Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


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The Serpent Outfit: Top with dramatic sleeves

After watching The Serpent earlier in the year, I was attracted to all the costumes in the show and in particular to this outfit worn by Monique / Marie-Andree (she goes by both names), played by Jenna Coleman.

Cheers! This is one of my favourite outfits from the series so far. Those big sleeves! That colour combination!
Cheers! This is one of my favourite outfits from the series so far. Those big sleeves! That colour combination!

I particularly liked the big dramatic sleeves and found that this Burda pattern in my collection fitted the bill well:

Looking at the line drawing I can see that this top has a v-neck. This is shared with the top in the TV show too. I also noticed that in the photo of Jenna Coleman the sleeves have two pleats that add even more volume. However, I thought I would stick with the Burda version as I wasn’t sure how much I’m going to love the sleeves in everyday life. Would they get in the way too much?

The Burda line drawing also shows the back view which has a yoke and pleat, just like a shirt. I have kept these features in my make, because I really don’t know what the original top looks like from the back.

Fabric Choice

The fabric choice was quite a dilemma for me. There is a certain vibe about the print used in the original top that is largely missing from modern prints. There is a tendency for certain colour combinations in 70s designs that don’t appear on fabrics today. The patterns can also be big and bold. On The Serpent blouse, the colours are complementary, and the pattern itself, although big, is a somewhat indistinct, abstract floral design.

I wanted these elements in my choice; complementary colours and abstract floral design. It actually turned out more difficult to meet these requirements than I’d first thought.

I looked at various floral designs on online fabric stores and came up with these ideas.

Fabric Inspiration: clockwise from top left – 1. from Minerva fabrics 2. from Minerva fabrics 3. from Storrs 4. from Storrs 5. from Storrs 6. from Like Sew Amazing

Before I went ahead I looked on Instagram to see if anyone else had made the Burda top. I spotted this amazing floral version from Merine on Instagram and I couldn’t have imagined a better fabric. I wonder whether this version may have swayed me in my final choice, because I went for the bold coral and mint dahlia print from Like Sew Amazing (shown above in the bottom right hand corner), which is a cotton lawn.

Construction

I used French seams throughout for my make. I was pleased that the pattern included cutting out two back yoke pieces. Yes, I know that is normal for a shirt, but you’ll be surprised that I have seen more than one blouse pattern where only one back yoke piece is mentioned. I was a little concerned that the fabric might be quite transparent, so I cut the inner yoke piece from plain white cotton lawn. I wanted to make sure that the bold pattern didn’t show through where the fabric is white.

I made the v-neck a little higher, this is a normal adjustment for me. I think it may have been too revealing otherwise. I was very careful with the construction of the v-neck opening. I’ve made a couple of neck openings of a similar construction (allowance clipped and then facing turned to inside) recently and felt that the finish on these didn’t quite meet my exacting standards. I think it can be a tricky finish to get right with the possibility of fraying and making a very obvious hole. I think the closely woven fabric helped enormously this time and I didn’t feel that the point of the “V” became unduly weak.

I left the hem on the sleeve till last and then spend several days deliberating on the finished length. In the Burda picture and also in The Serpent, the tops have wrist length sleeves, but the pattern is drafted for someone with slightly longer arms, so I knew I would have to take off some of the length. Then I wondered whether I should go with a shorter, more practical length, but I wanted to be true to the original inspiration. Once I’d decided, I cut off 4 cm so that the sleeve came to my wrist.

Summary

Well, here’s the top in all its glory!

The Serpent blouse

I also really like the yoke and pleat at the back. It makes the top light and airy, in fact perfect for summer. I would even consider making this top with more restrained sleeves, because I like the other features such as the back pleat and the v-neck, so much.

Back view of “The Serpent” top showing the back yoke and pleat.

And finally here is a shot where I’ve semi-tucked the blouse in. I’m not big on wearing summer blouses tucked in (I just like a bit of circulating air), but I thought it would show another way this top could be styled. I noticed that Jenna Coleman wears hers tucked in and I may give that a go when I make the mint-coloured trousers.


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The Serpent – TV series review Episodes 7 & 8

The net is closing in on Charles and Marie-Andree as they arrive in Paris. They have a meeting set up with potential clients, but first Charles wants to introduce Marie-Andree to his mother. The reception they receive is rather frosty and Marie-Andree is left with many doubts about Charles.

Dressed up to see Charles's mother. Marie-Andree is dressed in striking ensemble - blue suit, teal cape and red polo neck.

Dressed up to see Charles’s mother. Marie-Andree is dressed in a striking ensemble – blue suit, teal cape and red polo neck. Marie-Andree looks bold and confident in red – how long will this confidence last?

Marie-Andree wears a striking red top for the business meeting

Marie-Andree wears red again for the business meeting.

