Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New Vintage Floral


Without a doubt, my cotton voile Anna Dress is one of my favorite frocks, and it certainly gets a lot of wear.  On days when I really don’t feel like getting dressed, that garment is the one that gets pulled out of the closet.  It is incredibly comfortable, and makes me look fairly put together without a bare minimum of effort.


And while I also love my cotton/silk full length version of the design, it just does not compare.


This floral challis seemed like a good choice to finally make myself another version before I wear that cotton one out!


And I have to say that I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.


The only modifications I made were to lengthen the short skirted version by ten inches, lengthen the sleeves by half an inch, and re-draw the back neckline, making sure that the dress would still be bra friendly.


I did end up adding lingerie guards because the neckline is a bit wide - the first day I wore this dress, I noticed that my bra straps were peeking out every once in a while.  Can’t have that!  A bit of ribbon and two snaps took care of that problem.


This is one of those designs that really works in a variety of fabrics.


And if I find another floaty rayon that I really love, I would not be against making another Anna Dress!  A lightweight wool might even take this design right through the colder months . . . 




Dress:  Made by me, “Anna” by By Hand London
Shoes:  Banana Republic
Earrings:  Shadows

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Giving New Life to an Old Dress


Over a year ago, I came across this cotton dress in the back of the closet.  



I would guess that this particular garment was completed approximately fifteen years ago.  The copyright on the pattern is 2000, and back then I did not have a large pattern stash and generally cut into a design soon after I purchased it.


I could not say exactly why I chose to spend all that time embroidering the floral pattern on a fabric that looked slightly dingy right off the bolt.  Unfortunately, because of that, the dress has not seen much action.  


When the dress was pulled from the closet, I noticed a few spot stains on the skirt.  Arghh!  My first thought was to dye the dress.  The only problem is that the embroidery is cotton crewel thread so I was afraid that might take the dye as well.  I also was concerned that the thread might be 100% polyester and would not take a fiber reactive dye.  And that white polyester zipper was definitely not going to take any color.  That left me with very few color options - all of which would have to be very pale or pastel.


So the dress sat in the to-do pile for an entire year.  Well, it has been mocking me ever since.  And with Fall rapidly approaching, I really did not want to put this project off any longer.  So I soaked it in an oxygen wash product.  That took the stains away, but the appearance of the "white" fabric had not improved.  The next step was to dye the dress.



The pale pink color that I went with is fairly subtle, but that white zipper was definitely a problem.  And the installation of said zipper was terrible.  (I have one other sundress with a zipper that is about 3/4" from the top that I made early on in my garment sewing adventures - not sure why I thought that was the proper construction, but I figured out a better way fairly quickly, thank goodness!)



The waist seam was also off by about 1/4".  Unfortunately, some of the embroidery was worked through the zipper tape, so it would have to be ripped out if I decided to replace the zipper.



I couldn't believe my luck when I went right to the old stashed crewel thread that was used for the embroidery.  Sometimes hoarding all those little bits pays off!



While I was in there, I went ahead and stabilized the back opening with some interfacing.



And I found the perfect matching zipper in my drawer of invisible zips.




Then I just needed to remember how to make a stem stitch and brush up on my French knots, and the project was complete!




I did get a chance to wear this before the weather turned, but I think it is time to say goodbye to the pastels for a few months.  But next year, this will definitely be on wardrobe rotation!




Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Princess Coat from McCalls Pattern Company

Finally, a vintage reproduction princess coat from The McCall Pattern Company!  
And while it certainly is not the most spectacular 1950s coat I had ever seen (hello, Lilli Ann!), this toned down version is probably a lot more wearable than something with massive cuffs and an enormous collar.  But this is definitely something I would love to add to my closet.  Now I just have to find over six yards of fabric to make this happen . . .


Nicole Miller is a new designer for McCalls.  I am somewhat surprised that this designer collaboration is not in the Vogue section of the pattern catalog, but since this means that the price point of the pattern is going to be lower, it works for me.  

I am strangely drawn to McCalls 7469 (not what the model is wearing, but the design itself) - it looks a little 1960s mod to me.  
I love the two tone illustration.  The model's garment looks a lot more fitted than the line drawing, which makes me wonder if the dress is an actual Nicole Miller off the rack piece like the photographed designer Vogue patterns are.  I will be very interested to see how this one actually fits and how much ease is included.


I also like McCall 7464.  The seaming detail is nice, and I like the oversized pockets as well (not that I ever end up using them as pockets because I don't like lumps added to my hip area).  


It is on the short side for my taste, but that is an easy fix.  The fabric suggestions are for knit and woven, which seems slightly odd.  Is is going to be too loose in a knit or too tight in a woven?


Another unexpected choice of mine is McCall 7475.  I cannot think of a pattern in my extensive stash that has these style lines.  This one is definitely a classic jean skirt, but I can also see it made up in a fine wale corduroy for a bit of 1970s flare.  


But mostly, I am very, very excited about that coat!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pink & Red Roses


I am horribly behind on posting new projects.  Although you would not know it by looking at this blog, I have been very productive in the sewing room for the last couple of months.


This dress was actually finished back in May, which is also when these photos were taken.  I guess you could say I am having a lot more fun sewing than going through photos.


This is my second version of Vogue 1043.  I love that dress!  So much so, in fact, that I decided to take another stab at the pattern.


Just for fun, I decided to use a drapey rayon from Gertie’s recent fabric collection.  I knew the skirt would look great, but I was not sure how the bodice would work without a fair amount of structure.  The neckline openings are faced . . . but would it be enough?


The answer is yes, and no.  The design definitely lends itself to a textile with more stability than a lightweight rayon.  However, I think this works.


I did have to add a snap to keep the surplice front from pulling open.  This is not an issue on the cotton version of the dress, so I am blaming this entirely on my fabric choice.


The pointed neckline also wants to flop forward.  I cannot help but think that a pair of collar stays might solve the problem.  But am I going to stitch in a channel for a stay?  Probably not.  This is not a tailored garment by any stretch of the imagination, and I am not that concerned with the problem.


And the dress is incredibly comfortable, so that is something!


I really do love the print.  I love it so much that I purchased the blue colorway and may have already made something with it.


And just like my other version of this particular Vintage Vogue pattern, this dress has already been worn a number of times.  So I am going to call this a success!

Dress:  Made by me, Vogue 1043
Jacket:  Made by me, “Spearmint” by Lolita Patterns
Shoes:  Remix “Babydoll

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Smorgasbord of Vintage Reproductions from Simplicity

I have been checking PatternReview for the past few days, waiting for the latest Simplicity patterns to appear.  Today, they did (although Simplicity still has not updated their website).  There are six new vintage reproductions in the catalog.  Okay, one of them is an apron, and they are not the most amazing vintage designs I have ever seen, but the fact that there are so many choices is pretty fantastic.


This is my favorite of the bunch.  The double breasted suit is ADORABLE!  I love it!  This design is definitely going to be added to my project list.

Someone very familiar with the features of a traditional cheongsam might take issue with this design, but I really do like the collared version of this pattern.


At first glance, I really like 8245.  But upon closer inspection, this is a rehash of a previously released design.  I am willing to bet that the top portion of the bodice is a direct copy of Simplicity 4047.  That being said, I have already made two versions of the peplum blouse and will admit that it is an excellent pattern.  So, for anyone who missed it the first time around, I would highly recommend this design.


I suppose it is possible that two patterns released in the 1950s were incredibly similar, but last February Simplicity messed with the original illustrations to match their modified version of 1155, so I am not convinced that these are two distinct designs.  Here is a comparison of the line drawings of this season's vintage reproduction versus the one released is 2007.  Doesn't this look a bit suspicious?  I am, however, reminded that I always meant to make that fabulous jacket . . . 


The same issue applies to Simplicity 8243.  I am guessing that the pants portion of this pattern is a duplication of the pants included with Simplicity 3688 except for the addition of pockets and the closure has been moved.  Also, a released dart has been substituted for a standard one on the pant front - so maybe these are not an exact copy, after all.  


But what happened to the cuff on the short sleeved blouse?  Perhaps it was simply a fold applied to a basic sleeve on the original vintage pattern, but why change that lovely feature when it clearly is a part of the original. 


This 1960s design is fairly basic, but I do appreciate the french darts on the dress.  And the jacket is pretty cute.  I do wonder why there is not photo on a model, though.  But what I really want are those hats!!


The apron is nice, although I already have five or six different vintage reproduction aprons patterns, so do I really need another?  That being said, I find that the vintage ones have so much more character than contemporary aprons made almost exclusively from rectangles with very little shaping, so hooray for more interesting choices.


There are two lingerie patterns from Madalynne in this catalog.  I have been wanting to try my hand at making a bra for some time, but I would like something more long-line than either of these designs.  I am probably better off finding a vintage pattern and working from there, but this might be a starting point for me.


also like Mimi G Style's new shirt dress pattern.  I think that the style lines are great.  This design is not made for knits, but I can absolutely see this in a fabulous DVF inspired knit.  And I am going to have to check out that double collar feature.


There is something very 1970s about this dress, and I love the tie neck.  I am not so sure that a blousey elastic waist is the best look for me, but I may have to try this one as well.

So I would say that this is the most interesting Simplicity release I have seen in quite some time.  It is rather puzzling that of the thousands and thousands of vintage Simplicity designs, the company would choose to reissue duplicated designs, but I am very excited to see so many of them in one catalog.  I have a feeling, however, that anyone with a more contemporary design aesthetic is going to be rather disappointed this time around.