Monthly Archives: November 2013

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.

IITSFOF 2

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….

 

 

 

Advertisements

8 Comments

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

The Dream Big Top

You know when you dream and dream about something and then the reality actually happens and you are like, hmmmmmmm, this is less exciting than the dream, I wish this hadn’t become a reality so I could dream again? As a die-hard planner, I recognize that this is the business I’ve chosen, and this is its major consequence. I think about sewing a lot before I actually do it, and I imagine how the garment is going to look like and feel, and I get so excited about it, and sometimes, less and less as time goes by and my skills improve, but sometimes, the reality takes a backseat to the fantasy.

See, this is why they say with online dating you should meet the person in real life as soon as possible, because otherwise you end up building up the person into this thing they can never possibly be through a series of texts and messages and confabulated fantasies that include fondue and the same taste in music and ultimate frisbee and computer manuals and leather, or whatever you’re into. For the record, I’m pretty much only interested in someone who is also interested in fondue. All the rest of that isn’t in my wheelhouse. Well, music, I guess, whatever, but the fondue is important. The point is you can build up a whole castle in the sand and forget that sand is a terrible building material. It’s structurally unsound and it gets everywhere. Come on.

So I suppose my sewing sometimes can be a bit like OKCupid. I put a lot of pressure on the fantasy of the potential clothing I could create. So I’ve been dreaming for a long time about a red silk blouse, and recently I made one. My feelings on the fantasy? Are insanely positive. My feelings on the reality? Are mixed.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

TKK 3It’s not bad, really, it’s just not quite what I’d been hoping and wishing for. If wishes were horses…

I think that the fit is a little off, which is bizarre to me, as I’ve made this blouse twice and haven’t changed sizes at all! And yet somehow the yoke is a little off here and it pulls in sort of an odd way. I don’t know how to describe it, really, so take a look:
TRR 1Oy, blurry. More horrible indoor photos, sorry guys, but my awesome roommate Jordan shot them, thanks, Jordan! But you can see some pulling right above the bustline, right? Weird.

TRR 5Here, this shot of it outside the skirt shows it well. It’s fine if I just keep my arms perfectly still and don’t move, which has zero percent chance of ever happening. Sigh. I don’t know what happened! I love the color, the material is silk and a dream to wear (and not too much of a nightmare to sew with, which is really all you can hope for), but there is this odd pulling!

I think that what might have happened is that I cut the armholes a bit wider this time, because the armscye has pinched in the past, and somehow that meant that this happened. Or maybe not? It’s kind of a mystery, honestly.

TRR 4

See, my arms are more down in the close up so it’s not so bad. God, I love that color! The fabric, which I got over the summer at Paron Fabrics on sale! has a really nice subtle luster. I don’t know that any of these photos captured that but you will just have to trust me, like you trust that OKCupid date not to lure you to a dark alley and murder you and make a tent of your skin.

TRR 6

A little side view for you here. I also made this skirt, it’s this one, I have now made 4 versions of it and more to come. If it ain’t broke…The fabric has a really nice drape, the hand is just lovely, so it sort of slips out of the waistband but I don’t hate it because it still glides over the body well. Like that one OKCupid date you let take you home and then you get up in the middle of the night and realize he shares a studio with two other people like some kind of commune and you just get out of there claiming you have a thing and never return any of his texts.

TRR 7Meh. I don’t know. I had such dreams, such big dreams, and yet the reality has sort of underwhelmed me what with this sudden and new fit issue. It’s one of those things that I know for a fact most people would never notice but I notice it and I can’t stop seeing it like when you suddenly realize that your OKCupid date’s eyes are too close together and that’s all you can look at for the rest of the evening and they go in for a kiss and it’s like a gerbil is making out with you.

OKCupid didn’t go great for me, guys.

How about you, are you an anticipatory sewing, or do you just cut and go? Do you find you are more surprised or disappointed by the stuff you over plan? And how is OKCupid going for YOU? Inquiring me wants to know!

7 Comments

Filed under Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Uncategorized, Vintage

The Knit Knit Duo

Oh dear god it’s that time again, isn’t it? That post-Halloween Trans-Siberan-Railroad long stretch into the holiday season. That long and lonely road from the euphoria of costumes and candy into the descent into that hell where the whole world feels like a drug store seasonal goods display, all scented with canned pine and fluttering with tinsel and despair. (Sidenote, as it may be apparent, Christmas and I? Not the best of friends. I don’t begrudge it for others and am so happy that other people enjoy it,  but we are not personally tight, if you know what I mean.) And as it so happens, those of us who count Moses as a close friend this year is a damn mess. Let’s talk about the fact that the first night of Hanukkah is also Thanksgiving, shall we? Which makes it….HanThanksgivingukkah. And who can pronounce a thing like that? I tell you, it’s a hard knock life as a chosen person. Like no one has ever made that observation ever…

So my life has been a bit consumed with holiday crafting. And school, that place that makes me write stuff, like you do. And honestly the season being what it is and these cold days freezing my face like they do, well, knitting and I have been getting back together. Look, sewing is totally my boyfriend, we are, like, completely committed to each other and we have our tiffs and we spar but at the end of the day, I always know that’s the thing I want to come home to. But knitting is like my work husband, it fulfills all these needs for me, it comforts me, it flirts with me, I look at it and I think, wow, I could do this all the time! I indulge in that fantasy for a few moments until I realize, I would never leave sewing, sewing is too good to me, I’m just not that kind of girl. But the flirtation persists, especially around this time of year when the weather is cold, as are my hands, and I want to curl up with something soft and warm that wont bite me, like this creature, and gifts need to be made.

KK 11

One of the things in this photo is more likely to bite then the other. Can you guess which one? It’s tricky, I know. Take your time. I’ll wait.

So I’m not going to post all of my gifts on this blog because although I hate surprises other people seem to enjoy them and I would not want to deprive anyone of that happiness. But I will show you two projects I recently made that I plan to duplicate in some way for holiday gifts:

First things first, after a swimsuit, can you really be worried about your body on a sewing blog? As it turns out, yes, you very much can. So I was unsure as whether to post about this or not, but I thought, well, screw it. Namaste, people, here is me in self-made yoga pants!KK 4Yeah. I made Yoga pants. That is a true fact about me. Spoiler alert, I also run in these and go to gym classes. But I tend to feel fairly wonderful going to my Monday afternoon yoga class at Yoga to the People, the crunchiest possible Yoga Studio (which, by the way, I very much love), in self made pants. Oh, yeah, and there is enlightenment and self understand blah blah blah the point is HAVE YOU SEEN MY YOGA PANTS? I MADE THEM. I can feel very cool and Brooklyn and authentic in them, I think they give my Warrior One a little kick.

KK 5I had grey fabric left over from many knit projects so I went with the contrasting waistline option. I used this pattern, which was insanely simple to put together. Zig zig stitch all the way through and straight on ’till morning. Seriously,  from assembling the pattern to hemming the pants I think it took me less than two hours. It’s okay to be impressed. A lot of people are.

KK 6Enjoy the backdoor shot, internets. Enjoy.

KK 7I got the black spandex/cotton blend at GirlCharlee, which remains on of my favorite websites in existence to this day.

But what is the point of me standing in these pants, what does that prove to you? In order to see these in action, you probably need to see them in their true element, don’t you?

KK 9See? See? They move and don’t break! I know it sounds silly but when I make something like this I almost expect it to fall apart the second it hits the world, but these have done me proud through a few weeks of work outs now, so I feel confident that they will keep it together, even as I cry because ANOTHER PLANK? SERIOUSLY? SERIOUSLY? Seriously this is an excellent pattern and so very easy to make, I cannot recommend it enough.

KK 8At some point, according to my roommate Emily,who kindly took these photos, I’m just showing off.

My cool t-shirt is from kickstarting my friends’ awesome theater company, Aggrocrag. They are fantastic, check them out.

Oh, and in the midst of my holiday knitting I got a little selfish: KK 1Last year I made this pattern for my friend Allie and ever since then I’ve wanted one for myself, but couldn’t find the time to make it even though it seriously takes no time at all. So this year once I finished a simple scarf that nevertheless took a while, scarves take longer then they should, I believe, new theory, and was already ahead on my crafting schedule (I obviously have a schedule, if you don’t have a schedule how do you get things done? I’m not being facetious, I genuinely don’t know, I cling to my schedule like a shipwrecked sailor clings to a piece of driftwood, I swear.) so I figured I could take a day and make myself this earwarmer. So I did. And this thing is so fast that it literally did take me one day to make it.

KK 2I used Purl Soho’s Super Soft Merino, one hank, and that stuff, pricey as it is, knits up a dream, and feels like clouds in your hands. And on your head. So it’s kind of worth it, at least in a project like this that is quick and easy and yarn-efficient. Just saying. I’m not making a sweater out of this any time soon, but for something like this it’s nice to insert a little luxury into your life.

KK 3I told Emily I had to have hair up and hair down photos, the hair down ones being the hipster-style, and she was like, Leah, you are taking this photos to put on your sewing blog, I think you have the hipster-style covered. And this is me laughing.

The color on these photos is a bit off (or a mile off) because they are indoor evening shots, so this is what the color of the earwarmer is more like:

KK 10Both of these patterns are quick and fun to make, so if you are looking for gifts for the people in your life, well, look no further. Me, I’m back to my crafting sweatshop to pump out more gifts. Of course, someone might point out that I could BUY gifts for people, but that’s just madness.

How is your November going? Are you excited about the upcoming holiday season or quietly shotgunning mulled wine in the corner hoping it’s all a bad dream? You could be doing both, you know. No judgement.

