Tag Archives: bow blouse

The Lot-o Gelato Outfit

I would like to tell you now about a passionate love affair that began when I was but ten years old. Like all good love stories, it is epic, spanning countries, ages, moods and needs, and yet it is simple at its heart. It is the story of a girl, standing in front of a scoop of gelato, asking it to love her.

When I was a child, my parents took me to Italy. I must say, I will forever be grateful for my parents for exposing my brother and myself to travel, to art museums and beautiful buildings and layers of history living around you and different languages and ways of doing things and really good bread and amazing places of worship and the reminder that the world is bigger than you and the way you think, and, most of all, perhaps, gelato.

Look, ice cream is good. No one is saying it isn’t. But it is the wonderbread to gelato’s artisanal sourdough loaf. It is the Venetian in Las Vegas to the actual Venice. It’s the movie, and gelato is the book it’s based on. It is a pale shadow of a thing, the sweeping imitation of life, the puppets dancing across the cave, and gelato is the moment you stand at the cave’s edge, in the sweet air of reality, knowing that you have arrived, the light blinding in your eyes but real, real as nothing has ever been before. 

It’s a pretty great dessert item, is what I’m saying. Come to the light, people. Come to the gelato.

So when I was ten, as I said, my parents took me to Italy (with my older brother of course). It was the first time my brother and I went to Europe, the first big trip my family had taken in years, and my parents were determined to wring experiences of out of every second of the day, waking at 5 to scale the Vatican then tour below it, and be in the Sistine Chapel by 11, out and onto the Spanish Steps by lunchtime. My parents were fueled by a steady stream of espresso, or as they call it in Italy, cafe, which tells you what you need to know about how Italians think about coffee, and my brother and I were fueled by gelato.

Gelato, my friends, is a revelation. It is airy, airy, how can a frozen dessert be airy, and yet it is, and luscious, bursting with flavor, the ice crystals enhancing each scent and taste instead of diminishing them. It is a dish best served cold, but without the bitterness of revenge. When it fell upon my tongue the first time, I knew, with the certainty of Juliet gazing upon her Romeo, that this was my forever love. And I didn’t even have to end up dead at 13 to enjoy it.

I would not say I am a romantic person, but damn, if gelato doesn’t make me a believer in true love. And yet, my love is NOT patient, because I want gelato as soon as possible. It is not kind, because despite its comparative lower sugar content, too much of it still makes my clothing snug. My love envies, because I want to try all the gelati, all the time. I boast of my love, putting photos of my gelato goodness all over the internet (at least, when in Italy, my love’s country fair). My gelato is proud, why shouldn’t it be? It’s gelato, damn it, king of creams. But at least I can say, it’s true, gelato  always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. At least, it does for ME.

So anyway, back in Italy 20 years later (20 years! My goodness! And yet, the devotion, the adoration, they have not waned or wandered, they were simply waiting, waiting to go home), I was back with my love.

And I also wore an outfit I had made. I mean, you want to look good for your lover, don’t you?

So I wish I could like, reach into these photos and yank my blouse down, because it’s doing that blousey bagging out thing that makes me look like I go from breasts to hips with nothing in between. BUT NEVERMIND. It is still a cute outfit!

The skirt is from my block, the very block that the person who photographed me holding both my gelato and her own, helped me make! I’m talking about Liz. When am I not, really.

It’s very hard to keep two gelati from melting.

You have to be creative and improvise.

ANYway. The shirt is a lovely lovely linen georgette (yes, such a fabric exists and it is wonderful) and a much-hacked Scout Tee from Grainline studios which I added a button placket and a bow to. At what point have you just completely re-made a pattern? I think I’ve done that about 10 times with the Scout Tee. Just wondering.

It’s a great shirt, though, honestly, the fabric is just amazing, breathable, drapey, but not as wrinkle prone as linen usually is. I felt so chic, when I wasn’t juggling gelato, that is.

Yes, this became difficult at some point. Also, Liz wanted her gelato back. So I didn’t get a TON of shots here, but I think it’s enough, right? You get the jist. The jist is gelato. Plain and simple. And this skirt celebrates that, right? Both fabrics are from Thakur, and both gelati are from Mara dei Boschi which might be among the best gelato I have ever had and is a must if you are planning a trip to Turin.

So anyway. That’s my love affair with gelato, writ large. I would cry to the heavens, I would proclaim it to the stars. But I think I would rather just…eat some gelato.

What is the first food you fell in love with? And has that love lasted?

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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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A rare planning post

While many plan with the seasons, I have decided to plan anyway in this season-less land. I do very much miss seasons, and someday I will spend more time back in a place that has them, but for now, this nonsense doesn’t really cut it. Funny story, talking to a shopkeeper the other day, I asked him how he was enjoying the comparatively cooler (that is, like 7 to 10 degrees Fariegnheit cooler) weather in Mumbai. Mumbai winters usually last a week or two, with low humidity, days in the 80’s, evenings in the high 60’s, a veritable winter wonderland. He told me he really couldn’t get used to this weather and it was making everyone sick. I do not understand people sometimes, I swear.

