Category Archives: Sewing

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!

 

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Sewing

The My Audition for Hair is Tomorrow Shirt

Some projects are long in the making. They require time and space and long hours of contemplation. They live in the imagination like phantoms, lying in wait for the right fabric, the right moment in time, the right feeling. 

This is not one of those projects.

This is more of a project that is like that song by the Shirelles. You know the one I mean….

If you don’t know or at least enjoy that song on first listening then you are dead inside. Please stop reading this blog, I don’t want no zombies here. Thanks! Bye.

Seriously, Walking Dead, get out of here. You are by FAR the least interesting thing AMC has ever produced to my mind. Yes, I know about Turn. Yes, that sounds cooler to me. Come on, now, you know you are into that period! What else has Lin-Manuel Miranda given us, if not that?

Side note, how are zombies cool now? They are legit the least sexy mythical creature. They are rotting, all the time. They are the sexual equivalent of a compost bin. COME on, people!

ANYway. The point is, this was a project that I was like, oh, yeah, I want that. I want to make that. And within three days, I sure had!

It also involves a pattern company I had never heard of before! Have you guys heard of Peppermint Magazine? It is straight up delightful, with a free pattern monthly and a lot of excellent sustainable things! But also, FREE PATTERN MONTHLY! I mean, how do you walk away from that?

This month’s pattern is a blouse with ruffled sleeves, totally on trend, totally adorable.

I saw it on a Thursday, I made in on a Saturday. I took photos of it on a Sunday. I cut out two more on a Monday.

Not convinced? Enjoy the photos!

Fun fact, it was literally 105 degrees fahrenheit when we shot these photos. BUT. This blouse looked better with jeans than with the shorts I’ve made in the past. It’s so billowy that it needs a slim leg below, right? So I wore jeans. For you guys, FOR THE READERS. I know, I know, send in my candidacy for sainthood. No matter that I’m Jewish. CALL THE VATICAN!

So first of all, I was trying to be conservative with my size by cutting a size G, but this is too big. Which is fine! I still like it. I cut a size G because it said the finished bust size was a 44, and my size D chest is 42 inches at the fullest point, so two inches of ease, sounds like a plan, right? Wrong. This is WAY more than 44 inches in width! I like the loose look, don’t get me wrong, but I’m going down a size for my next try. 

But also, look, I totally like this shirt. Obviously! I cut more!

But also, again, it does sort of remind me of something….

Yes. Hair. The musical Hair.

Good lord, why do we glorify hippies? These are hippies:

Disgusting. Weird, cult-oriented, weirdness. But mostly, disgusting. You can hate the Man with showers! Right?

This is one of my favorite things among a thousand things about Mad Men, the fact that they depict hippie cults clearly:

Just horrific. Margaret!

I don’t care how happy and free she is. SHE LOOKED BETTER REPRESSED:

 

Oh, god. I have betrayed everything my mother fought for. I am horrific. BUT I’M CLEAN, RIGHT?

Yep. Hair combed, body cleansed, blouse a little 70’s  but still fairly modern!

Side view!

 

And the back! This is a stupid easy make, and I LOVE the way that Peppermint Magazine has included a ton of detailed instructions to make the finishing of seams as clear and wonderful as possible. Well done! They have so many great patterns, I’m excited to make the others!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Sewing, Vintage

The Peoples of the Ancient World Dress

First of all, just so everyone knows, you are WELCOME to enter my pattern giveaway regardless of joining the #makingmaisel sewalong! Check it out, here!

When I was a child of about 12, I was already a big fan of history. Especially ancient history. I know. Knock you over with a feather. Nothing I have ever said before on this blog has ever even shaded towards that for you. But I was a kid who used to sit around reading books on young Martha Washington and Greek battle secrets and learning how to mummify stuff. As you can imagine, this made me really popular, which is good, because that was 100% my goal.

