My “Elton John” inpsired outfit

The Facts 
Fabric: Leopard printed polyester for blouse, black gabardine for pants
Pattern: New York pattern # 1779 for shirt, Simplicity 3688 for pants
Year: 1940′s
Notions: Interfacing and 7 buttons for shirt from stash; 1 hook-n-eye & waistband interfacing for pants from stash
Time to complete: ~4 hours
First worn: May 2012
Wear again? YES!!

Total Cost: $13.03 for blouse fabric, pants fabric from Angie’s stash but I did buy pattern for $1.08

Simplicity 3688

New York 1779

 

Vegas….Vegas….what to do…

Many years ago I actually worked in Las Vegas designing uniforms for casinos such as Cesars, Treasure Island, Mirage, MGM Grand and Binion’s. I know there were others but memory fails me at the moment. It’s not as glamorous as you may think, you spend a lot of time in meetings trying to out-guess the competition and trying to explain the evils of sweat-shop produced clothing. Not that I didn’t meet a lot of nice, hard working people but trying to make an item of clothing cheaper than a factory in Vietnam isn’t my idea of the dream job. And the day I was trying, very delicately, to explain to a roomful of men why having a leotard with an 8″ wide crotch might be uncomfortable to the average woman (and then having Steve Wynn walk up behind me…yeah…) was the day I knew that I needed to do something else : )

So when it came to the Vegas challenge it was just a matter of picking an era and an icon AND it needed to be something I could wear in public. The last time I was in Las Vegas was about six years ago and the highlight of my trip was getting to shop at the Elton John store in Ceaser’s. One of the prized items in my wardrobe is the shirt I bought, here is the label:

The very first Elton John song I ever heard was “The Bitch is Back”. Considering that I was raised on a steady diet of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart and was in the third grade before I heard that “rock-n-roll stuff” this song just made my JAW DROP. We were able to play records during Art classes in high school and this was the first song played my first day there. I was IN LOVE. Elton John was the first live concert I ever went to, it was the first live show I took my daughter to (but she dragged me to No Doubt, Offspring and a BFD concert so she returned the favor, at least I side stepped Korn). I tried making some of his outfits, I played the piano so I got some of his sheet music, I saw his shows as often as possible and onetime spent a whole 20 seconds talking to “him” on a radio station!  He may not be Mr. Las Vegas (I think Wayne Newton still has that honor) but to me he epitomizes Vegas. So I’m channeling the outfit he wore on the very first album of his I ever bought, Caribou.

I was tired this week, work was busy but I knew I was REALLY tired when trying to describe what I was thinking of making to Angie and I said “He’s wearing a shirt on the cover that is zebra print only orange and black” and she looked at me funny and said “You mean tiger?” Yeah…. My big mission of the week was to find some sort of animal print that wouldn’t make me look like I re-worked little kids PJ’s or a Halloween costume. I actually found the leopard print at JoAnn’s and was set. I decided to try the retro 40′s pant pattern that Trish most recently raved about and guess what? It’s fabulous. Just as easy as everyone says, the only tweaks I made were tapering the outside leg seam an inch and altering the waistline of the pant so the waistband sits in the right place. When I put these on I felt like they shaved 10 pounds off!

I used the same shirt pattern I’ve used several times lately because I wanted that yoke at the top and this time I made the long sleeved version and just gathered the sleeves instead of doing those pleats.I used three different styles of button, it’s what I had on hand that worked and ironically the buttons down the center front were left over from a project for the Mirage! Little touch of Vegas there for you…

That is the album I bought in 1974, my very first, along with the piano I grew up playing : )  Cool glasses too, huh?

Then my daughter and I started playing around with photos and photoshop-

But my favorite photo that came out of the day has to be this:

We were trying to figure out just WHAT the heck his hands were doing in the original shot. Was he dancing? Was he grooving to his own drummer? What was going on there?

I tried to see if we could reproduce that postion without feeling totally awkward…

Yeah…dork central…but what the heck…we were laughing and having a good time : ) I think when I wear this to work I’ll leave the glasses at home and not dance on BART.

And now for one of my prized possessions, the shirt I bought in the boutique:

I don’t wear it often, not because of the reaction I might get but because I don’t want the glitter to wear off : ) At least you know what you’re getting into if you see me in this…

 

Author

Loran

Loran is a Bay Area designer, stitcher and suburban farm girl. Having done theater for years she's finally taking on her most demanding client (herself!) and fashioning a wardrobe from her huge stock of vintage patterns and fabrics, all while writing her daily tablesetting blog. Let's see if she can keep up with both : )

29 Comments

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  1. Loran you are the best! LOVE this! And I soooooooooooooooooooo sympathise with you trying to find an orange and black zebra print. My kids are laughing their heads off at the stupid things I’ve been coming out with this week.
    His hands do look like the photo’s been taken in motion – I’d like to think he was doing the twist or practising his hula hooping moves. Fab shirt! And yes, those trousers do look good on you….I wonder if that pattern would work with a belly? I might have to get it after everyone’s recommendations.

    • Aren’t kids great? They let us know when we’ve gone over the edge before we embarrass them TOO much… I would absolutely try this pants pattern. I don’t know how large it goes but sizing things up isn’t too hard. If I lived closer I’d totally help you out!

  2. This so great Loran!! You impress me so much. Such a talented seamstress and I love your pictures. I can tell you were having a good time. I would love to see you in the whole ensemble anywhere-with the dance. It would make my whole week! Thanks for sharing with us every week-I look forward to seeing what you will come up with.

    • Now that my co-workers are starting to read my posts they’ve asked me to wear this outfit to work as well! It’s supposed to be in the 90′s for the rest of the week but its bound to cool down soon so I’ll wear it then and have them take pics of me : )

  3. Oh Man, this is awesome. I love Elton John, I did many a karaoke in the bathroom with hairbrush in hand of this song! Love the outfit.

    • Thanks Krista! I never did karaoke in the bathroom (too shy and I had sisters who were relentless in poking fun at my Elton crush) but I loved his albums of the 70′s. Don’t get me wrong, he’s done an amazing body of work but there’s something about the early stuff that just hits home.

  4. This is just to good. I think what I am likeing most other then the glasses is that you keep going back to what works and tweeking it just enough to make it completely different. The if it ain’t broke don’t fix it concept got to love it. Or the go with what works, or the done is good, what ever I like.

  5. Oh my goodness so much awesome!! And I love that you have more than one pair of sparkly glasses at your disposal.

  6. Thanks Liz,I actually had three pairs for this shoot but my daughter thought the black swans with crystal rhinestones “too drag queen”, although we ARE talking about Elton John here! When I went to put on the round frames at the beginning of the shoot the frames around one lens snapped in two so I handed them to my dad and said “Quick! I need these fixed!!”. He laughed at me but did it so I put them on at the end and they made my eye water from the still-wafting fumes from the super glue : ) What we do for the Sew Weekly…

  7. What a riot! Those photos are so much fun! The pants are really flattering, and I’m thinking I need some tiger print in my life for when the bitch is in residence. I know a very special 8-year-old who has been Elton John, Liberace, and Elvis for the past three Halloweens; I never connected his interest to Las Vegas until now, duh.

    • I absolutely recommend putting some tiger print in your life : ) Thanks Lee! And if you ever want to share pics of a special 8-year-old in his Halloween costumes I’d love to see them.

  8. Yessss! I love your photo shoot excerpts. What a great post! The blouse is lovely, and I also am a big admirer of Elton John, so was happy to see someone use him as their Vegas inspiration. Yay! How many pairs of awesome Elton glasses do you own?

  9. Oh this post is something to love over and over! I never would have thought to use Elton John as the Vegas inspiration, but you did him proud :) I have that pattern myself, and am more interested in making it up now. Great job!

  10. Another entertaining and inspiring post! The blouse is so well done, the front sides match shading on the animal print perfectly; you must have cut very carefully. You are very funny and I enjoy reading about your history as it applies to this week’s adventure. You captured Elton John’s fabulousness perfectly. Great job as always Loran, thanks so much for sharing.

  11. I love this so much, especially the cover mash up with you instead of Elton. You’re right– his hands are so awkward! You did a great impression of his strange stance and smile.

  12. Too much fun! Love the Elton John spin on Vegas. Your photos are great. His hands, on the album cover, look very Mike Meyers as Austin Powers to me. I’m loving how wearable this outfit is for everyday.

  13. Wow this is great Loran! I was lucky enough to see Elton perform last year – what an incredible performer. Those pants are slamming on you. Next I want to see you in tapered cigarette style ones please! Those legs just have to be shown off! Now let’s talk about the blouse. I can see its slipping off your shoulders because its slippery satin. No worries. Did you dart it in like the picture on the pattern? It looks huge on you in the waist area. What’s up with that? Looks like your usual faultless construction apart from that xx

    • Good eye for the details Trish! The blouse IS slippery but the whole shoulder thing is me in a little bit of pain after being attacked by a wild turkey !?! Yes, a turkey. I’m planning on some cigarette-style pants when the challenge is appropriate which will hopefully be soon, I had some silk just waiting to be made up.
      I did dart the blouse but I did NOT make the pleats at the waist as usual, I cut it a few inches longer so it would stay firmly tucked in and was *just* tired enough to say “we don’t need darts” but maybe I do : )

  14. This is SO AWESOME!! I love how you’ve put yourself on the album cover!! And I am super envious of your collection of shades.

    Elton John is great! Did you know that he was on an episode of Bob the Builder? My kids were walking around singing “Crocodile Rock” which I had never played for them. They were absolutely flabbergasted to learn that he was a real person, lol! My oldest daughter thought his style was awesome, but weird for a man.

    • I guess she’s never seen him in his duck suit at the Dodgers game in the late 70′s… made by Bob Mackie no less!

  15. So cool! I love your inspiration and your outfit matches it perfectly! And I love your reproduction of the photos. Fantastic!!!

  16. I love Your Elton John inspiration and post. Sounds like you and your daughter had a fun time putting this all together. Daughters can be such darlings to hang out with. Mine, like yours, also endulge me with their time and expertise when it comes to taking photos and editing. Aren’t we lucky? . My favorite photo is you on the cover. Kudos to the time and effort it takes to do that.

  17. Great interpretation! I love the faux album cover! So fun :-)

  18. I enjoyed your post immensely, Loran. Your fatigued description of tiger print was hilarious…sounded so much like something I’d say in a sleepy or drunken stupor. I’m jealous of your Elton John paraphanelia AND the marvelous tribute outfit you made. Those pants fit great!

  19. But with all those spots this fabric doesn’t qualify as orange-black zebra print. ;) I LOVE your description of the tiger print! That’s a great blouse and the photos are a riot. Thanks for a very entertaining post.

  20. What a fantastic way to incorporate all your memories into an outfit! And I just love that you own not one, but TWO pairs of amber coloured -rhinestone framed glasses!