Tag Archives: life change

The Welcome Spring Outfit

(Please note, because of life events like weddings etc. some of these posts were intended to be up months ago and are only going up now. This is a phenomenon known as the “life gets away from your syndrome” and it is very common with all the people who are me. Sue me. Please don’t. I can’t afford it.)
Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.

-Rainer Maria Rilke
Just what you want in a sewing blog, right? Rilke quotes? I know. You’ve been waiting forever. You’re welcome, Internet. Rilke. He’s back.
It is obviously quite ironic for me to be discussing Spring now that it is now officially and completely summer, but given how mercurial and cool the weather has been in New York I feel I can comfortably get away with this. Of course, these photographs were taken in Portland….but you get the idea. Seriously, I only know it’s summer because the calendar told me so. Although one thing I will say is, the spring flowers were out of control gorgeous in New York this spring. My friend Ben (hi, Ben!) told me that because we had a rough and snowy winter with the ground being frozen for so long we were due for magnificent flowers because the ground got so much water. And as he so often is, Ben was correct! Well done, Ben. But the flowers on the East Coast could not have prepared me for Portland.
Portland is my new favorite place. It reminded me of Philadelphia, one of my other favorite places, and they both have P names so there you go, I have a type. Mid-size cities on the rise, with lots of greenery and excellent food who are paced on the slower side. Why do I live in New York, again? (And by the way I’m MOVING to an even crazier city,, more on that later!) Mr. Struggle and I visited Portland in April (good lord, APRIL, has it been that long? Guys. My life. Work, my novel,  our second wedding,I can’t even.) and we decided this is our new dream city. First of all, the food. We had radishes with smoked butter at Ned Ludd and Dulce de Leche ice cream at Salt and Straw and divine wines (for me) and beers (for Mr. Struggle) all over the place and holy god, it was amazing. Mr. Struggle almost passed out from the intensely good Singaporean style of chicken he had at Nong’s Khao Man Gai that transported him back to Singapore and the many years he spent working hard to decimating its chicken population. Are there things other than food in Portland? Probably. Who knows. Mostly we were just trying to get from food to food, stopping for food in the middle.
And obviously if you are going to indulge in a food tour you need and outfit to match. Something comfortable but still cute, as one must maintain one’s standards of dressing even when visiting the casual wilds of the West Coast. One must keep up appearances, mustn’t one? Here is what I came up with:
WS 1My second attempt at Deer and Doe’s Chardon skirt with the correct pleats this time! Boom. LEARNING things. Like a boss. This is in fact another all Deer and Doe outfit, because the top is my beloved Plantain. I know that everyone’s ideal t-shirt is different, but I must say, this free pattern (!) came as a godsend to me, because this is mine. The only change I ever make, and I have made this thing innumerable times now, is to lengthen it.
WS 3
The fabric for this skirt is really something special. My friend Becca (hi, Becca!), like most of us, has a mother. Her mother, Mary (hi, Mary!) is also wonderful, just like Becca, and she has consistently given me amazing random gifts of fabric. This is a Liberty of London print from I don’t know when, in what feels like a lightweight upolstery fabric. Oh, how I love to dress like a sofa! A sofa with pockets!
WS 4
The shirt is a cotton jersey from Girl Charlee. Basic like a pumpkin spice latte.
WS 5I think it’s a little hard to see the pleats on this print, but in real life they are adorable! You’ll just have to trust me on that.
WS 6The ever popular jump shot! The people of Portland, bless them, didn’t bat an eye.
Oh, man, I have so many more posts to catch up on, including all the things I made for our second wedding (second of three, kill me now) and all the things I’ve been making to try and get rid of my fabric collection! Why would I do that? Am I quitting sewing? OF COURSE NOT. But I am moving! To Mumbai! Which is in India! And bringing fabric to India is like bringing sand to the beach. Don’t worry, I will still be blogging there, hopefully more frequently, as one of the many benefits of moving is committing more time to writing, both my dramatic and prose work, and my blogging. The move happens in September, so stay tuned for an outpouring of sewing for myself and others to diminish my stash in between novel revision, web series continuation, and the rehearsals for my new play, with sewing themes, coming to New York in August! You know. Lazy summer.

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Filed under Clothing, Deer and Doe, Friends, Life, Sewing, Travel

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