Monthly Archives: October 2012

The No Place Like Home Outfit

And now we come to my costume. My costume which is of course the iconic and rather boring Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

At the age of ten I was IN The Wizard of Oz, but I was the Cowardly Lion. I was AMAZING. This is a fact. Ask my mom. It’s for real. But this year I decided to be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Why? I couldn’t tell you. I have no really reason why I decided on this costume. I just knew I could make that costume and I felt like it would be easy and…no other reason. I’m a weird fixator. So that was all decided.

And then I made it! This is not that great of a story…

Again, Emily snapped these of me quickly at that same Halloween party I had previously mentioned, so the color quality is…terrible. Sigh.

I took a Burda-Style pattern, the ever popular ever hated Dress with Gathered Skirt, and modified the bodice. I basically chopped off the arms, made up the bodice as a strapless one, and then added strips in for sleeves. I then took two large rectangles and gathered them for the skirt. Side zipper, machine hem, boom.

I also made the blouse, a JJ Blouse without ruffles. Boy, Burda Style really did me well for Halloween!

A little back view for you.

I got the red shoes from Payless, I know, I know, that’s terrible for the world, but they WERE cheap…

Because I wore what is essentially a cute and non-threatening or creepy or extremely revealing costume, and I wore it on the subway, people felt quite comfortable coming up and talking to me all night, both in Manhattan and in Brooklyn. It was rather disconcerting, but fine.

Oh, yes, here is my toto:

Given the insane hurricane that hit the East Coast this week, I’m stuck in my apartment (and in Brooklyn in general, the subways have been shut down since Sunday). So I hope you are all safe and secure if you were in the path of the storm, or even if you weren’t! Happy Halloween!

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8 Comments

Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Costume, Sewing

The “I Barely Get the Reference” Dress

Let’s just start right here and say that I’ve never seen Game of Thrones. STOP YELLING AT ME! I know, I know, it’s great, blah blah blah. I just, I have a lot of T.V. in my life, do I really need more? Okay, maybe I do, I’m sure it’s a lot better than Hart of Dixie. Ha, I’m just kidding, nothing is better than Hart of Dixie. But I digress.

The POINT is, my roommate, Emily, wanted to go as a character from Game of Thrones this year for Halloween. Well, I had talked her into being Mary from Downton Abbey because A. She loves the show and B. I really wanted to make someone an Edwardian gown and that business is never going to look good on me but on tall EMILY it probably would be baller. But alas, we were invited to Emily’s sisters Halloween Party and said party had a fantasy theme. My costume could remain the same (more on that later) but we had to either Doctor-Who-up Mary (which didn’t sit right with any of us, Steven Moffat included) or find something else. And hence my wonderful roommate picked Daenerys Targaryen.

Of course, I knew I would never be able to perfectly duplicate the original dress. But I wanted to get close! It’s actually a lot lighter, the shade of blue, but this is the image Emily and I took fabric shopping with us, so this is the business we’ve chosen.

Together we scouted the New York Garment District for polyester chiffon. Now, normally I’m a natural fibers girl to the point of mania, but this was a Halloween costume on Emily’s dime, so it was man-made all the way. We also wanted to find something that was a reasonable price, because, again, Halloween costume. The upside of the New York Fabric scene is the variety. The downside, for me, is the price. How I miss my beloved Philadelphia!

Still, we managed to find a nice blue polyester Georgette for 6 a yard, which was the best I thought we could do, at Fabrics Counter at 554 8th Avenue, and the very nice cutters there agreed with me that Emily was going to look amazing. And look amazing she did:

Of course, these photos had to be crammed in during the party, so the light and surrounding aren’t as regal as one might have hoped, but what can you do?

Emily had to put a serious face on, as befits a queen.

But eventually I forced her to smile.

The color of the dress is less teal then it appears. The pattern I used is Burda Style’s Drape Dress, and of course it has the typical non-instructions Burda always so sweetly gives us. Whatever, I just made it up as I went. The inside of this dress is a huge struggle and you will never see it. The changes I made, oh, boy. Well, I basically made my own drapes, rather than following the pattern for the waist and bodice. But I quite like the effect.

You can just see the lining, a navy taffeta I had on hand, I should have under-stitched. Should have, could have, would have.

And I lengthened the pattern signficantly to hit Emily’s feet. And I added long shoulder pieces, because that’s what the original costume has. And I totally made up the back, just made it the hell up.

Of course, Emily’s wig is in the way, but you get the idea.

Look at that. Would you ever steal that woman’s dragons?

I literally know nothing about the show. That’s a thing, right? Dragons?

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Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Costume, Sewing

The Too Practical For Words Outfit

So there has been just a whole bunch of chatting across the interwebs about this idea of frosting and cake. Honestly, it makes me giggle, the very idea that CAKE is the practical thing. Guys, what happened to bread?

That being said, it’s a lovely analogy to discuss the practical and impractical approaches to sewing. Here in the delightful post-modern era we can, of course, choose what we want to sew, rather than sewing for literal concrete needs. This is both extremely freeing and oddly depressing. I was recently talking to someone at my costume shop job, a woman who was a professional pattern maker for a fashionhouse, who doesn’t sew anymore. Well, she does, she’s making her sister’s wedding dress, but we talked about making personal things and she said, why make a knit t-shit, you can buy it for 5 dollars at Target.

And you know what? You can. But I just don’t anymore. And I’m not so arrogant or experienced to say that it’s because I’m SO MUCH BETTER then the garment workers who make said items, it’s just that I can’t consume that way anymore. I’m an ex-clothing-junkie, and I’m all about clean living and making my own stuff now…

At any rate, I recently made the most bland and prosaic ensemble possible, very much bread, not even cake:

There you go. Denim Clovers (I had intended to make a pair of Thurlows but this material came from the interwebs and it was too stretchy and I thought, well, I do love me some Clovers….) and a knit top. How is THAT for practical?

I added four inches to the hems of the Clovers to make them true pants, i.e. something I can fit under boots and over flats. I adore these pants. ADORE THEM. I’ve worn four times since I made them. For me, the trick with Clovers is to include a bit more stretch then is accounted for in the pattern. i.e. 3% versus 1% or 2%. Trust me, it will solve some fitting issues and you will have a pair of insanely comfortable pants!

The blouse is, insanely enough, a pattern from Dixie DIY that no longer exists, and that I initially didn’t like.

It’s a swingey blouse, of the knit variety. I realized that this pattern needs, no, demands a swishy drapey fabric, and I wanted to see if it would work with long sleeves, so….this bamboo rayon was the guinea pig! I added about 16 inches to the sleeves to make them full-length, but made not other changes.

And I LOVE IT. It’s so weird, the first time I made this blouse I just couldn’t imagine why it would appeal and now I just adore it in this amazing fabric. It’s a union of form and content that I couldn’t adore more….

Let’s go back to the pants. shall we? Specifically, the rear view.

Annnnd, that’s my rear view, on the internet. Still. Clovers. Fantastic. They don’t work for everyone but boy do I love them!

There is a mark on my cheek which comes from my cat biting me on the face. THANKS, CAT.

Of course, with a shirt this swishy, I couldn’t not jump about, now, could I?

Okay, I couldn’t help this one. But don’t you you ever feel this way?

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Filed under bamboo, Colette Patterns, Dixie DIY, knit, xie DIY

The Sexy Candy Striper Outfit

I have been the worst flipping blogger in the world. And I’m sorry. Graduate school is crazy, people! Even when it’s Clown College. It’s a lot of work, making stuff up, writing it down, it really is! You can trust me on this one. And I also have to go to plays! And deal with humans! Who want to get dinner! The hell? Don’t they know I hate everyone? Apparently not, I keep getting invited and having some kind of attack in which I say YES instead of NO I HAVE TO STAY HOME AND TALK TO MY CAT. New York is doing bizarre things to me…

Anyway, I have been sewing. And I met Mika! Mika is awesome. I always loved her blog, so I’m really glad I got to meet her in person. She’s just fantastic, and her red clovers were dope. Seriously dope. I use this term because A. Mika is from California and I thought it might appeal to her, should she read this and B. they just ARE.

I’ve actually made a grand total of FOUR things of late, which I hurriedly took photos of this morning, because I’ve been trying for two weeks for some of this stuff, and I just couldn’t wait anymore! In other news, I’ve totally deviated from my Fall Sewing Plan, of course, OF COURSE. I have made the SPIRIT of the plan, but not the LETTER. That’s just who I am.

So, I made a bit of a vintage duo about which I have mixed feelings. Let’s take a look at the patterns from whence this sprang, shall we?

Cute, no? I ignored everyone’s advice about drafting my own pattern, like I do, and just bought something. Specifically, Simplicity 4529. I’m just that way. Actually I kind of love this pattern dearly, and while the end result is a bit loose, I know how I can tweak it to perfect the fit.

The blouse is, well, let’s look to the pattern, shall we?

McCalls 3305.

It LOOKS really awesome, right? Yeah, it does. It did to me. But the end result, well, I just don’t know. And let it be said right now, I’m so insanely influenced by pattern art, as you can see right here:

God, I look so mad! I’m not mad, really!

Or am I? I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel about this blouse. For one thing, like the skirt, it’s a bit big. For another, it may well be a bit, um, clowny…

I had this vision that this bow blouse was going to be the bow blouse to end all bow blouses. Because honestly, I really REALLY love bow blouse, but I have yet to make one with which I’m completely satisfied! How sad is that? Life is SO HARD SOMETIMES.

Instead, I don’t know, it looks a little, I don’t know, 80’s? 90’s? So decade no one likes? (Or maybe just I don’t like?) Sigh.

See, a bit baggy, not quite the sleek sophisticated thing I’d been hoping for, ah, well, I still enjoy it! It might be a bit clowny, but I can’t help but like the waist tucks and the bow. Bows, I’m just a sucker for them! Why is that? Can anyone tell me why bows are so delightful?

Oh, yes, I always forget construction notes. Well, most of this is French-seamed, with a bit of pinking. I eliminated the facings in favor of bias tape (I mean, come on, facings? ARE THE WORST.) And what else, I think that’s it!

So stern! Like a weird candy striper at, say, a mental institution. Super cute.

Now to the skirt!

See, I can still smile! I do like this skirt, I do I do I do. I like this pattern, something like 10 darts, one seam, which I finished with bias tape, a kickpleat which I sadly had to eliminate because I shorted this some 5 inches (at the insistence of my roommates who have informed me that I dress rather, um, matronly.) I made this in a stretch cotton, which, well, I’m going to do it again in red wool (speaking of sexy) and I will shorten the pattern and keep the kickpleat AND tighten it a bit at the waist, it’s a touch loose. But this version is perfectly serviceable and so comfortable and practical, it’s the ultimate in cake, to go with this rather frosting top.

And loose or not, it still looks good from the back. Doesn’t it?

Oh, yes, it does.

I noired it up for you. Now imagine a cigarette, a throaty purr, and a dark plot. And….scene.

How is your fall sewing going? Do you think I dress matronly? What does matronly mean to you? All comments are entirely welcome!

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Filed under Clothing, McCalls Patterns, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage