Monday, November 5, 2018

Lilacs without the Lace

A few months back, I finally got around to doing something with this lilac fabric by making a matching top and skirt.

There wasn't much yardage to be had, as it was previously used for a dress many, many years ago.  But it all worked out in the end, with a minor bit of piecing on the back bodice!

Turns out, a Rita Top paired with a knee length little skirt is a great idea.  And the skirt, in particular, has had a lot of wear this summer.

It's always a good sign when I keep pulling something out of the closet so soon after having finished sewing it together!

Sometimes those quick projects are the perfect sewing palette cleanser.

I did, of course, finish the insides with seam binding, and faced the skirt hem to give it a bit more oomph.  You can take the girl away from the underlining and hand basting, but you can't pry the Hug Snug from her hands.

And I am quite proud of the fact that my resolution to add more separates to the closet is still going strong.  Which is not to say that there will be no more dresses in my future . . . you can count on the fact that there will be!!

Blouse:  Made by me, "The Rita Blouse"
Skirt:  Made by me, Butterick 6558
Shoes:  Miss L Fire "Bel-Aire"
Earrings:  Vintage

Friday, November 2, 2018

Winter McCalls

If I had to choose my least favorite of the Big4 pattern companies, it would be McCalls.  I consistently love Vogue, Butterick keep releasing those wonderful vintage reproduction patterns, and Simplicity has been having a lot of good design moments as of late.  But this time around, I like quite a few of the new designs from McCalls.  Go figure.  Just what I need, more new patterns to entice me!  The pattern hoarding situation is getting a bit out of control around here.
Of course, it is no surprise that I am drawn to the one new vintage reproduction from The Archive Collection.  On the whole, I haven't been as excited about this category as the Vintage Vogues, but there is some good stuff happening here.  Look past the weird rhinestone necklace . . .

And please avert your eyes from this styling madness.  Not sure what is happening here, but we have 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s stuff added, and it took me a moment to sort out which decade is actually being represented.  I hate the poly organza used for the cropped jacket, but I do love those sleeves!  My Cherries Jubilee dress has a version of this lantern sleeve, and it is somewhat unexpected in todays boring sleeve world, so hooray for that!

I also love this formal gown.  The princess seams and Dior darts are great paired with that off the shoulder silhouette.  Do I need another formal dress pattern . . . no, but having a bit of inspiration is never a bad thing.
And while the panne velvet is not my favorite, I do love a good capelet!  Something is off with the neckline and caplet proportions, but there are possibilities here.

If I look past the fabric sample, I also see possibilities with this top.  I think the tie bodice with the longer sleeves is adorable.  My issues with these tops is always what to wear on the bottom.  They look great with a pair of jeans, but I don't own any.  I could always tuck it into a high waisted skirt, but that changes the look.  Maybe I could make a dress out of it?
I am also very drawn to this shawl collared robe.  There is definitely a bit of 1940s vibe happening here.  Of course, I don't need a robe . . .
A great shirtdress is always nice, and kudos for the effort to try something "new."  But the asymmetry just doesn't quite work for me.  I think it would end up looking like the garment was twisted while worn, instead of purposefully off kilter.  And the ruching sort of makes the skirt look too tight, even on the technical drawing - on my hips, that would go terribly wrong.

And for a bit of fantasy, here is another pattern that I do not need, but would definitely love to swan about in the completed dress.  But I have a drawer full of costume patterns that are probably close to twenty years old, and most of them have never been used.  I do love that neckline, though!
[Click on image for source]

Monday, October 29, 2018

Label Love

A couple of years ago, the nice people at The Dutch Label Shop contacted me about trying their personalized labels.  Time went by, and I got distracted with one thing and another, but when they contacted me again, I decided having some pretty labels to add to my one of a kind clothing might be fun.  [The fact that I had the opportunity to examine a lot of wonderful vintage clothing up close and personal in the last year and see so many amazing vintage labels may have pushed me over the edge!]

