Tag Archives: hoarder stash

The Take My Own Advice Skirt

Remember what I was literally JUST SAYING about vacation clothing? Well, yeah, I actually recently made something that caused me a bit of concern in that respect. But luckily I was vacationing with a close and wonderful friend, who I can count on to tell me if something is just not okay for the mainland. Becca has an excellent eyes for such things, and honestly, judging other people and their outfits is one of the things that makes us such good friends (seriously, we should have a t.v. show. I’m not kidding.) And it’s important in life to have friends who you can trust to take you aside and say, sweetie, I adore and care about you, and as your friend, I need to tell you, you look like a 4 dollar hooker from Reno. Becca is one such friend. Thank the Lord.

So I found a tutorial on the Pintrest from Cotton and Curls, an amazing blog, that seemed like a good idea, and I had some fabric from the hoarder stash that I had never known quite what to do with, but I had this idea that it might be cute as a skirt. I was going to just pleat or gather and go, but then I thought, screw that, you’ve been trying to branch out, BRANCH OUT, you pavlovian dog. Only, well, I didn’t have a TON of that fabric, so…..yeah. I had some concerns about this thing, because it’s sort of a high-low style wrap skirt, and while I was just fine with the length of the low, I was a little concerned about the, um, high. BUT. I figured if I could rock it anywhere, I could rock it in Puerto Rico (this is a terrible philosophy and one I’m very against unless I decide to do it, in which case it’s totally fine and awesome). So. Here we are, bring on the judgement:

TMOA 1Real talk? I kind of love this skirt a lot. But I was concerned about the, um, modesty quotient. Also, as I look at these photos, I realize that even though the tutorial didn’t say to interface the waistband, I SHOULD HAVE FLIPPING INTERFACED THE WAISTBAND I KNOW BETTER. Ah, well.

TMOA 2I laugh at myself and my own foolishness.

TMOA 3So it’s just a little short in the front. On the side. Sometimes. And when there is a strong breeze, well, hello world! But also, very much, screw it. Because I love this. I think it’s adorable. I think it’s a little hipster, and I could wear it to a concert in Brooklyn and sip drinks made with locally grown fruit and locally distilled booze and just feel right at home. And besides. Becca approved.

TMOA 7The construction was awfully easy, it’s a great tutorial and I would recommend it. In fact, I would like to try it again, with more than a yard of fabric to play around with, because I love the flowyness of this, and I would love for it to be EVEN FLOWY. Go with the flow, people.

I would interface the waistband, as I said, but otherwise I love this style, love the buttons, love the shape. I machine stitched the hem, because I’m a busy lady and whatever sometimes and also shut up.

TMOA 4Because of the feathers on the fabric, which is some sort of synthetic blend (I think?) with a decent drape, I thought it would be nice to take these photos at Plaza de las Armas, which is famous in San Juan because you can feed pigeons. THOUGH WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO THEY ARE FLYING RATS!?!?

TMOA 6And yet children do. The hell?

TMOA 8Oh, and then this guy, who I have seen many times, I think he lives in the square, tried to get me to feed the pigeons. NO. NO THANK YOU. I said this, in Spanish, very clearly, and yet….struggle. I think my face here says it all.

TMOA 5Still. It’s a cute skirt, I think! And I brought it back to New York with me, so let’s hope it stands up to city living as well as it did to San Juan…

But seriously, do try this tutorial if you are so inclined, I feel like this might just be the perfect summer skirt! Once I lengthen it….

 

 

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Filed under Clothing, Sewing

The Weirdly Sexy Shirt

Nota bene, I was not the person who thought this shirt was weirdly sexy. In fact, I didn’t think of it as sexy at all. I wore this to the costume shop at which I work about two weeks ago (I MADE THIS OVER A MONTH AGO WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? Finding time to SEW isn’t my problem, it’s taking flipping pictures of my flipping work! That’s why there’s been radio silence for a while, not because I am not sewing, but because I am no documenting what I sew. And I even have a tripod! What is my deal? That’s a question for therapy. Onwards!) and a girl with whom I work said, Leah, I like that shirt, it’s really weirdly sexy. And I said, thank you! I think?

WS 1The pattern is Cindy‘s amazing Dolman Sleeve shirt. I’ve been meaning to make this wonderful free think for ages, months! But for whatever reason I just didn’t get around to it. Then, finally, about a month ago, I took myself in hand and I said, self, make the damn shirt! And thus this creation was born.

This bizarre wonderful fabric is totally a velour, which makes me feel like a retiree in Florida off to shuffleboard, but what can you do. It’s from the Hoarder Stash, and I’m keeping with my stashbusting, so I think that’s all to the good!

WS 2I love this pattern. I want to make 10 more. I lengthened the sleeves on Cindy’s lovely design (and I would lengthen more next time, my wrists get chilly!) but otherwise I made no changes to the original design. I love the length, I love the fit, I love the mobility of the sleeves, and for whatever reason, whenever I wear this people compliment me!

WS 4Today at a play reading someone said I looked like a Modrian painting. Which I guess is only a nice thing if you like Modrian, but I’m going with it.

WS 3My lovely roommate Emily took these photos. We both loved this one, because I mean, look at my hair! It’s its own animal!

Speaking of animals:

WS 9I’ve been cutting out a lot of projects lately, from my Sewing for Victory patterns (I got so excited about the 1940’s that I’m making three, maybe four things! I haven’t decided whether or not to make number four, but I’ve finished one and two and am on three, so get excited. See, I told you SEWING isn’t the issue…). And of course, as he so often does, Cadfael is unbearably helpful in this process.

WS 8You want to cut? But, this is a bed…

WS 10It’s ALL beds. All the things are beds. Don’t you know that by now?

Seriously, though, if you haven’t tried Cindy’s amazing Dolman sleeve top, grab yourself a knit material and do it. I want to make longer sleeved ones and shorter sleeved ones and live in this daily.

Why, you ask? Well, if you can’t SEE for yourself, at least know this.  I can dance in it. And that’s always my gauge for all things. How much can I dance?

I can dance so much:

WS 6

WS 5WS 7So. Much. If you can’t dance in something, what’s the point of wearing it?

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Filed under Cation Designs, Clothing, knit, Sewing

The Home Sweet Home Skirt and some thoughts for 2013

Ah, Brooklyn, sweet Brooklyn. I have, indeed, missed you. Old Amsterdam was amazing, though, it really was, and we had the best possible trip, all stuffed with Vermeer and Rembrandt and pancakes and frites and Indonesian food and 17th century architecture and The Amsterdam School of Building and canals and Spinoza and Van Gogh and things like this:

HSH 10

And as a result we all felt like this:

HSH 11

And it was lovely. And yes, my hair did seem quite Dutch, I fit right in, it was excellent.

So it was a lovely way to spend the New Year, with the three people I adore the most, in a gorgeous place. No wild ragers, no embarrassing morning-afters, just fireworks and Surinamese food and cognac and my favorite people. And so I didn’t really think about sewing resolutions or life resolutions or anything but delicious apple tarts and avoiding getting run over by bicyclists. But now that I’m back in the States, and back in Brooklyn (for, about, ten seconds before I go to Puerto Rico for ten days…) and enjoying a more solitary existence (well, I live with two roommates, plus my cat, plus all my friends, plus all the bartenders I tend to get super friendly with, so, yes, solitude is a relative term), I’m considering my New Years sewalutions. Oh, and I made a skirt:

HSH 6It’s a Colette Patterns meringue. I had to take about 4 inches off at the waist, which I did on the non-zippered side, of course, using a makeshift 2 AM dart. It’s still a little loose, but I like it.

Sewalution #1. Re-measure myself. Clearly my shape has changed and a lot of the stuff I’ve made and have been making recently has been rather loose on me, so I need to re-evaluate my sizing and act accordingly, instead of this late night slapdash alteration nonsense.

HSH 1I got this fabric from the hoarder stash. Truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Sewalution #2. For SERIOUS, for REALS this time, SEW FROM MY STASH. I can’t even deal with myself in this respect, I need to be so much stricter about this.

HSH 2

These photos are awfully grainy. I tried to color correct them, sigh.