But the question is of course, why did I become this sort of human? Well, it’s probably because of a variety of factors, if I’m being perfectly honest. If I had to give you a recipe for a historically minded nerd child, because you might like to bred one yourself, it might be as follows:

10 cups historic fiction reading materials (anything from the Horrible History series to Japanese myths will do. Bonus points if you give them access to questionable appropriate series like Steven Saylor’s Gordanius the Finder books which no ten year old should read and this ten year old 100% did)

2 cups historically minded parents

1 cup access to travel and historic spaces (an expensive ingredient, to be sure. Can be substituted with appreciation for said historic spaces, if access is not possible immediately/ever)

3 tablespoon obsession with Indiana Jones

2 teaspoons costume obsession

1 teaspoon love of old-timey fonts

1 pinch of vivid fantasy life

Stir to combine, serve. Warning, becomes more potent with age.

In addition to all this, I lived downtown in Philadelphia, while I attended a school in the suburbs, which meant that school vacations were a little, say, isolated. My parents would hand me a stack of museum memberships (an optional ingredient for the recipe above), and send me on my way, to fill the long days with something other than watching television and bothering them at work. And one of my favorite places to spend a long vacation day was The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. A lot of people don’t know about this museum, but it is splendid, and well worth a visit if you are in the area. I would take my mother’s high school textbook from the 1950’s, The Peoples of the Ancient World, hugely out of date and more than a little offensive by modern standards, and sit in the galleries supplementing the exhibition texts with choice self-taught Assyrian lessons.

I think you are probably seeing why I was….alone for these trips, unaccompanied by “friends”, or whatever.

Well, on a recent trip to the States, from which I am still jetlagged, having returned to Mumbai on Thursday, I got a chance to not only visit the museum, but do so with my friend Becca, AND get a tour of the conservation lab! It was beyond my wildest imaginings and I mostly clasped my hands to my chest so I wouldn’t knock anything over.

And at the end of the visit, I got Becca to take my photo! I named this dress after the textbook, which I love and treasure and still have.

This dress is actually SUPER simple, like, STUPID simple, but I wanted to show it off because the fabric is just a star. And I bought it with my friend Ana!

It’s this lovely scuba knit I got at Thakur in Mumbai, and I just adore the print. I had never sewn with this fabric before, so that was new! And pretty easy, honestly…

Scuba knit is HOT, though, guys. It really does not BREATH. Note to self: make the next scuba knit thing I made sleeveless, because….sweat.

But look at that! I love the ferns….

To make this dress I adapted my bodice block into a princess seam, and used the sleeves from the Deer and Doe Plantain shirt, combined with a half-circle skirt.

I wouldn’t say the fit is PERFECT but it is fine. There is some extra fabric around the armholes, which…I don’t know how to fix for next time. Any ideas? The bodice in general is a little roomy, but that’s not a bad thing, I guess. I suppose it makes it easier to wear because I didn’t want to put in a zipper.

It was, of course, quite easy to make. I didn’t hem the skirt or the sleeves to eliminate bulk. I am okay with this.

This is one part of the museum from the outside. Pretty, right?

Right?

RIGHT??????

A little side view for you!

And the other side! Becca had fun with the angles…

And the back! The skirt only has one seam, so I matched it to the back seam and called it a day.

And now, some of my favorite objects (from THIS trip, I have new ones each time….) and reasons you should check out the museum yourself! And Philadelphia, in general!

Right? Doesn’t it just make you want to throw some khaki on your body and jump into a tomb?

Just me? Cool. Cool, cool, cool.

Well, at least we can agree that the dress is fun!

What were you into when you were 12/still into now? What is your favorite historic period and region? Mine changes daily, but right now, I’m really into Tang China, Mughal India, and Gilded Age New York, probably because of The Alienist, if I’m being real….)

1 Comment

Filed under Life, Self Drafted, Sewing

#MakingMaisel Pattern Ideas

Happy Monday, all! My gift to you is some pattern inspiration to help you figure out how to make that Maisel costume into the outfit of your dreams. I still haven’t decided what I’M doing yet, although I do know that I’m going to make SOMETHING in a wool, potentially a raspberry or a grey, classic Midge power colors. Know what I mean?

