Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Snow Over It Shirt

I don’t think I have ever felt this way before, but I can honestly say that as much as I love this project, I really hope I don’t get to wear it again until next fall. Because I am over this weather. Over it. My friend Bix recently told me he just isn’t accepting weather under 60 degrees. He might be clinically insane but dammit I respect the sentiment! I don’t mind the winter. I like it, even. I’m not one to complain about the cold. But it has been a lot of snow and freezing weather and constant days of gray and sadness, and the lack of light in the winter does sometimes get to me. Now, of course the light increases daily these days, but the temperature is still rather brisk here in New York, and when I wore this shirt last week I was thrilled to be in something so warm and snuggly, and sad that I had to. It’s difficult to feel so conflicted over a piece of clothing. It was deeply traumatic. See what this winter has done to me? SEE?

There is an irony to the weather getting nicer just as Game of Thrones approaches. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Remember when I couldn’t get into Game of Thrones? Those days are long gone. I’m in it now. I’m counting down to the premiere. If you need me in two Sundays, I will be the one drinking wine and wishing Jon Snow would CALL ME. I have to do that now that Robb is no more. Whatever if that’s a spoiler, it’s been almost a year, if you don’t know by now you deserve to have the surprise ruined.

Back to the clothing. I got a little obsessed with flannel this winter, partially because What’s-His-Face wears a lot of it and partially because come on, it’s flannel. Do I really have to have a reason? So I found this fabric on sale at pinkchalkfabrics.com and sprang for it, and due to a shipping mix up it came quite a bit later than I thought it would but as it turns out, that matters not at all! Because apparently March includes flannel weather this year. What fun.

SOI 2.jpgSee? Isn’t that the face of fun? This shirt is crazy cozy, I will say that for it. It’s an Archer, from Grainline Patterns, which is a lovely pattern that I can’t stop making.

SOI 4.jpg

The only change I made was to lengthen it 4 inches. I love the Archer but on me it’s come out a bit short both of the other times I’ve made it, so I wanted it to be a bit longer and better with pants. I’m thinking of lengthening it even more next time for a shirt-dress kind of thing. Has anyone tried this?

SOI 5.jpgSee, that’s some nice coverage there, don’t you think? The checks do not quite match, and I’m sorry. Am I? Honestly, I’m kind of okay with it. I love when plaids and checks and stripes match but I’m not going to torture myself if they don’t. Is that just me?

SOI 6.jpgThey match up with the front, that’s the most important part, right? Sweet collar, right? I love this pattern. Every time I make it I try to take my time with it and make the collar even better. This pattern has kind of taught me the joy of going slow, which has taken me an embarrassingly long period of sewing time to understand. Sigh. Knit dresses and tops are all well and good but sometimes you need to take a few hours to make something work.

SOI 7.jpgAren’t the buttons nice? I like them very much.

SOI 3.jpgOh, that is some backlighting there! Oh boy. Watcha gonna do.

I love this shirt, I’m very glad I made it, I was petting my arms all through class and so grateful to be encased in flannel, but I seriously hope I have to put this one aside for a while. Flannel is all well and good, but honestly, I’m snow over it.

SOI 8.jpgThe look on Cadfael’s face implies how bad that joke is. I DON’T CARE. I STILL THINK IT’S FUNNY. WHATEVER.

I’m ready for some lightweight fabrics. How about you all?

 

 

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Filed under Clothing, Grainline Patterns, Sewing

The Coco Mademoiselle Dress (Mad Men Challenge #1!)

I’m not a big fan of bandwagons. Unless you count the musical, The Bandwagon, because it’s awesome and Cyd Charisse is amazing and because musicals about Broadway musicals are hilarious. Fred Astaire does a dance in an arcade, it’s great. The point is, I’m not a big follower, never really have been. In fact I can be quite contrary, often neglecting to do something because it’s so very popular. I literally just saw Frozen last week. And you know what? It’s a-god-damn-dorable. Seriously that thing is charming as hell. I have no idea what country or time period it’s supposed to be in, but whatever I just want Olaf the snowman to be my best friend. And we could have adventures with Sven the reindeer and sing together and live our lives in utter happiness in some unknown mildly Scandinavian country, oh, it would be so great! But, tragedy of tragedies, I don’t live that life. I guess I have to Let It Go, right?

Anyway, I have been trying to cure myself of this knee-jerk anti-following reaction when it comes to sewing. When it comes to moral decisions and Juicy Couture sweatsuits, I think it’s positive that I make up my own mind about it rather than following others, but when it comes to sewing, well, maybe imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? So when Tilly released her newest pattern, the Coco top/dress, I bought it almost immediately, and assembled it the same day. Only, I had to wait for my fabric to come, because despite my stash of jersey fabrics, this pattern demands a jersey with limited stretch. Honestly, I might try it in a stretchier fabric in the future because minimal stretch jerseys aren’t easy for me to find and also, comfort is essential to all things, because the more stretch int he fabric, the more food I can eat, the happier I will be. But for the first time around I wanted to follow the rules (well, sort of, more on that to come) and use the right fabric. So I waited patiently as Cocos popped up all over the internet, biding my time, telling myself it was worth it to wait and get it right. And you know what? I think it was!

CM 1.jpgOkay, so I mentioned that I stuck with the fabric recommended. What I did not do is leave the hem as it was drafted. First of all, I lengthened it quite a bit, because Tilly, waif that she is, has drafted this dress to be shorter then even my diminutive stature would be comfortable with. And then I realized that the original flare in Tilly’s design wasn’t working for me at this longer length, so I cut off a chunk, slimmed down the skirt, and added the extra fabric back in as a band, neatly finishing the hem and giving it a slimmer silloutte. And I always want the word slim to involved with me, frankly, so I love it!

CM 4.jpgSo this is the first of several, yes, I say, SEVERAL Mad Men Challenge Dresses! I love love love Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Challenge (huh, maybe I AM a follower!) and I’m always excited to sew tribute dresses for the show that has changed the face of fashion on television. Even now, as we head into late 1960’s hell, I’m going to make it work. That being said, my next copy-cat will probably go a couple of seasons back. Come on. Can you blame me? phontoWhen I saw the Coco, especially Tilly’s mod versions, I thought, I bet there are some Mad Men dresses out there along those lines. And low and behold:

4071fba39e658f13b2b0d51141f9d2a4And then there is this:

2718d06b3097c8045f4bcd908298640e

And also, this:

830e552d5a2071ec6e4aa843f7d7f7d3Coral knit shifts seem to be the uniform for brunettes at Sterling Cooper Draper Price. That and misogyny. AM I RIGHT? So I tried to use elements of all three:

CM 3.jpgIt’s darker than this photo would imply, but not by too much.

CM 8.jpg

What I really like about the design is the funnel neck, which is sort of like a turtleneck but has the added benefit of NOT making me look like the bustiest person who ever lived. Turtlenecks are not my jam, but I do like the way they look, so this offers me a tribute-neckline without the negatives.

CM 6.jpgI cut the back on the selvage and seamed it, and the front on the fold. The sleeves didn’t quite ease correctly so I gave them a little pleat at each shoulder seam. I have to say, the thickness of the fabric is nice because it adds structure and warmth, but it’s still a comfortable dress. I used a Ponte de Roma from GirlCharlee.

I finally had time, given that this is spring break for me, to take daytime photos in my apartment alone with my tripod. Not only is the light good, but it has the added benefit of being able to include a guest star:

CM 9.jpgHe’s ready for his close up:

CM 10.jpgAnd so am I!

CM 7.jpgBoy am I glad I followed the crowd on this one. This dress went from dinner to a show to drinks afterwards and back home again in perfect comfort. It’s a nice spring dress for this brisk New York weather, and it’s just insanely cute for such a simple shape. Thank you, Tilly. I’ll get on your bandwagon any time.

