Wednesday, January 21, 2015

january sunshine!

January in North Carolina is a mystery to me. Just a few days ago it was freezing and then yesterday it was 45 and sunny! I suppose the ten degrees between 30 and 40 make a big difference. For those not-so-sunny days, though, I now have a cheerful yellow (YELLOW) skirt to perk myself up!

I don't have too much to say about the pattern or the construction. I used McCalls 7704 from 1965, and it's was a quick-and-easy project with minimal fuss. I didn't make any pattern adjustments. I'm wearing it with my t swift top.

Do you like my new jacket? NO I did NOT sew this (haaahaha), but I decided to include it in my pictures because it's upcycled! Plus it makes me feel like this:

I got it from Olga Road--I'm not positive about their production practices or anything but they make these jackets out of old leather trench coats and things. They aren't paying me to say this (although if they want to send me another jacket, I would not say no, duh).

Back to the sewing!

Some interior shots (inside the garment, and inside my house):

For the hem, I simply folded up twice and slip stitched it to the lining. This isn't really the best treatment for such a thick wool--really it would be better to use some hug snug and just fold it up once--but while hemming, I wanted to retain as much potential future length as possible. I was worried I had hacked off too much! After trying it on again, I think it looks good, but I guess there's no harm in having a little extra length in the hem, you know, in case I go through a growth spurt...

I decided to go with the pattern instruction for the zipper insertion since it was a new way I hadn't done it before. You snip the fabric and lining at the end of the zipper so that they work as one (like interlining) for zipper insertion and still look nice at the bottom. If I made and lined this skirt again, I wouldn't do it like this, I would just hand stitch the lining down or sew the lining and fashion fabric together the whole way down and hong kong bind it or something. As written, I ended up with raw edges, which I just zigzagged over (I don't have a serger).

I've officially adopted the lapped zipper as my very favoritest ever. It is easy, seemingly foolproof, and I love the way it looks with a button tab, as shown here. Mine look much neater than my centered zips, too, with only one sewing line to try and keep even.  

I originally saved this fabric to make a pencil skirt with. It is EXACTLY pencil yellow (for reference, the walls of my house below look blue, and that is because they really are blue, not blue-tinted white). I decided instead to try out this more a-line silhouette, which I don't think I have a single thing with. Now I do, and I love it. Next quandry: what colors would you wear with insane yellow??


Monday, January 19, 2015

a peter pan collar shirt

Instead of doing 2014 round-ups, I'm just getting on with it. I did an officially terrible job keeping up with any of my pledges, what with wedding planning, buying a house, general life, etc., so I'm not going to depress everyone by tallying them :) What do you say?

Today, however, I do have a left over bit from my vintage pledge last year: Butterick 3324, a cute little blouse pattern from that Mad Men era which I do so love. It is so convenient that Mad Men was created, since it gives everyone a great search keyword for those earlier 60s patterns. ;)

However, my copy is a 10, a size smaller than my usual vintage pattern size 12. It really is slightly too small, unfortunately.

The reason these pictures are all wrinkly is because I wanted to ask you--yes, you!--for help in fitting this top, so I wore it all day (the collar peeking out from my cardigan) to really get the wrinkles pressed in nicely :) I do think it can be modified to fit without grading up the whole thing--I think the front fits rather well (although I need to change the darts) but the back! It's tight through the back shoulders. If you can't see, there are shoulder darts, which is a great feature on a lot of vintage patterns (and fewer modern, in my experience). 

Can I add some width into the shoulder seams and then take it out in the darts so I don't have to alter the front? Is this the right way to go in fitting this? Should I add width in the front as well? How do those sleeve heads look to you? 

Here's my sweet collar, I just love a nice Peter Pan collar, don't you? Once I remake this blouse I'll pilfer the buttons off this one since these are not very well put on, I don't intend on continuing to wear this version once I have one that fits better!

So, readers, what do you think? Any suggestions as to how to better fit this shirt? 

Happy 2015!

