Friday, May 20, 2016

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park and the "Clackett Cantina" Dress

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

On my recent trip to Malaysia, I visited the Kuala Lumpur bird park.  Oh my gosh, this place is amazing.  It's a large open air aviary with lots of different kinds of birds and beautiful vegetation.  The tropical birds were my absolute favourite and I was super excited to actually get to interact with the birds!

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

I wore my me-made 1940 dress that was made using my McCall 3684 pattern. This dress is affectionately called "the Clackett Cantina dress" as I made it in celebration of Roisin's, aka Dolly Clackett's wedding.  I thought the printed fabric was perfectly inspired by her.  Though I bet she would have had the perfect bird fabric dress for such an outing!  

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

The fabric is a nicely draping rayon and the dress features front gathers and a bloused back also with gathers:

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

There were lots of different types of birds in the park.  My favourites were the tropical and brightly coloured birds and the regal white cranes:

Photos credit: Peter from Flytographer cool is this photo?  These guys were just hanging out and I slowly crept in to contemplate alongside them.  They are so regal:

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

I absolutely love this dress.  It has one of the few v-necklines from my 1940 patterns (most of the patterns from this year feature what they call the "jewellery neckline" which is a neckline that goes up to the collarbone to show off your necklaces).  I also really love the sleeves and the length of the dress (which I made just below the knees).

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

There were other friendly critters at the bird park besides birds....check out this Koi fish pond:

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

The bird park was so relaxing and because I went on a Monday morning, there was hardly anyone there!  There were paths throughout the park, including one that led to a waterfall:

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

I worked with Peter from Flytographer who took these fabulous photos.  In case you missed my last post, Flytographer is this really cool start-up company that connects you with local photographers so that you can capture your vacation memories (or your me-made outfits OR BOTH! hahaha).  Isn't Peter an amazing photographer??
Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

My last favourite photos are of me and this guy--we were totally in tune:

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer
Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

SO much fun!  Have you ever seen amazing tropical birds?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

McCall 3603: "The Malaysian Sun Dress"

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

I'm so excited to share my latest 1940 McCall make with you all!  I barely sewed this one up before heading off to a business trip in Malaysia.  And I'm so happy I did because the setting is just perfect for this adorable 1940 wrap dress.

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

Introducing McCall 3603, a wrap-dress that is simply tied on with a small button closure at the upper back.  The waist tie fits through a small slot on the bodice right which allows you to completely wrap the dress without any closures.

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

The Summer 1940 McCall Fashion Book says this about the two patterns featured on the main front pages:
Two dresses with plenty of space for the sun to work on.  The first has a lovely evening-gown top and jacket to hide it when necessary.  The striped on is the new wrapped sun-dress. Put it on pinafore style, wrap it over and tie to fit.

I made the dress out of a cotton polka dot fabric, which suited the lightweight and breezy feel of the dress.  I also made a matching head scarf:

Photo credits: Peter from Flytographer

The McCall Fashion Book goes onto to talk more about the pattern:
McCall 3603. The wrapped sun-dress is the most talked about one, and this is it. Open all the way down the back, wrapped over and tied.  There are pockets right and left.

Prior to my trip, I did some online research about photographers in the Kuala Lumpur area.  I really wanted to do more than just stay in the meeting rooms on this trip and of course, get some photos of my new me-made dress!  I also don't usually travel with my tripod and would feel very awkward taking photos of myself and David wasn't coming along on this trip.

Flytographer to the rescue.  Oh my gosh, I LOVE this start-up concept.  Basically, Flytographer teams up with photographers across all major cities globally and provides photography packages to capture your holiday moments.  BRILLIANT!  It's great because they pick the best photographers and do all the leg work of coordinating.  I got to pick the locations for the photos and I picked the old buildings that I highlighted in yesterday's post around Merdeka Square.  My photographer, Peter (who splits his time between Kuala Lumpur and Budapest), was simply amazing. He made me feel very comfortable and took the most amazing photos.

I'm a huge fan now and plan to book some photographs whenever possible on my trips!  I'd much rather have amazing photos that capture the spirit of the place and my me-made adventures rather than spend the money on souvenirs!  Yippee...

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

This adorable ad for pinking shears also shows McCall 3603 in the popular stripes pattern from 1940:

Overall, I am quite pleased with the dress. It's a perfect summer staple and nice for traveling.

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

And one can never have enough polka dots in their wardrobe!  I love the navy blue with the tiny dots as it's subtle but still colourful:

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

The buildings around Merdeka Square were absolutely stunning.  I love the Mughal architectural influences.  It was the shapes of the windows that originally drew me to capturing the photos near these buildings:

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

I just love this photo with the National Textile Museum (the striped building) in the back:

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

I think this photo captures it well--I LOVE KL!  So much fun!  Thanks to Peter and Liss from Flytographer for showing me some of the sights and capturing it so beautifully!

Photo credit: Peter from Flytographer

I hope to use this pattern again in the not-so-distant future! It's so versatile and fun!

Monday, May 16, 2016

1940 Around the World: Malaysia


Continuing on with the series exploring the year 1940 across the globe, we stop in Malaysia...where I was very lucky to visit last week on a business trip....

The year 1940 was really the calm before the storm in Malaysia.  The following year, 1941, would see the invasion of the Japanese--literally an hour before the Pearl Harbour bombings.  This occupation would last for over a year, until 1942.

The Beautiful Sultan Abdul Samad Building in the heart of Kuala Lumpur
Photo credit:

The buildings in the photo above, designed in a Mughal architecture style, sit on one side of the Merdeka Square (Independence Square) and were designed in the late 1800's to house government administration buildings.  During 1940, they housed the Federal Secretariat of the government.  Now, they house the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia.  But the neat thing is that across the street from this impressive building, is an equally beautiful site that now houses the National Textiles Museum!

A view of the amazing textiles in the museum: 

Photo credit:

Here's a great group of postcards from the early 1940s:

I think, but I'm not positive, that the impressive building in the second and third photos down on the left side are of the railroad station--which still look equally impressive today.

There are very few photographs of women from 1940 that I could find.  But I came across this amazing blog, which detailed the life history of a woman that turned 100 in 2012 (she is seated below with her family).  I just love the slightly colour tinted photo of her family:

Photo credit and blog story:

Here's a photo from the early 1940's of the railway station which was completed in 1910:

It is still this beautiful white colour and looks almost exactly the same (just with a bit more traffic)!

Such a beautiful city.  Have you been to Kuala Lumpur or anywhere else in Malaysia?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Spring Accessories: Daffodil Yellow

We've been experiencing some chilly spring weather here in Edinburgh.  As per typical Scottish design, it wavers from being brilliantly sunny to very cold!  Without a doubt spring is one of my favourite seasons– both for the lovely flowers that start to pop up in gardens all over the city and the daylight that now lasts until almost 10pm!

You may recall my challenge to come up with seasonal accessories to go with my Tabula Rasa or 'Blank Slate' 1940 McCall dress.  The daffodils reminded me that yellow is such a cheery colour for accessories and I have this lovely yellow tilt hat from the era.

I paired the dress with a yellow belt that I made for my 1930s "Firefly Gown" and a pair of new Aris Allen shoes (I love these shoes so much I have them in brown, red and black...teehee)

The array of daffodils are beautiful – little ones, big ones, all yellow or all white ones and the ones above which are white with yellow centres.

Overall, I am quite pleased with this spring accessories ensemble and glad we caught the daffodils in bloom this year!

What are some of your favourite spring colours and flowers?
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