#Flashbacksewingchallenge on Instagram

In my left ear, away from carmera, my AirPod is blasting “Benny and the Jets”

I love a good sewing challenge. You’d think with my real job, a Costume designer/Wardrobe stylist for film and television, I’d have my fill of challenges. There definitely are plenty of them, but something about chasing that unique idea, really getting to be truly creative never gets old. Unconventional ones, don’t get me started.

So I’ve been trying some sewing challenges lately on Instagram. The most recent one I participated in was the #Flashbacksewingchallenge. Basically, you get to pick what period you want the garment to represent. I picked the 1970’s. I love 70’s fashion, always have. I was thinking about it and wondered why is that? In the late ’70s is when I first learned to sew, and I think it’s when I first became aware of fashion and clothing. What people wore and why. I can remember looking through my older brothers junior high yearbook and literally studying every person, picture, haircut, handbag, and shoe. This should have been a clue since I didn’t even go to this school, and by the time I did, none of these people would be there. My older brother had a big influence on me and my younger siblings. He was the one to bring new music into the home along with being the TV remote control commander. So Sugar Hill Gang, The Rolling Stones (Beast of Burden), Michael Jackson (Jackson 5 all the way to Off the Wall) Sonny and Cher show, Laugh-in, Happy Days, Soul Train and American Bandstand and Star Trek waaaay too much Star Trek, I’m officially allergic to that one.

So for this challenge I wanted one big ball of all that! I found an inspiration picture on Pinterest of Cher in a beaded stripe two-piece outfit next to Elton John in a Gold rhinestoned suit with his infamous rhinestoned glasses.

So my version mimics a nod to Chers wardrobe in a Elton John setting with his glasses.

https://pin.it/vhpvpqkhsyh6sz

I made the jump suit hacking two patterns. Buterrick 4343 dress to just a one shoulder bodice and used a Vintage Simplicity 7214, a pant suit pattern, just the pants. The fabric is from Joann Fabric and is a rainbow sequined stripped fabric. Each piece cut out one at a time to match strips. A little more time consuming, but I remove all the sequins from the selvages before sewing because I love my Bernina sewing machine and I’m not trying to press my luck.

Lastly, I created and DIYed the iconic sunglasses. I also made the red bangle braclette from Amazon (4 Pack, Wood Bangle Bracelet, Dome Exterior, 1.75″ Wide, Large Size, ReadyToDecorate (R)
by Itc Direct
Learn more: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BTTW1O4/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_z4.bDbKCKZ26Rand my hoop earrings. The glass were from Amazon Women’s Cateye Sunglasses Oversized Vintage Retro Bold Fashion Designer Shades (White, 70)
by Freckles Mark
Learn more: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D6LKB21/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_HV.bDb57BM3KQ I spray painted them red and then rhinestoned all three items 4 Pack, Wood Bangle Bracelet, Dome Exterior, 1.75″ Wide, Large Size, ReadyToDecorate (R)
by Itc Direct

I’ve been a stylist on Dancing with the stars for a number of seasons now, this is the method used to rhinstone all those amazing costumes.

This challenge was a blast to do and I have to thank @faithstjues and @winmichele on Instagram for hosting it. Please do check out the hashtags #Flashbacksewingchallenge on Instagram there are some amazing makers out here.

“Oh Candy and Ronnie have you seen them yet? Oh but they’re so spaced out Be-Be-Bennie and the Jets

Refashioning “The Mini skirt prosecutor.”

In January of this year, as I set out to start this blog. I knew that I wanted to talk about Fashion, fashion history, and iconic people and do it visually by refashioning iconic “looks” of these people.

In the summer of 1974, my family was living in Northern Virginia. My father a major in the Air Force was working in the Pentagon. I remember vividly the national news each night on my families television. Watergate.


In July of 2017, I began noticing an MSNBC legal contributor. She was the new resident authority on Watergate and how it resembles our current President and our government. Two things I noticed about her, besides obvious class and intelligence, first, each night she had on these amazing brooch pins. A different one each night. Second, she commented on being known back in the early 70’s as “The mini skirt prosecutor.” Well, now I needed to know more…

Jill Wine-Banks was a Watergate prosecutor. ” She was the one who interrogated Rosemary Woods, the White House secretary responsible for the notorious missing 18½ minutes of the Watergate tapes.” (Author Rita Dragonette, http://www.ritadragonette.cohttp://www.ritadragonette.comm)

In mini skirts no less.

Jill has continued to succeed and have many firsts for women.

“List of achievements: first woman General Counsel of the Army, Illinois’ first Solicitor General and first female Deputy Attorney General of the state, first woman EVP/COO of The American Bar Association, Executive at Motorola and Maytag. After an equally impressive list of not for profit/social advocate positions she has championed causes in education and social services, most recently serving on the US Department of Defense Subcommittee investigating sexual assault in the military.

Jill never stopped fighting, particularly as an outspoken critic of sexism. An early iteration of her book was as a memoir contrasting what it was like to be at the pinnacle of success and attention, yet still facing sexist attitudes and practices in both professional and personal circumstances.”(Author Rita Dragonette, http://www.ritadragonette.com

Now those pins. So each time Jill appears on television she wears a different pin. The brilliant part is each pin has a meaning. She has on her website, Instagram and twitter #jillsPins with the photo and the meaning of each one. Yes, the like button is getting hit often. Definitely check these out.

Jill’s memoir about her years of Watergate is being revised and will be out in 2020 http://www.jillwinebanks.com#

Now my refashioning. This past Monday was Earth day and in the world of fashion, Fashion Revolution week (April 22nd-28th) is underway. I’m a big believer in sustainability and all of us doing our part. I make my clothes and try upcycle old garments instead of buying new. http://www.fashionrevolution.org

This project I did entirely out of thrifted clothing. Basically salvaging all yardage from the discarded.

First, Jill’s trench coat. I took three pairs of men’s thrift khaki’s from GoodWill. Let me just say there are way too many pairs of men’s khaki’s out there, I’m convinced our landfills must be full of them! I decided to do a color block version (like the inspiration photo below) and use the vintage Vouge pattern 1498 to make in 1970’s period appropriate. I hacked the pattern slightly by not lining it, because it’s hot here in southern Califorina. I did do Hong Kong finished steams though, refashioning old power ties, from my dead stock wardrobe from my regular job as a wardrobe stylist and costume designer. I often style celebrity men.

The “mini skirt” pinafore, I used three pairs of used old black stretch jeans of mine. Re-dyed them black with http://www.ritdye.com and used the Seamwork’s No.3093 Dani pinafore patternhttp://www.seamwork.com

The Pussy bow blouse, pattern by http://www.sewoverit.co.uk

was made out of a linen table clothed, from my wedding that the stains didn’t come out, but talk about good yardage! Slight hack, I slashed and spread the tie pattern piece to give it more of the 70’s style.

The boots I found thrift as well as the brief case.

Lastly, my pin. I wanted to find something to do with justice and with my fine tuned thrifting skills, I found it. A little cheeky, but I love it. Yes, I secretly want to send it to Jill.


A special thank you to Rita Dragonette and Jill Wine-Banks for allowing me to use the photos and to quote Rita’s blog post “The mini skirt prosecutor”

Vintage leopard faux fur coat,1964

Vintage leopard faux fur coat,1964

So I picked up this great vintage leopard faux fur coat. Technically the print is that of a cheetah, but most spotted furs are generically all referred too as a leopard.

I loved the silhouette, and the pile of this faux fur was dense, sweet and short. It’s just so much more beautiful and ”real” looking than most faux furs we see out there today. When I saw the label on the inside, it was familiar to me. Always curious about the history of fashion brands, I decided to do a little research. The label said, ”Safari styled by Fairmoor.” I could tell by the typography that the company was for sure from the late fifties, probably the sixties. Sure enough, this coat came out in 1964. Pile fabric coats have been around for quite a while. Let’s face it; humans wearing fur goes way back. In the late ’50s, the new synthetic ”fake fur” as they were called were becoming hugely popular because the synthetic textiles were produced for about $12.00 a yard. Did you know that faux fur fabric is a knit fabric? If you look at the wrong side of the textile, you’ll see it looks just like most knits we use.

” The story goes that the late George Borg, owner of a knitting mill was producing deep pile fabrics for paint rollers. One of the colors coming off looked attractive enough for coats and, and he took the fabric to Seventh Avenue. This was in the late 40s. It caught on, and the knitters began producing the fabrics also.” ( June 17, 1964 page 59 The New York Times archives)

So my coat, like I said the faux fur was in excellent condition, but the acetate lining was thrashed! The pocket lining was four layers deep (yes

four) from previous owners adding a new lining over the last one once it developed a hole. The buttons were alright, but the gold now lacked their luster. I don’t know about you, but I find when refashioning a vintage piece I found myself asking myself ” I wonder where this coat has been, what kind of life experiences has it witnessed?”

So I knew I would replace the lining and the buttons and initially thought I’d use a similar new lining textile and color. I was at brunch with girlfriends for our friend Jen’s birthday. My friend Laura gave her a little make-up bag. A small leopard faux fur with a hot, shocking hot, pink lining. I saw it, and inspiration said, “that’s it, that’s your lining!” I love this coat; I love that it’s older than me and I even put the label back in like a passport booklet for all the adventures I’m going to take it on.