Tag Archives: feminism

New Year, Same Me, A Sewalong!

So, I have an very important question to ask you guys, and that is, um, well, oh boy, this is so hard to ask, but, would you do me the honor of….participating in my sew-a-long?

Oh, let’s back up.

First of all, Happy New Year, y’all! I hope that you had the most wonderful Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanza/Festivus/Saturnalia/Satanic ritual/whatever you’re into, and the most lovely New Years Eve! What’s-his-face and I had a latke party and then we rang in the New Year by eating pizza and watching Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (for the hundredth time, obviously) and then we watched some of this which is absolutely bonkers.

Seriously, check it out:

Thinking back on my many sewing projects of the year, many of which, alas, went undocumented, as always, I will say that I think I tried a few new things, style wise, which is always fun, and I’m looking forward to trying some more in the year to come. I also want to challenge myself more to try a few new things, including more (any) outerwear (which is hard, because I spend so much of my time in India right now and Mumbai is not an outerwear kind of a place, but I can still try!), and taking more time with projects that have challenging details, like some formal wear for weddings and events, and more vintage items that require me to spend more time with them during construction.

Do you guys have any sewing goals? I rarely make other kinds of resolutions, and I’m already starting every day with homemade green juice (recipe courtesy of my friend Rakhee, follow her on Instagram at @rakheejainarora! And follow mine, I figured out how to put a link on the side and everything! @lfstruggle!), and I have a big year ahead what with my first novel release and What’s-his-name’s projects, stay tuned for more on all counts, so I feel like I have a lot covered on the personal front. So sewing can have a lot of my intentions, right now!

And speaking of sewing goals, in the spirit of wanting to sew more vintage, and in celebration of what I think was one of the best pieces of television, nay, MEDIA in 2017, I am thinking about hosting a Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Sewalong! Who is with me?

First of all, we’ve all seen The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, right? RIGHT? NO? Okay, um, wow, well, don’t even worry about it, I can just hang out here for a day while you binge it. But, like, seriously, WHAT ARE  YOU DOING WITH YOUR TIME? And if you say watching Black Mirror I will BREAK YOUR FACE OFF YOUR FACE. Watch that on your own time! We have a female centric passes all kinds of Bechdel tests smart, funny, stupidly well acted period piece from what may well be the most flattering period of fashion for women in the last century and you…had better flipping things to do with your time? LIKE WHAT, PRAY TELL?

Ahem. This show is an Amazon Prime production created by Amy Sherman Palladino and Daniel Palladino, the team behind Gilmore Girls, which, if you haven’t seen that, then, I don’t know, maybe just stop reading my blog, or whatever? I mean, you make your choices, you know? AND I MAKE MINE. It features the magnificent Rachel Brosnahan, and the wonderful Alex Borstein, and it is just a sheer delight, complete and utter modern feminism wrapped up in a perfectly coordinated 1950’s package. The show is splendid, really lovely, and worth talking about for days, but the costumes, my friends, oh, the costumes. Now that’s something else entirely.

Lovingly designed by Donna Zakowska, with the kind of precision, character building, and thought process we haven’t really seen since, well, Mad Men, basically, and before that? Maybe never? these costumes really are a character in the show. They have inspired envy from the least vintage oriented of my friends, and I myself have drooled over them, longing for a cacophony of coats in impractical wool weights with no closures and all class! Hey, now, maybe THAT is where my interest in outerwear has come from….

But seriously, the costumes. First, enjoy this article. Then, look at all this:

And that’s just Midge. That’s just one character. Good. Lord. I mean, yes, it’s the MAIN character, but, like, still! I didn’t even show you her wedding dress. Listen, just watch the damn series, okay? Amazon Prime. Oh, and while you are at it, check out The Collection for a costume porn double header and then you come right back here and let me know, is anyone down for a sew-a-long?

Because I think this could be a ton of fun! So I will follow this up with a series of posts with inspirational pattern ideas, a giveaway or two, and we can reveal our Maisel outfits in a few months, let’s say, the 15th of April? That gives everyone a little time to join and try stuff out! And I promise to do a few myself, and I know that everyone’s favorite Blog for Better Sewing has a Charm patterns release coming up which she said should make fans of that red number up there very happy, soooooo…….

Who is in? Comment below if you are down, otherwise I will…totally just make a bunch of stuff on my own and wear it all and wish Miriam Maisel was my friend. And check out this pinterest board, it’s full of ideas already!



Filed under Inspiration, Sewalong, Sewing

The Feliz Cumplieanos Dress!

It deserves an exclamation point, it’s such a big deal. So, my birthday is ACTUALLY tomorrow, but because I figured no one would be up for a wild time on a Tuesday (or maybe they would, I don’t know, I tend to spend my Tuesdays watching Buffy and sewing, but hey, if you guys are going to raves could you please call me so I can…not go to the rave with you? Thanks, appreciate it.), so I decided to throw myself a birthday party this past Saturday. But it wasn’t going to be just any party, oh, no, that’s amateur hour, no, I went theme. And the theme was? Well, I turn 26 tomorrow so OBVIOUSLY my theme was Feliz Quinceanera! DUH!

