Friday, August 2, 2013

pretty papers, pretty ribbons

So I do have a Hawthorn to show you all, but it'll have to wait for the weekend as it's in the wash at the moment.

Instead, I found a kind of awesome fabric deal I want to share in case any of you are interested in brightly patterned Marc Jacobs silk/cotton twill.

images: fabric mart, bluefly, bloomingdale's, barney

I bought a few yards of the black fabric (Bluefly calls it deep navy; ça marche) quite awhile ago because I recognized it from Ms. Rashida Jones' Parks & Rec wardrobe. Apparently, it also briefly appeared on Gossip Girl.

A week ago, I was searching for an image of the fabric online so I could add it to Evernote (kind of a brilliant way to keep track of fabric stash, by the way -- and yes, I'm too lazy to just take a picture of my fabric without checking to see if one is already available) and I found one on FFC. Both the black/navy and the red-orange print are available! Black is 5.75/yd and orange is on sale for 3.95/yd -- they were both on sale a week ago when I, um, bought a few yards of each.

Here's the thing: they're calling it rayon challis. So when I ordered, I had no idea whether the fabrics were the silk/cotton twill I hoped for, or if they really were rayon challis. I think $4-5/yd is an average price for rayon challis, but pretty great for designer silk/cotton twill so I took the risk. You know, for science.

The fabric arrived yesterday, and guess what, guys? It is silk cotton twill! Or at least definitely twill, and most likely a silk/cotton blend since a. it just feels like it and b. I've only seen this print available in the form of silk/cotton dresses and blouses (well, and silk organza, which this definitely isn't). I'm not a chemist, but I'm satisfied.

So buy some for cheap if you want! Or don't -- maybe you hate ribbons and garish prints? I don't know, but I wanted to put it out there.

(It goes without saying that these aren't sponsored links or anything, right? I don't usually order from this particular merchant because they're pretty haphazard when it comes to labeling. Case in point? But this time, I went for it because I love the print and I was pleasantly surprised rather than bitterly disappointed by online fabric shopping!)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

come saturday

So, last week was pretty exciting for me: First, I won the Closet Case Files giveaway for the By Hand London Victoria blazer pattern! Thanks, Heather Lou! Summer short-suit, here I come....

And then Colette released the much anticipated new shirt-dress pattern!

Oh, and I also got married!

Brooklyn Borough Hall is a surprisingly efficient place, and it's even kind of pretty inside. For some reason, I'd anticipated that a trip to the marriage bureau would be similar to going to the DMV, but thankfully that's not the case at all.

 We didn't hire a photographer or anything, but both of my parents ended up coming to town so they snapped a few photos of the occasion.

I was glad that my dress (V1288) was both short & sleeveless, because last Tuesday was a killer of a day: both incredibly hot and humid.  Also, it's pretty fun to make your own wedding dress and opt-out of the intense shopping pressure. (Not that I didn't have some sewing-room pressure -- my first dress was actually a spectacularly failed Oolong. I may share some pictures of that later, as soon as I can face the creeping, crooked seam lines.)

I was at the beach for the rest of the week, so I pretty much spent all my time in swimsuits, or shorts and tees. So last week reminded me that I need to refine my summer wardrobe. Usually I prefer wearing breezy cotton dresses when it's hot, but I've really culled a lot of ill-fitting or worn-out clothes from my closet, and there aren't many summer dresses left. 
Fortunately, I do have a number of breezy cotton prints, and I think Hawthorn will be perfect for them! I was also excited to notice that the pattern also includes a button-up blouse -- as much as I admire the ease of pullover blouses, they usually don't look great on me.

Monday, June 10, 2013

shake it up

Um, so clearly I dropped the ball re: MMM'13 but let's just move past all that, eh? How about I show you something I just made instead!

Meet Vogue 1288, the sequined Badgley Mischka cocktail dress. I used a cream cotton/rayon allover lace, and I underlined the main dress with a peachy silk taffeta. It also happens to be my wedding dress, for a city hall ceremony next week! I'm pretty sure I won't be wearing this dress very often (the lace is kind of prone to snags, and the invisible zipper really likes to snack on it every time it zips) but I'm surprised to find myself in love with the shape of it! I think I'll be making another one soon -- maybe in silk crepe? I just love the look of Novita's  version of V1288.

Another thing to love: I finished this dress in a day! All of it -- from cutting to hemming -- was completed on Sunday! So that definitely counts as success as far as I'm concerned.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

MMM'13 - week one

A quick Me-Made-May round-up. I did succeed in wearing 3 garments, but two of them are possibly stretching the spirit of MMM a bit, because... well, you'll see.

First, on Wednesday or Thursday I wore my Simplicity 1696 jeans. I made them awhile ago, and have worn them a few times... but this week was my last. The pattern actually worked really well for me, but the stretch denim is awful. They look great for the first five minutes out of the dryer, but they get sloppier and sloppier as the day goes on until they're practically falling off me. Of course, I found this Sandra Betzina tip to prevent excessive stretching shortly after I made them -- I'll remember it for next time! I hate to wear this pair just because I made them, so in the spirit of love it or leave it: they're gone!

And now for Friday night's look:

Yes, it's lounge wear. (I didn't quite relish the idea of releasing pictures of me in my skivvies on the internet.) I knit the lace-edged camisole from a Jennie Atkinson book mostly out of grey cashmere yarn from Colourmart, and it is super soft & cozy. The silk crepe undies are kind of a hybrid of a 1940s lingerie pattern and a draft-your-own elasticized tap pant pattern I once had bookmarked. They're cut on the bias so they're quite glamorous... at least, they were until I added the bright blue fold-over elastic! Sometimes I wear them under dresses, and sometime I just like to lounge around my house, feeling luxurious. (Okay, so maybe that's most of the time!)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

lacy laurel

I had envisioned knocking out 3 or 4 Laurel dresses by the end of April, but I got sidetracked into the exhilarating realm of swimwear. (Did you know it's possible to make a bathing suit in two hours? Magic! But more on that later.)

So now it's the end of April and I ended up with only two Laurels: a sleeveless blouse, which is somewhere in my laundry bin, and a dress. A sort of sixties, scalloped-hem lace shift!

Underlining: what a drag, right? I mean, it's not really that bad... I'm just impatient, and both fabrics were a little shifty. (The lace is a Maggy London cotton/rayon blend, and the underlining is a pale yellow satin-faced rayon.) But I only underlined the body of the dress, and I basted my darts carefully... it went together pretty well, if slowly.

I did have a little hiccup with the fit -- in fact, I almost chucked this dress at one point. For some reason, even though I tested the fit with the blouse, the dress was about 6 inches too large all around. I didn't take any photos, but if you can imagine a lace potato sack then you're not far off. But I did not want to give up after all that underlining, so I proceeded to skim in an inch and a half from both side seams. And now that it's finished, I'm glad I persevered!

It's not exactly work appropriate... at least not for my work, which can get a little dirty. But I think it will be perfect for summer parties because it is such a breezy style! And it looks great over tights, so I suspect it might become my easy holiday party dress, too.

I love the hem -- and my sweet little dog, too.
Also, I think it's high time to participate in a Me-Made-May, so here goes:  'I pledge to wear at least 3 handmade garments each week for the duration of May 2013. I will also endeavor to post my efforts once  a week, and I aim to make two garments before the end of May 2013'

My other goal, which sort of relies on attempting MMM'13, is to find the holes in my closet as well as to ferret out the things I never wear. (I've been doing a little of it here and there since moving and losing a LOT of closet space, but I want to really REALLY do it now. So MMM is the push I need to get the wardrobe I need.) So here goes!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

little red corvette

Rather than work on any of my planned spring/summer wardrobe projects, I settled in for a little instant gratification project this weekend.

Burda 8155 is the kind of skirt you can wear pretty much anywhere at any time. (Really more like a sensible Toyota -- but people don't write songs about Corollas, do they?) And it is super quick: I cut into the fabric Saturday afternoon, and stitched the whole thing together Sunday evening.

I used a red wool gabardine for the skirt (squeezed from the leftovers from a failed pair of pants) and some silkyish rayon for the lining. I'm glad I added a lining -- it really contributes a lot in the way of comfort, plus it's quite cheerful! I also added a vent, because it seemed like a better idea than the suggested back slit. I didn't love either of the Burda waistband options, either. The taller curved option looks pretty & interesting, but I know from experience that those kinds of things always crumple and collapse on me no matter how much interfacing I use. The other option was a rectangular waistband piece, which I don't find terribly comfortable. Instead, I drafted a curved waistband à la this Colette tutorial. 

I did make one glaring mistake.... Somehow, I managed to accidentally cut the front skirt piece into two pieces and the back skirt piece on the fold. I was so pleased that I'd remembered to add a little extension for a vent on the back pattern piece that I didn't notice I was actually holding the front! Since I only had a smallish piece of the fabric I couldn't re-cut another front, so I had to roll with it. At least I noticed before I stitched the darts, so I was able to adjust them appropriately. The fit is a little weird, but not awful.
I'm only sharing the 2nd photo because: wtf where is my leg??
All in all, I'm very pleased with my new red skirt! I wore it to work today with a striped sweater (a warm & cozy wool/cashmere blend found on Sunday afternoon at Beacon's Closet for only $11!) but I can't wait until the weather is warm enough to pair it with a boatload of tiny pocket tanks!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

let's do it

Planning a spring sewing schedule while snow is literally still falling takes a fair amount of optimism, but here we are. 

I'm not the most organized person, so I really have only one aim: to participate in Me-Made-May this year. It's kind of  a sneaky goal, because it sounds small (only one thing!) but actually requires me to plan rather a lot more than I usually do. I've been sewing   s l o w l y  for more than a year or so, but the number of finished garments that I really love to wear is quite small. I think this partially because it took awhile for my skills to catch up with the mental images of what I wanted to sew, but also because I kept making the mistake of using fabrics that were only okay or even blah. So without further ado, here is a handful of the projects I plan to tackle over the coming weeks months.

First up, I desperately need an Alma blouse in my closet. (Okay, I probably need about five of them but let's start with the one.) I have a few cotton lawns and rayon blouse-weights that I plan to use eventually, but I think my first make will be View B in the adorable Fox Portrait print with a chocolate brown collar. Yes, it's technically a quilting cotton, but it has quite a nice hand to it and I think it will work quite well for Alma. 

In an entirely different direction: Clothhabit's Rosy Ladyshorts! I've sewn simple undies before, though I foresee a slight learning curve with these beauties because the construction is less familiar to me. The fabric is a gorgeous rose-embroidered stretch lace I picked up at Mood the day Lauren came to town! Yes, I'll probably count them for MMM -- no, I won't be modeling them! (And neither will you see me in my recently constructed Amersons.)

Ideally there will be a matching Rosy-lady bra in my future, because I want to be one of those women who have beautiful matching lingerie... despite all evidence to the contrary. 
Next: a silk-cotton twill I've been holding on to for at least a year. I first spotted this fabric on Parks & Recreation, in the form of a dress worn by Ann Perkins. (Can we pause a minute to admire Rashida Jones in basically everything she wears, ever?) When it appeared on fabricmart, I scooped up a few yards... and it's been hanging out in my closet untouched ever since. Apparently I have no imagination, because I can really only envision it as a dress very similar to Ann's. I'm not sure if I have both of those McCalls patterns or just the top one, but either way it's exactly the kind of simple dress that I wear all the time. (Simplicity 2215 is another possibility.)
Another girly print, this time a rayon challis! I'm completely not sure if Simplicity 1777 is right for me, but it does seem totally right for this fabric! Forties styles usually work for me, and I love the v-neck version of this retro pattern. All that gathering around the front inset has me a little worried though, so I'm definitely testing it out in a shittier fabric first. It might be too much fabric around the midsection.

If it ends up looking horribly wrong, then I'll make a Cambie dress instead -- I'll be making a Cambie anyway eventually, so why not make the sweetest rosiest floraliest Cambie ever?
I've never worked with lace before, so this project might be a considerable challenge. Rumor has it that the soon-to-be-released Colette pattern just might be a simple shift dress -- at least, I really hope so, because then I know exactly what I'll making with this geometric black cotton lace. I'm not sure how I'll handle the underlaying fabric. On the one hand, I love the way black lace looks over this creamy satin... but it's sort of earmarked for another project, and a bright color under black is equally fun and arguably more summery. I do love some moody black-over-putty though, so we'll see.
Finally on a possibly deluded note, I'm also considering a wedding dress. I'm getting married at some point this summer, and while big poufy-princess-cupcake-down-the-aisle isn't my thing, I do love getting dressed up & fancy! What I really want is a slightly casual shape in a nice silk fabric.

The satin-faced buttercream rayon would do very nicely, but I also have a few yards of an ivory sandwashed silk. I think something interesting like Rachel Comey's V1209 or Colette Oolong would shine in a plain-yet-luxurious fabric (actually if I could just steal recreate the exact Colette sample, I totally would) while the simpler Simplicity 1873 or V1288 would be best with some lace for textural contrast. I like the idea of a removable lace layer, so that the dress itself could be worn more frequently...  but that probably requires more skill and patience than I possess.

V8827 is admittedly a bit of a dark horse, but sallieoh's dress/robe version is so stunning that it tempts me mightily. Furthermore, I'm not even set on shades of white, so really anything goes. (V8827 would look waaaay too much like a bathrobe/dressing gown in white silk!) The black lace shift dress I'm planning could also do double duty as a wedding dress if I end up not tackling a second dress.

So that's the tentative plan*, which I now realize looks a little saccharine. But right now my closet is a vast sea of extreme   y a w n .  Somehow, I've worn all of my favorites to their faded threadbare deaths, and I'm left with a lot of boring clothes. At some point, I'll need to sew some basics (and basic need not be boring, right?) but for now I need to fill up on fun!

*I'm sure this plan will also lead to some abject failure too, if we're being honest -- but what the hell, that's what plans are.