Friday, February 26, 2010

A Few Notes

I've been under the weather this week, so not much going on over here. I just thought I'd cobble a few notes together for a little post.

Responses to some blog comments:

Uta has asked me a couple of times for some better pictures. (Back of the Sencha blouse and a complete outfit of the Bonnie skirt + Sencha blouse.) For some reason, I have never been able to take an in focus picture of the Sencha blouse back. I am pretty grateful that I have been able to take any in focus pictures at all, so I am not going to risk being cursed by complaining about my camera. It's all me. I have some pictures of me going to the charity auction the Bonnie skirt and Sencha blouse, but they are awful. First of all, I am not very photogenic. Since I am so lovely in real life, I can live with that. (Only partially kidding. I think I'm cute.) Secondly, I am a big fan of my husband. He's awesome. He also cannot take a decent picture to save his life. Thirdly, I had to lighten up the picture a lot to get any details of the skirt to appear, and now the blouse looks really funny. I know I am pretty lacking in the picture quality department and have the goal of improving that.

The Slapdash Sewist asked if I already had the fabric picked out for my Holy Grail of Vintage Patterns, Vogue Paris Original 1250. (There is a copy up for auction on ebay if anyone is interested.) Nope. I am too afraid to commit yet. I also have some serious resizing to do. Sometimes I get intimidated by things and need to proceed slowly. (Not that I think this pattern is too hard, but I want to get it just right. I want it to have the same sculptural qualities that it does on the pattern envelope.)

Current Projects:

I haven't been able to work on much this week. The Design-it-Yourself A-Line skirt has been put on hold until I no longer feel stupid (I've been dizzy all week,) and I retired the BWOF bias skirt. I just can't get rid of the ripples and it doesn't look so great that i neeeeed to fix it.

I am toying around a little bit with the dirndl dress pattern in the new Built By Wendy Dresses book. I am bigger than the largest size given, so I am having to grade up. We'll see if it is worth it.

Pretty Dress:

I saw this dress in the March Elle magazine. I wasn't impressed with the magazine, but this dress caught my eye. (Although I like it less on the model.) It's a Derek Lam.

Image from

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Simplicity 3029: The Bonnie Skirt

Back in January, I started work on a skirt from a vintage pattern my friend Bonnie gave me.

For some reason I have it stuck in my head that this pattern is from 1949, but I can't remember why I think that. I dunno. I love the shorter view and thought it would be perfect for a charity function I had coming up. This pattern was 8 inches too small for me, and perfect candidate for learning to resize skirts. (I was partially successful with the Twinkle Sews A plus A-Line, but I never really got that to fit right.)

First thing I did was map out the skirt and try to figure out where to add that 8 inches.

If you click on the notebook and image (which will make it really big) you can see the little circle in the middle is really an aerial view of my skirt. (well, sort of, I don't know what else to call it.) The skirt consists of one front piece, 2 identical back pieces, and 2 side front pieces that actually extend into the back area a little. I calculated what percentage each piece was of the whole and then added that percentage of the 8 inches to each piece.

To increase each piece I cut each one down the middle and added the appropriate width. (Except for the front piece which was cut on the fold. I just added the width to the fold edge before I cut it.) (I use the backs of other patterns I no longer want for my tracing.)

My muslin fit me pretty well when I sewed it up, so I ordered a nice wool gabardine from Fashion Fabric Club (which took forever to get to me.)

I love vintage instructions. One page.

And Now The Skirt:

(I had to mess with the brightness to get anything with this black to show up. You may need to click on the image to see the details.)

Fits like a glove. When I tried it on after basting the side seams, I took it in a quarter inch on each waist side, just to make the fit perfect. This skirt rests above the waist (not quite high-waisted, but enough to get a cute belt up there.)

Here is the back:

The skirt did not call for a lining, but I added one because it seemed a real shame not to. I also used lining for the pocket bag to keep it as slim as possible. I hand picked the zipper and used storebought bias tape along the hem edge. For the belt loops, I just took some embroidery thread and made a loop on the outside. Can't even tell they are there.

Yes, I did finish the seam edges with my serger. I know I should have done something fancy, but I didn't finish this skirt until one hour before the event started. This saved me a lot of time.

