Tag Archives: hey big saver

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…


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

The Out Of Season Shorts

Aaaaaaand I’m back from San Juan, with a light tan on my face and a longing for the Caribbean in my heart. Our trip was lovely, but completely exhausting, just like always. Why is it that I always need a vacation from my “vacations”? I never come home feeling refreshed, I come home feeling like I’ve just been kicked around for a few days and could use a nice lie down. Does anyone else have that issue?

But I did manage to get a few photos snapped of myself between all the struggle. (Note to self, must invest in tripod or risk wonderful relationship with awesome mother). So here it is, another incarnation of Simplicity 7688. Waring, wrinkles ahead:

I actually made this garment and the other creation I will be showing you this week at least a month ago, but of course the Philadelphia weather wouldn’t have allowed me to model these, and besides, I really made them to take to Puerto Rico. It does, however, feel really strange to be sewing something out of season. Do you sew seasonally, or are you an anything goes type of person? Just like I only drink red wine in the winter and white wine in the summer (it’s the done thing, darling, didn’t you know?) I have, up until this point, crafted based on the temperature outside. But I must say, it was oddly liberating to be sewing off-season! It filled me with such anticipation, and when I finally got to wear the damn things I felt so fulfilled! I really must stop being fulfilled by my clothing….

So. Many. Wrinkles. Especially around the, um, crotch area. I know I should be castigating myself for the bagginess, but I actually really like the fit of these shorts. They are loose, especially in the waistband, and comfortable to the extreme. I added two inches to the hem, just like I did the last time I made them.

I’m so happy when I’m in profile.

The fabric is from the hoarder stash, a pale linen-cotton blend (…I think…). The zipper actually ALSO comes from the hoarder stash, and the snaps I used on the waistband came from my grandmother. So these shorts were virtually free, if you disregard the cost of the pattern, which was about a dollar, and the thread, which was leftover in my stash but, presumably, something I once bought at one time.

I hand stitched the hem, and hand-picked the zipper. But these shorts are so easy they probably took me 3 hours from cutting to catch-stitching.

I used the same fabric to make my Meringue skirt muslin, and then I had a length of it left and I thought, hey, why don’t I make some late 1960’s style shorts? And so I did. Like you do.

I just didn’t have quite enough fabric to make a wider waistband, so instead I have this tiny business, which I don’t adore, but shall live with, because one does what one must.

Back view, baby. I personally think these shorts are ideal for the Caribbean. Lightweight, light colored, with just enough vintage charm to avoid saying “I just jumped off the cruise ship and want to gawk at San Juan and walk around in horrible t-shirts and sneakers and refuse to speak any Spanish because why don’t YOU speak AMERICAN?”. Can you tell I have some mild disdain for tourists from cruise ships? And here I thought I was hiding it so well…

The top of my head may be cut off, but my blissful expression is clear.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a little San Juan street art:

Coming up this week, my Meringue goes Latin, a recent failure becomes someone’s delight, my March sewing kicks into high gear, and I depart for a brief trip to Chicago (what a jetsetter, right?) on Friday! Let’s hope I can deliver all that before my flight….


Filed under Clothing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Sew Impulsive Skirt

Because I know you were desperate to know, I did complete my Meringue skirt over the weekend in a size 8, and while it looks better, I don’t think this is a style that really is perfection for my form. Oh, well. I made it in the acid-bright stripes and I love the colors, no matter if my mother thinks them garish. And no, I didn’t do scallops, the opinions were overwhelming against, thank you, lovely commentators, and as I read them I realized they just echoed my own feelings. Anyway, the skirt is done, but I’m not going to show it to the world until my trip to Puerto Rico in the beginning of March, so you will just have to trust me, one Sew Colette down, four to go. On to the Pastille!

Do you ever think about something so much that you just can’t get it out of your head and all of a sudden you simply must sit down and do it? No? Well, we aren’t the same person, then, because that’s 90% of how I sew. I tend to get a little obsessive about things. Like, before I started sewing, back in the days when I actually bought clothing from stores (oh, such a long long time ago, i.e., last year), I used to visit pieces of clothing I c0nsidered buying once, twice, three times sometimes before I actually bought anything. I’m a planner, that’s me. So most of my sewing projects are planned well in advance. For example, I know the next five projects I will be doing, their order, and I’ve even cut them out, which is a bit odd but I was on a roll this weekend, so…yeah. All cut out, waiting to go.

But recently I came across this length of stretchy wool knit in the lot of fabric I got from that hoarder, and I was like, I know exactly what to do with this. And despite my desire to sew more slowly and take more time with construction, this sucker took me literally an hour and ten minutes. I know this because it took me an entire episode of Pretty Little Liars (Don’t laugh, it’s awesome) and ten minutes of Castle.  From laying out the fabric to cut to trying on the final product. BAM. Skirtified.

The color is a little off in these photos, the true color is a wine-dark red. And check out the hot rain boots. Mmmmmm. Stylish.

Yeah. I totally made my mom take these photos after we attended a luncheon at our synogogue that was focused on women in Judaism. I love those things. The food is always awesome because Feast Your Eyes does the catering, and I’m always the youngest person by at least a few decades. Classic. The speaker had the most amazing bow tie. What a mensch.

Back view! I have to say, for something that took me less time then it takes to, say, cook a good soup or clean my whole apartment, I’m really loving this skirt. It’s so comfortable! It’s stretchy and warm, and forgiving of mealtimes. It looks good with most of my current wardrobe, and it’s flattering!

How did I do it, you ask? Well, I measured my waist and my hips and then just cut out two rectangles, with some careful sketching right on the fabric (and some acrobatics, some of the scant yardage had been attacked by moths, or maybe worse, I don’t want to think about what, but don’t worry, I cleaned it pre-sewing!). Then I cut out a waistband. I stitched it up using zigzag stitch, and it wasn’t until I was trying it on that I realized I had used a regular needle, not a ballpoint one! Horrors! But…it didn’t actually seem to matter. Bullet dodged. Maybe because the material is so thick? A mystery.

Fun fact, the shirt I’m wearing in these is the first shirt I ever made with knits! And if you are observant you may notice that it’s a bit wonky, but I care not. I am, however, very excited to receive my Renfrew Shirt Pattern in the mail, because I think it’s going to be my go-to knit top shirt. Oh, Tasia, you spoil me.

See? I’m so happy with my one impulsive decision! Maybe I should do things impulsively more often? Yeah. I’ll plan to be more impulsive. That should work. Let me just go plan that.


Filed under Clothing, Fabric, Sewing

The Capogiro Top

Good afternoon, gentle readers! And how are you this fine day? The heat wave has FINALLY broken in Philadelphia and today is exactly what the second day of June should be like, breezy, slightly warm, perfectly sunny. It’s ALWAYS sunny in Philadelphia! Man, that show is the best. “Guys, I wrote a musical!” “Who’s the mark?” “There’s no mark, it’s a musical!” “Yeah, but who versus? Who versus?” Genius. And sadly so true. I love my city and will defend it to my dying day, but I have met people who are literally exactly like the entire cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and I am including Rickety Cricket and the McPoyles in that list. Many of them are close friends….

But enough of that, onto the outfit! And the outfit includes another brand new just sewn hot off the ironing board item! Just last week I was expressing my love for the new FREE PATTERN released by Colette patterns, The Sorbetto top. So I searched through my stash (this is my stash busting summer, after all!) and came up with a buttery soft ancient sheet from my grandfather’s attic collection that I had dyed pale aqua (idye in turquoise) and some sherberty orange bias tape I snagged from a 2.99 grab bag at my beloved Pennsylvania fabric outlet, and four hours later (they say two, but guys, I’m super slow) my Sorbetto Top was born! And I love it! And my mom loves it! And it’s just a touch too tight in the bust, sigh. But to be fair, my chest is not small, so when I make this again (and mark my words, I WILL be making this again) I will adjust accordingly.

Ah, the sun!

So you might be asking yourself, what the hell is Capogiro? Why, it’s my favorite gelatoria! Right here in downtown Philadelphia! One of their three stores is actually two blocks from my office which is DANGEROUS, guys, seriously. My friend Sarah and I just adore Capogiro, so whenever she comes back into town from Peru or Madagascar or Montana (she likes to travel…) we go over and have a grilled panini and the best damn gelato in town. And it is insane. With flavors like bourbon caramel, pineapple and mint, goat milk and rosemary with honey, it is my favorite addiction, all house made, all the time. Swoon.

What can I say? I love this top! The only change I made to the pattern was to shorten it by 3 inches, because I like my shirts a little longer then the pattern.

I stitched french seams and finished with bias tape, as directed, which makes this garment one of the nicest interiors I’ve yet to construct.

I love me some bias tape

So of course in modeling this shirt I felt the need to actually go to Capogiro itself and pick out some delightful sorbetto to sample in my photos. The nice people of Capogiro politely ignored what a crazy struggle I am and helped me pick out sorbettos that we felt matched my new blouse:

What? You want to try some? Are you crazy?

It’s mine, I tell you! All mine!

I’m just kidding. I shared some with my Mama.


Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Dye, Sewing

Fecund but thrifty blouse

As part of my long, dark, painful fabric buying hiatus (just gotta hack it. Just. Gotta. Hack. It.) I’ve been doing a bit of what the kids call stash busting these days. Part of why I’m doing this is because if I didn’t, my mother would yell at me. And I hate when she yells at me. So the stash, she must be busted, or at least beaten and lightly bruised. Now, I am giving a touch of fabric away in my GIVEAWAY (enter here!). But there some things I’ve been hoarding that I love to much to surrender to strangers (albeit very nice strangers! thanks for commenting, guys!). But sometimes I look at this pile of fabric I’ve amassed (which isn’t even that much, MOM, I promise, all the other kids have way more! All the other kids are doing it!) and I think, hmmm, what on earth shall I do with you?

In my mind there are two types of fabric buying. You buy with a project in mind, or you buy because you see it and you think, if you build it, he will come. And people seem to be pretty divided on this issue, as in, what comes first, the pattern or the fabric? And my answer to that is…yes.  And this project was more the latter then the former. You see, my beloved PA Fabric outlet sometimes has a one dollar fabric basket, and the last time I let myself buy something a green floral and a silky pink caught my eye. The pink I’m keeping in reserve, I think it would be great for a slip or another set of satiny 20’s style pajamas. But the green I thought would make a nice top, and I own very little that is green. Plus, I promised to abuse my fabric collection, and this seemed like a fairly painless way to do so.  And I loved the floral print, so vaguely Liberty of London (which…I may never be able to afford), so fertile, so floral, so fecund. So I made myself this:

I used the JJ pattern, which is a FREE PATTERN from Burda Style. This pattern was actually the second full garment I had ever made. It’s a really great and easy to use pattern, though the first time I made it I did not find it easy at all, obviously. It also includes 3 ruffles per front side, but I had to omit them both because of a lack of fabric and because I thought it might all be too busy.


I look so angry! In my defense, it was cold.

As a result of the fabric shortage (I feel like it’s the 1st world war!) I also had to shorten the shirt, which doesn’t exactly thrill me, but luckily I wear a lot of high waisted skirts, so hopefully this wont be a problem! I think it looks okay here, right?

Wow, my hair is super fluffy.

This blouse has lovely gathered sleeves:

And a cute stand-up collar:

The lip color? Korres Wild Rose Lip Balm. I just adore it. And here I’m laughing because my mother just told me to shut the hell up. Which….fair.

The skirt is H and M, by the way. My friend Becca has the exact same one. Luckily we live in different cities, or every day would start with a consulting phone call to make sure we weren’t dressing like twins. The buttons are also PA Fabric outlet. I was going to do snaps, because I’m afraid of buttons and my machine has neither a button hole foot nor a button hole setting, but I girded my loins, as one does, and just tried it out.

They aren’t the best thing in the world, so you don’t get to see a photo, but I feel that they will get the job done. The shoes were my grandmothers:


Glamor Shot!

So there you go. Free pattern, 1 dollar fabric, 6 buttons for 1.25. Take that, stash.


Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Sewing