Now, of course there is the option for this one to go vintage pattern, and I may well be taking it, honestly, but thank goodness we live in a world that also gives us the opportunity to buy vintage reproductions, in a multi-size pattern, that we don’t have to worry about scaling or changing or damaging throughout the sewing process, am I right?

So here are some of my thoughts, although I welcome your ideas too!

Obviously, the outerwear is amazing. I don’t know if I can justify this to myself because…when would I wear it, but gosh, I’m tempted, aren’t you? All those gorgeous coats, so impractical with no closures, so amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily, there are some options for you if this is your deal.

 

 

 

The obvious contender, and it’s already in raspberry! IT’S A SIGN.

Also an option.

Sometimes these dress patterns sneak in a coat pattern. LUCKY FOR US!

The Colette Patterns Lady Grey would also work as a tribute piece!

I feel like if you made that up in a wool it would totally echo that tan coat Midge is sporting above, no?

This is technically not a coat but, I just, I die:

Separates:

The men of Maisel rock a separate, and Susie is all about a jeans and knit top combo, with her leather jacket, natch, but more often than not, Midge and Imogene are in dresses. Rose is all about a suit, very appropriate for her age in that period, and Rose is all ABOUT appropriate, as we know. This would totally be the time to make a suit, if anyone is itching to do that, but for now, I’m going to focus on the more unconventional separates the show gives us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love Midge in pants, so beatnik chic! There are some great options for that flat-front 1950’s look that was so popular, apparently people felt that the zipper front on women was vulgar.

I have been searching for a cute 1950’s blouse pattern for YEARS, any leads? But for the turtleneck, look no further than Seamwork!

Shorten Neelah into a shirt and there you go!

This outfit is a popular one on the internets, maybe because it’s so contemporary looking? I like the color combo, though, so bold! For this one, you might like the combo of Colette patterns Selene with a knit tee in a merino wool. Oooohhh, that would be cute…

 

And of course, who doesn’t love Midge’s work out gear?

 

For the shorts, I think the Weston shorts are a solid option:

 

You could also lengthen these to make Susie’s high waisted pants!

And the Astoria sweater would be too cute for Midge OR Susie! Material is everything.

And for the leotard, I mean, look no further than the Closet Case Nettie…

 

 

Okay, okay, fine, let’s get to the dresses!

I love literally everything each of these women is currently wearing.

 

This simplicity number feels right on the money! Add a bow, it’s there!

 

The top is a little off, but I think you could alter this one to make it work, and I love that back detail! It also reminds me of this number:

And then we have this one:

This one is a little intense, but also excellent. And look at that, a near-perfect pattern match!

Oh, love it all. LOVE IT ALL! Nothing exact here, but some options for an approximation:

 

Colette Patterns Claudette Dress, a classic!

Love those design lines.

And then of course, the party wear:

Now, Gertie said she might be developing something similar in an instagram post, so, ya know, maybe? But this is also not terrible:

And of course, the dress that requires pearls:

Oh, hello, lover. I mean, look, I have no idea if anything will ever be this good in terms of FIT, but in terms of LOOK, I humbly offer a few options:

Siiiigh. I had nothing for the men, honestly, although I’m happy to source that if anything is going there….

What do you guys think? Any other ideas of great patterns to use? Any real vintage favorites?

Leave a comment

Filed under Butterick Patterns, Closet Case Patterns, Clothing, Colette Patterns, McCalls Patterns, seamwork, Sewalong, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Be A Pineapple Dress

I have to admit something, a dark and shameful secret. I am terrible at muslins. I just am. I never really make them, is the thing, because I always want them to be wearable because, well, I don’t know, I guess sometimes it feels like a waste of time although of course it IS NOT and I have botched a lot of things and ruined good fabric more times than I can count through NOT really muslining, by just cutting out a dress or shirt or whatever and realizing it doesn’t fit correctly and I hate it. Ugh, sigh, foolish Leah. I don’t know, I just have a hard time sewing when it doesn’t create a wearable product, which isn’t great, I should be more process oriented, more fit oriented, but I find myself just…not being that way.

Should I just bite the bullet and actually commit to muslins? Yes, yes I should. WILL I? I honestly can’t say.

