Tag Archives: Pastille

A Peppermint Pastille (MMM 5 Continued)

I don’t know if I would call the color of this dress mint, really, but an Icy Aqua Pastille doesn’t have that alliteration I so crave, so there we are, everyone okay with that? No? Well, suck it up, we’ve got a lot to cover, here, and I don’t have time for your tomfoolery. Now, you remember my pastille muslin, don’t you? I mean, I only showed it to the world a mere three months ago, how dare you not remember it like it was yesterday? Well, never mind that, it was a trifle snug in the bust, so I did a full bust adjustment and made it up in a stretch poplin. Let’s talk about woven fabrics with a touch of stretch, shall we? They are delightful. They will solve any number of fitting issues with ease (heh) and grace. They don’t strain, they don’t constrain, they curve around you and they do what they are told. In short, I loves em. And I must be so immodest to say that I think they love me.

I wore this to my cousin’s wedding on Saturday, at a church out in nowheresville, Cerdo Gordo, Puerto Rico. The wedding was lovely and adorable and perfectly suited to the bride and groom. Of course it started a full hour late. Like everything does in la Isla Del Encanto. So I had time to force my brother to take some shots of this here dress.

This time I didn’t bother with facings. I have very negative feelings about facings. So I lined the bodice and left the skirt unlined. The wrinkles in the skirt rather obscure the pleats, I’m sorry to sa, and if I could afford it, I would travel with a team of people waiting to iron me at all times. That would be just splendid.

I was probably one of the only people, other than my mother, who didn’t wear a set of three-inch or higher heels. I don’t really wear hells. Why? Because they make me fall down.

The back, she is rather wrinkled. Swayback adjustment in the future? I suppose I must do what I must.

Still, I’m pretty into this dress. I think the fit is nice, though of course sheaths aren’t particularly flattering to any stomach of any kind, and mine is no exception. Still, I like it, and wrinkles aside I think it’s adorable and I’m sure I will wear it to other Spring and Summer events.

The church was surrounded by palm trees, as most places are in Puerto Rico. But what was astonishing were the gorgeous orchids grafted onto the trunks of the trees. magnificent!

Amazing, aren’t they? I’ve never been able to grow orchids. They just stick them on a tree and call it a day.

By the way, the vintage item is the headband, which is really a scarf, from my grandmother, which looks something like this:

It’s a souvenir scarf! I love souvenir scarves. Adore them, in fact.

One final shot amongst the orchids.

So there it is, FINALLY, my Pastille dress. Only one more to go and I will have fulfilled the obligations of Sew Colette and sewed my way through the Colette Patterns Handbook!

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The Medium is the Message Dress

Here it finally is, my Mad Men Challenge Dress. I hope Julia accepts late submissions….Oh, well. As always, I was finished this puppy about a week ago, but the issue was finding some sucker willing to take my photo. Thanks, Laura! Laura is lovely. We got brunch this morning and I asked her if she would be willing to take a few photos of me. And then I made her take 70. I think the trick is just to keep shouting “take more photos!” because the more they take, the higher probability that there will be at least one or two you don’t abhor.

So why that title, you might ask? If comes from one of the final episodes of Season One when Peggy (who is crazy pregnant, but everyone just thinks she’s fat) gets promoted to a Junior Copywriter. She’s understandably excited and asks Joan, who seems none too pleased with this development, if Peggy ought to go thank the partners in person. Joan, without skipping a beat, says, “Well, you know what they say.” (gesturing to her glorious form) “The medium is the message”. CLASSIC Joan.

I did not show up to brunch looking like Joan Harris nee Holloway. That’s too much even for me, and it’s not warm here in Philadelphia today. Instead I changed in the bathroom, startling other diners with my sudden transformation. I tell myself that they couldn’t keep their eyes off my stunning form, but they probably thought, who the hell is this crazy lady pretending it’s 1963? In my defense, however, we met this morning in Silk City Dinner, which looks like it’s been ripped off of the set of Grease, so really, I was quite forward thinking…

As you may or may not recall, I was trying to duplicate this oh so iconic dress:

Hey, I figured, if you are going to go Joan, GO JOAN.

I am mostly quite happy with this reproduction. I think it’s quite close, don’t you?

Ignore the closed eyes, if you would be so kind.

I couldn’t quite figure out how to adapt the Pastille Bodice pattern to mimic Joan’s sleeves. Now that I look again at her dress I can, of course, see how to do it easily and perfectly. My 20:20 hindsight is just wonderful. Oh, well.

The fabric I used, viscose, has a lovely drape. It’s a synthetic fabric, but it breathes very well (I think, I honestly have only worn this for the photo shoot). I lined the dress with silk Sari remnants which I bought when I first started sewing. It’s a bit wrinkled in the photos, ah, well, what can you do, that’s what happens when you stuff your dress in your bag with the eight million other things you will obviously need on for a brunch with a friend. Like a book. And all your worldly possessions.

No, this shoot does not match the amazing nature of Julia’s shoots. (Julia, how do you get such amazing photos? Share with us your secrets! Deal with the Devil? Probably).

Now. I know that Joan wouldn’t really hang out in a diner. But maybe if she was slumming it?

I even tried to do a thing with my hair! Which is not really like me!

It’s kind of a Monet (if you don’t get that reference I really don’t want to deal with you. Hint: You’re a virgin who can’t drive!) but it’s looks good from the front!

Joan doesn’t really smile much in photos. So neither did I. But I’m a fairly exuberent person, in case you couldn’t tell, and I was emulating my favorite character from one of my favorite shows, so I couldn’t COMPLETELY control myself….

Ahhhhh I’m having Rodger Sterling’s BABY! Ahhh! That makes this the second unplanned secret pregnancy in the show! I’m just waiting for Susanne (the teacher) or someone to roll in like, Don Draper? Here’s your FOURTH child. Deal with THAT, Megan. Deal with that. A song wont save you now….

Ahem. Got a little carried away there. Final Joan-inspired shot:

Oh, for a pen necklace.

I have so loved seeing everyone’s Mad Men inspired outfits. It’s such a sad thing that they are moving towards the ugly portion of the 60’s. Sigh. The age of Joan is at an end, make way for polyester and prints. Kill me now. Oh, well, we’ll always have Sterling Cooper!

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“Don’t go to the well, Peter, there’s no more water there”

People, sometimes being a planner can be a problem. I’m all about the plan, the inspiration board, the concept. I thought I had this Mad Men Challenge in the bag people. IN THE BAG. The best laid plans of mice and men. Am I right? AM I RIGHT?

Let me start by saying, I am a huge fan of the TV show. Just a really huge fan. I know there are people out there who are into it for the vintage style and the pretty ladies, and that’s all well and good. And I know there are people who don’t even like the show itself, and while I literally can’t understand that, I totally respect your right to not invest in the story. Hey, man, I couldn’t get past chapter 1 of The Hunger Games (but I swear I’m going to try again! It’s such a  disturbing concept…) and I don’t even watch The Wire! So I’m guilty of some stuff. When it comes to Mad Men, however, I am a fanatic. So if you don’t get some of the references and direct quotes coming up, just ignore them, that’s totally fine by me. But know this. They will be coming at you fast and furious. Get excited.

Let me first say that I knew from the very begining that I didn’t want to emulate Joan. Don’t get me wrong, I love Joan. I love Christina Hendricks! I loved her on Life! Remember Life? Great show. Sorry it was canceled. Damien Lewis, please feel free to CALL ME. But I didn’t want to go for Joan. SO mainstream. How can I express my true and complete fandom by dressing like the one character everyone knows? So I thought at first I was going to replicate something of Trudy Campbell’s. Not only does she have the same last name of one of the best people I know (talking to you, Lisa!), but I just adore her. Yes, she has gotten repeatedly screwed (on many levels, HEYo!) by Pete, and yes, she wears some insane hats. But I love her. Girlfriend is a treat. “This is America, you don’t just SHOOT the President!” Fact. Love her. But then I realized that because Trudy is so fashion-forward (read, trend obsessed) she rocks a lot of ensembles that don’t suit my personal taste. Okay, I thought, I have a near-encycolpedic knowledge of this show, let’s do this. I did love me some Helen Bishop! All progressive and pro-Kennedy despite her son Creepy Glen and her scandalous divorce. But she’s clearly an Autumn. And I’m a winter. That’s no good. Megan and I have simular coloring! But she’s a stick. And also more into the late 60’s aesthetic which frankly is abhorrent to me on so many levels. (Mod and I do NOT get along.) Allison is pretty! But she dressed pretty terribly, let’s admit that, shall we? Plus, she slept with Don and then freaked out and took it out on Peggy (and I’m very protective of Peggy) so I don’t want her life. Kitty is cute! But rather garish, though I do love her! And I don’t want to end up married to a gay man. Dr. Faye is super cute! But she’s a blond. That’s not happening.  And I’m not really into the boho thing going down with Madge (though I love me some Rosemary DeWitt). As a Jew and the decendent of department store owners, the Rachel Mempkin thing seemed a TOUCH on the nose, plus her best thing were her suits, which I don’t feel up to right this minute, or this amazing nightgown: Super practical. Where WOULDN’T I wear that? I loved this golden dress Bobbie Barrett wore, but I really have been trying to shop my stash and there is a curious lack of gold up in there: Besides, who wants to emulate Bobbie? Girl had issues. “The full Don Draper treatment”? Gross. I’m not going to discuss Betty and Peggy, because my mom already thinks I dress like a little girl, so those full skirts and florals aren’t going to do me any favors, and besides, I already have a ton of ’em.

So there I was. Sigh. I didn’t want to go there, I really didn’t, but in the end, I ended up with Joan. Still, if you have to end up with anyone as your inspiration, oughtn’t it to be the most gorgeous woman on television? With curves for days and some of the best most silkily delivered insults anyone has every heard? “The last thing I would have thought Paul was was open minded”. GOOD lord. “I’m not a solution to your problem. I’m just another problem.” JOAN. Be my friend, please. Thanks.

