Thursday, April 26, 2012

More “New” Vintage Vogues – what is a girl to do?

Many of you are probably already aware of the new Summer 2012 Vogue Pattern offerings that were released yesterday.

Just when I thought I was hooked on true vintage patterns, in all their perforated glory, Vogue goes and creates more reproduction patterns (along with some lovely contemporary ones as well).

Someone is having quite a bit of fun with the vintage reproduction photo shoot styling, and it really is wonderful.  Please keep it up!

But I have been meaning to get to all of last year’s reproductions, and now I am going to need to make these up as well.  Does anyone know how to stretch a day into 36 hours or at least make sleep an antiquated notion?

Vogue 8811

My only complaint with this pattern would be that the super complicated and wonderful design extras are missing.  Without the plaid fabric, Vogue 8811 looks very familiar.  Although, the diagonal darts are a great feature.  I have come across them before and love the effect.

Vogue 8812

With the back button fastening, and gathered bust design, Vogue 8812 is heading in the right direction.  More details, please!

In theory, I love those two Lialia designs, but I am not sure if I would ever end up making or wearing something like that.  I guess that is how most people feel about vintage clothing!?

I could, however, get behind (or in) this dress.  What fabulous design lines!  I love it!

Vogue 8814

Claire Shaeffer also has a new Chanel-style jacket that is probably worth spending the money for the pattern sheets alone – couture construction, here I come!

Do you have any new favorites?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An Apple a Day, Part 2

While I was sewing this skirt, I had the perfect bright red button-up cardigan in mind, or so I thought . . .  I never actually pulled the sweater out of the drawer to compare the color with the apple print.  BIG mistake. 

The red was nothing like I remembered, and the color was much more orange than my apple print.  With my shoes it just did not work.  AARGH!

Well, after digging through all of my short-sleeved red sweaters (the pile was not very large – I think I need some new red sweaters), this is what I came up with.  And it actually works!    

Because the gingham lined scallops are not exactly visible as worn, I decided that an added skinny belt was necessary.

Overall, I am very pleased with this project.  And I believe I may keep that idea for a wool version in mind for when the cold weather returns.

And yes, there was twirling . . .

Skirt:  Made by me, Spadea 1149
Sweater:  Mervyns
Shoes:  Nine West
Earrings:  Macys
Ring:  Grandfather’s high school ring
Necklace:  Rafael Jewelers

An Apple a Day, Part 1

I knew that I was going to make a skirt version of my Ceil Chapman Gown at some point.  I had hoped to find the perfect light-weight wool (and perhaps I will at some point).  But since wool skirt weather has passed for the time being, I decided that a novelty cotton print would be a whole lot of fun, and not too expensive.

Take away the bodice, and this pattern is not very complicated – just a fabulous design by Ms. Ceil Chapman. 

However, you should be warned, if you do not have a large cutting space, run away from this pattern immediately.  One side of the skirt, alone, is too big for my cutting mat.  Ridiculous, right?!

When the Sew Weekly Circle Skirt Challenge came along, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.  Yes, this is not technically a circle skirt (it is actually more than a complete circle) and the scallops are an extra feature that adds something special, but it looks like one, right?!

When I found this apple print at, I was very pleased.  

And apples go wonderfully with gingham - but I was a bit concerned that I would not be able to find a suitable red and white cotton gingham.  It is a bit embarrassing to admit, but I found my fabric in one of my cotton stash drawers.  Yes, I admit, I have a problem – I had completely forgotten the existence of the remnant from an apron that was given as a gift.  Too much fabric have I!

But I did remember to clip my scallops!  Obviously, a concave curve requires that little triangular pieces get cut out, or the seam will not lay flat.  Something I often forget is that a convex curve also requires a bit of fabric removal, or that extra bit will cause irritating bumps to form when the outer edge has to fit inside a smaller curve.  Depending on fabric choice, it may not be a huge deal, or may cause endless frustration.  Funny how all those tedious fabric techniques really work wonders!

I must say that irons are truly the miracle sewing aid.  Just take a look at a before and after shot (and I now realize it does not quite have the same effect in a photo, but I promise in person, it looks 100% better).  People are always discussing what sewing accoutrement they cannot do without.  My desert island choice would have to be the iron, along with a working electrical outlet, and the sewing machine.  Without one, these scallops look sad.  After a quick press, they make me smile. 

I tried something a bit different with the waistband this time around.  The addition of some plastic boning placed vertically across the fabric really helps keep it from folding over throughout the day.  

To keep the sewn channels from showing through, and for a bit more added stability, I attached the boning to an extra layer of underlining.  That underlining was then basted to my fabric waistband, at which point I sewed the lining piece to the top edge and under-stitched.

So I finally found a use for that small package of plastic boning that I thought I would never use.  In small doses it really is bearable (and so much more washable than its steel counterpart).

Picnic perfect, don’t ya think?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Very First Hollywood Pattern, Part 2

I love pink!  I loved it as a child, and then went through a phase in which pink was no longer lovely.  I moved backward up the rainbow from purple, to blue, to green.  Not being a fan of yellow, well, I skipped over that one.  In high school, a friend was always talking about how happy her orange sweater made her, and in college, I decided that a pumpkin sweater was too fabulous to pass up (even if the color did nothing for my complexion).

These days, I would say my favorite colors are lavender and green.  But I am growing to love red (the grownup version of pink), so I have come full circle.

This week’s Sew Weekly Challenge was “Childhood Memories.”  Out came the boxes of photos.  I remember wearing a lot of pink, what I did not remember was all of the pants.

I do NOT miss the 1980s!  Très chic? Mais NON!    
As soon as I had my hands on the fabric and patterns I brought home from the Sew Weekly Swap, I decided I would have to make one of my “new” patterns using my “new” fabric.  It did not take long to pair the pink cotton with Hollywood 1719.

I was a little bit bummed about not having enough fabric to make myself a belt, however, once I put the dress on, it was clear that all that pink needed needed to be broken up.  I may be extremely girly, but I have no wish to look like I am wearing a five-year-old’s dress.

My scalloped platform pumps were a perfect match, and I decided to continue that brown accessory trend with my belt.

The daisy brooches did not look quite right on the dress, but I was determined to wear them, so I stuck them in my hair.  Okay, so wearing flowers in my hair screams five-year-old even more than the pink dress - don't judge me!

About halfway through the construction I was sure that the dress was not going to work (especially when those pockets were not behaving) but I am thrilled with the finished project.  Sometimes a stubborn streak can pay off.  And I am sure I will be getting a whole lot of wear out of this frock during the summer months!

Dress:  Made by me, Hollywood 1719
Shoes:  Colin Stuart for Victoria’s Secret
Brooches (worn in hair):  Monet
Belt:  Banana Republic
Earrings:  Kate Spade

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Very First Hollywood Pattern, Part 1

I am always coming across fantastic Hollywood Patterns online, and I finally got around to making my very own.  

Well, technically it is my second, as this Vintage Pattern Lending Library dress was originally a Hollywood Pattern.  But since I  was not dealing with the original pattern tissue, it doesn’t count.

This project will forever hold a special place in my heart.  Both the pattern AND the fabric came from last month’s Sew Weekly pattern swap!  In fact, both items are from Mena herself. 

So, instead of working on my taxes this weekend, I spent that time playing with fabric.  Priorities, people, priorities!

I love that someone left their notes on creating the three-quarter sleeve version of the dress in with the pattern.  So often I feel like writing on my patterns is somehow going to ruin or devalue them, but since I love finding notes on vintage patterns, I have started writing bits of information as I work on my projects.  I like to think that the person that uses them next will enjoy the extra personal touch.

The fabric is only 35” wide, so it must be rather old.  I like to think that the pattern and the fabric are from the 1940s, but I have no way to confirm that.

And guess what I have from my birthday thrifting expedition?  That’s right – two perfect pink buttons.  It is so rare to find a pattern that requires only two, and they are a fabulous match, as well! 

The waist stay guide and belt pattern pieces are missing.  Talk about good luck!  With vintage patterns, it is usually the most important piece that goes missing.  If you purchased the pattern for that fabulous scalloped bodice, that is what is bound to be missing.  But a belt (which I did not have enough fabric for, anyway) and a waist stay are so easy to duplicate, this feels like a complete pattern.

There were, however, a few snags along the way.

As is obvious from the pattern envelope, the skirt pieces are cut on the bias.  However, the pockets are cut on the straight of grain.  

It felt strange to me, but I figured the pattern drafters must have known something that I do not, so I went ahead as directed.  Well, it may have something to do with my cotton, but those pockets are a huge mess.  They stick out at odd angles (no surprise, really, when the bias skirt pieces are fighting against squared off pieces) and not in a good way.  It just looked awful.  Why, why, why?  I went to the extra trouble of sewing the darn things in, and they let me down.  Well, I was not feeling up to ripping all that work apart, so I just closed the pockets with some hand stitches.  Take that, you poorly drafted rectangles!

The moral of the story: trust your intuition.  Perhaps a rayon with a lot of drape would work differently, but I have a feeling those darn pockets would still stick out.

The pattern gives a couple of options, but I decided to go with my favorite bound buttonholes.

And, a momentous occasion transpired while finishing this dress.  I have run through my first complete spool of Hug Snug.  

That’s right – I used all but 16” of a 100 yard spool.  Pretty exciting if you are a seam binding nut like myself.  Or perhaps it is a sign that I need to take it back a notch on my obsessive finishing. 

Raw edge alert – bring out the binding!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cotton and Silk Afternoon Dress

Here is my latest finished project.  The description states that it is an “afternoon dress,” but I love it so much I think it deserves to be worn all day long!  Does anyone "dress for dinner" anymore?  

Thank you, again, Adey for the amazing pattern.  They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.  All of the extra special details make me realize that my love affair with vintage clothing is here to stay (but I bet you already knew that).

This project was originally part of a Sew Weekly challenge for VIP fabric.  Well, time got away from me, along with my motivation to finish the dress, and I missed the deadline by a mile.

While I was sewing this beautiful fabric, my mind kept flashing on the view I have as I drive home from work every day.  At sunset, the hills in Marin County turn this very color.  

The green floral jacquard pattern even mimics the green trees that spot the hills.

And guess what this week’s challenge is?  City Inspiration.  Well, now, that is just perfect!  How wonderful is it when everything comes together like that!?

I added a sleeve head made of cotton quilting batting to help keep the sleeves from looking droopy.  I generally use shoulder pads in my vintage dresses, but I think that the small rectangular strips work very well with this light weight fabric.

Looking at the photos, it looks like I need to add a snap to the end of that belt flap, but that’s an easy fix.

Overall, I have to say I am pleased that I saved this incredible fabric for this brilliant pattern!

Dress:  Made by me, Simplicity 3448
Shoes:  Colin Stuart for Victoria’s Secret
Earrings:  Gift