The site offers a wide variety of fonts, colors, and symbols to customize your very own label.  Of course, I had to complicate matters and design my own.  PicMonkey was surprisingly helpful in this regard.  

When I couldn't decide on one style or color, I just went for it and ordered three variations on a theme.

I love how they turned out!  And I still can't choose a favorite . . . I will have to see them in action to make that decision!

[Disclosure: The Dutch Label Shop provided me with a coupon code which was used to purchase these labels, but the opinions posted here are my own.]

Monday, October 22, 2018

Pale Pink Orchids

Sometimes a plan takes some time to come together.

When I designed this fabric, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.  I love the skirt from Vogue 4203 and wanted to pair it with Vogue 8701 to see how they would work together - I suspected things would go swimmingly!

So I carefully cut out my precious self-designed fabric.

When I ordered my yardage, I mis-remembered how much fabric the skirt requires.

My mistake meant that I had enough fabric left to make a matching jacket for my dress.  Love it!

I have been meaning to make another version of Vogue 9082 for years, and this was the perfect opportunity.

I thought the outfit deserved something extra, so I made a fascinator out of a length of petersham ribbon and some Russian veiling that I had stashed away.

I really love how this outfit turned out!

And I don't promise that I am done with this skirt pattern, either.  The only question is, which bodice to try next!

Dress:  Made by me, Vogue 4203 / Vogue 8701
Jacket:  Made by me, Vogue 9082
Belt:  Made by me
Fascinator:  Made by me
Earrings:  Vintage
Shoes:  Remix "Babydoll"

[Disclosure:  My Fabric Designs provided me with a coupon code which was used to purchase this fabric, but the opinions posted here are my own.]

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

New Simplicity Patterns for Winter

On a whim, I clicked through to the Simplicity website last night, and there were new patterns!  I am not as excited about these as the last batch, but there are some vintage reproduction goodies.  This hat pattern, for instance, is pretty fabulous!  Sure, I would have rather seen hats from the 1930s or 1940s because I find the silhouettes a bit more interesting, but this pattern is really pretty special.  I just love that pointed hat silhouette!!

And once again, we have more apron pattern options.  These things must be super popular, because they keep producing them.  Don't get me wrong, this one is cute, but do we need another simple apron pattern in the collection?  I will be curious to see the appliqué pieces, which isn't something I recall being included with aprons . . . so maybe this is something new.

And here is another one.  This has the added oven mitt, which is super handy (I may actually want to make myself one of those!).  There is also a head scarf and selection of bags included.  I don't really understand the accessory combo here, but there is a lot included, so I suppose that's a good thing.  And now I really want a hand made oven mitt . . .

Here is another vintage reproduction from the 1950s.  The "simple to make" does not excite me, but this is a cute little nightgown.  I would rather have a dress or skirt, but at least Simplicity continues to share more vintage designs.

There is a skirt that I am interested in, just in the contemporary section of the catalog.  At first glance, I passed right over this one, but the shaped waistband with the center front buttons is very cute.

The lesson here is to always look at the technical drawings.  There is some good stuff here!  I am not really an asymmetrical skirt opening kind of girl, but there are a lot of nice options to be had in one pattern.

And to end with something cute, here is an adorable stuffed animal pattern.  I will never get around to making one of these, but they sure are cute!

[Click on image for source]

Thursday, October 11, 2018

2018 Holiday Vogue Patterns

Vogue released their new Winter/Holiday Collection this week, and as you can probably guess, I am most excited about the new Vintage Vogue design!
I love the line drawings on this one; the back, especially, is gorgeous.  This will definitely be added to my collection.  My only hesitation would be fabric choice.  I think this needs a solid color in order to fully appreciate the style lines, but I have a really difficult time finding solid colored fabrics that I like.  But I am up for the challenge!

I am also drawn to this Paco Peralta outfit.  It probably has a lot to do with the fabulous textured fabric, but this one has some definite possibilities.  I would almost want to extend the top into a dress.  Maybe?  Sounds like more work than I will probably want to do, but I love the look.
And do I need another shirt dress?  No, absolutely not.  But Vogue 9345 has so many different options.  The oversized sleeves are a bit much, in my opinion, but can you ever really have too many classic garments in the closet?  And this one has Dior darts, which I am fairly certain is different than my other shirtdress patterns.  The straight skirted version is also très chic with the pleats. Yep, I guess I need this one too!

I own a tiered ruffle skirt somewhat similar to the full length version of Vogue 9349 and I love it!  Which reminds me that I haven't worn it in a while, and I must remedy that situation.  My skirt has has an elastic waistband which I always ended up covering with a sweater, while this one is a wrap skirt.  I don't especially like yoked waistbands on my body, but I think I may have to try this pattern out.
This dress is part of Vogue 9351, one of the Vogue Wardrobe patterns, which includes a jacket, pants, a jumpsuit, and the dress. So, lots of bang for your buck.  I am drawn to the raglan sleeve, but I think the style lines may end up being a bit too "modern" for me.  This is one I am going to have to think about.  But I love how many different looks and neckline options are included here . . . very creative and that extra effort is very much appreciated.

This looked like any other halter neck dress at first glance . . .
But Vogue 9343 has a covered back and cut in shoulders.  So what I first thought looked rather boring turned out to be a wonderful surprise.  I certainly don't need another excuse to make a formal dress . . . but wouldn't this look amazing in a jewel toned velvet!

And I had to include this Badgley Mischka gown.  From the front, it looks like perfection . . . and then they cheapen the whole thing with oversized grommets?!?  I am sure this will be a popular pattern, but it looks like the designers felt the need to do something "different" and this is the best they could come up with.  I, for one, am not impressed.  I found this version of what appears to be the same dress, minus the gross grommets, with an added sheer sleeve.  I like that one better.  There is a boned bodice foundation included, so at least the construction methods are going to be good.  And I suppose I could also forego the back detail for a classic look . . .
So, not the most exciting pattern collection I have ever seen, but there is some good stuff to be found.  Do you have any new favorites?

[Click on image for source]

Thursday, September 20, 2018

A Comfy Cushion

I found a lovely rocking chair at a garage sale a couple of weeks back.  It's quite comfortable, but if you want to sit for a significant amount of time, a wood seat can begin to feel a little hard.  So a cushion was in order!

I looked around for a tutorial to make sure I wasn’t going to miss anything important.  This one was particularly helpful, although I made a few changes to suit my needs.

The supplies I used were as follows:
Quilting Cotton
Fusible Interfacing
Yarn Scrap (for piping)
Covered Button Kit
Button & Carpet Thread (for tufting)
PolyFil (for stuffing)

And best of all, everything I needed was in the stash.  There was not quite enough poly-fil stuffing left in the bag to completely stuff the cushion, so I used some scraps of polyester fleece to fill out the remaining bit, and it worked beautifully!  The fleece was purchased years ago with the thought that it would be an inexpensive way to make shoulder pads - big mistake - cotton batting is far superior, and so it was nice to find a use for the gross polyester stuff.  By the way, does anyone know why JoAnns fills its stores with fleece?  Someone must be buying it, right?  But who, exactly - I never see anyone in those aisles.  Inquiring minds want to know.

But back to the cushion . . . I would say the most important features to make a hand made cushion look good are piping, and buttons for tufting.  Otherwise, you are going to have a rather sad looking stuffed square.

The piping on this particular project could probably stand to be a bit wider, but even a narrow option adds something.  And if you are going to add tufting, make sure to interface your fabric at those spots.  I interfaced the entire front and back of my cushions because the quilting cotton was not especially sturdy, but if you are planning to pull a length of thread through a mass of stuffing and pull it tight, you will definitely need to reinforce that area so the fabric does not tear.

I also added four sets of ties, two at the back corners, and the two others a few inches in the from the opposite corners to match the forward most spindles of the chair.

I was expecting this to be a practice run, but I really love how it turned out.  So for now, I am going to keep my lily pad cushion on my lovely new rocking chair!