Monday, November 11, 2019

A Pastoral Scene

And here I am, still playing catch-up.

This is yet another 2018 project that is finally making it to the blog.

And I am sad to say that I have only worn this garment once.  Mostly because I somehow forgot to make my standard erect upper back adjustment when I was cutting out the project, and the fabric bunching at the center back zipper drives me crazy.

I suspect that very few people would be able to tell that anything is wrong with the fit of this dress, but it is all that I see.

Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about the fitting issue, so I have to live with it.

I am hoping that a little distance from the dress will help me like it a little more, so it is currently buried in the back of the closet.

My original intention was to make another version out of a much more drapey fabric, but I haven't had the heart to do it since I am not a huge fan of my first version.

There is also something funny about the shoulder drafting.  The shaping is done with a dart, and taking up more fabric at the neckline would probably help things, but for now, I am going to focus on other projects.  

I do love a drop-waist, though, so I may be back to this pattern sooner than I think.  It just bothers me that I made such a basic mistake on an otherwise lovely dress.  I suppose it's a reminder to slow down and think before cutting into fabric, and that no matter how many times I have done something before it is possible to forget the most obvious of alterations.

Dress:  Made by me, Butterick 6484
Fascinator:  Made by me
Shoes:  Remix "Babydoll"

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

A few weeks ago I noticed Halloween themed novelty cottons were on sale at JoAnn Fabrics.  The one that caught my eye in the sales flyer was not at my local store, but a couple of the more whimsical prints they had on hand grabbed my attention.

In the end, I took home some of the Peanuts "Spooky Night" print.  The cotton is certainly not the best quality in the world, but the stiff weight is perfect for a fit and flare silhouette.

And since I made myself a lovely Christmas themed frock last year using Simplicity 1459, I decided I should also have a Halloween version in my closet.

This is one of the only Simplicity patterns that I have sized up and I was also curious to see how my normal size would actually fit.  The finished garment measurements had me slightly worried that a large Christmas meal would make wearing the fitted waist uncomfortable.  It turns out, I should have stuck with my go-to sizing since the dress is slightly big through the bodice and shoulders.  I could probably have used a bit of an FBA on this version, but in a long line bra with pointy cups, it works.

And then, the pattern does present some problems with a direction print.  For the Christmas version, I didn't mind if some of the cardinals looked a little catawampus, but this print was going to look odd.

And the most obvious problem is the collar, right up front and center.

Luckily, there was some coordinating green cotton available.  I was slightly concerned about that much yellow toned green next to my face, but this dress is not going to be worn constantly, and a "costume" doesn't have to suit my palette, it just has to make me happy.

I also thought that a solid would be a nice break from the super busy print.

But would a lone contrasting collar look out of place? I decided it would be nice to tie in the solid green with contrasting cuffs and belt, which I think turned out quite well.

The other major change I made was to forego the side zipper for a center front skirt opening.  I only decided to make that change, however, after I started on the construction.  Whoops.

So it's not perfect with the added placket, but it works.  

And it definitely is much easier to get in and out of without the side zipper and I am going to have to figure out how to finesse that placket/snap closure construction for future button front/side zipper drafted patterns where you don't want buttons all the way down the skirt!  But that's for another day.

Dress & Belt:  Made by me, Simplicity 1459
Petticoat:  Made by me, Vogue 4203
Shoes: Vince Camuto
Necklace:  Banana Republic

Thursday, October 24, 2019

A Cap Sleeve Jumper

One day I found some lovely bright pink cotton/rayon yarn at an estate sale.  There was not very much there (just three balls), but I took it home with me.

Then, of course, I couldn't get the yarn out of my mind.  I had to find a pattern that would work with the limited yardage.

Eventually, I settled on this Cap Sleeve Jumper.  As pictured, I would probably run out of yarn.  But if I shortened the body to sit at the waistline instead of the hips I just might make it.

Unfortunately, the limited yardage was not enough.  The body was knit, but the ribbing sections at the neckline and sleeves were too much for my yardage.

But then, miraculously, I found some of the same yarn on Ebay with no mention of color or dye lot.  But how could there be two different pinks in the same yarn range, right?!  

