Tag Archives: skirt

The Brighton Beach Bunny Skirt

Call me crazy, but I love Russia. I love it. It’s a weird place and it’s super strange and scarred and currently a human rights disaster, and I’m not a political fan, but culturally, I just love it. This is not, I understand, something many other people feel. After all, Russia has a reputation for being a cold and bitter place filled with pain and sorrow. But that’s what makes it so much fun! It’s dramatic! It feels things deeply! It lives on vodka and emotions! What’s not to love?

Real talk, I’m predisposed to love Russia, honestly. My mother’s family is Russian, I grew up hearing Russian (though I can say maybe four things myself), eating Russian food, reading Pushkin fairy tales and thinking about how I could get a duel going. When I was in college I studied abroad in Moscow. I want to work in theater, for goodness sakes, and after Greece and England Russia really has the market on that one cornered. (Don’t talk to me about France, okay? Just don’t. Bunch of cheese eating surrender monkeys who don’t use half of the letters they could be pronouncing because, what, that’s too much effort? Writing plays about Greek myths and corrupt clergymen and defecating kings? Whatever.  Call me when Godot comes. Jeez.) And after my time living in Russia, well, there was no going back. I was a whole-hearted convert, a lover of the Russian doucha (that’s soul, come on, be cool) and bitter sad grimness on each crumbled little Slavic face. It’s adorable!

But I no longer have family in Russia, and plane tickets don’t come cheap to the land of eternal winter (See, Game of Thrones should shoot the North of the Wall stuff THERE), so the next best thing for this current New Yorker is Brighton Beach. Oh, Brighton Beach, my love, my life, my youth, my orchard!

Ahem. Just a casual Cherry Orchard reference. Like you do. For those who do not know, Brighton Beach is a Russian neighborhood in Brooklyn, right near Coney Island. For just under a century it’s been an enclave of Russian life in New York. In the 1860’s the area was developed as a resort town with its own racetrack. The area wasn’t technically a part of Brooklyn until 1894, after which it became a residential area with its own amusement park. With the Depression and the Second World War, floods of Jewish immigrants, primarily from Odessa, but also from other Eastern European nations, poured into the area, making it a Russian neighborhood.

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In the last few decades, increased immigration from former Soviet states, including those with stronger Asian influences, have added more kinds of food and more accents of Russian to the area. Getting out of the train you might not hear a word of English spoken in any direction for blocks and blocks.

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Bright plentiful produce spills out from every store, women in heels and sparkles chatter and bicker, every sign points the way to Russian pastries, watches, oil, pelmeni and perfume.

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Headscarves mix with peroxided blonde locks, and everyone finds themselves scattered over the boardwalk, especially in the summer.

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I love going there, and I don’t go nearly enough. In fact, I hadn’t been once since I moved to New York almost two years ago. Given that I live in Southern Brooklyn, this is a crime I plan to rectify with frequent trips in the future. For for now, I went with what’s-his-face this past Sunday and could hardly contain my excitement.

We had read about this place last summer and always wanted to go there for lunch, so we finally did it. Totally worth the trip, even if I wasn’t wild about Brighton Beach. I heartily recommend it to anyone.

And obviously I had to wear something new. I mean, what am I, a savage? Luckily in my post-graduate school free time between working and my frequent existential crises, I’ve made a lot of new things. Some of them were for my roommate Emily’s trip, which she leaves on today for a month. Photos for those will be delayed for obvious reasons, but hopefully feature exotic locals! And some things are for my own trip with my parents to San Juan which I am taking tomorrow. Again, stay tuned. But this seemed like a good occasion to bust out something special, and so I present to you my Brighton Beach Bunny Skirt!

BBB 2.jpgThe pattern ought to be a familiar one to anyone who reads this, because it’s Simplicity 4529 and I’ve made it so many times and I have no plans to stop any time soon. Look, I’m all for making new patterns and trying new things. But honestly, I’ve been sewing long enough at this point, and also DRESSING myself long enough, to know is something is just not going to work for me, and to appreciate the things that really make me look and feel good. It’s a grown-up uniform, sure, but what’s wrong with that? I’ve said it before and I will say it again, if it ain’t broke…

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Actually, this is pretty funny, I was worried that it WAS broke, I had this strange anxiety that this time it wouldn’t fit. I was so worried and convinced that somehow my Puerto Rican caboose wouldn’t be able to squeeze into this that I added fabric in the back, two strips adding up to about 3 inches.

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Real talk? This totally would have fit. It’s my loosest make of this skirt to date. But it’s also supremely comfortable and I don’t mind at all. So either I miscalculated or my tush got smaller over night. Could it be the second one, please?

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This skirt is unbearably simple for me at this point. I made so many over the winter and one last summer, I’ve got this. But I love how it looks, and this fabric was just too perfect. I love it, I can’t deal with how much I love it. I kept pointing out images to what’s-his-face.

