Tag Archives: Burda Style

The One Year Later Dress

Life is funny. That might not be the most original statement ever to be made, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true!

You may or may not have noticed some radio silence on my end in the past few days. Sorry about that, folks, I just had to take a bit of a break in the post-me-made madness and deal with my life. Like this benefit I was working on for the theater company for which I work. It’s interesting, a little over a year ago I was working on a benefit as well, but I was in a completely different place in my life, different job, different immediate goals, different stresses, different concerns. Now I’m about to leave my full-time theater job for a summer renting apartments (I’ve already started on that score, for the record) and anticipating, in the not-so-distant future,  a completely different existence then the one I’ve been living for the last few years. Uprooting my life, moving myself and my cat to New York, it’s all a lot, and it’s all coming. However, it’s not coming TOO soon, and for the present, I’m just going to concentrate on the here and now. Sure. Because that’s my style. Living in the present.

Still, I’m going to try, and if I can’t focus on the present, at least I can consider the past. And so, in celebration of the past year and all that has happened, and in celebration of my final event at work, I made this dress:

These photos are a touch yellowy. What can you do, I had my lovely friend Katie take them on the fly in the stairwell outside of the performance venue.

The fabric is yet another piece from my grandmother’s attic. I think my aunt must have bought it in her youth, at least, that’s my mother’s theory, it seems rather 1960’s, don’t you think? Hippie-dippy, as my mother says. Still, I had what seemed like half of a table-cloth or something, and it seemed like enough to make a dress. I used my trusty Burda Dress with Cap Sleeves. I know this pattern gets a lot of hate on the internets, but I have to say, it works for me! Yes, the neckline is a bit wide, but I’m into it, what can I say.The issue really is the waist, it’s a bit low and  it doesn’t fit as snugly as one might hope, but I just belt my many incarnations of this pattern and call it a day.

Part of the fabric had a border, so I cut the bodice carefully from the non-border parts (well, the front, anyway) and then cut the skirt on the border. I folded the skirt into large soft pleats. I like pleats more than gathers these days, because gathers make my hips look huge, and my hips don’t need any aid doing that…

I totally adore this dress. Not every pattern works for every person but this bodice is one of my go-tos and I have to say I wear the hell out of every garment I’ve made with it.

Again, pleats are awesome. See, my not-un-sizable rear looks not-horrible with these pleats!

I hand picked the zipper. Fun fact: I hand-pick all non-invisible zippers. I have a zipper foot. It’s just what I do. I know it’s weird. Don’t judge me.

Katie really liked the idea of me posing seated on the stairs. I can refuse Katie nothing. This looks like I’m posing for a debutant ball. Yeah. Like Puerto Rican Jewish girls become Debs.

Can you guess what my favorite part of this dress is? Can you? CAN YOU?

It’s fo sho the pockets. FO. SHO.

Glamour shot!

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

All Jacked Up

Something just happened to me that never happens to me. Let me just say that I am not a winner. Oh, I don’t mean I don’t achieve things, because I am a little achievement bunny and I live to achieve. But I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly lucky. Well, I live in the first world and have a loving family and my health and the ability to pay for my life, so yes, I’m very lucky, blah blah grateful blah. But I don’t win, like, contests. Or free prizes. Or quizzos. (That’s quiz night or quiz bowl, for those of you who don’t use the term quizzo. Which you should. Because it’s awesome.) The last two things I have won include a basket of Avon products I won last summer, and the one and only quizzo I’ve ever won last December, all because I guessed the best on the question “what is the population of Latvia”. It was at the Latvian Society. You don’t have one of those? Tough luck. Move to Philadelphia.

Anyway, the point of this is to set the scene, as it were, for my shock, surprise and delight when I was recently contacted by a lovely person from onlinefabricstore.net, and asked if I would make a spring jacket in one of their fabrics and post about it right here, on this very blog. It took me all of two seconds to respond with a resounding YES PLEASE THANK YOU. And then giggle to myself happily at my desk for the hour before it was time to go home.  What? Fabric makes me happy!

And even though I promised myself I would under no circumstances get any more fabric in any manner, I feel strongly that I can/will make an exception in this case.  Because, guys, this fabric is really nice. REALLY nice….

Oh, it’s linen. And it’s pretty. And it’s burlap. And it’s pretty. Did I mention it’s pretty? Fun fact about this fabric, I emailed several close friends and was like, which color should I go for? And then I completely ignored most of their suggestions and went for Black. Black goes with everything. I like black. What you gonna do about it?

Now the only question is, which jacket should I make with it?! And that’s where I need your help. I’ve never made a jacket before, but it’s very much a goal for 2012. Now, given that this is a linen fabric, which I will line with cotton, this is of course going to be a spring jacket. So I want something lightweight and stylish that provides a nice layer for spring in the Mid-Atlantic. And I want something that isn’t going to take me more then a month to make because A. I have no patience and B. I actually want to wear the damn thing in this spring. So here are some patterns I’ve come up with that I thought might be nice, and I would very much welcome your opinions on the subject.

This is Simplicity 4494, a pattern from 1943 that I recently purchased on Etsy from this lovely seller. I just adore the collarless version, what do you think? Pros, adorable pattern, cons, might be hard to fit being vintage and all. Thoughts?

BurdaStyle’s Stella Jacket. I’ve seen several BurdaStyle members make this and I’ve really liked their variations. Pros, lovely simple shape, shouldn’t be too hard to whip up. Cons, I might not really wear this all too often. It doesn’t really seem like an every day staple, now, does it?

BurdaStyle’s 3/2011 Peplum Jacket. No one seems to have made this pattern on BurdaStyle, which perturbs me, but it’s fairly adorable, don’t you think? I I love me a Peplum. This one seems pleated, which is interesting.

Not the long coat, but one of the short jackets, with the princess seams. It kind of reminds me of this BurdaStyle jacket:

The Steffi. Cute, no?

 

So what do you think? Any one of these strike your fancy? Any other suggestions? I would love to do something from an independent designer but I haven’t come across anything I straight up adored. Right now I’m leaning towards the vintage Simplicity or the modern Simplicity, but I’m open for suggestions! I really need your guidance on this one, so any comments would be highly appreciated!

Incidentally, the population of Latvia is, according to a highly scientific google search, 2,242,916. Just so you know, for quizzo.

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Filed under Burda Style, Fabric, Inspiration, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

You say Tomato, I say Shibori!

I need to let you in on a dirty little secret. I hate tie dye. Like, with a passion. I think it looks silly and messy and reminds me of summers spent in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains where I attended horse ridding camp, like you do. And those summers were great, honestly, except for the tie dye. This isn’t a Grateful Dead revival, people, come on. And I think that it actually does look good on a lot of people, boho chicks with huge bags (to be fair, my own bag is huge, but not all fringey) and long hair and toe rings look GREAT in tie dye. Blake Lively, or as the Fug Girls so aptly title her, Boobs McLeggy, would look amazing in a floor length tie dye business with a braided belt on, like, a horse or something. I feel like I’ve even seen that sort of thing in a perfume ad, “Wind Swept Hippie” by Dior.

But I live my life along the lines of WWJHD (What Would Joan Holloway/Harris Do?). Don’t get me wrong, I love Peggy, I do, but girlfriend has made some BAD decisions. (DUCK PHILLIPS? PETE CAMPBELL? COME ON, Peggy, shape the hell up!). But while bad things have happened to Joan, Joan in general makes really great life choices, and therein lies the difference. Generally, I say, generally, because Greg Harris is the worst, even though the actor who plays him is DREAMY. SEE? But the point is, would Joan wear tie dye? Or would Joan turn up her nose and utter something cutting, cigarette in hand? I think we all know the answer to these questions.

So all of this is here to explain the fact that the craft project I did last weekend was not, I repeat, was NOT tie dye. No, not at all. It was Shibori, the Japanese art of dying with indigo that dates back to the 8th century. See, it’s historical. It’s cultural. It’s foreign. It certainly isn’t tie dye. Agreed? Agreed.

I got the idea from the fantastic ladies over at Honestly…WTF, who post amazing tutorials as well as fashion tips and inspiration photos. If you’ve never been over there check them out, they throw beautiful photos and ideas up there all the time, I love this post on miniature worlds. And they published this lovely and helpful tutorial on Shibori dying, which seemed intriguing to me. You see, I have this FREE PATTERN from Burda Style, the Naomi jacket, and I wanted to make it but I couldn’t find a fabric that I thought would be perfect for this lovely and complicated kimono inspired jacket. So I thought, I’ve got some sheets lying around, why not just MAKE a fabric that works? And so I did. Any then I went a little crazy and dyed myself and my mother and my father some items so that we can all look like Japanese nobility of the 8th century. Like you do.

So I bought this kit:

And followed all the instructions so kindly supplied by Erica and Lauren on their DIY tutorial. I prepared my vat of dye as instructed, which put me in mind of the witches cauldron from Robin Hood, Men in Tights (a highly undervalued piece of cinema, I must say), and the smell is rather terrible, but I let it sit and had a murky bucket of green-yellow dye on my hands. Indigo turns blue when it oxidizes, which I find endlessly cool. Go, science. Here is my vat:

This was a gift I got for my older brother, like, five Hannukahs ago. It was a cooler, but I removed the Styrofoam, so now it’s just a bucket. He left it here when he moved from Philadelphia, so I just assumed he knew I would someday need it for dying purposes. Thanks, brother! The box says this is a group activity, but literally none of my friends had any interest in doing this with me, and my cats, well, they don’t have opposible thumbs, so…they did this instead:

I really loved the Arashi or Storm technique so I thought I would do some experiments with that for the bedsheets turned material:

I folded the fabric in two difference ways and bound it with twine and rubber bands and then dyed it twice. I’m pretty thrilled with the results:

This is actually three different sheets I dyed in different ways. The left and top portion were bound and the bottom right was just wrapped and dyed in a weaker dye solution, giving it a gently ombred effect. The box says the vat will last for days, but in my case it grew significantly weakened after one day and had to be thrown away after my second dying attempt. It probably oxidized too much, oh well. Here is a view of the most Arashi effected area:

Stormy, no? And I ran to H and M to pick up some white garments for my family to get all indigoy. I made a t-shirt using the Kumo method in which you bind the fabric with found objects, in my case pebbles, and wrap twine or rubber bands around it:

And it makes little spider like circles:

And then I did a little Itajime, ” a shape-resist technique”. Basically you fold up the fabric or clothing item and bind it with wooden blocks or boards and see what happens:

This photo is cool because you can kind of see it turning from green to blue. And the results?:

We are clearly a gorgeous family. But I can see now why shibori masters train for 15 years at least to master this art, it’s hard, people! But fun. So if anyone wants in, I’ll give it another go this summer! Any takers, fellow Philadelphians? I’ll even, gasp, take a Jerseyite, but you have to bring wine, that’s the rule.

 

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Filed under Dye, Fabric