Monthly Archives: June 2012

The I’m Really A Dog Person Skirt

Shocking confession time: Until about three years ago, I would have said I was a dog person. WHAT? I know. I KNOW. BETRAYAL.

I actually grew up with dogs. We had a HORRIBLE cat when I was young, Nadia, and like most horrible things she just lived for flipping EVER. My mother adopted that mean calico in college and the animal just would not die. Horrible cat. Horrible even to my mother, her savior. Horrible. But that’s cats for you, ungrateful, selfish, never kind. Right?

Mom, how could you say such things about me and my kind? I’m so upset I’m just going to have to sleep for 9 hours to deal with these emotions. Excuse me.

So we had dogs. Sweet stupid wonderful dogs filled with doggie happiness. I love dogs, I really do. My school mascot was a dog, in college, and I actually got to meet the fellow. Here is how I felt about meeting Handsome Dan in real life:

Right? In my disposition I’m actually quite dog-like. I’m cheerful, I pant easily, I love food, I enjoy getting my belly rubbed, it’s all there! I’m literally a person who is like a dog.

But somehow along the way, these devious plotting fuzzy jerks (i.e. cats) have crept their ways into my life. And what can I do? I love them. They are cute! They are interesting! They are consistently weird and funny! They’ve got tails and they chase bugs! I’m into them, what can I say….

So I made a skirt. As an ode to these creatures who have infiltrated my life and show no signs of leaving.

Ha, I forced Becca to take these photos in Target near O’Hare Airport. Yeah. I did this whole “oh, I’m shopping, are you taking a photo, how surprising!” thing. Super cute.

The fabric is the Tammis Keefe for Michael Miller line which came out, I don’t know, 2 years ago? But somehow I JUST discovered it and HAD to have it so off I went to le Ebay to spend some cash on new fabric, which is NOT what I’m supposed to be doing right now. Remorseless spendthrift that I am, I got it, I cut it, (thank you, Vivet Veritas’ free half-circle skirt pattern!) and I made it. Additionally, Remorseless Spendthrift is 100% going to be my indie rock band name.

Still, a woman complimented me as we boarded the plane back to Philadelphia, so I consider it money well spent.

Cute, no? Certainly crazy-cat-lady approved.

The fabric is really adorable. Take a look:

How adorable are these cats? Even loving dogs, as I do, I just can’t help it. SO. CUTE. They all look so happy with themselves. Of course, cats always do…

Of course, I could do as much jumping as usual, us being in public and all. Still I made some spinning happen, at least…

I don’t know that you REALLY need a back view of this very simple very easy to make skirt, but just in case, here it is.

I know it’s not my most exciting project ever, but it was fast and easy and fun and makes nice use of this ADORABLE fabric, so I’m pretty into it. And sometimes, you really just need something fast, fun and easy in a gorgeous fabric that celebrates an animal you haven’t ALWAYS loved, but can’t help loving now…

And as a final image, please enjoy this photo of Becca’s cat, Eloise. Eloise is a MEAN cat. Still, she’s pretty cute, right?


Filed under Sewing

The Something Blue Dress

Another dress, you say? Good lord, Leah, can’t you make anything else? Well I can, of course, but sometimes I CHOOSE not to. And for a wedding, when the attire is formal/cocktail attire, well, a pant-suit just isn’t going to cut it (unless you are Hilary Clinton. Then you can do whatever you want.)

Real Talk: What is WITH people making up their own degrees of dress? Sport Causal Basic. Business formal fun. Black-Tie Interpretive. COME on. I discussed this with my friend Becca’s boyfriend, Derek (hi, Derek!) and we agreed you can’t just MAKE stuff up, it’s confusing and upsetting, especially if you are coming in from out-of-town and don’t have unlimited wardrobe options because you have a suitcase not Mary Poppins’ carpet bag. Luckily, Jenny did not do such a thing with her wedding because A. She’s a champion and B. she was PROPERLY raised. I went to a “black-tie-modest” wedding last year. Granted, it was an orthodox Jewish wedding, but STILL. That’s not a THING.

At any rate, this is the dress I made for Jenny’s amazing wonderful spectacular moving and gorgeous wedding. Of course, what I made is rather inconsequential because the bride was the focus of the day, as well she should have been, walking around all beautiful and stunning and glowy, but I thought you might like to see what I sewed up anyway, so here it is:

The pattern is a Burda Style, V-neck cocktail dress with starbust (PS: Burda Style, could you please put any effort at ALL into your pattern names? It’s embarrassing. Almost as embarrassing as your instructions! ZING.). I made a muslin and liked the shape, but found the neckline extremely low, so I raised it a full 3.5 inches, because it was a day wedding in Highland Park, IL,  not a night wedding in Vegas.

I forced my friend Lisa at gunpoint (i.e. I asked her nicely) to shoot some photos before the ceremony started, and she graciously agreed. With all her pageant training (true story) she was the best photo-director I’ve ever had! Thank you, Lisa. This is my angry model face.

The material is a silk charmuse from Mood in New York. Love the color. I learned a lot making this dress, and looking at the final product I do like it, but I think I should have underlined it with silk organza to stiffen the slippery charmuse and give it a bit more structure. Still, it’s not too shabby, don’t you think?

I lined the bodice but didn’t line the skirt, and I switched the invisible side zipper for a visible one, (hand-picked, of course) but otherwise made no changes. I straight up ignored the instructions, as they are worthless.

A little over the shoulder action for you. Hello, sailor….

Funny story, Becca and Derek, who housed Lisa and I for the weekend (Thank you thank you thank you!) live in Chicago proper, in a lovely area that just so happened to be in the heart of this weekend’s Gay Pride Parade. The parade looked like an awesome event, but it seriously interfered with our “getting to the Suburbs for the wedding on Sunday morning” plans.  So we ended up getting up early, taking a cab to a train stop and taking that train to a suburb and finding a Starbucks to hang about in until we got caffeinated and called ANOTHER cab to take us to the country club for the wedding. All of this, of course, we did in our wedding finery, which for Derek just meant a suit, but Lisa and I wandered around in heels and fancy dresses like crazy people. Becca, being a bridesmaid, didn’t have to deal with any of this crap. Still, it was an adventure! Not a day goes by I don’t wish I was walking around an empty strip mall parking lot dressed for a wedding….

That’s the face I wear when I think about wandering around strip-mall parking lots. It also shows you the starburst which, try as I might, didn’t iron quite right. Sigh. You can’t have everything. ]

Still, not bad from the back, eh? Oh, that’s right, I also added a slit to make entering the garment a bit more, shall we say, user friendly?

Of course, I simply must feature a photo with my lovely photographer:

Isn’t she just to die for?

I totally failed at asking Jenny what her four things were, like, something old, something new, blah blah blah. I’m sure she had four amazing things (including her AMAZING dress), but just in case she didn’t, she had the something old (her friends) and something blue (Lisa and I) completely covered:

Are those not some of the most attractive people you’ve seen today?


Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Sewing, Travel

The In A Jiffy Dress

The wedding was amazing. A. MAZ. ING. More on that later.Suffice to say it was wonderful, the bride was and is gorgeous, the guests fantastic, and the event everything a wedding ought to be. As for what I wore, well, you can expect a dedicated post on that in the future with more information about the day-of. But my amazing friends put up with my crazy all weekend and photographed not just my wedding-day outfit but several others, too. I have the BEST friends. Jenny only escaped because she was getting “married” or whatever. Next time, though, Mrs. Rossen, you won’t be so lucky…

I debated many a name for this piece of clothing. The Tester Dress. The Almost Ugly Dress. The Folk Art Dress (after the fabric line). But in the end, I really had to name it after the pattern. Because the pattern is just something quite special, now, isn’t it:

That’s Simplicity 8955 from 1979. A Jiffy Pattern. Whose pattern art is just sheer delight, now, isn’t it? She looks so happy. She has no idea.

I made this really as a tester for a pattern for my mother, who had expressed a desire for a beach cover up. I got this pattern in a group of 30 others and thought it might be cute or it might be horrendious, and I ought to try it out and see. What say you? Naughty or nice?

I actually think it’s pretty damn cute. About halfway through the construction,most of which happened while watching Miss Marple: The Body in the Library (an AWESOME episode which rests on a classic Agatha Christie plot, the secret homosexual), I was concerned that this thing might just turn out to be a hideous mess. But somehow, I think it escaped such a fate.

The fabric is Kaffe Fassett’s Folk Art Line, which I really adore. It’s busy, to be sure, but it’s fun.

Look how much fun I’m having!

It’s a very simple design, not a true bodice, but two large pieces shaped elastic at the waist and tied at the shoulder. A casing covers three lengths of elastic which serve to bring in the waist. I used an old sheet for the facings at the neckline and the casting. Otherwise I was able to use almost all over the 2 yards of this fabric I had, which I do so adore, maximum efficiency!

Quite a jumble of stuff on this cloth, don’t you think? Becca and Lisa gave their approval, so that’s all that really matters, honestly.

I gave this french seams throughout and a machine hem. With a few adjustments it should be perfect for my Mamala to have as a cover-up. And I get a cute new dress. Win-win!

It’s not the most flattering dress I’ve ever made or worn, but it’s comfortable, light and airy, so that’s fun!

Another full length view for you.

Lisa, who took these amazing photos, thank you, Lisa, insisted that I do an angry model face shot. That’s what it would look like if I didn’t eat.

But I DO eat….

So that’s what I really look like.

Good times. Go team wedding!


Filed under Clothing, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

Can’t Hardly Wait

…is not that great of a movie. AND I WILL STAND BY THAT STATEMENT FOREVER!

But I CAN hardly wait for tomorrow, because tomorrow I’m flying to Chicago!  (And boy will my arms be tired, yuk yuk yuk.) Seriously, tomorrow marks the first day of a multi-tier multi-event wedding weekend which I could not be more excited about if it included some sort of reunion of some of my favorite people ever. HAHAHAH IT TOTALLY DOES! WHAT? Yes. My friend Jenny, i.e. one of the best people I know, is getting married on Sunday. And many of the people who are the other best people I know are going to be in Chicago together, celebrating this wonderful event together. Its going to be epic. Get excited.

And it’s not just going to be amazing for ME, with all the dancing and drinking and wild celebrations, it’s going to be great for YOU! How, you say, could such a thing be possible? Well, I have a whole BUNCH of stuff that I’m going to force my friends to photograph, ruining all those relationships in the process, but ensuring a slew of new items to display to the world. In brand new locations! Capturing the wind of the windy city! And I’ve got new shoes, too! So there is no way this isn’t going to be amazing!

Well, except Cadfael isn’t coming. It’s weird if you bring a cat as a plus one, right? That was my instinct.

Um, you aren’t taking me? (says Cadfael). LAME.(But check out some sneak peeks of new stuff on the bed…)

Sorry, buddy.

At any rate, I will see you all when I get back on Monday!

However, if you really miss me, check out the guest post I’m doing at Dixie DIY this Friday! Remember that scrap tutorial I promised you during Me Made May? Well, I made it, alright, but I gave it to Dixie! Aren’t I just the best? Seriously, though, check out her blog, it’s lovely and amazing, just like the author, and the guest posts she’s got going on for her vacation are also fantastic!


Filed under Clothing, Friends, Travel

The Avoidence Top

I’m not going to lie to you. I have, at this moment, 3 dresses and 2 skirts which I have made which have yet to be photographed and recorded (and therefore they might as well just not exist). That is 5 pieces of clothing I have made recently and have yet to show the world. And I’m working on a sixth! That’s a true story! Now, one of these things is a dress for the wedding I shall be attending next Sunday (Team Jenny’s Wedding! WOOOOOOOO!) but other than that, I have no excuse, let’s be real. And instead of showing you ANY of these things, I’m going to show you the top I whipped up late last night. What can I say, I’m a fairly sick individual.

It’s strange, in real life I’m not an avoider, except of confrontation (sidenote, people always say they shy away from confrontation. Well of-fricking-course they do! Who LIKES confrontation?) but somehow I just don’t like to ask people to take photos of me, and I hate torturing my mother, who has to like me regardless, so it’s hard to get things photographed. However, I am taking all this stuff with me to Chicago for the wedding, so my darling friends ought to prepare themselves for photographer duties. Thanks in advance, Becca and Lisa! Note how I didn’t give you a choice? Yeah, that’s 100% intentional.

In fact, that’s the only way I got the following photos to happen, by strongarming my friend Sarah. Sarah, however, is delightful, and she played along with the whole photography thing excellently. Given the fact that we’ve been friends since we were about 6 years old, I would expect nothing less.

Just a little park shot between apartment showings and shopping sessions! This shirt is a Dixie DIY pattern which sadly has been discontinued. Dixie has since published her Concert T-Shirt pattern, which is adorable, but I actually really wanted to make this one work because I was really on the fence about the last one I made.

What a difference a fabric makes! This is clearly what Dixie had in mind when she drafted this pattern. This light and airy jersey from GirlCharlee is fantastic and perfect for this pattern. Instead of feeling awkward like the last time I used this pattern, I feel chic and breezy, and I love the way the shirt drapes! Fabric, people. It’s a revelation.

This shirt is crazy easy to put together. It took me about 2 hours to cut out and sew, so you know I love something like that. It also only uses a yard of fabric, so it’s basically my new best friend. A shirt ready to wear before I’ve finished watching the late night screening of Common Law? Amazing.

Can we talk a bit more about GirlCharlee? Good LORD the knits there are amazing. A. Maz. Ing. I got 6 yards of amazing knits for 30 dollars. WHAT? Yes. Awesome. I love GirlCharlee.

That’s love all over my face.

I totally cut the front piece upside down. Yes. I did. I don’t care, I really don’t. Still, I find it rather funny.

Sarah REALLY wanted to photograph my chest area.And when she did you can clearly see that these tables don’t want to deal with normalcy. Or gravity. They just want to live upside down. I suppose I must deal with that.

I love it! NO ambiguity, no quibbling, I love this shirt.

Now, back to those other pieces of clothing. Anyone want to photograph me? Anyone? Buller?


Filed under Burda Style, Challenge, Clothing

The One Year Later Dress

Life is funny. That might not be the most original statement ever to be made, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true!

You may or may not have noticed some radio silence on my end in the past few days. Sorry about that, folks, I just had to take a bit of a break in the post-me-made madness and deal with my life. Like this benefit I was working on for the theater company for which I work. It’s interesting, a little over a year ago I was working on a benefit as well, but I was in a completely different place in my life, different job, different immediate goals, different stresses, different concerns. Now I’m about to leave my full-time theater job for a summer renting apartments (I’ve already started on that score, for the record) and anticipating, in the not-so-distant future,  a completely different existence then the one I’ve been living for the last few years. Uprooting my life, moving myself and my cat to New York, it’s all a lot, and it’s all coming. However, it’s not coming TOO soon, and for the present, I’m just going to concentrate on the here and now. Sure. Because that’s my style. Living in the present.

Still, I’m going to try, and if I can’t focus on the present, at least I can consider the past. And so, in celebration of the past year and all that has happened, and in celebration of my final event at work, I made this dress:

These photos are a touch yellowy. What can you do, I had my lovely friend Katie take them on the fly in the stairwell outside of the performance venue.

The fabric is yet another piece from my grandmother’s attic. I think my aunt must have bought it in her youth, at least, that’s my mother’s theory, it seems rather 1960’s, don’t you think? Hippie-dippy, as my mother says. Still, I had what seemed like half of a table-cloth or something, and it seemed like enough to make a dress. I used my trusty Burda Dress with Cap Sleeves. I know this pattern gets a lot of hate on the internets, but I have to say, it works for me! Yes, the neckline is a bit wide, but I’m into it, what can I say.The issue really is the waist, it’s a bit low and  it doesn’t fit as snugly as one might hope, but I just belt my many incarnations of this pattern and call it a day.

Part of the fabric had a border, so I cut the bodice carefully from the non-border parts (well, the front, anyway) and then cut the skirt on the border. I folded the skirt into large soft pleats. I like pleats more than gathers these days, because gathers make my hips look huge, and my hips don’t need any aid doing that…

I totally adore this dress. Not every pattern works for every person but this bodice is one of my go-tos and I have to say I wear the hell out of every garment I’ve made with it.

Again, pleats are awesome. See, my not-un-sizable rear looks not-horrible with these pleats!

I hand picked the zipper. Fun fact: I hand-pick all non-invisible zippers. I have a zipper foot. It’s just what I do. I know it’s weird. Don’t judge me.

Katie really liked the idea of me posing seated on the stairs. I can refuse Katie nothing. This looks like I’m posing for a debutant ball. Yeah. Like Puerto Rican Jewish girls become Debs.

Can you guess what my favorite part of this dress is? Can you? CAN YOU?

It’s fo sho the pockets. FO. SHO.

Glamour shot!


Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Fabric, Sewing, Vintage