Tag Archives: Colette Patterns

The Color Blue Dress

There are so very many reasons I’m sad that Mad Men has ended. Number one, I don’t get to look at John Hamm as much as I would like to. I mean, yeah, sure, I can google him, but that’s, like, so much work, and besides he’s not usually in a suit demeaning a woman while concealing his identity and whatnot so what’s even the point? Number two, when people smoke everywhere in my life now, it’s because I am spending time in India, not because it’s charming and the 1960’s. Number three, amazing storytelling, you grow with these characters, fascinating psychological study, blah blah blah, the usual. Number four, serious lack of Christina Henricks in my life! Yes, obviously I watch Another Period and it’s magnificent and amazing and you should totally watch it, it’s Downton Abbey meets The Kardashians and it’s magical.

But is THIS:

Better than THIS?

Again, it’s THIS:

OR THIS:

Once more, with feeling. You can have THIS:

 

OR THIS:

You know which one is superior.

Which brings me to my most sewing-oriented reason for missing Mad Men, and that is, of course, costume porn. Have there been consolations? Of course there have, the world keeps turning. Feud: Bette and Joan, I’ve heard that show Velvet is good, The Crown , although the British are so damn dour, aren’t they? and that reflects in their clothing, lots of great tailoring, but you aren’t going to get anything close to this kind of thing, right:

Sigh. But the saddest thing about the end of Mad Men, other than the fact that we never got to watch Paul Kinesy get hit in the face, or watch Harry Crane get hit in the face, or just a whole list of white dudes get hit in the face, is that the Mad Men Copy Cat Challenge is no more. Sigh.

But if it HAD happened this year, I can assure you, this would have been my entry:

This is my first iteration of the (rather controversial) Rue Pattern from Colette Patterns. It’s really a lovely pattern, at least, I like it, and I appreciate the changes the company made to it after it’s release, allowing the side panels to sit under the bustline. I still found the armsyc a little tight, but that’s probably because of my sick guns, so…

I really love this print, but it totally does obscure the design lines. AH well. So what I did for sizing was not..the best way to do this, but, yeah. I cut a size 16, which was WAY too big everywhere but the bust. I graded down in the waist, but when I ended up trying it on, I think I took out about 5 inches or so out of the waist. I will say that the bust first beautifully, so I can’t really complain, but I think next time I would go to a 10 or 8 at the waist but stick with the 16 in the bust because although Colette patterns drafts for a C cup, I’m a D, and I think going with the fullest bust measurement is always the best way with Colette Patterns. For this skirt option the hip is sort of irrelevant, honestly, so that doesn’t matter.

Let’s talk about the skirt, actually, while we are here. I honestly think this skirt is sort of whatever. I would totally make this again, but honestly, this pattern is worth it for the bodice, not the skirt. Next time, (I have this mint gingham all ready to go!) I’m thinking of changing the skirt to a circle skirt, and it would be great with a pencil too, but the design options included are just okay, in my humble opinion. I mean, I like it fine, large pleats, what’s to dislike? but it’s nothing to write home about.

A little back view for you. I do love the back bodice, that little dip is so nice!

I had to doctor the color of these photos a lot because my friend Rakhee (hi, Rakhee!) took them late in the afternoon and they all ended up sort of blue toned. Ah, well, fits the fabric…

And it fits the title, which is a reference to the Mad Men episode of the same name. How DO we know that the blue I see is the same one that everyone sees? I don’t know, Ms. Farrell, you were like one of the least interesting people Don has ever slept with, SEE ya!

A little bodice close up for you. There is something just so charming about the bust tucks, seriously.

This fabric, a cotton from, of course, my new favorite place, Thakur, was about 1.40 a meter in USD. WHAT? Yes. But that’s actually great because this dress is a real fabric hog. I thought this fabric would be so appropriate for the pattern, and can’t you just see Betty Draper rocking this? Ah, Betty. I think I miss you least of all.

I didn’t line the skirt, but I did line the bodice, and apart from taking in the waist, as mentioned above, I made no changes.

It is a little hard to swan about all 1960’s like in Mumbai, of course, but I made it work. I mean, if Joan can do it….

