The “Self Preservation Society” Outfit
Fabric: Crown: a bit more of the burgundy velvet curtain used last week, Jacket: absolutely bargain BNWT $4.99 in Goodwill half-price sale, Skirt: Purple duvet cover I’ve been meaning to thrift for ages.
Patterns: Butterick 5161 and Butterick 3843.
Notions: Crown: Poster board 99c, 1 yd metallic trim $3.49, 2 rolls of metallic ribbon in bargain bin $1.98, coloured plastic ‘gems’ taken off pair of Lelli Kelli shoes now too small for my daughter. Skirt: Zipper taken from a skirt whose fabric went into stash. Thread. Crown earrings: crown bracelet charms 50% off at Hobby Lobby $2.47 and hooks and link rings from existing jewellery-making supplies.
Time to complete: 9 hours
First worn: hasn’t been yet….reasons below.
Wear again? Absolutely, I really like this outfit and the crown makes me smile.
Total Cost: $13.92
The challenge: “Diamond Jubilee – something inspired by a past or present royal”.
The observant of you will notice that this week I’m not wearing my creations for the photos but instead the aptly named Betty is standing in for me. I’m afraid I’ve had a rough week….some of you will know that I have cyclothymia, the mildest form of bipolar. Well, my head hasn’t been good to me this week. To top that Mr D, came back from his nearly 3 week world business trip with an appalling cold and then lovingly let me have it too. It knocked me out, left me feverish and with very painful sinuses. So sewing time has been limited this week. Luckily, I had a very well-researched plan already in place at the beginning of the week to help get me through….
Whilst I was at my local Goodwill thrift store a few weeks ago I saw a velvet jacket with a pretty floral pattern on it and this was outlined with a raised gold embellishment. I’d already been doing some research about past and present royal fashions in readiness, and it reminded me of a dress made by Catherine Walker made for Princess Diana in 1992 for the royal tour to India.
(The Catherine Walker story inspired me – widowed in a foreign country with 2 baby girls she started off her business selling clothes from a basket walking up and down in Chelsea, London whilst studying to be a designer at night school….and she went on to make some of Princess Diana’s most iconic and remembered clothes).
The jacket was in the ‘better quality’ section and although it had long sleeves and a Nehru collar, I definitely thought it had potential. It still had its tags on too and was originally $59.99. It was priced at $9.99 which normally would seem an absolute bargain…..but as I know I’m in for the long haul with Sew Weekly I know all the apparently small costs pile up and so as the Goodwill was due to have its 50% off sale the next day, I thought I’d risk not buying it then and there to come back the next morning.
Anyway, I came back, fought the queues and got the jacket for $4.99…..now that was a bargain!
So far I’ve altered the neckline, taken in at the waist and shortened the sleeves. I’m not finished on the sleeves….but I didn’t trust my sewing judgement/quality whilst feverish the other day….so decided to tackle these properly (shaping them like the Catherine Walker original) when I’m back on form.
Ooh, I haven’t shown you the Catherine Walker dress yet have I? Here you go….
I was originally going to cut the jacket into a bolero, but once I’d made the alterations I quite liked the shape of it to the waist and as I’ve discovered with my shape, anything empire line risks me looking pregnant. I definitely do not have Diana’s figure.
I thought about making the skirt with the Butterick 3843 pattern in black like the original, but there’s a very pretty purple in the flowers on the jacket that I had an old duvet cover to match….so hence the purple skirt.
And I extended the length of the train at the back too. I’m not sure if you can see, but I used gold thread and an embroidery stitch on my machine around the hem. More of my royalty fashion research that fascinated me was how Norman Hartnell frequently put symbolic embroidery on Queen Elizabeth’s skirts….and this was my token nod to this within my limits.
On the days when I couldn’t get out of bed, Sew Weekly kept me going by spurring me on to do something, anything…..so I made myself a crown sort of to the Butterick 5161 View E pattern. Oh and some tiny crown earrings. They make me smile because they’re pure silliness.
I’m sorry I didn’t manage to be in the photos myself this week. I did get up very early this morning to get showered and prettified for photos, but after several hours of tears and battling with the hateful voices inside my head I decided that self preservation was the order of the day (one of my favourite “English” songs whenever I’m feeling particularly homesick…..not helped by watching all the Jubilee celebrations that I’m separated from by the big, big ocean is Self Preservation Society from one of my favourite movies The Italian Job…..the proper one though, with Michael Caine), and though I couldn’t do everything, I could do something and that was to show you what I’d made with the aid of Betty, my wonderful, dependable dress form.
So there you go. I hope this all makes sense because I’m just trying to get it done this week….I do feel rather like I’m perched in a balancing coach on the edge of a ravine in the Alps.
Hang on, lads, I’ve got a great idea…..