HSH 3

Let’s see, did I do anything else special with this? Not really, I added a lining because this wool is rather scratchy, but other then that, nothing, really. The lining is a cotton from my grandfather’s attic which I dyed blue.

HSH 9Matches the plaid, no?

HSH 4A little back view for you. A bit wrinkled, sigh.

I cut the waistband on the bias to make it as comfortable as possible.

HSH 8

HSH 5I wouldn’t say it’s the most special thing I’ve ever made, but it’s cute and serviceable  and warm and perfect for wearing day-to-day. And I got brunch with my friend Becca today, and she said, immediately, cute skirt! So I feel pretty good about it.

Sewalution #3. Make things you know you will wear and that actually fit your lifestyle.

Sewalution #4. Try new patterns! This skirt does no fulfill that rule, I’ve made it a few times. Bad Leah.

Sewalution #5. Post twice a week. This is going to be hard one for me, but I love this blog, and all the people who read it, and I want to make sure I’m active and sharing my sewing journey with the rest of the world. So I’m going to do it. Come hell or high water.

That’s five things to do this year. That’s doable, right? Well, we shall see..

And it’s nice to be home. And thank goodness that Puerto Rico is also my home, so going there is a home as well.

I hope that your holiday season and subsequent aftermath has been pleasant and bearable. Tell me all about it,if you want…

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Sewing

The Back to Black Dress

There were SO many things I could have named this garment. The, I Promise I’m Still Alive Even Though My Life Has Been Eaten By Writing, Dress! The, Three Needles Down, Dress (this stretchy soft sweater knit broke three sewing machine needles. I don’t even know…). The, Miss Me?, Dress, because I’ve been out of commission for SO. LONG. But I’m going with the Back to Black Dress because I like alliteration and I like Amy Winehouse and I like black.

So, you might ask, where the hell have I BEEN all this time? Again, I refer you to “my life has been eaten by writing”. The end of my first semester of graduate school got a little crazy, guys. There was writing. There was whiskey. It did not help the writing, but I enjoyed it anyway. There were nights hunched over my laptop furiously typing. There were nights hunched over my laptop furiously NOT writing, and those nights are the WORST. My lovely and amazing roommate Emily (who, along with my equally lovely and amazing roommate Jenny who are both saints to put up with all on my nonsense and mishagas) is also a writer, and we were talking with my friend Emilie (it got confusing, I can tell you) about writing and how when it’s bad, it’s horrible, and when it’s good, it’s amazing, and you live for the times when the writing just comes because there is nothing like it, it’s what I imagine a runner’s high is like. Oh, I run, a couple of times a week these days, but I never get a high, I just sort of collapse at the end which is embarrassing, but hey, it’s New York.

But now I have emerged into a warm pillow of time, i.e. my vacation, which is six weeks long. As I write this I’m sitting in Philadelphia, typing away in my parent’s office, waiting to set up my new laptop (THANK YOU PAPI!). And I have to tell you, it’s not that I haven’t been sewing, or knitting (lots of knitting for lots of holiday gifts). I just haven’t had the time to DOCUMENT any of it! ‘Tis a hard life. Cue the violins. In three days I’m off to Holland for a family vacation, and then I’m back, and then going to San Juan, and then back in the New York, it’s crazy! And what will Brother Cadfael be doing this whole time?

Sew On 016Yep. Did you expect anything less?

Onto the dress. I made this thing in a feverish rush a week and a half ago because I had run out of homework. I was so used to having a lot to do, and then I had finished my screenplay and my play and all the essays and scenes and I was sitting at home on a Wednesday evening after Zumba and I thought, well, I have some time….

Sew On 002So I pulled out this fabric which came from the hoarder stash of which I have oft spoke, and grabbed my trusty Renfrew pattern, and did a bit of lengthening a la Andrea (p.s. I was trolling through her project gallery, she is so impressive, I want to make everything she’s made) and here I have a dress!

Back to Black 1And wore it to the department holiday party that evening. And then out, for more whiskey. Which did not make my Friday morning an easy or a pleasant one, but the life of a writer is one of hardship and sadness, so I’m chalking that up to a good source of material. Sometimes you need to dominate on 99 problems in some random bar, it HAS to happen, the evening wants what it wants!