UPDATE: I just read this new pattern hack to rid Colette's violet blouse from facings--I think I'll likely adopt this variation in my next version of this top.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

there's a first time for everything... literally everything, and all in one dress.

First time with lace?

First time with stretch?

First time with Burda's online patterns?

Finally made that Gatsby challenge dress pick from approx. 10000 years ago?
Check it out!

Happy Belated Christmas, everyone.

Sometimes I think it can be good to take on what would be strictly considered "more than you can chew" in a low-stress way, like a costume. That at way you can just dive in without worrying too, too much about whether you mess it up/it's not perfect/etc.

My bff Martha turned 26 this week and threw a 1926-themed party, so obviously I needed a dress. We listened to christmas music and the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby, drank gin fizzes in beautiful vintage glassware, and pouted attractively in front of the camera. We also listened as the birthday girl herself did a dramatic reading of this instant classic (from last year) about Norwegians' deep concern for wood and wood fires.

I curled, teased, and pinned up my hair into a faux bob for that flapper thing, which is not what I typically go for. I watched some youtube videos on 1920s makeup, too (by the way, did you see the 100 years of hair & makeup video? it's swell) and I was quite pleased with my final look!

I wore a mish-mash version of this burda dress. It is vintage... wrong era, but I think I pulled it off as convincingly 20s-y, right?

Okay, that's the last instagram photo for this post!

RE: Dress construction, I threw the instructions out the window (not really, they were on my iphone!) and constructed it however the heck I felt like (spoiler: poorly). Plus, this dress isn't built for lace, so it doesn't have an interlining layer, just the fashion layer and the lining. I do what I want!

...but don't look too closely.

This gives you an idea of the construction: there's a normal, dress shaped lining (in a knit) and then a really wildly shaped outer layer. I opted to just ignore all the instructions because they were literally nonsense. I know burda is known for that but wow! They were really confusing! Plus with my using a lace outside meant you can see the raw edges if you look extremely closely. But no one was going to do that, and I couldn't be bothered to draft facings. (Ha! yeah right.)

Ahhhhhhhhhh! What is that?!

That's where the zipper is supposed to go. Zippers--who needs them? 
The instructions for this dress call for a knit lining and a bias cut velvet, in which case you may have needed a zipper, but I opted for NOT a zipper. The instructions don't have you inserting elastic at the waist, but otherwise my dress was very droopy. 

In conclusion: terrible instagram photos of a girl in a pretty dress, and pretty (or at least focused, you take what you get here) photos of quite possibly the ugliest dress guts ever posted to the internet. phew!  

Friday, September 19, 2014

needlepoint excursion

I have a LONG way to go.
Y'all know I don't knit. So what is a non-knitting girl to do between projects/when all her zippers are temporarily installed in wedding dress muslins? NEEDLEPOINT OBVI.

I sort of know how to cross stitch poorly, and (now) I sort of know how to needlepoint. I totally assumed these were the same thing, but they are not. FYI.

Because I live in The South (of America, for international readers) I am making a needlepoint belt for my lovely fiance. It's a thing. Because I am also sewing my wedding dress, this gift for him is not a secret--I already have one task that requires me to be locked up in the sewing room! Therefore, he helped me pick out the design. I got it from the Needlepoint by Laura Etsy shop. She was great to work with and helped me create this custom design.    

It has the main buildings of our university, the Colonnade, in the middle. Its fitting to post this today since it's Homecoming Weekend at the moment. Wish I were there!

I think it is pretty accurate! They will do any college campus just based off internet images. It also has the Washington and Lee Trident (our school symbol), and one side  says "W&L" and the other has his monogram (again, because its the south and everything gets monogrammed. you should see my wedding registry, ha). You can buy belts (and coasters and keychains etc etc) with just the trident on it at the school store but not with your initials on it!

