Monthly Archives: October 2011

Fall Palette Challenge #1 and #2- The Screw Scallops Skirt and the Pro-Peter Pan Shirt

First of all, I want to thank my lovely and talented photographer for these shots, Brenna. Brenna is not only a theatrical rock star, she also is a wonderful designer and, as it turns out, a kick-ass photographer. So when I sheepishly asked her this morning at work if she would take some shots of my outfit for my sewing blog, she was like, where do I sign up? Which is awesome. (Speaking of work, check out this cool tumblr I made for our next show! And if you are around, come see the show! Buy tickets! It’s going to be amazing!)

And that brings me to another question, which is, how do you get people to take photos of you? Especially when, under normal circumstances, you don’t particularly like having your picture taken? And when most people are only acquainted with point-and-shoot cameras and assume that you want your face in the photo (which I don’t. Not when you are shooting my hem. Idiot), how do you explain that you really want them to shoot the yoke and the placket and the clever slip-stitching and all the other details that, if you are NOT obsessed with sewing, might as well be Greek? I know a lot of people have charming and lovely significant others who will patiently snap shot after shot of your cuffs and collars, but for those of us who don’t, who do you ask? Of late I have been asking friends because it causes both my mother and myself a great deal of tension when I ask her. So, Brenna, Emilie, Victoria, thank you. And be warned for the future, you’re on deck.

You when you think a lot about something, dream of it, even, only to have it turn out miserably, and you wonder where all of that hope and optimism went? Well, one of the two pieces of clothing I’m going to show you today was just like that. The other one was totally cool. No beef, no errors, no difficulties in construction. Why can’t they all be like that?

I don’t know why I look so distrustful in some of these photos. I totally trust Brenna.  The skirt is Vivat Veritas‘  FREE PATTERN Scallop waist skirt. Without the scallops. Hence the name, the “Screw Scallops” Skirt.

I love scallops. Love the food, love the look. And in making this skirt I was super excited for the scalloped waistband. How adorable, I thought, how chic! What a great detail. And it really is! Check out Casey’s version, or Adey’s, they are both too cute for words! But on my version, neatly cut out, interfaced and stitched, the things just would not scallop. The wool (which you may or may not recall from my Who Are You Calling Easy dress) just refused to stay in it’s shape, it kept dipping back into the seam, making a weird, squished, slightly spikey nightmare. And I’m not in love with my actual waist enough to just roll with that. So, with a heavy heart, I simply used my seam ripper to jack that thing out and sewed in a plain-Jane waistband. Sigh.

Look, maybe this is totally my fault. I mean, look, Chie is awesome. And gorgeous. And insanely talented. (And TINY. So tiny. This pattern really didn’t do much for my self esteem, true story.) And the woman recommended synthetic fabrics for this. And I just had to be all “whatever, I like natural fibers”. So I’m going to go ahead and blame myself. Whatever. It’s still super cute. But I belt it, out of shame.

Now to the top:

This blouse is yet another Ute Blouse from BurdaStyle. I’m very predictable. It’s also the first thing I’ve made with my new sewing machine that includes buttons! And as my new machine has a buttonhole foot, making them was the most fun I’ve had in a while. Man, I need to get out more.

I used a cotton shirting I got at for 1.95 a yard, and buttons from Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet. I lengthened the sleeves by three inches. In retrospect, I should have lengthened them more. Oh, well. What can you do.

I just love the peter pan collar. And the puffy pleated sleeves. I can wear it to work, and then out to my friend’s show opening! And if you around Philadelphia, go see that too! See everything! See me jump:

Brenna and I agreed that jump shots were a must.

Don’t you agree?

You totally agree. Who wouldn’t?


Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Colette Patterns, Sewing

The Barrymore Ballerina Dress

Remember all the fall sewing I was going to do? Well, I’m still working on the very first of the 6 pieces. Yeah. Live really gets int the way sometimes, doesn’t it? But don’t judge me too harshly. You see, I had the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and because I promised people who kickstarted me handmade tote bags, I find myself in the untenable position of having to actually made the damn things. So a lot of my sewing time has been spent make tote bag after tote bag and feeling deep sympathy for industrial seamstresses. But I’m almost done my purple wool skirt, and I will have that thing up and running (with a great deal of commentary, for a simple skirt this guy has been a BITCH) soon.

But until then, you will have to content yourselves with the OTHER thing that has eaten into my Fall Palette Challenge, and that is my dress for the Barrymore Awards! The Barrymore Awards, for those of you not living in the Tri-State area, are Philadelphia’s Theater Awards. Named for the Barrymores, American Theatrical Royalty, they come but once a year and this was my first time attending. They are kind of like Prom for grown up actors (read: children) and artists of the performance variety, and everyone gets dressed up and boozed up and, after the ceremony, parties the night away as alone artists can (read: chain smoking, drinking, eating everything in sight and dance fighting). As a serious writer with a full time job at a nominated company, my first thought was obviously, what am I going to wear?  Now, for many people this event might have meant a trip to the mall and a tearful breakdown in a Macy’s dressing room, but I sew, folks, if you hadn’t noticed, so I obviously decided to make myself something pretty. Did I succeed? You be the judge of that:

As my mother said, it’s very “pretty pretty princess”. And you know what? If I can’t be a pretty pretty princess at Theater Prom, then when the hell can I?

The pattern is BurdaStyle 10/2010 Full Dress with Cut Out Bustline . Because it was BurdaStyle it of course meant that the instructions where less then useless, but what can you do? I used 1/2 inch seam allowance and put it together through logic, rather then trying to follow their insane directions. I hand picked the zipper, and I couldn’t really understand the skirt instructions so I just sort of made it up as I went along, and I’m fairly thrilled with the result, I have to tell you!

I told literally anyone who would listen (and several people who probably really didn’t want to listen) that I made this thing. What can I say? You can’t honestly be subtle in bubblegum pink. The material is taffeta, and the bodice is lined. I was going to line the skirt, but taffeta is so stiff and swishy anyway, and the furthest thing from opaque, so I didn’t really feel like I needed to do so. Taffeta may scream “bridesmaid” to many, but I can honestly say I like working with it, it’s stiff and doesn’t slide, and it looks a lot richer then it actually is, and you can’t beat the variety of colors, at least, on Fabric Row!

My lovely and talented friend Victoria, who took most of these photos, felt strongly that I should be twirling. So here it is, my twirl. Drink it in.

However, the glamor shot of the night was by my friend Emilie. Thank you, ladies (both of whom looked AMAZING on this particular evening) for the patience and the excellent photography! And that you to everyone who pretended to care that I made my own dress! And thank you, Barrymore Awards, because we won one! Ah, Theater Prom. Some much better then real Prom, because the drinks are legal, and the guys are openly gay.

That’s enough of that. Back to all the other things I wanted to make!


Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Sewing