Friday, March 21, 2014

Stashbusting: Artistic Dressing

I have to admit that when I finished this dress, I wasn't sure about it.
I cut a lot of corners (no lining, rolled hem) and was a bit ashamed that it wasn't my best work.


I wore it once and wasn't convinced.  After leaving it in a pile on the sewing room floor for weeks, I sent it off to the dry cleaners.  When it came back I tried it on again and fell in love. 


The fabric came from the thrift store for $5 for about 4 yards.  The selvage says that it was made by Cranston Print Works, a US company that was in business from 1807-2009.


I love the strange artistic Picasso/Chagall faces.  It was difficult to make sure that
a face did not end up on a breast apex.  I did okay.  Could have been much worse!


I used Simplicity 4360 View 2.


 It really is simple to make.  It came together easily with no alterations.


Why is it that late 50s/early 60s patterns almost always fit me perfectly with no fuss?  
I wish I had that kind of luck with modern patterns.


How does one accessorize a dress that's primary color is greige?


I went with a little tarnished plastic, a little bakelite and some pinky beige faux pearls.


Also, these carved Mexican screw back earrings.  I love their little grouchy faces.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Stashbusting: Silk and Maribou


Less than one yard of black silk dupioni...how 'bout a 60s cocktail top?

I still liked the look of Simplicity 4513 but it would have to be a little lot longer this time and I didn't really want to make the same thing again.  After digging around in the pattern stash for a while, I finally settled on Simplicity 1201 view 1.  


I shortened it to waist length and left out all of the darts.  It ended up nice and boxy and very 60s.
I really like the flat neckline and shoulder button detail.


Maribou is gorgeous but extremely fiddly to sew on.  
The feathers like to follow the thread through the needle holes and create these tight, sad, clumpy knots. Eventually, though, I got the hang of it. The trick seemed to be to make large loops with the thread and then gently pull the loops down over the feathers.

I really like the way it came out.

Black is extremely hard to photograph and the light in my house is just atrocious.
But I think these photos are fun anyway.

The blouse looks great with my Simplicity 4401 trousers.

It's a very Laura Petrie ensemble, donchathink?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Stashbusting: Super Sixties In Flannel

Once upon a time, I needed to add a little extra fabric to my fabric.com order to get free shipping so I bought a yard of this.  Gorgeous right?  Except that in my haste I didn't notice that it is flannel.  
I do not love flannel.

But I love stashbusting.  I love it. I did not purchase anything new for this project.  Not one thing.

I was hoping to have enough to make a 60s shift dress but the fabric wasn't quite wide enough for anything that had to be cut on a fold if I wanted to match the pattern.  Blouses weren't working either.  

Eventually I found this in the stash.  The miniskirt pattern was perfect!
It's from1970 but still has that awesome late 60s mod flare.

I didn't need to cut anything on the fold.  Hooray!  The pieces were small enough that they would fit perfectly on the fabric and allow me to match the pattern, sort of.

So I traced it off and got to work. I used to hate tracing patterns, but now I love it.  
I find it extremely relaxing.  Not cutting into my uncut vintage patterns is a good thing, too.

Complicated pattern matching freaks me out, but I did pretty well.
It's not perfect, but it works.


The back seam looks great.  Very psychedelic.

I was worried about the fabric not draping right and not having enough weight
so I lined it with pink cotton, also from the stash.

The whole thing went together in a jiffy and I really like it. 

For posing ideas, I looked at Youthquakers 
If you haven't seen this site and you love the 60s & 70s go NOW!  You will just die! 

Here are my versions of awesome 60s modeling poses.

Stargazing mannequin. Always a favorite.

Somewhat aggressive paddle hands.

Trapped in a box.

Awkward but serious knee bend.

Perky and twee.

Random leg lift.

These poses are fun, but I think I'll just stick with my usual "bitchy resting face".  It just works.

Side Note: If you love 60s & 70s fashion (and fashion history) you may already know about Youthquakers. If not, in short, the woman who runs the blog has a vast collection of Vogue magazines which she scans and then makes available for us to peruse. All models and photographers are noted (if known) and sometimes the designers too. It's an AMAZING resource. She's going through a bit of a rough patch and is selling off some of her collection and asking for donations. If you like this sort of thing, I encourage you to send her a few bucks or maybe buy one of her vintage magazines. Think of it as donating to a fashion history museum. Essentially that's what it is. See her site here: http://www.ciaovogue.com/2014/02/an-important-message-plus-paris-vogue.html

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Costuming: Gatsby Summer Afternoon

Back in September we attended the Gatsby Summer Afternoon with our friends Chris and Katrina. The lawn at the Dunsmuir-Hellman Estate was filled to the brim with vintage cars and elegant folks enjoying picnics and socializing. We had a wonderful time even though it was SO HOT!  We ended up moving our picnic a couple of times to try and find the coolest spot.

Because there's nothing like waiting until the last minute, my 20s-style outfit was thrifted, almost in it's entirety, in under an hour at our favorite thrift store just a few days before the event.  I added a few finishing touches from my wardrobe stash: stockings, the enormous purple flower-ish thingy on my hat (which was a cake topper left over from a work party), my parasol, cuff links and  tie pin, but everything else was new to me straight from the thrift shop.  I like how everything came together although I do have a little costumers guilt since I didn't sew a thing, unless you count fixing the tie and attaching the sash to the shirt.


The shoes and skirt are 80s, the French cuffed silk blouse and under-blouse are probably 1990s, the hat is contemporary, the deep purple sash was found on the tie rack for 99 cents,  and the rep tie…might have come from a doll?  It was pre-tied in a knot but had nothing to go around the neck.  I improvised a ribbon and snap clasp that sits under my collar.  So nothing is even really vintage, but I think I still got pretty close to a 20s silhouette.


Chris and the Hubs looked very dapper  in modern pieces with a vintage look.
I particularly like the husband's striped punting jacket.

Katrina wore a 30s inspired lightweight modern dress and t-strap pumps,
and she matched her sling to her outfit.  She thinks of everything! 
She also gets smart points for her wide brimmed Goorin sun hat.
It was just so HOT out!

Ice cream sandwiches helped fight the intense heat.
Can you tell that I'm melting here?

As usual the cars were magnificent.





The picnics were glorious too.  These adorable folks...

...brought an entire oak sideboard to the picnic site with them.  

Their set-up was deluxe!   

So many beverages!

It was a long hot day and, alas, my shoes did not survive.  The glue melted and one of my soles came completely off.  I was able to glue it back on once we got home, but I spent about half the picnic running around in stocking feet.   Not very glamorous but, oh well.  That's me!


All in all, despite the heat and minor footwear disasters, it was a really nice day.  
We made new friends...

...oohed and aaahed at the well-dressed crowds, 

…and determined that I should never be given the good camera 
unless you desire "impressionist" photographs.

A lovely time was had by all! If you are a 20s & 30s enthusiast I highly recommend this event!


I'm looking forward to the next one.  Hopefully I'll be able to sew something in time!

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Dress For A Wedding

We went to a wedding in North Carolina back in August.  I made a dress to wear but, in true Sewing Is Hard tradition, I neglected to take any photos of the dress at the event, except for this one.

I used Simplicity 6220.  It went together lickety-split.

I chose a thick satin brocade from the sash.
It ravels pretty badly but I serged each and every one of the seams.  

I wasn't sure about the reverse darts in front,
sometimes they can make me look a little pregnant.  

Once all was said and done, though, I fell in love with this dress.


I swear the zipper isn't crooked!  I'm just standing funny, as usual.




The best part is that, somehow, I have a ton of fabric left over.   What shall I make?  
My heart is whispering, "satin cigarette pants" but my head doesn't think we have anywhere fancy enough to wear them. Still, I think my heart is on the right track.  

SATIN CIGARETTE PANTS!  Right?