Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 – A Year in Review

Last December blogging was rather new to me, so a year-end review seemed a bit silly.  But this year I have added quite a few self-made garments to the closet, so I thought it would be fun to take a look back.

First,  I want to thank Mena of The Sew Weekly for allowing so many of us to tag along this year as contributors.  While I did not complete a garment every week, I did finish quite a few projects for the themed challenges.  I believe my final count was thirty new projects.  I have to take my hat off to the handful of ladies that completed a new project each and every week.  Yikes!  That is commitment!

Row 2:  Rose Print; Tapestry; Macaroon Medley; Lilac Silk
Row 4:  Checkered SilkFloral; Blue Roses; Hollyburn

My main objective for the year was to make more separates, and I succeeded.  I love my dresses and will always want to make more, but skirts and blouses are so much more practical.

Most of October was spent working on my Gala Gown, which distracted me from some of those fun challenges - but it was worth it in the end!

Row 3:  I Love Lucy; Bubblegum Pink

While compiling all of these pictures, a clear trend emerges - most of my projects fall into two categories:  vintage patterns, and vintage reproductions.  Perhaps I should stop purchasing all of those contemporary Vogue patterns!?

Row 3:  Carmen Miranda;  Birthday Frock; Anti-Valentine

I did make my mom a blouse, so I am not a completely selfish sewer.

And there was Tino’s Mad Hatter costume.  But I have neglected his wardrobe dreadfully this year - he is in desperate need of a new sweater, so that is on the to-do list.

I also had the opportunity to test two new patterns for Sewaholic Patterns which was fabulous!

Row 2:  Hollyburn; Cambie

There were a few other contemporary patterns used, although one has serious vintage influences, and the others might be hard to pick out as modern.  All I can say is, I know what I like!

I also managed to finish four sweaters this year, one of which I have yet to wear.  I really must stop making separates that do not match back to anything in my closet!

There you have it – a very busy year, indeed.

My sincere thanks to everyone for reading along and all of your lovely comments and support!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays!

This is what I will be wearing this Christmas - although I am not sure how comfortable it will be to wear evergreen branches, not to mention a bodice of bark!

On second thought, I think I will stick with velvet . . .

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ideas for Holiday Giving

It is perhaps a bit late for starting any last minute Christmas projects, but just for fun, here are some suggestions from 1950.

Those polka dot pajamas are too cute. 

My favorite, though, is the “dainty blouse that requires just one yard of fabric.”  How many of you have a single yard of fabric that is looking for a project?

Hope everyone is having a restful and happy holiday!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Carmen Miranda’s Favorite Fruit Salad

This is one of those online fabric purchases that looked nothing like what I expected, so it sat in a drawer for a bit.  Does this look like “brown fruit print challis”? – yeah, that’s what I thought.  Brown is perhaps the only color that is not present.

And then I remembered that I wanted to make the peplum version of this dress.

One fun part of using a pattern I have already worked with is that most of the preliminary work has already been done!  And, of course, I know what to expect.

To break up some of the crazy colors, I added grosgrain ribbon.   

My first thought was to layer a yellow ribbon over the purple, but I decided that was too cheerleader uniform. 

I was also going to add two grosgrain bows to the neckline corners.  The neckline treatment is so unique that I did not want to duplicate it, seeing as I already have a version in blue.  But the two bows looked too cutesy, so I decided to settle for one.  Hopefully the peplum and fabric choice helps to differentiate it from my other dress!

While I was over at mom’s getting pictures taken, her neighbor said I needed a Carmen Miranda hat to top off the outfit – and I absolutely agree.  How did I miss that?!

I know some people will be horrified, but the peplum is detachable!

And here is the dress without the peplum.  I think I will save a length of purple ribbon to tie in a bow for those days when I choose to leave the peplum at home.  

Or perhaps it could be a day to evening transition piece? – Peter must be rolling his eyes at my inability to make a decision and stick with it!  To peplum or not to peplum, that is the question!

Dress:  Made by me, Hollywood 1449 via VPLL
Jacket:  Banana Republic
Shoes:  Alfani
Earrings:  Liz Palacios

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

BurdaStyle & Britex – The Perfect Creative Combo

Another year, another BurdaStyle fête . . .

The amount of people traveling from store to store was overwhelming yesterday evening, but Union Square really did look lovely with all of the faerie lights.  My camera does not do them justice, but the trees looked as though they were dripping with diamonds.

And there, right outside Britex, was a line of sewing enthusiasts – my kind of people!  Inside were goodie bags and champagne and sugary sweets for all to enjoy! 

And then there was the fabric.  I dream of someday cavorting through a couture atelier and running my fingers over the rolls of sumptuous fabric.  Until then, Britex will do.  Silk and wool galore!

There were not very many familiar faces, but Meg (my sewing party buddy) was there.  We always manage to end up at the same events - this time we were even wearing matching outfits!  And it was wonderful to meet so many new creative people.

The evening, of course, was all about the new book, Sewing Vintage Modern and its author, Jamie Lau!  And the lovely lady knew my name and the name of this little blog – AAHHH!  How exciting is that!?

Thank you to Britex for hosting this fabulous event and BurdaStyle for another wonderful book launch!  I look forward to the next!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hollyburn Skirt Construction

This is a bit backward, since I already showed you the finished product, but I thought you might be interested in my alterations to the Hollyburn Skirt.

I chose View B, which was the perfect length – not too short, not too long, just perfect for me and Goldilocks.  The great thing about the pattern is that if my idea of the perfect length changes, there are other options included for my next skirt!

My first  thought was to use a striped fabric cut on the bias to create a chevron pattern – and I think that this would be a great look for the skirt.  However, I was unable to find a striped fabric that was winter weight on short notice.  What I found was this upholstery fabric that has chenille threads running through it, creating a squared dot on one side and broken lines on the other.

I decided to go ahead and cut the pattern on the bias, not only to play with the pattern, but also to help give this very heavy weight fabric a chance to drape if it wanted to.

I ended up taking some fullness out of the front seam because, even with the bias cut pieces, there was going to be too much excess for an upholstery weight fabric.

And I also added a lining.  My fabric is definitely winter weight, so tights are a must.  To avoid any static cling, a layer of lining was necessary.

Because of those adorable pockets, the front pieces will need to be redrawn or your lining will have two significant chunks missing.   Simply fold the pocket as directed and pin the folded tissue to the upper side and top edge of the skirt front.  

Now you have a clean diagonal line to cut.  Stitch the front, side, and back seams, leaving the length of your zipper unstitched along the upper back seam.

Drop the lining inside of the skirt and baste along the waistline.  The opening gets handstitched in place along the zipper.

Those tabs were a bear to turn right-side out with my thick fabric.  But I was determined, mostly because I wanted to add buttons.

Sewaholic fans now have another wardrobe option with so many different possibilities.  I cannot wait to see what Tasia comes up with next!

Pattern Testing: The Hollyburn Skirt

I was one of the lucky pattern testers for Tasia’s new Hollyburn Skirt.

This particular pattern is being advertised as suitable for beginners.  And I completely agree.

The only important measurement to worry about is the waist.  Once you have that, you should be good to go.  And unlike many easy/beginner patterns, this is not going to look like a sack!

I am a huge proponent of jumping right into sewing for any newbie.  So grab some fabric, a zipper, perhaps a button or two, and go to it.  No fear, people!

This pattern is also incredibly versatile.  Tasia has included a tab and button option, belt loops, and different length options.  I love the pockets on this skirt!  Although it is hard to tell with my hands in the pockets, I used the wrong side of the fabric for a bit of contrast.  I can’t wait to see all of the versions people come up with.  The options really are endless.

Be sure to head on over to Sewaholic Patterns for a last minute holiday gift for someone who loves to sew and/or yourself!

Skirt:  Made by me, Sewaholic's Hollyburn Skirt
Sweater:  Colin Stuart for Victoria's Secret
Shoes:  Colin Stuart for Victoria's Secret
Brooch:  Grandmother's
Earrings:  Kate Spade

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Red Velvet, The Reveal

Here is my new red velvet cocktail dress!

This is what a vampire would look like in the daylight.  My goodness – I am so pasty I glow.

My mom found this Persian lamb (it’s synthetic) jacket that was a massive mess.  One sleeve lining was completely detached – thankfully someone thought to safety-pin the lining to the jacket so they were not separated.  The other was half ripped out.  The pockets were pulled apart, and some of the side seam was even ripped open.  What the heck?!  She wanted me to fix it, but I really do hate mending of any kind.  It is ridiculous, but when a store-bought garment button falls off (and let's face it - they ALWAYS do), it takes months, sometimes years for me to stitch it back into place.

It still is not perfect – I actually found another ripped seam at the back of one of the sleeves after I left for the day – whoops!  But it was not very noticeable since the lining is also black.  Thank goodness for small favors.

But I do want to say that whoever decided to massacre the insides of this garment should be very ashamed of themselves.  I guess it could have ended up in Goodwill’s garbage, so it could be worse.  There is still some work to be done, but I have lost the motivation for the time being.

Creation is fun – mending, not so much.  Am I the only one who feels this way?

And I forgot to mention that I added a back vent to the skirt (although I will bet that some of you that are familiar with this pattern already noticed the alteration in my post discussing the skirt construction) – those simple slits always make me paranoid that I am going to show more than I want to.  

Have you ever seen someone wearing a pencil skirt that does not realize that back slit ripped open during the day?  I do not wish to be one of those people.

By the way – that silk organza added to the back skirt pieces seems to have done the job – no baggy bottom at the end of the day!  Or perhaps the velvet is simply more stable than a woven wool  . . . I may never know.

Now I just need to add a couple of ribbon hangers to hang the dress properly.

It sure is nice to have a back seam zipper on this dress – it is so easy to slip in and out of!  Thank you Gertie!

Not too shabby for some leftover yardage and an unfinished dress that was beginning to look like something the 1980s would have rejected!

Dress:  Made by me, Butterick 5814 (sleeves c/o Simplicity 9025)
Coat:  Vintage, borrowed from mom (if I have to mend it, I get to wear it)
Hat:  Made by me
Brooch & Earrings:  Grandmother’s
Shoes:  Nina