Sunday, June 23, 2013

Another Vintage recreation

So last week, I was browsing on Etsy for vintage dresses that I absolutely do not need, and I fell in love with one.  It wasn't my size, or really my style for that matter, but something about it drew me in.  I don't normally do psychedelic patterns, or straight skirts, and I definitely don't do crewnecks.  It wasn't expensive, per se, but I wasn't really down with shelling out $90 for something that may look horrid on me.

So instead I paid $15 for a psychedelic curtain panel.  I already had a couple similar patterns, so I decided to go with the top from this Simplicity and the skirt from this McCalls.

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I made the McCalls dress two-ish years ago, but I don't think I ever wore it other than for photos. I used some brown and blue plaid, and it was just kind of blah, and I hate collars, and it was a waste of time. The Simplicity pattern was purchased at a farmer's market, and it was one of those things where I was browsing and I didn't actually NEED it, but I bought it to be nice. It's an a'ight dress, just not very exciting. But the bodice was perfect for this particular project. So, this dress took like 3 hours, and I'm super happy with the result. I underlined it in teal cotton, mostly because the fabric was on the sheer side, but also because I wanted to bring out the teal tones. I think the inside looks pretty sweet. I did Hong Kong seams with a contrasting bias tape, and I did bias tape again for the neckline and armholes. Bias tape 4LYF, yo.

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I had a teal nylon zipper that was the exact right length and color, and while I do not love nylon zippers, it was true to the era. I did a lapped zip just like the inspiration photo.

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I finished in on Wednesday night and wore it to work the next day. It is FINALLY hot here. I don't think this dress would look good with a cardigan (maybe a jacket, but doubtful) so I was happy for it to be hot enough to go without. The best part is, I sat all day and it barely got wrinkled.

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My peony bush is out of control. Seriously, they were half this size last year. A massive storm beat them up a little bit too, so I have about 18 jars full all over my house. Anyway, the dress. If there's anything I'd complain about, I wish the skirt flared out a little bit more. I had to hem several inches off and it lost a little bit of it's shape because of that.

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See? Only a little bit wrinkled! This picture was taken after work too, so I'd been sitting for like 9 hours.

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Is this lighting better? Probably not. I didn't get much sewing done this weekend since it was hot and gorgeous. Yesterday was Mike's annual birthday tailgate and we had about 30 friends come and drink and grill and go to the Brewers game. Today was hot and sunny again so we hit the beach for the first time this year. The little bit of sewing I did consisted of altering the pink vintage dress I got a couple weeks ago.  I know there are a lot of strong opinions about altering vintage, so I think I will do a post about that this week.  I'd love to discuss the pros and cons.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Updates

Summer is getting busy and there hasn't been as much time for sewing the last couple weeks.  We went camping the first weekend in June, and last weekend, we went to a baseball game on Friday, a birthday party in Chicago on Saturday, and Locust St. Fest on Sunday.  In addition to that, I joined a gym and have been taking group fitness classes.  All of this is cutting significantly into my sewing time.  I'm not fretting, though. I have a few projects in the works that I am excited to start.

First off, let me share a few pictures of me wearing my Flag Day dress!  I wore it Sunday to the Locust St Festival and I even did the Beer Run in it.  It's 1.8 miles with 4 beer stops.  Okay, I walked.  I've run it other years, but I didn't want to have to bring clothes to change into, and I didn't want to walk around the rest of the day all sweaty.

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I had around 8 people come up to me and say they liked my dress and asked where I got it. Several people said they would buy it if I sold them. Hmmm. It's tempting, but I know that once I start doing that, it will become an obligation and it won't be fun anymore. I am pretty happy with sewing things just for myself.

My next project is going to be to recreate this dress I saw for sale on Etsy. It's priced reasonably for a great vintage dress, but it's not my size and I know that I can make myself something similar.

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Cute, hey?!  If anyone would like to buy it, I found it here. I bought this vintage curtain panel, also on Etsy, for $15.  Since I already have a pattern, that's all the dress is costing me.

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I am hoping to start on that this weekend! Oh, I have one more exciting thing to share with you! I decided to enter a few things in the Wisconsin State Fair. They have a Textile & Craft exhibition, and I am entering in four categories. The one I am most excited about is Class 10: Independent Pattern - using an independent pattern company pattern. Rad. It's like that one was made for me. Obviously I am entering my Colette Chantilly. I think I've got this one in the bag.

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I am also entering in Class 6: Adult Full Costume. Hopefully my hard work on Effie Trinket will pay off!

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Thirdly, I am doing Class 12: One Piece Dress. I'm entering the Flag Day dress because it's one of the most nicely-finished dresses I've made, and I think they will appreciate my patriotic spirit!

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Lastly, I submitted an entry for Class 8: Cocktail, Dinner, or Bridesmaid dress. I am not sure what I am going to make yet! I have until July 16th to drop it off at the fair, so that should give me plenty of time to decide.