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I can hardly decide which is my favorite. The Elephant reading the newspaper? The monkeys in the band? The juggling guy? The frogs? It’s a party! Just the sort of thing to wear in Brighton Beach. This way I’m something to look at, too!
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Of course, if you are in Brighton Beach already, you might as well stop by Coney Island.

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Though I can’t decide which is more thrilling, amusement park rides or sullen Russians who continuously reference the Gulags? I’m just kidding. It’s obviously the Russians. Sorry, Coney! Better luck next time.

BBB 3.jpgHappy Summer, people! I’m off to San Juan, more posts with Tropical outfits to follow!

 

 

 

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Filed under Clothing, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns

The in Grape in Galway Skirt

The castle behind us, we took off this morning for Dublin once again. I have to say, I was fairly thrilled, I’m a city person and while the Irish countryside is just lovely, it’s in Dublin’s fair city where I have been longing to be. Though even urban little me must admit, our tours of the narrow roads and dirt paths of Western Ireland have had some excellent views. Of course, the idea of driving for hours, which we’ve been doing, just FOR a view sometimes strikes me as a bit of madness, but what is Ireland for but a bit of madness, right? How could this country have produced Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and WHISKEY, without an eye towards insanity? When in Rome…

So we did quite a few countryside jaunts, and I, of course, had to wear something new, I mean, the sheep need to be impressed! So along our terrifying but beautiful drive around the Ring of Kerry, I wore this skirt I recently made, and tried to snap some photos, but the wind and the mist and the salt spray of the ocean all contributed to a struggle of a photo shoot. So I got new photos taken in Galway, and this post will therefore be a mix of those two sessions. Luckily, this is the kind of garment that wants a bit of swish when you wear it, don’t you think?

GIG 1It’s a circle skirt! I’ve been wanting to make myself one for a while and I had enough fabric left over from my Well The Point Is It Happened Coat, and I thought, okay, let’s do this thing. They do take up an awful lot of fabric, I will say, but they make up for it in swish factor. And I am all about the swish factor!

GIG 2So much skirt! Yeah, those are some pockets. Because why not? With a skirt this full, pockets are a must. I totally do recognize that I am in all purple tones here, hence the title of the skirt. I wore this outfit in, can you guess? The seaside town of Galway, a beautiful city that didn’t seem to mind my many grape-like tones one bit.

I also wore this on the Ring of Kerry:

GIG 5That’s some wind factor, there.

GIG 6In retrospect I recognize that maybe the issues with these photos weren’t the skirt but my HAIR.

GIG 4I don’t know what to say about the construction of this, really. It was a very simple skirt, I pinked all the seams, added pockets, hand-picked a zipper up the back, cut a waistband and put in a button that weirdly matches the coat! Hahah, I am awfully predictable. I didn’t use a pattern for this, I used one of the ten million tutorials online calculating the shape based on my waist measurement. I hung it overnight and then hand stitched the hem. HOLY MOLEY does that take a long time. I was furiously stitching it right before I left New York for Philadelphia and I have no idea how I got it done. This fabric hangs a bit strangely and drapes soooo much, but in real life I adore this.

GIG 7Because you can do this! There is nothing like a circle skirt for the twirl factor, I promise you. There might be people who don’t make things just for the twirl factor but such people are fools, in my humble opinion.

GIG 3There you go, it’s an easy enough project but I’m awfully glad I made it, I love a full skirt and I love that a circle skirt has fullness in the hem but is relatively smooth through the hips, it’s the grail.

GIG 9Oscar Wilde really liked it. And if THAT guy is happy, you know you are doing something right. Write. Right. Write. Right. GET IT?

Ahem. Excuse me. Moment of extreme hero-worship/dorkiness over. Wilde took one look at me, quoted himself: “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”and then turned back into bronze.

Now, for more Ring of Kerry shots, for those who like that sort of thing:

GIG 10 GIG 11 GIG 12 GIG 14 GIG 15 GIG 16 GIG 17 GIG 18

Nice, right?

I realized recently that my favorite shot has been conspicuously lacking from my blog posts. So I’m bringing it back!

GIG 8THERE it is! I’ve missed that, haven’t you? Jumpshot! Best thing ever! Oh, how I’ve missed you….how much fun does that look? Nevermind the looks I got from passersby and a pair of VERY judgemental swans (swans are jerks. Fact.) The jumpshot is the most fun, and I’m happy I did it. Thanks, Galway!

Stay tuned for more updates from the land of Aran. Now, where was that whiskey I was talking about?

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Filed under Clothing, Sewing, Travel

The Old Hat Outfit

As I write this I’m sitting in an impossibly fancy cocktail lounge in an impossibly beautifully and grand castle that has been converted into a hotel in Western Ireland. I have no idea what I’m doing here, and I really hope no one kicks me out. This place is stunning and elegant and I keep swirling my cognac like I know what I’m doing and hoping no one notices that my shoes are from H and M. Suffice to say, 2014 is going wonderfully for me so far, how is everyone else doing?

