Feelin’ Royal Blue

Over the past few weeks I watched the first two seasons (well, only two seasons) of The Hour, a British TV series about a current affairs TV show on the BBC in the 1950’s. If you can get past the first season, which was only just OK (it featured a fairly implausible KGB spy plot), then you’ll uncover the gold which is season 2. I highly recommend it. Not least for the fantastic royal blue suits and dresses that the lead character (Bel Rowley, played by Romola Garai) wears a lot. When I’m not completely sucked in by the plot intrigue I am quietly squeeeing over those suits. In one episode she’s wearing a yellow silk blouse with a royal blue suit, and it looks fabulous! I couldn’t find a picture of that exact outfit but this promo shot below from the BBC might give you some idea. (There’s a picture of another royal blue dress on Bel here, along with an insightful exploration of the feminist themes underpinning the show. Go check it out.)

The Hour

So I decided I gotta get me some royal blue! I headed to Designer Fabrics and found some royal blue wool jersey, and, without any particular pattern in mind, bought 2 yards. Needing a quick fix, I decided to make this v-back top from Burda.

Woke up Saturday morning, fed the cats (hey, did I tell you I have a NEW KITTEN?), and fired up the printer. Because I have the attention span of a gnat, it took me all morning to tape the pattern together and cut out the pieces, in between pulling weeds in the garden, playing ball with the NEW KITTEN, and so on. But by 6pm I had the top sewn together…


What a disappointment. It came out way too big, even though I cut the smallest size which, according to the size chart, should have fit me perfectly. By the time I took in the sides and armholes by a good inch, the bust darts wound up so far off to the sides that my boobs look like Marty Feldman’s eyes. In case you don’t know who Marty Feldman is, here’s a pic:


I’m in no mood to undo every single seam and start again, so this will go sit in my “might fix at a future date” pile along with my snakeskin-print tent dress (I’m pretty sure it’s a 2-man tent, but that’s another story), and that pseudo-lambskin jacket I cut out about ten years ago and is sitting in a closet with the pins still in it.

Ok, here it is. I couldn’t even be bothered to take decent pictures of it. The colour is truest in the last picture. And so are the Marty-Feldman-eye bust darts.

Burda V-neck Top in royal blue wool jersey

Burda V-neck Top in royal blue wool jersey

Burda V-neck Top in royal blue wool jersey

So this brings me back to the question: why don’t popular television shows make it easy for viewers to find and buy any given outfit on a character? I mean, wouldn’t you just kill for some of Megan Draper’s outfits on Mad Men? Wouldn’t that be a great promotional tie-in as well as an additional revenue source for TV producers? I can’t really understand why this didn’t already happen ten years ago. Why I’m farting around trying to sew my own royal blue garment when I’d rather just buy Bel Rowley’s whole outfit is kind of a mystery to me.

Now, you didn’t think I’d go a whole blog post without showing you a picture of my NEW KITTEN, did you??

I have exactly no shots of this cat that aren't blurry. He's always moving at the speed of blur.
This is Ernie! Or possibly Mr. Fezziwig! Not quite sure yet about the name. I have exactly no shots of this cat that aren’t blurry. He’s always moving at the speed of blur.

3 thoughts on “Feelin’ Royal Blue

  1. In 2007, in the Netherlands there was shop (Steps) that sold dresses that were featured in a tv-series called Julia’s Tango. I never watched this series, but yes, someone definitely thought of this before! Don’t know whether it was successful or not. I’ve never seen something like it afterwards. They made dresses for the second season and in each episode at least 1 of these dresses was featured and people could go to the shop the next day to buy them.


  2. Oh, neat! Were the dresses nice? Anyway, there must be something I’m not getting about how lucrative (or not) such an enterprise would be. I suppose if it’s everyday clothing, maybe there isn’t much of a market, but I figure that very popular period shows like Mad Men, Downton Abbey, etc. might have a really great niche market for people who would love to wear those fashions.


    1. I thought the dresses were just regular summer dresses, not really all that special. They were not very expensive either. I found a webpage where you can view a selection of the collection: http://www.fashionscene.nl/p/120298/julias_tango_limited_collection_by_steps_ I think the market for Mad Men and other such shows inspired clothing would be much larger as the collection could be sold world-wide. With all the vintage inspired sewing going around the blogosphere nowadays you would think that there should be enough people around interested in buying these clothes to make it profitable.


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