Since I have never needlepointed before, I don't reeeeeally know what I'm doing. This photo of the backside shows my technique, If you can call it that. I used the Needlepoint for Fun (haha) website to learn some basic stitches and then I've just mashed them together however seems right. I've been doing the detail pieces in a tent stitch, and then doing a basketweave stitch to fill in the background. The basketweave stitch is worked diagonally, which is why you can see all those bits criss crossing diagonally across the parts I already did. Is this right? I don't know! I'm figuring it out as I go!

So this is what I have been doing in the textiles area. Have you ever done needlepoint (needlepointed)? Do think needlepoint belts are for old people?


P.S. More shots of that particular brand of prep that Americans call "Ivy League style" (I think Brits have a different name for it?) and our beautiful campus here, including lots of needlepoint belts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

coral dirndl skirt

So, this is technically one component of my Weekend Wardrobe pattern... but guess what?

The pattern pieces are all rectangles!

That's right, it's just a dirndl skirt. Easiest part of the Weekend Wardrobe? check.

it's all rectangles! *wink* (ft. unintentional awkward winking)
There's not much to say about this. It's a bright coral cotton sateen from G Street Fabrics. It's all rectangles. I basically ignored the instructions, so I'm not even sure if my lapped zipper is what it's supposed to have or not. It has a waistband button. I hemmed it using the blind hem function on my machine. It's is a LOT of gathering! Ignore the wrinkles!

Making a dirndl skirt is soooo easy (as long as you know how to gather). I could make 100. Do you love the dirndl skirt? Do you love saying dirndl? dirndl dirndl dirndl dirndl


ps: I've been making some blog design updates. I used Rachel's post on photography to figure out how to size my pictures properly, and then decided to update the whole thing. I feel a lot more motivated to post and to share my blog when I feel like it looks good, and I think it looks a lot better/more profesh. What do you think? Any suggestions?

pps: I also added a pin it button! It took me like an hour, and then my computer scientist fiance had to help fix it for like another hour, so you'd better pin a lot of stuff. ahhhhhh html!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

chambray three ways

I'm making my best Tilly face. Doesn't she always look adorable in her photos?


I have been away, but I'll only give the bare bones excuses:
I bought a house!
I moved!
It's summer reading (which is a big deal in the world of children's librarians).
And I've been reading (a lot), and neglecting my sewing.

I've been crafting, but I don't feel like I've been sewing, if you know what I mean. I've been making things for my house--curtains and the like. Have any of you done significant amounts of home decor sewing? I think it is so dull... lots of straight lines. But when you consider the price of decent curtains, I have to grudgingly admit, all those straight lines may be worth it. I'll do a little home-making roundup of my projects at some point soon, if you'd be interested!

I haven't forgotten my pledges--I am participating in the Vintage Pledge and I have also made a personal pledge to sew up a whole Weekender Wardrobe pattern. In fact, I have an update on the latter for you today!

I was slouching around in my sewing room feeling uninspired; my patterns just did. not. correlate. with my stash fabric.

And then I was catching up on blogs and belatedly saw a whole bunch of adorbs shorts from this year's Shorts on the Line... and a bunch of cute two-piece outfits from Sophie over at Ada Spragg...

And I had a bunch of this dark blue chambray left over from making Alex a Negroni like a year ago (because I didn't want to have to match plaids and mostly what he wears is plaid)...

And everything fell into place.

Some shorts belatedly on the line! An interchangeable two-piece, belatedly set-tacular! Another piece from my wardrobe pattern! Practical basics (sort of)!

I used my Weekend Wardrobe pattern (Simplicity 5299) for the shorts. I flat felled all the seams so the inside is nice and neat, and I think they fit very well out of the packet. Nice, huh? My only problem is that the pattern may be over 50 years old but DANG these shorts are short!!

I know a lot of people have been making the new Esther shorts, and these are fairly similar, but judging by the pictures of the Esthers I've seen, I think their inseam is longer. I'll definitely lengthen the inseam on these the next time I make them. By like, several inches. They don't look as short as they felt. I mean, they look short up there, yes, but they felt this short:

By that, I mean that I felt like my butt was hanging out. While I think that they'll be fine with some more coverage on top, with a crop top, its a little too much. I wanted to feel like a cute 1950s beach vacationer, not like this.

