Channeling Dita

It was a public holiday here in New Zealand today – Waitangi Day. And I had a pre-arranged half-day of sewing time, all to myself. Exciting!! *bounce*

Guess what I was planning to do with it? Finish off a top I’ve been making, cut out some trousers, and trace a couple of patterns.

Guess what I actually did with it? Finish off a top I’ve been making, and get all inspired by the Fashion Icon challenge at Project Sewn this week and make a skirt to go with said top.

Yep, that’s right – even with my sewing queue being crazy-long right now, I ignored it all and made a Dita von Teese inspired outfit today instead.

Channeling Dita outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I rather admire Ms von Teese. She’s not a classic beauty, but she knows what works for her, and she appreciates good style and good quality. (Plus, she’s got a throwback to vintage styles thing going on, and I do happen to be rather fond of that.) Wish I could wear red lippy as well as she does…. *sigh*

(Admittedly, it currently clashes with my hair, which may be part of why it doesn’t work so well on me…. Hmmm…)

Channeling Dita outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

When I think of Dita, I think of things like woven fabrics, black, leopard, collars, wiggle skirts, and 1950’s pin-up style. (Plus that red lippy, of course.)


The top is the Alma top from Sewaholic patterns. It’s the first time I’ve used a Sewaholic pattern – I have another one planned for this month, so I’ll hold off having a strong opinion on them until I’ve tried a second pattern. (I will say one thing though – the tissue paper they use is extremely flimsy and horrible to work with when tracing. Do not like.) (I do like the way the pattern envelopes are making a rainbow of colour though – very cute!)

Sewaholic Alma top

Sewaholic Alma top

My Alma is made of quilting cotton, with the contrast collar in a black cotton drill. (Which, as it turns out, shows up all sorts of fluff when photographed.)

Sewaholic Alma top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Originally, I made the Alma with sleeves, like so:

Sewaholic Alma top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

But unexpectedly, the sleeves were waaaay too tight on me under the arms. (Yeah – follow the line of my arm below and you may be able to spot the complete lack of any decent amount of ease at the underarm area there.) Not a problem I ever really have when sewing, so it came as quite a surprise!

Sewaholic Alma top | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So, those puppies had to come off. (If you look at the photos of the sleeveless Alma, you’ll see there’s no gaping around the arm sythe – good for sleeveless, not so good with sleeves in.)

The other key change I made to the Alma was the fastening. The pattern calls for a side zipper, but I kinda have a habit of getting stuck in garments with side zips. (Seriously. I’ve had some horror moments in changing rooms in the past where I’ve been stuck half-in, half-out of a dress or similar, completely unable to get it past my shoulders while taking it off, and in fear of bursting seams.) These days, I just avoid anything with a side zip that has to go over my shoulders. I changed it to a centre-back zip instead, a very easy change to make. Instead of cutting the back on the fold, I cut it with a 1.5cm seam allowance (5/8″ for you Americans). Used a 60cm long invisible zip and inserted it from the bottom, making sure there was about 3.5cm left between the neckline and the base of the zipper, to allow enough room to fold over the seam allowance.

Channeling Dita outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Deviating from the pattern a bit, I did a bias facing rather than a neck facing (it just seemed a bit odd to have a collar and a neck facing….). Believe it or not, it was the first time I’ve done a bias facing. Heck knows how I’ve made it this far without doing one! So easy that I used it again on the armholes. The hem is bound with a vintage cotton tape. (Bias and tape in green and brown – shades of the jungle coz, you know, that’s where leopards hang out.)

Sewaholic Alma top details | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The skirt is the “pink” Hummingbird skirt from Cake patterns. I’ve made this one before so it was nice and easy to put together (even without the instructions, as my copy of the pattern is away from home at the moment). I made it in the same cotton drill that the Alma’s collar is made from. And I completely forgot to take a photo, but the pockets are lined with the leopard print fabric I used in the top. Bringing the whole ensemble together, indeed.

Hummingbird skirt and top from Cake Patterns

Hummingbird skirt and top from Cake Patterns

I’ve changed size a bit since my last Hummingbird skirt, plus my last one sat lower than I’d like it to, so I cut one size smaller this time. (A bit of a mistake, as I haven’t lot weight around the hips – oops! Should have kept that piece the same size!) I ended up taking it in about one more size at the waist so it would sit on my actual waist (the pattern is drafted to sit about 1″ below the natural waist), and letting it out nearly a size around the hips.

Channeling Dita outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oh, and this time? I put the tail flounce on the right way round. πŸ˜‰

Cake Hummingbird skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Even though this is the longer of the two Hummingbird skirt variations, it ends up rather short on me when I sit down. Whenever I get around to making up the straight “orange” variation, I’ll have to length it by a good 10cm or it may not be all that ‘decent’ on me!

Channeling Dita outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m pretty happy with this outfit. It’s not my usual style at all, but I think it has a definite ‘Dita’ flavour about it. And while I doubt I’ll wear the pieces together, I can see them getting a lot of wear individually. (In fact, I’m planning on wearing the top to work tomorrow with jeans. It’s a good, longer length for that.)

Channeling Dita outfit | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Right, better go and work on those trousers I was meant to be making today! πŸ˜‰

36 responses to “Channeling Dita

  1. Great outfit! I love the surrounding – green, sun, flouwers, summer…

  2. great outfit. oddly my alma is really tight under the arms too. i thought it was as i made it pre finding out i needed a small fba, but maybe it just needs to be scooped out a bit. i’m planning another soon so i’ll be able to check!

    • Hmmm, must just be the pattern. I was wondering if it was because I usually need a small bust adjustment and most of my bust measurement is shoulder width!

  3. I love your outfit! That flared skirt is perfect for Dita!

  4. Great fashion icon choice! Love a bit of Dita and I love how you’ve interpreted her style and made something really great and wearable for you!

  5. So glad you went with your enthusiasm – outstanding ensemble! Must put a note on my copy of the Cake skirt: lengthen lots… Just had a thought: Wonder how it would look as a winter midi with boots. Love that back flounce whosh!
    xx del

    PD/Check NZ stores for M.A.C. lipsticks & play with their reds a tad. Surely there’s a coordinate for your hair. (Always takes me a tic to get used to seeing darker shades, even tho’ I’ve used them for several seasons.)

  6. Dita!! Oh man, I’m so glad someone chose her, she’s so fabulous! This is a fantastic look, and so wearable, paired together or separated. I love it!! Also, samesies on the Alma sleeve problem. I’ve only made one with sleeves, all my other versions have cap sleeves. I figured I just had big ole arms, ha!

    • Oh no, I think you can safely say it’s not your arms that are the problem – it’s the pattern! πŸ˜‰ I’m going to have to try redrafting the armsythe and sleeve to try one with sleeves I think….

  7. That is one seriously sexy outfit there! I think you should wear BOTH pieces together every once in a while. Also really like your Sylphide dress : ) You’ve been busy. How’s the little man (or have I missed a whole lot more than I thought)?

    • Thanks lovely lady! πŸ™‚

      The little man is good. First word the other day – ‘nana’ (while wanting a banana). Clearly, food is he true love in life, haha! Got a post planned with some trousers I made for him sometime soon….

  8. Kat, I love this outfit – you should so wear them together. I think the top looks better sleeveless anyway. I’m so impressed that you sewed, photographed and blogged all in the same day!! Woah!

  9. Oooh, this is so sassy and fun! I love it on you! The whole outfit looks fabulous!

  10. I hate dealing with flimsy tissue patterns – so to make them easier to use I iron interfacing onto them. works a treat. Love the skirt tail flounce πŸ™‚

    • Oh, now that’s a neat idea! May have to give that a go with a couple of mine that are of particularly thin tissue (Sewaholic, I”m looking at you!)

  11. Grrr, smokin’! I want a happy swingy tail skirt now too! Your skirt makes me want to swish, I am thinking about this one:

  12. that is so amazingly cute:-) I love it!

  13. LOVE IT! The skirt and blouse together are a fantastic ensemble!

    • Aww, thanks lovely lady! πŸ™‚ (You know, I can picture you in an ensemble like this. You’d channel Dita style really well! πŸ˜‰

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  15. Oh I absolutely love Dita Von Teese – she is always SO glamorous and beautiful!! I particularly like the flouncy skirt – very sassy! You sure got a lot accomplished in half a day, missy!! ^__^

  16. Ooooh, sexy mama! I love these pieces together as a dress, looks great on you!

  17. I love love love this whole outfit. It’s fabulous. You look a million bucks in it.

    And the trick to red lippy is twofold. Find the colour you suit then just wear it. Wearing red lippy at first is terrifying and it feels like you look like a clown, but no one else thinks that and after you’re used to your own reflection you’ll be fine!

    • Aww thanks lovely lady! πŸ™‚ *blush*

      I actually have a red lippy that apparantly suits me – the Besame Red one. I just need to get brave!! I think that may be easier to do when my hair is properly purple, rather than pink…. Or that’s what I’m currently telling myself, anyway! Eek!!

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  19. I love that hummingbird and it works so well with the leopard Alma,,, definately a bit of va va voom going there

  20. Totally stunning! xox

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