At the same time, Herman, Nadine and Remi are desperately trying to get the French authorities interested in arrested Sobhraj in Paris. They feel that the odds of getting Sobhraj arrested are now very slim. However, with the sudden involvement of the Bangkok post and Interpol perhaps there will be a breakthrough in the case.

Denim all round here with Nadine in jeans and a matching sleeveless jacket and Mrs Knippenberg in a denim jumpsuit

Denim all round here with Nadine in jeans and a matching sleeveless jacket and Mrs Knippenberg in a denim jumpsuit. Herman has a huge kipper tie.

We also step back in time to meet Stephane, who is leaving for Thailand to look for her Turkish fiancee, Vitali. The only clue to his disappearance is a business card from a gem dealer.

Stephane introduces her mother to her grandchild

Stephane introduces her mother to her grandchild. The brown coat just screams seventies to me!

In Episode 8, Charles and Marie-Andree are running out of options. Charles and Marie-Andree’s life on the run isn’t glamorous. After fleeing Paris, they end up back in India bedding down in the same room as a  group of Western tourists. They are up to the usual scams; stealing travellers’ cheques and passports. However, new recruit to their schemes, John, is worried when the couple’s criminal activities are not limited to theft and contacts the police in Delhi.

Meanwhile there is international interest in all the evidence that Herman has collected on the case. Interpol want to take over the case, however he is frustrated by their lack of action. Herman doesn’t seem able to let go of the case, and it is beginning to affect his marriage to Angela.

Angela in a late 70s / early 80s fashions beside the pool.

Angela in a late 70s / early 80s fashions beside the pool.

Sobhraj has come up with a plan to fleece a group of German tourists, but will such an audacious plan work?

Angela trouser suit

Can’t figure out how many years have past here from Angela’s trouser suit which definitely looks like an eighties style, but looking up events on Wikipedia, we are apparently in 2003!

Apparently, the series has been one of the most streamed since the beginning of the year and I’m not surprised by its popularity. I have found the leads, Tahar Rahim as the cold killer and Jenna Coleman as the enigmatic accomplice, utterly convincing. In the end, I got used to the hopping time-line and actually began to enjoy seeing the old-fashioned flight information board captions coming up to announce each change of scene. I’ve enjoyed the seventies sets and costumes too, of course. Most of all, I have been impressedt hat although the drama depicted Sobhraj’s grisly crimes, it didn’t overly glamourise his life and forget the victims.


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The Serpent – TV series review Episodes 5 & 6

This is a follow-on from my previous episode recaps here and here. The whole series is still available in the UK on the BBC.

At the beginning of Episode 5, Herman has finally secured enough evidence for the police to arrest Sobhraj. Under the guise of a narcotics raid, the police plan to swoop on Sobhraj’s apartment. Herman phones Nadine, but Sobhraj is in her flat and they think he may have overheard the phone conversation.

More conservative dresses from diplomat's wife, Angela Knippenberg.

More conservative dresses from diplomat’s wife, Angela Knippenberg. I do like the interiors in this series too. They are all in the style of the era, but different to fit in with the characters style and occupations. Here is the Knippenberg house the decor is tasteful and unostentatious.

The police decide to move in straight away. Meanwhile Nadine is invited to have an alcoholic drink with Charles, Marie-Andree and Ajay by the pool.

Marie-Andree's yellow jumpsuit - a striking outfit for the drama of the scenes by the swimming pool

Marie-Andree’s yellow jumpsuit – a striking outfit for the drama of the scenes by the swimming pool. I like the way the belt and the shoes harmonise in this outfit.

Sobhraj then suggests that Marie-Andree goes shopping and Ajay takes her in the car, leaving Nadine and Sobhraj alone at the apartment. Sobhraj airs his suspicions that Nadine must have helped Dominique escape. Nadine’s life is in danger but the police are temporarily stood down, while they await Marie-Andree and Ajay to return so all three can be arrested.

Just before the police arrive Sobhraj, always seeming in control, makes a few last minute preparations. He ensures that he, Marie-Andree and Ajay are wearing as much jewellery as they can and he also hides the key to the safe.

In a step back in time we see another aspect of Sobhraj’s life. It seems that he is also having a relationship behind Marie-Andree’s back. In fact, Sobhraj gets engaged to Suda, but we left guessing which relationship is more important to Sobhraj. Suda is clearly useful for her connections to the gem trade and her father is in the police.

Suda wears quite understated dresses. Like the belt this is paired with.

Suda wears quite understated dresses. Like the belt this is paired with.

On arriving at the police station, Sobhraj ostentatiously takes off his jewellery and empties wadges of cash from his pockets. He obviously hopes that the police can be bribed.

