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Saturday, March 10, 2018

· Checking It Off The List ·

I am SO excited about sharing this dress!  Check out this fabric- isn't it the most adorable ever??  What's not to love about a dress covered in checklists, right? The moment I saw this fabric line (Five and Dime) from Penny Rose fabrics, I knew I had to jump on the chance to make a work dress out of this ever-so-motivating print.  I mean, with a dress full of checkboxes and checkmarks, how can you not stay motivated all day long??  Coincidentally, my job just so happens to involve using lots of checkmarks as well, so it really couldn't be more appropriate!

I found the pattern for this dress at an antique mall somewhere along the line and it seemed like a great fit for this fabric- streamlined, but with a few details to set it apart. I can never keep things simple, so I took the opportunity to highlight the details with a narrow piping.

It also pairs rather nicely with my vintage black wool sweater, so it works for cooler weather too!

I was a little hesitant to use a cotton print for a sheath dress, but I wear a linen slip under it and I've never had any complaints about the way it behaves- yay! Penny Rose is also a nice-quality fabric, so I can rest assured that the dress will wear well and remain professional-looking for a long time.  Penny Rose very generously gifted me the fabric and I'm so grateful!  All opinions are still my own. :-) 

The dress buttons all the way up the side of the dress and that was one of my favorite elements of the design!  I'm so glad I ended up finding these buttons that can do such justice to the idea!

While I was in the production process of this dress, I visited a friend down in Dallas and we stopped by Dallas Button Supply in the warehouse district. Thousands of buttons! SO. MANY. BUTTONS.  I was glad I had very definite parameters because otherwise I never would have decided.....  I ended up with exactly what I was hoping for AND at wholesale prices!

One of my perennial favorite colors is green, but it's a rather uncommon color for fabrics. I had to jump on the chance to add a completely green dress to my wardrobe!

This dress checks every box for me (pun not intended)  (wait, who are we kidding? that pun was totally intended.) - it's appropriately quirky, vintage, and green!  Hard to get much better than that!

I finally, finally, finally took the plunge and ordered my own pair of Marilyns from Royal Vintage!  A perk of having an office job is that I now have an excuse for wearing cute heels 5 days a week and consequently.... I can justify buying more pairs! The shape of the Marilyns is a flattering, classic style that works well from the 1940s into the 1950s and since they come without extra embellishment they were the perfect candidate for these fabulous vintage shoe clips that I got for my birthday!  I love them so much and they add such a fun detail!

(link contains an affiliate code- which gives a little boost to my shoe fund! thanks!)

The final detail to this dress is the asymmetrical pocket. Between the cute pocket flap and the pointed collar, I knew I'd need to accent them so they didn't get lost in the printed fabric, and the narrow piping was just the trick!

· Photos, as ever, by the inimitable Kathryn! ·

Friday, September 15, 2017

· Basic Doesn't Have to Mean Boring ·

I've needed to expand the portion of my wardrobe devoted to basic blouses, but let's face it- white blouses get pushed to the back of the list when there are things like novelty prints to dive into!  I devoted a weekend to making a couple blouses and wouldn't you know- they are the most used items in my work wardrobe. Imagine that. ;-)

I had made a wearable mock-up of this pattern before and I was eager to whip up another version!  In order to keep this blouse from getting too boring, I used a nice vintage fabric with a woven stripe design.

Despite not being the *most* boring blouse of all time, there's still a limit to how much I can say about it.... so this will mainly be photos!

Side zipper! Not much else to say, haha!

I love the way the stripes echo the twist feature on this neckline!  The pattern is a vintage McCalls 3577 which was given to me by a former neighbor. The pattern came along with the pattern I used for my flamingo dress and Indian muslin dress- this woman's mother had excellent taste! (and even better- was my size!)

You might remember this skirt from my post last year- since remaking it into from its original state, it's seen a new lease on life!  I'm so glad I found a way to give this print the appreciation it deserves. :-)

While the blouse might live up to the title of this post, I'm not sure this post did.... but thanks for stopping by anyway! ;-)

· photos by the wonderful Kathryn! ·

Monday, August 21, 2017

· Sewing Pattern Buddy app ·

Happy Monday, everyone! :-)  I was approached by Megan of Kwirky Kiwi about trying out her app for organizing sewing patterns and I loved it so much that I wanted to share this with all of you!

I don't know about you, but I tend to amass patterns in batches and I'm quickly reaching the stage where I can't remember every detail of every pattern I own.... I'm happy to report that the Sewing Pattern Buddy app is the end to my woes!  Megan has designed the app with so many opportunities to organize and categorize patterns according to your personal favorite method and I've been so impressed by how intuitive and easy it is to navigate. :-)  This app is free for up to 25 patterns and is just $6.99 NZD (approx $4.99 USD) for unlimited storage!