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Filed under Challenge, Clothing, Sewalong, Sewing, Tilly and the Buttons

The Gun Control Dress

I’m not the most political dresser there is, in fact, I’m not even sure I know what that would mean. I guess if I was more anxious about it I wouldn’t sew from vintage patterns, because that’s totally buying into a gendered way of dressing reviving a system of the past and embracing with nostalgia the notion of “vintage” without investigating its deeper historical and social connotations. More on that here.  But as it is, I don’t really care so much if other people don’t think about this stuff, or think about it a lot, or if they have a political view I don’t, although I will say, I admire sewing bloggers the world over, but I tend to read regularly the writers who aren’t all that far from me, as far as I can tell, in terms of social politics. I mean, I don’t know how comfortable I would be regularly reading people who make amazing things but consider homosexuality to be degenerate. And I’m sure there are people out there who like my makes but are offended by my words. It happens. I want to dress sometimes like a 1950’s housewife, but I sure as hell have no interest in ever acting like one.

Of course, all of this gets into clothing and what you wear and what it says about you and how much you want it to say about you. When I was young I went to a Quaker School from 3rd grade to senior year of high school (please don’t make an oatmeal joke, don’t be that guy, everyone hates that guy) , and some of the Quaker doctrine of non-violence had to have stuck with me, because we couldn’t wear any cameo (…not that I wanted to.) or anything with curse words on it (which is good, I think, school isn’t a Limp Bizket concert, unless your school was wildly different then mine…), or anything with any symbol of violence on it. And I’m not a big fan of guns, in general, like, I wouldn’t want to personally own one, or live in a house with one, or be near one on any kind of regular basis. I know not everyone feels that way, and I understand that completely, but that’s just me. So recently when I was home in Philadelphia over my winter break, I picked up a few yards of this ultra-cheap (1.99 a yard, whaaaaaat?) jersey from Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet, aka my Mecca, mostly because I really really love the color. But the thing is, it’s a Betsey Johnson print, and I’m not wild about her prints in general, and this one, well, it’s covered with guns.

UCG 8.jpgAnd hearts, to be fair. but, I don’t know, I just couldn’t really get around it. I thought I would be fine with it, but the more I considered it, the more the influence of those damn Quakers pervaded me, and I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable covered in guns. So, I did something a little radical. Can you figure out what it is?

UCG 1.jpgI used the wrong side of the fabric! WHAT? I know. I KNOW. Such things are not DONE. Such boundaries are not CROSSED. Well, just call me Lenin because I am a revolutionary! Waaa waaaaaaaa.

UCG 3.jpgAh the smug look of a history joke. These indoor photos are a little yellow, by no fault of my amazing photographer, my boss, Sam, who balanced a camera and a womb filled with a child, because she is amazing. The color is a little more cool than these photos would indicate, but I think you can see how nice and orchid purple it is.

UCG 2.jpg

The pattern is Dixie DIY’s Ballet Dress, with three inches added to the length of the bodice, and cut to a trimmed small, with full length sleeves and a half circle skirt. I have made it many times with many alterations and adjustments, and it was a piece of cake, and remains one of my top favorite patterns ever.

UCG 6.jpgKnit dresses. They are the best. They are comfortable and they look nice and they don’t wrinkle. What more can you ask for?

UCG 5.jpgI topstitched the neck binding and did the hems in black. This took me no time at all to make. It took me way more time to deliberate about my whole “using the wrong side” decision then to actually construct this. Sewing. It’s 90% agonizing, 10% doing.

UCG 7.jpgBut I think it works, and honestly, if I had used the right side, I don’t think I would have ever worn it. As it is, I can see myself wearing this thing often during what is clearly an everlasting winter. This is what Winterfell must feel like ALL THE TIME. Death must come as a relief to the Starks… too soon?

UCG 9.jpgHAHAHA JUST KIDDING EVERYONE SURVIVES GAME OF THRONES OBVIOUSLY IT’S MORE LIKE YOU WIN OR GET COOL PRIZES FOR TRYING!

No. No it’s not. But that being said, this leaves Robb Stark time to CALL ME. I already have a dress for our date/engagement/lifelong love. I think he’ll like the guns inside. Don’t you? If you don’t get any of this, don’t worry, neither would I have just over a year ago.

The point is, sometimes the wrong side is the right side for you! Too cheesy? Whatever. I like this dress a lot, and I’m glad it worked out. The rest of the fabric I gave to my boss for baby clothing. That baby’s going to be way more bad-ass than I am. Fact.