Nadine and Remi celebrate Sobhraj’s arrest at the Knippenbergs, but Herman gets a call from the police which suggests the investigation is not going to plan. It seems Sobhraj has taken a new identity, which is confusing the investigation. On top of that will Sobhraj’s bribery work?

In Episode 6 we step back to late sixties and Sobhraj’s marriage to Juliette.

I struggled to get a good shot of Juliette's wedding dress. This shot shows the detail best - it is rather beautiful - full length, all lace, with a train.

I struggled to get a good shot of Juliette’s wedding dress. This shot shows the detail best – it is rather beautiful – full length, all lace, with a train.

Back with the Knippenbergs, Herman is increasingly agitated and completely loses it when the gardener mistakenly clears all the water-lilies from the pond. He’s in even more trouble at the embassy for pursuing the case and his boss “tells him” to take a holiday for three weeks.

Meanwhile Sobhraj and Marie-Andree are in Pakistan, where Sobhraj needs to make some phonecalls to find a buyer for his gems.

Can Madame be persuaded to buy the gems? Madame Boeder has a rather bohemian style, beautiful large print fabric in jewel tones (perhaps no coincidence there). Another interior - an elegant office in a Paris apartment, I think I would suggest this room is timeless and classic.

Can Madame be persuaded to buy the gems? Madame Boeder has a rather bohemian style, with a beautiful large print fabric in jewel tones (perhaps reflect her love of gems). Another beautiful interior – an elegant office in a Paris apartment, it’s timeless and classic.

Marie-Andree seems more relaxed since they have left Bangkok, but isn’t thrilled when Ajay, who had stayed behind, suddenly makes an appearance. Marie-Andree had requested Ajay bring a notebook from the apartment, but he didn’t have time to fetch it.

Marie-Andree's blouse is really interesting. It has voluminous sleeves and is asymmetric with a big flounce extending from the front on the right side. I like how the pastel shades look together too.

Marie-Andree’s blouse is really interesting. It has voluminous sleeves and is asymmetric with a big flounce extending from the front on the right side. I like how the pastel shades look together too.

We also see the early years of Sobhraj’s marriage to Juliette in India. They have a child, but Sobhraj isn’t the most reliable husband and the lifestyle he leads proves to be too much for his new bride.

Juliette visits Sobhraj in jail. She's wearing a denim blouse with a contrast yoke.

Juliette visits Sobhraj in jail. She’s wearing a denim blouse with a contrast yoke.

Herman tries to relax on hoilday, but is disturbed by a phone call from Nadine saying that the Sobhraj apartment is going to be let. The Knippenbergs rush back to Bangkok to search the apartment before any vital evidence is lost. They find a hidden “medicine” cupboard containing all the drugs that Sobhraj used in his poisonings, stolen passports and Marie-Andree’s notebook.

As the episode draws to its menacing conclusion we begin to see where Sobhraj’s loyalties lie or perhaps we see that he only values a relationship that furthers his own aims.


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The Serpent – TV series review Episodes 1 & 2

The Serpent is a new 8-part TV series currently showing on the BBC in the UK. It is set in the 1970s and is based on the real-life case of the French serial killer, Charles Sobhraj. In 1975-76 Sobhraj posed as gem dealer in Thailand, Nepal and India and carried out a number murders, particularly targetting Western tourists. The drama also follows the story of Dutch diplomat, Herman Knippenberg. He stumbled upon the case when the parents of a young Dutch tourist write to the Ambassador asking for help in locating their daughter and her boyfriend, who had seemingly disappeared. He spends many months trying to uncover the truth behind their disappearance, despite the disapproval of his superiors.

Episode 1 opens with scenes from a party in Bangkok. Scenes of revelers are juxtaposed with scenes showing the host and hostess attending a sick party-goer and also rifling though his bags for his passport and money.

Going by the names, Alain and Montique, Sobhraj and his girlfriend, Marie-Andree appear as a supremely glamorous couple. They are chic, they have a beautiful house with a pool and their invitations are seemingly generous and warm.

Seventies sophistication?

Seventies sophistication?

There is a blend of vintage footage interspersed with the story, which helps immerse the viewer in the period setting and location. I particularly love the seventies airport scenes.

The next part of the episode introduces young back-packer, Willem shopping for an engagement ring. He falls hook, line and sinker for the suave “Alain” and sophisticated “Monique”, as they persuade Willem that they can make up a sapphire engagement ring at a fraction of the price of those in the  shop window.

Wowza- this orange shirt and the scarf!

Wowza- this orange shirt and the scarf!

Finally, we also get to see the other main protagonist in this series, Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg, running late for a social event. He has just been sent a letter from anxious parents, worried that their daughter and her boyfriend have not been in contact for over two months.

