Tag Archives: sewing

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

New Year, Same Me, A Sewalong!

So, I have an very important question to ask you guys, and that is, um, well, oh boy, this is so hard to ask, but, would you do me the honor of….participating in my sew-a-long?

Oh, let’s back up.

First of all, Happy New Year, y’all! I hope that you had the most wonderful Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanza/Festivus/Saturnalia/Satanic ritual/whatever you’re into, and the most lovely New Years Eve! What’s-his-face and I had a latke party and then we rang in the New Year by eating pizza and watching Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (for the hundredth time, obviously) and then we watched some of this which is absolutely bonkers.

Seriously, check it out:

Thinking back on my many sewing projects of the year, many of which, alas, went undocumented, as always, I will say that I think I tried a few new things, style wise, which is always fun, and I’m looking forward to trying some more in the year to come. I also want to challenge myself more to try a few new things, including more (any) outerwear (which is hard, because I spend so much of my time in India right now and Mumbai is not an outerwear kind of a place, but I can still try!), and taking more time with projects that have challenging details, like some formal wear for weddings and events, and more vintage items that require me to spend more time with them during construction.

Do you guys have any sewing goals? I rarely make other kinds of resolutions, and I’m already starting every day with homemade green juice (recipe courtesy of my friend Rakhee, follow her on Instagram at @rakheejainarora! And follow mine, I figured out how to put a link on the side and everything! @lfstruggle!), and I have a big year ahead what with my first novel release and What’s-his-name’s projects, stay tuned for more on all counts, so I feel like I have a lot covered on the personal front. So sewing can have a lot of my intentions, right now!

And speaking of sewing goals, in the spirit of wanting to sew more vintage, and in celebration of what I think was one of the best pieces of television, nay, MEDIA in 2017, I am thinking about hosting a Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Sewalong! Who is with me?

First of all, we’ve all seen The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, right? RIGHT? NO? Okay, um, wow, well, don’t even worry about it, I can just hang out here for a day while you binge it. But, like, seriously, WHAT ARE  YOU DOING WITH YOUR TIME? And if you say watching Black Mirror I will BREAK YOUR FACE OFF YOUR FACE. Watch that on your own time! We have a female centric passes all kinds of Bechdel tests smart, funny, stupidly well acted period piece from what may well be the most flattering period of fashion for women in the last century and you…had better flipping things to do with your time? LIKE WHAT, PRAY TELL?

Ahem. This show is an Amazon Prime production created by Amy Sherman Palladino and Daniel Palladino, the team behind Gilmore Girls, which, if you haven’t seen that, then, I don’t know, maybe just stop reading my blog, or whatever? I mean, you make your choices, you know? AND I MAKE MINE. It features the magnificent Rachel Brosnahan, and the wonderful Alex Borstein, and it is just a sheer delight, complete and utter modern feminism wrapped up in a perfectly coordinated 1950’s package. The show is splendid, really lovely, and worth talking about for days, but the costumes, my friends, oh, the costumes. Now that’s something else entirely.

Lovingly designed by Donna Zakowska, with the kind of precision, character building, and thought process we haven’t really seen since, well, Mad Men, basically, and before that? Maybe never? these costumes really are a character in the show. They have inspired envy from the least vintage oriented of my friends, and I myself have drooled over them, longing for a cacophony of coats in impractical wool weights with no closures and all class! Hey, now, maybe THAT is where my interest in outerwear has come from….

But seriously, the costumes. First, enjoy this article. Then, look at all this:

And that’s just Midge. That’s just one character. Good. Lord. I mean, yes, it’s the MAIN character, but, like, still! I didn’t even show you her wedding dress. Listen, just watch the damn series, okay? Amazon Prime. Oh, and while you are at it, check out The Collection for a costume porn double header and then you come right back here and let me know, is anyone down for a sew-a-long?

Because I think this could be a ton of fun! So I will follow this up with a series of posts with inspirational pattern ideas, a giveaway or two, and we can reveal our Maisel outfits in a few months, let’s say, the 15th of April? That gives everyone a little time to join and try stuff out! And I promise to do a few myself, and I know that everyone’s favorite Blog for Better Sewing has a Charm patterns release coming up which she said should make fans of that red number up there very happy, soooooo…….

