The “Dark and Stormy Night” outfit

Guess what? I was on the main page of The Sew Weekly last week! How crazy exciting was that?!?! Check it out: here’s my post.

Right, sewing-geekery moment over. (Yeah, right.)


Anyway, here’s the latest in my Sew Weekly challenge outfits. Please ‘scuse the fact that the pics are pretty much the same as the ones on the Sew Weekly post – the rest are still buried somewhere on Steve’s computer.

The Theme
Late October, what else could the theme be, other than…. Halloween!

The Facts
The jacket:

  • Fabric: around 2 metres of black suiting, gift from a friend, and some bits of iron-on interfacing
  • Pattern: Vogue V1136 (a re-released vintage Vogue pattern)
  • Year: 1945
  • Notions: 6 black buttons from my great-aunts stash, vintage hook and eye
  • Time to complete: 9 hours
  • Will I wear it? Yes! After I’ve fixed up a couple of little things
  • Total cost: Probably around 20 cents. Bargain!

The skirt:

  • Fabric: Around 1 metre of heavy black cotton drill (no idea where it came from, so I’m going with ‘free’) and about half a metre of black-with-gothic-crosses cotton drill from Spotlight ($10 a metre I think). And around 1 metre of lining, ~$4
  • Pattern: Home Journal 5035
  • Year: 1957
  • Notions: 23cm invisible zip (navy as I’ve run out of black ones somehow), around $4
  • Time to complete: 2 hours
  • Will I wear it? Heck yes!
  • Total cost: ~$13

The Story

To me, Halloween is all about witches and vampires, demons and ghosts, and scary night.  (It’s also all about Samhain, but New Zealand is in the wrong hemisphere for it to match up properly.)

Being all about things that go bump in the night, it seemed appropriate to make something in black.  Something a bit gothic-y.  A bit vampire-esque.  And perhaps a little bit dramatic.

I went looking for inspiration, and pinned a few things onto my Halloween Pinterest board.

Turns out the images that were appealing to me the most were of Gothic styled girls in fitted jackets with nipped-in waists and high collars.  And full skirts, but since I’ve made not one, but two circle skirts lately, it seemed a bit much to make another one of those.  (Not having enough black fabric helped in that decision somewhat.)

Vogue 1136 from 1945 stepped up to the mark.  Fitted waist?  Check.  Interesting neckline?  Check.  A bit dramatic?  Check.  Clearly, we’re on to a winner.

If only I’d known how loooooong it would take to make it up.  Gah.  It’s quite a structured jacket – lots of darts and gathers and decorative-and-structural tucks.  Bound button holes.  Peplum.  It’s got it all.  My hand sewing got a fair bit of practice, that’s for sure.

The skirt, on the other hand, was nice and fast to whip up.  Only four pattern pieces, knife pleats on either side of the centre back panel, all good.  I’m going to be making this pattern again, that’s for sure.

The Pattern(s)

The jacket pattern, despite taking 9 hours to make up, was actually quite simple to follow.  There were a few tricky bits (like the moment I attached the interfacing, put it on, and went ‘hang on, the button holes are now covered!  How does that work?!?), but it actually went together nice and smoothly.  It was all the little details that took the time and effort.  And they make the jacket, in my opinion.  I think I’ll even be brave enough to try this pattern again in the future.  I’ve got a lovely forest green cashmere wool blend that might be lovely in this pattern….

I only made a couple of small alterations to the pattern.  I did a small bust adjustment and took out half the width of the front bodice dart.  And I left out the shoulder pads.  Maybe I’ll make them at some stage.  I’ve never bothered with adding the shoulder pads to a vintage pattern before, so I’m not too sure how necessary they would be.  What do you think?  Shoulder pads or no?

If I made it again, I would make one other adjustment – the sleeves are a bit too narrow around the elbow, and restrict movement a bit.  So next time I’d widen them by about 1.5 cm (in total) at the cuff so they can move up and down my arm a bit better when I move around.

Oh, and I’d also get photos when it’s not so windy, so you can see the jacket properly and not have all those wind-blown lines there.  Oops.

The skirt pattern needed no alterations.  It was the wrong size, but being a straight skirt pattern this was super-easy to adjust and I just added the width across the centre.  Yay for super-easy skirt patterns!  Gotta love them.

The Photos

Since it was Halloween themed, and I made a Gothic-styled outfit, Steve and I went out for a nighttime shoot.  (He couldn’t convince me to get photos in a graveyard at night, though.  *shudder*  I’m just too much of a wimp with an overactive imagination for that.  Ange, if you’re reading this – remember that sprint through the Boulton St cemetary on the way home from work one evening?  Eek!)  Anyway.

I felt like adding to the drama, so added some tights that kinda look a bit (if you squint and use your imagination) like spiderwebs.  And lots of dark eye makeup.  And I put some dangling curls in my hair.

And then the wind was really strong, so all the curls vanished straight away.  Instead of curls, I ended up with photos of my hair standing straight up, or straight out, or across my face, depending on which way the wind was going when the shutter went.  Wind is kinda funny like that.

We got most of the photos at the Island Bay park.  The colour one was at the driveway to the Berhampore sports ground, just for a change of scene.

Happy Halloween everyone!  🙂


7 responses to “The “Dark and Stormy Night” outfit

  1. Hey I stumbled across your blog while doing a Google search on Paulette patterns. It is so nice to find another blogger in Wellington! I love all of the vintage projects you have completed and the weekly wardrobe challenges.

    Who knows, perhaps I shall bump into you at Global Fabrics one day!

  2. ooooh! I like the black with unexpected lurid splashes of color… And your stockings, I like the whole look.

  3. Kat you look awesome. I especially LOVE that photo on the sew weekly site – you totally look like a model in it!

    And boy do I remember that run through Boulton Park cemetery – it was so scary. We were a couple of squealing little girls that night 😀 lol

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