A cool seventies tennis outfit

A cool seventies tennis outfit

Unfortunately, in this first episode there is a lot of jumping between different time frames which can be a little confusing. We also get a little back-story involving two back-packers, Celia and soon-to-be Buddhist nun Teresa. They too get swept into the Bangkok party scene and find themselves at the Sobhraj house.

A very glamorous green party dress

A very glamorous green party dress

The episode ends with Herman’s investigation taking an unexpected turn when he gets some interesting information from the Australian embassy.

In Episode 2 we go right back to the start. We see Marie-Andree meeting Sobhraj for the first time. Even at this point Sobraj’s modus operandi appears to be well-developed. Taking a liking to Marie-Andree, and wanting her then boyfriend out of the picture, we see the boyfriend becoming “ill” and retching in the bathroom after the couple accept a drink with Sobhraj.

Then, it’s back to Herman’s investigation. The Thai police seem unable to devote any resource to the case so Herman Knippenberg doggedly continues with his investigations alone.

Oh Mrs Knippenberg you're not as glam as Marie-Andree, but when I finally sure the whole length of this dress I was much more impressed with your elegant style

Oh Mrs Knippenberg you’re not as glam as Marie-Andree, but when I finally saw the whole length of this dress I was much more impressed with your elegant style

He receives a bundle of letters previously written by the young Dutch couple and they mention a “French gem dealer”. Herman quickly follows up on this lead and gets to hear about a woman who has reported “wild accusations” about a French gem dealer to various embassies.

We also see the early days of the romance between Sobhraj and Marie-Andree. Clearly, Marie-Andree is infatuated, but he isn’t quite the attentive boyfriend she desires.

At the beach

At the beach

In this episode we are introduced to Dominique, who Sobhraj brings back to the house because he is “ill”. We’ll get to hear more from him in the next episode.

Fantastic denim skirt with a white belt

Fantastic denim skirt with a white belt

Obviously, being a real case we can all google what happened, so I wasn’t sure how the plot could be developed from here in an exciting way. If you’ve been watching this series so far, you’ll note that I am already a little behind and episode 3 has already aired….but just to let you know, it gets much more interesting….


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Small Axe: Mangrove (Steve McQueen film set in 70s London)

I’m not sure why but there have been a dirth of good films showing on TV at the moment and coupled with the cinemas not being open for most of the year, I was craving a cinematic experience. The “Small Axe” set of films are directed by Steve McQueen and are currently showing on the BBC over the next few weeks. The series title comes from a Jamaican proverb, “if you are the big tree, we are the small axe,” which means that relatively marginal or small voices of dissent can successfully challenge more powerful voices.

The films span three decades and the first film, Mangrove, is set in the seventies, so I really wanted to cast my eye over the fashions on screen.

The film is named after the Mangrove restaurant, which pays a pivotal part in the story. The opening scenes revolve around the newly opened Mangrove restaurant in Notting Hill, West London. Frank Crichlow, a Trinidadian-born business man has opened his new restaurant, serving Caribbean food, with high hopes that it will be an up-market meeting-place for the community. The restaurant quickly becomes established as serving the best Carribean food in the area, and it is reported that Jimi Hendrix, Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye and Vanessa Redgrave all sampled the cuisine.

However, it soon attracted unwanted attention from the police. First, Frank’s licence to operate as an all-night cafe was withdrawn and later baseless accusations of drug-dealing on the premises were given as excuses for constant police harassment including two raids on the restaurant. After exhausting the normal complaints process, the community decide to hold a demonstration because “all other methods have failed to bring about any change in the manner the police have chosen to deal with black people.”

The story follows the afternoon of the demonstration at which several protestors are arrested on charges of incitement to riot and affray and the court case that follows.

Notting Hill demonstration, August 1970

Notting Hill demonstration, August 1970

The cast are fantastic in this film. Shaun Parkes as Frank Crichlow portrays the restaurant-owner with tremendous subtlety. He really taps into the dilemmas faced by a man who just wants to run his business, but is instead reluctantly propelled into taking a prominent role in a stand against racism. Malachi Kirby and Letitia Wright play the roles of Darcus Howe and Altheia Jones-Lecointe, who represent themselves at the trial, rather than accept legal representation. They capture superbly the mesmerising court performances of their real-life counterparts whose own eloquence and drama moved the jury and enthralled the media.

As is my custom, I am always drawn to comment on the setting and costume. At the start of the film we get to see a fledgling Notting Hill carnival, which really sets the scene for the film.

Notting Hill Carnival (1970s)

Notting Hill Carnival scene

There are lots of little details too from 1970s London; the children playing in the bomb sites (a common scene even as late as the seventies in the UK) and the construction of a huge concrete monstrosity of a flyover, right through Notting Hill.