I didn’t do a year-in-review post this year, partially because I was traveling, and partially because I couldn’t really stomach the idea of summing up my year of sewing/life (in that order) in just one post. I have learned so much over the past year, from my continuing work at the Costume Shop, to sewing for other people with its challenges and delights, to trying new projects for myself, I can hardly contain it all. I made a coat! I made yoga pants! I made three swimsuits! (One was for my mom so you didn’t get to see that, she isn’t as brazen as I am, though she looks really good in a swimsuit, never fear.) I traveling a lot of places! I forced so many good friends to take photos of me and, and this part is important, they still say they like me! So I feel happy about what I did, sad for the failures, but I can honestly say that anything that didn’t work on my I either gave away to the Salvation Army or to the Textile Recycling in my neighborhood. I also made the shift to recycling all my fabric scraps, large and small, at the Textile Recycling as well, which makes me feel amazing. So big days.

But I will say, I did not keep my sewing resolutions all that well, or at least one of them. I had vowed last year not to make the same pattern over and over again and yet I think I have done that more this year then ever before. I guess I sort of unintentionally reverse-pyschologied myself. So, well done, self, but also, you are silly. Honestly, maybe this is just a part of growing up, that you realize there are certain things you reach for over and over so you had better make yourself a bunch of those because that’s the best thing for your wardrobe and your getting-dressed-sanity. Is this boring? Maybe. Is it practical? Certainly. Don’t get me wrong, I also tried and will keep trying new patterns, but I think I will also stop beating myself up when I make another of something I love. I might not always document it, but I plan to keep making certain things again and again for the simple reason that I love them, they look good on me, and if it ain’t broke…

So without further ado, I present to you my new Old Hat Outfit, worn on a visit to Kilmainham Gaol, in Dublin:

OH 2Do I even have to say this at this point? The skirt is obviously Simplicity 4529. I really need to make another skirt pattern. OR DO I? I don’t know. I love this thing. Ten darts. Curves for days. Kick pleat. Less than a yard of fabric. I may never stop making this. NEVER.

OH 5I only dislike how shirts create a roll underneath pencil skirts. How do I avoid this? Any ideas? The shirt is a Hemlock from Grainline Patterns. I’ve made, like, five of these. It’s a great pattern. I slim them all down and get them out of about a yard of knit fabric. Ha, two yards, one outfit! Style for yards! Don’t groan, that was brilliant. Can’t stop, wont stop.

OH 4It was so cold when we took these but my mom warmed me by making my laugh at myself. She is the best.

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I was a little worried about the stripes of this fabric, a Costume Shop freebie, by the by, with all the many darts happening here, but somehow it worked pretty well! You can see the darts, of course, but I don’t really mind that. I mind more the small dish soap smudge there, but what can you do? At the side, in an earlier photo, you can see that the large hip dart kind of makes a chevron thing happen, which I personally support.

Oh 6As you can see, I put in a red zipper. Which is showing, quite a bit. I hand-picked it, and it really doesn’t usually show this much, or at all, I promise. Maybe it’s all the hip sass happening here? Could be, could be.

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The button is a vintage button.

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This skirt is so warm and cozy, I can’t even describe it. No lining, just soft wool.

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The fabric from the shirt is from GirlCharlee.com. Obviously. That’s kind of a give-in with my knits at this point, honestly.

OH 10I forced my mother to take these photos (I tell you, that woman is a Jewish Saint, I swear, the princess moments about photos that she puts up with from me. With anyone else I’m like, it’s great, so great, thank you so much, and with my mom I’m like, DO THIS BETTER, GOD, haven’t you ever used a CAMERA before? This woman gave birth to me. What is my deal?) in the courtyard of the former Royal Hospital, which is now the Irish Museum of Modern Art. We didn’t actually go inside this museum because homie don’t play that with contemporary art (but you get me near some 17th century something something and baby, we got a stew going!) but it’s right across from Kilmainham Gaol, a large prison which has housed some of Ireland’s most important political prisoners and rebellious heroes. It’s an amazing place, and if you ever come here I can’t recommend it enough. Check it out:

OH 12OH 17OH 16OH 15OH 13Grim, isn’t it, and this was a very NICE prison by Victorian standards. Oy.

Okay, enough sadness. here is a cat photo from a nice Irish cat we met:

OH 11So handsome, with those green eyes. Cadfael, forgive me, who can resist a bit of Irish charm?

 

 

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Filed under Clothing, Grainline Patterns, knit, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Travel, Vintage

The Dynamic Duo Outfit

Some things just go well together, like steak and fries, or Barbie and Ken, or wine and I, or bacon and …everything (shush, I know I’m Jewish, you let me worry about that, I had a nice long chat with Elohim and he was like, Yaweh or NOway, and I was like, yes, but try this, and he was like, this is amazing, what was I THINKING when I made this trafe? And I was like, we all have our off days. And then we ate ALL the bacon and laughed and laughed and laughed and talked about how everyone in the Torah was in bed. Spoiler alert, Issac was pretty kinky. Sigh. How I wish this was true…. maybe I will write this, a la Salman Rushdie, and have a fatwah put out on me. That’s how you know you’ve really made it, when large groups of people are calling for your head. Joan of Arc was, like, so famous.) Combinations are important, I believe. As a child I always loved this plastic plate my mother got for us that had little compartments for different parts of the meal. I still love this, to be fair, show me a bento box and I will love you forever, this is a fact. I know it’s all the same to my stomach but I am a segregationist when it comes to food. But when it comes to making things, that’s another story.

So, a few years ago now, my, how time does fly, I saw this outfit on Mad Men:

jane-hollowayI love this, and not just because of Christana Hendrick’s super sassy expression, but because it’s such a lovely outfit, and in a lot of ways is super modern, couldn’t you just see this in a modern office? I loved this image and I filed it away as inspiration to some something similar. And then I….didn’t.

The thing is, some outfits inspire you not just because of the individual pieces, but because of the combination of factors. Why must all things be a choice? Why are we suffering under this oppressive yoke of election? Can’t I have everything at once? Can I have bacon AND Judaism? Why do I have to limit myself to one piece of inspiration or the other? Can’t I copy an entire outfit without feeling like a loser? Well, regardless of how I felt, I still made an imitation outfit. So step right up and judge me, internets, I don’t even care, because I love this very much:

DD 2Obviously it’s not quite as Joan as Joan can be. First of all it’s a faux-wrap top, which I made from the Hope Dress Pattern, a free Burda Style download (FREE PATTERN!), and Girl Charlee fabric and it’s lower cut than Miss. Holloway’s top, which is funny, I don’t think I’ve ever been LESS modest then Joan before… Not that I’m casting aspersions on her honor, here, I love Joan, I respect her, I’m not a Jaguar executive (ooooh, it’s still too soon to joke, isn’t it? The Other Woman is one of the best single stand alone episodes to television ever. Fact.)  Second of all, it’s a sort of dark teal peacock color (not as it looks in the photos) not red. But that being said, I think the tweed pencil skirt/wrap top thing works pretty well! I’m thrilled with it, anyway.

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See my odd grimace? Nothing says happiness like grinding your teeth together so hard you start to feel powder between them!

IITSFOF 3There is sort of a drop-shoulder thing going on with this pattern which is fine, but I don’t know that I would include it next time I make this. I’m thinking about doing a slim-fitting faux-wrap dress in red. Thoughts? Seriously, if you haven’t tried the Hope Pattern, do it, it’s free, it’s one size but easy to size up or down with a knit, and I actually really love the neckline, it’s a nice shape and quite flattering.

To the skirt!

IITSFF 1Oy, that invisible zipper is a little visible. OH well. Whatever. Why did I use an invisible zipper? Because that’s what I had. Factual. The pattern is my beloved pencil skirt, Simplicity 4529, a godsend, a dream, a wonder, the one of 10 darts and one seam and all my devotion. I used a yard of grey tweed wool from the Ebay, and a china silk lining from Mood, so that’s 20 darts in total. 20. Darts. Holy hell, this thing is a dart monster. Worth it! Look at that fit! Love it. I know I’m asking the internets to enjoy the view of my posterior and I don’t even care, such is the majesty of this skirt pattern. Back vent! I think Joan would approve.

The waistband button looks like something off a Sailor’s Peacoat, no?

DD 1I love skirts like this that let you use up all those single buttons in your stash. Delightful.

DD 4Channeling Joan with the sassy pose, though she probably would have preferred a nice pump to the boots I have here, but I can’t be Joan all the time, guys! I have to live my own life!

As you can probably tell, these photos were taken at work by my lovely co-worker, Christopher, who is an amazing sewer and costume design student. And a peach. He put up with all of my demands, like, okay, more, but make me look better, would you?

As a parting gift, enjoy this photo of Cadfael, who is the best part of any combination:

image-2I’m happy to have made a skirt that finally matches him. At least all the cat hair will just blend in this way! Ha, unintentional genius moment, well done, self! And yet, somehow I know he will find a way to assert himself, he always does….

 

 

 

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Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Yellow Rose Of Texas Skirt (Sew Bossy!)

So, Austin might be the liberal stronghold of Texas, but, y’all, it’s still TEXAS, so there are Stensons and cowboy boots and taco stands and friendly faces everywhere. For a northern aggressor like me, it’s VERY disconcerting…and also exciting! I’ve visited the South before, but never ever Texas, and Austin is mighty cool, I must say. We went to a speakeasy that is a converted brothel, we saw Tony Hale speak (it was…emotional), we ran around a beautiful running path with some of the happiest dogs I have EVER seen, I went vintage shopping, it was pretty baller. And pretty PRETTY:

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And so of course I had to make something appropriately Texan to go with the city, don’t you think? So I did, or at least I TRIED to!

Have you guys heard about Sew Bossy? It’s pretty amazing, and I was lucky enough to be contacted by the wonderful Amity of Lolita Patterns (which are SO. CUTE.) and we agreed to an exchange. Which I mostly failed at. As you will see. But that’s not because of Amity, or even Texas! It’s because I am the worst.

So Amity sent me this lovely pattern, Simplicity 1802, a Cynthia Rowley pattern.

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Actually, she sent me a lot of amazing AMAZING things, including a lovely purple border-printed eyelet, that I think she wanted me to USE for this pattern. Let’s talk a second about Sew Bossy, because clearly I do not follow instructions well and totally failed at the bossy part. Part of this is clearly is God help the person who tries to tell me what to do when I sew, as I have found, I am not good at that….Amity is a stellar person and she sent me the coolest stuff and then I…turned it all around. TO BE FAIR, the eyelet she sent me, which I love VERY much, wouldn’t have worked on this skirt, in my humble opinion, and I didn’t want to ruin her gorgeous gifts to me! But the yellow rayon she envisioned as a lining, well, that thing and I had some good times with this swishy flippy skirt.

Let’s talk about this pattern, which is the second place I failed to be bossed around. It’s really very lovely, and I like it so much, well made, great details, but I knew the moment I saw it that the bodice wasn’t going to do me any favors. That kind of segmented bodice does wonders for ladies who were made in the willow slight nymphy way. But me? I was not. So this pattern is something I really never would have bought for myself, but you know what, I thought, that’s pretty cool, let’s try something here! But I had to skip the bodice, I just had to, some things you just KNOW aren’t going to work out.

The skirt and I, however, are having a love affair…. so I thought, maybe just make that? And holy hell am I glad I did. Because this skirt couldn’t be more me, and I never would have known such a thing without Amity. THANK YOU AMITY!

YROT 6Look at that! Luscious lemony rayon, swishy swishy skirt, it’s everything I never knew I wanted! I seriously never would have made this pattern if I hadn’t been sent it, I would have taken a look, wrinkled my judgmental little nose and said, how fussy. But, it’s NOT fussy! It’s awesome!

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This photo gives a nice view of the scarf I’m wearing too, which I bought at one of Austin’s many many amazing vintage stores. How cute is it? Matches the skirt, too, and the girl at the store loved my dress WHICH I MADE. I had to buy it. It wasn’t an option. Vintage silk for 10 dollars? THANK YOU AUSTIN.

YROT 7Ah, the warm sun of Texas, how I bask in it. I’m really loving my solid t-shirt tan in all these photos, how cute is that?

More skirt information: the segments, especially in a solid, are so fun and actually kind of subtle, and they give me SO much swish. SWISH IS ALL I EVER WANT. That and Vietnamese food. AND WE GOT THAT TOO!

YROT 1Yeah, that’s fried chicken. Vietnamese food with fried chicken. TEXAS FOR THE WIN.

Ahem.

Back to the skirt.

YROT 10Ha, you can see me clutching the lens cap. That’s because on a trip I lost my lens cap riding a camel (BIRTHRIGHT) so now I’m pretty careful about it. The skirt has four segments, one in front, one in the back, and one on each hip. It’s a little tricky to put together, or rather, to pin together, but once I got the hang of it it was smooth sailing. I did everything by machine because I really wanted to get this done before my trip and also I knew that a hand-sewn hem would pucker the fussy wrinkly AWESOME rayon. Seriously, it might be a little temperamental as a fabric and fray like crazy, but I love the way it hangs and the way it LOOKS.

YROT 4The back is a little messy whatever look away look away!

YROT 5Back to the front the front is cute!

YROT 9A little close up for you.

But, Leah, you say, this swish factor, tell me more, tell me more. Well, if you insist:

YROT 3Ha, that lady in the background is totally running away from the crazy impromptu photo-shoot happening at this charming Vietnamese cafe. Sorry, ma’am! (Look, I ma’amed! I’m trying, Texas!). But you must admit, that’s some solid twirling there.

So, in sum, a few things:

Austin is fantastic, and I’m so glad I got to go.

I do not follow instructions well.

I’m so grateful to Amity for trading with me and bringing this awesome skirt into my life!

Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going back to twirling, thanks:

YROT 8If you aren’t twirling, are you really doing it right? Probably not…

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Filed under Challenge, Closet Case Patterns, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Travel

The Dear Emily Skirt

I have to say, I’m a really lucky person when in comes to living with people. A year ago seriously landed on this amazing apartment with one of my really good friends and lo and behold, we actually can live together comfortably, which is a real miracle, honestly. The people you love may not always be the people you can live with but I am so lucky in that I live with my friend Emily, who is the best possible roommate and also a person I love and, and this is REALLY important, never want to slaughter her in her sleep. It’s interesting how big a deal that is….

Our other roommates, Jenny, who has just moved out, and Jordan, who has just moved in, are also amazing and wonderous, but they didn’t buy me the fabric I used to make this skirt, so I’m not going to gush as much for them, although I COULD….

So, Emily, because of her high level of awesomeness, bought me a yard of Liberty of London tana lawn for Hanukkah. She is amazing and bought me a fabric that I love so hard and would literally never buy, because it’s just so the opposite of inexpensive. Thank goodness she liked the cowl I knitted her in return, because honestly, the second I looked at her gift to me I wanted to run out and buy the contents of a wine store for her. Luckily I’ve had the chance to make her a bunch of things since I started living with her, so I feel like I’m chipping away at this debt, but this is a  Rumpelstiltskin level owing here, so I think it’s going to take a while…I’m up for that.

So what did I do with this treasure? I made a skirt!

DES 3A pencil skirt, to be precise, my favorite of all time, Simplicity 4529, which I’ve made twice now. I love this pattern, and all it’s many many (10!) darts), which do nice things for my whole curvy self. And I wasn’t going to mess around with this fabric and try something new and crazy, I wanted to make damn sure I treated this luscious lawn with the respect it deserves.

DES 4See? Look at that, doing nice things for me all over the place….

Lawn is a fluttery thing, so I underlined this skirt with a white cotton/polyester blend fabric which is actually sheet material I had bought to make Emily curtains! Ha, it’s all thanks to Emily, this skirt.

DES 1Please excuse the wrinkles. I wore this on the Bolt Bus going home to Philadelphia for a friend’s wedding shower (HI, Anna! Oh my lord it’s only a week and a half until the wedding ahhhhhhhhh!) and it got a bit fatigued by the trip. And then my mother was like, making me take MORE photos for you, what a draaaaaaaag. But she did it! My mom is the best mom.

DES 7I need to keep talking about this fabric. Because it is magical.

DES 11

It’s also buttery and smooth and soft and gorgeous, oh, I cannot CANNOT say enough about Liberty of London. I know, blah blah blah, everyone who sews knows it’s fabric-crack, or doesn’t buy the hype, but let me tell you something, the hype is helplessly correct, because this is a joy to sew with and to wear. Normally I don’t even bother about how something is to sew, because unlike knitting you don’t spend as much time touching fabric as you do touching yarn, so I don’t think about the process of sewing as much as how it’s going to be to wear. But this, oh, my, can hands have orgasms? DARTS were fun with this thing. DARTS.

DES 5Another back view because when you stitch 10 darts into a skirt YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW IT.

DES 2I love that little Roman-style button, don’t you? Oy, I see some putting on the hand stitching around the zipper, sorry, guys, gotta re-stitch that….

DES 10I hand-stitched the hem, and here you can see that and the underlining. All in all a simple skirt, and something I of course made about a month ago and am only now getting around to blogging. Le sigh.

DEES 6I love this skirt. And it’s all thanks to Emily! Thank you, Emily! And please note, everyone, that if you are ever wondering what would be a good gift for me, well, now you know….And if you forget, just ask Emily. She’s got this.

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Filed under Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Take My Own Advice Skirt

Remember what I was literally JUST SAYING about vacation clothing? Well, yeah, I actually recently made something that caused me a bit of concern in that respect. But luckily I was vacationing with a close and wonderful friend, who I can count on to tell me if something is just not okay for the mainland. Becca has an excellent eyes for such things, and honestly, judging other people and their outfits is one of the things that makes us such good friends (seriously, we should have a t.v. show. I’m not kidding.) And it’s important in life to have friends who you can trust to take you aside and say, sweetie, I adore and care about you, and as your friend, I need to tell you, you look like a 4 dollar hooker from Reno. Becca is one such friend. Thank the Lord.

So I found a tutorial on the Pintrest from Cotton and Curls, an amazing blog, that seemed like a good idea, and I had some fabric from the hoarder stash that I had never known quite what to do with, but I had this idea that it might be cute as a skirt. I was going to just pleat or gather and go, but then I thought, screw that, you’ve been trying to branch out, BRANCH OUT, you pavlovian dog. Only, well, I didn’t have a TON of that fabric, so…..yeah. I had some concerns about this thing, because it’s sort of a high-low style wrap skirt, and while I was just fine with the length of the low, I was a little concerned about the, um, high. BUT. I figured if I could rock it anywhere, I could rock it in Puerto Rico (this is a terrible philosophy and one I’m very against unless I decide to do it, in which case it’s totally fine and awesome). So. Here we are, bring on the judgement:

TMOA 1Real talk? I kind of love this skirt a lot. But I was concerned about the, um, modesty quotient. Also, as I look at these photos, I realize that even though the tutorial didn’t say to interface the waistband, I SHOULD HAVE FLIPPING INTERFACED THE WAISTBAND I KNOW BETTER. Ah, well.

TMOA 2I laugh at myself and my own foolishness.

TMOA 3So it’s just a little short in the front. On the side. Sometimes. And when there is a strong breeze, well, hello world! But also, very much, screw it. Because I love this. I think it’s adorable. I think it’s a little hipster, and I could wear it to a concert in Brooklyn and sip drinks made with locally grown fruit and locally distilled booze and just feel right at home. And besides. Becca approved.

TMOA 7The construction was awfully easy, it’s a great tutorial and I would recommend it. In fact, I would like to try it again, with more than a yard of fabric to play around with, because I love the flowyness of this, and I would love for it to be EVEN FLOWY. Go with the flow, people.

I would interface the waistband, as I said, but otherwise I love this style, love the buttons, love the shape. I machine stitched the hem, because I’m a busy lady and whatever sometimes and also shut up.

TMOA 4Because of the feathers on the fabric, which is some sort of synthetic blend (I think?) with a decent drape, I thought it would be nice to take these photos at Plaza de las Armas, which is famous in San Juan because you can feed pigeons. THOUGH WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO THEY ARE FLYING RATS!?!?

TMOA 6And yet children do. The hell?

TMOA 8Oh, and then this guy, who I have seen many times, I think he lives in the square, tried to get me to feed the pigeons. NO. NO THANK YOU. I said this, in Spanish, very clearly, and yet….struggle. I think my face here says it all.

TMOA 5Still. It’s a cute skirt, I think! And I brought it back to New York with me, so let’s hope it stands up to city living as well as it did to San Juan…

But seriously, do try this tutorial if you are so inclined, I feel like this might just be the perfect summer skirt! Once I lengthen it….

 

 

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The Old Fashioned Outfit

Before I write anything else, I just want to say, thank you very much, all of you, for your gorgeous and wonderful comments on my last post. I’m always a bit reticent to share real emotions digitally, after all, as we all know, the internets is no place for feelings. But in the swirl of all this nostalgia, I felt some impulsive need to inject a touch of reality, or at least, my reality, into the vintage mania, which I myself truly do share. Thank you all for reading, really, it means more to me then I can say.

And now, onto my second Sew For Victory outfit! This one is actually a reproduction print, the ever popular Simplicity 3688. I took the blouse and skirt patterns and made them both, in a Spring (or at least anticipating Spring! Come on, Spring!) outfit. And here is what I came out with:

TFRO 1

As I look at this photo, I realize there is just a ton of fabric bunching at the waist. Oh, well, what are you going to do. I omitted the waist tucks, serves me right.

TFRO 2As you may recall (though why on Earth would you…) I’ve actually made this skirt before. But I’ve never made this blouse, and I honestly do like it quite a bit. The neckline is a bit high, and I had to add two darts at each shoulder to get the sleeve to ease into the arm, but otherwise it really works for me.

TOFO 3

The blouse material came from Fabric.com from a year ago, and the skirt material came from an Etsy seller two full years ago. STASH BUSTING FOR THE WIN!

TOFO 4I shortened the skirt about 5 inches (because, for real, I am short, and also, I want to wear this thing, not just save it for theme parties!) but otherwise made no changes.

TOFO 5Dance break!

TOFO 7

I love the print, I think it’s perfect for spring! The look might be a bit modest, but I think it’s pretty cute and flattering, even given women with less then subtle chests.

TOFO 6A whole bunch of darts in that sleeve cap.

TOFO 8And there you can just see the flatfelled seams of the skirt.

And there you have it! More 1940’s stuff. I do truly love the lines and shapes of this period. This skirt falls rather stiffly, but really it’s not as big as it seems, and it’s easy to make it fabric efficient. As is the blouse! Makes it all the easier to keep the home fires burning.

Also, as a last word, the title of this post actually refers to the Frightened Rabbit song, Old Old Fashioned. Love it.

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Filed under Challenge, Clothing, Sewing, Vintage

The My Kind of Staple Skirt

First of all, thank you people all so damn much for your kind comments about my last very form fitting dress! I really appreciate all the love, you people are amazing. I get really weird and nervous about putting those photos on the internets, so thank you. Seriously. You are all way too kind and way too amazing, and thank you for your advice about knit hems and junk in the trunk. Saving all my future makes is what you people do best!

So, you know how Vogue and Marie Claire and Glamour have an article every five minutes about “The Five Staples You Need Right Now” or, “The Ten Pieces You Need For Spring” or “The Only Things You’ll Ever Need To Wear”, like no one is every going to shop again, like fashion as an industry is just going to stop and throw up it’s hands, all, okay, we’re all done. These things do not happen. And yet, the magazines keep selling! I myself buy them! What the hell? So we’ve all heard this mishagas about “staples”, like, THE black pant, THE white shirt, THE floral trench for 5000 dollars (which everyone totally needs, SAID NO ONE EVER). But of course, for convenience and simplicity and just normal day-to-day needs, most people DO have staples, they do have a sort of uniform. And mine is typically woven skirt, knit top, tights, go, especially in this long cold Spring we are having up here in the mid-Atlantic. So it’s obviously in my best interests to make things that correspond with that pattern. Hence this lovely thing I made recently:

RS 1I have, of course, made this before, and pretty damn recently, too. It’s Simplicity 4529, which I have learned from experience needs a non-stretch woven to work. But I think when it works, IT REALLY WORKS. Am I right? Even though the expression on my face above looks like I’m eating glass. I really need to work on my face…

RS 2

Ignore the line of my shirt which you can totally see here, and isn’t this nice? Yes, it’s a bit wrinkled, whatever, I live a life of wrinkles, one must accept such things. The one seam of this 10 dart skirt (10 DARTS! My mind balks each time I consider it, but clearly darts are the key to happiness!) is finished with navy bias tape, which you can see peeking out here at the back vent.

RS 5

More wrinkles, sigh. But I love this skirt! And the three times I’ve worn it thus far, everyone around me has told me they like it, including my bosses at the costume shop , who, like, sew for a living and are the real deal. So I feel pretty darn good about this. How good?

RS 4This good! To be fair, I’m more laughing because my friend Ben, who took these photos, made me crack up. Also, it was so damn cold when we took these. Also, it’s the end of March. Also, it snowed today. SO that’s why I’m making wool flipping pencil skirts at the end of March.

To the sewing! I made no changes except that this one has an invisible zipper not a visible one, which, I mean, I hate invisible zippers, but it’s what I had. I also shortened it by 3 inches or so, which is my standard for this pattern now. This buttery spongy wool I bought last winter at the Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet and I got the last remnant on the spool, and I pet it for a full year before I actually made this. But I’m so glad I did! I love this skirt, and, weather being what it is, I will probably get a lot of use out of it before it gets too warm.

RS 3I’m trying to dance to stay warm here because it was seriously cold. But I’m so thrilled Ben took these photos of me, after a bagel brunch celebrating our last leavened product for a while, it’s Passover now, goodbye breadybye!

So how to I feel to have a well-fitting red pencil skirt that I love and is my version of a staple?

RS 6I think you can figure it out.

 

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Filed under Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The At Last Skirt

I have finally found a pencil skirt pattern that works for me.

I HAVE FINALLY FOUND A PENCIL SKIRT PATTERN THAT WORKS FOR ME. This is a big flipping deal, people. Pencil skirts are hard, guys, they hard just plain hard! But I really wanted a good pattern, for the LONGEST time, and I tried all sorts of things out until I found my new favorite favorite pattern, this vintage 1950’s treasure:

il_fullxfull.322568856

Simplicity 4529. It’s actually a rather amazing pattern, 10 darts, 1 yard of fabric, fun all around. I actually tried this pattern once before with a stretch fabric, and that, as I discovered, was some bad news bears. That skirt turned out way too big on me, and it just never really clung the way a good pencil skirt should. I wanted so much from it, and it gave me nothing, it was very sad, I cried many a salt tear over that failure.

But for whatever reason, my instinct was, try this pattern again, and this time, do it in a non-stretch fabric. And lo and behold, look what I came out with?

TAL 9

And it looks, if I do say so myself, baller! I love this skirt, I really do. I shortened the pattern by about 5 inches (this is LONG, and I am short), but otherwise made zero changes.

TAL 1

I’m pretty into the fit of this. Oh, and I made that shirt, too. The sage of that nonsense can be read here.

TAL 2

I wore this on Valentine’s Day, a day in which I went to class, went to kickboxing, and made dinner for my roommate and we drank wine and watched Nashville. So, it was pretty perfect in all ways.

TAL 3

Obviously, given the nature of this skirt, it’s important that you see the back view. Much as I might blush to put this on the interwebs, I will sacrifice in the name of sewing.

TAL 7I hand picked the zipper, and chose a tortoiseshell button, which I thought was fun.

Also, there is only one seam in this ten dart skirt, and I finished that with bias tap. I adore the back vent, I really do. It’s hard to photograph, though:

TAL 5That is just the weirdest pose. Here, try it this way:

TAL 8

And I hand stitched the hem, of course. As one does.

I just, I adore this pattern. I love the fit, I think it really works for me, and I am so thrilled that I made this unbearably practical plain black skirt, and I can’t wait to make this pattern in other fabrics. I have a red wool I got a year ago that I think might be just perfect, don’t you? A red pencil skirt, doesn’t that just delight your mind?

Is there a pattern you have been trying for a while to find a perfect version of? Any luck? I feel so thrilled to have finally figured out a pattern that works for me, I can’t even deal with it. Very Joan Holloway, no?

Oh, and this is me with my Valentine:

TAL 6Crazy cat lady status achieved.

 

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Filed under Simplicity Patterns, Vintage