I love this skirt. It's fits beautifully, and it went very well with my Sencha blouse. We have Elks Initiation on Thursday and I am going to wear it to that as well. It's not perfect, but I think I might be the only one who notices the imperfections. There is just something about wearing beautifully fitting and made clothing that makes me happy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Holy Grail of Vintage Patterns

First off, Hawaii was great. We spent 4 days in Oahu, 1 day on the Big Island (Hilo side), and 5 days on Kauai. Sunny sunny sunny. I think I'll stop there, before the U.S. East Coasters get mad at me. I bought 2 yards of a Robert Kaufman stretch twill in a flower camo pattern. I looooove weird camo.

Anyway, about a month ago, I purchased something that I had been looking for quite a long time: my Holy Grail of vintage patterns. Vogue Paris Original 1250.

I'd bid on this a couple of times on Ebay, but never won. (Jean Desses patterns can go for quite a lot of money.) I had a Google Alert out on it, and found a woman in Montreal who had listed it on Craigslist. I ended up with it for 18 American dollars. The Gods smiled in my favor.

While I do love the dress, the crazy crazy dress with an overlay, It's the shaping of the coat that I love. It has a sculptural quality that I think is just amazing.

Pattern description:

"Easy-fitting paneled tunic dress with scooped neckline has tied bow trimming or buckled belt. Above elbow length sleeves or sleeveless. Fitted coat in seven-eights or regulation length buttons below shaped, built-up neckline. Concealed front pockets. Above wrist length and below elbow length sleeves."

I wonder what regulation length buttons are?

Here is the back of the envelop for those who are interested in that kind of thing. (As per usual, click on the image to make it larger, and therefore more readable.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Muslin Mania

Muslin 2 of my Design-it-Yourself A-Line skirt:

I bought a hip curve!!!! Yay!!! I don't know how I lived with out it. I thought I smoothed out my hip line, but not so much. This innocuous looking curve here:

becomes this not so subtle shaping on the body.

The measurements seem to work out OK though. (Although I think I want the sweep - the measurement around the bottom of the skirt - to be wider.) Ah well, Version 3 coming up soon.

And here is the muslin for the high-waisted vintage skirt from the Bonnie Collection that was 8 inches too small around.

I am all sorts of twisted around in this picture, but the skirt fits really well. (I'll talk about my resizing process when I show the finished skirt.) I had some photo issues (this was the best of a bad lot) but I think this will look great in my real fabric. Which I have to order. So I can make this in the week between coming home from Hawaii and the Charity Auction that I want to wear this to. Black wool I think.

Monday, February 8, 2010

So Wrong

This is the dress I tried to save. It is Simplicity 2497, a Cynthia Rowley pattern. (I wrote about the failure here) The skirt of the dress looked like a paper bag that had been gathered and sewn to the waistband: not a flattering look on a woman my size. So, I just took more fabric and created a dirndl skirt. Which was kind of OK, and then I added the puffy sleeves, which are sooooo not ok. My daughter really liked this dress, but she is 19 and I am 42. I feel like Elly May Clampett when she got middle aged and still wore the same stuff. However, if anyone has a young woman in their life who is a size 16 in ready-to-wear and just loves this dress, it's hers. (I realize that I am not "working it" in this photo. I would be fired from the runway.) I could redo the sleeves, but really that is not going to happen. (I want to state that the pattern is fine. I just made a series of bad choices for my age and body type.)

Well, at least I got this cool photo out of it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My New Boyfriend Wade Laboissonniere

If you are at all interested in Vintage Patterns, you need to check out Blueprints of Fashion by Wade Laboissonniere. He's got a book on the 50s and a book on the 40s, and each one is a treasure trove of patterns. The books contain information on the industry, marketing, and of course lots and lots of lovely pictures of vintage patterns. While I do buy vintage patterns, I don't really consider myself as a collector. This book is great for folks like me who just like to get ideas for things to make, as well as people who are a little more serious in their hobby. (As per usual, you can click on the photos to get more detail.)

I bought the 50's book.

A sample page.

The 40's book (Checked out from the library, but soon to be bought.)

The pattern on the lower right is one of my all-time favorites.

(By the way, this is a vacation post. I am actually on a beach somewhere in Hawaii.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Off and Away

I ripped out the zipper of my bias skirt (see last post) and it is now hanging by my closet. Just hanging. I won't get to it for a couple of weeks because I am off to Hawaii tomorrow for 10 days. YAY!!!!!!!!! I will not be doing any live posting during that time, but I have set up some vacation posts while I am gone. I have some updates about my new imaginary boyfriend, a dress that is not a fail, but is faaar from a success, and some skirt muslins that are begging to be seen.

I hope everyone has a good two weeks!