Thursday, January 31, 2013

Extremely Exciting News!

I am beyond thrilled to announce that I am a Guest Blogger for Britex Fabrics!

At the recent BurdaStyle book launch, I was approached and asked if I would be interested in creating a tutorial for their website.  Would I?!?!

Little did I know that a month later I would be offered the esteemed title of Guest Blogger!  What does this mean?  My tutorials/projects are sponsored in exchange for my blog contributions.  Amazing, right?

The sewing room is currently housing bits and pieces of my first project.  My first post will not be completed for another month or so, but I just could not wait to share my good news!

Why was I chosen?  I have absolutely no idea.  I can only hypothesize that the loud and obnoxious dress worn to the book signing had something to do with it.  But whatever the reason, I am ever so grateful.

Thank you, Britex, for the incredible opportunity!  And make sure to check out the other Britex Guest Bloggers and the Britex Blog!  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

More Vintage Vogue

Thank you for everyone’s kind comments on my Vintage Vogue obsession - it is reassuring to know that I am not the only one!  Brandy mentioned that the lucky owner of the original Vogue 8875 used to generate the latest reproduction just posted a giveaway over on her blog.

And then there is Pattern Junkie’s post including the email address to contact Vogue with our own vintage patterns.  I will re-post the information here:  email an image of the pattern envelope to (mailbox [at] voguepatterns [dot] com) with 'Vintage Vogue Search' in the subject line.  You can also mail a hard copy of the image to Vogue at Vintage Vogue Search, Vogue Patterns Magazine, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.  If the design is chosen, they will ask you to send the pattern to them.  You will be credited on the envelope and get your original pattern back, plus 5 free Vogue patterns of your choice!  

That is incentive enough for me!  [Evidently designer patterns are excluded, but I am not seeing any specific designer represented on any of these patterns, although they look absolutely yummy!]

I say we bombard Vogue with our finest vintage patterns.  This weekend I plan on searching through my stash.  Unfortunately, I do not own any of the beautiful specimens I have included here.  But someone must!  

Part of the problem, and one of the reasons I live for the reproduction patterns, is that cost often precludes me from purchasing the insanely amazing patterns.  Rebecca brings up an excellent point – why can’t Vogue purchase the patterns to add to their vault?  Hundreds of dollars for a single pattern is not workable for me, but I cannot imagine it would hurt Vogue's yearly budget.  Or perhaps they could re-release print versions of the catalogues that they have archived?  How about an online archive - how fabulous would that be!?

I suppose that one excuse is that there is a limited audience for the Vintage Vogue series.  But looking at some of the recent (and rather kooky) contemporary designer patterns, I have a hard time believing that more than a handful of those particular designs are actually sold, either.

And what about Butterick?  Both Vogue and Butterick are owned by the same corporation, correct?  I say we send some of those as well. 

Vintage pattern owners of the world, unite!  Pass along the news, and let Vogue know how grateful we are for the Vintage Vogue line, and that we would appreciate more complex and beautiful designs!  

[Click on image for source]

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vintage Vogue

So, the new Vogue patterns are out.  There are a few designs that are tempting, and there are two vintage reproductions.  But, once again, I am disappointed.

Vogue 8875

Since joining Pinterest, I am continually amazed by the wealth of beautiful vintage patterns that flash across my screen every day.  They have incredible detailing and are so much more beautiful to me than any modern design.  Why are they not reproducing those patterns?!  It is downright cruel.

Vogue 8875

The Vogue 8875 coat is lovely, but the dress is rather banal.  There is nothing actually wrong with the design, but it might as well be a modern day sheath.

Vogue 8874

The bodice details on Vogue 8874 are somewhat interesting, and to be honest, I am sure I will pick it up when Vogue patterns go on sale at my local JoAnn Fabrics.  With the gloves and the chosen print, it looks very Audrey Hepburn.  But it certainly does not take my breath away.

This, on the other hand . . .  

How fabulous are these patterns!?!

Am I being too picky?  Does anyone know why these intricate and exquisite designs are passed over?  I know I sound like a broken record, but I keep hoping that someone in charge of things over at McCalls will hear me!

Pretty please, Vogue, hear my plea and start reproducing the incredibly amazing patterns, not just the standard silhouettes.   And that goes for the Butterick line, too!  

But do you know what I really want as a late Christmas present?  Someone to reproduce the Spadea and Modes Royale line of patterns from the 1950s.  Because boy, oh, boy I wish they would reproduce some of those beauties!!

Which vintage design that you have come across is your favorite?

For the moment I will settle for these.  Hint, hint . . .

[Click on pictures for source]

Monday, January 28, 2013

Yummy Leftovers

There is something wonderful about creating a new garment from leftover fabric pieces.

This quilting cotton has had a few different incarnations.  It was a gifted apron, a vintage reproduction dress, and now a lovely little skirt.  I am not sure that there is enough remaining to manage one more project, but I am going to hang onto the bits just in case - I believe that four items from one length of yardage would be a record for me.

This pattern was originally chosen for last year’s Sew Weekly craziness.  I cut it out along with this skirt some weekend last year, but never got any further than cutting and gathering the needed notions.

As a rather cathartic start to the New Year, I am trying to clean up the sewing room.  And that includes finishing some of those unfinished projects!

I love the welt pockets.  This time around, I did not make much use of them as a design feature, but that is definitely a possibility if I make this up again.

Sweater:  Free People
Skirt:  Made by me, BurdaStyle 7252
Shoes:  Nine West
Brooch:  Vintage
Fishnets:  Simply Vera

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Retro Burda

A couple of months ago I noticed that BurdaStyle patterns were in the JoAnn Fabrics sales flyer.  I found this rather strange, as I had never seen any BurdaStyle patterns in the store.  Well, where the heck have I been?!  While there is only a single pattern drawer devoted to the brand at my local store, there they were.

Not only that, they have a few vintage reproductions!

Since this means that I can avoid the irritation of printing and taping massive amounts of paper together, I am completely on board!

I cut out the fabric for this particular skirt back in September and am just now getting around to making it up.

The directions are quite different than any other contemporary pattern I have come across, but I think that the design is worth the extra translation that was necessary!

I am looking forward to making up another!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sticks & Stones . . .

I have long suspected that words used to describe my wardrobe would have to include "matronly," "prudish," "old-fashioned," and "proper," and this image is merely confirmation of that fact.

While "old-fashioned" and "proper" are positive words, in my opinion, I am not sure that anything remotely complimentary is to be found in "prudish" or "matronly."  What exactly makes anything that covers the bum considered old and unattractive?  I prefer "classic," "tailored," and "classy" - although many would consider them antiquated styles to be avoided at all cost.

Does this look matronly?!

In actuality, the older I get, the shorter my skirt lengths become.  My Pre-Raphaelite & Victorian obsessions in high school meant that anything showing my ankles was verboten.  And my current love of 1940s and 50s fashion means that tea length and knee length are staples in my wardrobe.

I rarely make or purchase anything more than one or two inches above the knee, and if I do, you can be sure that a pair or tights or stockings will be making an appearance.

That being said, I am thankful for having the choice to wear whatever I choose, even if it does mean I am perceived as an old lady!

Friday, January 25, 2013

One More Try . . .

Because I have been unsuccessful contacting the winner of the Sewaholic Pattern Giveaway, I decided to go ahead and try again.  My first thought was to greedily keep the pattern.  After all, who would know?!  But that would just be wrong . . .

Congratulations, Aileen!  Please contact me [lauramae.p.s [at] gmail [dot] com] with your color choice of Hug Snug so I can get your new goodies out to you!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lavender and Mint

So far this year I am being a good little seamstress and using what I already have on hand.  (Excepting the thread and zipper that I needed to complete the project - but those bits don't really count, do they?)