So I decided to try and emulate one of her outfits. No big deal, right? Of course not, easy peasy lemon squeezy. I wanted to use Simplicity 4558, which I had bought on Etsy. HOWEVER. When I took said pattern out to make a muslin, I had the shocking realization that this pattern is skirtless. I mean, I’m sure there was a skirt originally included but somehow I had bought the pattern without a skirt. No wonder it was so cheap….

Okay, I thought, I can use a skirt from so other source, no problem. Then I make the bodice muslin. And I just thought, no. This is not good. I do not like this. A. it needs a FBA (god, that’s just going to be my life, isn’t it? How did I get away with not doing them for TWO YEARS?) and B. I just didn’t love it! So what was I to do? Then, like manna from the heavens, I thought, the Pastille dress! I like the pattern, I’ve already adjusted it to fit my frame, I know how to make it, let’s do it! I ditched the pale pink and pulled out a hot magenta viscose I had bought at Mood Fabric all those months ago. It has a great drape and a nice hand (look at me, using fabric words!) and I thought it would be perfect in replicating that amazing magenta dress Joan wears. Of course, it’s a promo dress, I don’t think it ever made it onto the actual show, but you know what? I don’t even care. I DON’T EVEN CARE.

Ah, Joan, you help me stay calm.

So anyway, I’m almost done the bodice and then it’s skirt darts, attach skirt, install zipper and hem. I’ve made a few adjustments to the original pattern that I will outline later in more detail, but I’m just so thrilled to have something that I’m happy with and happy to be making and, hopefully, pays homage to one of my favorite things on television. And I watch a LOT of TV, folks, so that’s a stiff competition right there.

So, what’s going on with you? Are you a Mad Men fan, or do you just not get the hype? Did my Hunger Games confession concern you? I promise, I’m going to try again!

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The Muslin Diaries: Volume 2: The Colette Pastille Dress

Here we go again, second verse, different from the first! (Jackie is a punk, Judy is a runt…no? Okay, never mind then. No Ramones fans in the audience. That’s cool!) Without further ado, I present to you, my Sew Colette Pastille Dress Muslin, in all it’s bright yellow glory:

I look so glum!

May I just say that I don’t think I really make a true muslin all that often. I either just make a bodice, or I make the whole damn thing with seam finishing (pinking) and heming and everything. I’m not one for the in-between. I recognize that this is not, in fact, the point of a muslin, but it’s my garment and I’ll pink if I want to (if you’re not into the Ramones I’m sure Lesley Gore is right up your alley).  So this is yet another “wearable” muslin, sue me.

I made this out of a sheet I had dyed yellow, because dying is fun. It’s a touch anemic on me, the color, I mean, but I think it will be cute for summer. Given my experience with the Meringue  Skirt,  I traced and cut a size 8 this time, which worked really nicely through the hips and rear etc, but was a bit snug in the bust and back:

I did not want to hear such as thing, because it makes me feel bad about myself, so I lashed out at my mother/photographer. Sorry, mom. But just like when she told me I couldn’t make my own soap because it’s dangerous for ten year olds to use lye, she was correct. It looks okay in this photo, but I can see that oh-so-adorable thing that happens when your bra strap cuts into your back and gives you imaginary but emotionally debilitating back fat.

The back zipper, she is wrinkled.

So, thoughts: I really like this dress. Unlike the Meringue, which, while adorable, and I like my final version (photos to come once I take them in San Juan!) isn’t really my jam, this is my kind of dress. It’s more fitted then my usual style, but I think that’s a good thing, and I like that it hugs my curves and highlights my waist. And I love the pleats and the sweetheart neckline, so that’s all to the good.

I like the fit right now, in general, and I think with some adjustments it will be just perfect. I think I ought to do a full bust adjustment, which is something that, believe it or not, I’ve never actually done. I know. And my chest? Is not small. I’m a D, if you must know, but somehow I’ve just never had to do one….so that’s interesting. But Sarai has a guide in the book, and there are scores of tutorials on the internet, so I’m not concerned. The back is a bit more perplexing, though, and I’m not sure what to do to fix that. Do I cut a bigger size just for the back? Let out the darts? Any thoughts, friends? All suggestions would be welcome!

The length is good, the sleeves are cute, but next time, when I make this for real for real, I might have to break down and line it, at least in the bodice. I just hate facings, people, I hate them. I think they are evil. They never really stay down unless you tack the hell out of them and then you can see the stitches on the right side which was the WHOLE POINT OF A FACING, SO THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN. Facings and I, not best friends forever.

So there you  have it. In other news, I’m currently working on a pair of Denim clovers, yay, and I’ve finally gotten together all the pieces I will need for my spring jacket! More on that to come. What are you working on? Any other Sew Coletters out there?

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