Today I’m wearing yet another one of my own designs! I got this co-ord tailored last month using two different types of indigo dyed fabric. I’m having a bit of a love affair with indigo dyed cloth at the moment - it’s so vibrant and unique, even though the dye will stain anything it comes in contact with (I learned that the hard way!) This is a more vintage inspired look than I’ve been going for of late, but then I find colder weather to be more conducive to retro looks like this. There’s something a bit 40s about the cut of the skirt and blouse, and with my old Unique Vintage umbrella in tow, I rather feel like singing in the rain!
Although vintage and vintage inspired fashion has forever been my jam, I’ve never been too fond of the styling that typically accompanies 40s and 50s inspired looks. Here’s my top tip for rocking mid century inspired ensembles without going all the way into pin-up territory: keep your styling simple. I’ve styled this co-ord with a minimalist crossbody satchel and equally pared down clog sandals - both timeless, classic pieces that can blend in with any era. And instead of the standard pin-up coiffure, I’ve pulled back my hair with a velvet ribbon and let my natural curls do their thing. So the overall look has a vintage air while remaining timeless and contemporary.
I’ve linked to some of my favourite plus size co-ord sets this season in the widget below. Just swipe through to see my picks!
This is my personal technique for appliqueing on stretch fabrics. It’s a little different than what I might recommend for everyone–I have to work ‘upside down’ or from the back of my pattern because my machine just loves to drag the spandex around if I stitch on the right side of the work. But, I find this way does give nice clean results, so try it out, maybe! The biggest con would be that it does waste a little fabric when your cutting things away, but spandex patterns generally use pretty small yardages anyway.
So first thing is to transfer your design to the interfacing. I’m using Pellon Stick-and-Washaway 542 interfacing and it’s pretty much the best thing I’ve discovered recently. It’s water soluble, so you’re not tearing away interfacing and causing ripples in your spandex. Don’t forget to mirror your design!
Roughly cut out the interfacing, then peel of the backing and attach to your base fabric. Now that it’s nice and firm with the interfacing, you can cut out the pattern piece more precisely, with none of the shifting that often happens with spandex. I’ve then gone ahead and used temporary spray adhesive to attach a layer of red to the right side of my work (you can see it sticking out in the armhole of the bottom piece. Because there is a lot of red, I just covered the whole piece. The excess will be cut away later.
This is on a different piece, but here me zig-zagging on the wrong side of the work, following the lines drawn on the interfacing. I got pretty good at circles and curves on this one, and the biggest advice I can give is ‘Pivot. A Lot.’ You’re going to have to put the needle down and pivot every couple of stitches on a circle or other tight curve. Don’t try and just swing the stiching around as you go, it doesn’t work well.
Okay, so I forgot to take a picture of me cutting away the extra fabric on the red layer, but as you can see here, I’ve added and stitched a green layer and am starting to cut it away. Just use sharp little embroidery scissors and gently tug the fabric, getting as close to the zig-zagged edge as you can. It takes a little practice, but I’ve gotten pretty good at getting nice clean edges this way. As you can see with the green fabric, if that color’s design is not all over the piece, you can attach smaller pieces of fabric, just making sure it covers the whole area where it is needed.
Here’s the back after all the green and red stitching is done. Now time for pink! As you can see, I attached the red centers to the pink flowers already. It’s easier to put them on first with the rest of the red, then cut out the pink center of the flower (like reverse applique) then to go back and do another layer of red. Changing the bobbin and thread between each layer is a pain.
Here you can see the pink attached, it’s used in small areas so I can get away with using small pieces to reduce waste.
No pictures of this step, but once you’re all trimmed up, go ahead and rinse the work in cold water, and the interfacing will magically dissolve, leaving you with nice smooth applique.
This is all the pieces laid out after being washed out. Before I sewed them all together though, there was one more step.
To reduce bulk (especially where it will be serged together) I cut away the cream base fabric where there was large open areas of the red. In smaller areas I would say it’s not worth it. I did cut the center of the flower away too, just because I ended up with three layers of fabric there.
Ta-Da! All sewn up (and lined and what not) More pictures HERE!
Chintz was not the only option for printed fabrics in the 18th century, if you could afford it the hand-painted silk was always an option. Silk fabrics woven and hand painted in China were the favourite for the European market.
Photos from top:
Robe à la Française (detail) in hand-painted silk, 1740s, Great Britain, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Robe à la française (back) in hand-painted Chinese silk, 1763, Wedding dress of Mary Chaloner, McCord Museum.