Other things that were too short: my crop top! I used the two-piece variation of Capital Chic Pattern's Martini. You can see I basically disregarded all instructions. I know its a crop top but it was also really too short, which I realized after trying it on before hemming it. I added a bottom band which added a little over an inch to the length.

In the interest of making this out of a whole bunch of stash goods, I also improvised with the back fastening. I didn't have a long enough zipper (I used it in the shorts) so I just put a shorter zipper at the top and then left the bottom open and finished my band with a bow instead of putting a zip all the way down. I think if I made another crop from this pattern, I might extend one side and make it button or something. The idea of a whole zipper seems weird.

I am looking forward to making the Martini as a dress--it looks adorable, and the top fits well (that first picture is just weird posture!)--but now that I know how short the top is, I probably won't make the skirt as a stand alone. It must be really high waisted.

And the third piece??

I took these photos hiding in my (new) backyard, and I wasn't about to wear this set out. Not enough coverage! But with a longer, less form-fitting skirt I wore my matching outfit proudly!

We went to the DURM Hip Hop Summit. It was awesome. I can't decide what I liked best, the very cool ten-year-old DJ or the Rap Battle. My skirt is just a dirndl, so no pattern, but you can use Gertie's tutorial.

And here's my best waiting for the photographer face / Margot Tenenbaum impression:

I totally love this combo. It's totally 50s ladylike plus a little bit of edge. I will rock this combo again.

miss allie

ps: Taylor Swift makes matching look so good.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April Showers dress and Giveaway Winner!

April showers bring May flowers... in this case, the flowers are springing up on my newly-finished dress! This is one of those dresses that lingered for ages half-finished on my dress form. I used Simplicity 2444, which was last seen during Me Made May '13 as a wearable muslin which I wear a lot. I had done a lot of hand finishing before realizing that when I put the zipper in, there was a possibility it wouldn't fit (eep!).  I lined this version, and I was rather worried that the bulk of the lining combined with the total lack of stretch (not that the last one stretched, but it wasn't quite so thick) would make it too small, but I powered through because I really wanted to wear it to an event: my friend's bridal shower!

I don't have a lot of detail shots. You all know what Simplicity 2444 looks like, though! Evvvvveryone has made one. (Because it is awesome. I love it.)

Wondering where I am? I am at...

Which is where all my favorite fabrics come from. I was dressed for the shower and my mom and I decided to stop in at G Street. Of course, this fabric happens to be from G Street, and alllll the ladies there were like I recognize that fabric!! Um, I don't know whether to be proud or embarrassed?

And now for some thrilling professional photography:

Here I am, wearing my dress at the event that gave this dress the name "April Showers," my friend's absolutely gorgeous bridal shower. (We were playing a game where you had to guess the celebrity couple. I correctly identified Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy, but petered out around 1969. I did get Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass though! Young Adult Lit for life.)


Fabric: A cotton blend(?) stash jacquard c/o my mom from G Street Fabric.
Pattern: Simplicity 2444
Year: Contemporary.
Notions: seam binding, 22" zip.
Time to complete: foreverrrrrrr
Wear again? yes
Make again? yes
Details/changes: lined bodice, handpicked zipper, hand-finished seams and sleeves.

And the (randomly selected) winner of last week's giveaway is...

Amanda from The Year 2050 who said "The ladies in 5527 look like they're getting ready for a jet set adventure - the one on the far right is definitely the stewardess. The two next to her are arguing about where they're flying and the two on the far left are totally ready to go on their wacky European vacation. They are also all a bit miffed that everyone else chose the exact same shade of blue as them. Jeez.

I'll be sending you an email, Amanda! I can definitely see the stewardess look--perhaps you can make your own Pan Am uniform :) 

Thank you for all the hilarious comments. Every time I got an email about comments, I was so excited to see what you all had to say!

miss allie