5 Comments

Filed under Clothing, Greenstyle Patterns, Knitting, Planning, Sewing

The Don’t Be Impressed Dress

I have said this before, but I love Halloween, like, epic levels of love for Halloween, which makes the sense, don’t you think? After all, I’m a writer, specifically a dramatic writer, and what that means is that all I do is play pretend, and Halloween is an opportunity to play pretend by dressing up as someone else and getting rewarded for that, instead of thrown in a mental institution, with candy and, as you grow older, booze. I love the fall feeling in the air, I love the children’s costumes, I love when people make something impossibly clever (Example: my friend Ben who always always has the best Halloween ideas, is volunteering right now in Vietnam so he went to a party as a kind of Eat Pray Love parody. How awesome is that? Ben wins.) But I honestly have concluded by the ripe old age of 26, that I’m not personally great at Halloween. I just have the worst time thinking up costumes!

And you would think that now that I sew it would be easier, but I have recently realized it only makes it harder, because I’m unwilling to make something I will only wear once, so my costumes have to have some future life/use, and that is NOT the way great Halloween costumes come to being. Great Halloween costumes must spring from guts and glory, not a vague need to fill out one’s fall wardrobe. Great Halloween costumes are born, not made, they spring from the head of Zeus, fully formed, like Athena! Man, I need to make friends with Zeus, guys.

So despite wracking my brain and coming up with a  handful of silly girly vaguely interesting ideas that I didn’t bother to buy patterns or fabric for, that’s how motivated I was, I was in a pickle, with a party to go to last night, school deadlines all week so no time to sew, and no idea what to wear. Not wearing a costume is, of course, totally unacceptable and a fate that should be punishable by death, or at least having to be strapped in a chair and watch documentaries about government for no less than 24 hours on end. So what was I to do? Well, I’m not proud of this, but I did the second worst thing you can do after not wearing a costume. I recycled.

I’m all about recycling in life. Like, creepy into recycling in life, I compost. But recycling a costume? That is as disgusting as many people thing composting is. Such people can also join in on the documentary thing, composting is awesome, but that’s an argument for another day. The point is I had no choice! Graduate school is difficult! Life gets away from you! What was I supposed to do, BUY something? That’s insane! Madness, I say! Don’t hate me! (Sob, sob, sob….)

When I was in college this awesome girl named Rebecca Arzoian, who, by the way, remains very awesome, came to a party dressed as a Freudian Slip. She wore a black slip and had a nametag that said “Penis Envy” on it. I honestly thought this was the coolest flipping thing I had ever seen, and four years ago I threw on my own slip and went to my friend Ben of the brilliant costume’s party. He was a Canadian millionaire, having fashioned a tailcoat and top hat out of denim. It was amazing. People loved my slip, and I contented myself with a job well done.

So when this year I was strapped for ideas, I did it again. I know. I know. The horror! But at least I made it!

TBDID 2Apologies for the yellow indoor photos, I tried to color correct but there is only so much you can do about indoor evening shots. Still, I was thrilled to get them, thank you, Emily! My roommate Emily snapped these before our party. The theme was Dr. Who villain so, yeah, I just failed on all levels here, didn’t I?

TDBID 3The pattern is Colette Patterns Cinnamon Dress, the same one I made for Emily for the Jazz Age Lawn Party. The fabric is actually from a poly-cotton blend bedsheet, which I got on ebay to make curtains for our apartment, and I still have tons of it even after the curtains and this dress. It has very faint lines on it, which now are diagonal because this dress was cut on the bias so it slides over your body.

TDBID 4As slips go, this is a great pattern, and I would love to make it again having gotten the hang of it. I would make the straps thicker, though, that’s the only thing I’m not wild about.

TDBID 6Of course, it’s not really meant to be worn with a bra, I guess, but still. This could be a very cute dress for every-day wear, honestly, I love the drape of the bias-cut skirt and the way it flows.

Okay, I’m about to do an extreme chest close up so you can see  my Freudian name-tag, fair warning:

TDBID 5In case you can’t read that or don’t want to examine my, er, assets quite so closely, that reads: Hello, my name is Elektra Complex. Hmm, I wonder if that’s why all those older gentleman were flirting with me all night? Kidding! It was a Dr. Who Villain’s themed party, people were so disgusted I didn’t stick to the theme they barely gave me the time of day.

TDBID 1So there is my Halloween costume, don’t you dare be impressed by it, even for a moment. I wont allow it, I don’t deserve such a thing.

Oh, I thought you might like to see a progression of photos when I told Emily to stop taking photos, but she didn’t want to:

TDBID 8TDBID 7TDBID 9Ah, the woes of blogging, I am so very put upon, don’t look at me and my shame!

I hope you all had a lovely Halloween and, perhaps, did better than I did. What did you go as? Do you like Halloween or perish beneath the pressure? Do you recycle costumes? Make me feel better here, internets!

2 Comments

Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Costume, Sewing