V&A Hollywood Costumes

On Sunday I went to the V&A Hollywood costumes exhibition, along with what felt like half of London. Despite the crowds it was a great day out.

We started off by playing which of the films have we seen? And even though neither of us are great cinema goers we quickly found it was difficult to find a costume where we hadn’t seen the film.

The information about the designers thought processes was particularly interesting. For example Jason Bourne’s clothes were chosen because they were so ordinary. Usually the audience can pick out a character in a crowd scene because they are wearing a particular colour. In Jason Bourne’s case they wanted him to get slightly lost in the crowd scenes so intentionally dressed him in drab clothes. Harrison Forde’s hat in Raiders of the Lost Ark was based on an Australian hat but with the brim modified so you can get a better view of his face.

Where films had been remade (they had several of Cleopatras and a brace of Elizabeth I’s) you could see how the era the film was made in influenced the costume. Apparently contemporary films are the most difficult to dress because everyone knows about current fashions and you probably don’t want the actor to stand out from the normal.

The last room was were they showed the iconic costumes; Marilyn’s sunray pleated dress, Audrey’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s dress, Superman, the Blue’s Brothers and 007’s tuxedo. The last exhibit of all being the Judy Garland’s ruby slippers.

So what was my favourite? Well it has to be Meryl Streep’s costume for the song they sang through the credits at the end of Abba (was it Waterloo?). An all in one covered in sequins with tight trousers flared from the knee.

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Pyjama trousers

I had my last pattern drafting lesson this week and now I have perfectly fitted blocks for a skirt, bodice and pair of trousers. I’ve had a play with designing a skirt but haven’t done anything with the bodice block as yet. As it’s winter and gets awfully cold at night I thought I’d make a start on using the trouser block by making a pair of PJ trousers.

To make the pattern I cut each leg as one by joining the front and back pieces which created the wide leg shape I wanted. I also dropped the crotch slightly and replaced the darts with an elastic aged waist band.

The fabric is a lovely soft brushed cotton from Truro fabrics. Trousers are very economical to make and I only used 1.3m

I’m happy with the result but perhaps next time I’ll add a little ease across the hips or use a stretchier fabric.

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Joel & Sons

Today I went to Joel & Sons, a fabric shop just off the Edgeware Road. A couple of people have told me about this shop and said even if I didn’t want to buy anything it was worth visiting just to see what they had available.

Well, it is an amazing shop packed to the rafters with the most beautiful fabrics you can imagine. In the window they had a dark burgundy dress with a skirt made out of a feathered trim and inside it got a whole lot better. I found out where you can buy silk digital prints in London, wool crepes, double crepes, twills and stretch wools in every colour under the sun and a huge selection of wool jerseys, trims, buttons and lace. It made me feel quite dizzy!

I decided to buy some wool tweed to make a pair of trousers with. at first I chose a very pretty mauve-grey herringbone but wasn’t sure about the shade which was a bit pale. I asked one of the assistants who couldn’t have been more helpful. He pulled out numerous bolts of fabric at around the price mark I wanted to pay (this place isn’t cheap I did spot some gorgeous cashmere at £300 a metre) and ended up with some cinnamon plaid with a blue-green and mustard stripe running through it. He then helped me chose some matching mustard lining. When I went to pay the manager told me that Vivienne Westwood is doing plaid trousers with velvet turn ups this year and after searching through his box of scraps he dug out a piece of blue cotton velvet which he said I could have.

Definitely worth another visit!

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October Burda

Usually I try to write my post about the month’s Burda earlier than this but I’ve been so busy this is the first opportunity I’ve had. So far I’ve only seen one other review for October which is a bit surprising and maybe because other bloggers, like myself, have found this month’s issue a bit boring.

I’ve written before about Burda and how it can be good one month and not so good another month. I don’t really mind this as I’m so slow about getting round to sewing anything not to adding to the list of things I’d like to make is a positive benefit! Also it’s so cheap it doesn’t really matter if a month or two isn’t so interesting.

So what did I like this month? Firstly this dress/top/tunic (113) which is very simple but made out of lovely fabric (of course finding the same lovely fabric is going to be difficult). I like this casual look with the longer dress over straight jeans or thick tights.

Secondly I liked this skirt (124) with the welted pockets. I’m not sure how you can put pockets in like this without there being a seam but it does look very polished. Incidentally lovely fabric again!

And that was about it. The only other garment that caught my eye was this dress (122), mainly because it looks like a simple block made up in green satin. Now I have my bodice and skirt blocks maybe I could make up something like this if I can find some nice material.

Incidentally, I see from the French site that there are references to various articles that I don’t seem to have in my English version. Am I right in thinking that the French version of the magazine may not be identical to the English?