Of course, when it arrived the color was not at all the same.  I thought about tea dying the new yarn to see if I could darken the brighter color to better match the original, but then decided against it.  Since I would be using the contrasting color on all of the ribbing it just might look intentional.

And then I found the single remaining button from this project that was a perfect tie in for both colors!  The pattern actually calls for a zipper to close the neck opening, but I prefer a button.

Overall, I am quite pleased with this.  And I have the perfect skirt to wear with it!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Vintage Bustier

A few years ago I made a skirt and bustier set and loved it so much that I decided I needed another.

I used a different skirt silhouette, but when I had plenty of leftovers from said skirt, I decided that I would make a second version of Simplicity 1426.

But this time, I decided to add a few pieces of boning to the midriff lining instead of simply interfacing those pieces.

And, of course, I couldn't help myself . . . bound buttonholes were once again used for the center back closure.

A pair of bra cups were stitched between the two layers of fabric.

Definitely a quick project that doesn't require a lot of fabric.

It took me some time, but separates have definitely become a staple in my sewing room.

Adding a cardigan means the outfit can be worn when the weather is a little too chilly for the top.  And, of course, either piece can be worn with other wardrobe options.  The skirt, especially, has had quite a bit of play this summer!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Large Pockets and Vintage Silhouettes

Last summer I spotted this bottom weight twill on an endcap in JoAnns.  The pink is rather bright, but I thought it would make an excellent skirt.  I really like the fact that it is a light colored background that is not see-through because of the thickness of the textile.  Simplicity 8458 is recent vintage reproduction that I wanted to try, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I toyed with the idea of making the button front version, but I though the detail would get lost in busy print.

Just for fun, I decided to install my zipper using a machine.  I am alway hearing about people using double sided tape to apply zippers without the distortion from any pins, so I went ahead with that technique.  Will I be deserting my hand picked zippers anytime soon?  Certainly not!  But it was a fairly painless zipper insertion, and went much smoother than expected.  I will conquer my fear of using a machine!

I also decided to insert a few small pieces of boning into the waistband.  At this point, I should know to always do this because whenever I don't, I kick myself.  One of my favorite skirts does not have any waistband reinforcement and it bunches in a very annoying manner.  I should go back and fix it, but "mending" garments is probably my least favorite part of sewing.  Once something is finished, I am done!  Seriously, some of my ready-to-wear cardigans lose a button and it takes me years to fix it.  Highly embarrassing, considering that I could fix it in less than 10 minutes, but there you go.

I also decided that I wanted a button closure on the waistband instead of the hook & bar I usually use.  When cutting the waistband out, I just made sure to give myself a bunch of extra length to play with.

I rather like the tab closure, and will have to remember the technique for future skirts.

I definitely love the silhouette of a classic long full skirt!  Tea-length is probably my favorite proportion, and this skirt is fast becoming a favorite.

Monday, October 14, 2019


Here is yet another outfit that was made last year, but never made it to the Blog in a timely manner.

It is certainly safe to say that this outfit was inspired by my Royal Vintage "Hepburn" shoes.  I couldn't resist the style, but they are a little out of my comfort zone.

The obvious thing to do was to spend some time in the sewing room and make myself some new separates!

The skirt is my second version of Simplicity 8019.  It's a great little vintage reproduction pattern, and I may have to make another longer version out of a more drapey fabric at some point in the future.

I managed to squeeze the skirt out of leftovers from this jacket.  I did have to piece the waistband at center back, but considering the small amount of yardage I was working with, I am quite pleased with the results.

The blouse was made from a vintage Brioni shirt that had seen better days.  I Oxicleaned the heck out of it and was able to avoid the shredded and still discolored bits to cut all of the main pieces for Butterick 4985.  I did have to make the neck tie narrower than I might have liked, but it works.

The other change I made was to swap button loops at center front for the buttonholes suggested by the pattern.  And it worked!

I love the pattern, and need to make myself another.  Or maybe I should move on to another design with a tie neck?  I will be holding on to this pattern, though - it's a keeper!

Blouse:  Made by me, Butterick 4985
Skirt:  Made by me, Simplicity 8019
Shoes:  Royal Vintage "Hepburn"