So this dress was my SECOND muslin/tester/just a dress I made because I’m a muslin fail, as you know. I have to make a dress for my friend Ekta’s upcoming wedding (hi, Ekta!). Well, I mean, I don’t HAVE to but I want to! And it has to be formal, a gown, really. I have been encouraged to make something Indian, but I just, can’t even with that. First of all, I like traditional Indian clothing on other people but I’m not all that wild about it on myself, unless it’s like a sari or a lenhga. The whole mashed-up Indian outfit options are beautiful, but just not really me. I think it might be the lack of waist definition, which is so big in concepts of Western beauty, but not as important here in Indian clothing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See, all very nice, but not very me. So Ekta will have to be down with my gown!

I knew I wanted to take a dress pattern and lengthen it to make it a gown, so I decided to try my hand at New Look 6526, because I really liked the bodice details. But alas, it was not to be. There were so many issues, from the bust to the armscye, and I just didn’t know where to start or if it was even worth it. So I took a step back and thought about what I liked about this pattern, really liked about it, and decided it was the princess seams and the v-neck. So I took out another pattern I had, McCalls 7503, with some similar elements, and tried that one out for size. This pattern also had multiple cup size options, which is always a good sign, because New Look 6526 is going to need a full bust adjustment and a HALF to get that to fit.

I was worried about the bust size, though, so I cut an 18 for my tester, which means this dress, which is a dress, honestly, not a muslin, I mean, I frenched every seam, I’m insane, is a bit big, but that’s fine, for a “day frock”, as my friend Lucy, who shot the photos below, put it. I will go down a size all over and maybe two at the waist for my dress for Ekta’s wedding (technically it’s for her Sangeet, the wedding gets a sari!).

But honestly, this dress could be four sizes too big and I would still love it because the fabric is just the best. It comes to me courtesy of my friend Meredith, who handed it over to me when she left India, because she never got a chance to take it to a tailor. Meredith’s loss is my gain!

Pineapple party!

Good advice for us all. I am not tall, but I did wear these wedges, so that helped, but hey, where is my crown?

As I am fond of remarking, one of the positive things about India is the constant abundance of fresh tropical fruit. Does it make up for the constant abundance of feces dotting the streets? Jury is still out. Still, I love me some watermelon, so I enjoy that daily, and we have recently started adding pineapple to our green juice (yes I drink home-made green juice daily, don’t care that it’s #basic, it’s healthy!), which I buy from a streetseller across from my gym. And now I can match him!

So I made a few changes to the original design, adding these flutter sleeves (the sangeet version will have cap sleeves, fyi) and moving the zipper to the side. I didn’t have enough fabric to line it, which is okay, this is a solid cotton, so I finished off the sleeves and neckline with bias tape.

This fabric is so busy that you can’t really see the princess seams, etc, but they are there, along with a bust dart. It’s a nicely drafted pattern, I think!

I finished the hem with horsehair, as instructed, which gives it a little body and bounce. I struggled to figure out how to describe this in my notions shop, but it turns out the word in Hindi for horsehair is…horsehair.

 

This was an easy make, even with all the french seams I did, which I think is a good thing, because I’m about to attempt this in a different fabric, with a full length skirt, which will be flared if I have enough fabric, and something else if I don’t…and lined, and fancy, and probably a bit more challenging. So at least the base pattern is easy!

Lucy took these photos at golden hour, so this was me trying to do my most romantic golden hour pose. Nailed it.

We took these photos in this gloriously empty lot near a movie theater after watching The Post (it’s pretty good! Meryl is amazing, Hanks is good, the costumes are fun, the press stays free) and there was also this giant jar there. WHAT IS THIS THING?

Never mind, I will just keep on being a pineapple.

3 Comments

Filed under McCalls Patterns, Sewing

The Orientalist Dress

Thanks for the positive responses on the sew-along, people! The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won TWO golden globes last night, so now you HAVE to see it, am I right? I will be posting in upcoming weeks with pattern ideas, and some giveaways, but for now, just comment on the original post if you are interested!

The thing about being interested in sewing and textile, once your friends know about it, is sometimes you become, like, that person, you know what I mean? You are someone’s sewing friend. This is often fantastic, because people give you fabric (thank you, friends!) and sewing supplies, and send you cool articles about textile and stuff. Sometimes this is not as fantastic, like when people think you are their new free tailor and bring you broken zippers to mend. And sometimes it can sort of, well, be a little ambivalent when you are moving out of New York and the Met has a huge textile show and everyone suggests it as a fun friend activity and you end up seeing China through the Looking Glass THREE fricking times even though, from a curatorial standpoint, it was worth one.

But, hey, I mean, I got to know this bowler hat really well, soooooooo, win some, lose some.

Whatever my issues with this exhibit, which, while interesting, did not achieve any of the depth or breadth of knowledge OR commentary that, say, Interwoven Globe or Global Fashion Capitals did (am I a museum exhibit snob? OBVIOUSLY. What, this your first time here?) I can’t say it didn’t stick to my consciousness, especially living here in India, the land of fabric, where the idea of clothing and textile exchange has been reflected and refracted and remade and reused and absorbed and rediscovered and rejected. The sari is a political garment, don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t, and the clothing that people, women, really, wear here in India has a moral and social consequence. One could, of course, argue that this is the case everywhere, but I have yet to visit a place where it is so visible, so much a part of daily life, and yet so rarely discussed. Indian women know what to wear in which location, what keeps them safe, of course, nothing really keeps anyone safe, in the end, but perhaps what gives the illusion of safety, of appropriateness, of invisibility, which is of course the only safety any of us can try and bank on, that if we are not seen we will not be hurt. Adding the layer of physical security on top of layers of history only makes textile and clothing here all the heavier, despite the lighter weaves.

There are a thousand and one opinions about appropriation in art, but I would argue that when it comes to clothing, the history of the world can be written in a garment, and often is. Global garments stretch far back into history, and perhaps there are those who see me, in my ikat fit and flair dresses, stitching up block printed fabrics into 1950’s patterns, as an appropriator of the worst kind, but I would say it’s homage, not theft. Of course, Picasso tells us, “Bad artists copy, good artists steal”, but maybe that’s the problem, there, maybe if we acknowledge that we are borrowers, and lenders, the accusation of theft and desecration wont hang so heavy over art and art making. Polonius gave a lot of bad advice as well as good, perhaps we should throw that one away, and make things that proudly say, I borrow from here, I’m using this, but I promise I’m not the only one, you can have it back when I’m done, or better yet, there is more than enough to share. Is culture a finite resource? I hope not. I might be using up too much.

When I saw Colette Pattern’s new pattern release, Prudence, I couldn’t help but think both of China Through the Looking Glass (I mean, see a think THREE TIMES it’s going to live in you, you know what I mean?) as well as much smaller but lovingly curated show at MOCA, Shanghai Glamour. I have always loved the way a qipao, or cheongsam, looks, but have never worn one, partially through a fear that I would be a little appropriative or costumey, and partially because I hadn’t found one that worked with my, er, frame. This show, Shanghai Glamour, in fact demonstrates part of my very point, which is, that the qipao as it exists today is an amalgamation of East and West, it is history in a garment, it represents a traditional shape that has been altered through Western-influenced tailoring to create a unique garment that evolved and changed over time. Take a look at Suzy Wong:

 

Chinese silk, traditional idea, with a bullet bra and darts for days. Nothing we do is new, is it?

Back to Colette. The dress reminded me both of the qipao, hey, we call it a MANDARIN collar for a reason, remember, and also 1940’s Western styles echoing Chinese influence in Western shapes:

 

 

And I knew I had to have it. And I love it, I do, because somehow the confluence of vintage glamour and Asian influence just, sort of, I don’t know, speaks to my life, I guess?

I mean, I also just think it looks great, let’s be real.

I cut a size 12 in Colette, tapering down to a 10 at the waist. The result is slightly loose at the waist, but still a nice amount of definition, for that sweet spot of, I look nice and I can eat. Both vitally important things!

The bust is generous in this pattern because of the shape, so I didn’t have make adjustments, which is always nice.