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The Fishing For Compliments Dress

Sometimes a fabric is so appealing to you that when you come across it a second time, you have to buy it, come hell or high water. I think I have demonstrated my proclivity towards this sort of thing with this dress, but just to remind you, I am totally the kind of person whose taste tends to run the same way year after year and who, when encountering a print she loved, will jump on that thing like its a damn trampoline. So I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised when I presented my latest creation to what’s-his-face and he screwed up said face and said, “Haven’t I seen that before?”. Well, yes, I patiently explained, in a way you have, but as a shirt. This is a dress. The difference was not immediately clear to him, proving that men do not understand how clothing works on fundamental levels. Ah well, at least he’s pretty…

So yes, I found a fabric I had enjoyed before, and I purchased it, and made something else with it. And I have to say, I’m so thrilled with the results that I legitimately do not care if people think I made all my clothing out of one fabric. Of course, how much attention is anyone actually paying to my wardrobe anyway? If what’s-his-face doesn’t even notice, I think I’m probably good, right?

Okay, so check out my latest incarnation of McCalls 7351, the shirtdress sweeping the nation, or at least the blog universe:

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We found a wedding happening in our building complex (of COURSE we did, its India, it would have been that or a guru visiting, I swear), and what’s-his-face decided this would be a great background for this dress. We totally delayed a couple for this wedding by hogging the entrance. I would feel guilty, if I hadn’t been delayed by a thousand Indian selfies on various occasions myself.

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Using the pattern as a base, with a cut size 14, I altered it just like I did the last time I made this dress, taking in the waist a bit by adding front waist darts, but this time I made slightly smaller darts, taking in about 3.5 inches off the waist so that it’s well-defined and doesn’t require a belt. I also lengthened the sleeves a tiny bit, and chanced the skirt to a box-pleat rather than the knife pleated or circle skirt option. I do want to make this with a circle skirt, maybe in a plaid? I really like this pattern! I mean, it’s a simple shirtdress but it’s cute and comfortable and I like the look. I made the sleeves a little bigger to accommodate my muscles, but I think I need to make them even bigger next time. Ah, well, that’s the price of strength I guess…

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Now, of late I’ve been pretty into white, or stuff printed on white, which is objectively dumb because there is nothing I own that I haven’t spilled something on, multiple times, but whatever, sometimes you sew aspirationally, I guess! But the problem with such materials is a tendency towards transparency, so I also made a slip to go underneath this and other dresses of its type. I grabbed a white cotton with a nice texture at my new favorite place, Thakur, which is also where I got this fish fabric, by the way, and I made a Seamwork Savannah camisole which I lengthened to become a bias-cut slip. I trimmed it with a cotton eyelet lace, and used that as straps, but I don’t have photos of that, sorry. You’ll just have to trust me that this exists and is under this dress.

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I had some fun playing with the direction of the fish, making the bodice vertical and the skirt and bodice yoke and sleeves horizontal. I mean, these fish are pretty fun by themselves, but why not add to the party?

There is a Bengali folktale called the marriage of the fishes, in which a group of fish in a pound have a wedding, but they don’t want to invite the biggest fish in the pound because he will eat all the food. Of course, the unfortunate consequence of this is that he comes and eats all the FISH. But so far, my fish seem pretty content with each other. Let’s hope that lasts…

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Enjoying this charming wedding entrance. How nice that they did this just for my photos, right?

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Oh, and I used green shell buttons, you can sort of see them here. I also used green thread for a lot of the construction/topstitching, which was new for me, I don’t usually do a contrasting topstitch, but I like it! And so do the fish, I feel.

I mean, they haven’t said anything, but you know, they feel happy.

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And so am I!

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Cadfael, on the other hand, misses the days this dress was a floor covering he could enjoy in comfort and peace. Ah, well, you can’t please everyone…

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, McCalls Patterns, seamwork

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

The Resting in Rajasthan Robe (and nightgown!)

The East has long been associated with luxury, a luxury that makes one soft, weak, effeminate. From the ancient Greeks, who viewed their Persian neighbors (and frequent enemies) with suspension for their trousers, soft pillows, and luxury oriented ways, to the British, who justified their growing expansion and imperial conquest of India as a government-run colony, rather than a vassal of the East India Company  in the 19th century the “effeminate oriental” and the association of luxury as A. Eastern and B. decadent, therefore weakening. If a concept of  virtue in the west after the Protestant reformation comes from deprivation, from austerity, from self-denial, than the grandeur and majesty of eastern monarchs, with their ceremonies, formalities, intricacies of rank and service, translated to a bewildered and derogatory image of the east as a place of weak and inefficient dilettante. You can read a lot about this here, or a little about Edward Gibbon’s many references to this in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire here, or you can just giggle at the thought of scandalized physically uncomfortable European ambassadors being all jealous and casting shade.

