Tag Archives: Cinnamon

The Don’t Be Impressed Dress

I have said this before, but I love Halloween, like, epic levels of love for Halloween, which makes the sense, don’t you think? After all, I’m a writer, specifically a dramatic writer, and what that means is that all I do is play pretend, and Halloween is an opportunity to play pretend by dressing up as someone else and getting rewarded for that, instead of thrown in a mental institution, with candy and, as you grow older, booze. I love the fall feeling in the air, I love the children’s costumes, I love when people make something impossibly clever (Example: my friend Ben who always always has the best Halloween ideas, is volunteering right now in Vietnam so he went to a party as a kind of Eat Pray Love parody. How awesome is that? Ben wins.) But I honestly have concluded by the ripe old age of 26, that I’m not personally great at Halloween. I just have the worst time thinking up costumes!

And you would think that now that I sew it would be easier, but I have recently realized it only makes it harder, because I’m unwilling to make something I will only wear once, so my costumes have to have some future life/use, and that is NOT the way great Halloween costumes come to being. Great Halloween costumes must spring from guts and glory, not a vague need to fill out one’s fall wardrobe. Great Halloween costumes are born, not made, they spring from the head of Zeus, fully formed, like Athena! Man, I need to make friends with Zeus, guys.

So despite wracking my brain and coming up with a  handful of silly girly vaguely interesting ideas that I didn’t bother to buy patterns or fabric for, that’s how motivated I was, I was in a pickle, with a party to go to last night, school deadlines all week so no time to sew, and no idea what to wear. Not wearing a costume is, of course, totally unacceptable and a fate that should be punishable by death, or at least having to be strapped in a chair and watch documentaries about government for no less than 24 hours on end. So what was I to do? Well, I’m not proud of this, but I did the second worst thing you can do after not wearing a costume. I recycled.

I’m all about recycling in life. Like, creepy into recycling in life, I compost. But recycling a costume? That is as disgusting as many people thing composting is. Such people can also join in on the documentary thing, composting is awesome, but that’s an argument for another day. The point is I had no choice! Graduate school is difficult! Life gets away from you! What was I supposed to do, BUY something? That’s insane! Madness, I say! Don’t hate me! (Sob, sob, sob….)

When I was in college this awesome girl named Rebecca Arzoian, who, by the way, remains very awesome, came to a party dressed as a Freudian Slip. She wore a black slip and had a nametag that said “Penis Envy” on it. I honestly thought this was the coolest flipping thing I had ever seen, and four years ago I threw on my own slip and went to my friend Ben of the brilliant costume’s party. He was a Canadian millionaire, having fashioned a tailcoat and top hat out of denim. It was amazing. People loved my slip, and I contented myself with a job well done.

So when this year I was strapped for ideas, I did it again. I know. I know. The horror! But at least I made it!

TBDID 2Apologies for the yellow indoor photos, I tried to color correct but there is only so much you can do about indoor evening shots. Still, I was thrilled to get them, thank you, Emily! My roommate Emily snapped these before our party. The theme was Dr. Who villain so, yeah, I just failed on all levels here, didn’t I?

TDBID 3The pattern is Colette Patterns Cinnamon Dress, the same one I made for Emily for the Jazz Age Lawn Party. The fabric is actually from a poly-cotton blend bedsheet, which I got on ebay to make curtains for our apartment, and I still have tons of it even after the curtains and this dress. It has very faint lines on it, which now are diagonal because this dress was cut on the bias so it slides over your body.

TDBID 4As slips go, this is a great pattern, and I would love to make it again having gotten the hang of it. I would make the straps thicker, though, that’s the only thing I’m not wild about.

TDBID 6Of course, it’s not really meant to be worn with a bra, I guess, but still. This could be a very cute dress for every-day wear, honestly, I love the drape of the bias-cut skirt and the way it flows.

Okay, I’m about to do an extreme chest close up so you can see  my Freudian name-tag, fair warning:

TDBID 5In case you can’t read that or don’t want to examine my, er, assets quite so closely, that reads: Hello, my name is Elektra Complex. Hmm, I wonder if that’s why all those older gentleman were flirting with me all night? Kidding! It was a Dr. Who Villain’s themed party, people were so disgusted I didn’t stick to the theme they barely gave me the time of day.

TDBID 1So there is my Halloween costume, don’t you dare be impressed by it, even for a moment. I wont allow it, I don’t deserve such a thing.

Oh, I thought you might like to see a progression of photos when I told Emily to stop taking photos, but she didn’t want to:

TDBID 8TDBID 7TDBID 9Ah, the woes of blogging, I am so very put upon, don’t look at me and my shame!

I hope you all had a lovely Halloween and, perhaps, did better than I did. What did you go as? Do you like Halloween or perish beneath the pressure? Do you recycle costumes? Make me feel better here, internets!

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Costume, Sewing

The From Russia With Love Dress

So a part of growing up seems to be watching your friends put on fancy clothing, master the art of public speaking, and dance the night away. Oh, and they also get married, I guess, but that doesn’t seem as important as Jordan almonds and centerpieces and fancy cakes, now, do they? No, not at all. Still, that’s, you know, a part of it, or whatever, so I play along, you know, just to be a good sport. And also because I wouldn’t go to a wedding if I didn’t love the people getting married, because who needs that? I’m not buying you candlesticks if I don’t think you deserve them, know what I’m saying? I’m kidding, I go off registry, COME on, that thing is for strangers! You don’t NEED an immersion blender. You need the weird arty gift I found for you in an alley. It’s really two gifts, with the bedbugs, so….you know, winning.

So my friend Betsy just got married. When I say just I mean JUST, she tied the knot two days ago in a simply lovely ceremony on top of a hill in the Catskill Mountains. She married a really splendid fellow, Raul, and together they are a stupidly attractive couple (they are both actors, so it’s part of the job description, but boy is the world not fair sometimes. I would refer you to this video.) and what’s worse is that they are blissfully happy and in love. Couldn’t you just kill yourself? Sigh. THE worst.

I’m lying through my fingers, really, because watching them get married was the most wonderful thing, I mean, seriously, it was like a movie wedding, the whole thing from the vows to the party was just gorgeous and appropriate and charming and original. And her DRESS. I can’t even:

FRWL 14Look at that. LOOK AT IT AND WEEP, ye mortals!

Seriously. She looks like Daisy from Gatsby only I don’t HATE HER. How amazing does this woman look? Check. Out. The. Details:

FRWL 15Not everyone can pull this look off but Betsy? She was radiant.

Sidenote, here is why I think this couple is the best. They had a first dance planned, but a thunderstorm and some technical difficulties interfered with their VERY cute song choice so instead they got WAY down to some funkytown tunes. And they rocked it:

FRWL 16I want to be them when I grow up. Seriously. Don’t you?

So, enough about that dress, let’s talk about the dress everyone was REALLY talking about, shall we? Obviously I mean my own creation:

FRWL 4I will say it. I am not unpleased.

FRWL 6I love it! I really do. I had this planned for a while, actually, and then when Betsy told me her color scheme, including these pastel shades, I was all in. I described the dress to Betsy over pedicures (which she bought me as a birthday gift because she is the NICEST and also blonde and pretty, she’s, like, a unicorn) and I said it had a lot of white in it, and she was like, in perfect deadpan, you’re wearing white to MY WEDDING? And she held my gaze for, like, a full minute before she broke and laughed. She is amazing.

FRWL 7You might have guessed by now, if you sew, that it’s a Colette Patterns Crepe. My mom got me the pattern for my birthday two years ago, and I bought the fabric a year and a half ago at least, and I had always planned to put them together, so this was the perfect marriage (GET. IT?) of both these things!

And I love the back, I do, the wrap is just so pretty. It’s such a special detail, I can’t stand it. And so comfortable!

FRWL 8See, look how happy I am about it! I love this dress, I want to make, like, 4 more. The skirt is full but not dramatically so, but the wrap makes for a perfect amount of swish in the back, and a nice amount of flare in the front. Which really worked for me during the salsa dancing later in the evening…

FRWL 9….or the afternoon twirling. WHATEVER.

FRWL 11So pleased with myself….

FRWL 5OH, did I mention it has pockets? Because it does. No big deal. It’s not amazing. IN ANY WAY.

Construction details, sigh, okay, well I cut a size 8 because when I made myself a Cinnamon slip I cut an 8 and it was still snug in the bodice, so I thought, better safe then sorry. I could have gone down to my normal 6, though, but it’s fine, I like the ease. I made literally no changes to the pattern, I love it the way it is! Next time I would shorten the bust darts as they came a bit high, and maybe, I don’t know, did anyone else have an issue with the back not really being higher than the bra line?

FRWL 12Some definite slipping there, I know. So, any ideas, internets? Have you made this? Oh, I did make a change, I lined it rather than using the facings because I hate facings with a fiery passion and will go through hell or highwater if it means I don’t have to use them.

FRWL 10The fabric is from Paron’s, and I bought it on my first ever trip to the garment district a while ago. I ended up getting four yards for the price of two of this linen-cotton blend, which was so perfect for this outdoor wedding in the heat. AND HOW CUTE IS THE NECKLINE? I can’t deal. I CAN’T BUT I MUST.

FRWL 13So I did. And so did Betsy, I think she liked it, the moment she saw me she said, you made that for my wedding? It’s great! Like I wasn’t going to make something for her wedding. COME on. Who am I?

I also made these:

FRWL 1Betsy wanted games for her cocktail hour, which ended up being a great distraction while the wedding party took their photos, so I made her a bunch of beanbags for the beanbag toss. Her dad made the actually beanbag targets, which are too good for words.

FRWL 2Couldn’t you just die? It was awesome. I was so worried they would split but I double stitched them and I didn’t HEAR about any issues so I think we are good!

FRWL 3Of course I took some action shots, how could I not?

And there you go. Wedding. Awesome.

Oh! The name of the dress. Betsy and I met studying abroad in Moscow together, and we’ve been friends ever since. So there you go. From Russia with love. And all my love went to Betsy and Raul this weekend, how could it not? They are really really ridiculously good looking. And, like, decent people or whatever blah blah blah no one cares.

How was YOUR labor day? It’s okay to be jealous of mine, a lot of people are…

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Sewing, Travel

The Governor’s Island Girls

You know what was not a flattering period of time in Women’s clothing? The 1920’s. There. I’ve said it. It’s out there. Deal with it. I’m sorry, but it wasn’t. I totally appreciate the innovations of the period, and really, in terms of women and the mobility they had physically it’s such a revolutionary time, but holy hell does the drop waist look bad on most people. Myself included, photos to follow.

So while I admire the spirit of the 20’s, the fast cars and fast women, the music and the decadence, I’ve always had a hard time with the clothing. Which isn’t great given the fact that this past weekend I went to the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island! It’s kind of this big 20’s themed party on the island, which is between Brooklyn and Manhattan, a ferry ride (free, by the way, which NOTHING is in New York) will get you there. The island is so lovely, it was used in the past as a militery base, and then closed to the public for a long time. It was re-opened in 2010 and now they are constructing a park and it is just lovely, I would recommend taking a picnic and a small child, if you have one handy or know where to steal one from, and taking a day trip, if you are around New York. (I’m kidding, please don’t steal children, it’s not great.) So they have been doing this 20’s style party there for 4 years, and this year it was bigger then ever.

And I have to tell you, despite the crowds and the lines, it is a pretty cool event, but if you want to enter into the spirit of the thing, you gotta dress the part. Well, at least, I felt obligated. My parents, who occompanied me, felt no such compulsion. But I didn’t just outfit myself, I also made a dress for my roommate Emily!

And that’s the main event of this post, because my friend I threw together literally the morning of the event and it’s whatever. But EMILY’s dress is pretty lovely, if I do say so myself:

20 7I wanted to make her something she might actually wear again, so that meant deviating from complete period appropriateness by giving her a 2013-approved hemline. But it’s a bias cut dress, which totally works, and I figured though it might be heralding the 30’s a little bit, it’s still hinting at the 20’s with it’s fluttery sleeves (self drafted, I will have you know).

20 10In case you couldn’t tell, Emily really likes this dress. For the sleeves I just cut half circles and stitched them on where the straps go in the original pattern, and then adjusted them to be a bit tighter on Emily’s lady-like shoulders. Emily felt very bad about needing an adjustment and I just laughed, like, this is the whole point of making clothing, that you can adjust to someone’s body! Muggles, man, I tell you…20 8

 

Does this remind you a bit of a slip? HOW ODD. No, it’s not, the pattern is Colette Patterns Cinnamon, a slip I had long lusted after (heh) and finally bought to download. I made myself one in white, which I haven’t blogged about because somehow that seems more intimate then photos of me in a swimsuit. I’m weird.

20 13I cut a size 8, which I think hangs nicely off of Emily (that bias cut, man, it’s a bitch but it’s so worth it…) though I would take a wedge of out the back if I made this for her again. On me it actually works pretty well, that’s the swayback curse for you, i.e. I have one. You totally cannot see where I melted some of this highly synthetic crepe with an iron and then stitched it up. Thank goodness.

20 9I’m pretty in love with this material. It’s not at all period appropriate but it looks great on Emily and it’s preeeeeeeetty! 4 dollars a yard on Fabric.com. NAILED IT.

20 1I love the bodice detail on this pattern. So flattering, no? Because I cut this on the bias, I hung up the pieces over night after I cut it, and then stitched up the majority of the dress, and let it hang for four days while I gallivanted off to Cape Cod to hang out with my friend Lee (hi, Lee!) and do some writing. So when I got back the skirt was all ready to be hemmed! Life works well, sometimes. And the rest of the time it’s the WORST.

20 12But not on Saturday! Saturday it was great. And how good does Emily look posing with these amazing vintage cars? So much vintage at the party, so little time:

20 4Flappers and elegant ladies mixing, the horror!

20 5How much do you love these shoes? I wanted to steal them off this girl’s feet but they don’t let you do that. THANKS A LOT, PURITANS.

20 15Hipster couples everywhere!

20 2Why don’t men dress like this anymore? I know it gets warm but DAMN is it attractive.

20 11Speaking of attractive…

Okay, okay, I will show you what I made for myself but it’s really no big deal.

20 18Meh. This is very much whatever. It’s a sack. So it works great for the 20’s, no? I’m so mean. BUT SERIOUSLY. It’s actually Colette Patterns Sorbetto ( I swear I did not plan to make this so Colettey but can you blame me, seriously amazing patterns from those beautiful geniuses) lengthened to dress length. It was a lot longer, I just used all the rayon I had left over from this skirt, and then I chopped off a bit at the knees and used that for the sash.

20 17I seriously made this in an hour. It took me about one episode of Rookie Blue. Emily was so appalled that I had used all my time making her something and hadn’t made something for myself so I got up on Saturday morning, composted, ran, and made a dress. LIKE A BOSS.

20 14Look how I laugh and laugh! The 20’s were so wild. Look, eh,this dress, it’s fine, I suppose. It worked for the event, and I can always belt it and wear it again, which is important, I hate the idea of making something I would never wear again, although I have TOTALLY done this. Oh, and I made the headband too, duh. And I made Emily’s. Like I do.

20 3But the point is, we had a great time!

Also, let’s talk about the view from the ferry, shall we? It’s worth the trip for that and that alone:

20 6The Jazz Age Lawn Party is a pretty good time, I would recommend it if you are around next summer. And I just hope the decade works better for you then it does for me…why isn’t there a 1950’s lawn party? COME on!

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Costume, Sewing