Tag Archives: Spring/Summer Palette Challenge 2012

The Mirror Image Blouse (Me Made May Day 21!)

It should surprise no one to hear that I’m hardly the most exacting or exact sewer in the world. It’s not that details don’t matter to me, it’s just that I’m more of a “just do it” kind of crafter. And besides, making things for yourself as a non-professional is all about deciding what you can and can’t live with, i.e., just how much is that zipper which is SLIGHTLY off going to affect your life/sense of self? Can you deal with a dart that doesn’t QUITE match up to another dart? Can a project be good enough without being perfect? For me, yes, it can, and almost always is. I use my seam ripper as much as the next person, and I do follow instructions and try to do things right the first time, but honestly, I’m not all that interested in perfection, really, just wearability. Maybe it’s because I’m still such a new sewer and I’m still just amazed I can make things that will actually cover my body and not fall apart halfway through my commute, and maybe an obsession with precision will emerge as I sew more, but for now, I’m more about the big picture than anything else.

Additionally, I think marking is the worst. My least favorite part of sewing is, surprise surprise, cutting and marking fabric. I mark the bare minimum, and sometimes not even that. Notches? I don’t even want to talk about notches. And most of the time that’s completely fine, honestly. I mean, I’m sure some advanced sewers are just clutching their pearls but if I hadn’t told you, would you have really known? I mean, really?

Well, with this blouse you would, because I totally put the bow on the opposite side. Yeah. Yeah I did.

But, hey, don’t I look happy? (Sidenote: I have no idea what this blouse is SO. WRINKLED. I look like I slept in it. I did not. Promise.)

The pattern is my new BFF, New Look 6808. This time I did the variation with a collar and bow, but because I don’t mark fabric when I trace it against the pattern piece, I just kind of haphazardly picked a spot on the collar for the bow and followed the instructions using my free-hand placement. I’m 100% happy with it, but I’m also 100% sure the bow is supposed to be on the other side of the collar. Oh, well.

S0ooooo wrinkly. Sigh. The fabric comes as a leftover from my I Don’t Believe in UFOs Blouse. The pants, again, my trusty denim Clovers. I really need to stop wearing these pants…

Ha, photo-self, you can look for the bow over there all you want, it’s never going to happen!

Because this fabric has stretch , like the last time I made this pattern (fun fact, I got 3 yards of 3 types of insanely cheap stretch poplin back in the fall to make clover muslins, and I’m still using them! How neat is that?), I omitted the zipper. I also cut the back in two pieces and sewed them together with a 1/4th inch seam allowance. Fits like a glove.

Well, the BODY fit, and I like the collar, but let’s talk about the sleeves. The last time I made this blouse the sleeve cap was too big for the armsyce, so I pleated it (free form again, I told you, I’m a rebel!) and it worked. THIS time, the sleeve cap fit the armsyce perfectly (…why?) but the sleeves looked like little wings, ready to fly me away to the land of wrinkles and sewing rebels. So I sewed a deep dart into the sleeves, and that sort of solved the problem….which I don’t know why I have. Sigh. Sewing, it’s a crapshoot (it’s really not, just for me, it seems…)

The stern face of a sewing rebel.

I thought you might like to see the bow close up, as it’s the cutest damn thing about this blouse. But as you can see, I take bows very seriously. There is no laughing in bows.

And as a final photo to celebrate this, the 21st day of Me Made May (this was taken yesterday) and this blouse, which is another installment of the Spring/Summer 2012 Palette Challenge, a nice photo of flowers from my parent’s garden!

So, are you a rebel like me, or do you mark the hell out of everything? It should be noted that I’m totally a slave to instructions, which is rather ironic, one might say. Well, we humans are so fickle, aren’t we?

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Filed under Challenge, Clothing, Colette Patterns, New Look Patterns

The Completely Uncreative Blouse (Me Made May 14!)

I don’t normally do this, but I totally made a blouse that closely and deeply resembles the cover art of the pattern.

Everything on the left side of this pattern art is bizarre. Why would you ever wear such things, let alone make them? That being said, this is an adorable blouse. It’s really a very nice pattern, I can certainly see why it’s so popular. I have been thinking a lot about size recently so I cut out at 16 rather then my normal 14 because I have heard you should take the desired final bust measurement (if the pattern provides that) rather then the recommended measurement. I like to have some ease in the bust, and I really wanted to get out of doing a Full Bust Adjustment, so, yeah. Cheaters never prosper, unless they DO:

Yeah, baby! And because I cut a larger size, this blouse aced the Mena test (the stretch in the poplin I used, remnents of my Peppermint Pastille, also helped) and I didn’t have to put in the side zipper indicated in the instructions. Life win.

As I typically do the first time I make anything, I followed the instructions. When I make other versions of this blouse (which I’m totally doing, this thing is adorable) I will omit the neck facing, because I hate facings with a passion I usually reserve for exact change and chocolate, and use bias tape to finish the neckline instead. Otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing. Thought I am curious to see what happens when I make this pattern in a non-stretch woven. Ah, a future adventure.

The pants are my denim clovers. If Me Made May was a sports team, those would be called my MVPs.

A little side view for you.

It’s a bit wrinkled, and it could probably use a swayback adjustment, but what are you going to do? Oh, you can tell here that I didn’t cut the back on the fold, I cut two pieces and added some seam allowance. Really, not cutting things on the fold opens you up to a hell of a lot, fabric efficiency-wise.

Thumbs up for fabric efficiency! Yeah.

This blouse might seam rather simple, but I have to say, I adore the diamond darts and careful drafting, it’s great for curvy women like myself. One shirt, 6 darts. Worth it.

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Filed under Challenge, Clothing, Colette Patterns, New Look Patterns, Sewing

The Faded Photograph Blouse (MMM Day 6)

It’s an amazing phenomenon that people on vacation dress completely differently then they do in real life. Depending on the locale, in this case, a tropical one, visitors tend to strip down and throw ensembles on their bodies that would never fly in their real lives. As someone who spends a good deal of time on an island that many consider to exist solely for the sake of tourists, it always amuses me to see lobster-red visitors in sarongs and denim cutoffs or shirts made of a single scarf and a distinct lack of taste. I enjoy watching them sip their fruity drinks and loudly ask the waiter if they can have some more “toe-stone-es”, because as well all know, speaking in a very loud tone of voice eliminates all language barriers. That’s just a fact.

But as disdainful as I am, I must admit, I too dress slightly brighter in Puerto Rico. It’s something about the fact that regardless of where you are, the suburbs of Bayamon, the streets of Ponce, a plaza in San Juan, all of the architecture is bright poured cement, faded and grubby at times, but always in a tropical hue. My whole family participates in this, wearing ensembles in San Juan that we would feel rather silly about were we in our homes in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. We just can’t help it. Blame it on the Bossa Nova, baby.

That being said, this outfit, in its demure and docile tones, doesn’t match Puerto Rico one iota:

Or maybe it’s San Juan in the 40’s, right after the war, around the time of the great migration to the States. A faded image from the past.

I get so poetic when I write about San Juan! Back to reality. The blouse is the 3rd piece in my Spring Palette Challenge, Simplicity 4608, a 1940’s pattern.

I look like I’ve eaten something horrible here. But that’s just my face, look to the clothing! The skirt is my nautical bias skirt, of course. Love it.

This blouse wasn’t all that difficult to put together, but man, blouses like this have SO MANY PIECES. It’s continually amazing to me that a blouse is so much more difficult than most other things I’ve ever made, and yet it’s dismissed so easily! Show people a bright easy skirt and they are like, damn, girl! But show them a blouse and it’s like, alright, fine, that’s nice, more skirts! Still, I love this blouse. I wanted a 1940’s blouse pattern for a while, so getting one and having it fit nicely right out of the bag feels pretty good.

Now I seem happier. Because I’m like, screw you and your desires for skirts, I made a BLOUSE, deal with it.

I finished the neckline with bias tape, as directed, and I hand stitched the facings to the blouse body. I followed all the instructions. I usually do, the first time around. It’s the second and third that things get wild…

Not a happy face here, though. Here I’m being told about the Kardashians and not only do I not care, but I am NOT amused. Still it’s a good collar shot. I love the collar on this blouse. Despite whatever my face might have been doing in this moment.

The (rather wrinkled) back is nice and blousy, with a yoke across the shoulders and gathers.

The sleeves are rather long. When I make this in the future, which I probably will do, because despite all the fussy hand sewing and pattern pieces, I like the final product enough to suck it up and deal, I will shorten the sleeves.

So, I typically tuck everything in. I like my waist, so I like to accentuate it, and also, I feel kind of unkempt if I don’t. But this blouse has these lovely tucks which I think are particularly flattering. So I tried it out for a little while.

See, the tucks in the back make this little blousy “shelf”. It’s kind of cool.

I wasn’t sure if you could see the stripes in the shirting, it all sort of looks vaguely blue from the photos. So here you are, a close up. The material came from my grandfather’s attic, and the buttons from the hoader. So there you are, a completely stash-shopped blouse.

Yeah. I couldn’t live with it untucked. Sue me.

Do you dress differently when you go somewhere else? Apart from coats for the north and swimsuits for the south, I mean? Do you have a vacation persona who looks like alternate reality you? Obviously I don’t, not in a drastic way, I can’t even untuck my shirt…

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Filed under Challenge, Clothing, Simplicity Patterns, Travel, Vintage

A Nautical Bias Outfit

First off, I want to talk about prejudice. Specifically my own prejudice against people who don’t like the things I like. I can honestly admit that I have actually (much to the disbelief of many) gotten more tolerant over the years. As my mother says, “You’re tough”, and that’s true, I am. I used to believe I ought to have free range to slap people who say further when they mean farther. I know now, having read Locke and Rousseau, having studied and understood the concept of a social contract, that while I might still think I should be ALLOWED to slap such folks, voicing it in public is a questionable idea. But I don’t think I will ever get over yelling at people who don’t like Parks and Recreation.

Parks and Recreation is amazing. I love it. My MOM loves it. It’s simply hilarious, and I think if you haven’t seen it you should stop what you are doing and go watch it. And if you DO watch it, I present you with this:

Click here, experience infinite drunk Ron Swanson.

You’re welcome. Feel free to enjoy that for a while. I’ll wait. No rush.

I know. It’s amazing. Shhhhh, let it wash over you, it’s fine.

That’s from one of my favorite episodes, and Drunk Leslie says to Drunk Ann “Sometimes if I don’t push you, you’ll end up standing still”. Which is why I even bring this wonderful show up. Because sometimes if I don’t push myself to make new patterns, I’ll end up making the same one over and over again. And that’s a problem. Because I have a lot of patterns. So when I decided to make Simplicity 5196, it was a controversial move for me, a new pattern, from one of my LEAST favorite decades? And yet, and YET, I think I love it! (But what am I so afraid of? I’m afraid of what I’m not sure of. A love there is no cure fooooooor…..)

See? Look how happy I am in my swishy bias cut skirt from the 70’s! Yay! Thank you, the Leslie Knope that lives inside of me. You’ve steered me well. Can I get some snake juice now?

So this is piece one and two of my Spring Palette Challenge! Woooo! I know, I know, I have 5 things I made that need to be photographed and instead of dealing with any of that business I made a new outfit and I’m writing about that. WHATEVER. The skirt, as you know, it’s Simplicity 5196:

Very very easy, and quite efficient, fabric-wise, it took a bit over a yard of 60 inch wide fabric. And I really like it!

I had imaged something fuller, in fact, I wanted to make Simplicity 3688, which I’ve made before, but I told myself no, push through the fear, try something new. It’s actually fairly full at the hem, but because it was cut on the bias it skims over my hips (thank you!) and looks sleeker then it is. Which I like! Yeah, it’s more Downton Abby then Foyle’s War but hey, that’s okay.

I cut out the two skirt pieces and the waistband, and let them hang over a few days, allowing the bias to stretch. Then I sewed it up and hemmed it by hand (four inch hem, what’s UP 70’s patterns? You were made for tall girls, I guess) late last night. Why so late? Well, I live next to a Russian Orthodox church and today is Russian Orthodox Easter (Happy Russian Orthodox Easter!) and I could hear every single minute of the midnight mass. EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE. And the bells. The flipping bells. All night. And people say the shofar is loud.

Now to the blouse! The blouse is Colette Patterns Jasmine, a bias cut blouse for a bias cut skirt!

I  cut a size 10 (by the way, sizing is just crazy talk. I have worn, comfortably, three different sizes in Colette Patterns. You just don’t know until you try), and I did a full bust adjustment. I had heard horror stories about the armsythe and the back, so I went for a larger size and I must say, it’s rather blousy but very comfortable, and I like the look.

How much do I like the ties? THAT much. Crazy-person grin much. I took the hem out so you could see the length, if you care about such things.

One cuff came out quite nicely. The other did not. So you can’t see it.

All together, I think I look like an Edwardian lady sailor.

And how do I feel about that, you ask?

(This is the preparation)

And also:

Yeah. I like this outfit. It might be a bit whimsical, but then, so am I. And we must credit my lovely photographer, Emily:

Thanks, Emily! You are the best!

Oh! And I should mention that I randomly generated a number and the winner of my giveaway is Gail of Today’s Agenda! She’s a lovely lady and I’m totally thrilled to discover that she’s got LOADS of tips about the Miette Sweater, which I’m totally making right now! Thanks, Gail, and let me know where I can send your packet of vintage goodness!

Oh, and if you are into Parks and Recreation, go ahead and google “Cats that look like Ron Swanson” and/or Tom Haverfoods. Have yourself a great time.

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Filed under Challenge, Clothing, Colette Patterns, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage