with some beautiful street wall art as it is called and not graffiti! This alleyway (Hosier Lane and Rutledge Lane) in Melbourne between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane is definitely worth a visit if you ever come to Melbourne. It has a grungy old warehouse feel to it from a bygone manufacturing period. You can actually walk around the little block and see the amazingly colourful street art on every bit of space here. You will always find lots of tourists taking photos and you may see an artist putting up some fresh work, which was the case while we were there. The artists have been very creative. Even the waste bins are painted! Haven’t seen that before! One of the many interesting things in Melbourne!

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Styling:  white ankle boots: Jil Sander, brooch: from closed down fabric store, diamond studded ring: Lovisa, square-cut silver ring: custom made, white leather handbag: from little shop in San Giminiano, Tuscany, Italy, sunglasses: Margot by Tom Ford.

The Big Frill

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I am trying VERY hard to ignore all the sale emails I am getting from Tessuti and The Fabric Store. One of my new year’s resolutions for the sewing year 2016 was to use up my stash and yesterday I almost gave in and went to The Fabric Store “just to see what they had on sale” but decided I would have to toughen up and stay away. And I did – stay away. It was time to put at least one of my resolutions into action…

I had some snippets of fabric left over from my Positano dress in navy with the white spots from Tessuti and I really hate bits of beautiful fabric lying around. They are so useless and take up too much space in my stash. So it had to go. To good use of course!

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I have been eyeing several peplum-style tops over the last couple of weeks, weighing up which style to make and in what fabric. Around the same time I found a picture of a frilled top in a fashion magazine and it was love at first sight. A quick and easy sew on the weekend and de-stash at the same time. I love the huge frill on the mag picture but unfortunately I didn’t have enough fabric to make mine THAT big, so I made it as big as the remnants allowed. Compared to the mag picture, mine looks mini!!

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Pictures show front and back sewn together, frill pieced together, frill gathering and pieced together shoulder strap pieces.

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I didn’t use a pattern, but my usual trial and error process (when I don’t have a pattern) to make this top. I measured the approximate length and width of fabric I would need for the front and back of the top. The back turned out about 2cm narrower than the front due to my restrictions but that was ok. I had to “cut and paste” some of the pieces together to actually have enough bigger pieces to work with to make the frill. Some of them were cut on the bias, so I had to match them up to get them on the grain of the fabric and sewed them together with the tiniest seams I could. I ended up cutting the frill 20cm wide and minus hem and gathering it probably turned out 18cm in length.

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For the shoulder straps I really had to piece together lots of very small pieces, which was a bit of a pain, but it paid off in the end and I used every last bit of the fabric! No more left overs! Just another way to seriously de-stash the remnant stash! I just, just had enough to use one last piece for as a headband.

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I put in a loose wide elastic band in the top just to keep it from being too wide and then attached the straps to it with snap fasteners so that I can detach them and wear it without straps as well.

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I am always trying to think of how to get the most use out of a garment. So by making it versatile, I know I will wear it more often.

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What I love about this kind of sewing, is that this top took me about a day to make in between doing some garden work and other household chores on a Sunday, I have used up fabric that would have otherwise been lost in the remnant stash, you can’t see all the piecing together because of the spots on the fabric and lastly – I love it and will wear it with shorts, skirts, jeans and capri pants – with or without the shoulder straps!

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I challenge myself and you and to use up our fabric scraps and make some creative and one-off pieces and not throw away beautiful pieces of fabric. I will be making some more garments from scraps and will keep you posted!

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Styling: shorts: Zara, shoes: Zara, sunglasses: Margot by Tom Ford