Sunday, October 31, 2021

Witchy Woman

Back in the day, I used to make myself a Halloween costume each year, and I loved the process.  I would wear them to work, perhaps even making Mr. Valentino a matching costume.  Some individuals might look askance, but most people got a kick out of it.

A couple of years ago, however, I decided to go the novelty print route.

It's a bit more difficult to find Halloween prints as opposed to Christmas prints, but pairing the novelty print with an appropriate pattern is a fun challenge.  My other rule for this dress was going to be that I had to choose something other than a 1950s or 1960s silhouette.  I love that look, but I thought I should branch out a bit.

Early this October, I had an entirely different idea for a vintage pattern that I have wanted to remake in a holiday themed fabric, but the idea required two contrasting prints.  I didn't manage to find what I was looking for, but I did find this cute print at JoAnn Fabrics.

The pale background gave me a bit of pause since my pasty skin doesn't always do well with such a faded color, but I was hoping that the antique style print would make up for the ecru background.  And the style led me to McCalls 8141.  I barely had enough yardage, but I was determined to make it work once I had envisioned the final product.

Somewhere along the way, I decided that a little fascinator witch hat would make an excellent accessory.

I tried making a test run of a mini witch hat out of paper, but when I put it on my head, it looked ridiculous, and was nothing like what I had imagined in my head.

And then I went back and looked at the dress.

Although the pattern is a contemporary design, the dress I made has a decidedly 1930s look to it.  Which I am not complaining about!

So the solution was obviously to use a 1930s style hat pattern.  But since it was the weekend before Halloween, I was going to have to find something that I had on hand, and something that didn't require any extra purchases, only stashed bits and bobs.

A quick rummage through the stash, and I came across Simplicity 8486, which would give me a basic 30s silhouette.  To make the brimmed cap look like a witch hat, I added a folded piece of quilting batting to the hat, and draped fabric over the newly created shape.

The finished dress turned out even better than I had hoped, especially paired with the hat and my American Duchess shoes which have a definite witchy feel to them.

I absolutely plan to continue my yearly Halloween novelty print frock making so long as I can find fantastic Halloween prints!

Dress:  Made by me, McCalls 8141
Hat:  Made by me, Simplicity 8486
Shoes:  American Duchess "Alice"
Earrings:  Judith Jack

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Atomic Turquoise

Well, rainy weather finally arrived here in the Bay Area, this dress is safely tucked away until next Summer, and I am just getting around to posting photos.

But this was one of my more successful projects this year, if the number of times I have already worn it is anything to go by.

Which is a nice surprise, especially since this was meant as a simple wearable muslin.

I do love a good turquoise, but for some reason, this particular fabric print took years to grow on me.

Thankfully, I never "wasted" it on a pattern design that might not have worked out as well as this one did.

Although I didn't get around to it this year, there will absolutely be another version of this dress that I will make when the perfect fabric comes along. Perhaps the shorter knee length version will win out, or I may stick with the tea length since it is probably my favorite full skirt length.

I would highly recommend this pattern (as many people already have).  This is a multi-cup sized pattern, the straps cover a standard bra strap placement, it includes pocket for those who are pocket-obsessed, and it is a very classic and flattering design.

And the skirt allows for plenty of twirling.

If I had to pick something that was less than perfect, I would say the amount of yardage required is a bit much.  But do I begrudge the dress the required fabric?  Not so much!  It may stop me from adding five more versions to my wardrobe . . . but there will definitely be at least one more.

Dress: Made by me, Vogue 9182
Shoes:  Colin Stuart
Belt:  Banana Republic

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A Basic Black Skirt

In a fabric store, I always head straight for the prints.  Solid colors may be excellent wardrobe builders, but I have a heck of a time getting excited about working with them.

However, on a recent trip to Joanns, there was a great sale on the denim section.  This black fabric has a satin weave, so I don't really think of it as denim, exactly, but it is definitely a bottom weight.  And it occurred to me that a black cotton skirt would come in handy.

I have made this pattern quite a few times, and I know that I like the result.

One lapped zipper and a few seams later, and I had a basic wardrobe staple.

For an extra bit of fun, I decided to add a shaped waistband from the Stanwyck Skirt pattern.

And it's always a good idea to add a bit of boning to a wide waistband so it doesn't immediately fold in half when it is worn.

It doesn't take much extra effort, and it makes such a difference for me!  Interfacing alone does not have the same effect.

A couple of ribbon hangers were also added.  Because skirt hangers are annoying!!

So I guess it takes a great sale on a solid colored fabric to tempt me.

I also suspect the lovely sheen from the satin weave of this cotton is another reason that I managed to move forward with this particular project.

And where are all of the textured fabrics in solid colors hiding, I would like to know!  Because I could get behind a jewel toned textured solid for any number of dress designs.

At the end of the day, I am glad that a basic black skirt has been added to the wardrobe.

This has been a very useful piece this year, and assuming the fabric wears nicely, I suspect it will continue to be.  And now I am wondering if this particular textile comes in any other colors!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

A Rose, is a Rose, is a Rose

I suppose the season has now passed for this dress, although I managed to squeeze in a second wearing on September 30th after its initial debut at a wedding.  And while the idea that any floral on a light background is suddenly out of season as soon as October comes around is somewhat arbitrary, it does feel right that I put this dress away until next year.

But I did have a grand ol' time wearing it those two days.

And it just may have convinced me that I need more long and romantic frocks in my life.  Could it have anything to do with the fact that I am re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series at the moment?  I think, perhaps, that it does!

Of course, that will mean making some more cold weather appropriate items.  Although certainly nothing like what would be necessary for a Prince Edward Island kind of winter!

I did take a coat with me to work this afternoon, where we had a high of 70 degrees.  Goodness me, what a chilly temperature that was after highs in the 90s!  I am finding it rather convenient that Mr. Valentino is turning into a bit of a lap dog in his later years and I have chihuahua-sized lap warmer in the evenings.

The change of seasons probably means I will soon be pulling out a knitting project or two.  I should find something that has been tucked away, waiting to be finished, but I fear that some shiny new yarn will tempt me in a wholly different direction.

But at least I am posting this particular project before it actually gets cold.

Am I actually finished with McCalls 7929?  Maybe for the moment, but I could see myself revisiting this bodice design again.

And I think it may be time to rummage through the stash of wool fabric goodness.

Or do I try to get one last late Summer/early Fall dress made before the rain shows up and chilly weather truly arrives?

Only time will tell.

As to those nine yards of fabric . . . yes, that's a lot of fabric to haul around all day, but if I am being honest, it's also a lot of fun.  

So, yes, I am very pleased that this particular cotton did not end up as the backing for a quilt.  Because I believe it is infinitely more suited to this dress! 

Dress:  Made by me, McCalls 7929 with self-drafted skirt
Shoes:  Remix "Miranda"
Necklace & Earrings:  Vintage