Despite being a Millenial, I'm very decidedly *not* tech savvy, but I'm here to tell you- if you already have a smart phone, you're tech-y enough to figure out how to utilize this resource too. ;-)

The app has a wide range of customization already built in with different filters for Pattern Company/Number, Garment Type, Era/Year,  Personal Rating scale, Tags, Previous Makes, Pattern Completeness, and Pattern Type.  There is also space on each pattern listing for measurements, fabric requirements, personal notes, skill level, place/time acquired, purchase cost, printed/unprinted, condition, relevant website URL, location in your stash, and number of copies!

The categories come empty, all the better for using your own organization method.  I really love that I'm able to add specific design elements to the "tag" section.  Frequently I'll be looking for a pattern that incorporates princess seams/long sleeves/collar/etc and having an easy filter to find them is so helpful!

After backing up the photos and info, the app is fully navigable without internet or data- which is huge for me since I'm on a no-data plan!  The images are clear and zoom-able, so if I need to see details from the envelope back I still have access to that information. The app takes up less space on my phone than any other app I've downloaded- I really haven't found a negative to this app. ;-)

This app really is all could ask for as a pattern database and I'm excited to keep adding to the database!  This probably settles me firmly in "nerd" category, but I'm not ashamed.  I love organization so much that the thought of spending this evening adding more patterns to my personal catalog adds a little spring to my step today, haha! ;-)

· Disclaimer- I did receive the expanded app as a gift from Megan without the requirement for posting, and all opinions are my own! ·

Friday, August 11, 2017

· Cornflower Blue ·

A couple years ago, JoAnns carried a few lines of fabrics from Denise Schmidt that I was absolutely smitten with!  I made sure to snatch them up when I saw them on clearance, but, as in the case with this blouse- there was frequently only a yard or so left.  Perfect opportunity for a blouse!

I was inspired by a cute blouse from a movie set in the 1950s and I decided to use my trusty kimono-sleeve bodice sloper as the base.  Well, I'm not sure what the issues were... but man. This was one stinker of a project.  My basic pattern did not work AT ALL but I'm not one to give up without a major fight.  I beat it into submission and it's still not awesome... but it's passable. Good thing it has cute details and is fabric I love. ;-)

Target had the cutest flats this spring and I've been tickled pink with how well this color fits into my work wardrobe as well!
The blouse closes at the side with snaps.  I have been using zippers at the side of blouses without center front openings, but I'm not always sold on that- they can get so bulky feeling and the zipper pull can tend to be lumpy under skirts.  I decided to take a page out of pre-1940s sewing and try out a snap placket and it's been great!  I used snaps on a heavier-weight blouse as well, but that was a dismal failure.... so I still don't have a favorite method, haha!

I talked more in detail about this skirt over here- happy to have another blouse to wear with it!

The "bow" on this blouse is just a strip of fabric pinched in by a fabric tube in the middle.  I sewed the ends of the bow to the blouse, but left the sides free to keep the 3D effect.

Buttons on the shoulder add a fun touch and a little something to set it apart. Part of my woes with this blouse involved too little overlap and various other shoulder issues.  A few tweaks mid-project and a little extra grace.... and I'm safely to the other side and successful! ;-)

Do you find that you frequently change gears due to necessity?  I seem to have this happen to greater or lesser extent, but I think it's one of the reasons I love sewing- overcoming difficulties, challenges, and puzzles is right up my alley!  I usually find that I'm happier with the result than the initial idea as well!

· photos by the ever-amazing Kathryn! ·

Saturday, July 29, 2017

· Fairy Queen ·

In celebration of finally getting back to this blog (I've missed you all and blogging!!), I had to share my favorite new photos first....  At the height of my estate sale excursions a year ago, I came across a sale with this lovely organdy dress in just my size!  I am not usually a purple person, but when the dress fits perfectly... you just roll with it.  I'm so glad that I did, because I am in love with this delicate orchid/lavender color and I honestly don't know why I haven't worn this color before!