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PS: If you aren’t following Fly Art in some way shape or form at this point, you probably should look at your life, look at your choices.

I am 100% sure that given the European desire for Eastern goods, the roots of this was a certain amount of envy. But whatever the cause, between the silk and the tea, the diamonds and the spices, the East was where virtue went to die and decadence when to thrive. It’s telling, then that the word for pillow in Spanish (almohada) comes from Arabic, the idea of slippers emerged out of the Ottoman empire, and every dish you’ve ever seen incorporating gold foil probably made its way to you via India. This is a culture whose rulers traditionally wore glorified pajamas.

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It’s very hot here. Who can blame anyone for wanting to be comfortable? The British. That’s who. Here is what Gibbon  had to say about men wearing silk:

“Two hundred years after the age of Pliny, the use of pure, or even of mixed silks, was confined to the female sex, till the opulent citizens of Rome and the provinces were insensibly familiarized with the example of Elagabalus, the first who, by this effeminate habit, had sullied the dignity of an emperor and a man…”

What. Is. Your. Deal. Men can’t feel a little fancy? I hope Gibbon wore sackcloth his whole life. Put your hair shirt away, Thomas Beckett, and get on the comfort train!

I, personally, have always wanted a bathrobe. In fact, I’ve owned a few, but I’ve never really used them. I don’t know what it is, maybe I never got the right one for me, but something about them always seemed a little unnecessary, silly, dare I say it, decadent? I would throw one on, feel like I was a character in a movie from the 1950’s, and take it off again. Robes seemed like something that television characters can’t live without and real people don’t live with. What is the use of a garment that you wear for what, an hour at most? In that brief window between pajama time and real clothing time on days when that window is more than, say, seven minutes? The allure of the robe was strong, but the practicality of it seemed lacking.

However, on a recent trip to Rajasthan, I stayed in an amazing place (seriously. Stay here when in Jaipur. Do not pass go, do not collect 100 dollars. Just stay here) where they gave us these gorgeous block printed cloth robes and something about being there with the beautiful robes made lounging around in them just heavenly and I thought, why can’t every day be like this?

So I decided to make a robe. Screw it. I live in a land of fabric, I can buy yards and yards of the stuff and make it into a robe and lounge about it for five minutes a day and feel amazing. And frankly, if I can feel truly glamorous and decadent and amazing for a full five minutes a day (and sometimes longer on weekends!), is that really a waste? Is that, in fact, what the Europeans did not get about the concept of luxury? That in small doses it can be just enough, and make all that virtue all little easier to swallow.

So, without further ado, my Resting in Rajasthan Robe!

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Oh, that style. Isn’t it just too chic for words? I love the kimono elements, the self-attached tie (isn’t that the thing that is always getting lost?) the sleeves, the sleeves! I could bask in them.

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I cut a Large, which was a bit large, but I wanted it big, frankly. I recently made a medium for a friend and frankly, that would have been just fine, but I’m not taking this thing in, what’s the point? A robe should be loose and make you feel embraced by soft softness.

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The fabric is a heavenly buttery sheerish white cotton stamped with a highly traditional Rajasthani motif that I picked up while fabric touring in the North with Liz. The large motif meant it didn’t scream garment to me, but I knew I wanted to do something with it. And this robe really fit the bill.

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I lengthened it about five inches, which I think works. I can’t imagine it shorter, that’s for sure! Well, it actually only looks really short in this photo, it’s pretty perfect in real life.

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The one thing I would change (and did when making this for a friend) is the back seam. I just don’t really know why you need that, if you have a fabric that is wide enough. Of course, if you don’t, it makes the sense, but for a fabric wider than 45 inches, go nuts!

I used french seams throughout and some self-made bias tape to finish the front edges. All in all, it truly is as Seamwork promises a quick project. Maybe 3 hours, from cutting to (machine) hemming!

I also wanted to show it to you while open. And you can see the nightgown underneath!

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It’s a Deer and Doe Plantain. I don’t really make other knit tops these days, I’ve realized…..This one I just lengthened to dress length for a night-gown. I rarely wear them but when I do, the glamour is way up. So why no combine it with a robe? (Side note, I never look this put together when I sleep. IT’S ALL AN ILLUSION.)

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THOSE SLEEVES. Sigh.

I realize, I’ve actually made a bunch of Seamwork patterns and documented….zero of them. Guys, how great is Seamwork? I love it!

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That’s right! I used a prop! Trying to step my photo game up a bit! That being said, you can totally see Cadfael’s food area at the bottom of this photo soooooo….win some, lose some.

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Ahhhh, luxury. Whatever, Western morality, I’ll take this any day of the week. For about five minutes. And then I have to get dressed and go to work.

 

 

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Deer and Doe, seamwork, Sewing

The Sweaters Everywhere Skirt

Guys, I’m going to be honest with you, it’s cold here in New York. It’s really quite cold. It’s a bit on the scale away from warm. Comparing this to a tropical island would be almost impossible except for the island parts. The east coast is in the middle of a painful freeze and it seems to be taxing all but the most diabolical Christmas special claymation villains.  Mr. Struggle, who hails from a sultry exotic climate, turned to me the other day and mournfully asked me when it would be warm again, as though this is somehow under my control. I told him he would have to wait until springtime. I strongly suspect that if he could, Mr. Struggle would hibernate like a bear. Unfortunately none of us are built that way, except actually bears, so we all have to figure out ways to deal with winter, should we live in such places.

Now, honestly, I don’t really mind the cold that much. I like having seasons, I find the weather fairly bracing, and I feel that as long as you have appropriate clothing you can kind of deal with anything. Layers are key, wool is key, etc. Actually the issues I have with winter don’t have much to do with my personal reaction to the weather and have more to do with how awful people become during the months after December.

See, during the holiday season people are very excited and cheerful and everything is romantic and lovely, at least, if you’re into that sort of thing. But people WANT it to snow, the fools, they want that White Christmas any everything. After New Years, though, once the snow has stopped being charming and just looks like sad gray sludge mixed with garbage and rock salt (isn’t New York a magical place?), people grow bitter and take up a great deal of space on the subway with their coats. I do not begrudge them the coats. I feel weird when I see someone whose coat is not made of down when the temperature is under 30 degrees. I don’t care how good you think that cloth coat looks. No one looks good with pneumonia. Fact. But people just get grumpy and short-tempered in bad weather and who can blame them, only this is a city of so many people who you sort of wish everyone wasn’t like this at the same time. I know it’s hard to be cheerful when you are freezing and your boots are slowly being eaten by whatever they put on the roads here to prevent ice, but my goodness can’t we just try?

However, I might have this attitude because I try to dress for the weather and make sure I have lots of warm comfortable layers to help me make it through. First of all, you must have sweaters. And maybe you shouldn’t limit them to your upper body….

SE 1Maybe you should put them on all over your body! RIGHT? Genius! This is a sweater skirt! I love it so much. It’s gotten really big because wool stretches so it used to be closer fitting and more flattering and better, but I don’t care because I’ve worn it like ten times already so this is only my fault and it’s worth it. This is a wool sweater knit that came from Mood and it is actually the remnant of another garment, this dress! Which I also wear all the time these days because this wool is seriously warm. This wool is thick and cozy and actually not really itchy at all, so it’s basically a miracle. The only issue is that it stretches, so the waistband has already stretched and you are going to see some fun gaping on that subject in the side view. I have already washed it and it didn’t quite return to its original size so….who knows, really. Ah, well. It’s warm. That’s all that matters right now.

SE 6See, you can see a little bit of sagging in the fabric. What do you guys do to tighten up your wools? Anything? It’s okay, honestly, just wondering, though. So the pattern was Colette Patterns Mabel, which I lengthened and took in at the hem to give it a more pencil-skirt shape. It was insanely easy to put together. That is all.

SE 3A little rear view for those who are interested. If I had had more fabric I would have tried to match up the back better but I didn’t and c’est la vie, I don’t mind, all that is behind me.

SE 5Here we go. See the back-gaping? Upside, I can fit a lot in this waistband, downside, will it stay in place? One never knows. SE 2So there you have it, a little something to help beat the cold. As for Mr. Struggle, he’s avoiding the outside world as much as possible, forcing me to bring him supplies and report to him what’s going on. Hmmm, maybe he IS hibernating….