I'm off to enjoy the weather.  Happy summer, everyone!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Flag Day Simplicity 5891

Mike and I are having a Flag Day party next Friday, well, really for no other reason than it's been a long time since we've had a party and we're due.  We're going to wear patriotic clothing, drink beer, play games, and grill meats.  America!  Fuck Yeah.

So, I need a dress.  I wanted something with stars, maybe, and definitely stripes, and obviously red white & blue.  I ended up finding some cream Swiss dot with a red and blue floral pattern that I fell in love with.  It's nowhere near as tacky as I imagined, but hey, now I can wear it on days other than patriotic holidays.

I used Simplicity 5891, which I have made several times before.  I made a wearable muslin back in 2011.  Then I made the real thing using some sheer white shirting with blue polka dots.  The pattern sat idle for a few years before I dug it out to make a collarless version, which became my ill-fated Thanksgiving Dress.  Then it redeemed itself with another collarless version, this time with the pencil skirt, to be worn to a Christmas party


Despite past problems, I really do like this pattern.  The skirt is pretty full, but it uses pleats for fullness instead of gathers.  I love me some gathered skirts, but it's nice to change things up a bit.  I did things a little bit differently this time.  The pattern has a back zip, but I changed it to a side zip.  The fabric is pretty thin/sheer, so I wanted as few seams as possible.  I also slightly lowered the neckline, both in front and back. The skirt pieces aren't meant to be cut on the fold, but my fabric was wide enough, so I did. I think a seam running down the front would be pointless and distracting, anyway. I did French seams on my skirt.

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And Hong Kong seams on my bodice. I have a shoebox of packages of double-fold bias tape, so I better start using it.

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Speaking of bias tape, I used it for binding the armholes and neckline. I used a pretty blue and white polka dot tape and it looks adorable and was super easy to do. You know what? Fuck facings. I am never doing them again.

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 I even finished my waistband! The fabric was thin and gauzy, so in addition to looking nice and neat, it reinforces the seam.

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It looks just as clean inside out as it does right side in.

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My only flub was the zipper. It looks mostly good, except it pulls away a little where the bodice meets the skirt. I will have to fix that. I think that's because it got too thick due to the bias tape I used to finish the waistband. I should have had it end before the zipper. I did a lapped zipper and I hand-picked the part you can see.

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And here's some shots of the finished dress. I don't want to wait a whole week to wear it, so it's going to make it's debut at a birthday party this Saturday!

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Me-Made May '13 Final Week and Reflections

Me-Made May is done! I am so happy I took part this year.  It made me really appreciate all my homemade clothing and the effort I put into it.  I never ran out of things to wear or got bored with my wardrobe, which is pretty incredible considering I often stare at my closet for upwards of 15 minutes thinking "I hate everything".  I'm sure it helped (okay, it helped a ton) that it is warm out and I love summery clothes, and that is primarily what I sew.  If you remember, I failed spectacularly at Me-Made March 2011.

Here's what I wore the final week! Day 27 I wore my old friend the Colette Sencha. This particular blouse is one of my favorite things I've sewn and I think it will be a wardrobe staple for a long time to come.

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 Day 28 I wore another Colette pattern, the Chantilly dress. This is my #2 favorite out of the four I've made, and I like that I was able to transition it from winter and tights + cardigan to summery with bare arms and sandals. You can see a little peek of the next day's shirt on my ironing board!

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Day 29 I whipped up another Sewaholic Alma with some vintage fabric from my mother in law. My husband thought this top looked a little childish, but I got a ton of compliments on it and even had someone ask me if I bought it from Anthropologie. It was a quick sew and I will probably make a few more with the different sleeve and neckline variations.

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Day 30 was my least favorite outfit of the week. I used to LOVE this dress, but it fits terribly, and fit is one thing I have gotten MUCH better at. I ended up having to pin the straps shorter mid-day because my boobs were hanging out. It's in the "fix" pile, but truthfully I might never get around to it. The fabric is faded and has some stains, and it's just not very well made. It serves to show how much better I have gotten in the last three years.

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And finally, Day 31 I wore my favorite variation of my Swirl dress project. This dress was a pain to make, but it looks really great, inside and outside. It's definitely one of my summer staples.

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So, what was my favorite garment that I wore? I'm going to have to go with my white eyelet Sewaholic Alma. I have worn this blouse a shameful number of times in the last month. I know it's going to be something that will wear out long before I stop loving it and I'll have to painfully part with it. I can always make another, though!

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Yesterday, even though my pledge was over, I still reached for a homemade dress. I've decided for now to stop buying store-bought clothes, and to only buy vintage or make my own. I mean, there will be obvious exceptions like workout gear and underwear, but I'm going to try really hard to limit what I'm buying new. This month has been really great for me, and I'm excited to continue.