Home     About     Contact     Press     Yellow Skirt     SKETCHES

Sunday 19 April 2015

Big hair, big coat, little tape

I'll just throw on a little more coral lipstick and blue eye shadow before I pop down to the grocery store in my new AMC Pacer*. And shut up about the bag boy in the parking lot, will you? Can I help it if he has a crush on me? I'll have to get a move-on to get that Cheez Whiz and Ritz cracker casserole in the oven before the new Charlie's Angels comes on. (*it's a car, see end of post for details)
My "100% textured Fortrel polyester" vintage coat by Marty Gutmacher. Its hugeness almost put me off, but five bucks? For all that zig-zaggy, almost-crunchy '70s wonder? You bet! Without a lining, I also knew it would be less difficult to resize and I could wear it in the spring. These are the "after" shots, still slightly roomy but much, much better.
Meet me in the deli aisle
I'm wearing The Marty here with my wide-leg Grey Ant jeans, old black dickie (fake turtleneck), thrifted lace-up Miu Miu boots (with cheating side zips), gifted Chanel sunglasses, and magic loupe of course. This coat cried out for enormous brown hair. Luckily I have my "Tina Turner" wig for such emergencies. 

To bring this coat down to size, I redid the shoulders to sit one inch closer to the neckline on each side, and took in the body width almost six inches. I hardly cursed at all in the process. Is it because I have attained a state of sewing nirvana? No! But...

I often work on a carpeted floor where using chalk is futile, so I finally came up with the idea of using narrow painter's tape instead. WOW! I love this stuff: 
  • easily I can mark out any shape, including curves; 
  • it is highly visible, even in poor lighting; 
  • it is an excellent stitching guideline;
  • it anchors filmy fabric making it easier to make smooth cuts (at least for a non-pro); 
  • it sticks when you need it but removes easily when you're done, and;
  • the used grungy tape ball removes thread bits stuck on the floor.
Tape in action. See that 100% textured Fortrel polyester?
I also tried painter's tape when I shortened some trousers made of very lightweight crepey stretch rayon. The tape anchored the rambunctious fabric edge brilliantly for a crisp smooth cut. No freaking out! And in the future, if I want to copy an existing garment, I'll use tape to mark out the pattern. O is happy that I don't shriek so much too.
Worn with ivory silk blouse. Meh.
The bust area of the coat is still roomy (when is that not the case?) and I'd take the whole thing in even more if it didn't require time and, uh, major skills. As long as I remain a blur, no one will notice. I'd like to shorten the coat too but I think I've reached my time-investment quota.

Speaking of tape, did you know that Hugo Boss "fuses" it's ready-made men's suits together, as in hot glue? Yuck! Would you pay $800 for a fused suit? I should hope not! I would demand thread at the very least. And I hope the day is not coming when all clothing is glued together, when home sewists become home glue-ists. Or fuse-ists!
No man of mine would ever wear a glued suit
How dull life would be without dressing up and time travel. And how satisfying it is that I can wear this entire outfit for real, done so far without the wig. I'll link this up with Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. If we're lucky, the bag boy will tag along. Hehe.
I found this ad by Jean-Charles which appeared in Europe for the American Motors' Pacer. To my unsophisticated eye it appears that the woman is about to do a royal evacuation on this little American vehicle; however, the curvy derriere is supposed to mirror the revolutionary curvy design of the car. Rrright.

If you like browsing magazines but don't want to buy them, you can view countless magazines from around the world online for FREE in their original format. You name it - it's there. Go to:
issuu (
There is a search bar to find specific titles. Probably I am the last one to hear about it since I'm not on social media, but better late than never, right?

AND, SHOPPING ALERT for Vancouverites:
If you're a fan of Vancouver-based designers Obakki or JNBY, they have generously donated many of their sample and/or new old stock to My Sister's Closet (IG here) charity thrift store. Prices for these pieces are a steal, starting at around $40(!), but the shop has a wide variety of donated clothing, from newer high-end labels to vintage, with proceeds going to Battered Women's Support Services. I've found many spectacular pieces there, including this coat. 
That's all. See you next time!


