Mrs Bowden’s top tip – variations on a theme

Variations on a theme….
There are just some ‘go to’ patterns that I have in my stock and this is one of them.  I have made it 4 times with slight variations and just about to embark on my 5th version.  This time in chestnut brown pure wool crepe.  I thought it might be interesting to walk through some of the variations so you can see what a difference the fabric and simple changes can make to a garment.
Here is a Hawaiian inspired flamingo print cotton poplin version I made for going to a Festival last year.  The pattern was followed exactly with the exception of some fitting modifications around the, ummm, booty area.  Extremely comfortable and I received many kind compliments.
Here is Mr Tim and I at a vintage dance – I am wearing a ‘fake silk’ version using fabric from the early 1950’s.  This is an acetate with a wonderful lustre.  If you came to the Festival of Fabric in February 2017 you would have seen me wearing it then.  I purchased the fabric from Botchett and Leggett who are trading at the October Festival and have a shop at the Mannings Amusement Market area in Felixstowe.
My 50th Birthday dress made in a cornflower blue crepe with Lily of the Valley hand embroidery.  I used this flower as it celebrates the month of May when I was born.  You’ll notice that I omitted the ‘v’ detail on the neckline and just had a simple scoop so as not to distract from the bodice embroidery.  I have been very happy wearing this garment and intend to wear it alot more!  In case you are curious the embroidery took about 25 hours and features satin stitch, backstitch, lazy daisy stitch, french knots and staggered back stitch.
Onto my latest version.  This rather gorgeous pure wool crepe cloth was purchased at the Great British Sewing Bee Exhibition last week from Fabric Merchants M Rosenberg & Son www.stitchfabrics.co.uk.  I also picked up some rather fabulous two tone paisley lining to use from Ashton fabrics (who sell on-line).

You will see that I’m also using an original fur collar from the early 1950s.  This is mink and I have thought long and hard about using it and realise this can be a contentious subject but as I am reproducing a vintage garment I am using authentic components to do so.  I am using the basic dress silhouette as a shell and ditching the waterfall drape but making a belt.  The collar is a bit of a show stopper and I don’t want to distract from it.  In order to use the collar I’ll need to line it and mount it on the finished dress so; this dress will only be dry cleaned.

One of the reasons I adore making clothes is being able to put my own slant on items; express yourself folks and have a marvellous week.  Oh yes,and in case you didn’t realise the Festival is not this Saturday, but next Saturday!  There will be lots of loveliness to purchase!
Hope to see many of you at the Festival of Fabric on 7th October.

Until then,

in stitches,

Mrs Bowden x

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