Who is in? Comment below if you are down, otherwise I will…totally just make a bunch of stuff on my own and wear it all and wish Miriam Maisel was my friend. And check out this pinterest board, it’s full of ideas already!

 

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Filed under Inspiration, Sewalong, Sewing

The Cuando Estas En El Caribe Romper

Guys, guys, I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself, but I think I might have become a sewing hypocrite. The things I say I’m never going to do become my NEXT THING TO SEW. The looks I judge, the things I disdain, end up on my sewing machine sooner or later, and I live in a combined cycle of excitement and shame. Maxi dresses, crop tops, wide-legged pants, I just keep on contradicting myself! It must be exhausting for you guys, or entertaining, I’m not sure which one. But as my clothing backlog grows, and grows, and grows, I have decided to pick the most interesting things I’ve been making to share, which of course end up being the most different ones, because if I share every plantain, archer, tiny pocket tank, scout tee and pleated skirt I made I would….never stop sharing them.

Does this happen to any of you? I’ve been blogging for a while now, sewing for over five years, and a lot of the stuff I make, while useful and fantastic and I’m happy to have it, doesn’t really seem all that, I don’t know, blog worthy. I am sure that sounds insanely silly, the idea of some things being blog worthy and some things not being blog worthy but I guess I feel like some of the things I make work out well, so I make them over and over again, and some of them turn out just okay, so I wear them or give them away, and not everything therefore makes the blog-cut. I know, the curation here is epic, it’s basically a Soho gallery it’s so specialized…

So here we are, in this strange new world where everything is awful, and I’ve made a romper. So I might be contributing to the negativity of the world, I don’t know. I DON’T EVEN KNOW ANYMORE. At what point did the romper normalize for me? I’ve been dismissive of it from the start, disdainful even, sure I would never don something so silly, let alone sew it. Although, I have realized that I’m far more adventurous when I’m making something, rather than in the days when I used to buy things. I guess sewing feels like an experiment of sorts, which is why in a blog post soon I will totally be displaying a pair of wide-legged culottes as part of my trying-new-things-that-probably-look-terrible-on-me series.

But before I show you this, let’s investigate why, perhaps, I’ve always been so anti-romper. I mean, what’s the problem, really? Part of my prejudice might have come from my association with the romper, as a garment I was first aware of in the 1980’s and 90’s. These were, I believe, dark times for the romper, or jumpsuit, whichever you prefer. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:

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OH boy. Am I right? If this is what you grew up thinking when you thought romper, wouldn’t you hate them too?

I would much prefer to have a vintage understanding of the romper, in fact, I would rather just call it a playsuit. Although maybe that’s the problem right there, really, beyond horrors of the 80’s and 90’s. A romper doesn’t really feel like a mature person’s garment. Oh, I know it is, that they can be formal now, I totally get that, but some part of me has always resisted the idea of the romper as anything more than imitating a child. So really, I suppose my disdain was my own headache, and nothing to do with the garment itself. It’s like how no matter how many times I see them, or no matter how many magazines tell me it’s a thing, I don’t ACTUALLY believe in the idea of “formal shorts”.

But childlike or not, I decided to make a romper. In fact, I’ve made two now, one as a wearable muslin I made for my birthday celebration, and this one, which fits better, so that’s the one you will get to see.

I have also, through this blog post, come to a revelation about By Hand London patterns. I love the idea of By Hand London, and maybe I’m not the right body type or who they draft for, but I have in fact never been fully satisfied by any of the four patterns I’ve made from the company. I really like them, I do, but I have had consistent fit issues with their patterns, which I always chalked up to my own errors as a seamstress, because the designs are so cute, and everyone loves them so much, myself included. But with the Holly Jumpsuit, the basis for this romper, I think I finally came to the realization that maybe this drafting isn’t for me. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s bad, but maybe just not for my body type. That being said, it’s an awful cute pattern, and if it turned the tide of the jumpsuit/romper/playsuit/whatever you want to call it in my mind, that’s probably worth the price of the pattern, right?