This mint fabric is something I thought I would never use.  I purchased it years and years ago from the flat fold upholstery remnant table at JoAnn Fabrics.  It is made of, you guessed it, polyester or a poly-cotton blend!  The horror!!

I believe it is trying its best to imitate a watered silk (although the moiré pattern is hard to see in these pictures).  The color is lovely, but the heavy material never seemed to suit any particular project . . . until now!

I picked the pattern up on ebay in a lot of three Butterick Retro reproductions that I missed out on when they were initially published.  When Butterick 6699 arrived, I will admit I was disappointed.  From the pattern illustration I assumed this was a dress pattern.

But after my initial regret, I realized that this is a really great skirt pattern.  It does, however, use a ton of fabric - especially if your fabric is directional - and let’s be honest, most of them are.  I really could not tell with this particular fabric, but because of the sheen, and because I had the yardage, I decided to play it safe.

It is a very easy and basic pattern – the only alteration I made was to move the zipper from the side to the center back seam.

And when I find the right fabric, I believe I may have to make another!

Sweater:  Made by me, "Elise"
Skirt:  Made by me, Butterick 6699
Coat:  Victoria’s Secret
Shoes:  Nine West

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What a Difference a Few Dollars Can Make

As I was in the sewing room this weekend, I was reminded of the fact that a simple upgrade to a basic sewing tool can make all the difference.

As years go by, I have come to the conclusion that buying quality is more important to me than buying quantity.  Gone are the days of grabbing up as much cheap sale fabric as I can get my hands on.  The frustration that comes from working with poor quality is not for me.  So I am going to work with the best that I can afford.

Another one bites the dust . . .

What, you may ask, brought all this on?  Well, in the past year I have gone through three, yes three, tracing wheels.  Not only were they inexpensive, they were cheap.  The thing is, I had the first one for almost ten years without issue.  The second one died in a little more than one month, and the third lasted an equally pathetic amount of time.  Did the quality of the same blue plastic tool from the same company change significantly in the past ten years?  Could I be that much harder on things these days?  Well, after the third one broke apart in my hands, I went to my local fabric store with a huge chip on my shoulder.  And wouldn't you know - the notions wall was not currently on sale – there goes another few wasted dollars.

But before I had a need to rip open the package, I made a purchase from Vogue Fabrics and decided to see what they had in stock before I completed my transaction.  And there was the solution.

My savior!

Yes, I could buy a few more of the plastic version for the price, but I believe this will last a lifetime (I hope!), and at the rate I have been going through the plastic junk, I believe this was money well spent!

Have you had any good/bad experiences with less than stellar quality notions?  Are you willing to spend two or three times as much for something that is truly of better quality?  And is there a way to tell the difference between inexpensive and cheap before purchasing an item?  

Friday, January 18, 2013

My Little Blog is Growing Up

I have been meaning to do this for quite some time, and yesterday I took the plunge - my new domain name is  Lilacs & Lace will remain the name of this blog, but I thought it was time to grow up and get a .com.

When I started this adventure, I did not spend a massive amount of time finding a name because I wanted to start blogging!  Did you know that "Lilacs & Lace" is a thoroughbred horse?!  Now that is a name that instills fear - the equine that stops to smell the roses (and lilacs) and like to wear lace! 
Everything seems to be re-directing properly, so the old address will still get you where you need to go, but the proper address is now!

Please let me know if you encounter any technical problems.  Thanks!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Knitting: The Perfect Cold Weather Activity

While I have not managed to finish anything this year (what a slacker!) I have been catching up on my knitting - which is fitting, considering the chilly weather.  A Chihuahua on the lap, a cup of tea, and knitting needles in hand is the perfect way to stay cozy.

I love KnitPicks Cyber Monday sale.  And this year I stocked up!  So my needles have been busy.

The green sweater is almost complete, there is just the pesky button issue to resolve, and a bit of finishing.

But for now, I would rather be knitting and purling, so I am working on the second sleeve of another unfinished project.

When sewing I have very little trouble sticking with one project, but knitting takes too long not to switch it up every once in while!