Tag Archives: Love

The Lot-o Gelato Outfit

I would like to tell you now about a passionate love affair that began when I was but ten years old. Like all good love stories, it is epic, spanning countries, ages, moods and needs, and yet it is simple at its heart. It is the story of a girl, standing in front of a scoop of gelato, asking it to love her.

When I was a child, my parents took me to Italy. I must say, I will forever be grateful for my parents for exposing my brother and myself to travel, to art museums and beautiful buildings and layers of history living around you and different languages and ways of doing things and really good bread and amazing places of worship and the reminder that the world is bigger than you and the way you think, and, most of all, perhaps, gelato.

Look, ice cream is good. No one is saying it isn’t. But it is the wonderbread to gelato’s artisanal sourdough loaf. It is the Venetian in Las Vegas to the actual Venice. It’s the movie, and gelato is the book it’s based on. It is a pale shadow of a thing, the sweeping imitation of life, the puppets dancing across the cave, and gelato is the moment you stand at the cave’s edge, in the sweet air of reality, knowing that you have arrived, the light blinding in your eyes but real, real as nothing has ever been before. 

It’s a pretty great dessert item, is what I’m saying. Come to the light, people. Come to the gelato.

So when I was ten, as I said, my parents took me to Italy (with my older brother of course). It was the first time my brother and I went to Europe, the first big trip my family had taken in years, and my parents were determined to wring experiences of out of every second of the day, waking at 5 to scale the Vatican then tour below it, and be in the Sistine Chapel by 11, out and onto the Spanish Steps by lunchtime. My parents were fueled by a steady stream of espresso, or as they call it in Italy, cafe, which tells you what you need to know about how Italians think about coffee, and my brother and I were fueled by gelato.

Gelato, my friends, is a revelation. It is airy, airy, how can a frozen dessert be airy, and yet it is, and luscious, bursting with flavor, the ice crystals enhancing each scent and taste instead of diminishing them. It is a dish best served cold, but without the bitterness of revenge. When it fell upon my tongue the first time, I knew, with the certainty of Juliet gazing upon her Romeo, that this was my forever love. And I didn’t even have to end up dead at 13 to enjoy it.

I would not say I am a romantic person, but damn, if gelato doesn’t make me a believer in true love. And yet, my love is NOT patient, because I want gelato as soon as possible. It is not kind, because despite its comparative lower sugar content, too much of it still makes my clothing snug. My love envies, because I want to try all the gelati, all the time. I boast of my love, putting photos of my gelato goodness all over the internet (at least, when in Italy, my love’s country fair). My gelato is proud, why shouldn’t it be? It’s gelato, damn it, king of creams. But at least I can say, it’s true, gelato  always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. At least, it does for ME.

So anyway, back in Italy 20 years later (20 years! My goodness! And yet, the devotion, the adoration, they have not waned or wandered, they were simply waiting, waiting to go home), I was back with my love.

And I also wore an outfit I had made. I mean, you want to look good for your lover, don’t you?

So I wish I could like, reach into these photos and yank my blouse down, because it’s doing that blousey bagging out thing that makes me look like I go from breasts to hips with nothing in between. BUT NEVERMIND. It is still a cute outfit!

The skirt is from my block, the very block that the person who photographed me holding both my gelato and her own, helped me make! I’m talking about Liz. When am I not, really.

It’s very hard to keep two gelati from melting.

You have to be creative and improvise.

ANYway. The shirt is a lovely lovely linen georgette (yes, such a fabric exists and it is wonderful) and a much-hacked Scout Tee from Grainline studios which I added a button placket and a bow to. At what point have you just completely re-made a pattern? I think I’ve done that about 10 times with the Scout Tee. Just wondering.

It’s a great shirt, though, honestly, the fabric is just amazing, breathable, drapey, but not as wrinkle prone as linen usually is. I felt so chic, when I wasn’t juggling gelato, that is.

Yes, this became difficult at some point. Also, Liz wanted her gelato back. So I didn’t get a TON of shots here, but I think it’s enough, right? You get the jist. The jist is gelato. Plain and simple. And this skirt celebrates that, right? Both fabrics are from Thakur, and both gelati are from Mara dei Boschi which might be among the best gelato I have ever had and is a must if you are planning a trip to Turin.

So anyway. That’s my love affair with gelato, writ large. I would cry to the heavens, I would proclaim it to the stars. But I think I would rather just…eat some gelato.

What is the first food you fell in love with? And has that love lasted?

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Filed under Grainline Patterns, Sewing

The Least Laboreous Labor Day Dress

I’m not going to lie to you, gentle readers, as I write this I’m suffering from a really painful stomach ache so if some of that bile starts to seep into my writing Middle Ages Medicine style, I apologize, because this post is about an awesome dress (I truly believe it to be awesome) for a beyond awesome event so I’m hoping that all that positivity heals my stomach as I sip seltzer and wince. Hopefully the heat of my computer is relaxing my stomach muscles or something.