Back to Black 2Contemplating the beauty and grace of Jay-Z’s poetry.

Back to Black 3This fabric, which, as I said, came from that giant pile saved from the hoarder, is a really cool fuzzy sweater knit with these little speckles of color in it. I have no idea what it’s made of, probably something highly flammable, but it’s warm and cozy and I’ve been wearing this dress with alarming regularity since I made it.

Back to Black 4My mother said the neckline is a little wonky. That might be because the first thing I made her do when I came home was take photos of me…

Or it might be because it’s a knit and stretchy and yes fine okay it’s a little wonky I’m a human sue me!

Back to Black 5Side view!

Back to Black 6Back view! With flash, it started getting dark. You can see the seam down the back, which is my new favorite thing for knits because A. its efficient, fabric-use-wise, and B. I kind of really like the way it looks.

So if you asked me how I felt about this stretchy comfy easy to wear warm and to my mind, quite cute, garment, I would show you this picture:

Back to Black 7

 

Now, I’m off to run errands and deal with my existence which is sad, because all I want to do is this:

Sew On 043I hope that you are all having a perfectly lovely holiday season! My hanukkah was excellent, and I will be celebrating what’s-its-name tomorrow with Asian food and a movie, but I promise to post again before I go to Holland, and I will do my very best to not fall off the face of the earth any time soon!

 

 

 

 

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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

La Falda del Mercado

So here it is, finally, my Meringue. I know, I know, you’ve been waiting with bated breath, desperate for a glimpse at my final version. Or I suppose I should say my first final version, because despite my initial mild reaction to this pattern, I do believe it may have stolen my heart. As long as I eliminate the scallops. And add a waistband. And do all kinds of other stuff to it. Like you do. But still, the shape of the skirt, the simplicity of the design, the placement of the darts, I’m into it! Which is fairly indicative of my character, really, I’m slow to fall in love, but once I do, no skirt is safe.

So here it is, in all it’s bright and gently garish splendor:

Boom, baby!  When I saw this fabric I thought, that is just perfect for Puerto Rico, and lo and behold, it totally is. I even found a house amongst the brightly colored buildings in San Juan (our own house is a brilliant aquamarine, just to give you an idea) that this thing literally matches. Check it out:

Right? Chartreuse, meet Chartreuse. You kids have fun

I wore this skirt to the open air market in Viejo San Juan.

The market has been there since 1847, at least, and was once, I assume, probably the bustling epicenter of commerce in this tiny colonial town. Now that tradition has been revived, and I’m so excited about that.

I’m going to stand on a soapbox for about five seconds and decry the sugar (read rum) industry that supplanted natural sustainable agriculture and the tourist industry, which, while generating income for the Caribbean, has placed a strong emphasis on the importation of goods and almost no emphasis on the quality of life of the actual people who live in these “island paradises”. But I think that’s changing in Puerto Rico, and hopefully in the rest of the Caribbean, and this market, with its organic and local produce and goods, hopefully heralds the return of a sustainable island culture.

Okay, off the soapbox. Sorry. Pretty pictures!

I made this up in a size 8, which fit me much better then my muslin in size 6.

Don’t you agree? I added a waistband, using Sarai’s lovely tutorial, and I used the same zipper insertion technique from the Clover pants.I used a cream-colored invisible zipper I got in a bundle of about 100 9″ invisible zippers for 3 dollars.

The fabric comes from the hoarder stash.  I think its really upolostery weight fabric. Can you imagine having a chair made up in this? Amazing.

I stitched the hem by hand:

I think I  match the brilliant colors of the market quite well:

Local Coffee

Want to see a bunch of machetes getting swung around? Come to the Caribbean and make all your dreams come true.

Puerto Rican Hipsters!

And my Mama matches too, don’t you think?

And I couldn’t help but adore this sign:

So if you are in San Juan any time soon on a Saturday, do check out El Mercado Argicultura.

Of course, you may not look as awesome as I do in this skirt. That’s okay. No one’s perfect.

Glamour Shot!

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Fabric, Sewing, 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….

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Filed under Clothing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage