Tag Archives: pencil skirt

The Fox Among the Pigeons Skirt

Happy New Year! I celebrated in Singapore hanging out in an apartment, toasting my family and friends with prosecco, and thinking how lucky I am to be able to travel this much and see amazing places with the people I love. Some compensation for living far from most of the people I know, I suppose! I’ll take it. Happy 2017 everyone! Let’s make it a good one by investing in our planet, and each other, in celebrating differences, in focusing on the good and fighting the bad like hell, and in loving this speech. I love this community, and I’m lucky to have it, so thank you for sticking with me and here’s to the new year!

As someone who has been traveling a lot, a lot a lot, and probably will only do it more in 2017, I realized packing for my recent trip to Singapore and Sri Lanka (guys, Sri Lanka is amazing, seriously, my five days there with my friend Ben, hey Ben!, barely scratched the surface of this gorgeous country, I can’t wait to go back….), I was making sure to bring a bunch of things I hadn’t had a chance to photograph in an effort to force my travel companions (of which there were many, my wonderful parents who we dragged from Delhi to Mumbai to Singapore and who took it all with grace and brought us cheese from Neal’s Yard Dairy in London because they are the best, my brother and his girlfriend who joined us from Thailand and brought me two pieces of astounding silk, more on that in a sewing planning post later, my friend Ben, my friend Michael, and of course, what’s-his-face, we rolled DEEP this trip!) to take my picture in one garment or the other. Is this sort of like a sewing blog sneak attack? Yes, yes it is. I make no apologies. Gotta get this stuff photographed, people, by hook or by crook!

In traveling with my parents, I decided that in order to end the trip on a high note, it would be best to go from the least developed to the most developed place, so we saw Delhi, where I was literally attacked by a cow who tried to gore my stomach with her (luckily) developing and small horns outside a national monument, and then Mumbai, where my parents learned of the suffocating traffic and tropical humidity that owns our lives here, and then finally we were off to Singapore, more developed than most of the West, for real for real, a bit sterile, to be sure, but clean, well-organized, and with the kind of food you dream your life away and want to make a Faustian bargain just so you get to eat it one more time. Sigh. But we aren’t going to talk about that right now, we are going to talk about the fact that there is nothing really much to DO in Singapore, and yet we did find things, although I kind of worry that now I’ve literally done all the things and what am I going to do NEXT time I go? Ah, well, one sacrifices for family I suppose.

If you are considering a trip in Asia involving Singapore, and you are coming from the West, I would recommend you go to Singapore last, because I don’t know that you really appreciate it all that much until you see other Asian cities and countries. Singapore is all about comparative adjectives, so you need to give yourself something to compare it to. And if you are comparing it to India, well, it does very well in that exchange….

So this time in our efforts to find activities, we visited the Jurong Bird Park, which, like everything else in Singapore, is beautifully planned, well maintained, and a lovely place to spend some time if you have the money. And so I wore my new skirt there, hoping to throw a fox among all the many birds we found there, including, but not limited to, the Victoria Pigeon. Now, this is no ordinary flying rat, no metropolitan scourge of humanity. This pigeon is, forgive me, FLY.

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Look at that bird. That’s a pigeon who know’s what’s up.

To the garment! Of course the real phrase is “cat among the pigeons”, not fox, but what can I do, I think a fox would be as upsetting to pigeons as a cat, although these guys didn’t seem that bothered, so what do I know?

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So here I am, in my fox-printed pencil skirt (I think I need to take the waist in, although I love home comfortable this is, but the slight stretch across the fabric makes it bag quickly), and a never-blogged plantain because who has that kind of time?

This skirt comes from my block, and while I usually do the bodice block, I’ve been experimenting with the bottom lately!

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Whaaaa? Yes, I have! This is the second time I’ve done this, although I made a super serviceable army green pencil skirt which is a total workhorse and I’ve yet to photograph. I didn’t bring that to Singapore because this one is clearly more fun…

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A little side view for you. It’s a little big, yes, probably again because of the stretch element. But I like it, I’m literally wearing it as I type this, so…

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You can just see the zipper, ah well, its bright pink, which is fun, and then the waistband fastens with two skirt hooks. I machine stitched the hem because sometimes you just can’t, and it has a vent in the back, although I don’t know if you can see it here. I cut this skirt a little long, which made me feel a little dowdy in Singapore, but I think the print saves it from full on matron territory. Right? Let’s hope so….

The shirt fabric is from Girl Charlee, smuggled into India last spring, and the skirt fabric is from my new BFF fabric store, Thakur, in Bandra.

Sidenote, have you guys seen the Poirot “A Cat Among the Pigeons“? Classic.

I don’t know if my skirt had quite the influence on these birds the print implies it might…

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Ah well, I suppose it’s better not to freak out the birds. They can kick you out of Singapore for that…

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Bye bye, birdies! Odds are I will see you again sooner or later, after all, there isn’t much to do in Singapore, except eat your chicken and duck compatriots, that is. Delicious delicious compatriots.

Thanks for the photos, Michael! Thanks for coming to Singapore to be my photographer! That’s why you came, right?

 

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Filed under Clothing, Deer and Doe, Sewing, Travel

The Brighton Beach Bunny Skirt

Call me crazy, but I love Russia. I love it. It’s a weird place and it’s super strange and scarred and currently a human rights disaster, and I’m not a political fan, but culturally, I just love it. This is not, I understand, something many other people feel. After all, Russia has a reputation for being a cold and bitter place filled with pain and sorrow. But that’s what makes it so much fun! It’s dramatic! It feels things deeply! It lives on vodka and emotions! What’s not to love?

Real talk, I’m predisposed to love Russia, honestly. My mother’s family is Russian, I grew up hearing Russian (though I can say maybe four things myself), eating Russian food, reading Pushkin fairy tales and thinking about how I could get a duel going. When I was in college I studied abroad in Moscow. I want to work in theater, for goodness sakes, and after Greece and England Russia really has the market on that one cornered. (Don’t talk to me about France, okay? Just don’t. Bunch of cheese eating surrender monkeys who don’t use half of the letters they could be pronouncing because, what, that’s too much effort? Writing plays about Greek myths and corrupt clergymen and defecating kings? Whatever.  Call me when Godot comes. Jeez.) And after my time living in Russia, well, there was no going back. I was a whole-hearted convert, a lover of the Russian doucha (that’s soul, come on, be cool) and bitter sad grimness on each crumbled little Slavic face. It’s adorable!

But I no longer have family in Russia, and plane tickets don’t come cheap to the land of eternal winter (See, Game of Thrones should shoot the North of the Wall stuff THERE), so the next best thing for this current New Yorker is Brighton Beach. Oh, Brighton Beach, my love, my life, my youth, my orchard!

Ahem. Just a casual Cherry Orchard reference. Like you do. For those who do not know, Brighton Beach is a Russian neighborhood in Brooklyn, right near Coney Island. For just under a century it’s been an enclave of Russian life in New York. In the 1860’s the area was developed as a resort town with its own racetrack. The area wasn’t technically a part of Brooklyn until 1894, after which it became a residential area with its own amusement park. With the Depression and the Second World War, floods of Jewish immigrants, primarily from Odessa, but also from other Eastern European nations, poured into the area, making it a Russian neighborhood.

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In the last few decades, increased immigration from former Soviet states, including those with stronger Asian influences, have added more kinds of food and more accents of Russian to the area. Getting out of the train you might not hear a word of English spoken in any direction for blocks and blocks.

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Bright plentiful produce spills out from every store, women in heels and sparkles chatter and bicker, every sign points the way to Russian pastries, watches, oil, pelmeni and perfume.

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Headscarves mix with peroxided blonde locks, and everyone finds themselves scattered over the boardwalk, especially in the summer.

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I love going there, and I don’t go nearly enough. In fact, I hadn’t been once since I moved to New York almost two years ago. Given that I live in Southern Brooklyn, this is a crime I plan to rectify with frequent trips in the future. For for now, I went with what’s-his-face this past Sunday and could hardly contain my excitement.

We had read about this place last summer and always wanted to go there for lunch, so we finally did it. Totally worth the trip, even if I wasn’t wild about Brighton Beach. I heartily recommend it to anyone.

And obviously I had to wear something new. I mean, what am I, a savage? Luckily in my post-graduate school free time between working and my frequent existential crises, I’ve made a lot of new things. Some of them were for my roommate Emily’s trip, which she leaves on today for a month. Photos for those will be delayed for obvious reasons, but hopefully feature exotic locals! And some things are for my own trip with my parents to San Juan which I am taking tomorrow. Again, stay tuned. But this seemed like a good occasion to bust out something special, and so I present to you my Brighton Beach Bunny Skirt!

BBB 2.jpgThe pattern ought to be a familiar one to anyone who reads this, because it’s Simplicity 4529 and I’ve made it so many times and I have no plans to stop any time soon. Look, I’m all for making new patterns and trying new things. But honestly, I’ve been sewing long enough at this point, and also DRESSING myself long enough, to know is something is just not going to work for me, and to appreciate the things that really make me look and feel good. It’s a grown-up uniform, sure, but what’s wrong with that? I’ve said it before and I will say it again, if it ain’t broke…

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Actually, this is pretty funny, I was worried that it WAS broke, I had this strange anxiety that this time it wouldn’t fit. I was so worried and convinced that somehow my Puerto Rican caboose wouldn’t be able to squeeze into this that I added fabric in the back, two strips adding up to about 3 inches.

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Real talk? This totally would have fit. It’s my loosest make of this skirt to date. But it’s also supremely comfortable and I don’t mind at all. So either I miscalculated or my tush got smaller over night. Could it be the second one, please?

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This skirt is unbearably simple for me at this point. I made so many over the winter and one last summer, I’ve got this. But I love how it looks, and this fabric was just too perfect. I love it, I can’t deal with how much I love it. I kept pointing out images to what’s-his-face.

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I can hardly decide which is my favorite. The Elephant reading the newspaper? The monkeys in the band? The juggling guy? The frogs? It’s a party! Just the sort of thing to wear in Brighton Beach. This way I’m something to look at, too!
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Of course, if you are in Brighton Beach already, you might as well stop by Coney Island.

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Though I can’t decide which is more thrilling, amusement park rides or sullen Russians who continuously reference the Gulags? I’m just kidding. It’s obviously the Russians. Sorry, Coney! Better luck next time.

BBB 3.jpgHappy Summer, people! I’m off to San Juan, more posts with Tropical outfits to follow!

 

 

 

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Filed under Clothing, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns

The Old Hat Outfit

As I write this I’m sitting in an impossibly fancy cocktail lounge in an impossibly beautifully and grand castle that has been converted into a hotel in Western Ireland. I have no idea what I’m doing here, and I really hope no one kicks me out. This place is stunning and elegant and I keep swirling my cognac like I know what I’m doing and hoping no one notices that my shoes are from H and M. Suffice to say, 2014 is going wonderfully for me so far, how is everyone else doing?

I didn’t do a year-in-review post this year, partially because I was traveling, and partially because I couldn’t really stomach the idea of summing up my year of sewing/life (in that order) in just one post. I have learned so much over the past year, from my continuing work at the Costume Shop, to sewing for other people with its challenges and delights, to trying new projects for myself, I can hardly contain it all. I made a coat! I made yoga pants! I made three swimsuits! (One was for my mom so you didn’t get to see that, she isn’t as brazen as I am, though she looks really good in a swimsuit, never fear.) I traveling a lot of places! I forced so many good friends to take photos of me and, and this part is important, they still say they like me! So I feel happy about what I did, sad for the failures, but I can honestly say that anything that didn’t work on my I either gave away to the Salvation Army or to the Textile Recycling in my neighborhood. I also made the shift to recycling all my fabric scraps, large and small, at the Textile Recycling as well, which makes me feel amazing. So big days.

But I will say, I did not keep my sewing resolutions all that well, or at least one of them. I had vowed last year not to make the same pattern over and over again and yet I think I have done that more this year then ever before. I guess I sort of unintentionally reverse-pyschologied myself. So, well done, self, but also, you are silly. Honestly, maybe this is just a part of growing up, that you realize there are certain things you reach for over and over so you had better make yourself a bunch of those because that’s the best thing for your wardrobe and your getting-dressed-sanity. Is this boring? Maybe. Is it practical? Certainly. Don’t get me wrong, I also tried and will keep trying new patterns, but I think I will also stop beating myself up when I make another of something I love. I might not always document it, but I plan to keep making certain things again and again for the simple reason that I love them, they look good on me, and if it ain’t broke…

So without further ado, I present to you my new Old Hat Outfit, worn on a visit to Kilmainham Gaol, in Dublin:

OH 2Do I even have to say this at this point? The skirt is obviously Simplicity 4529. I really need to make another skirt pattern. OR DO I? I don’t know. I love this thing. Ten darts. Curves for days. Kick pleat. Less than a yard of fabric. I may never stop making this. NEVER.

OH 5I only dislike how shirts create a roll underneath pencil skirts. How do I avoid this? Any ideas? The shirt is a Hemlock from Grainline Patterns. I’ve made, like, five of these. It’s a great pattern. I slim them all down and get them out of about a yard of knit fabric. Ha, two yards, one outfit! Style for yards! Don’t groan, that was brilliant. Can’t stop, wont stop.

OH 4It was so cold when we took these but my mom warmed me by making my laugh at myself. She is the best.

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I was a little worried about the stripes of this fabric, a Costume Shop freebie, by the by, with all the many darts happening here, but somehow it worked pretty well! You can see the darts, of course, but I don’t really mind that. I mind more the small dish soap smudge there, but what can you do? At the side, in an earlier photo, you can see that the large hip dart kind of makes a chevron thing happen, which I personally support.

Oh 6As you can see, I put in a red zipper. Which is showing, quite a bit. I hand-picked it, and it really doesn’t usually show this much, or at all, I promise. Maybe it’s all the hip sass happening here? Could be, could be.

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The button is a vintage button.

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This skirt is so warm and cozy, I can’t even describe it. No lining, just soft wool.

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The fabric from the shirt is from GirlCharlee.com. Obviously. That’s kind of a give-in with my knits at this point, honestly.

OH 10I forced my mother to take these photos (I tell you, that woman is a Jewish Saint, I swear, the princess moments about photos that she puts up with from me. With anyone else I’m like, it’s great, so great, thank you so much, and with my mom I’m like, DO THIS BETTER, GOD, haven’t you ever used a CAMERA before? This woman gave birth to me. What is my deal?) in the courtyard of the former Royal Hospital, which is now the Irish Museum of Modern Art. We didn’t actually go inside this museum because homie don’t play that with contemporary art (but you get me near some 17th century something something and baby, we got a stew going!) but it’s right across from Kilmainham Gaol, a large prison which has housed some of Ireland’s most important political prisoners and rebellious heroes. It’s an amazing place, and if you ever come here I can’t recommend it enough. Check it out:

OH 12OH 17OH 16OH 15OH 13Grim, isn’t it, and this was a very NICE prison by Victorian standards. Oy.

Okay, enough sadness. here is a cat photo from a nice Irish cat we met:

OH 11So handsome, with those green eyes. Cadfael, forgive me, who can resist a bit of Irish charm?

 

 

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Filed under Clothing, Grainline Patterns, knit, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Travel, Vintage

The Dear Emily Skirt

I have to say, I’m a really lucky person when in comes to living with people. A year ago seriously landed on this amazing apartment with one of my really good friends and lo and behold, we actually can live together comfortably, which is a real miracle, honestly. The people you love may not always be the people you can live with but I am so lucky in that I live with my friend Emily, who is the best possible roommate and also a person I love and, and this is REALLY important, never want to slaughter her in her sleep. It’s interesting how big a deal that is….

Our other roommates, Jenny, who has just moved out, and Jordan, who has just moved in, are also amazing and wonderous, but they didn’t buy me the fabric I used to make this skirt, so I’m not going to gush as much for them, although I COULD….

So, Emily, because of her high level of awesomeness, bought me a yard of Liberty of London tana lawn for Hanukkah. She is amazing and bought me a fabric that I love so hard and would literally never buy, because it’s just so the opposite of inexpensive. Thank goodness she liked the cowl I knitted her in return, because honestly, the second I looked at her gift to me I wanted to run out and buy the contents of a wine store for her. Luckily I’ve had the chance to make her a bunch of things since I started living with her, so I feel like I’m chipping away at this debt, but this is a  Rumpelstiltskin level owing here, so I think it’s going to take a while…I’m up for that.

So what did I do with this treasure? I made a skirt!

DES 3A pencil skirt, to be precise, my favorite of all time, Simplicity 4529, which I’ve made twice now. I love this pattern, and all it’s many many (10!) darts), which do nice things for my whole curvy self. And I wasn’t going to mess around with this fabric and try something new and crazy, I wanted to make damn sure I treated this luscious lawn with the respect it deserves.

DES 4See? Look at that, doing nice things for me all over the place….

Lawn is a fluttery thing, so I underlined this skirt with a white cotton/polyester blend fabric which is actually sheet material I had bought to make Emily curtains! Ha, it’s all thanks to Emily, this skirt.

DES 1Please excuse the wrinkles. I wore this on the Bolt Bus going home to Philadelphia for a friend’s wedding shower (HI, Anna! Oh my lord it’s only a week and a half until the wedding ahhhhhhhhh!) and it got a bit fatigued by the trip. And then my mother was like, making me take MORE photos for you, what a draaaaaaaag. But she did it! My mom is the best mom.

DES 7I need to keep talking about this fabric. Because it is magical.

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It’s also buttery and smooth and soft and gorgeous, oh, I cannot CANNOT say enough about Liberty of London. I know, blah blah blah, everyone who sews knows it’s fabric-crack, or doesn’t buy the hype, but let me tell you something, the hype is helplessly correct, because this is a joy to sew with and to wear. Normally I don’t even bother about how something is to sew, because unlike knitting you don’t spend as much time touching fabric as you do touching yarn, so I don’t think about the process of sewing as much as how it’s going to be to wear. But this, oh, my, can hands have orgasms? DARTS were fun with this thing. DARTS.

DES 5Another back view because when you stitch 10 darts into a skirt YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW IT.

DES 2I love that little Roman-style button, don’t you? Oy, I see some putting on the hand stitching around the zipper, sorry, guys, gotta re-stitch that….

DES 10I hand-stitched the hem, and here you can see that and the underlining. All in all a simple skirt, and something I of course made about a month ago and am only now getting around to blogging. Le sigh.

DEES 6I love this skirt. And it’s all thanks to Emily! Thank you, Emily! And please note, everyone, that if you are ever wondering what would be a good gift for me, well, now you know….And if you forget, just ask Emily. She’s got this.

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Filed under Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Sexy Candy Striper Outfit

I have been the worst flipping blogger in the world. And I’m sorry. Graduate school is crazy, people! Even when it’s Clown College. It’s a lot of work, making stuff up, writing it down, it really is! You can trust me on this one. And I also have to go to plays! And deal with humans! Who want to get dinner! The hell? Don’t they know I hate everyone? Apparently not, I keep getting invited and having some kind of attack in which I say YES instead of NO I HAVE TO STAY HOME AND TALK TO MY CAT. New York is doing bizarre things to me…

Anyway, I have been sewing. And I met Mika! Mika is awesome. I always loved her blog, so I’m really glad I got to meet her in person. She’s just fantastic, and her red clovers were dope. Seriously dope. I use this term because A. Mika is from California and I thought it might appeal to her, should she read this and B. they just ARE.

I’ve actually made a grand total of FOUR things of late, which I hurriedly took photos of this morning, because I’ve been trying for two weeks for some of this stuff, and I just couldn’t wait anymore! In other news, I’ve totally deviated from my Fall Sewing Plan, of course, OF COURSE. I have made the SPIRIT of the plan, but not the LETTER. That’s just who I am.

So, I made a bit of a vintage duo about which I have mixed feelings. Let’s take a look at the patterns from whence this sprang, shall we?

Cute, no? I ignored everyone’s advice about drafting my own pattern, like I do, and just bought something. Specifically, Simplicity 4529. I’m just that way. Actually I kind of love this pattern dearly, and while the end result is a bit loose, I know how I can tweak it to perfect the fit.

The blouse is, well, let’s look to the pattern, shall we?

McCalls 3305.

It LOOKS really awesome, right? Yeah, it does. It did to me. But the end result, well, I just don’t know. And let it be said right now, I’m so insanely influenced by pattern art, as you can see right here:

God, I look so mad! I’m not mad, really!

Or am I? I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel about this blouse. For one thing, like the skirt, it’s a bit big. For another, it may well be a bit, um, clowny…

I had this vision that this bow blouse was going to be the bow blouse to end all bow blouses. Because honestly, I really REALLY love bow blouse, but I have yet to make one with which I’m completely satisfied! How sad is that? Life is SO HARD SOMETIMES.

