Monthly Archives: May 2018

The Blue in Brera Dress

Recently, I was at this very cool Durer show in Milan, because my life is REALLY THAT GLAMOROUS, with my friend Liz, because she is amazing and we like to meet in delightful places and talk about how delightful we are, and there was a line in the (very extensive, mayhap too extensive?) wall text which described Milan as “the undisputed design capital of Europe”. Which….I feel like there actually might be a few people who WOULD dispute that, I don’t know, Paris, maybe? But sure, why not, let’s give it to Milan, because it really is an unbelievably fabulous city jam packed with stylish people walking past stylish buildings, doors that open to elegant interior courtyards, food that makes me want to drop everything and work in one of these kitchens, and charm to spare.

It was so hard to leave the amazing residency I attended, which was tranquil and calm, tucked into the hillsides of Piemonte. It is a really amazing place, and one you might want to consider when thinking about artists residencies, for any of you artists out there! You can also visit for other purposes, and I would strongly advise you do so. But at any rate, while it was jarring to return to busy streets (to think, I am calling Milan busy, I live in Mumbai!) and the hubbub of human life, it was also delightful because Milan is simply great. Sophisticated but welcoming, sleek but homey, with grand avenues and cute tiny streets both in spades, I enjoyed myself immensely, and so did Liz, oh, and what’s-his-face, who was also there! In fact, I made him take these photos of me after we visited the Pinacoteca di Brera, a lovely museum in the Palazzo Brera, a palace in the heart of Milan’s Brera neighborhood. Once the artistic capital of Milan, now it is a chic area of tons of fancy designer shops and thronged with tourists, but I can’t complain, I was one of them.

As I so often do when I travel, I went to the art museum, not the modern one(s), (Milan is modern as hell), but the historic ones. The Pinacoteca di Brera is a lovely collection of some excellent pieces in a very digestible way, i.e. it’s not extremely overwhelming but it has some top tier stuff, and the building is really pretty. Ah, Italy, full of urban mansions and palazzi, why you gotta be so charming? This is why said tourists do said thronging….

If you are in Milan and into this sort of thing, you should totally check out this museum. It has this stunning Rubens:

And this excellent Caravaggio:

Man, Caravaggio, am I right? What a baller. Actually, it’s funny, the first time I ever saw one of his paintings was also in Italy which…makes sense, and it was this one:

Which is in the many many rooms of art you see on the way to the Sistine Chapel and my mother, to whom I owe so very much, pointed it out to my brother and I. We’ve both been pretty hooked ever since.

After enjoying all this, What’s-his-face and I went to La Latteria San Marco for some spaghetti con limone y peperoncino (spaghetti with lemon and chilies) which was life altering but NOT before I made him take these photos of my new Colette Patterns Claudette Dress!

This is the second version of this dress that I have made, and the first, while cute, had some bodice wonkiness. I mean, I’m still going to WEAR it, already have, at least twice, but it is not for le blog. But this one turned out well, partially because I was more careful making it and partially…nope, that’s it, that’s the only reason.

So without further ado, here you go!

I mean, sure, it’s no Caravaggio, but it’s still pretty cute!

I picked up this fabric at, you guessed it, Thakur, after someone I am teaching to sew snagged some for pillows. So I’m basically wearing her couch. I DON’T CARE! It’s lovely, a nice contemporary ikat-style fabric with a good weight so its sturdy and holds its shape in the sheath.

You can kind of see the lining in this photo, sigh, sorry, I didn’t have an iron with me! AH well, at least you know I lined it, now!

I love this dress. Seriously, I really do. I cut a 12, for the hips, and did a full bust adjustment and then took the waist in about an inch or so I would have some wiggle room (GET IT?) but still have it be fitted. In this iteration I made the version with two large bust darts, rather than the princess seams.

I feel like there is a SMIDGEN of breast-flattening happening here, still, but it’s pretty cute nonetheless.

I’m not NOT proud of my stripe matching, I think given the darts on this sucker this was the best I could do. AND THAT IS GOOD ENOUGH!