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So here you go, my very tropical romper! You might recognize the fabric from my Sleeping in the Tropics Pajamas, and I have a dress out of the same fabric too, so you can see I’m pretty into it.

img_20161127_124221So, this pattern. Sigh. It’s super super cute in theory, it really is. In practice, I found a few things that didn’t quite add up to the ideal romper of my dreams, something that I didn’t even know existed, but OH well. First of all, the girth of the pattern, that is, the measurement around the body from crotch to shoulder, (thank you costume shop for teaching me about this measurement!) is off, at least, for me. This might be because the rise of the crotch is too high, so there is that oh-so-comfortable feeling of fabric rising up your posterior. Fun. It’s mostly fine, but keeping the fabric from bunching means there is a lot of bosom on display here, as you can see, and there are still some crotch wrinkles that show you it’s not 100% magnificent, fit-wise.

Then there is the bodice. I cut a US size 14/UK Size 18, tapering down to a US 10/UK 14 in the waist. It’s a bit big all around the waist and back, and yet somehow also snug right along the bust line, I don’t know. I can’t imagine how big the waist would have felt if I hadn’t tapered it down, and yet the shorts on the first version, which I cut at the largest side, a US 16, were snug the first time around, so I added two inches all around. The pattern shows them to be wide legged, but the first time I made them the legs were a slimmish fit. I will say that By Hand London’s sizing is NOT great for my ego or sense of self, but that’s okay, if sewing teaches us anything it’s that sizing is totally arbitrary, although I’m kind of amazed that their’s is so off from other pattern companies. Now that I think about it, I’ve had similar issues with the Elisalex dress and the Anna dress in terms of bodice sizing being off and weird, soooooo, cool. I guess I will blame it on my boobs? Sure. Let’s go with that.

Man, that show is just the literal best.

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The tropical setting of these photos (taken on a recent trip to Puerto Rico while I was in the US last month, this outfit is NOT really India friendly, I will say….) reminds me of the kind of outfit I was sort of basing this romper on. I was vaguely inspired by the Esther Williams movie, On An Island With You, which features her, dreamy Peter Lawford, dreamy Ricardo Montalban, and amazing Cyd Charisse with much lighter hair than usual.

 

July 1947, Florida, USA --- Original caption: Esther Williams, movie actress, at Biscayne Key, south of Miami, Fla., while on location. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Man, she looked good in every damn thing under the sun, didn’t she? I love Esther Williams. Her movies are always dumb on some essential level but I would watch them forever. In this one she’s a movie star who entertained troops during the war, and this pilot she had met long ago, Peter Lawford and has forgotten is helping out with her latest movie but he’s in love with her, and he totally kidnaps her but it’s supposed to be charming, not a crime, and this is 100% #rapeculture but the dancing is great. And the costumes. Mmmmmmm.

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How is her hair always so great? Love all this 1940’s tropical print! Kind of channeling it here, right?

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….without the perfect hair. You can see the pulling at the crotch in this photo, sigh.

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I think it’s okay from the back, although again, I do tend to feel it riding up. I suppose I could lower the crotch seam next time, if I wanted to make this again, or maybe just as a pair of pants, but I don’t know if it’s worth it. I have a lot of pants patterns, I feel like maybe I should try one of those out…but I don’t know. I don’t love giving up on things, and this pattern is so cute in theory! Check out the line drawing:

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Ah, well. We are all imperfect, I suppose, and it got me over my romper-block, so here we are, in this brave new world. that has such clothing in it.

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It fits the landscape, at least! Before you ask, I’ve left this in San Juan, for the next time I’m down there. Hey, I said I had tried a romper, I didn’t say I’m going to make a habit of them or anything….

 

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Filed under By Hand London, Clothing, Sewing

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 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

It is on in a manner that might remind you of Donkey Kong

I don’t know about you people out there, but personally, I like a good challenge. For example, right now I’m in the midst of knitting my first sweater. Is it a simple topdown stockinette stitch creation appropriate for someone who has been knitting for just over three months? Ha. That’s funny. No, it’s a cabled cardigan with blocking and seaming and all kinds of things I’ve never heard of before (and you can find out more about it here). Because that’s my personality, you see. You gotta learn to run before you can walk.