  1. Wow! Your hair grows FAST!!! What hormone therapy are you on? And how do you get it to just grow hair on your head?

    The pant legs are cray cray. I won't be able to hang out with you anymore when you're dressed head to toe in designer labels. Maybe you will let me hold your chihuahua.

    You look so bad-ass. What assignment did Charlie give you?

    That car advert is hilarious.


  2. That ad is absolutely hilarious! And your coat absolutely marvelous. Fortrel For The Win!

  3. I don't remember ever seeing that ad, but wow it's pretty horrible! Your hair, on the other hand, is truly fab and full of zest. Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday, xo.

  4. That Fortrel coat ooozes chic! as does the hair. I'm impressed with your growing sewing skills...refitting is much harder than making from the start...

  5. What a great coat, Melanie! Love it with the wide-legged pants. The photos are just so much fun to look at, you do come up with the craziest poses! :) Brilliant idea about the painter's tape, good solution. The ad is unbelievable, isn't it? I wish I could go shopping to My Sister's Closet - sounds like a great place! xxx

  6. Gorgeous coat, great job on the alterations. It suits you perfectly and increased your mad designer skills at the same time.
    Love the Pacer cars. So bubbly and cute, I can see you in one with that tall hair of yours!

  7. Who's that 70's woman?.

    Hot glue gun near anything being made in a shop near me: you're fired! Hot glue can come undone at the dry cleaner (this has happened to a costume one of the student made. Luckily it was just some trim)

  8. AHAHAHAHA! I just snorted bourbon out my nose when I saw that first photo and read your intro. The horror of that Pacer ad is something I just can't unsee. But the painter's tape is a stroke of brilliance.

  9. My heart leaped when I saw that AWESOME coat! Why oh why can't I find something like that???? AAARrrggghghgh

    Great ensemble by the way. ;)

  10. As Margy has said, alterations can be tricky done good Melanie! As much as I love all the bits of this's the wig that has me obsessing! Want!

  11. Yes! The coat did cry out for enormous brown hair. Those Zoolander images of you are the BEST.

  12. that hair! fab!
    fantastic coat and fantastic work with making it smaller! the tape trick makes totally sense - we used broader one to tame unruly fabric like chiffon.
    thanks for the mag tip!

  13. Me encanta el look!!!! muy muy de los setenta!!!! maravilloso

    Te invito a mi blog!!!!


  14. Ha ha! I was thinking the very same thing about that poster!

    That coat looks fab on you!

    The Tina Turner wig has made my day, ha! I love it!

  15. So the early 2000s Renault Megane advert with the Groove Armada track I See You Baby (Shaking That Ass) was nothing new?!
    That's a fab car despite the dodgy advertising. I'd drape myself across that bonnet in a heartbeat.
    Love that coat, lady. The refashion is blinking genius. I need some of that painter's tape, I'm stick of self-harming with dressmaker pins. xxx

  16. That coat is fantastic!!! You did a killer job with the alterations. I am so into your flared jeans and that HAIR!!!!!

  17. Wow! Faye Dunaway has nothing on you, babe. And please . . . tip that bag boy.

  18. This is a very well put together outfit. Everything is in harmony. The wig makes you completely unrecognizable. Together with the glasses you could shop incognito. Although.... people might recognise you from your special way of dressing anyway.
    The wig looks very good on you.
    And you have done a very good job with the coat. Look at the way the pocket lapels are positioned in the pattern. I bet it was an expensive coat in its days.

  19. hee hee yeah - great use for painters tape! I'll remember that little tip. And yes many garments' internal structure is created with use of fusible interfacing. I'm so used it, but now that you mention it, I don't like the idea of wearing glue either!

  20. If I had seen that last photo of you in another context, I would never have guessed it was you. Excellent disguising abilities Mel! You are soooooo 70's here it's giving me a mild flashback/seizure/facialtwitch. Nice job on Marty and his zigzags, and cool discovery of the painter's tape. If I ever sew anything I'll keep it in mind.

  21. Oh that advert is hilarious - I love the way she's turning round to check what she's just done...
    But on to you, my 1970s Angel! I adore the coat, and the resizing job you did so successfully. Crimplene chevrons and huge flares, you are rocking the hell out of them both! And the big hair too, of course.
    Good tip about the tape, but I am a bit outraged about the glueing together of expensive suits - that's rubbish. xxx

  22. You are a brilliantly, constantly changing enigma! I love it! This coat is superberama, you are rocking the OTT 70's zig-a-zig-ah vibe. I do want to steal the jeans. And the coat, but particularly the jeans. Totally my thaaaang!xxx

  23. Such a cute outfit! Oh my gosh, so cute from tip to toe! That coat is fantastic...and hair too!
    Alena &

  24. GLUED seams in designer wear?? It sounds like the stapling and gluing I did when aged six, to construct wonky-looking Barbie clothes.
    Can't decide if my favourite bit of all this is the hair or the coat (though I do have to squint sideways a little at the zig-zaggy pattern).

  25. Don't shorten that coat! It's amazing.

  26. OMG Farrah lives! You're a perfect Angel, Mel.

  27. I love your coat, you bell bottoms your long hair and most of all your outrageous sense of humor! Thanks for the sewing lesson too.

    Accidental Icon

  28. You look fabulous as one of Charlie's Angels (of course). Love that double-knit polyester, bay-bee! So freakin' awesome. And what a revelation about that skinny painters' tape!

    I saw a ton of Obakki in MSC when I was over - none of it really grabbed me, but I would haunt that store if I lived in Van.

  29. I suggest you return to your short hair so that the bag boy continues to be in love with you.

  30. What a blast to the past and such a great post! It is hard to believe that women wore wigs like we wear hats. Maybe we should bring them back, it would certainly help on those days I can't seem to get a shower in! Without the wig and coral lipstick you would look fit right into current trends! Loving the flairs and the zig zags. And, the Pacer of course.


  31. Darling! You did an amazing transformation on this splendid coat (as well as your Jacqueline Smith-in-her-prime-impersonation. You can (and have, I believe) wear a paper bag and look fabulous, but you really did great on this one, kid. Going into Big City today and will bring back painters tape!!!!! I alter almost everything, pant lengths especially and Dan is fed up with all the pins I shed going from room to room. Problem solved. Don't know how I lived without this idea.
    Noble Prize nomination for you from me!

  32. $5? Hell yeah! I think the coat fits you really well. So, nice job! Also, I know the styling was meant to be whimsical, but it totally works for me. Hehe. You look kind of like a groovy mannequin. :D I'd buy those pants right off you, by the way. Haha. Love them!

    - Anna

  33. What a great coat, and a very good job resizing it! I do like the length, so I'm glad you ran out of time.

    The wig is so much fun, it reminds me of many people I new in my youth, the coral lipstick too :-) And you do have the most beautiful smile!!!

  34. Yes, life would be so dull and without dressing up and time travel. Thanks for reminding me about this. Brilliant find with the coat and I'm very impressed with your alterations. The wig absolutely makes it! I would most definitely be heading to the grocery store right this moment, or better yet, picking up my girlfriends with lunch with this ever so fun ensemble.

  35. That coat and those jeans = a whole lot of awesomeness!!


    Hope to see you for TBT Fashion link up.

  36. How did I miss this? Big hair indeed! The higher the hair, the closer to Jesus. And "crunchy" 70's coat - oh I can just feel you! You may even snag on my finger nail. Love it!

  37. I use ISSUU too! It's great. As is your look.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...