Thursday, January 30, 2014

Belated Holiday Sewing Post


Before we get too far away from the holidays, I should show you my holiday sewing projects.  

I am not a winter holidays kind of person.  I don't get wrapped up in the ritual of decorations or baking.   The roads and shops full of angry, pushy, rude, holiday shoppers make me sad. Peace on earth and goodwill towards men, my pink bootie.

To me, the holidays are something to be endured and January can't come fast enough. Strangely, I fell in love with this kitschy Christmas novelty print (gold trees!) and I found myself craving a wintery holiday dress.


Simplicity 4002 was quick to put together. Kimono sleeves aren't my favorite, but they did speed up the whole process and with this pattern they don't bind under the arms as much as many others I've sewn.  In my excitement, I neglected to attach the collar and once I realized my mistake, the facings were already in.  


The print is busy enough that I don't think there is any loss of cuteness without the collar.


 I love the shape of the skirt.  To get a nice wide bell, I am wearing two crinolines.


Lately I've been thinking that these earlier 50s styles don't suit me, but I might be mistaken.  I really love the shape of this dress and it's quite flattering, though I think that part of that might be the extra crinolines.  The wide skirt makes my waist look much smaller than it is.

So many early 50s patterns have such LONG skirts.  Full skirts that fall too far below my knee tend to make me look even shorter (and wider) than I am.  I reduced this one to 27" and it hits right between the bottom of my knee and the swell of my calf.  This is about as long as I dare go or I look like I'm drowning in fabric.

When the dress was complete there was just enough fabric left over to scrape out a blouse.  My copy of McCalls 8863 is a 32 bust which, ordinarily would be way too small for me.  I had a suspicion that, since it's from the 80s, it would be oversized and I was right!  After carefully measuring the pattern pieces, I decided that that it should just fit without needing any added width.


 Cutting it out was a bit tricky as there wasn't a lot of yardage to work with.  I ended up making the blouse quite a bit shorter.  I had to dig through the discarded scraps to find a piece big enough for cutting out the ruffles.


I ended up with a very boxy early-60s-ish blouse that I absolutely LOVE!  

Look at how cute the ruffle is in back. 

I love it because it's so versatile.  I wore it a bajillion times in December.

It's adorably secretarial with a  pencil skirt.

It's very cute and ladylike with a circle skirt.

It's especially great with my Simplicity 4401 jeans.

I'm feeling every so slightly more enthusiastic about next year's holiday season if only so that I can bring this blouse and dress out again.  I still don't like the holidays, but loving my holiday outfits is a way to start, right?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wearing Things I've Made: Blu Dot Opening

A while back (August!  I'm still catching up with my summer projects!  Uy.) 
 we attended the opening of the new Blu Dot store in Fogville.   

  Blue Dot is a super cool modern furniture store.

Our friend Jim worked for nearly a year on the new location, 
getting everything perfect and ready for the opening.

It's a beautiful space, full of beautiful things.   

I should have taken more photos of the furniture but the place was mobbed!

I took photos of stylish people instead.

On the left is Janel, Jim's better half.  She is a fabulous interior designer. 
She writes about style, fashion and design on her blog Janel Holiday Interior Design.  
With her is Carrie of Carried Away with Vintage Gourmet.

Jim and Janel are avid scooterists so, of course,
a vintage scooter had to be involved in the event.  Gorgeous!

I love this shelf of Blu Dot squirrels.  Why squirrels?  Why not?

I wore this.  The trousers are Simplicity 4401.  Yes, AGAIN!
I love this pattern.  It works perfectly on my short round body with no alterations. 
Can't. Be. Beat.  Sure it's not the most exciting outfit ever, but I love these trousers. SO MUCH!  


They are the perfect thing for hanging out in a very fancy shop 
while having cocktails and ogling  gorgeous modern furniture.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Tiki Oasis: That Tikibilly Dress

Well, good people, it's been a while.  Photographing this project really held me up.  I didn't want to give you the same old photos of me standing on the fireplace so I tried, I really tried, to mix it up and take pictures outside AT an actual event. But it didn't go so good.  This dress doesn't want to be snapped in the wild.  Really, the problem was me.  I kept making weird faces or standing funny.

Anyway, long story short...I made a tiki-inspired version of Retro Butterick B5708  for 2012's Tiki Oasis.  Here's the pattern envelope photo.  As with all retro patterns I made it one full size down from my usual measurements.


...and here's the ONE photo I was able to snap of the finished dress that came out all right.



At home standing on the fireplace again.  Uy.  Oh well.

What I will say about this dress is that I love it.  There were some tricky bits construction-wise but if I was a more seasoned seamstress it would have been a bang-it-together-with-your-eyes-closed breeze.  I get tons of compliments when I wear it, and I wear it a lot.  It makes me very happy.

However,  there is some ish to be dealt with.  The shoulder ties have a mind of their own. You don't get to decide how it will be tied, THEY do.  Also, it's not really designed for the large of bust.  There is no built in support of any kind.  If you are a D+ like me, you've really got to wear it with a longline strapless bra to make it even remotely okay.

The one I wear is the Dominique from Lauren Silva lingerie,  It's only $39 dollars and I love it.  It's actually quite pretty and it's got a plunge back, which is extremely handy.

Dominique Satin Low Back Plunge Strapless 
Here's another snap I took to show how pouffy the skirt is when you sit.  It didn't really work but it gives you a good idea of how cleavage-alicious this dress can be.



In closing, it's a great dress but would work best on someone without a large chest.  With the sarong-inspired tied shoulders (just perfect for tiki and Polynesian prints) and the classic 50s shape, this pattern is the very essence of Tikibilly!  I dig it.  If I made it again I might add some boning to the side bodice and maybe more gathers where the lower bodice meets the boob area.  I think it would be great, and very sexy, with a straight skirt instead of a full one.

Now if only I could photograph it without making crazy face?  Maybe the problem is all the tiki drinks I seem to consume while wearing it?   Hmmm... Here is a relatively non-crazy-face photo that I snaffled from Facebook of me wearing the dress at Tiki-O this past August.


...and with that, 2013's Tiki-O is finally put to bed.

I'm already looking forward to sewing for next year.  The 2014 theme is Beatnik so I feel like that excludes a lot of pretty dresses and I really don't want to go all blackety-black-black.  I might have to get creative!  Or maybe I'll just re-create all of Liz Taylor's beatnik mamma outfits from The Sandpiper! Whee!