Sunday, February 24, 2008


Here are two men's shirt patterns I picked up recently.

On the left is one I bought on-line to make for MD. I'm pretty intimidated by the gathers in the yoked back. Also I'm not entirely sure that this would fit him. He's a big guy and it says Small right on the sleeve. He seems to think it would, but he's not overly enthusiastic about letting me get out the tape to find out.

The one on the right came from Thrift Town. Even though I wasn't sure of MD's size, it was so handsome that I had to have it. At 69 cents, it seemed silly to skip taking it home with me. MD says that it's probably too small.

I think, since its nearly the same size as the other one, he may simply not like it. He's picky like that. The casual version would be nice in brown patterned barkcloth like this. I may try to figure out how to re-size it for myself.

During that same Thrift Town shopping trip, I found a lovely 40's style formal skirt pattern but the instructions were missing. I dug through the entire pattern rack searching for the instructions page. Sadly, it was gone. I left the skirt pattern and bought a few others. Later, at home, I found those skirt instructions shoved inside one of the patterns that I did buy. So frustrating!

After that experience, my thrift store pattern policy is; if I like it, I buy it. Period. If its the wrong size, I can pass it on to someone else. If important pieces are missing, or I end up with too many odds and ends, I can turn to Pattern Rescue for help. I can either use the site to search for the missing bits or send them the pieces I've got in case someone else is looking for them. It's win-win either way when a lovely old pattern is saved from the garbage heap.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Brown? Stick around!

I love brown! Its my new favorite color. It seems to work well with my pink blotchy complexion and pinky-blondy red hair. Plus it seems lush and luxurious, and dark brown has at least half the slimming power of black!

Here is my new brown dress. No back view, sorry. The back photos were all blurry and funny. Not that these aren't...

I made it with the same fabric as the Hateful Dress (but in brown, obvs.) The fabric was much more cooperative with this pattern. I adore the way it came out.

I think it has sort of a 30s vibe, even though the hemline is a bit short for the 1930s. Maybe 30s through the lens of the 60s? It is from a 60s pattern, McCalls 6638 shown here.

The instructions were easy to follow, even the complicated (for me) bow and collar. It went together really well and I'm happy with the result. The only issue I have is that I can't seem to get the arm hole linings to stay inside. I've tacked them down a couple of different ways and they keep popping out. I think I'll have it professionally pressed and see if it makes a difference.

I made a pencil skirt with the leftover fabric. Hooray! I used my "old standby" skirt pattern, modern McCalls 3830 from 2002 and added a waistband. I did a machine buttonhole (my first!) in the back. I won't show you as I had problems taking a flattering picture of my bootie.

(I broke my glasses and cut my bangs in between photographing these two projects.)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Fear v. Desire

Lately I've picked up a few really cool new patterns. Trouble is, I think they might be a bit beyond my ability. I want to make things other than the two basic shapes that I make over and over again, but the idea of moving away from my safety zone is daunting.

I have to remember that when I first started, even trying to make a straight seam was terrifying. My first project was a pencil skirt, and that took 14 hours of false starts, frustration and repeated seam ripping. Now, a pencil skirt is something I can whip up in a few hours before a party. Its all a matter of trial and error, learning as you go, and not freaking out when you make a stupid mistake. Deep breaths.

Here are two of the patterns I'm afraid of.

The draping is what worries me here, as well as the unusual construction. Despite my terror, today I cut
Butterick 6582 out of a nice plain green broadcloth. I will try putting it together later this week. If all goes well, I may be brave enough to try Butterick 3038. Here's hoping.