And I’ll murder anyone who says differently, got it? But I really am into this make, and I’m so glad it was a lovely day in Milan so I could get this one photographed. The weather turned chilly and rainy soon after, and anyone who has been following my instagram Me Made May stories can probably tell that I’ve been recycling a few outfits over and over and praying for a warmer day. Luckily it’s turned slightly warmer here in Parma, from which I write this post, and looks like it will be nice in Venice, were we end our Italian adventures, and lovely in New York and Philadelphia, to which I will be heading afterwards, so fear not, my Me Made May outfits are sure to improve!

I have no construction notes, this is easy to put together and I french seamed the skirt and the sleeves. I did not, as instructed, hand stitch them. That sounds….exhausting. I got places to be, people! In Milan! Or whatever!

I hope you are having a lovely May, me made or otherwise!

 

 

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The Pretty in Piedmont Outfit

Hello hello! I have been busy here in Piemont, which is in Italy, of course, darlings, working on a new novel (it’s a doozy and I’m really into it. But be sure to try and win a copy of my first novel here!)  and far too busy being delighted by everything around me (what IS it about Italy that makes it so delightful?) to focus much on blogging. Also, honestly, I mean, I didn’t bring my machine so I’m not sewing here! I am knitting up a storm, though, this pattern which is really fun and the first fingering weight sweater I’ve ever attempted (oy). For those who don’t follow me on le Instagram you might have missed my #makingmaisel reveal of my dress, but I  promise to post about it when I get back to Mumbai in June! Whats-his-face left for Singapore before I could get him to photograph it for real for real, so sorry!

Seriously, though, being here has been insanely productive and creative and given me a chance to really think about my work and my life in new ways, so I couldn’t be more grateful. But of course, it hasn’t translated to documenting new makes, even the ones I made FOR this experience! It’s been too cool for the warmer weather things I made, siiiiiigh. Maybe Mumbai had affected my sewing to the point that I misinterpret weather in other places? But recently the weather finally cooperated and I got a chance to document one of the things I brought with me that I made recently, coupled with something I made LONG ago and never got a chance to document. So here we go, two in one, just in time for Me Made May (which I am doing! From a suitcase! It’s insane! Follow me on said le Instagram for updates….)

One of the people here with me is Kaja, who is totally a professional photographer and generously agreed to photograph me, which is very kind of her. Asking for her help is like asking for a modernist painter to help you touch up your apartment walls. Ohhhhh well. She was very gracious and generous, but then again, she is from Norway, they make them that way there.

Without further ado, the outfit!

I had Kaja take these photos nearby the place we are staying, against the walls of an old castle. It’s totally for sale, if you are interested!

I mean, I’m interested. Anyone want to lend me a couple of million euros?

Think about it. ANYway, to the clothing. The skirt is a simple circle skirt, and the shirt is a DEEP level Grainline Patterns Scout Tee hack. I seriously have done so very MUCH with this pattern. I’ve always loved the way a bow blouse looked, (I refuse to say pussy blow, yeeeesh, I’m American, it’s weird. I mean, unless it’s about how the pussy grabs back!). But I’ve always been concerned about the patterns I’ve drooled over, will the bow be too high, will the neckline be flattering, will I look like a librarian from the 1970’s? I’m fine with the librarian part. It’s the 1970’s I worry about. See, I love Janet’s look from The Good Place:

But then I remember this about myself:

So I knew I needed something that honored both of those impulses, in yogi-speak. Well, when you want something done well… hack it yourself.

And this shirt was born!

I’m quite happy with it, as it turns out!

The skirt is basically just a circle. I don’t know, man. It’s one of those things that you made and are forever grateful for because it’s so damn basic and useful, but never think of it again. So it’s actually nice to get a chance to show it off! I made it over a year ago, but….yeah. It’s a grey circle skirt. You get it.

It’s fun to twirl, though!

But obviously the blouse is the hero here. Why? Well, apart from the shape, which is great, the fabric is aces.

YES THESE ARE TINY PATTERNED CROCODILES.

FOR THE WIN.

Back view!

And that is that! Oh, but before I go, just so you can be as jealous as possible, enjoy my view:

YES. So right now, ya’ll, I am pretty in Piedmont and LOVING IT! Happy Me Made May to you all!

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