For those of you who are not/don’t know any 15 year old Mexican girls, a quinceanera is, as the name would suggest, a lavish 15th birthday party. Like a Bat Mitzvah (which I of course had, and my portion was the song of Moses, and I wore all black and almost gave my grandmother an aneurism, it was pretty cool), or a Sweet Sixteen Party (which I did not have, but I did go to some of them, at country clubs, which I’m surprised let me in, because, well, I will refer you to the earlier information about my BAT MITZVAH), a quinceanera or quince, as the kids say, is, like all parties given to young women, pretty much an indication that the lady is, er, open for business as it were, at least, the business of marriage. And so the young lady wears a bright pink dress, gets thrown around a dance floor, and everyone can see what a good wife she is going to make. Side note, in view of all the events the world over that show society that a woman is ready for marriage, from debutante balls to coming out parties (I’m referencing the Regency, not the closet, fyi)  I think it’s very funny/horrible that historically these events ended in women marrying men who were much older/total strangers/marrying them directly for their dowries, but hey, at least you get a get a great party first!

But I live in the 21st century and I’m a feminist and also, I’m an adult,  so I threw myself my own damn quinceanera at a bar half a block away from my apartment (read, within stumbling distance). It was really wonderful, and lots of fantastic people who I have somehow deceived into spending time with me showed up and bought me far too many drinks and for whatever perfect Kismet reason there was a taco stand IN THE BAR, from the fantastic and deeply friendly B’klyn Burro, a trio of lovely men who make divine food. They made me a special birthday taco! What the WHAT!? Check them out if you are in New York, they operate primarily out of my least favorite part of Brooklyn (i.e. Williamsburg) but don’t hold that against them.  So I believe a good time was had by all, but especially by me, because you only turn 15 twice.

And while I of course received many respectable marriage proposals as a result, I think I’m going to stick with my one true love for now:

FC 15

He wasn’t invited. He’s still pretty mad about it.

Enough of this chit-chat, onto the CLOTHING. For my quinceanera dress, I was torn. I could have gone the more accurate hella pink shiny where-taffeta-goes-to-die route, OR I could make something I might actually wear again someday. Which did I go with? You be the judge:

FC 1Yeah, I went wearable. And I have to say, I don’t regret it, cultural accuracy be damned (and, I mean, I’m a half-Puerto Rican girl throwing myself a Mexican teenager’s birthday party, what the hell am I trying to prove?). This may be more of a hipster quinceanera dress, but why should we deny Mexicans the right to be hipster? I mean, that would be really prejudiced, you know? I don’t want that sort of narrow-minded thinking at my quinceanera, thank you very much.

FC 2I used my bodice block again, man do I love that pattern! Liz, you have my eternal love (well, you always did, really…) and added a half-circle skirt. I had actually wanted a full circle skirt and instead of just drafting it like a normal person I used a pattern I had in my stash, a vintage Vogue 8199, which for whatever reason I assumed was a full circle. BUT IT’S NOT. Ah, well. Still good, no?

FC 3

A little back view for you, with my attempt at appearing coy. I hand picked the zipper, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the fit of this dress.Well, the neckline sags a bit, and I really don’t know why, but c’est la vie. Any ideas? I can totally live with it but for the future I would prefer to eliminate that aspect…

I tried to blow out my hair, because nothing makes me look more like a telemundo newscaster then straightened hair, but it was, shall we say, not cold on Saturday and my blow out lasted approximately 30 minutes in the humidity of July in New York. And if I was the kind of person who cared about that kind of thing, this is what I would look like:

FC 11Life is SO HARD. Like, I can’t even deal with how hard my life is. If my hair wont stay straight what is the point of anything?

FC 6I’m just kidding! Back to the dress. It’s got pockets! Because why make your own clothing if you aren’t going to try to make pockets a part of as much as possible?

FC 10I legitimately don’t know. How baller is this tiara? I got it at Claire’s. REMEMBER CLAIRE’S? I hadn’t been there in years, not since I valued sparkles more than, well, anything else. But I wanted a tiara (because it’s my quinceanera DUH!) and I also ended up getting those sweet enormous hoops you see on my ears (NOT EVEN THE BIGGEST IN THE STORE.) and glitter tattoos for the people who ended up at my get together, and oh my, is that place a special one or what? The next time I need literally anything with One Direction’s faces on it, I know where to go! There were a lot of tiaras, I’m not going to lie to you, but I feel like I made the right choice.

FC 8At some point in the evening my cousin Elyse wanted to take my tiara and I threatened to cut her face off. It was pretty special.


FC 5Oh, how I crack myself up. The dress, the dress, what else is there to say. Oh, the fabric is from a flat sheet set I bought last year. I actually make a set of pajamas out of one of the sheets, and then I made this, and I still have some material left! Sheets are the best, so much material! I’m sure it’s a cotton-poly blend of some kind, it’s pretty lightweight and breathable. I lined the bodice but didn’t bother with the skirt. I hand stitched the hem, like you do. As I look at these photos I realize that some more ironing should have happened but whatever, I’M AN ADULT!

The shoes, which I don’t normally talk about but these are actually cute, are Chelsea Crew from ModCloth.

FC 12In a pink sparkly tiara. At a fake quinceanera. Because if that’s not adulthood I just don’t know what is.

So there you go, my rather vintage flavored quinceanera dress, appropriate for drinking ALL the wine and eating ALL the tacos. Thank you, everyone who came to my gathering (and to the very kind people at Bar Sepia who allowed us to invade their bar and give them the contents of our wallets) and helped me celebrate my 15th birthday as a Mexican teenager. Oh, and special thanks to my friend Anna, who took me out to dinner AND took these photos!

FC 14And thank you all for reading! May your birthdays, whether they are soon or a ways away, be as enjoyable as mine.

FC 4And may you love your garments as much as I love this! I kind of can’t wait to wear it again, actually. Then every day can be my quinceanera! Dios Mio. Que Bueno!


Filed under Clothing, Fabric, Sewing, Vintage