Tag Archives: Blouse

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!

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Filed under Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Uncategorized, Vintage

The Father’s Day Blouse

I didn’t even THINK about this, because I’m a terrible and ungrateful child, but I made this shirt from one of my father’s shirts and then it was Father’s Day! What the WHAT? But I suppose it’s a fitting tribute that I would make this blouse and wear it in San Juan, on of my father’s favorite places in the world. Because I just got back from PUERTO RICO, people. Yeah. What can I say? In between Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathons and chat sessions with my cat, I lead a glamorous life.

No, I kid. But I did go down to San Juan this past Thursday for a long weekend vacation/reward for finishing my first year of graduate school/reward for my friend Becca (hi, Becca!) getting INTO graduate school. And I did wear this blouse, though not on Father’s Day, and I did call my father on the day itself, so we’re all good. And Puerto Rico was lovely and relaxing and we did absolutely nothing at all. Paradise. I NEVER do nothing. It was quite a revelation, I can tell you. Do you know what I’ve found out? Booze really helps….

And so does vacation clothing! I don’t know if this qualifies, though the two other things I made Becca photograph (sidebar, Becca was SUCH a good sport about taking photos of me. I told her she would need to do it and she looked at me like I was insane and said, of course! Becca is good people.) are a lot more like the kinds of things people wear in the Caribbean. Additional sidenote, why do people wear things on vacation that they wouldn’t wear at home? Go brighter if you are a subdued dresser but for reals, people, your hemline doesn’t NEED to shift in proportion to your distance to the equator….or does it? Did a memo go out about this that I missed?

Enough of my 75 year old lady judgement. The garment!

FDB 7I made those shorts, too, never documented, don’t even worry about it.

FDB 2This thing, I kind of just winged it. I really did. I know I have said that in the past, but I am not kidding or exaggerating or anything of the sort in this go around. I just grabbed another cast off from my Papi (gracias, Papi, te adoro!), cut off the sleeves and collar, flipped it around (I had this idea of a button back blouse) and went to town.

FDB 1It gaps just a bit in the back at the waist, sigh. A swayback adjustment would be nice, I sometimes think but never do it…

I added two inch tucks on the front and back pieces, and darts at the bust. I lowered the neckline and finished the neck and sleeves with bias tape. The result? I love it! And Becca loved it too, she even wanted one for herself! The HIGHEST POSSIBLE COMPLIMENT, don’t you know.

FDB 6I love it! I do. I think it looks a little Grecian, a little vintagey, a little classic. A little of everything! Which is fitting, because in my family they call me little Leah, my father included.

Becca and I had the best time in San Juan. More posts about this will follow, but I did have a chance, even in the first day we spent in Puerto Rico, to demonstrate how I feel about being there:

FDB 5And also:

FDB 4And also, very much:

FDB 3See what happens when you improvise? It can work! For someone who fears a life without planning, that can be nice to remember. But not that nice….point is, vacation is all well and good, but I still love sculpting order out of chaos. Much like my dad!

FDB 8It’s okay to be jealous. A lot of people are.

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Filed under Refashion, Sewing, Travel

The “April Is The Cruelest Month” Top

I don’t want to sound like a low rent comic, here, but what is the deal with this spring weather? After a cold winter we here in Brooklyn we have been enjoying a cold and chilly Spring. Ah, well, it is what it is, and after all:

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Thanks, T.S. Elliot, you’re the best. The rest of the poem can be found here. Also, side note, for someone who is, in life, not that into poetry, I sure as hell am throwing a lot of it down on this blog, now, aren’t I? Bizarre. I’ll have to talk to some booze about that.
Still, I don’t mind it all that much, except that I happen to believe I look a whole hell of a lot cuter when the weather is warmer, sigh. But on the other hand, I did get to make a lot of cold-weather things this past winter, and now I’m trying out transitional things for this temperamental season we call “spring in the mid-atlantic”. Not quite New England, not the South, but somewhere stuck between the Mason-Dixon line and the Cape, we few, we happy few, we band of mercurial-Spring havers.
So I’ve been trying to make things that look cute, remind me of Spring, and are warm enough to survive my commute and daily needs. It’s been a challenge, but what are you going to do? If you are me, you are going to buckle down, you are going to suck it up, and you are going to make a silk dupioni blouse!
AITCM 1Recognize the pattern? It’s the blouse from Simplicity 3688, that lovely 40’s reproduction business I’ve made once before.¬† I have altered it EVEN MORE! Bahahahaha. I omitted the waste tucks, lengthened it by four inches, added two darts¬† to the existing three on each sleeve cap, and lowered the neckline. Oh, and I did french seams throughout. For next time, and oh yes, there WILL be a next time, for such a simple blouse it really works for me and I always get compliments when I wear it, I plan to lower the neckline just a smidge more, but keep the rest as it is, this length is perfect for me!
AITCM 4See? See how happy I am with the length?
AITCM 3Oh, and I cut the back on the selvage and seamed it together. I do that so often now I kind of forget it’s an alteration!
AITCM 6I love my expression here, like, oh, really, a photo? I couldn’t possibly, despite having set up the tripod and the timer and jumped into place for this photo. It’s all so unexpected!
AITCM 5I love the yoke, I really do, I don’t know why it’s so flattering but somehow it is.
AITCM 2That expression says, I am, indeed, feeling like a pimp, and I shall, in due time, be brushing my shoulders off, if I didn’t have such qualms about ending a sentence with a preposition.
The fabric is, as I said, a silk dupioni, one I bought at the Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet a year and a half ago for, get this, 1.98 a yard. WHAT THE WHAT? It was a steal. I got a bunch, and I still have some…what to do, what to do. It has a lovely texture that you can see in this closeup:
AITCM 8The leaves sort of shimmer a bit in the light.
Fun fact about this photo, I wanted to get a close up and I was alone at home so I just took off my shirt and took the photo. I can do that because I also make these CURTAINS!
AITCM 7I made them for most rooms of our apartment. It’s been a recent sort of boring but totally important and useful project. I also made the futon cover which you can sort of see, it’s the red sofa on the right. Anyway, home decor, it’s a bitch, but when I do it’s just so satisfying!
In other news, can it get a little warmer soon? I think I’m making the best of it but seriously. SERIOUSLY. Ah, well. Elliot and I will just have to live.
PS: I promise I did make a Mad Men inspired dress, though I’m past the deadline, but I will be posting it soon just for your viewing pleasure, I swear! Stay tuned!

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Filed under Simplicity Patterns, Uncategorized, Vintage

The Old Fashioned Outfit

Before I write anything else, I just want to say, thank you very much, all of you, for your gorgeous and wonderful comments on my last post. I’m always a bit reticent to share real emotions digitally, after all, as we all know, the internets is no place for feelings. But in the swirl of all this nostalgia, I felt some impulsive need to inject a touch of reality, or at least, my reality, into the vintage mania, which I myself truly do share. Thank you all for reading, really, it means more to me then I can say.

And now, onto my second Sew For Victory outfit! This one is actually a reproduction print, the ever popular Simplicity 3688. I took the blouse and skirt patterns and made them both, in a Spring (or at least anticipating Spring! Come on, Spring!) outfit. And here is what I came out with:

TFRO 1

As I look at this photo, I realize there is just a ton of fabric bunching at the waist. Oh, well, what are you going to do. I omitted the waist tucks, serves me right.

TFRO 2As you may recall (though why on Earth would you…) I’ve actually made this skirt before. But I’ve never made this blouse, and I honestly do like it quite a bit. The neckline is a bit high, and I had to add two darts at each shoulder to get the sleeve to ease into the arm, but otherwise it really works for me.

TOFO 3

The blouse material came from Fabric.com from a year ago, and the skirt material came from an Etsy seller two full years ago. STASH BUSTING FOR THE WIN!

TOFO 4I shortened the skirt about 5 inches (because, for real, I am short, and also, I want to wear this thing, not just save it for theme parties!) but otherwise made no changes.

TOFO 5Dance break!

TOFO 7

I love the print, I think it’s perfect for spring! The look might be a bit modest, but I think it’s pretty cute and flattering, even given women with less then subtle chests.

TOFO 6A whole bunch of darts in that sleeve cap.

TOFO 8And there you can just see the flatfelled seams of the skirt.

And there you have it! More 1940’s stuff. I do truly love the lines and shapes of this period. This skirt falls rather stiffly, but really it’s not as big as it seems, and it’s easy to make it fabric efficient. As is the blouse! Makes it all the easier to keep the home fires burning.

Also, as a last word, the title of this post actually refers to the Frightened Rabbit song, Old Old Fashioned. Love it.

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Filed under Challenge, Clothing, Sewing, Vintage

The Thrice as Nice Shirt

Sometimes titles completely elude me. For example, every play I’ve ever written has had its title tacked on at the end as a complete after thought. As a result, the titles are not very good. For the screenplay I wrote this semester, it got to the point where my teacher just looked at me and said, really, Leah? Untitled Screenplay? I tried to pass it off like a Duchamp “Fountain” thing but I don’t think he was buying it…

So sometimes I have a hard time finding names for the pieces I make, and nevertheless I like having names for the pieces I make because I like thinking of my wardrobe as something filled with chatty vibrant personalities to rival my own, so when I get dressed in the morning I can say, hello, such-and-such-blouse, hello, such-and-such-pants, who wants to hang out with who today? Am I anthropomorphizing my closet? Mayhap. You should see the chats I have with my cat. Seriously, you should, my roommates could use more people with whom to watch and judge.

B 1

So this blouse is New Look 6808, my third version of this all-too-cute pattern. This time I did the collar, but without the little bow in the middle because I’ve really been working on this “dressing like a grown up” thing. And I did long sleeves, because it’s cold out here for a pimp. And I did stretch poplin because it’s seriously comfortable and I had some in my stash from over a year ago when I got a bunch of stretchy fabric for clover muslins. Ancient history.

B 2I adore this color. One has to admit, though, this poplin is a tad wrinkly…

B 3Eh, what are you gonna do….I also made the pants! My first clovers, in fact, which makes this outfit weirdly perfect and fated, come to think of it…

B 4Side view! I had to add two pleats to force the sleeve to fit into the shoulder. I’ve had to do that every time with this pattern, but instead of altering it I just go with it because I kind of love the pleat!

I also noticed that the sleeve cuff detail is flipped up in all of these photos, sigh…

B 5A little back view for you. You can’t see it in these photos, nor can you really see it much in real life, but there is a seam down the back which I have because I pieced together the back. If I was a super-villan, that would be my trademark, back seams. I just some fabric efficiency!

B 6A little wink, terrifyingly caught on camera. You can see the cuff here, sort of, it’s cute.

B 7Annnnnnnnnd there I am talking to my cat again. Of course. Duh.

We are actually having a tearful goodbye moment. Sniff. I love vacations but I loathe leaving him. It’s a constant dilemma for me, travel or Cadfael? Wow, my twenties are just WILD.

I know this is some rapid fire posting over here, but I wanted to throw this up online before I leave tomorrow morning for San Juan. My internet access is sort of limited there, and I can only use my computer in one of the two Starbucks in town. So my blogging shall be curtailed for a while whilst I swan about the island with my friends and then alone, and then with my family. Of course, that alone time is reserved for writing, writing, and then more writing. Because that’s why people go to tropical paradises, to sit inside and write…

I hope everyone’s New Year is treating them gorgeously! And before you call me out on it, I’m aware this blouse doesn’t fulfill my plans to make new patterns. I’ll get there, okay? At least I tried a variation. Counts, right?

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Filed under Clothing, New Look Patterns, Sewing

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

Me Made May 29, 30 and 31! Final Station Stop!

Wow. After 31 days of me made madness we have finally come to the end of the line! Goodness.

Really quickly, before the pontificating, let’s check in with the outfits:

May 29th!

My nautical bias skirt with a blouse I never bothered to document here, it’s a sorbetto with no pleat, just pintucks. I had some fabric leftover from my Flirting with the Forties blouse (which I made, goodness, how long ago?) so I used that. I love this blouse, I just never got around to photographing and making an homage to it.

Day 30!

My pro-petter pan blouse with a store-bought skirt. This is actually one of my favorite skirts and the waistband NEVER GETS MESSED UP. How does that work? Damn you, H and M!

Day 31!

My final outfit! My Wildcard pants with another sorbetto, also never really documented here. But check out what I managed to do:

Do you know how hard it is to take a photo of yourself in the mirror with a large camera and do a thumbs up ? But I did it. FOR ME MADE MAY!

The scarf is both new and vintage, and extra special. Why?:

Awesome. Got it on le etsy. Thanks, etsy!

It seems like only yesterday I was vowing to only wear stuff I made and look how the time has flown! I have to say, it’s been a challenge in a different way than last year. Last June when I did this challenge for the first time I had far less that I had made, and this year I had lots of options. and the challenge became about how to combine them in new ways. And I must say, I don’t think I repeated any one combination, which is nice! I also made some new stuff, including a baby quilt using old scraps for a co-worker, and I must say, I felt really special wearing all my me made stuff all month.

It also reminded me of a few things.

1. There are things I made that I don’t like or wear. And hey, that’s okay! Some of them I made when I was less experienced, some of them I thought would work but don’t, and some of them I don’t know what the hell I was doing when I made that crap, but for whatever reason, those items don’t work for me. I will be getting rid of them to make room for new things.

2. I wear separates a lot more than I wear dresses.

3. With that in mind, I need a good serviceable bikeable black skirt. Anyone have any pattern ideas or preferences? Many was the time this month that I saw that as a gap in my closet.

4. There are a lot of things I made that I really like! Including the new items in my Spring/Summer Palette challenge! So that’s nice.

5. I love this challenge. I love celebrating what I’ve made and seeing how other people style what they’ve created. I find it inspirational and excellent. So thank you, everyone who participated, I really loved all the posts I read, and a HUGE thanks to Zoe for organizing this yearly shin-dig! Thank you, Zoe! I salute you!

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Filed under Challenge, Clothing