So when I found out about a couple of brilliant ladies who are sewing through Colette Pattern’s Sewing Book, I was like, bring it on. I want to sew every pattern in the book, so I might as well do it with a group of talented and lovely seamstresses, led by Miss Crayola Creepy and Rhinestones and Telephones. So in sum, this winter/early spring, I will be participating in Sew Colette. And we begin with the Meringue! I should really make my muslin, given that they were “due” today. Oh, well, that’s what the weekends are for, right? So I promise to display a Muslin by Saturday. That’s the plan, Stan.

The goal is to take it month by month, and make one garment, in the order Sarai and God intended, at a time. I will be posting my fabric choices later, and I’m happy to announce that they all come from my newly inflated stash. You see, circumstances have conspired to dump bags and bags of free vintage and thrifted fabric upon me, and I must simply live with the consequences. Poor me. Cue the violins, please.

That’s actually all I’ve got for right now. You can check out the flickr pool (even though I really don’t know how to use flickr, it just seems weird) here. And to sign off, gratuitous cat photo. Like you do.

With a handmade toy. Duh.

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Fabric, Inspiration, Sewing

The Cat’s Pajamas

Not everyone enjoys sewing for other people. I know this, and I respect it. After all, it’s a hell of a lot of work. I think that Oonaballoona (who I deeply adore, from afar, for her daring and her mad skillz, and for her cameo on Royal Pains) summed it up best in this blog post, and if you click on that, read the comments, because they are all insightful and amazing. I must say that more and more as I’ve been sewing for longer and, of course, my garments look a hell of a lot better, when I mention that I sew (I’m just kidding, I never mention, I scream it to the rooftops) people have started asking, do you take commissions? To which I just grin. Because in my mind I’m thinking, honey, do you know the time and effort it takes to make a garment? And fit it? And finish the seams and make sure the design is right and hem and baste and blah blah sewing blah? And you want it in chiffon? That’s cute.

But it’s just like anything else, isn’t it? Like, someone sees an actor perform in a role. And they think, hey, I’m attractive and I can talk and I have feelings, I should be an actor! But what they don’t think about is that that’s an art form, and it requires work and skill and effort. Sewing takes a lot of work, and the longer you do it the more you realize that you don’t know, and still need to learn. So when people ask you to make something for them, “real quick”, it demeans you, in a sense, because they think that what you do is easy and quick, whereas we know that sewing is labor and time intensive, not to mention the cost of materials.  It’s one of the reasons learning to sew will put you off, as the British say, buying RTW, because you know that the labor isn’t being compensated fairly if you only need to pay 10 dollars for a blouse.

That being said, I am someone who does make things for other people. Not when they ask, necessarily, though I do like to know what they want before I spend timing making something, but because I love certain humans and want to show that love with hand-made items. And that is why, among the many things I made for people this holiday season, I made my mother and father pajamas. And you know what? They turned out pretty baller, if I do say so myself.

I think my parents make excellent models, don’t you? The pajamas my mom is wearing come from vintage pattern Simplicity 4006, which is one I have also made for myself. I made it for myself first because A. I’m selfish and B. I wanted to check the fit on my mom before I made her a pair in this lovely flannel that is more her color palette (she’s an Autumn). I scored the fabric from a fabric.com flannel sale and I got the pattern from this lovely etsy seller. I got the buttons from PA Fabric outlet, because that’s all I ever do. I think it turned out really well, and my mom certainly likes her new pajamas!

Oh, I think I love the collar best of all, it’s inside edge bound with lime bias tape:

As for my father’s pair, I got that vintage pattern from this other lovely etsy seller, and it’s Advance 8217. I loved the style, but I ALSO love the fact that three out of the three cover sketches are smoking. Thank you, 1960’s.

My dad's head looks enormous here, but I can assure you that's fairly normal for him, he has a very large head.

I got the fabric from the same fabric.com order (come on, I had to make it to the free shipping! Anyone would have done the same!) and I got the buttons from PA Fabric outlet. My father wanted a collarless style, and a fabric shortage led me to cut the exposed front non-collar thing (it’s hard to explain) on horizontal stripes, when everything else had been cut on vertical. I think it looks kind of cool, what do you think?

Sorry about the wrinkles, but these are pajamas, after all.

I also really enjoy the cuffs:

 

So there you have it. Two cool cats in very cool pajamas, looking comfortably vintage in their flannel glory.

But just because I made this for my folks, don’t get any funny ideas, okay, people?

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Filed under Butterick Patterns, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage