The half-Birds skirt

The Theme
This week’s Sew Weekly theme was ‘Hitchcock’ – to “draw our inspiration from the films of Alfred Hitchcock and the (mostly blonde) women that were impeccably dressed by his costume designers, including the legendary Edith Head”.

So many fabulous outfits!! It was a real toss up – Rear Window or The Birds. In the end, I decided to go with The Birds, inspired by this outfit here:

I love this movie – and yet, I’ve only seen it once, about 13 years ago. I remember watching it late at night in my flat in Dunedin with my then-boyfriend. It was the first Hitchcock movie I’d ever seen, in fact. And quite frankly, the concept was rather terrifying!

One of the key reasons this outfit appealed to me was that when I saw it I knew exactly what pattern I was going to use – Simplicity 4771, from the early 1960’s.

While it’s not for a belted dress, the pencil skirt, belted top and boxy jacket remind me so much of the lovely mint-green dress-and-jacket set the heroine wore in the movie. And it’s also one of the patterns on my Sewing Through the Decades plan, which is an added bonus. :-)

(I admit it, I was also inspired by this Barbie doll image I found – how cool is this? I so want one!)

The Facts

  • Fabric: dull pink acrylic (and maybe wool as well) blend, about 1 metre. No idea how much it cost, I’ve had it for so long! And around 1/2 a metre of dull green lining, about $1 from Arthur Toye in their half-price sale
  • Pattern: Simplicity 4771
  • Year: early (I think?) 1960’s
  • Notions: 23cm dress zipper (rescued from an old garment as some stage in the past) and a couple of vintage hooks-and-eyes
  • Time to complete: around 5 hours (sheesh!)
  • Will I wear it? Yes! I actually really like this skirt. :-)
  • Total cost: No idea! The lining is the only part of it I’ve bought in the last few years (aside from the pattern, and I can’t remember how much that was). At a guess, maybe around $6?

The Story

When I choose this pattern (and this outfit for inspiration) I was intending to make up the entire outfit – skirt, top, belt and jacket. And then I thought, well, I might be a bit pressed for time with the jacket, so I’ll at least do the skirt, top and belt. And so I started on the skirt.

Ah yes, this skirt.

The pattern was simple enough – like the pattern cover says, it’s simple to make. I complicated it a bit by lining the skirt (after all, you’ve gotta line acrylic weaves, don’t you?!), but that didn’t add a huge amount of time to it. What did add a lot of time to this skirt was that I got a bit lazy and didn’t try it on until I’d put the waistband on. At which point, I discovered that it was to tight. Argh!

Clearly, my quick-unpick and I didn’t spend enough quality time together last weekend with the Librarian’s Nightmare dress. *sigh*

And can I just say, acrylic woven fabrics are not fun to unpick, no they are not.

So anyway, I took off the waistband, and let out a couple of centimetres at the back pleat. Then I tried it on again, and it was still a bit too tight. Yay, more unpicking. Let it out another couple of centimetres. (I have no idea how it go so small – in theory it was the right size. *shrug*) Finally, it fit! Shame I had to unpick several seams (due to the lining as well) to get it that way. Oh, and cut another waistband as the original one was now too short.

Oh well. At least I now have a dull pink warm lined pencil skirt with a small kick-pleat at the back, and I like it a lot. :-)

Sadly though, since the skirt took a lot longer than I expected, I didn’t get the top finished. It’s cut out – hopefully I’ll get around to it one day soon. I still want to make the matching boxy jacket in this dull pink acrylic as well – I think it’ll look lovely as a suit. But in the meantime, it’s a half-Birds outfit.

Pattern Review
Not a lot to say about this pattern, as I’ve only used the skirt so far. Nice and easy to sew up. Easy to add lining to it if you want to as well. The instructions for the zipper were slightly hard to follow – I ended up ignoring them and figuring it out myself. (I don’t know why they insist on doing overly-complicated and too-small illustrations for putting in fastenings. Grrr.)

And just coz it’s The Birds, here’s a random oh-no! photo…

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7 responses to “The half-Birds skirt

  1. I love it!! Boy, you sure can wear retro well- I’m totally jealous of your versitality! Great suit!

  2. FABULOUS outfit! I love it so much! And I know what you mean about unpicking acrylic wovens…ugh. I hate when i need to do that! The skirt fits perfect and I would imagine be a wardrobe staple!!! And it’s great that the pattern is a dead ringer for the outfit from the Birds!!

    • Thanks! :-) I agree – I suspect this skirt is going to be making a lot of appearances around the office. It makes me feel all vintage and ladylike (which is not at all the case, but it’s fun to pretend!).

  3. Love the skirt! I hate unpicking things, so I give you major credit for not throwing it in a UFO pile (because some of us would totally do that). It looks fabulous and I’m sure you will wear it often!

    • Thanks lady! I must admit that I was very close to throwing it in the UFO pile…. Only reason I didn’t was that I didn’t have the right fabric for the other top I was thinking of making for this challenge. :-P

  4. Pingback: Scrap Bustin’ Tuesday – Blossom Bunny | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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