Tag Archives: tunic

The Pre-Wine Tunic

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

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

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

PW 4

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

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

PW 3

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

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

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

PW 2

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

PW 1

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

PW 7

Otherworldly plants abound out there in California.

PW 6

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

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The Ask And Ye Shall Receive Tunic

Okay so remember how I was all like I NEED A NEW TUNIC ASAP? Well. You know. I’ve asked for a lot of things in like. I’ve asked for a production of my plays (more on that later). I’ve asked for more wine when the wine was gone. I’ve asked for one thousand cats but then my cat looked at me with disdain and I took it back immediately. I’ve asked for more books to read and they came. So honestly, many things I’ve asked for have come true, all because I asked for them. And then I asked the universe for a new tunic pattern, something I liked better. And you know what? I found one. UNIVERSE. You’ve done it again!

I had been looking for a pattern for my mother-in-law, actually, which sort of proves that getting married was a clutch move for me as its led to positive things like this new pattern (and, like, a life with someone, whatever to that though). She bought a few shirts here when she was visiting the States from India and asked me to make her a shirt, and I had been trying to find something she might like ever since and stumbled upon this pattern on the magnificent GirlCharlee.com which seemed like one she would like. And then I was like, I ALSO like this, a lot….

And so I bought this pattern, the Everyday Elegance Top from Patterns for Pirates, and made it. And fell madly and deeply in love with it. And took it to Portland, which I also loved. And had Mr. Struggle take photos of me in the Japanese Garden which is part of the Forest Park Conservatory and simply stunning. JUST LIKE MY SHIRT!

ANYSR 1I love it. It’s like a little Soviet worker’s uniform. It’s great.

ANYSR 3Couldn’t you just see me in a Russian Propaganda musical? I could! I would love that! I would be so into that! It is, I know, rather wrinkled in these photos because that’s what the rain and being packed in a suitcase can do to a garment. Sorry, but doesn’t the background make up for it?

ANYSR 2The construction was fairly simple. The fabric is a Robert Kauffman chambray from Fabric.com. I made this with french seams throughout, like you do. I lengthened the sleeves and omitted the button tab in this version but I would like to make about ten more of these with different things going on. And then maybe one for my mother-in-law. I owe her.

AAYSR 5

Yes, yes, wrinkle abound. But it’s cute, right?

AAYSR 6A little side curve with a super off facial expression for you!

ANYSR 4Alright, enough of me, let’s look at the gorgeous garden, shall we?

AAYSR 7Apparently they are the second most accurate Japanese gardens outside of Japan. Because that’s a thing, right?

AAYSR 8AAYSR 9It’s so full of Japanese maples! Such gorgeous leaves.

AAYSR 10Just flipping lovely, right?

AAYSR 11

Seriously. Go to Portland because it’s really nice, and when you do, go to this park. So. So. So nice. And when you do, bring this tunic with you! I did, see how well it worked for me!

I love this pattern. I want to make it forever. THANK YOU, UNIVERSE!

See? Don’t ask, don’t get.

 

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Behind the scenes from my web series! (and The I Need A New Tunic Pattern Shirt)

Hey, party people! You readers have always struck me as an amazing, funny, wonderful crowd of very tolerant people (as evidenced by your enjoyment of/bearing with my blog….) and I want to share with you something I made recently. Basically, about a year and a half ago I wrote a web series. Just a short few sketches, basically, something to pass the time while I probably should have been writing something else. I passed these little scripts over to my friend Victoria, who thought they could be more than just little scripts, and despite my feelings that she was just being nice, she persisted with her belief to the point that we got a filmmaker involved whose name was (and still is) Joe. And Joe also enjoyed these scripts, and I was like, okay, that’s neat, shut up guys, don’t be weird. But they WERE weird and they wanted to make them and I was like, well, if you insist…. and so we did! And apparently people actually LIKE them because we ran a kickstarter campaign that was totally fully funded and in fact over-funded, and we’ve gotten rave reviews (aka friends being like, this isn’t terrible!) You can check out the series here, or watch the episodes right now!

