Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Something Stunning from The Archive

McCalls 7154

The McCall Archive Collection has released two wonderful 1930s designs – a gorgeous gown worthy of Jean Harlow, and a lovely day dress.

McCalls 7154

Just look at this pattern with its cutouts, hip yoke, and bodice overlay!  Beautiful, complicated construction - this lovely lady has some depth of character!  

McCalls 7154

Both of these dresses have some pretty fabulous style lines.

McCalls 7153

I love a 1950s frock, but at a certain point, I need a palate cleanser.  And I believe these fit the bill!  

McCalls 7153

My only real complaint is that there is not a fabulous sleeve included with one of the designs.  There are so many arm covering variations during this period that I would love to try.  Who else wants one of these sleeve patterns reproduced?  Or how about a hat pattern (although they must not be very popular since they go out of print rather quickly)?

Maybe next season . . .

And should I feel the need for something with a 1950s flair, there are always options.  This top, for instance, looks very Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina to me.

McCalls 7162

And I don’t think I will ever get tired of a classic halter, fitted waist dress, no matter how many options I already have in my pattern stash.

McCalls 7157

But I love having some other new and exciting options to try!  Who wants to play dress up in that gown!?

Sunday, April 19, 2015


My Alabama Chanin adventures have come to an end . . . at least for the moment.

On its first outing, this combination received a couple of comments from strangers who liked my “suit.”  That was not my original intent, but I think that may just be what I have created.

An appliquéd suit!  And I think it works. 

I am actually a bit sad that there is no more work to be done on this project.  Although, I did find a tiny section of stitching missing on one of the peplum seams as I was putting it on.  Whoops!  Not that anyone would have noticed, but I am glad I caught the "mistake" before I headed out for the day!

And since I have a bit of leftover fabric, I think I will make myself another matching top to pair back with the skirt.

Perhaps something a bit more suited to the summer weather.

I have to admit that I do miss the hand work, so there will probably be another Alabama Chanin project in my future - if not with this stenciled pattern, then another.

Perhaps I should pull out one of those Vogue designs meant for knits that I have been avoiding for so long . . .

Jacket:  Made by me, BurdaStyle Shawl Collar Coat
Skirt:  Made by me, Alabama Chanin 
Shoes:  Vince Camuto
Earrings:  Antique
Necklace:  Judith Jack

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A New Challenge

This is the second pair of pants I have ever made (here is the first).  

Well, I take that back . . . I made a few pairs of bloomers many years ago which count as bifurcated garments, I suppose.

Ridiculous, right?  Or maybe not . . . I have a pair of jeans somewhere, but I have not worn them in many, many years.  And they did not get a whole lot of wear, even back then.  So why spend my precious sewing time making something I will never wear?

Well, I have finally figured out one of the reasons I dislike wearing pants.  Off the rack trousers are rarely comfortable.  I hate waistbands that dig into my hips.  And I am quite confident I am not the only female who has extra squishy bits several inches below my waistband . . . google "muffin top" if you have any doubts.  On second thought, don't . . . it isn't a pretty sight.  Why, why, why is this considered an appropriate fit, and why is it impossible to find a pair of pants that sits at the waist??!  

But there is another issue . . . not only do I have a long torso from under-bust to waist, but my waist to hip measurement is also longer than the standard.  It took a few years of sewing straight skirts to realize I needed to add some length to the top of the skirt pieces in order to get the hip curve to sit in the proper place for my figure.

This alteration is also necessary (perhaps even more so) for a pair of pants.

And because I have been tempted each time I see a new version of Wearing History's Smooth Sailing Trousers, I thought it was time to make myself another pair of pants.  

In a continuing fight with PDF patterns, I managed to mess up my first try, not realizing that the paper had been overlapped too much until I was trying my first muslin on.

So I started over . . . and while I was at it, added one inch of extra length by slashing through the hip area.  After consulting a couple of fitting resources, I also added to the crotch length by extending the interior seamline.  I would not have come up with that alteration on my own - hooray for learning new things!

I pinked the seams and added a lining.