Robe a la Polonaise (back) in hand-painted Chinese silk, ca. 1780, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Robe à la Française (back detail) in Chinese hand-painted silk, 1760s, Great Britain, Victoria and Albert Museum.
It was a known fact that Captain Levi enjoyed tea, some even thought his entire diet consisted of it. Because he liked tea, everyone who liked the Captain made it for him, in order to impress him and gain his praises, but they never did, it was always `thanks` in that flat tone of his that always insinuated `it`s not very good, try again`. Little did they know it wasn`t because they`d steeped it too long or used the wrong blend, or even the wrong tea cup, but because they all assumed Levi liked his tea black and bitter.
Levi loathed straight black tea, despite popular belief, and whenever someone made him a cup he`d make sure add about a hundred spoonfuls of sugar to it. It`s why no one ever saw him preparing his own tea, or drinking it after they`d served it to him, what would they think if they saw their war hardened Captain pouring all that sugar into his tea because he couldn`t have it black?
Drinking black tea in a plain white mug was manlier than sweet tea with lots of cream in his favorite baby blue tea cup, and he had an image to uphold. It was like if he asked for strawberry milk instead of a beer, like choosing a unicorn over a horse, you just didn`t do it. So Levi kept his little sweet tooth secret, never would anyone see him pouring half the bag of sugar into his tea, or the fact that the tea in the black tea tin was actually his favorite rose blend.
He`d sit up in his office, choose one of his favorite tea sets and drink his feminine choice in drink in peace, it`s where he thought he was completely safe from prying eyes and mocking gazes. He liked having his fluffy quilt of cotton and floral fabric, an old one he`d found, but was able to mend himself, and a good book, particularly romance novels where one couldn`t be with the other due to their age difference but somehow they would love one another anyway and live happily ever after.
No one ever dared disturb him during this time, everyone around knew they were his designated relaxation hours. Everyone who`d been with him for long enough knew that, everyone except Eren. Eren who looked up to him the most, Eren who would lose all respect for him if he knew how soft his Captain really was, Eren who never fucking knocked before coming in.
“Captain! I was looking all over for… you.” Eren shouted coming in, only to pause at the scene before him. Captain Levi curled up in his way too big desk chair bundled up in a rose patterned blanket that seemed to swallow him whole, a book with a romantic title, “To Love Him Is Wrong, But I Cannot Bring Myself To Be Right”, and was that two guys on the cover? But most of all he had a well made, pearly pink, china tea set with cherry blossoms and rosy branches painted all over it and a tea cup full of creamy looking peach colored tea, definitely not the dark black he usually drank.
“Captain what are you…?”
Levi looked like a cross between furious, embarrassed and ready to cry.
Here it comes, he`s going to cut into his ass and never respect him again. Levi would have to beat him harder than he had at the tribunal to get him to take him seriously ever again.
“Wow, seriously sir, you`re just adorable if you don`t mind me saying so!” Eren squealed, holding his own face in his hands. Levi blinked, technically, this was what he`d been dreading, to be seen in a soft, weak light, but… it didn`t feel so bad with Eren doing it.
“Is that so?” Levi had to be sure, Eren nodded eagerly at the question.
“Mh! It`s awesome you can be cute like this but still kick ass!” The boy praised. Levi hadn`t ever thought of it that way, but still…
“Ahem, thank you Eren. But you can`t say anything about this okay?” Levi said, Eren looked confused for a moment, like he wanted to ask questions, but then understanding filled his green orbs instead.
It looked like Eren was going to give him some lecture about pride or something so Levi shut him up quick, “It`s our special secret.” He whispered, immediately Eren`s face lit up like a Christmas tree, not just anyone got to know about the Captain`s special secrets so he must have really trusted Eren in particular! Aa, he wanted to brag about it but, if Levi trusted him to keep it a secret then he wouldn`t say a word.
“Yes sir! My lips are sealed!” Eren promised,
Levi had never been more relieved it was Eren who`d barged into his office.
Once Eren had found out about his little secret the boy had pestered him until he`d given him the recipe for his ideal tea, five spoons of sugar, three splashes of cream and use the rose blend on the top shelf of the pantry, and the shifter took it as his duty to prepare Levi`s tea from then on, because he knew Captain`s secret now so he could prepare what he liked, and Levi let him. Only because somehow the brat`s tea was a hundred times better than his own. When he made it, it was just sweet enough, always steeped to perfection, always had a creamy texture and was never gritty, sometimes he`d even put actual rose petals in for extra flavor.
No longer did Levi have to tiptoe about just to get a cup of tea, because Eren always seemed to know when he was craving it and would be at his door with a steaming pot ready for him. But it became more than tea too, he brought him warm sweaters, Captain always looks so cold in that blanket, new books, I didn`t know what you liked to read but this one has guys on the cover too, and kept him company.
Levi didn`t know how close they were becoming, how he would let Eren share his quilt because it was big enough for both of them, let Eren blush himself silly trying to read his romance books aloud, let the cadet lay his head on his lap when he got sleepy. And when he finally did notice, he didn`t mind as much as he should, at all really. He could admit it, if only to himself, he really liked Eren. In the kind of way his novels described, his heart would beat fast, his hands would sweat - disgusting - and he would feel light whenever he was near. Geez he really was turning into a girl wasn`t he?
Still, he should have guessed such bliss couldn`t last.
It had been another day, pretty slow in terms of training and such since there wasn`t anything urgent to learn so Eren had come to his office earlier than normal, baring his usual gifts of a large blanket and tea and cookies to share. Levi had looked up from his blasted paperwork to find the boy smiling down at him and he allowed himself a small one in return. He pushed his work aside, Eyebrows would get it when he finished dammit, and opened his arms to invite Eren over into the large chair like always. Eren had happily squeezed in next to him, draping the big blanket over their heads and shoulders and poured the two some of his delicious tea.
Right as they were settling in, Eren laying his head on Levi`s to read over his shoulder, they`d switched out romance novels for action/adventures, the door was flung open in a flurry of `I`m sorry for intruding` and bad undercuts. Oluo stood in the doorway bowing until he was almost in half and holding out more paperwork, seriously, more Erwin? Do your own damn paperwork! Straight out in front of him. Instead of jumping up Eren had pulled him closer protectively, not knowing who had been coming in at first and Levi sat completely still.
“F-forgive me sir! You weren`t answering your door so I…” Oluo had started up with his rambling apology and raised his head to do so properly, but he was met with the sight of Captain Levi looking terribly small wrapped in a giant fluffy blanket with… with the newbie! And what was with that tea? It was pink! Just what exactly was he seeing here!?
“What is all of this?” Oluo yelled, of course he bit his tongue in the process.
Eren`s eyes shot over to look at Levi who was still frozen with shock and looked ready to cry again, he had to do something to keep the Captain`s secret, as painful as this would be for him, he couldn`t let his Captain take this, it was time for him to repay all his kindness these past days.
“Ahem, this is all me.” Eren said seriously, his voice was really out of place in the fluffy scene. Levi shot him a look of disbelief but he didn`t stop, let me do this for you sir, he thought. “I… I like all this kind of stuff, and I dragged Captain into with me, and because he was kind he stayed, even though he doesn`t like this kind of thing at all!”
Oluo sneered at him, “Hah, should have known you were a weirdo, what are you some kind of girl? Hah! You`re lucky the Captain`s such a good man, I wouldn`t have let a rookie like you get away with it though, I`d-”
As Oluo continued to lecture Eren, Levi couldn`t tear his eyes away from him. This boy, with so little already, had taken such a hard blow to his pride, saved Levi from humiliation, without even being asked to. He was sitting through the harsh words hewas supposed to be getting, he was the one who liked all this, in fact, Eren was the one who liked his tea black without anything else between them. Eren had taken the bullet for him like it was nothing, he would have never imagined he cared that much.
“Enough Oluo.” Levi ordered, he couldn`t let this continue.
“But sir! He`s the one who dragged you into-”
“Hoh? Did I stutter? That was an order soldier.” He told the man darkly, and with a not manly at all squeak he scurried out of the room, making sure to close the door behind him so Levi wouldn`t give chase.
After he`d left Eren let out a nervous laugh, “Haha, that was close wasn`t it sir?”
“Why did you do it Eren?” Levi cut in, why would anyone, no matter how close, take that kind of pain for another?
Eren`s eyes darted around uneasily as he let out another laugh.
“W-well I promised to keep your secret didn`t I? And I-”
“Eren. Don`t lie, what`s the real reason? Even if you were keeping my secret you didn`t have to take the blame.”
“I-I guess there`s no hiding it then huh?” … “I-I like you Captain.” The boy admitted, ah, Levi`s heart was skipping every other beat again.
“And because I like you, I had to protect you sir. Please forgive me for having these weird feelings for you!” Eren pleaded, he pulled the blanket they`d been sharing over his head further to hide himself completely from view.
Eren liked him. Eren liked him. He could feel not only a burning blush covering his cheeks, but a big - big for him that was - smile spreading on his face as he let out a breathy laugh, there was nothing really funny about it, but it was more of a relief kind of laugh. If Eren was weird, Levi supposed he was too right?
He wiggled his way under the blanket with Eren, even as he tried to shift away and hide more, and pulled him into a soft kiss that stopped his struggling instantly. Levi wasn`t very experienced, he just sort of, held their lips together, but Eren hummed contently and it felt good, really good, even if they weren`t doing anything. When he could bring himself to pull back a minute or so later he whispered to the boy,
“I like you too, Eren.”
Eren gaped when his lip fell away from his, his eyes growing impossibly larger - because they were already so big - at his superior`s confession. Levi was a bit nervous, maybe he had read his words wrong and Eren didn`t like him that way. Maybe Levi had made a comeplete fool of himself and really made Eren lose respect for him that no beating would restore.
But then Eren`s dropped jaw formed a smile, a happy, joyful smile, like Levi had promised him the world in just one confession.
The grin on Eren`s face made his own small smile grow just that much more as the kid pulled him into a bear hug and laughed like he`d heard the funniest thing in the world. His laughter was deep and contagious and Levi started laughing too, his lighter, quieter giggles mixing with Eren`s well.
What were they even doing? Giggling like two teenagers - technically one of them was - underneath a blanket like it was their own little world. But Levi didn`t care, for once in a long, long time, he was just happy. The two eventually calmed down enough to form words, Eren`s first ones were thanking him for accepting his feelings. Speaking of thanks, now that they were technically together he could…
“Eren, I want to thank you for saving me before.” Levi said lowly, shifting himself closer to Eren`s lap. Eren looked at him strangely, reminding him he`d already said that. Sigh, this brat had no idea how to take hints did he? Figures he would fall for someone like that.
“No, I want to… repay your kindness Eren.” Levi purred, taking the boy`s face in his hands as it finally clicked for him, you could practically hear it.
“Mmhm, would you like that Eren?”
Taking that as the approval he needed, Levi pulled the blanket away from their heads and let it fall to the floor. Eren laid back on the plushy chair when Levi`s hands pushed him against it, using his shoulders as leverage to crawl over him and straddle his waist.
They looked at each other for a moment, breath quickening at what was to come, Eren made the first move with a noisy `gulp` and pulled Levi close by the small of his back with one hand and tilted his head forwards with the other, closing the gap between them second time. Eren was more forceful than Levi had been as he worked his lips against Levi own, loving the sound of his stuttering gasp when he dared dart his tongue out to slide across his plump bottom lip to coax them to part.
He let his hands wander down this body he`d admired for so long, caution slowly slipping from his mind, running along Levi`s back, his arms, his hips, before settling on his ass to give it a timid squeeze, causing Levi to let out a scandalized squeak, making the mistake of opening his mouth to let Eren enter it easily. Levi didn`t seem to understand at first, why his mouth was suddenly so hot, but he still moaned at the feeling of Eren tongue inside his mouth, against his own, rubbing against it and exploring every part it could reach.
Eren pulled back, Levi`s lips chasing after his as he did so, to tug at the Captain`s shirt, his implications clear. Levi blushed harder but lifted his arms so Eren could pull the cloth away. Eren`s hands instantly stroked his sides and grabbed at his hips, muttering to himself `so smooth` and `pretty, you`re very pretty sir` as he was captivated by the newly exposed skin. Levi felt flatter but, also cheated. Eren was still fully clothed…
“N-now you.” He insisted, trying to sound firm. Eren held back a smile, he was being shy again. Either way Eren obeyed, taking his shirt from the bottom hem and slipping it over his head confidently, though he did feel a bit exposed now since Levi was no longer the only one like this and was staring at him so intensely. Silver eyes roamed his chest and abs shamelessly, but his hands were a different story, hiding themselves deeper into his brown locks, too frightened to venture down.
“Hey, it`s okay, go ahead.” Eren encouraged, wanting Levi to feel free to touch him as he pleased, and to feel those hands on his body. Levi nodded a bit, mostly to himself and placed both hands on his chest, biting his lip in concentration. He stayed in that position, unsure of what to do next, Eren couldn`t help himself as he reached out to cup his face with his hands.