Instead, I don’t know, it looks a little, I don’t know, 80’s? 90’s? So decade no one likes? (Or maybe just I don’t like?) Sigh.

See, a bit baggy, not quite the sleek sophisticated thing I’d been hoping for, ah, well, I still enjoy it! It might be a bit clowny, but I can’t help but like the waist tucks and the bow. Bows, I’m just a sucker for them! Why is that? Can anyone tell me why bows are so delightful?

Oh, yes, I always forget construction notes. Well, most of this is French-seamed, with a bit of pinking. I eliminated the facings in favor of bias tape (I mean, come on, facings? ARE THE WORST.) And what else, I think that’s it!

So stern! Like a weird candy striper at, say, a mental institution. Super cute.

Now to the skirt!

See, I can still smile! I do like this skirt, I do I do I do. I like this pattern, something like 10 darts, one seam, which I finished with bias tape, a kickpleat which I sadly had to eliminate because I shorted this some 5 inches (at the insistence of my roommates who have informed me that I dress rather, um, matronly.) I made this in a stretch cotton, which, well, I’m going to do it again in red wool (speaking of sexy) and I will shorten the pattern and keep the kickpleat AND tighten it a bit at the waist, it’s a touch loose. But this version is perfectly serviceable and so comfortable and practical, it’s the ultimate in cake, to go with this rather frosting top.

And loose or not, it still looks good from the back. Doesn’t it?

Oh, yes, it does.

I noired it up for you. Now imagine a cigarette, a throaty purr, and a dark plot. And….scene.

How is your fall sewing going? Do you think I dress matronly? What does matronly mean to you? All comments are entirely welcome!

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Filed under Clothing, McCalls Patterns, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

Fall 2012 Sewing Plans

I sorted through all my patterns recently. It was….scary. There are so many of them. SO. MANY. PATTERNS. I don’t even know what to do with all of them. I found about 30 to give away, so, look out for more giveaways, I guess….

And yet, somehow, in all of the many of them (I couldn’t even count, it was too many) there were gaps. For example, I don’t have all that many skirt patterns. Or suit patterns (though god knows when I will ever wear a suit in my chosen profession of playwright, so whatever on that score). There are very few knit patterns, or, for that matter, modern patterns. There are a lot of dresses, mostly of the summer variety. There are some blouses, mostly of the button-up variety. There are a handful of coats and a scant number of jackets, and one swimsuit, that is actually a burdastyle download so that doesn’t even really count (because I couldn’t bear to deal with my downloaded and carefully assembled patterns, they aren’t really a part of this discussion because I don’t want my brain to explode). And there were dresses. Lots of dresses. Did I mention there were dresses?

And yet, though all this mess of paper and wonderful daydreams (like, I’m going to make all these shift dresses! Tomorrow! It’s going to be great!), I have carved out a Fall 2012 Wardrobe/plan/back-to-school (oh my god, I’m going back to school!) wish-list. Inspired by the wonderful Cindy of Cation designs, I shall now share my plans with you.

1. Another Jiffy 4977 dress.

I know. I KNOW. I was so “whatever” about this one but now it’s one of my favorite dresses and every time I wear it people love it. So I’m going to make another one, with slightly longer sleeves, for fall. Maybe in this cheerful stripe?

2. Sewaholic Thurlow Trousers (one, or maybe even two pairs…)

I bought this pattern the day Tasia released it, even BEFORE she released it, because I’m on her mailing list. I’m not really a pear shape, it’s true, but I do have a sizable bottom half (which, hopefully, is balanced out by my not-unsizable bosom) so I thought these might be a good fit for me. I want to make one straight from the pattern in a blue denim, dark, of course, and then fiddle about with the legs to make a slim-fitting black pair, perhaps a thurlow-clover hybrid? We shall see…

3. A mock wrap dress, Simplicity 4074:

In this lovely knit fabric from GirlCharlee

4. A Cation Designs (FREE PATTERN!) Dolman Top:

I couldn’t tell you what fabric, though. I’ve got some rather plain navy in my stash, and I’m trying not to buy any new fabric, but it seems rather dull for such a lovely pattern…

5. A coat, specifically McCalls 2979 from the 1970’s:

This is going to be a doozy, in fact, I would say this is a fall/winter 2012 project. I’ve never made a coat before, but I pre-ordered Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing (and I can hardly contain myself waiting for it!) so I hope her padstitching and tailoring advice is helpful (like it would be anything BUT). I have no idea what fabric I’m going to use, I’m sure I will buy something, and, sorry, New York, but I’m equally sure I will be picking it up here in Philadelphia. When it comes to prices for wool, we can’t be beat…

6. A men’s shirt (for mi hermano!) Colette Patterns Negroni, of course:

Tailor-made for the 27 year old hipster in my life. I feel strongly that there will be many muslins because A. Fit is tricky and B. my brother is picky  discerning. He wants a long-sleeved version with both pockets intact, and I will be using the hell out of Peter’s Men’s Shirt Sewalong from all those moons ago, so look out for updates.

7. A Pencil Skirt! What pattern, do you ask? I. DON’T. KNOW. As mentioned above, I don’t have many skirt patterns, and I’ve never made a pencil skirt that I really loved. I’ve made a lot that were just okay, but nothing wonderful.  I would love for it to look just like this, please:

Can anyone find me something that would resemble that? I’ll send you a pattern, if you do!

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, as it were. I also plan to make a Peony Dress, a 1970’s pattern with tie-neck (delicious) and all sorts of other things, as they come to my busy mind. I mean, this doesn’t even cover knitting or quilting, which I find myself liking more and more each day. But I like starting with a plan. What are your fall sewing plans? Any perfect pencil skirt patterns you swear by in your own lives?

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Filed under Colette Patterns, Inspiration, McCalls Patterns, Sewaholic Patterns, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

Abject Failure Equals Giveaway!

It may come as a complete surprise to you, but not everything I make is awesome. I know. Jump back, Jack. That’s crazytown.  In fact, and this is a huge secret so be cool, most of what I do is completely strugglesome. Hence the blog title. And I’m about to recount an abject failure which, hopefully, can make someone else happy, because it just makes me want to sob a little in the bathroom. Like you do.

Recently I’ve been very interested in perfecting a pencil skirt pattern for my body. But rather then draft my own from the several (many) tutorials online that teach you how, I’ve been trying to take the easy (stupid) way out and find a pattern that works for my body. Yeah. It has had mixed results. I’m might just have to break the hell down and draft a pattern, which I’m avoiding, because I’m a foolish coward. (Hangs head in shame).

So I recently downloaded the Angela Kane FREE PATTERN pencil skirt. I had some blue wool left over from my Not Everyone Can Be You dress, and it was just enough to squeeze out this skirt. I started sewing it when I got back on Monday from Puerto Rico, and got all the way up to sewing up the back seam. I tried it on, which is what I usually do at that point with a skirt, and, bam, literally split the seam. I SPLIT THE SEAM. Was it my hips? My waist? My thighs? Of course not. It’s was my (admittedly not un-prominent) rear. It was the junk in my trunk, people. Just like Lady Mary killed a Turkish diplomat with her virginity, I split a seam with my posterior.

Sighing with rage and disgust (and mindless anger at all the hours I spend at the gym which have, of late, slimmed my waist and toned my thighs but done very little, it seems, for my bottom) I tossed the skirt aside. But then I remembered that I literally cannot deal with not finishing a garment, it’s a compulsion. So I finished it. And I took more care with this damn skirt that fits my waist like a dream and my butt like a nightmare then I have with many other items that actually fit me fairly well. Well, except for the seam binding on the waistband, that I will freely admit is a mess. But STILL,  this is a french seamed wonder with an invisible zipper, neatly iron darts and a hand stitched hem. And I’m giving just giving it away.

That’s right, I’m giving this stupid beautiful skirt that doesn’t fit me away. You can have it, for FREE. Wanna see it?

Nice, right? Lovely color, hits the knees, nice drape on the 100% wool, it’s a winner.

It fits a 28 waist and a 36 hips (and rear, please take note), and while it’s not perfect (what is?) I think it’s a very nice skirt. For someone else. Because even with my Zumba class and Cardio Kickboxing, this thing isn’t going to pack my back any time soon.

So if you would like to own and wear this garment, just leave me a comment letting me know about a recent sewing failure and what, if anything, you did to try and vindicate it. Leave a comment by March 29th, so in three weeks, and I will announce the winner by April 1st! Have at it, people!

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Filed under Angela Kane, Clothing, Giveaway, Sewing