Saturday, 17 September 2011

A Sheer Collection: Retro Style

Recent fashion magazines tell me sheers or transparents, often layered, are a trend. Judging by the clothes I was making back in the late 80s to early 90s it seems the trend was around then too, and it seems I was besotted!

Back then I was a student; I was still living with my parents, and my recollection is that the little I was earning through holiday / weekend work was spent on nightclub and dance party entry fees, self-rationed Japanese Slippers*, and the occasional pair of shoes.

* you know, the green cocktail - made with Midori!


So here are two blouses I made from cotton voile.  I used to wear these layered over a smart white singlet (definitely not a chesty bonds), with a calf-length narrow black linen skirt or very wide leg cream linen pants.   I remember dressing like this for uni - crazy me - this is not how the other science students were dressing!

All the relevant patterns are shown a bit lower down the page.

Vogue Perry Ellis pattern used for the orange and yellow blouses (and a third sheer blouse made from paisley chiffon - I will see if I can find it too):

top left = yellow blouse, main = orange blouse
And the Ralph Lauren and Anne Klein patterns below were used for my cream linen pants and a black linen skirt - I still have the cream linen pants somewhere...

bottom half = crream linen pants

black linen skirt


Around the same time I made quite a few other sheer garments.... can you imagine a sheer outfit: blouse AND pants?  Don't worry, the pants were double layer chiffon PLUS lining fabric so they gave an impression of sheer without actually showing anything. They swished around in a noisy, luxurious way when I walked and just felt special :-). And I think I wore a coordinating (homemade) silk cami under the blouse.


Some close-ups too: the louder colour is more realistic, but doesn't show you how sheer the fabric really looked. These pants were made using the same Vogue Ralph Lauren pattern as for the cream linen pants mentioned above. They're a really wide legged trouser leg - I think close to 60cm (23") wide at the ankles.

2 layers of chiffon plus lining...

Very loud, huh? Ah well, the lighting in those nightclubs was mostly dim.

The pattern for the blue blouse was this spectacular Vogue Claude Montana pattern. 

The blue blouse was made from - I think - silk organza, and was such a favourite of mine.  Even though it's washed and clean (unlike the trousers!) I've left it unironed because it has ripped along one of the underarm seams. I think it had weakened from sweat, to be honest, and then a recent wash was the final straw! Unfortunately I don't know how to repair it, and I think my iron could be dangerous to it :-( 

On a cheerier note (let's distract me), have I ever shown you my B&W gingham outfit from the same pattern?

So - a long post, lots of clothes, but you can't see what they looked like on; there just aren't are any photos of me wearing any of these clothes and of course they no longer fit.

So to finish up, here's a photo in which you can see me actually wearing another of my sheer collection, back in the day.

The blouse that you can barely make out was made by my mum - a sweet dotted black and white sheer cotton blouse with fitted waist band, short sleeves and press studs down the front. It had a sort of post-WWII look.

Hmm well you can't really tell what it looks like, can you... but that's me alright!

to be continued...

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