Someone recently asked me what is the most challenging thing I’ve ever made. I couldn’t really think of anything that I thought was so very impressive, although there are things I’ve made that were more complicated than others. I think more about the things I HAVEN’T tried, or don’t as well as I would like to yet. I have actually made two coats, although one I never blogged, but I wasn’t really that happy with either, and rarely wore them. So that is a goal for the future, although spending a lot of time in Mumbai makes that unappealing right now, not just because I would have no opportunities to wear it here and could only bust it out when I’m back in the US or traveling somewhere cool, but also because the idea of constructing it in this hot place makes me sweat just contemplating it. But that is on my sewing bucket list, someday, a really nice well made wool-cloth coat. Ah, winter dreams…

Coat cravings aside, there are a few things I do have planned for myself in the coming months. Some are old patterns I’m excited to revisit, and some are new ones I can’t wait to explore. So here are my 2017 crafting plans so far:

Sewing:

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Ah, yes, that elusive beast the circle skirt. I want one of these, I actually want ten of these, but I want at least one or two. The circle skirt is the best, and while I attach them to dresses, I think I want one or two on their own. Solid colors, preferably grey, to go with everything and make me feel like I’m living all my 1950’s movie star dreams. What I need for this one is actually the fabric. I’m having a tough time finding that idea bottom-weight in a solid color I like here. But I continue to search!

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A blazer! (And a pencil skirt to go with it in a cute little set. Which is patterned!) This one I DO have the fabric for:

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So, do I NEED a suit like this? No. No I don’t. Shut up, you can’t tell me what to do! I have a vision of myself in a polka-dotted skirt-jacket combo and I cannot shake it. I have already cut this out, actually, using the Seamwork Delavan pattern for the jacket, and my skirt block for the skirt. I think a whimsical blazer is just the thing that’s going to take me from writer to whimsical-blazer-wearing-writer. Don’t you?

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Blow blouses. I love these things! This is the year I finally find my perfect one. I do enjoy the Seamwork Addison blouse, which I’ve made twice now (both unblogged, ugh, gotta get on that…). But is there a bow blouse anyone else would recommend? I’m also a big fan of the True Bias Sutton blouse, again, made two, gotta blog at least ONE of them…. I have a very lightweight silk that might be nice…

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Using an old favorite, Simplicity 2017 from the 1940’s which I’ve made one before, I want to make a few pairs of lightweight full-length and possibly culotte length trousers. How amazing do these wide-legged orange trousers look? I’m not sure if I could be so daring in color choice, but maybe burgundy? I’ve tried this out recently with strong results, again, gotta blog that. Sensing a theme?

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I’ve cut out the Colette Rue dress in this floral fabric, which I’m excited to stitch up! And then maybe a plaid version….I know, I’m a copy cat but come on, it’s so cute!

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I have made a lot of Closet Case Carolyn Pajamas and never. blogged. a. single. one. Frankly, I have been nailing down a good fit, and I think my last one really did finally get there so I should probably photograph those, sigh. It’s like, what am I even doing with my time? But this cat fabric was just too fantastic and I’m excited to sleep with kitties.

 

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I totally missed the Ginghamalong, mostly because I couldn’t find any gingham, but of course since then I’ve seen it everywhere. I want a gingham dress! How cute are these? This is clearly a more vague idea because I have no pattern OR fabric for this, but I just love it. Thoughts?

Now, for some patterns that I don’t currently own, but might want to tackle this year:
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Clearly a lot of love for Closet Case this year! But the Sophie swimsuit is so great. I am intimidated by the cups and the construction, but that just means I will have to try to figure it out, which is fun! And the Ebony is straightforward but I love it. Raglan sleeves, yes!

Now, a few quilts (baby gifts)

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I love the See Kate Sew Modern Ombre quilt. Wont it look amazing in these fabrics? Again, a tried and true here, I’ve made this more than once. That’s why I want to try something different, adapting this Purl Soho pattern to cottons:

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Now, beyond the machine, there are a few other things I want to do this year:

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I love these coloring books for grown-ups, mostly because I want to use them as embroidery patterns! Isn’t that mouse amazing? Or the whale? I gotta get stitching on these.

And in knitting news:

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I’m currently two-thirds of the way through this sweater for my mom. I picked up some wool to make myself one too, but let’s see when I finally get through this one. For such a simple pattern, it’s taking me FOREVER….

 

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Filed under Closet Case Patterns, Clothing, Colette Patterns, Planning, Purl Soho, Quilting, seamwork