There are a whole range of costumes in this film too. Some of the older ladies wear colourful shirt dresses (probably in polyester – I can feel their static coming off my screen!) I suppose these wouldn’t have looked out of place years either side of 1970. The younger actors all wear clothes more typical of the era. (I thought about saying “fashion-forward”, but that’s such a modern term!)

Altheia wears this awesome blouse. I thought it had rows of rick-rack as the trim, but when I got to examine this in more detail I noticed that it is actually a crochet trim, all in a seventies palette of much orange and brown-ness!

Altheia in a crochet-treimmed summer top

Altheia in a crochet-trimmed summer top

There’s also a very Caribbean / African flavour to some of character’s dress particularly in the Carnival scenes. Dashiki shirts and African textiles appear. (I had some difficulties getting screen shots from this section of the film as everyone is moving around so much!)

Mangrove: Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival

I like this jumper that Altheia wears too. Somehow I think it is a nod to the Jamaican and Trinadad and Tobago flags, as it features green, red, yellow and black.

Altheia's flag trimmed jumper

Altheia’s flag trimmed jumper

There’s even a notable stylishness about the male characters, who are often overlooked in dramas of this era. I really like Frank’s checked jacket or how about Darcus’s polo neck and denim jacket combination that he wears in one of the court scenes?

Mangrove: Frank's checked jacket

Frank’s checked jacket

 

Darcus's court room denim jacket

Darcus’s court room denim jacket

If anything the dress is a little more flamboyant than I can see the protesters are actually wearing in the real-life photographs of events, but it’s a film and a little added vibrancy doesn’t distract from the story at all. It’s a great little film and can’t wait for the next in the series.

Mangrove: a beautiful umbrella

Mangrove: a beautiful umbrella


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Seventies Fashion: The Mafia Only Kills in Summer TV series Episodes 11 & 12

Welcome back for the final two episodes of “The Mafia Only Kills in Summer” TV series set in the seventies. Yes, I know that it’s been a while since I wrote one of these posts, but if there is one thing that 2020 keeps on teaching me, it is to relax and not fret when I don’t have time for things like updating this blog.

The series is still showing on 4OD and my previous episode recaps are here:

Episodes 1 and 2

Episodes 3 and 4

Episodes 5 and 6

Episodes 7 and 8

Episodes 9 and 10

Episode 11 – Men of their word

It’s the penultimate episode of the series and the Giammarresi family are facing some tough decisions.

The Giammarresis’ new flat seems to have finally materialised, a flat where the water supply is reliable. However Lorenzo finds it hard to share his family’s happiness at their good fortune; he is still plagued by his conscience.

The Giammarresi family stand around in the new flat

The Giammarresi family stand around in the new flat

Massimo is finding his new job demands a heavy price. Will he be able to continue on the path he’s chosen?

Angela has realised too late that she has feelings for Torino, but seems unable to put things right.

Most serious of all, Salvatore is worried that he won’t manage to win Alice’s heart before she moves to Switzerland. He enlists the help of his friend, Boris Giuliani.

There weren’t too many interesting outfits in this episode, mostly because the story was focussed heavily on the male characters (who were also wearing rather dull clothes), but Patrizia’s halter neck dress in a floral print and Angela’s shirt with its interesting stripe placement stood out.

Clockwise from left: Patrizia’s halter neck dress on set, vintage pattern Simplicity 5626, vintage pattern Simplicity 5561, Burda 113 02/2017

The Practical pattern is probably the closest match to Angela’s shirt, although the Frances shirt from DG Patterns has very similar design lines, even if it is a much looser silhouette.

 

Clockwise from left: Angela’s striped shirt on set, vintage pattern Practical 6992, Frances shirt from DG vintage pattern Simplicity 6228.

I also enjoyed the interior of the Bank Manager’s Officer in the scenes with Lorenzo. How quintessentially seventies is this? Actually those easy chairs look rather comfortable.

Lorenzo visits the Trinacria bank to finalise the deal on the new flat

Lorenzo visits the Trinacria bank to finalise the deal on the new flat

Episode 12 – Little Heroes

We come to the final episode of the series. Lorenzo, as usual, reflects on his family’s dilemmas and Massimo, berated by Patrizia, for skulking off in the middle of the night, has his own problems to consider.

Patrizia and Massimo seem to have fallen out.

Patrizia and Massimo seem to have fallen out. Is that rik-rak I can see finishing the neckline?

Meanwhile, on the night that their lives all change for ever, Salvatore arranges a magical final date with Alice and Angela finally sorts out her love-life.

Angela sulks in her room

Angela sulks in her room

In short, will the Giammarresi family live happily ever after in Sicily or have their choices made it too dangerous for them?

Just for something a little different, I looked for Pia’s dressing gown. The Buchanan from Gather is a very close match, although the vintage patterns have length of the one worn by Pia.

 

Clockwise from top left: Buchanan dressing gown by Gather, Pia's dressing gown on set, vintage pattern Style 2656, vintage pattern Simplicity 5685

Clockwise from top left: Buchanan dressing gown by Gather, Pia’s dressing gown on set, vintage pattern Style 2656, vintage pattern Simplicity 5685

One of the things that I love about the character’s clothing is that they all have their own individual styles. This is just the kind of dress Patrizia wears with a plunging neckline (see also above for a close-up of the bodice).

Clockwise from top left: vintage pattern McCalls 4028, Patrizia’s dress on set, vintage pattern Simplicity 6661, vintage pattern Simplicity S8875


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Seventies Fashion: The Mafia Only Kills in Summer TV series Episodes 9 & 10

Welcome back for the next two episodes of “The Mafia Only Kills in Summer” TV series set in the seventies. The series is still showing on 4OD

Episode 9 – Money and Lice

Football fever has gripped the city with the Palermo team reaching the cup final. If Palermo wins could other dreams come true for all our charcters? Could Sebastiano’s dad finally return home? Could Salvatore and Alice finally kiss?

Lorenzo places rather a large bet with encouragement from his work colleagues. Perhaps his luck will turn, like the football team’s, and he’ll win enough for a deposit on a flat.

When Lorenzo gives Alice a lift to a tennis tournament, he is introduced to her father, the director of the Trinacria Bank, who promises to help him arrange a mortgage He invites Lorenzo to watch the football match at their house the following day.

Massimo and Patrizia attend a party where they socialise with new friends.

Massimo and Patrizia attend a party where they socialise with new friends.

Massimo, now released from jail, mysteriously has a new job, new car and new friends.

Will this be the night of miracles that everyone dreams about?

Patrizia's party dress

Clockwise from top left: Patrizia wearing her party dress on set, vintage pattern Simplicity 3000, Lliria dress by Pauline Alice, vintage pattern Butterick 5000

 

Open Back Dress

Minor character wears an intriguing open backed dress with a loud abstract print.

This dress reminds me a lot of the Dusty dress by Burda that I made a couple of years ago.

Dusty Dress (Burda)

Dusty Dress (Burda)

Episode 10 – Protecting Democracy

It’s summer, the elections loom and everyone is tense, particularly the politicians and mafiosi.

Boris Giuliani (police chief) has been keeping an eye on Alice’s father, the director of the Trinacria Bank and his close associates for a while. Alice’s father has disappeared, “in a puff of smoke” and not even his daughter, Alice knows where he is.

Angela and Marco (Torino) at the beach.

Angela and Marco (Torino) at the beach. I really like the smocking in different colours on this dress.

Massimo comes face to face with the reality of his job and new life.

Out of the blue though, the Giammarresi’s ideal flat seems to be on the verge of materialising.

Angela's sun dress

Clockwise from left: Angela’s sun dress on set, Mendocino Dress from Heather Ross, vintage pattern Simplicity 8351, vintage pattern Simplicity 7962

 

Simonetta's Sun Top

From the left: Simonetta’s Sun Top on set, vintage crochet pattern

 

Links to sewing patterns:

Patrizia’s party dress

Lliria Dress

Open-backed dress

Burda Dusty Dress

Angela’s sundress

Mendocino Dress


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Seventies Fashion: The Mafia Only Kills in Summer TV series Episodes 7 & 8

I’m back again with two more episodes from The Mafia Only Kills in Summer, still showing on 4OD. I’ve been realising that it has been taking a shocking time to go through the whole series, but finding all the pattern suggestions and editing the pictures does take a long time, so you’ll have to bear with me. On the positive side, I’m finding that I’m getting so many great ideas for future makes from this. I’m sure many will stay in my head, but I’m sure a couple might make the step into reality.

Episode 7 – A Cuckold and a half

Lorenzo does a little research and finds out why Pia didn’t manage to get her permanent teaching position after all. However, Pia is greatly troubled when her colleague, Antonio, persuades her to look into it even further.

Angela hasn’t had any news from her latest boyfriend, Alfonso, so she asks the police chief, Boris Giuliani, who her brother has befriended what could have happened to him.

Salvatore and his friends are starting an Easter project for school and ask the local priest, Father Giancinto for help, who after a brief account of the religious significance, spends the rest of the time talking about food.

Meanwhile Patrizia tries on wedding dresses for her upcoming wedding to Uncle Massimo and Lorenzo has a narrow escape, when he is unable to pacify his conscience, and decides not to turn up to a meeting that Massimo has arranged.

For this episode I’ve chosen another of Pia’s fantastic jackets. This one is white, with slightly cropped sleeves and top-stitching across the yoke.

Pia's white coat: I wonder what fabric has been used for this coat?

Pia’s white coat: I wonder what fabric has been used for this coat?