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Filed under Clothing, Dixie DIY, Fabric, knit, Sewing

The What Does The Fox Say Dress

I would be the first to admit that I can be a bit behind trends. Or maybe I wouldn’t be first, because I would behind the trend of knowing that I was behind the trend. I think part of this comes down to the fact that I get most of my pop culture news from my friend Ben, hi, Ben! And Ben only sends me things that have to do with Game of Thrones or cat ladies dying alone, I guess because he feels like those are my two major interests. And, hey, he’s not wrong, per se, but it does mean that I saw the Rebecca Black Friday video way later than everyone I’ve ever met. And I still haven’t seen any of the Miley Cyrus stuff, or the Gangnam Style Video. But that might be a conscious choice on my part, I’m okay with my existence as it is. I HAVE seen this video with kittens doing the Lion King, so, you know, I think I’m doing pretty well. Though if those people would do kitten Shakespeare I would seriously lose my mind with happiness. Meow is the winter of my discontent made glorious summer, AM I RIGHT?

Ahem. As you enjoy that splendid joke in all it’s glory and admire my brilliance, let me tell you about my latest dress, which I have named after a new internet Meme (well, not THAT new, as I explained) that my friend Ranjit introduced me to (THANK YOU, Ranjit. Ben, step up.) Basically it’s this video. And it’s weird. And scientifically inaccurate.

763a1ba9552164ff69a0c079a0e47b34Foxes actually sound like this. Except in England where they probably sound like “STOP HUNTING ME FOR SPORT YOU COMPLETE AND UTTER TOOLISH PRAT!” It’s England, they say prat there. But the point is, that video is super weird and I can’t get the song out of my head. Also, there is an awesome SNL parody of this with the incomparable Kerry Washington who I would love to be my best friend and we could drink copious amounts of wine and talk about how pretty and talented she is. I feel that this could happen. If you see her, do let her know about this plan, I’m sure she’d be on board.

So, this song implanted itself in my consciousness, which is probably another reason I let youtube video trends pass me by, because I get WAY too into them and influenced by them, and I went ahead and bought some fox themed fabric. Like you do.

WDTFS 3.jpgAnd I made a dress! Please enjoy my face filled with laughter and delightful closed-eye photo. The pattern is the Hope Wrap dress which I have now made 4 times. When I like something….This time I made it a faux-wrap by stitching the whole thing together. I have to say, I love this style, I know a wrap isn’t for everyone and I respect that, but it really works for me.

WDTFS 2.jpgThis is me, thinking seriously about what the fox says. The foxes on MY dress just tell me I’m pretty.

WDTFS 1.jpgMy boss took these for me at work and I got lots of posing advice from her and my co-worker, Martin. This three-quarter turn with the Miss America arms is all them. Can’t you just see me telling everyone what I want is World Peace? Cue the “cupping a bird” wave.

WDTFS 5.jpgThe fit of this is pretty nice, I think. I mean, knits make all that so easy, and this jersey shrank a tiny bit in the wash but also softened a bit, becoming a little heathery, and the stretch is nice but not too drapey, so it holds the shape well. I should just tack the wrap part at the bust, I have it kept together with a safety-pin now like the class act I am.

WDTFS 4.jpgThese indoor photos make the color look duller then it is, it’s actually a deeper blue and a truer brick red. I got the fabric from Girl Charlee, duh, and while you can’t find the dark blue there anymore, they have the same pattern in a lighter blue, if you want to go foxy as well.

WDTFS 7.jpgThese foxes are so cute. I love them. I love wearing this dress! Seriously, this pattern is great and so easy, I would recommend it heartily to anyone, especially someone new to knits, because it’s simple and flattering and quick and looks good on everyone I’ve seen make it. There are tons of wrap dress patterns out there but this one is FREE.

WDTFS 6.jpgYou are never lonely if your clothing is covered in friends! Fantastic foxy friends. So I’m pretty sure what the fox REALLY says is, awesome dress, Leah!

Also, in holy cuteness news, Foxes apparently wag their tails when they are happy. AND IT’S AWESOME.

You’re welcome.

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