Of course, there are some who would say it’s madness to wear skirts in winter at all. To those I would say, I can’t hear you over the feeling of insane warmth in my legs from this SWEATER SKIRT.

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Sewing

The Gracias Griffin Dress

You know that thing they tell you in kindergarten, that it’s the effort that counts? I feel like that might be a giant lie. I mean, it’s true in kindergarten, certainly, where the stakes are low and the negative consequences consist of a time out or a loss of cookies. But in life, while trying is important, say, trying to get a job, or trying to make it across the street before a fleet of New York City cab drivers mows you down, it is also important TO get a job. Or to survive said mob of yellow car-monsters. No one at your funeral or your bankruptcy hearing is going to point out that you tried really hard, and that’s what matters. And if they do, well, call this guy, especially for that second one:

For example, with this, my recent dress project, I honestly did try to make something perfect, I had lots of hopes for this dress and dreams for it, I made an effort, and yet, I don’t know. I just don’t know. It’s not quite what I had in mind. And a lot that, honestly, comes down to fit. You see, I was very excited to make Colette Patterns Hazel Dress. Leah, where have you BEEN, you ask? Because that pattern was released years ago and you are only just making it now? I know. I KNOW. I’m still looking with love at the Lily, I bought fabric for it two years ago, and, and…I don’t know. I just don’t know! I really wanted to try the Hazel in anticipation of several border print fabrics that what’s-his-face brought me back from India. And I think I still will, but I really need to figure out this bodice better. Because right now? I just don’t know.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

GG1.jpgEven though I’m unsure about the dress, it’s hard for me NOT to smile in San Juan!

So, I have only really myself to blame for the things I don’t like about this dress. First of all, it’s too big. Which I brought on myself, by cutting the bodice two sizes bigger then my own size to try and compensate for my opposite-of-diminutive frontal attributes. But obviously this dress did not need my “I don’t want to do a full bust adjustment so I will cheat and fail” alteration, I’m pretty sure it would have fit fine as drafted. This is why we make muslins. This is why I should have made a damn muslin. Alright, alright. So the bodice is a little big, and the waist is too, and as a result, this does not fit my waist and torso the way I like things too. That being said, it’s super comfortable! But I’m really used to things fitting right to my waist, and I prefer it, because I think I look a little wide otherwise.

GG2.jpgI could, in fact, belt this, and I probably will, for the future, as well as taking it in at the waist through the sides of the bodice. It also hits just below the waist, so next time I would totally shorten the bodice an inch, or use more seam allowance.

GG3.jpgOy, you can see that I got a lot of sun. Despite many applications of sunscreen, (I may be half-Latina but I’m not stupid) I still got burned on my first day in Puerto Rico and enjoyed that pain for the rest of the trip. Ah, well. It was the effort that counted.

GG6.jpgUgh, my face. Still, I really do love this stripey thing happening here, I think it’s different and interesting and fun. And I love love love this fabric. Hence the name of the dress. Because my friend Griffin picked some of this up for a school project, and when I saw him constructing and elegant 17th century gown from it, I was like, this would make a great strappy thing! And so he bought me some of the fabric when he picked up more for himself. GRIFFIN. You are magnificent. Gracias, my friend, for your love of languages, and for this fabric, and for San Juan.

GG4.jpgI knew this fabric would work well when playing with stripes. And despite my reservations about the overall fit of this, it does!

GG5.jpgOh, yeah. And there are pockets. God, I love pockets. Life without pockets is sad indeed.

GG8.jpgOh, yeah, this is another struggle. I personally loathe when my bra straps show. It really makes me uncomfortable because I spend so much time adjusting everything. This dress is a bra-showing nightmare. When I attempt this next time, and oh, I will, because now it’s a challenge and I can’t back down from a sewing dare, I will probably make the straps bigger. Because this? Is a struggle.

GG7.jpgAh, well. What can you do. In theory, this is very cute, and I can probably make this work a little bit better to keep wearing it, because I really do like the fabric and the idea of the dress, but the end result leaves me a little meh. Still, it actually felt good to wear it in the San Juan sun, as my mom and I fed stray cats and read mystery novels. So maybe the effort was worth it after all!

A few photos, just for fun:

GG9.jpg GG10.jpg GG11.jpg GG12.jpg GG13.jpg

So there you go. A dress I’m unsure about in a place I love. Hello, summer. I hope this isn’t going to be a pattern….

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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