Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mellow Yellow


This dress was a test . . . I had a design idea and thought Simplicity 1197 might be a good starting point to create it.


In my mind, I decided I wanted to make my trial run in a mint green fabric.  I never found exactly what I was looking for, but I did pick up this yellow cotton at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics that felt suitable for the dress.


The design turned out to be much more fitted through the skirt than I was expecting.  Which means it will not work for my original idea (too many alterations necessary!), but at least I have a new summer dress that is great to wear in hot weather!


I added two inches to the hemline of this dress, and I feel like to it is bordering on too short (which is a common issue I have with the vintage reproductions from Simplicity).


I also added sleeve heads which helps the garment look more tailored on my sloped shoulders.


The style is a little out of my comfort zone, but I ended up really liking the result.  There may even be more 1960s designs in my future . . .



Dress:  Made by me, Simplicity 1997
Shoes:  Liz Claiborne
Earrings:  Made by me

Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Patterns from McCall & Simplicity

McCalls and Simplicity Patterns have released their latest collections, including a few designs that I may have to add to my collection.  Or perhaps I should get to work on the stacks of patterns I wanted to make last summer . . . but there are never enough hours in the day!

McCalls 7190

This late 1940s/early 1950s silhouette has always looked slightly awkward to me - too long for a peplum, but too short for a dress (although many current designers would probably disagree with me on that).  It is one of those transitional designs that feels slightly off.     

McCalls 7190

I feel the same way about 1830s and 1890s dresses - they are about to become something fabulous, but the proportions are a bit ungainly for the moment.  Simplicity has a pattern in a similar style which I own.  I pull it out every once in a while, but always end up putting it back. 

McCalls 7190

I also think that this style has a tendency to shorten the body.  This particular pattern does have some nice details, though - the top-stitching and neckline may be enough to tempt me to try it out.

McCalls 7190

When I see it styled with those pants (not included with the pattern – that was naughty, McCalls), I am reminded of I Love Lucy, so perhaps the look will grow on me.

McCalls 7184

The other Archive Collection pattern is this blouse and jumper outfit for children and adults which happens to look incredibly similar to Simplicity 1075.   

McCalls 7184

I love the blouse, but am not sure what to think of the jumper.  This looks to me like a teen pattern from the 1950s . . . except for the addition of the tiny version.  Maybe this was designed for sisters instead of mother and daughter?

McCalls 7187 is a contemporary design, but has a 1960s mod feel to it with definite possibilities.

McCalls 7187

And I do love something about this wrap dress - possibly because it reminds me of a simplified version of a Donna Karan design.  But that front slit could prove to be problematic.  The full-skirted version is pretty cute, too.

McCalls 7185

These Jiffy patterns must be popular for Simplicity, because they continue to be released . . . but you probably know where I am going with this . . . I want complicated, not simple two piece garments.


Laura Nash has a new line for Simplicity with a vintage feel.  I do like a dropped-waist, so this one may end up coming home with me.  I wish the same could be said about those red shoes!


So, nothing earth shattering, in my opinion, but a few nice additions to the catalogs.  What do you think?

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Most Comfortable Corset Ever


Okay, so it’s not really a corset – it’s an Alabama Chanin Corset Top.


It does have some lovely princess seams that mimic a corset and give some nice shaping to a garment that wears like a t-shirt.  And that is a pretty cool trick!


I had the idea of making a second top to wear with my Alabama Chanin skirt before I started dying cotton jersey.  I was generous with my yardage cuts before I threw the white cotton into the dye bath, and thankfully, there was enough to cut out a corset top from the Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns book along with my Shawl Collar Coat.


All this hand stitching is definitely addictive!  I just can’t seem to stop myself!!


And now I have my own hand stitched mini wardrobe.


Although I have to admit that after finishing the top, I had a moment where I thought I had made a huge mistake layering the green over the blue.


I made a swatch and liked it paired back with the skirt when it was tacked to my dressform.  But it can be difficult to envision what the finished garment will actually look like from a small swatch.


Now that I have worn the top and skirt together, I really love the color reversal.  And I will admit that I have already started another hand appliqu├ęd piece!



Top:  Made by me, Alabama Chanin Corset Top
Skirt:  Made by me, Alabama Chanin Mid Length Skirt
Necklace:  Made by me
Shoes:  Jennifer Moore

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Solid Colors


I have an aversion to working with solid colored fabrics.  They always seem so boring sitting there next to the gorgeous prints.  I can get behind a solid color that is textured, but in my experience, those are very difficult to come by.


But a solid colored separate can certainly come in handy.  And in reality, this linen/rayon blend has more texture than most solids.


So I decided it was time to get over myself and add a plain red skirt to my wardrobe.


I used one of my favorite skirt patterns (Butterick 4792, which is actually a dress).  I added six inches to the hem this time around.  This pattern is certainly a fabric hog (especially with the added length).  If there was any question, just look at the width of that hem!


I added a shaped waistband with a few pieces of boning to help keep its shape.  Unfortunately, the waistband ended up too loose - the weight of more than four yards of linen fabric is heavy!


Which means I am going to have to do a little surgery.  And the only thing I really hate about the sewing process is re-working a finished garment.  Ggrrrr.


But in this case, I am hoping it will be worth the extra effort.



Blouse:  Made by me, Simplicity 4047
Skirt:  Made by me, Butterick 4792
Shoes:  Miss L Fire "Bel-Aire"
Earrings:  Vintage

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sewing Friends are the Greatest!


Not too long ago, I pinned this image of a lovely vintage suit pattern (aren't Advance Import Designs awesome!?!).  Soon after, Peter mentioned that he happened to have a copy of the pattern, and would I like to borrow it?


Why yes, I certainly would!!


So not only is the pattern here via New York City, so is my fabric.  Last summer I picked up this textured cotton at Paron Fabrics during Male Pattern Boldness Day with no real idea of what I would do with it.  Who could have known that it was destined to be this 1960s suit - all thanks to Mr. Male Pattern Boldness himself!


This is going to be my next big project.  I am ready to jump into something involved, and this is it.  "Mushroom collar" here I come!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Les Chapeaux


Every once in a while I give myself a challenge:  complete a project using items currently stashed away in the sewing room, no exceptions.  Looking at the amount of sewing stuff in that room, it should be easy.  And yet, there always seems to be something missing . . . the proper zipper, the right sized buttons, interfacing, etc.  But this time I was determined to find a project that would work.


I go through phases with my hair.  For years, I would incorporate a ribbon into my up-dos.  Then I went through a flower phase.  And a few years ago, I wore small hats and fascinators all the time.  A hat is an excellent way to use up smaller scraps of fabric, which made it an excellent candidate for my challenge.  


My time would probably be better spend cleaning up in the sewing room – but a new project is so much more interesting!  And I have been meaning to try this pattern for years.


So out came some leftover blue velvet (previously used to make a belt and another hat), green rayon satin from this dress, and white satin remnants from this blouse.


I was unable to find a sufficient amount of black cotton to underline the velvet, which explains the odd choice of red.  Because remember, there are no new purchases allowed for this project!


A roll of buckram was found, and the bead box was pulled out and rummaged through to find suitable wire for the rim.


The most irritating part of the project was working with the wire - I really need more practice with how to handle it.


There is a whole lot of hand sewing involved, some of which was enjoyable, some not quite as pleasant.  (Stitching through multiple layers of buckram, cotton, and velvet . . . not so much . . . but the rayon satin is heaven.)


The most wonderful part of the process, of course, is the decoration.  Which means I accomplished my goal - a new hat from old supplies!  And a reminder to pull out my hat boxes more often! 


Monday, June 1, 2015

Lounging Around


I am not sure I will ever fall completely in love with 1970s fashion, but there are some a few things I quite like - starting with the sleeves!  


And, of course, there are quite a few styles that draw directly from 1940s fashion, which are always fabulous.


Although, to be fair, I am not in love with each and every 1940s and 1950s design I have come across, so why am I so hard on the 1970s?  It probably has something to do with all that polyester.  Yuck!


Thankfully, my dress is made out of a rayon/linen blend, so there goes that objection.  


The fake ikat print also came in a turquoise colorway.  I adore the color turquoise, but something about the color and the print did not look quite right to me.  So I went with the purple!


I ended up shortening this dress by three inches.  As much as I love the idea of a full length, floor-grazing gown, they just are not very practical.  And this way, if I am feeling especially lazy, I can wear a pair of flats.


All in all, I am going to call this one a success.  The silhouette will never be my favorite, but it sure is comfortable!



Dress:  Made by me, Vogue 7630
Shoes:  Banana Republic