Ah, Labor Day, you sly minx of a holiday. As lovely as it is to get the Monday holiday, it also marks the unofficial end of summer, the return to school for many, but not me, sadly, sigh, sob! I miss school….aw, well, one must become an adult sometime. I have no idea when that will happen to me, but the point is, I graduated, so I can’t go back or its creepy. But luckily, so very kind and thoughtful friends like my friends Joe and Kira knew that I might feel a little ambivalent about my post-graduate school Fall, and they very thoughtfully planned their wedding around Labor Day weekend. I know, I know, aren’t they wonderful? I think so. Imagine, doing all that JUST for me! The coordination, the family stuff, the rabbi, the dress, they made it all come together just to cheer me up. Those people are the best.

I joke, of course, I had no part in any of their decisions, which does not mean that I didn’t love and enjoy the end result! Joe and Kira had a beautiful wedding and getting to celebrate with them literally on the heels of another wedding of close friends, featured here, was really amazing. Did I mention that this wedding was ALSO in Brooklyn? So I literally didn’t have to leave Brooklyn for days? I love when that happens. The happy event took place in an event space right next to Gowanus Canal, a less than ideal view that nevertheless has been featured in countless deeply hipster instagram accounts. My mother, in fact, to whom I sent a photo after the wedding, told me she liked the dress, but not the background. What can you do? I believe Brooklyn has plans for Gowanus but for now, it is what it is, and I have a good deal of affection for the area, even if I don’t go there often. So not only did I get to celebrate Joe and Kira’s gorgeous wedding and happy happy union, but I enjoyed the ugly if interesting views of the canal while I did so.

And, to the dress. I wanted to make something interesting and different this time, to combat my last fiasco, and also because why do I buy all these patterns if I’m only doing to use the same five over and over again? So I branched out, and I just adored it! It surprised me in every way, because I really didn’t think this would be my style, but you know what? It works. No labor required.

LLLDED1This is a By Hand London Anna Dress, which I cannot believe I am so late to the party on. I was not late to the wedding, but I was late to this awesome shindig because this dress is a marvelous pattern. I love this design, and I really had no idea that I would. The bodice is flattering and fits me well with literally no adjustment. The only thing I did was grade from a 10 in the bodice to an 8 in the skirt, and easy peasy lemon squeezie, this thing was a hit. I chose the v-neck option and against my better judgement adhered to the original instructions and used the facing. This actually was not the disaster I’d been fearing. It did not pop out as so many facing had on me in the past. I did not have to stop mid-dance to push a flapping facing out of my face. I did not hate this situation at all!

LLLDED4

Well done, By Hand London, well done. The pleats in the bodice are just lovely, and the kimono sleeves were comfortable and look great. I even enjoyed the maxi-option of this dress, which is not my normal thing, because I’m so damn short.

Maxi Dress

But between the slit and the wedges I had planned to wear (also a rare move, I am really not a heels person as I’m sure you’ve intimated from the history of this blog) I think I don’t look too “swimming in fabric” but more “swimming in the canal”. No, I’m kidding, that’s disgusting, it’s not nice in there.

LLLDED2My lovely husband Mr. Struggle took these photos. I knew there was a reason to marry him! Permanent photographer when all others fail. Lovely.

LLLDED5A little back view for you. I used a contrasting zipper. I would love to say that was a fashion statement but it was all I had. I pinked the hell out of everything, and I used a $1.99 a yard fabric I got from fabric.com. I know that french seams would be great on this if I had had more time, but I seem to have fallen into the nasty habit of last-minute stitching for these kinds of events. Bad Leah. That being said, the zipper is fine. I did try to press this but it literally melted the fabric the first time I tried and I had to sort of pinch the hole left behind and stitch it into a tiny unsuggested dart. Luckily it’s in the back. so NO ONE HAS TO KNOW. Except you. Because I just told you.

Still, I do love this fabric, it’s just really fun and different. I only managed to get a rather blurry photo of it but hopefully you can see it:

LLLDED7You see, this little man is going up and down the bannister of these stairs. I just love it! The stairs are much more orange in real life, just so you know.

LLLDED6A romantic gaze out onto the canal.

LLLDED3And there it is. My dress for the wedding that ended the summer and marked the first year of my new life as a writer on my own. Well, not quite on my own….

Congratulations Joe and Kira, and welcome to the Fall, people! I can’t wait to sew for it!