 

Clockwise from left: Pia's white coat on set, vintage pattern Butterick 3332, vintage pattern Vogue 1126 and the Marte Coat from Melilot.

Clockwise from left: Pia’s white coat on set, vintage pattern Butterick 3332, vintage pattern Vogue 1126 and the Marte Coat from Melilot.

Episode 8 – Stuffed Aubergines

This episode is probably the most absurd episode in the whole series. The main characters are, of course, fictitious. However, the more peripheral characters are real-life figures, such as Boris Giuliani, who also appeared in the last episode, a police chief from Palermo and in this episode, Tommaso Buscetta, a mafia boss. The mafia figures in the series are portrayed as caricatures, by turns narcissistic, like Buscetta or ruthless, but stupid, like Toto Riina, who also makes appearances throughout the series. In contrast, those who oppose the mafia are portrayed far more sympathetically, like Boris Giuliani, who makes several appearances in the guise of a confidant. I think this is a deliberate.

Patrizia's blue sheer blouse

Patrizia always seems to wear interesting blouses when she visits Massimo in prison.

In prison, Massimo strikes up a friendship with mafia boss, Tommaso Buscetta, who is also an old flame of Pia’s. He has a particular liking for stuffed aubergines, which Pia brings along to the prison visits. With the help of his new friend, Massimo and Patrizia’s wedding finally goes ahead.

Massimo and Patrizia's wedding

Massimo and Patrizia’s wedding

Salvatore is feeling sad because everyone around him is unhappy. But when he makes a shocking discovery about Sebastiano, one of his school friends, Salvatore realises he can at least make one person happy and arranges a special surprise for him.

In terms of the fashions worn by the characters, this episode is all about Patrizia. She wears a number of different shirts for her prison visits (see also above), including a fantastic embroidered western-style shirt.

Clockwise from left: Patrizia's embroidered Western shirt on set, vintage pattern Kwik Sew 454, vintage pattern Simplicity 7051, from Jolaine shirt Republique du chiffon.

Clockwise from left: Patrizia’s embroidered Western shirt on set, vintage pattern Kwik Sew 454, vintage pattern Simplicity 7051, from Jolaine shirt Republique du chiffon.

And of course, there is the wedding dress.

It was quite hard to find patterns that emulate the wedding dress, although I think the vintage pattern McCall 3329 comes quite close, with View B. For the modern equivalents it was even trickier. Ever noticed that bridal dresses hardly ever have long sleeves these days? Anyway View C in the Vogue pattern with the long sleeves, maxi length and v-neck comes fairly close.

Clockwise from top left: Patrizia’s wedding dress, vintage pattern McCalls 3329, vintage pattern McCalls 4207 and Vogue pattern V9328


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Seventies Fashion: The Mafia Only Kills in Summer TV series Episodes 5 & 6

I’ve got a review of two more episodes from The Mafia Only Kills in Summer, still showing on 4OD.

Episode 5 – Even mafiosos go to heaven

After Lorenzo’s boss, known as “un bravo cristiano” (a good Christian) dies suddenly, Lorenzo has the possibility of promotion. However, Lorenzo’s conscience continues to bother him. On the one hand, he abhors the use of “favours” to advance in Sicilian society, but at the same time is worried that his scruples are holding his family back.

Pia invites Lorenzo to pick her up from work. She hopes that when he turns up at the school, he’ll see how far she has to travel each day by bus and also show her romantically-inclined colleague, Antonio that her husband exists.

Salvatore is troubled by questions that no-one seems to be able to answer for him; do Mafiosi go to heaven? What are good favours and what are bad ones? He writes them all down in his red notebook. When Salvatore leaves his red notebook in the car, Lorenzo reads through it and is most troubled by question 560 – Who is the man who drives Mum home?

Angela wants to go to a Patti Smith concert in up North in Florence, but she needs to convince her parents to let her go.

The Giammarresi family at the beach

The Giammarresi family at the beach

Pia wears a couple of absolutely fantastic jackets (or are they coats?) in this episode too. The white coat above and this blue jacket. It was difficult to find a modern pattern with those big lapels, but the vintage Simplicity 6175 is a very good match.

Pia's blue jacket

Pia’s blue jacket

 

Clockwise from top left: Pia’s jacket on set, vintage pattern Simplicity 6175, vintage pattern Style 015, Bamboo coat from Waffle Patterns.

Episode 6 – Liggio Plus Two

For the Giammarresi family love is in the air. Angela appears to have a new admirer, who spoils her with flowers and an invitation to a gala. Meanwhile, her school-friend Torino, who is hopelessly in love with her, agonises over the creation of a compilation tape.

Giammarresi family introductions

Giammarresi family introductions, I love the glasses on the coffee table

Salvatore, still in love with Alice, finds out that she has broken up with his friend, Fofo. Could this leave the coast clear for Salvatore? He hopes to impress her by taking her sailing in Torino’s boat.

Pia thinks she has finally secured her much promised permanent post as a teacher, but can she trust her colleague Antonio?

For this episode I have to include the dress that Angela wears to the Gala. Even though it doesn’t exactly scream seventies style, it is very elegant and perfect for the occasion. I think it has a more sixties vibe, which reflects in the vintage choices I found online. The Wear Lemonade pattern is actually a rather good match for the neckline and skirt.

Angela at the gala

Angela at the gala

 

Simplicity 6653, Vintage pattern Vogue 5624, Gloria dress by Wear Lemonade

Clockwise from top left: Angela’s Gala dress on set, vintage pattern Simplicity 6653, Vintage pattern Vogue 5624, Gloria dress by Wear Lemonade

One of my favourite garments appears in this episode too; Pia’s front pleat skirt. Pia wears a lot of great work outfits, mixing and matching skirts with colourful blouses and jumpers. It’s not easy to see, but it is actually made from corduroy.

Clockwise from left: Pia's front pleat skirt on set, vintage pattern Style 2025, vintage pattern Simplicity 7625, Hepburn Riding skirt from Style Arc

Clockwise from left: Pia’s front pleat skirt on set, vintage pattern Style 2025, vintage pattern Simplicity 7625, Hepburn Riding skirt from Style Arc

 

 

Links to sewing patterns:

Pia’s jacket

Bamboo Coat

Angela’s Gala Dress

Gloria Dress

Pia’s skirt

Hepburn Riding Skirt


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Seventies Fashion: The Mafia Only Kills in Summer TV series Episodes 3 & 4

I got a little distracted in recording my makes, so I’m back again today with the next installment of “The Mafia Only Kills In Summer”, and Italian TV series set in the seventies. The whole series is still available on Channel 4. The next two episodes have got to be my favourites from the point of view of the story, they are both very poignant and really highlight Sicily’s struggles with the mafia.

Episode 3 – Men of Colorado

In this episode, a journalist has been invited to Salvatore’s school to lead a school project. The students’ task is to write about a subject that is important to them. Salvatore stuck with classmate Santina rather than being paired with Alice for the project, decides to pick a topic that greatly concerns him – why is the water supply in his family’s home so unpredictable and yet in some households the taps never run dry? He’s worried that his subject isn’t interesting, but is encouraged by the journalist’s supportive words. He finds out that three rivers used to converge within the locality, and yet there are always water shortages. We also spend more time in the company of Salvatore’s flamboyant Uncle Massimo, who works for the Forestry Commission as he, Santina, Fofo, and Alice try to find the source of one of the rivers.

Massimo Forestry Commission

Massimo, in his Forestry Commission uniform, gets lost at his office – He hardly ever visits it.

 

Rosario jacket and orange jumper

Rosario “looking cool”, Angela’s boyfriend in his jacket, orange jumper and shades

 

Will Angela persuade Rosario to take off his shades?

 

Clockwise from top left: Rosario’s jacket on set, Julien Chore Jacket from Ready to Sew, Vintage Simplicity 9592 and Simplicity Hackalong

Episode 4 – Tore

The Giammarresi family spend the weekend with Pia’s parents who live in the country, not far from Corleone. Massimo and Patrizia are invited too. They all hope to persuade Tore, Pia’s father to sell a parcel of land the family own to a new TV company, run by Silvio Berlusconi. The land is hardly used as it isn’t good farm land, being located in one of the most elevated areas on the island. The TV company plan to erect TV masts and start broadcasting a new channel in the region. The price they offer for the land would be enough for the family and Massimo to buy apartments in Palermo. However, Tore is not persuaded to sell the land and after he falls ill, Salvatore discovers the reasons why.

Pia's shirt dress

Pia’s shirt dress

 

Pia's shirt dress

Clockwise from top left: Pia’s shirt dress on set, Byrdie button-up dress from Pattern Scout, Pia’s shirt dress back view, vintage pattern Simplicity 8983

Meanwhile Angela plans a secret tryst with her boyfriend, Rosario, which doesn’t go to plan either.

Angela shirt and short-sleeved cardigan

Is this my favourite of Angela’s outfits? It seems such a mismatched ensemble of different colours and styles, but it just seems to work.

 

Angela's cardigan

Clockwise from top left: Angela’s cardigan, Curio cardigan, Hetty cardigan, Flippant cardigan

Links to sewing and knitting patterns:

Rosario’s jacket

Julien Chore jacket

Simplicity 8700

Pia’s shirt dress

Byrdie Button-up Dress

Angela’s cardigan

Curio cardigan

Flippant cardigan

Hetty cardigan