Tag Archives: grandfather’s attic

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

The Faded Photograph Blouse (MMM Day 6)

It’s an amazing phenomenon that people on vacation dress completely differently then they do in real life. Depending on the locale, in this case, a tropical one, visitors tend to strip down and throw ensembles on their bodies that would never fly in their real lives. As someone who spends a good deal of time on an island that many consider to exist solely for the sake of tourists, it always amuses me to see lobster-red visitors in sarongs and denim cutoffs or shirts made of a single scarf and a distinct lack of taste. I enjoy watching them sip their fruity drinks and loudly ask the waiter if they can have some more “toe-stone-es”, because as well all know, speaking in a very loud tone of voice eliminates all language barriers. That’s just a fact.

But as disdainful as I am, I must admit, I too dress slightly brighter in Puerto Rico. It’s something about the fact that regardless of where you are, the suburbs of Bayamon, the streets of Ponce, a plaza in San Juan, all of the architecture is bright poured cement, faded and grubby at times, but always in a tropical hue. My whole family participates in this, wearing ensembles in San Juan that we would feel rather silly about were we in our homes in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. We just can’t help it. Blame it on the Bossa Nova, baby.

That being said, this outfit, in its demure and docile tones, doesn’t match Puerto Rico one iota:

Or maybe it’s San Juan in the 40’s, right after the war, around the time of the great migration to the States. A faded image from the past.

I get so poetic when I write about San Juan! Back to reality. The blouse is the 3rd piece in my Spring Palette Challenge, Simplicity 4608, a 1940’s pattern.

I look like I’ve eaten something horrible here. But that’s just my face, look to the clothing! The skirt is my nautical bias skirt, of course. Love it.

This blouse wasn’t all that difficult to put together, but man, blouses like this have SO MANY PIECES. It’s continually amazing to me that a blouse is so much more difficult than most other things I’ve ever made, and yet it’s dismissed so easily! Show people a bright easy skirt and they are like, damn, girl! But show them a blouse and it’s like, alright, fine, that’s nice, more skirts! Still, I love this blouse. I wanted a 1940’s blouse pattern for a while, so getting one and having it fit nicely right out of the bag feels pretty good.

Now I seem happier. Because I’m like, screw you and your desires for skirts, I made a BLOUSE, deal with it.

I finished the neckline with bias tape, as directed, and I hand stitched the facings to the blouse body. I followed all the instructions. I usually do, the first time around. It’s the second and third that things get wild…

Not a happy face here, though. Here I’m being told about the Kardashians and not only do I not care, but I am NOT amused. Still it’s a good collar shot. I love the collar on this blouse. Despite whatever my face might have been doing in this moment.

The (rather wrinkled) back is nice and blousy, with a yoke across the shoulders and gathers.

The sleeves are rather long. When I make this in the future, which I probably will do, because despite all the fussy hand sewing and pattern pieces, I like the final product enough to suck it up and deal, I will shorten the sleeves.

So, I typically tuck everything in. I like my waist, so I like to accentuate it, and also, I feel kind of unkempt if I don’t. But this blouse has these lovely tucks which I think are particularly flattering. So I tried it out for a little while.

See, the tucks in the back make this little blousy “shelf”. It’s kind of cool.

I wasn’t sure if you could see the stripes in the shirting, it all sort of looks vaguely blue from the photos. So here you are, a close up. The material came from my grandfather’s attic, and the buttons from the hoader. So there you are, a completely stash-shopped blouse.

Yeah. I couldn’t live with it untucked. Sue me.

Do you dress differently when you go somewhere else? Apart from coats for the north and swimsuits for the south, I mean? Do you have a vacation persona who looks like alternate reality you? Obviously I don’t, not in a drastic way, I can’t even untuck my shirt…

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Filed under Challenge, Clothing, Simplicity Patterns, Travel, Vintage