This fabric says one thing to me. Child of the 80′s. I’d had vague thoughts of making something fun and funky to wear to Bestival, a garment that reflects my love of music and will keep the September chill off. When I found this remnant on Frumble, Boom! I had found my perfect print! It’s probably a bit loud for me to wear routinely but the tape cassette imagery set me off on such a massive nostalgia trip, I couldn’t resist it. I have so many fond memories of the joy these little plastic cases played in my childhood/teenage years.
I love technology, but MP3′s just bare no comparison to the tactile wonder of tapes, vinyls and to a lesser degree, CD’s. My son is 3, and I wanted to find a way of playing him bedtime stories at night, like I used to on my Fisher Price tape player. Nowadays, the only options are CD’s (which would get scratched) or to buy some kind of digital mp3 player and docking station. I’m sure there are a few 3 year olds that can operate an i-pod but I don’t want mine to be one of them. I want him to be able to gaze at cover illustrations, give him the chance to select one from a collection and get the pleasure of pushing down a big clunky button and hearing it click as the music begins to play. Am I living in the past? Am I mad? I don’t know, I just haven’t found a modern replacement for these simple pleasures. Luckily I managed to find a collection of children’s tapes from charity shop for 10p each and I’m going to hunt ebay for an old fisher price tape player for him to listen to them on.
I tested my new tape collection on an old boom box we had lying around. Unfortunately it didn’t work, but it did manage to chew my tape up and I had to carefully dislodge the magnetic tape and wind it back in to the tape using my fingertip to spin the small plastic dial. This made me insanely happy. I hadn’t wound a tape up in over 10 years and it took me right back to my childhood.
Things I loved about cassette tapes
- Recording the top 40 chart and eagerly awaiting to find out what was at number one
- Making our own radio shows with my friends, which often involved lots of giggling and bad singing
- They were relatively robust (compared to CDs) and could easily handle being carted about in a school bag
- Making Mix-tapes – A carefully thought out and crafted gift reserved for the most special people in your life. They meant so much to me. A sign of friendship, a secret confession of love, or a way of showing off your most excellent taste in music?
- Receiving Mix-tapes – Even better to get one in return. To discover new music, personally curated for you, and perhaps yes, your hearts desire might like you back to!
- Designing covers for mix-tapes. A chance to personalise and add your own artistic touch to the collection. My favourites always had beautiful handwriting, messages and doodles on the inside
- The anticipation in waiting to rewind / fast forward to your favourite song
- and lets not forget, the joy of finding and re-listening to a mix tape from many moons ago. A guaranteed trip down memory lane
So yes, a fabric perfect for Bestival, dancing, being colourful and with significant cultural meaning. I’m on to a winner.
Cassette tape jacket stats
Fabric: Riley Blake Geekly Chic Cassettes Grey purchased from Frumble, A pink poly-cotton for the lining from Leeds market
Cost: £14.50 for cassette fabric, £4.50 for lining, £3.25 Cotton elastane ribbing from Plush Addict, £2.80 zip – All in about £25.
Pattern: Self drafted
Time: Half a day
This is a self drafted pattern that I based loosely around a RTW jacket in my wardrobe and then used the sleeves from the Salme jacket pattern in my previous post, which I modified to add length.
I used 2 really simple panels to create the front/back of the jacket, and then added the sleeves. One thing that I was questioning was whether to include darts in the front panel bust area or not. I decided to omit them, and then put them in a later version if I thought it looked to wrinkly.
I sewed together at the side seams and shoulders for both the bodice and the lining, and then attached the sleeves to each piece.
Cuff / Ribbing:
I added some ribbing around the neckline, the jacket hem and the sleeve cuffs.
The cuffing came as a loop of material, which was strange, and I just cut the pieces I needed slightly shorter than the length of where I wanted them to go, to provide a gathered look. I hadn’t worked with this fabric before and I expected it to have more elasticity to it than it did, so I had to add some elastic to the sleeves and the hem to give the look I wanted.
I added the ribbing in this order: neckline, hem, and finally cuffs. The neck and hemline were pretty straightforward, sandwiching between the lining/main fabric, but for the cuffs I had to make make sure the sleeves were inside out, so right sides together, sandwich the cuff in-between, and sew around the seam. Then separate the lining from the main fabric and turn the sleeve the right way out. It felt a bit like fabric origami, but I got there. Hard to explain, I should really have taken some progress photos!
To start off with I purchased a close ended zip, attached it, and realised my mistake when I couldn’t open the jacket. Doh! I won’t do that again. After another trip to the market for an open ended zip, and a few quid lighter (They have a new looseleaf tea stall don’t you know) I was ready to sew the zip on to the jacket. Sometimes zips just go in don’t they? but I faffed with this quite a lot, and although I’m happy it could be a little neater.
General happiness rating
The jacket turned out a little small, which is ok, because I had no extra fabric to make it any bigger! Next time round though I’ll be adding some breathing space. For a basic, quickly thrown together item, I’ve got a really fun addition to my wardrobe, which I know I’m going to enjoy wearing. It’s also satisfying when you’ve drafted your own pattern, and had no instructions to follow other than make it up as you go along.
Look out for my white tree bloggers make, because it will be very similar to this jacket, but hopefully with a few improvements, better fit, and exciting twists!
Btw – if any of you are going to Bestival, get in touch! Hopefully my next post will feature some other exciting garments I’ve made especially for the festival. Neon colours, fun prints and clothes ready for a right rollicking rave.