“You`re so cute Captain, please do as you wish with me.” He cooed, Levi looked up at him through his black lashes, flushing at the compliment, before letting his own hands wander as Eren`s had been, carving out all the harsh edges and dips in his muscles, getting startled whenever Eren couldn`t hold back a shudder. Levi let his fingers trail back up over Eren`s body, tickling the back of his neck and… oh.
“Ah! Levi!” Eren gasped, Levi forced himself not to jump right off his lap in fright, he was nervous after all, but that passed all too quickly when Levi realized he was the one to make such a sound spill from Eren`s mouth so forcefully, it gave him quite the boost in his confidence and he boldly brushed the spot on the back of the brunet`s neck again, earning another loud pant.
It was something like a titan wasn`t it? The weak spot at the nape, and Eren was a titan too so… it made sense didn`t it? Idly Levi thought of Hanji having an out right fit at the information, but she wouldn`t be getting it, Levi decided this would be his own secret as he kept rubbing Eren`s nape, he was the only one who was going to know exactly what Eren liked. He felt like he had some kind of special position by knowing it, and he was selfish so he wouldn`t be letting anyone else find out.
“You like it, Eren?” The raven mumbled softly to the shifter, who had gone limp against his shoulder, shuddering every other second. He could feel him nod vigorously from where his head lied. To his surprise though, Eren pulled his head, and neck, away from Levi`s grasp suddenly. He shook his head, like he was trying yo convince himself, and told him,
“S-sir, I want to be gentle with you, but if you continue to do things like that… I don`t think I`ll be able to hold back.”
Levi blinked, then a blush took over his face when he realized what the cadet was implying.
“W-who said anything about that you idiot! Don`t get so ahead of yourself.” He hissed, Eren opened his mouth to apologize then, his eyes wide at the realization of his own statement and face looking a bit disappointed but Levi stopped him before he could say anything.
“B-but since, since I`m repaying you…”
Eren immediately perked up like some puppy. Tch. That was annoying.
“Don`t be so eager.”
Now he was a kicked puppy and Levi felt bad.
“Ahem, since I`m repaying you, please… do what you wish with me.” The captain forced out, repeating Eren`s own offer from earlier, looking away from Eren`s intense gaze as he took in what he was saying. But that`s all he was doing, just looking and damn it all if Levi wasn`t embarrassed enough already.
“Well? Say something you- AH!”
The moment he was fed up with the silence was the moment Eren pounced on him, pinning him to the desk in front of them - behind him? - and staring down at Levi with an animalistic glint in his vibrant green eyes. Levi`s silver slivers widened at the sudden, but slight, pain in his back from being slammed against hard wood.
“I really tried holding back sir, but when you talk like that… Please forgive me for this.”
With that Eren dove forwards, pressing their bodies together as tightly as he could, almost crushing Levi in the process with his weight, and began to rock back and forth, rubbing their arousals together. Levi covered his mouth to muffled the girly noises that were spilling from him, his other gripping Eren`s back for dear life as the boy grinded onto him.
Eren wouldn`t slow down, going full force the moment he was upon him, panting harshly like a dog into his ear, mumbling things like `captain`s skin is so soft` and `your voice is so sweet sir, let me hear it more`. The desk protested at the constant rhythm of back and forth, back and forth, creaking it`s complaint loudly beneath them.
“Ah! Eren, Eren slow down,” Levi panted, becoming overwhelmed with the sheer amount of contact. Eren growled lowly, like it was the worst thing to pull away from Levi even for a second.
“No.” He told him.
At any other moment Levi would have been furious, but right then he couldn`t possibly think of anything other than Eren caging him against the desk as he grinded his back against the smooth wood. It felt like hours Levi lied there, just taking whatever Eren had left, he didn`t notice his own moans rising in pitch, coming at a faster frequency, didn`t feel Eren`s thrusts becoming erratic as his own hips bucked with a mind of their own.
“Mmh, mn, I-I`m- ah!” For the love of Maria he couldn`t even warn Eren he was about to-
White spots danced across Levi`s tightly shut eyelids as he reached his high, Eren still frantically rubbing against him, before finding his own relief with a long groan, then plopping down onto Levi`s heaving form in exhaustion. They lay there, panting as they calmed down. Eren lifted his head from Levi chest to smile a dopey smile up at him, and Levi couldn`t do more than ruffle his brown locks lovingly in return.
He could chew him out for ruining two perfectly good pairs of uniform pants later.