Tag Archives: Parons

The Pre-Wine Tunic

I’m working with a serious backlog here, so despite the fact that I’ve already moved to Mumbai, you’re going to see some US posts for a bit, sorry, guys. In the mean time, feel free to check out my new “living in India” blog here!

So you know what I love? Wine. Super a lot. A whole bunch of it. I know, you’re shocked, you’re amazed, you feel betrayed and horrified. I’m sorry. But the person who taught me how to love wine was my mom, who is the best. And we love wine together. So this summer, in anticipation of both of our birthdays, which fall in July, and my upcoming move, my glorious wine-goddess mother and my wine snob brother and I went west, to Napa, in a long anticipated wine tasting trip. I, of course, am an indiscriminate wine lover, so I will drink most things as long as they are on the dry side and not the last harvest sugar rush that some people call Riesling. But this was magnificent wine, in a magnificent setting, and I was so happy to be there. And so I figured I should make something cool to wear, to celebrate.

Now, here is the thing about Northern California, right, you just never know how the weather is going to be. You can go from warm to cold to warm again within hours, so packing for a weekend trip includes more clothing than you might bring for a weeks journey somewhere else. So in trying to make something that worked, I had to figure into account the weather, as one does. I also had to figure in the wine, and how when you start tasting wine you are like la la yes notes of sage and melon and concrete, but by the end you are like, this wine tastes red and I like red do you have more wine that is red or more wine that exists? So in the end, I decided this tunic would be best for a jaunt to Berkeley for a splendid meal at the illustrious and magnificent Chez Panisse during which the wine would be white and the sloppiness factor mitigated by decorum. And I will say, I planned this perfectly. This was a great shirt for pre-wine times. See why?

PW 4

Ugh, that face. It’s saying, why am I standing in this corpse of trees like I didn’t ASK FOR THIS MY OWN DAMN SELF. But that shirt though, right?

So it’s the Everyday Elegance Top from Patterns for Pirates, which I raved aboutĀ the last time I went to the West Coast. I guess I feel like this is a really West Coast look, I don’t know, things are horribly causal out there, what can I say?

PW 3

The fabric was somethingĀ I bought at Parons Fabrics years ago, some of which I made into a dress for my friend Betsy’s wedding, and some of which became this tunic. And extra scraps became a baby dress for a friend’s niece, so there you go, circle of fabric. It’s a linen-cotton blend and immensely cool and breathable.

The tunic is super straightforward to stitch up, and I made it all with french seams to counter the fray-leaning fabric and because I like them, what can I say.

PW 5

I did a little playing with stripes on the back, just a little, mind, for fun. I love it!

PW 2

I just realized none of these photos capture the collar, which is a shame, because it’s pretty cute. You will just have to believe me on this, I guess.

PW 1

And there you have it. A tunic that worked before wine, during wine of the white variety, and even after wine. I’m just kidding, There was no after wine that weekend….

PW 7

Otherworldly plants abound out there in California.

PW 6

And of course, tall tall trees. I think they liked my tunic too.

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Filed under Patterns for Pirates

The Winter Uniform Outfit

Hey, there, people! So sorry for the long delay in posting, though I know that with all the internet content out there very few people even noticed because you know, reality television exists. I have to say, the holidays make hell with my posting. I’ve made a lot of things, but my work schedule is crazy and I can never get them documented, and then I’m spending all this time making gifts for other people and KNITTING which takes so much damn time, it really makes you appreciate sewing, right? Knitting really encourages me to see more movies because that’s when I end up knitting the most, otherwise I will never get it done. That being said, there are a lot of bad movies out there, and I would know, I’ve dropped stitches through all of them.

So I feel I should give you a quick recap on my January. Let’s see, a lot of sewing, working, more working, sewing, surviving the New York winter, getting into Jane the Virgin (SERIOUSLY WATCH JANE THE VIRGIN IT’S AMAZING) and then being sad that I watched Jane the Virgin so quickly and now I have to wait for more episodes. Oh, and wedding planning and life and writing and whatever. All such non-important nonsense because it has nothing to do with Jane the Virgin.

I am seriously jealous of the insanely good costuming throughout that show, for women AND for men. It’s set in Florida so everyone looks warm and happy all the time. Now, I’m not actually that anti-winter. I don’t mind the cold much, I grew up with this weather over in Philadelphia and do so enjoy wool. But watching this bright and sunny show after trudging through the sludge of the city does make me just the slightest bit jealous. The thing about New York in the winter is that it just destroys your sense of dressing, for most of us, at least. Your boots get eaten by salt, your body grows due to puffy coats, layers and, to be fair, eating your feelings, which makes subway rides even more crowded, and at some point you just figure, god, why am I bothering to look nice? Let me just lean into this, invest in the biggest sweater I can find, and call this a look. It’s deeply tempting to do this, and I admit, I have. Additionally, on the days I’m working from home, writing on the couch, it’s even MORE tempting to just live in pajamas, especially of the flannel variety. But I’m trying to feel a little more pulled together even when I’m writing, because it’s important to take writing seriously and treat it like the job that it is, so I have decided that even my lounge-wear needs to be nice, and, if possible, handmade.

Enter the Papercut Patterns Anima pant and the Megan Nielson Briar Top, stages right and left, respectively. Separately, they are wonderful patterns. Together? They are my winter writing uniform:

WU 1I made both of these pieces over a month ago at least, and hadn’t gotten around to documenting them before yesterday because it’s hard to pry them off of my body unless it’s to put them in the washing machine.

WU 2They are both super-easy to put together. The anima pants have pockets which is just fantastic and the construction is actually fairly fun for those, I liked that a lot. Otherwise these pique knit pants came together like a dream.

WU 4

Next time I would use wider elastic for the waistband, because the thinner elastic I used makes it a little bunchy, but hey, these are basically high-class sweatpants, does anyone actively care? My laptop sure doesn’t and that’s the real audience for these….

There were no other fitting issues. I cut a medium for the top and the bottoms, and they both fit like a dream, but to be fair, these are comfortable knits, the fit is, shall we say, an easy thing. But the last thing you want when wrestling with words on a page is a woven, I can assure you…

WU 5The shirt is super easy, I love it. The hi-lo thing, I wasn’t initially a fan but I kind of like it now, and when I wear this with real pants I throw a tank top on underneath, and there you go. Layers. Like an onion of an outfit.

The fabric for the pants came from FabricMart.com and was insanely cheap, I think it was like 3.50 a yard. I used some to make this skirt. The shirt came from a length of fabric from Paron’s. The cat hair is all Cadfael.

WU 6Plus, it’s always nice to have some extra butt-coverage. Am I right? I mean, when you have this much to cover….

WU 7There’s that high-lo for you. I look like I’m in deep pain, but go with it. I promise I’m very comfortable and happy in this outfit. Mr. Struggle, who kindly took these photos, was also kind enough to brush at least a large portion of the cat hair off of me before these were taken. Cadfael also likes this outfit, clearly…

WU 3So there you go. Comfortable, easy, the perfect winter writer’s uniform. Who can ask for anything more?

I promise that now that all my gifts have been given and my life has calmed down I will be giving you more posts and more photos! Including wedding updates coming soon! So many things to make, so little time. Why can’t everything be made of Jersey? It really does make things easier….well at least I have my winter writing look down…

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Filed under Megan Nielsen, Papercut Patterns, Sewing

The Dream Big Top

You know when you dream and dream about something and then the reality actually happens and you are like, hmmmmmmm, this is less exciting than the dream, I wish this hadn’t become a reality so I could dream again? As a die-hard planner, I recognize that this is the business I’ve chosen, and this is its major consequence. I think about sewing a lot before I actually do it, and I imagine how the garment is going to look like and feel, and I get so excited about it, and sometimes, less and less as time goes by and my skills improve, but sometimes, the reality takes a backseat to the fantasy.

See, this is why they say with online dating you should meet the person in real life as soon as possible, because otherwise you end up building up the person into this thing they can never possibly be through a series of texts and messages and confabulated fantasies that include fondue and the same taste in music and ultimate frisbee and computer manuals and leather, or whatever you’re into. For the record, I’m pretty much only interested in someone who is also interested in fondue. All the rest of that isn’t in my wheelhouse. Well, music, I guess, whatever, but the fondue is important. The point is you can build up a whole castle in the sand and forget that sand is a terrible building material. It’s structurally unsound and it gets everywhere. Come on.

So I suppose my sewing sometimes can be a bit like OKCupid. I put a lot of pressure on the fantasy of the potential clothing I could create. So I’ve been dreaming for a long time about a red silk blouse, and recently I made one. My feelings on the fantasy? Are insanely positive. My feelings on the reality? Are mixed.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

TKK 3It’s not bad, really, it’s just not quite what I’d been hoping and wishing for. If wishes were horses…

I think that the fit is a little off, which is bizarre to me, as I’ve made this blouse twice and haven’t changed sizes at all! And yet somehow the yoke is a little off here and it pulls in sort of an odd way. I don’t know how to describe it, really, so take a look:
TRR 1Oy, blurry. More horrible indoor photos, sorry guys, but my awesome roommate Jordan shot them, thanks, Jordan! But you can see some pulling right above the bustline, right? Weird.

TRR 5Here, this shot of it outside the skirt shows it well. It’s fine if I just keep my arms perfectly still and don’t move, which has zero percent chance of ever happening. Sigh. I don’t know what happened! I love the color, the material is silk and a dream to wear (and not too much of a nightmare to sew with, which is really all you can hope for), but there is this odd pulling!

I think that what might have happened is that I cut the armholes a bit wider this time, because the armscye has pinched in the past, and somehow that meant that this happened. Or maybe not? It’s kind of a mystery, honestly.

TRR 4

See, my arms are more down in the close up so it’s not so bad. God, I love that color! The fabric, which I got over the summer at Paron Fabrics on sale! has a really nice subtle luster. I don’t know that any of these photos captured that but you will just have to trust me, like you trust that OKCupid date not to lure you to a dark alley and murder you and make a tent of your skin.

TRR 6

A little side view for you here. I also made this skirt, it’s this one, I have now made 4 versions of it and more to come. If it ain’t broke…The fabric has a really nice drape, the hand is just lovely, so it sort of slips out of the waistband but I don’t hate it because it still glides over the body well. Like that one OKCupid date you let take you home and then you get up in the middle of the night and realize he shares a studio with two other people like some kind of commune and you just get out of there claiming you have a thing and never return any of his texts.

TRR 7Meh. I don’t know. I had such dreams, such big dreams, and yet the reality has sort of underwhelmed me what with this sudden and new fit issue. It’s one of those things that I know for a fact most people would never notice but I notice it and I can’t stop seeing it like when you suddenly realize that your OKCupid date’s eyes are too close together and that’s all you can look at for the rest of the evening and they go in for a kiss and it’s like a gerbil is making out with you.

OKCupid didn’t go great for me, guys.

How about you, are you an anticipatory sewing, or do you just cut and go? Do you find you are more surprised or disappointed by the stuff you over plan? And how is OKCupid going for YOU? Inquiring me wants to know!

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Filed under Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Uncategorized, Vintage

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