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Filed under By Hand London, Clothing, Sewing

The Practice Makes Perfect Dress

For some of us, it takes a long time to find the right person. But for some of us, we know right away. For some of us, we live in doubt for years, wondering if we will ever find anyone we can tolerate, let alone love. For some of us, we wonder if we can tolerate the person we love forever. Sometimes these states even exist simultaneously, which is bizarre and might make you feel like you are in some kind of odd house of mirrors where your ideas of reality distort from room to room.

I personally came to the state of existing with another person rather late, and then, you know, I married him. This is a rather precipitous turn of affairs by any standards, though of course one that makes me very happy.  It is impossible not to compare and contrast yourself against other couples, other ways of life, at least, within my own experience, however dangerous that is. Because the truth is, at least in my limited experience, that ever couple creates its own community, its own rules and ways of thinking and language between the two parties involved, and trying to gauge yourself next to someone else’s union is like trying to compare two different countries to decide which is better. Not that people don’t do that, too. And yet I have often looked at the people around me, especially my friends who have been in long-term relationships, and compared myself and my life and, later, my time with Mr. Struggle, to them, as unfair and fruitless as that is.

And the person who always prevented me from doing this, the person who reminded me how foolish and unproductive this is, is my friend Becca, who recently tied the knot herself. Becca and Derek have always taught me that love, just like life, takes practice, and time, and patience. But whether that practice has been for a few years or a few months, it doesn’t matter. It’s just important that you know that’s what it’s going to take. So, having been with her own partner for 12 years, she and Derek got engaged last fall, which was of course signficant because of what I wore. Just like everything else, these life events are wonderful showcases for my sartorial choices. I was so thrilled to celebrate their engagement, just as I was overjoyed to watch them get married, and of course, I had to bring my A game with my sewing decisions. But as it turns out, A game is a hard thing to bring to the party when you’re moving/getting married yourself/dealing with your own existence. Oy with this summer. Still, looking good is worth a few late nights hunched over the sewing machine, right? Right? So focus on the dress, not the under-eye circles, deal?

Here we go, the first of two dress posts created exclusively for Becca and Derek’s wedding! Sewing dresses to post on my blog. It’s the greatest wedding gift of all, right, guys?

PMP 1For the rehearsal dinner, I whipped together (literally, I finished this thing three hours before the dinner, Mr. Struggle thinks I’m insane. Way to get the memo late, dude) a Cambie dress, my second one in a row! This pattern is so great. I love the sleeves and the way they get inserted, though the one thing I would change for next time would be to place them a little bit towards the armscye, as they cut a little oddly right now and reveal that little bit of plumpness around the upper chest. The bane of existence.

I cut a 10 for the bodice and graded down to an 8 for the waist and skirt, as I did before. I love the fit, and I love the fill skirt, but I think I should probably try the other for the fall, I love the sleek slimmer option. It’s great for that office job that I….don’t have.

PMP 3Still, I adore this dress! It’s a bit wrinkled in these photos as I actually had my friend Jenny who came in for the wedding take them the day after the rehearsal dinner. The dinner itself was such a blast and so busy I didn’t have time to awkwardly stand around getting photos of myself taken, and then we ended up stuck in the rain waiting for a cab in Chelsea. Aka in hell. So there are some wrinkles. What can you do.

PMP 4You gotta just laugh it off an enjoy the time with your friends. Jenny and her husband Marty got married two years ago, and I dutifully made dresses for those events in Chicago, so it was lovely to be able to host them as we watched Becca get married, and have Jenny act as my fashion photographer for the day. She’s so good at it, don’t you think?

PMP 5Oh, yes, it has pockets. Obviously. The fabric is a Nani Iro double gauze which is to die for, and Mr. Struggle bought it for me at Purl Soho under my supervision because he is nice and knows how to make me happy with Japanese fabric. He’s a keeper.

PMP 6Nice, right? I see a stray thread, sigh. That’s what speed sewing gets you!

PMP 2And there it is. The first of two dresses for Becca and Derek’s beautiful and fantastic wedding. This one only had to stand up to a meal. The other one? Had dancing to do. More on that later!

 

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Filed under Life, Sewaholic Patterns, Sewing, Uncategorized

The From Russia With Love Dress

So a part of growing up seems to be watching your friends put on fancy clothing, master the art of public speaking, and dance the night away. Oh, and they also get married, I guess, but that doesn’t seem as important as Jordan almonds and centerpieces and fancy cakes, now, do they? No, not at all. Still, that’s, you know, a part of it, or whatever, so I play along, you know, just to be a good sport. And also because I wouldn’t go to a wedding if I didn’t love the people getting married, because who needs that? I’m not buying you candlesticks if I don’t think you deserve them, know what I’m saying? I’m kidding, I go off registry, COME on, that thing is for strangers! You don’t NEED an immersion blender. You need the weird arty gift I found for you in an alley. It’s really two gifts, with the bedbugs, so….you know, winning.

So my friend Betsy just got married. When I say just I mean JUST, she tied the knot two days ago in a simply lovely ceremony on top of a hill in the Catskill Mountains. She married a really splendid fellow, Raul, and together they are a stupidly attractive couple (they are both actors, so it’s part of the job description, but boy is the world not fair sometimes. I would refer you to this video.) and what’s worse is that they are blissfully happy and in love. Couldn’t you just kill yourself? Sigh. THE worst.

I’m lying through my fingers, really, because watching them get married was the most wonderful thing, I mean, seriously, it was like a movie wedding, the whole thing from the vows to the party was just gorgeous and appropriate and charming and original. And her DRESS. I can’t even:

FRWL 14Look at that. LOOK AT IT AND WEEP, ye mortals!

Seriously. She looks like Daisy from Gatsby only I don’t HATE HER. How amazing does this woman look? Check. Out. The. Details:

FRWL 15Not everyone can pull this look off but Betsy? She was radiant.

Sidenote, here is why I think this couple is the best. They had a first dance planned, but a thunderstorm and some technical difficulties interfered with their VERY cute song choice so instead they got WAY down to some funkytown tunes. And they rocked it:

FRWL 16I want to be them when I grow up. Seriously. Don’t you?

So, enough about that dress, let’s talk about the dress everyone was REALLY talking about, shall we? Obviously I mean my own creation:

FRWL 4I will say it. I am not unpleased.

FRWL 6I love it! I really do. I had this planned for a while, actually, and then when Betsy told me her color scheme, including these pastel shades, I was all in. I described the dress to Betsy over pedicures (which she bought me as a birthday gift because she is the NICEST and also blonde and pretty, she’s, like, a unicorn) and I said it had a lot of white in it, and she was like, in perfect deadpan, you’re wearing white to MY WEDDING? And she held my gaze for, like, a full minute before she broke and laughed. She is amazing.

FRWL 7You might have guessed by now, if you sew, that it’s a Colette Patterns Crepe. My mom got me the pattern for my birthday two years ago, and I bought the fabric a year and a half ago at least, and I had always planned to put them together, so this was the perfect marriage (GET. IT?) of both these things!

And I love the back, I do, the wrap is just so pretty. It’s such a special detail, I can’t stand it. And so comfortable!

FRWL 8See, look how happy I am about it! I love this dress, I want to make, like, 4 more. The skirt is full but not dramatically so, but the wrap makes for a perfect amount of swish in the back, and a nice amount of flare in the front. Which really worked for me during the salsa dancing later in the evening…

FRWL 9….or the afternoon twirling. WHATEVER.

FRWL 11So pleased with myself….

FRWL 5OH, did I mention it has pockets? Because it does. No big deal. It’s not amazing. IN ANY WAY.

Construction details, sigh, okay, well I cut a size 8 because when I made myself a Cinnamon slip I cut an 8 and it was still snug in the bodice, so I thought, better safe then sorry. I could have gone down to my normal 6, though, but it’s fine, I like the ease. I made literally no changes to the pattern, I love it the way it is! Next time I would shorten the bust darts as they came a bit high, and maybe, I don’t know, did anyone else have an issue with the back not really being higher than the bra line?

FRWL 12Some definite slipping there, I know. So, any ideas, internets? Have you made this? Oh, I did make a change, I lined it rather than using the facings because I hate facings with a fiery passion and will go through hell or highwater if it means I don’t have to use them.

FRWL 10The fabric is from Paron’s, and I bought it on my first ever trip to the garment district a while ago. I ended up getting four yards for the price of two of this linen-cotton blend, which was so perfect for this outdoor wedding in the heat. AND HOW CUTE IS THE NECKLINE? I can’t deal. I CAN’T BUT I MUST.

FRWL 13So I did. And so did Betsy, I think she liked it, the moment she saw me she said, you made that for my wedding? It’s great! Like I wasn’t going to make something for her wedding. COME on. Who am I?

I also made these:

FRWL 1Betsy wanted games for her cocktail hour, which ended up being a great distraction while the wedding party took their photos, so I made her a bunch of beanbags for the beanbag toss. Her dad made the actually beanbag targets, which are too good for words.

FRWL 2Couldn’t you just die? It was awesome. I was so worried they would split but I double stitched them and I didn’t HEAR about any issues so I think we are good!

FRWL 3Of course I took some action shots, how could I not?

And there you go. Wedding. Awesome.

Oh! The name of the dress. Betsy and I met studying abroad in Moscow together, and we’ve been friends ever since. So there you go. From Russia with love. And all my love went to Betsy and Raul this weekend, how could it not? They are really really ridiculously good looking. And, like, decent people or whatever blah blah blah no one cares.

How was YOUR labor day? It’s okay to be jealous of mine, a lot of people are…

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Sewing, Travel