Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Completely Uncreative Blouse (Me Made May 14!)

I don’t normally do this, but I totally made a blouse that closely and deeply resembles the cover art of the pattern.

Everything on the left side of this pattern art is bizarre. Why would you ever wear such things, let alone make them? That being said, this is an adorable blouse. It’s really a very nice pattern, I can certainly see why it’s so popular. I have been thinking a lot about size recently so I cut out at 16 rather then my normal 14 because I have heard you should take the desired final bust measurement (if the pattern provides that) rather then the recommended measurement. I like to have some ease in the bust, and I really wanted to get out of doing a Full Bust Adjustment, so, yeah. Cheaters never prosper, unless they DO:

Yeah, baby! And because I cut a larger size, this blouse aced the Mena test (the stretch in the poplin I used, remnents of my Peppermint Pastille, also helped) and I didn’t have to put in the side zipper indicated in the instructions. Life win.

As I typically do the first time I make anything, I followed the instructions. When I make other versions of this blouse (which I’m totally doing, this thing is adorable) I will omit the neck facing, because I hate facings with a passion I usually reserve for exact change and chocolate, and use bias tape to finish the neckline instead. Otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing. Thought I am curious to see what happens when I make this pattern in a non-stretch woven. Ah, a future adventure.

The pants are my denim clovers. If Me Made May was a sports team, those would be called my MVPs.

A little side view for you.

It’s a bit wrinkled, and it could probably use a swayback adjustment, but what are you going to do? Oh, you can tell here that I didn’t cut the back on the fold, I cut two pieces and added some seam allowance. Really, not cutting things on the fold opens you up to a hell of a lot, fabric efficiency-wise.

Thumbs up for fabric efficiency! Yeah.

This blouse might seam rather simple, but I have to say, I adore the diamond darts and careful drafting, it’s great for curvy women like myself. One shirt, 6 darts. Worth it.

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Me Made May 11, 12 and 13 (skirting the issue)

After a long stretch of pants, the skirts are back!

In my mind, my closet is totally the site of gang warfare. When I close the door the pants and the skirts throw down against each other. They don’t really fight, though, they dance fight. The pants are the Jets and the Skirts are the Sharks and the blouses are like the Cowboys and the dresses are like the Farmers (that’s Oklahoma!, for those who got the obvious West Side Story thing but aren’t as into Rodgers and Hammerstein. Amateurs.)

ANYway, without further whimsical ado, my Me Made May outfits over the weekend:

Day 10!

The blouse is my Fecund by Thrifty Blouse, and I still get more compliments on this then almost anything else I’ve made. The skirt is my Nautical Bias skirt. Man, I have to make more of these, it’s simple and comfortable and goes with everything. And the earrings, which you can barely see, are vintage.  On this day I worked and then met my parents at synogogue and it was randomly a service honoring grandparents and grandchildren which was adorable, if odd to be attending. Then we went out to dinner, and you can see my leftovers in my hand and the glow of wine on my face. I loves wine.

Day 11!

Heh. The skirt is my My Lips Your Lips Tulips Skirt, which looks a little crazyface in this photo, but in real life is actually cute. The shirt is my Blank Canvas Top with the modified neckline. The guy wearing nothing I made is my friend Aubie. I went out to Malvern (and when I say out I mean OUT, it’s very far away) to see Aubie and my friend Emilie (who was also the photographer!) in a production of A Wrinkle In Time. I can honestly say I never really liked the book as a kid, but I did like the play, so maybe the character of Meg Murry gets more tolerable with age.

Day 12!

And for Mother’s Day I dressed up in my Too Hot for Tzaft skirt and made my mom dinner. Seared scallops and grilled fennel and asparagus, if you must know. I also made her a Fenfrew and a tote bag! With houses on it! Because she’s an architect! It was adorable! But I had to share with you another cat-centric shot because for the time being that’s the only mothering I’m prepared to do.

Goodness, we are almost at the halfway point for this month of me-made-moments. How is everyone doing? Anyone need a breather, or some water, or maybe a stiff drink? We’re going to make it, people. I know it.

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Me Made May 7 through 10 (playing catch up)

I realized today that because of my trip to Puerto Rico and my insistance on posting long diatribes for every new garment I make, I’m a bit behind! And I didn’t even get to do a dedicated post for my newest creation, which happens to be the fourth installment in my Spring Palette Challenge! So you are about to see a whirlwind of outfits, and don’t worry about that blouse in there, it’s going to make it’s debut soon, just consider this a preview. Okay, without further ado, Me Made May:

Day 7!

The blouse is a surprise which you shall see sometime in the future, but rest assured, I made it. The pants are my denim clovers. My smile is totally fake, I’m sad to have returned from paradise. Ah, well, all things must pass.

Day 8!

My Wildcard Clovers with an unblogged me-made knit top. My first, in fact, and a rather error ridden thing it is, too, but I still wear it all the time, so whatever. Morse may LOOK like he’s desperate to escape me but REALLY he’s thrilled to be a part of Me Made May.

Day 9!

My Sewing Is Not An Exact Science Clovers with Renfrew #2! I had to work that evening, so I made a co-worker snap a photo before the show.

Day 9!

This day was great because while I had to work and ended up at the gym at 10pm as Parks and Recreation concluded for the season, my new friend Shamus took these photos, and I couldn’t help including two because A. my legs look AMAZING and B. The second one is hilarious.

I made the top, it’s my “Happy Trails by Two Friends” blouse. The rest is purchased, sigh.

Am I growling? You bet I am. At this point Shamus was like “give me your best Melrose!”. Melrose was a character on America’s Next Top Model. Yeah. Kindred spirits, people.

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The Faded Photograph Blouse (MMM Day 6)

It’s an amazing phenomenon that people on vacation dress completely differently then they do in real life. Depending on the locale, in this case, a tropical one, visitors tend to strip down and throw ensembles on their bodies that would never fly in their real lives. As someone who spends a good deal of time on an island that many consider to exist solely for the sake of tourists, it always amuses me to see lobster-red visitors in sarongs and denim cutoffs or shirts made of a single scarf and a distinct lack of taste. I enjoy watching them sip their fruity drinks and loudly ask the waiter if they can have some more “toe-stone-es”, because as well all know, speaking in a very loud tone of voice eliminates all language barriers. That’s just a fact.

But as disdainful as I am, I must admit, I too dress slightly brighter in Puerto Rico. It’s something about the fact that regardless of where you are, the suburbs of Bayamon, the streets of Ponce, a plaza in San Juan, all of the architecture is bright poured cement, faded and grubby at times, but always in a tropical hue. My whole family participates in this, wearing ensembles in San Juan that we would feel rather silly about were we in our homes in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. We just can’t help it. Blame it on the Bossa Nova, baby.

That being said, this outfit, in its demure and docile tones, doesn’t match Puerto Rico one iota:

Or maybe it’s San Juan in the 40’s, right after the war, around the time of the great migration to the States. A faded image from the past.

I get so poetic when I write about San Juan! Back to reality. The blouse is the 3rd piece in my Spring Palette Challenge, Simplicity 4608, a 1940’s pattern.

I look like I’ve eaten something horrible here. But that’s just my face, look to the clothing! The skirt is my nautical bias skirt, of course. Love it.

This blouse wasn’t all that difficult to put together, but man, blouses like this have SO MANY PIECES. It’s continually amazing to me that a blouse is so much more difficult than most other things I’ve ever made, and yet it’s dismissed so easily! Show people a bright easy skirt and they are like, damn, girl! But show them a blouse and it’s like, alright, fine, that’s nice, more skirts! Still, I love this blouse. I wanted a 1940’s blouse pattern for a while, so getting one and having it fit nicely right out of the bag feels pretty good.

Now I seem happier. Because I’m like, screw you and your desires for skirts, I made a BLOUSE, deal with it.

I finished the neckline with bias tape, as directed, and I hand stitched the facings to the blouse body. I followed all the instructions. I usually do, the first time around. It’s the second and third that things get wild…

Not a happy face here, though. Here I’m being told about the Kardashians and not only do I not care, but I am NOT amused. Still it’s a good collar shot. I love the collar on this blouse. Despite whatever my face might have been doing in this moment.

The (rather wrinkled) back is nice and blousy, with a yoke across the shoulders and gathers.

The sleeves are rather long. When I make this in the future, which I probably will do, because despite all the fussy hand sewing and pattern pieces, I like the final product enough to suck it up and deal, I will shorten the sleeves.

So, I typically tuck everything in. I like my waist, so I like to accentuate it, and also, I feel kind of unkempt if I don’t. But this blouse has these lovely tucks which I think are particularly flattering. So I tried it out for a little while.

See, the tucks in the back make this little blousy “shelf”. It’s kind of cool.

I wasn’t sure if you could see the stripes in the shirting, it all sort of looks vaguely blue from the photos. So here you are, a close up. The material came from my grandfather’s attic, and the buttons from the hoader. So there you are, a completely stash-shopped blouse.

Yeah. I couldn’t live with it untucked. Sue me.

Do you dress differently when you go somewhere else? Apart from coats for the north and swimsuits for the south, I mean? Do you have a vacation persona who looks like alternate reality you? Obviously I don’t, not in a drastic way, I can’t even untuck my shirt…

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A Peppermint Pastille (MMM 5 Continued)

I don’t know if I would call the color of this dress mint, really, but an Icy Aqua Pastille doesn’t have that alliteration I so crave, so there we are, everyone okay with that? No? Well, suck it up, we’ve got a lot to cover, here, and I don’t have time for your tomfoolery. Now, you remember my pastille muslin, don’t you? I mean, I only showed it to the world a mere three months ago, how dare you not remember it like it was yesterday? Well, never mind that, it was a trifle snug in the bust, so I did a full bust adjustment and made it up in a stretch poplin. Let’s talk about woven fabrics with a touch of stretch, shall we? They are delightful. They will solve any number of fitting issues with ease (heh) and grace. They don’t strain, they don’t constrain, they curve around you and they do what they are told. In short, I loves em. And I must be so immodest to say that I think they love me.

I wore this to my cousin’s wedding on Saturday, at a church out in nowheresville, Cerdo Gordo, Puerto Rico. The wedding was lovely and adorable and perfectly suited to the bride and groom. Of course it started a full hour late. Like everything does in la Isla Del Encanto. So I had time to force my brother to take some shots of this here dress.

This time I didn’t bother with facings. I have very negative feelings about facings. So I lined the bodice and left the skirt unlined. The wrinkles in the skirt rather obscure the pleats, I’m sorry to sa, and if I could afford it, I would travel with a team of people waiting to iron me at all times. That would be just splendid.

I was probably one of the only people, other than my mother, who didn’t wear a set of three-inch or higher heels. I don’t really wear hells. Why? Because they make me fall down.

The back, she is rather wrinkled. Swayback adjustment in the future? I suppose I must do what I must.

Still, I’m pretty into this dress. I think the fit is nice, though of course sheaths aren’t particularly flattering to any stomach of any kind, and mine is no exception. Still, I like it, and wrinkles aside I think it’s adorable and I’m sure I will wear it to other Spring and Summer events.

The church was surrounded by palm trees, as most places are in Puerto Rico. But what was astonishing were the gorgeous orchids grafted onto the trunks of the trees. magnificent!

Amazing, aren’t they? I’ve never been able to grow orchids. They just stick them on a tree and call it a day.

By the way, the vintage item is the headband, which is really a scarf, from my grandmother, which looks something like this:

It’s a souvenir scarf! I love souvenir scarves. Adore them, in fact.

One final shot amongst the orchids.

So there it is, FINALLY, my Pastille dress. Only one more to go and I will have fulfilled the obligations of Sew Colette and sewed my way through the Colette Patterns Handbook!

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The How Many Of These Are You Going To Make? Shorts (MMM Day 5)

I’m sure that’s what you are thinking right now. Leah, you say, you just posted about a pair of shorts. Which you made from the exact same pattern. Literally 12 hours ago. What the hell are you doing? Well, I’ll tell you what I’m doing. I’m posting about more shorts. Because I can. Because they are awesome. Because I made them with leftover scraps from my Nautical Bias Skirt. And because it’s my blog, and I’ll bore you if I want to. So without further ado, more shorts.

Of course, as I look at these photos, I can now see a waterstain on one of the legs. Great. Delightful.

I forgot to mention it, but both of these pairs were made with flat felled seams throughout. I think I’m in love with flat felling seams. Yes, it’s a bit more work, but it looks so cool, and it’s helpful, because this linen-cotton blend is fraying like it’s it’s job. Which it well may be, I don’t know what it does when I’m not around.

I wore these on Saturday morning to the Mercado I described in my last trip. We picked up some delightful cheeses, tiny tomatoes (PS: Puerto Rico, grow more tomatoes, please? Thanks) and island Basil, a small-leaved spicy scented variety.

We also picked up some amazing flowers for my cousin, which turned out to be a huge struggle because my family was determined to forget them after the wedding despite my mother’s imploring pleas, but hey, that’s life. So I posed with the flowers in the market, blinded by the sun that, by that afternoon, would become violent rain. Ah, the Caribbean. What a mess.

I’m only wearing one me-made thing in these photos, the shorts. Nothing vintage, either. Sigh.

BUT, I changed an hour or two after this photo was taken into the dress I made for the wedding, and that ensemble had a vintage touch. So that’s two outfits in one day, which I think makes up for my early transgression, don’t you?

Quick, become distracted with flower photos:

Aren’t these amazing? We were informed they are related to Bananas. So wild looking, like an Alien species.

Pretty….

The colors are so brilliant, they always astonish me.

Though here I seem more skeptical then astonished….

Coming up, more shorts! Ha, I kid. I will be gracious and give you a dress. We all like dresses best, now don’t we…

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Don’t Mind My Yacht Shorts (MMM Day 4)

Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there, I was too busy, thinking about gin and tonics and talking with Buffy and Mitzy about summering on the Cape. New Money? What is that, some sort of musical group? I have no time for such things. The Daughters of the American Revolution are having a dinner at the Club and I simply can’t decide which string of pearls to don. They’re doing lobster tails, so gauche, but one simply endures, doesn’t one?

Now, obviously I am not the same person as the person who would say things like that. After all, I don’t even like gin, let alone country clubs. I don’t think they even LET pedestrians of the red sea like myself into most New England country clubs, let alone half Puerto Rican ones, but I digress. The point is, these shorts make me feel like I’m in Nantucket, on a yacht, chatting with Vanderbilts. They strike that perfect balance of silly and nautical which I feel strongly haunts the WASP with vengeance. After all, this is a group of people who wont discuss their feelings but WILL wear red pants with tiny whales embroidered on them. The hell?

I also made the top. It’s from Steph’s lovely Blank Canvas T-Shirt pattern (FREE PATTERN!) but I lowered the neckline, because it was a bit of a choking hazard on me. The fabric of the shorts came from scraps leftover from my San Cristobal Skirt. Something about this just screams San Juan to me, so it feels appropriate that I got both photographed down there. My brother took these photos, so obviously he improved, as a fashion photographer. Thank goodness.

The shorts pattern is Simplicity 7688, one I’ve used before. I didn’t have enough fabric to lengthen it, as I did in the past, so these are rather, um, short. Yet another reason I left these down in San Juan, I don’t think I’m bold enough to rock this length and this look here in the States.

I have to say, I love the way this pattern fits. I resized it and it must have gone well by some random chance because I think the fit works nicely.

See, look how happy I look!

And here you can see the full length of the top. I just tend to tuck things in so I look more like I walked off a 1960’s movie set, but I recognize that not everyone rolls that way. Thought obviously they SHOULD…

Cadfael was of course instrumental in the cutting and sewing process. He always is.

I saw this cool shot on my way to the supermarket and couldn’t resist photographing this little view into a house in ruins. So I’m sharing that with you.

Now, whose up for a game of croquet? It coincides quite cleverly with cocktail hour.

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