I made a few changes, most notably moving the zipper to the back, which has resulted in a slightly tighter neck, which puts a bit of a strain on that cute little button there, I must say. This is 100% my bad, I didn’t add any extra seam allowance so…that’s on me. It’s still really lovely and comfortable, but for next time, I’m thinking of going with a shorter flared skirt, I will totally add a little breathing room. I made a thread loop for the fastener, that’s always fun!

All in all, this puppy got a lot of hand sewing, part of my vow to try and take a bit more time with stuff. I stitched down all the facings by hand, as recommended, as well as hand picking the zipper and hand stitching the hem. Otherwise, it’s all french seamed, natch. It’s kind of nice to take the time to hand sew, I guess? I don’t know, I suppose it’s a little soothing. You can see I used a non-matching zipper in this photo, it usually is hidden, ah well.

The fabric, you might note, is also vaguely Chinese influenced, look at that butterfly!, but it’s a rayon I bought at Mangaldas Market. It has a nice drape, and didn’t break the bank, which is good because this dress eats up a nice amount of fabric.

It’s all the skirt, though, and why does the skirt need so many panels, I ask you? It has, like, 6, I did so many french seams, what’s that about? I feel like a straight piece of fabric could have gotten that done, just saying.

Well, I supposed that’s all I’ve got to say about this process. I am a big fan of this dress, and I will make another soon with a shorter skirt.

So I leave you with this photo, which I like:

And this quote from Rushdie, who I love, from the only book he’s written that I really disliked, but the quote is good, so I can let it go:

“Disorientation is loss of the East. Ask any navigator: the east is what you sail by. Lose the east and you lose your bearings, your certainties, your knowledge of what is and what may be, perhaps even your life. Where was that star you followed to the manger? That’s right. The east orients.

That’s the official version. The language says so, and you should never argue with the language.

But let’s just suppose. What if the whole deal – orientation, knowing where you are, and so on – what if it’s all a scam? What if all of it – home, kinship, the whole enchilada – is just the biggest, most truly global, and centuries-oldest piece of brainwashing? Suppose that it’s only when you dare to let go that your real life begins? When you’re whirling free of the mother ship, when you cut your ropes, slip your chain, step off the map, go absent without leave, scram, vamoose, whatever: suppose that it’s then, and only then, that you’re actually free to act! To lead the life nobody tells you how to live, or when, or why. In which nobody orders you to go forth or die for them, or for god, or comes to get you because you broke one of the rules, or because you’re one of those people who are, for reasons which unfortunately you can’t be given, simply not allowed. Suppose you’ve got to go through the feeling of being lost, into the chaos and beyond; you’ve got to accept the loneliness, the wild panic of losing your moorings, the vertiginous terror of the horizon spinning round and round like the edge of a coin tossed in the air.

You won’t do it. Most of you won’t do it. The world’s head laundry is pretty good at washing brains: Don’t jump off that cliff don’t walk through that door don’t step into that waterfall don’t take that chance don’t step across that line don’t ruffle my sensitivities I’m warning you now don’t make me mad you’re doing it you are making me mad. You won’t have a chance you haven’t got a prayer you’re finished you’re history you’re less than nothing, you’re dead to me, dead to your whole family your nation your race, everything you ought to love more than life and listen to like your master’s voice and follow blindly and bow down before and worship and obey; you’re dead, you hear me, forget about it, you stupid bastard, I don’t even know your name.

But just imagine you did it. You stepped off the edge of the earth, or through the fatal waterfall, and there it was: the magic valley at the end of the universe, the blessed kingdom of the air. Great music everywhere. You breathe the music, in and out, it’s your element now. It feels better than “belonging” in your lungs.”

2 Comments

Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, history, Sewing, Vintage

New Year, Same Me, A Sewalong!

So, I have an very important question to ask you guys, and that is, um, well, oh boy, this is so hard to ask, but, would you do me the honor of….participating in my sew-a-long?

Oh, let’s back up.

First of all, Happy New Year, y’all! I hope that you had the most wonderful Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanza/Festivus/Saturnalia/Satanic ritual/whatever you’re into, and the most lovely New Years Eve! What’s-his-face and I had a latke party and then we rang in the New Year by eating pizza and watching Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (for the hundredth time, obviously) and then we watched some of this which is absolutely bonkers.

Seriously, check it out:

Thinking back on my many sewing projects of the year, many of which, alas, went undocumented, as always, I will say that I think I tried a few new things, style wise, which is always fun, and I’m looking forward to trying some more in the year to come. I also want to challenge myself more to try a few new things, including more (any) outerwear (which is hard, because I spend so much of my time in India right now and Mumbai is not an outerwear kind of a place, but I can still try!), and taking more time with projects that have challenging details, like some formal wear for weddings and events, and more vintage items that require me to spend more time with them during construction.

Do you guys have any sewing goals? I rarely make other kinds of resolutions, and I’m already starting every day with homemade green juice (recipe courtesy of my friend Rakhee, follow her on Instagram at @rakheejainarora! And follow mine, I figured out how to put a link on the side and everything! @lfstruggle!), and I have a big year ahead what with my first novel release and What’s-his-name’s projects, stay tuned for more on all counts, so I feel like I have a lot covered on the personal front. So sewing can have a lot of my intentions, right now!

And speaking of sewing goals, in the spirit of wanting to sew more vintage, and in celebration of what I think was one of the best pieces of television, nay, MEDIA in 2017, I am thinking about hosting a Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Sewalong! Who is with me?

First of all, we’ve all seen The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, right? RIGHT? NO? Okay, um, wow, well, don’t even worry about it, I can just hang out here for a day while you binge it. But, like, seriously, WHAT ARE  YOU DOING WITH YOUR TIME? And if you say watching Black Mirror I will BREAK YOUR FACE OFF YOUR FACE. Watch that on your own time! We have a female centric passes all kinds of Bechdel tests smart, funny, stupidly well acted period piece from what may well be the most flattering period of fashion for women in the last century and you…had better flipping things to do with your time? LIKE WHAT, PRAY TELL?

Ahem. This show is an Amazon Prime production created by Amy Sherman Palladino and Daniel Palladino, the team behind Gilmore Girls, which, if you haven’t seen that, then, I don’t know, maybe just stop reading my blog, or whatever? I mean, you make your choices, you know? AND I MAKE MINE. It features the magnificent Rachel Brosnahan, and the wonderful Alex Borstein, and it is just a sheer delight, complete and utter modern feminism wrapped up in a perfectly coordinated 1950’s package. The show is splendid, really lovely, and worth talking about for days, but the costumes, my friends, oh, the costumes. Now that’s something else entirely.

Lovingly designed by Donna Zakowska, with the kind of precision, character building, and thought process we haven’t really seen since, well, Mad Men, basically, and before that? Maybe never? these costumes really are a character in the show. They have inspired envy from the least vintage oriented of my friends, and I myself have drooled over them, longing for a cacophony of coats in impractical wool weights with no closures and all class! Hey, now, maybe THAT is where my interest in outerwear has come from….

But seriously, the costumes. First, enjoy this article. Then, look at all this:

And that’s just Midge. That’s just one character. Good. Lord. I mean, yes, it’s the MAIN character, but, like, still! I didn’t even show you her wedding dress. Listen, just watch the damn series, okay? Amazon Prime. Oh, and while you are at it, check out The Collection for a costume porn double header and then you come right back here and let me know, is anyone down for a sew-a-long?

Because I think this could be a ton of fun! So I will follow this up with a series of posts with inspirational pattern ideas, a giveaway or two, and we can reveal our Maisel outfits in a few months, let’s say, the 15th of April? That gives everyone a little time to join and try stuff out! And I promise to do a few myself, and I know that everyone’s favorite Blog for Better Sewing has a Charm patterns release coming up which she said should make fans of that red number up there very happy, soooooo…….

Who is in? Comment below if you are down, otherwise I will…totally just make a bunch of stuff on my own and wear it all and wish Miriam Maisel was my friend. And check out this pinterest board, it’s full of ideas already!

 

4 Comments

Filed under Inspiration, Sewalong, Sewing