And here is another reason I finally got around to making myself a pair of pants . . . an excuse to wear these shoes!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

In Vogue for the Summer

The new summer Vogues have been released.  Part of me wants to find many gorgeous new patterns, another part almost hopes that there is nothing exciting to tempt me and/or distract me from the fifty other projects I have lined up in my head.  But it would seem that they are continuing to release more interesting/complicated designs . . . and you know what that means.

Vogue 9105

There are two new vintage reproductions.

Vogue 9105

Vogue 9105 has a lovely diagonal front opening that closes with buttons.  This is certainly not my favorite version of the asymmetrical button opening, but I can live with it.  It reminds me of Vintage Vogue 1043 (now out of print) which I love and keep meaning to make myself a second version.

Vogue 9105

This new offering features “skirt stiffening” in the form of muslin.  I am curious to see what exactly is going on with that!  I have never heard of muslin being used as a “stiffening” material, although I have seen first-hand examples of Pellon being used as an underlining in vintage dresses.  I am also intrigued to see if the left front hooks into a side seam, and if the entire buttoned edge opens.  All that I know is the lack of a waist seam means this one hogs fabric like crazy (6 yards are required for 45” wide fabric – yikes!).  But I definitely want to peek inside this particular pattern envelope.

Vogue 9105

I am really excited about Vogue 9106.  The skirt tiers are unlike any pattern I have in my stash, and I think this one is a winner!  Thank you, Lisa of "As I Said", for sending your pattern to Vogue!

Vogue 9106

This beauty is described as a "pullover dress" - say what?!  But wait, it has a side zipper . . . that makes more sense.  And isn't every dress a "pullover"?  Maybe they are clarifying that you cannot "step into" this one because it only unbuttons to the waist?  "Curiouser and curiouser!"

Vogue 9106

My only complaint is that both of these reproductions have a very similar feel and copyright date, which seems to be a trend in the Vintage Vogue line, now that I think about it.  

Vogue 9106

How about a little variation, and not two full-skirted, short-sleeved dresses in the same catalog?  And why did they start cramming the vintage reproductions in the smaller sized envelopes a few years ago?  I miss all of the extra space!

Vogue 9106

I also find myself strangely drawn to Vogue 1451 – or maybe not so strange considering my love of so many of Donna Karan’s designs.  I am very tempted to make this up and test my theory that everything I put on ends up looking old-fashioned!  I can't see it happening wearing a design like this, but who knows?!

Vogue 1451

Vogue 1447, a Tracy Reese design, also has some wonderful seaming that I might be inclined to try.

Vogue 1447

This one I am quite sure I would make look vintage.  The line drawing has a bit of a 1930s feel to me. 

Vogue 1447

And it may have something to do with the fabulous graphic print, but I love this Easy Options design.  

Vogue 9103

The back seaming is gorgeous.

Vogue 9103

I have been so good lately about working with stashed items, but I feel a pattern binge coming on . . .

Will any of the new Vogue offerings tempt you? 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Fields of Poppies

Last week's weather was perfect for cotton summer dresses.  And I had just the thing to wear - my new poppy print dress!

The bodice came out a bit roomier than I was expecting (the pattern envelope should have been my first clue).  But it is quite comfortable to wear, so I am going to leave it as-is.

The elastic pieces in the sleeves and the waist-stay make the dress stay in place which is the most important thing!  There is always a fine line for off-the-shoulder dresses . . . too tight at the neckline and you can't move your arms, too loose and the thing falls down to your waist.

I left the pleats soft, instead of ironing them down the entire length of the skirt as the pattern suggests, which I felt would be too severe for this print.

And yes, the design includes pockets, which is probably a huge selling point for many people.  

They are wonderful for taking photos, but other than that, I rarely find a use for them in lightweight frocks.  Anything of significant weight placed in the pocket is going to pull the skirt out of shape, which is not a good look.

If I make this dress again, I would eliminate them to save on fabric.  I have been wearing dresses for many, many years now, and should know that I will never end up using dress pockets.  Or maybe I should stop carrying so much stuff around so they would actually be useful!  

With or without pockets, I am going to call this dress a success!

Dress:  Made by me, Butterick 6129
Shoes:  Jennifer Moore