I was afraid that I would have to hem this dress because the original owner was quite tall, but with heels and good posture I manage to just barely avoid tripping! ;-)

Has anyone else been loving the show "The Crown"? I know I'm late to the party, but it's sooooo good!  The clothing/hair/makeup is so perfect and such a delight to see!  This outfit makes me feel like I could be in that show, which is one of the best feelings ever. ;-)

This vintage hat was part of a large collection that was generously given to us by a stranger my mom met in a hotel lobby while traveling.  She was part of a historical museum that was running out of room and she shipped a giant box of hats across the country to us.  That's one of the reasons I love vintage and am so passionate about wearing older styles boldly- vintage appeals to such a wide range of people and has a wonderful ability to inspire conversations with total strangers. I love the interactions I have on a regular basis with just about anyone and everyone! :-)

The dress is made of a stiff cotton organdy (why, oh why is organdy not a commonly available fabric?? this stuff is Amazing.) and lined in taffeta. The inner bodice is a simple rectangle with an elastic casing at the top.  It's remarkably still stretchy after 70ish years.... They really don't make elastic like they used to!  The dress closes down the bodice with large covered buttons and on the side with a zipper.  The sash is attached on one end to the zipper, but there was no fastener visible? I've made do with safety pinning the other end in place for each wearing, but I'm not sure what the original plan was! I think I'll end up sewing snaps for an easier way to get dressed. ;-)

The skirt isn't terribly full, but the fabric still makes it feel elegant and dramatic.  The huge tuck in the skirt also adds lovely weight and body to the skirt!

My lovely gold Chelsea Crew shoes are the perfect touch to peek out. :-)

For such a simple dress, it does have some fun unexpected details like the top buttons which are attached by a thread chain and each placed through bound buttonholes at the neckline.

I decided that this dress had a simple elegance of its own, so I kept the accessories super simple for this dress and only wore a pearl necklace. :-)

Thanks for hanging in there during my prolonged absence! While I'm continuing to figure out how regularly I can keep up with blogging, I do have several more posts already on the docket to share. :-) See you soon!

· photos by Kathryn ·

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

· Working Girl ·

Dress for the job you want.  That's the saying, right?

When I decided to transition away from doing entreprenurial/creative work as my main source of income, I knew that a predictable office job would fill the deficiencies I felt.  Something entirely unrelated to sewing has freed me up to pursue personal work and a few select customer projects without feeling extra pressure.  It's been a win-win so far, and I'm so glad I took this step!

Of course, what would the point of this blog be if I didn't have clothes on the brain while coming to this decision?? As you can tell from my Film Fashions series, I've been crushing on vintage secretarial clothes for well over a year now and I'm so excited to have an excuse to "need" them!

My work place is sadly not in this epic Art Deco beauty (love, love, LOVE it!!), and my office's dress code is rather casual, but that's no reason why I can't get excited about fulfilling my own fantasies of working as a secretary in a 1930s private detective's office or a 1950s department store.  My workplace's dress code allows for lots of lee-way, so I'm still able to dress for my fantasy job. ;-)

Years ago, I purchased as much of this herringbone rayon as the store had- which was not much.  I've been hoarding it ever since and trying to decide on the perfect use.  You know, like I always do with fabric, haha!

I had a test-run of this pattern with my red wool 1930s dress a couple years ago and I knew this would be the perfect fit!  Re-capping from my dress post, this pattern is from Mrs. Depew and it's a 1930s French pattern drafting system style pattern.  I've had sort of mixed success with this style of pattern- I mean, they always turn out looking like the illustration, but I never can tell how much major re-engineering of the pattern was required to get it to that point! ;-)  In short, it can be a fun challenge but must always be viewed from that angle- no quick and easy project here!

The fabric is so lusciously drape-y and perfect for this blouse!  I wish I could find this fabric in tons of colors!

The fact that I decided to make a skirt from the same pattern (McCalls 6993) I used for the aforementioned dress made for a funny coincidence!  I really adore the seaming on this pattern and we had just enough of this rust wool suiting left from a different project to make a skirt!  Bonus- stash busting!

This pattern has rather odd views of how to achieve a high-waisted skirt, however.  I'm not really sure how to accomplish that, but I'm pretty sure this wasn't the best way. ;-)  I was hoping this waist area would be less of an issue over time, but it seems to keep having issues- sigh. :-P

Hem lace- I feel like such a noob to have taken so long to appreciate the wonder of it!  Way back when I made the copy-cat dress, I was in a quandry as to how best to achieve a truly invisible hem.  Answer: hem lace.  WHY was I so resistant for so long??  Say hello to my newest friend and closest ally!  I'll definitely be making up for lost time now!  This is going on EVERY project from here on out!

Back view! Hand-picked zipper! Let's look at anything other than the fact that, goodness gracious, this poor skirt is crying out for an iron! ;-)

Here's to more vintage secretary-inspired makes!

· photos by the ever wonderful Kathryn! ·

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