Thursday, July 20, 2017

Auburn Summer

I lightened my hair up a bit, and as the color fades it is becoming more and more auburn. To be honest I am speeding the fading along as I want it to get a bit lighter and then go pink...but we'll see. I've never had pink hair before, it could be a disaster with my skin tone, or it could be really fun! I may chicken out, you'll know if you see me with dark brown hair again soon then I probably didn't like the pink and dyed over it ;)

This red circle skirt is surprisingly versatile in my wardrobe, I wear it more and more! I suppose a fun bright color is pretty standard for summer, but as I only started wearing color again a few years ago  after years of devotion to nearly all black, I still find bright colors surprising in a fun way. The blue striped top makes the whole look a bit patriotic looking so I tried to cut that by adding some yellow accessories. Not only do I really like all three primary colors together, but I'm also not too keen to look patriotic just about now when the US is driving me mad. The less said about that nonsense the better here in this space devoted to nice things like sewing and fashion, but goodness, what a mess. I think it's time to add another colorful circle skirt to my wardrobe since I have been wearing this one so often, so I have some "shell pink" cotton sateen on the way to make a new skirt!

I was going to pick up some pink fabric from my local Joanns, but the store was a mess! I asked an associate what was going on and they said they will be launching a ton of fabrics in mid August and were shuffling everything around for that. I'll certainly be interested to see what that means, hopefully they will be adding nice new apparel fabric but most often changes at big stores like this mean even more quilting cotton and less and less for apparel seamstresses.

I'm not going to lie, this week has been weird so far you guys. Monday started with driving my dad to the airport at an early hour and having woken up with too little sleep I felt almost ill and it really really shattered me. I was useless until I had a nap and lost the first half of the day essentially! Then I have been having nightmares the past few days that wake me up early too! I didn't get a video together in time to go up Tuesday which broke my nice streak of uploading every week, so now I feel behind and like I've let myself down there. Then I realized my drivers licence had actually expired on my birthday and I hadn't noticed so I spent the day at the DMV renewing that. Just odd things knocking me out of sync, but hopefully I'll get back on track this weekend and also get some nice sewing done. TGIF right?

Skirt: Made by me
Top: Charming Charlie
Shoes: Chelsea Crew (Royal Vintage Shoes)
Handbag, Belt, & Scarf: Vintage
Brooch & Earrings: Luxulite
Sunglasses: TJ Maxx

Monday, July 17, 2017

Flowers and Chocolate

Doesn't this Plastiflex clutch look like a giant chocolate bar? ;)

This dress is another favorite (don't I always say that? I like my clothes I guess!) every summer. I hope you all don't get too bored with my repeating outfits, but I suppose it proves I don't really have a super crazy sized wardrobe just yet ;) Hopefully the fact that I try to style things differently each time I wear them helps add some semblance of variety. Last year I paired this same dress with red accessories and this time I decided to base everything around the dark brown in the print instead. Mostly I just wanted an excuse to use this chocolate bar purse! You all know how I love Plastiflex style clutches, and this is the third of my small collection. I'm not sure if it has been featured on the blog yet, so this may be it's debut even though I have had it a while now.

Even though I opted for a brown belt and clutch, I chose white for the jewelry and shoes because I wanted to wear these really fun white flower heels. I got these floral strap high heels on super sale from Modcloth last year (the year before? I don't remember!) and though they are rather modern in style I just had to have them! I quite like the look of vintage dresses and modern heels together. It's interesting to me how many of the biggest fashion bloggers actually have really vintage influenced style but they just mix in more modern pieces or styling. If I wore my hair straight and got myself a name brand handbag could I be sitting front row at fashion week? I think I'll stick to my retro curls and love of more authentic vintage styles, but I do wonder sometimes why people seems to like vintage style pieces on their own but not all together. Vintage blogs after all are infinitely less "popular" than regular fashion blogs. I really enjoy following both, but perhaps I am an anomaly!

I did finally finish sewing together a new dress this weekend so I expect you'll be seeing that soon as I can't wait to wear it! Unfortunately this focus on sewing will mean the first break from a new Tuesday video in a while, but I am determined to get something together for next week. I hope you all had a good Monday!

Dress: Made by me
Belt, Clutch, & Jewelry: Vintage
Shoes: Modcloth

Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer Sewing Plans : Using Fabrics from the Stash

Most seamstresses have one, be they quilters or couturiers, a (sometimes quite large) stash of fabrics in cupboards, boxes, stacks, and piles, all waiting to one day be remembered and turned into finished projects. Perhaps you ran to the shop just to grab buttons for that new blouse and got distracted by the flashy cottons on the discount table, or maybe you were online searching for the perfect linen and found 2 printed rayons you couldn't live without, or perhaps you were super excited to make a new gingham dress until you got super excited to make something else and the gingham lay suddenly forgotten. Who knows why these piles of fabric grow in quite the way they do, but like a dragon hoarding shining golden coins, I've got quite the stash of fabrics laying in wait for inspiration to return.

Well, most of these fabrics here have been languishing in my stash for while a while, and perhaps they would continue to were it not for one crucial detail plaguing my summer : I have no pocket money for new fabric this year! Which means no matter how many new flashy ideas come into my head telling me to run out and buy fabric, I simply can't, so I must turn to the stash and return to old ideas long forgotten. It is rather fortunate actually, such economy will force me to use what I already have!

Some of your will even recognize most of these fabrics from past sewing plans posts, because I still haven't gotten to them! This is their year I promise, they will be clothes before the summer is out! Let us start with some long time languishers...

Sources: (1) (2)
These two lovely cotton floral prints have been waiting a long while to be turned into 1930s inspired button down blouses. The moth and butterfly print cotton was bought a while back to make a blouse to wear with my turquoise linen 30's skirt and I really want to finally get to that as the outfit idea still strikes me as pretty. The Liberty print floral cotton lawn I purchased in 2012 at Liberty of London as a final splurge (its 18.50 pounds a yard I believe!) before leaving for Paris that summer during my studies abroad at university. It is high time the fabric is actually put to use! I have already bought buttons for these blouses (last time Joanns was having a 50% off button sale, good time to stock up!) so I have no excuse not to get to work on these. The only think holding me back is that I will have to draft a new button down shirt pattern first and make a mock up, but perhaps I could document that process to share with all of you?

Sources: (1) (2) (3)

Sources: (1) (2) (3)
These next two fabrics are totally different. The first is a stretch metallic gold lace that I bought to possibly use in my senior collection at university back in 2012, and seeing as it is still hanging around I might as well make something 1950's lurex inspired. I am thinking a simple knit cowl neck top like view B above to wear with my hand painted tourist-wear Mexican circle skirt. Of course such a top would be very pin-up with my high waited black cigarette pants from Vivien of Holloway too!

The rose print cotton is actually quite sheer, but I already have some black poly/cotton I could line the dress with. What dress you ask? Well a classic bombshell style sarong dress for summer of course. Though I'm not sure exactly what to do about the straps vs. sleeves debate for this dress. Most sarong dresses have straps or are strapless and have a matching bolero, but there a re a few examples with sleeves as well. I don't wear sleeveless things, so if I made the dress in the more traditional way with straps and a bolero I would just always wear the bolero, which I suppose is fine. Then again would it be easier to just make the dress with sleeves? Yes? I'm not fully sure which way I want to go yet!

Sources: (1) (2) (3)
Do these rayons look familiar? More fabric that has been kicking around my sewing room for absolutely ages, and it's mostly because rayon just takes more work! Could I serge the raw edges? Yes. Would it be much nicer to bind them in rayon seam tape instead? Yes. So of course I put off making these lovely rayons into dresses because I know the silky flowing rayon will be more time consuming to both cut out and to prep the raw seams. I would really like to have some nice rayon dresses though, and I certainly can't afford to buy any real 1940s rayon dresses in my size, so I better get to work!

Montgomery Ward Spring Summer 1949

Sources: (1) (2) (3)
Even more rayon! This time its a black, white, and grey rayon in an almost taffeta weave from Mood fabrics (apparently it was Marc Jaycobs?). I like the bodice of the second dress from the left on the above Montgomery ward catalog page for this dress, but I think I'll be putting a plain a-line or half circle skirt on it. The vaguely tropical print is super nice and I'd love to have a nicer summer cocktail dress. The grey toned color palette would work with any color accessories too which is always nice.

The last fabric here today is this amazing white and green tropical palm frond print rayon crepe from Mood fabrics. This is dream level status fabric for me, I just absolutely love it! I'm thinking a 1940's draped dress, with some nice details like those above, something just a bit extra with gathers or sash/bows/drapes. I will be taking my time on this one for sure and if anyone has a nice green straw hat they would like to give me to wear with it I would be much obliged!

But before I can get to all this, I have to finish a green gingham dress as I have finally used up all of the gingham in my stash! Can one have too much gingham? The answer is firmly no I believe. What are all of your sewing this summer? Anything extra special in the lineup, or are you stash busting like me? I'm off to finish that gingham dress, hopefully you will be seeing it soon!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Many Colors and Even More Sunshine

For some reason, *ahem* the blinding SUN, it was really hard to get good photos of this outfit! Which is a shame, because I really like it!

This fabric was one of a few I picked up from an Etsy seller based in India a few years ago. They had sooo many good prints and the fabrics were really inexpensive, so I was bummed when the shop later disappeared from Etsy! I haven't done much fabric shopping lately, but hopefully that will change soon as I have so many fabrics on my wish list! I do already have a ton of fabrics still in my stash, but when has that ever stopped anyone from wanting more fabric? I have no motivation to use the fabric I already have, I have ideas for things that require different fabric of course! I must get over this aversion and use what I already have in stock or I'll never get any sewing done this summer :)

I hope you are all having a great week, I'm trying my best to get lost of work done but finding it difficult to sustain the energy required to do so. I want to wave a magic wand and turn the pile of fabric on my ironing board into finished clothing in a flash. Unfortunately I have no such wand, so hopefully I can accomplish these goal the old fashioned way somehow. I'd rather be lazy and watch Ghibli movies all day, I don't feel like adulting this week even if I did turn 26 on Monday! Hopefully my desire for new dresses will outweigh my desire to procrastinate my sewing.

Ah July, it always sneaks up on me and the heat always leaves me more lethargic than I'd like. Still, the middle of summer approaches, and soon we get glorious, incomparably wonderful....autumn! There were pumpkin decorations already at the craft store today, and I was happy to see them <3

Dress & Bracelets: Made by me
Hat, Necklace & Earrings, Clutch, & Belt: Vintage
Shoes: Bait footwear (Royal Vintage Shoes)
Sunglasses: Forever 21

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

How to Make a Bodice Block Pattern from Your Favorite Commercial Pattern (Pattern Drafting)

Well everyone, first I would like to apologize, because I had no idea how few useful commercial patterns there were out right now! I just searched through Simplicity, Butterick, McCalls, and Vogue patterns and I barely found a handful of patterns I think would work well as a base for making your own base block patterns/slopers. It seems like every dress from the big pattern companies has princess seams instead of darts, an empire waist seam, or is intended to be made from knits! Where have all the good basic dress bodice patterns gone?! It is so strange to me! Still, I did find a few patterns I think would be good places to start when you don't want to draft a sloper from scratch.

What we are looking for to work with is a basic two dart style bodice. Apparently these are rarer than I had at first imagined in most commercial pattern lines these days, but some of you may already have an older pattern in your stash that fits the bill.

The Goal:

Below I have drawn a dress bodice over the "goal" basic bodice block from above in gold so that you can see what a regular 2 dart dress pattern might look like laid over the basic bodice block. Also I say 2 darts because each side of the front has two darts, (you may have noticed the basic sloper we drafted originally had only one huge waist dart) even though total that makes for 4 darts on the front. A dress pattern with a style already will have a different neckline perhaps, or may be sleeveless and have straps instead of a full shoulder area. Our goal today is to turn a commercial pattern you may already have lying around (hopefully one you have used before and know you like the general fit of) into a basic bodice block.

Like I have said before, it's easier and less daunting to start with something and then fix it to fit you and your needs and to start with nothing but a list of measurments. Staring at blank paper and a bunch of numbers that are supposed to add up to a sloper can easily be just too much of a hassle for some, and I understand that point of view, so I wanted to note today that you can just modify an existing pattern to get a basic bodice block if that sounds more your speed.

For example, lets say I had no sloper but I did have Vogue V1137 laying around. Well as we can see below, it has the 2 dart style front bodice and 1 dart in the back so it is a good pattern to draft a basic bodice block from.

Start by cutting out the tissue paper pattern and tracing it (or just tracing it without cutting it out if you'd like) onto a larger sheet of paper. Now remember, this traced pattern already has seam allowance included as commercial patterns always include the 5/8" seam allowance, so don't add more seam allowance on later as it's already there!

Because this dress pattern has straps that sit right at the edge of the shoulder, I don't need to extend the shoulder line out past the shoulder tip, but I do need to extend it inwards towards the neckline. So line your ruler up to the short little strap shoulder line and extend that line towards the neck as above.

After that make sure you have the center front extended upwards too until it meets the line from the shoulder as seen above.

Now we need to draw in a new high neckline, so measure out 2.5" from the point where the lines meet along the shoulder line and mark that spot. Do the same 3" down from the point along the center front. Now sketch in a curve connecting these two dashes to form a new ultra high neckline. This neckline may be too tight, or perhaps it could be too open and not high enough, but that's something you will discover when you make the mock up and move onto fixing such issues. We want out basic bodice block to have the highest possible comfortable neckline so that you can use this high neck pattern for adding collars onto if and when you'd like. Most of the time we'll be drawing in a lower neckline for whatever style of dress you'll be making but we want this high neckline as a starting point each time.

Now how does this commercial pattern with its raised neckline compare to my self-drafted base bodice pattern that I actually use? Well as you can see above V1137 is smaller than my pattern, but to be fair that's only really because I just had a size 14 in the vogue pattern and I probably would need a size 16 if I actually were to use that pattern, so imagine if the vogue pattern was one size bigger and they would actually line up rather well! I haven't used a commercial pattern in so long that all of the ones still hidden away in my sewing room wouldn't even fit me anymore since I bought them at age 16!

If you look closely you can see that the side dart on my pattern is much larger than the little dart on the V1137 pattern (V1137 in red there, my dart in black) and that the armholes are different shapes. These differences are mostly due to my needing a FBA (full bust adjustment) on most commercial patterns as they are just not designed with a DD in mind. So were I to make V1137, I would have to do an FBA on the pattern and make a few mock ups to get it right. Which is why I don't use commercial patterns at all anymore when I can just use my own patterns that I know already fit!

What about the back? Same procedure. After you do this initial round of fixing making the commercial pattern look more like a sloper then make a muslin like we did last time and get to fixing the fit and proceed in fixing and fitting until you have a 2 dart bodice block just as you would if you had drafted a sloper first.

If you don't have a 2 dart bodice in your stash of patterns, or have one but you don't like the fit enough to use it to start fitting your basic bodice block, here are four patterns I found in the commercial market that I think are good starting points for making yourself a set of basic block patterns with which to use moving forward.

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