And just so you know, I didn’t just write this thing, I did all the costumes! Which was a ton of fun, actually.

Some of them were simple alterations, like for Ella and Char:

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Don’t they look so very Disney goes to prom? You can, by the way, have a Disney themed prom dress. And a Disney themed wedding. I know this as for some reason I’m now on an email list for Disney weddings. The internets is creepy.

Some of the costumes were more of a styling job, like for Aurora and Phillip.

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Our Phillip, who is featured on the new show Younger, brought his costume, and our Aurora got our most hipster interpretation possible. Like you do.

And some, like Aladdin and Jasmine got full re-make treatment. Aladdin got tailoring and alteration for his pants and lavender shirt, but I completely re-made a Zara bubble-top to make our Jasmine’s flowy hi-lo crop top, and I hacked apart this crazy Florida-retiree elastic waist trousers into some cuffed Jasmine harem pants.

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It was insanely fun, actually, to come up with these ideas for modern interpretations of Disney costumes for the show!

Because of our successful kickstarter, e’ve got more episodes coming up with more home-made costumes, so stay tuned! And if you enjoy these, people, pass them on!

Now to my own clothing efforts. Enough of this sewing for others nonsense.

I have a new disease that I’m going to coin a term for called pattern fatigue. Basically this occurs when you have used a pattern too often and you are sick of it, but unable to find anything else you keep making it until the sight of it makes you sad. Now, I’m not a doctor, but I do feel that I could diagnose this in others, as I have in myself. Basically, I’m just over this one tunic pattern that I have and I really need a new one but I don’t have another that I love (well, actually, I DO now, post to follow! But when I made this top I didn’t so let’s operate under that mentality, shall we? ) so I made another tunic with the same damn pattern I always use and while the fabric is great, I’m just, like, SO over it.

NT 1Eh. It’s fine. It’s a tunic. It’s Butterick 5548. It pulls at the neck when I raise my arm. I’ve made it a couple of times before.

NT 2That look on my face says it all. Doesn’t it? It’s easy to make but I need something new, with a better fit in the bust and more shape. As I mentioned, I totally have a new and better thing now but AT THE TIME I didn’t!

NT 4It’s a lovely material, though, despite these terrible indoor-on-a-dark-day photos. Mr. Struggle got it for me in India.

Meh. Whatever. Total pattern fatigue, guys. Never mind that, though, CHECK OUT MY WEBSERIES!!!!

 

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Filed under Butterick Patterns, Clothing, Fabric, Life, Web Series!

The Indian Ink Tunic

Guys, I am so sorry to have dropped off the face of the earth for what I realize is a month and a half. Holy. Graduate. School. Struggle. And now it’s DONE! I am done! I had a reading of my thesis, a new play, I turned in my last paper, I evaluated my last professor, I angered my last security guard, I’m done. Finito. Fin. Termino. Caput. Capiche? Of course, I’m hugely sad and anxious about the future, graduate school has been a dream in terms of writing and creating and taking a vacation from adulthood for two years, but every vacation’s gotta end sometime, right? So I must move on, kicking and screaming. And well dressed! Because I finally have time to sew again!

Part of my lack of personal clothing productivity has been due to my job at the costume shop, which kicked into high gear about a month ago with the frenzied creation of seven metric tons of 1920’s style underwear. The show we just costumed is set in the vaudeville of the 1920’s among the flamboyant theatrical elite desperately clinging to their youth and past fame in the face of decadence and aging. So, a lot of glitter and a lot of paint and a lot of trim and a lot of pathetic need. And a chorus of dancing girls in peach silk and hours and hours of stitching. We wore our fingers to the bone for that thing, I swear, who knew that such small pieces of clothing could require so very much work!? But it happened, it’s over, we threw a babyshower for my boss complete with hand-sewn gifts:

II3.jpg II2.jpg II1.jpgPatterns for the dresses are here and the quilt here.

So it’s all good! Life, she goes on. And I finally had some time to sew for me! Bahahahahahah! Yes, yes, I may be unemployed with a master’s degree in dramatic writing which has as many solid job/life prospects as the incoming tide, but dammit, at least I can make stuff. Right? RIGHT?

II6.jpg

The fabric is from India, hence the title, and what’s-his-face got it for me this past winter. It’s a lovely silk with a gorgeous print, and it was great to sew with, very easy to use. A little slippery when being cut, but otherwise just fine. I used my favorite by virtue of being my only tunic pattern, Butterick 5548, which I’ve made twice before.II4.jpgThis time I didn’t include the side slits, but the fit is loose enough that it’s still super comfortable without them. I also stitched the facing to the wrong side instead of the right side, as the pattern dictates. I don’t know, I just like it a bit better. I made the sleeves three-quarter length, and added an inch to each side seam around the bust to do a cheater’s full-bust-adjustment. Because I’m sneaky like that.

II9.jpgI laugh and laugh at my own devious sewing nature! I love the neckline of this tunic, it’s the best. And the print, I have to say, does work with this ever-so-Eastern style.

II8.jpgThe first version I made of this fit tightly across the back so this is nice that it’s roomier with the extra inches. Ah my giant shoulders, the things you do!

II5.jpgYeah, it’s a cute one. Simple, easy, fast, though I did do french seams which took longer, but seriously, this is a quick make. But I love the style and I think it suits the fabric, and I’m sure I will make more of these. After all, I have all this time now. Which is a little scary but also it makes me feel like this:

II7.jpgOf course, I could jump higher if someone wanted to give me a JOB….

More posts soon, I promise! I have lots of clothing and lots of photos and lots to write about!

 

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The Wine Country Tunic

Oh, boy, it’s been a few weeks! This is what happens when you visit the West Coast, you get sucked into their laid back attitude. Now I’m all like, hey, man, whatever, I’m just loving life and letting the world come to me. Go with the flow, am I right?

I’m just kidding, that’s insane. I can’t even pretend that that’s something that would happen. I would never do anything like that. That’s madness. What’s even the point? How do you get anything done? When did being laid back and relaxed become a good thing? Because honestly it just sounds like a huge barrier to productivity to me. If you aren’t consumed by the constant anxiety that you could be doing more with your time, what is your life even about? How do you get up in the morning without high levels of neurosis is a mystery I will never understand. But because it’s become cool or whatever to be that way, I’m constantly like this:

parks-and-recreation-animated-gif-giphy-1390624547n4kg8-1 (dragged) copyALL THE TIME. I’M ON ICE I’M SO COOL. RIGHT? RIGHT?

Nope. Stupid relaxation. What is the deal with that? I have the heartbeat of a hummingbird through a combination of caffeine and self doubt, and I’m proud of it! Right?

I did have a great time in San Francisco, though! It’s so nice there, I’m naming it an honorary East Coast City, like Chicago, or Austin. YOU’RE WELCOME, all three cities. Dreams equal realized, am I right? Probably not. Still, the point is, I liked it out there, despite this despicable “hey man whatever” situation that seems to have infected the cultural zeitgeist like a venereal disease moving through a shared room during spring break in Cancun. Okay, real world example, I went to a fancy market to buy a popsicle (it was WARM there, okay! A nice albeit brief change from the rather brisk weather we are facing here in Nueva York) and when I got to the cashier, she asked me the price, and when I told her what I thought I remember from the label in the frozen case, she just BELIEVED ME AN RANG IT UP AS THAT. What. The. What. I could have been LYING! She didn’t KNOW me! I mean, goodness, who does that? It’s a small independent business! Every penny counts! Don’t trust me with numbers, lady, what’s-his-face tried to explain derivatives to me the other day and despite his stellar and lengthy explanation if you put a gun to my head and asked me to explain them to you I would be dead by now. That is a truth fact.  You want me to talk about Pushkin or Rushdie or Italian history or Argentine culture or 12th century English politics? I’m your girl. You want numbers? No. I got nothing. The point is, San Francisco. It’s a very nice place but who can possibly trust people who trust other people that much? It’s just absurd.

Still, it’s nice out there, they have fun hills to climb and beautiful houses from the Victorian era (and not a lot from much earlier because…California) and great produce of course, the best part, wine. Lots of wine. Whole valleys of it. Grapes fermenting as far as the eye can see. Obviously I loathed such a thing because wine is not the thing I love more then being as neurotic as I am. Wine is not the only rival my cat has for my affection. Wine is not the best thing there is. ON OPPOSITE DAY. Duh. So, we went to wine country.

I like it there. Because….wine. I had been to Napa once before so this time when Sonoma was proposed, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. And like I do, I forced my companions to shoot my newest creation. Because nothing goes as well with a California Chardonnay as a homemade tunic!

WCT 1Ha, you can see the shadow of what’s-his-face. Classic. So, the pattern is Butterick 5548, which I’ve made once before. The fabric is leftover lining from my coat attempt, an Anna Maria Horner lawn. Having made it once before the process was awfully easy and fast, and I figured this tunic business would be popular on the West Coast. I have no real evidence of this being true, but I liked it!

WCT 3The original one I made was always a little tight in the shoulders, so I added half an inch on both sides, problem solved!

WCT 5All the seams are French. Oh, la la.

WCT 6I love this print. I love love love it. There is a bit of bust dart shaping but mostly it’s a pretty loose comfortable easy fit with no closures. Fantastic.

WCT 7I seamed the back together for fabric efficiency and the print is so busy that it looks just fine, but I didn’t get any good photos, sorry.

More important than this outfit, there was a bunch of wine. How did I feel about all these wonderful wine tastings we attended?

WCT 2Um, swooning with happiness, duh. What else is there?

Of course, sometimes the people you ask to snap shots of you get a little camera happy, mad with the power. And then this happens:

WCT 4And that’s just the gesture I would make to the West Coast “too cool to care” vibe. That’s enough of that, silly West. Back to the place where happiness is a luxury, not a requirement, and people know that if you’re not nervous, you’re not trying.

It’s good to be home.

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Me Made May Days 1 and 2 (The School Ties Outfit)

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to Me Made May, 2013 edition! I for one am more then a little excited. I hadn’t actually thought too much about it, but then I was explaining it to friends of mine and all of a sudden I thought, man, I love Me Made May, I really do! I love seeing other people’s outfits, I love planning my own, I love being inspired by new combinations of clothing, the only thing I don’t love so much is the daily photo session, sigh. Oh, well, the sad consequences of having a sewing blog, poor me, boohoo.

So without futher ado, because I have an outfit AND two new garments to display, Day 1!

MMM1 2Here I am in my Indiophile Tunic and my Too Practical for Words jeans. I easily wear these jeans once a week, they were a clutch move. I forced my friend Rohan (thanks, Rohan!) to take this photo of me yesterday. I forsee a lot of my friends getting over Me Made May REAL quick, but I don’t even care, they shall take my photo and do my bidding! Bahahaha!

Oh, and I figured, if I have to do a photo a day, at least, so does Cadfael:

MMM1 1He made zero things.

And then Day 2, a brand new outfit!

MMM1 6I’m calling this my School Ties outfit for several reasons. Number one, unintentionally, I made this shirt and skirt to go together and didn’t think about the fact that grey and blue are my high school’s colors. Weird. We even had this game day, blue and grey day. It must have sunk itself into my consciousness somewhere along the line…

MMM1 9The shirt is a Renfrew, made from Jersey from the Pennsylvania Fabric outlet, the same as I used for this dress. I still have some left, not enough for another shirt, but maybe for some underwear and color blocking? We shall see…

MMM1 8

I cut the back in two pieces, as you can see here.

The skirt is self-drafted, just a simple pleated affair, and I made it from fabric my lovely roommate Emily had given me for Hanukkah. Thanks, Emily!

MMM1 4The OTHER reason I’m calling this the School Ties outfit, is because my friend Andrew (thanks, Andrew!) took these photos. Andrew just moved to New York and as we met in college, this outfit is just a conflation of my educational experiences up to this point. OH, and we took them two blocks from my building at NYU! It’s all coming together…

MMM1 5

This fits all my requirements for a spring/summer skirt, and by that I mean it’s good for twirling and jumping. That’s the big one for me, right there.

MMM1 7And obviously I did not let the fact that I was in a public place stop me from doing either of those two things for the camera. To be fair, this was Washington Square Park, so I was probably the most normal person around…

MMM1 3Another day, another outfit, and yet Cadfael is in the exact same position as before…He leads a really hard life, guys.

And there we have it, the first two days of the month are over, onward into outfits of the future!

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The Indiophile Tunic

My sewing backlog is out of control. I keep making stuff and not documenting it. What is my deal? I have a tripod. I have no excuse. I just always end up throwing things in the laundry and as I step into the shower remembering that I was supposed to take photos of that and now it’s dark and my hair is wet and everything is the worst. So I go talk to some food about that, and, and this is the important part, NOT TAKING PHOTOS OF MY GARMENT. And the cycle, she continues. How do you guys do this? Do you find it to be as much of a struggle as I do? Am I alone in being decent at the making but bad at the taking (of photos, which I know you guys get, I just love to end on a rhyme…).

However, today was stunning, and I wore something new, so I basically forced my friend Sam into snapping some photos of me in Washington Square Park, which is just a stone’s throw from where I go to school. It’s usually filled to the brim with hip NYU students and ornery homeless people, and today was no exception. Sam and I felt just right at home. It looked a bit like this:

IT 9Nice, right? The trees are just starting to bloom, the grass is growing, the homeless people didn’t spit on us, it was a pretty good day, all things considered. And Sam ever so kindly put up with my terrible modeling, because she is a good friend.

So, remember when I told you all that my friend brought me back fabric from India? Well, I made something with some of it…

IT 6The glare from the sun caught this at an angle and so there are odd large green hexahedrons on my legs. And a little one that in this photo looks like a hair ornament. So that’s fun.

The pattern is Butterick 5548, a tunic that I thought went well with this fabric, one of the three (THREE, I’ve said it before but thank you, Rohan!) that I have. This one was a border print, and sort of a lightweight kind of a thing, cotton, I believe? So tunic seemed like a good choice. Check out the weird pattern image:

B5548I guess what I find so weird about it is that both of those models are actually the same person, but I feel like they are pretending it’s two difference people with the change of hair and pants and shoes. And it’s awkward. But the pattern is cute! I used the longer pattern and shortened it by about a foot, and yet it is still quite lengthy.

IT 2But I like it! What else did I change, hmmm, I guess that’s about it. It’s a very simple pattern to stitch up, only a few pieces and really the collar is the most complicated part.

IT 4It’s sort of flipping out in this photo, but I think you get the idea.

IT 1

I loved wearing this today. I finished it last night after Game of Thrones (guys, I’ve gotten into Game of Thrones! That’s why I’m not taking any photos of my garments, I’m too busy with Game of Thrones! Obviously!, and it was perfect for today’s weather. The shot cotton (I don’t know if you can see it in these photos but it’s sort of a lovely shot cotton in two shades of orange) seemed to brighten the day for me. I never wear orange, but I like this! 

IT 3

 

As you can tell, this fabric, amazing and wonderful as it is, wrinkles like a sharpei dog.

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See the resemblance?

IT 5WE ARE THE SAME. Ahhhhhh!

IT 8A little close up on the gold border print. So pretty, right?

IT 7As a thank you (read, way to torture) my lovely photographer, I took a photo of her so the world can see the person behind the magic. Thanks, Sam, and thanks, Rohan, and thanks, today, because the weather was simply gorgeous!

Stay tuned for my Mad Men dress coming soon, which I swear to you I will document, by all that is holy, I will take photos of that damn dress!

 

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