BWOF 11-2007 #107 : Pink and Cream Seersucker Cross Dart Dress

Oh, hey.

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I don’t know know that there is a seersucker I don’t like.  I started this dress almost two months ago to wear to a summer ‘picnic wedding’ in upstate NY where the dress was ‘summer semi-formal’. I didn’t get it done in time :-(

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My sewing of this dress greatly benefited from having lots of extra fabric. I had to recut the bodice three time due to incredible user error. I first used this seersucker to make a sailor-inspired skirt two years ago. The fabric is kind of see through, so this time I underlined the bodice with cotton batiste.

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I’ve wanted to make this dress since it came out in 2007. I thought the bodice darts were so interesting. Add a full pleated skirt and it’s totally speaking my language.

 

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Not only did I need an FBA, I had to move the darts down a good 1.5 inches too in addition to changing the angle of the darts downward. So, while it doesn’t look exactly like the original, it fits and flatters me so much better.

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Like a dolt, I sewed up the shoulders and sides before remembering the correct sleeveless construction order. That meant I needed to use a bit of bias at the neckline so I could clean finish everything. This would have also looked awesome if I’d used the binding at the armholes too (thought for next time).

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The inside of this dress is really my favorite. I used the time consuming but my favorite method: facing lining combo.  I drafted the bodice lining using the included facing. I looks so ready to wear to me! It’s much more work, but worth the effort I think. There is no peeping out of lining from the sleeves or neckline this way.

I used ALL the machines on this dress. Sewn up on my Bernina 830 using the AMAZING invisible zipper foot.

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Seriously. Perfect insertion every time. I hate to admit that this sucker was worth the $40.

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The hem of the lining is made with my Brother Coverstitch (my new favorite way to do lining).

 

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And the hem of the dress itself is secured with rayon tape and my Japanese-made  blind hemmer (using the invisible thread).

Seriously. All. The. Machines.

I think this dress would benefit from a belt. But, I don’t have one that works. Yet. I’m thinking a pale blue or teal? I would also make the tulle underskirt if I need this for dress up rather than work.

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Overall, I’m meh on the dress. I put a ton of effort in to it. But, I really don’t like it on me. On the dressform it’s rocking. But, the proportions are ever so slightly off on me and I look like a rectangle.  I’m sorry it didn’t make it to the wedding as thematically it was perfect. I am just off my sewing game as of late. I have one more skirt to post that I made a few weeks ago and I’ll be caught up in project back log.

BurdaStyle 5-2010 #104: The Accidental Maternity Top

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I bought this delightful silk / cotton fabric from Mood four years ago when I was in NY for the Met / Brooklyn Museum High Style exhibition. I’ve really, truly, hoarded it looking for the right pattern. This fabric was everything to me. It’s got polka dots, has contrast, and has pink. And, to me, the pink dots remind me of the halo/pink sapphire of my engagement ring. Really, it’s screams my name.

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I didn’t check reviews for this pattern until after it was cut and I was sewing. Imagine my delight  (read: here horror) when I saw every review made it up AS A MATERNITY TOP. There’s a reason for that. I look three months pregnant. And, I am so not pregnant.

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Now, I like this top. I love the colors. I love that it’s breezy. But, there’s a definite expecting vibe. The pink and blue probably don’t help. What I’m not sure about the material is how ‘secure’ it is. I messaged Peter on Twitter (he made it up into a man skirt) and asked if he secured the seams in any paticular way. The design is loose enough that I’m not straining the seams. That said, I’m being super careful with it: hand wash, careful to take it off and on, etc. Yes, I could have used silk organza in the seams to reinforce… but, I didn’t.

I’m also not modeling it. Why? I don’t have any bottoms that ‘go’. Yes, I sewed an orphan. But, orphan sewing has stopped me from making the separates I so desperately need. So, I’m going to plow ahead and make separates anyway. Otherwise, I’ll jut never do it.

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For this pattern, I used the shirring method from the Vogue Sewing book. You use elastic thread in your bobbin, secure the ends with hand tied knots, and stitch over those with pink tucks. It’s a’ight. I’ve never shirred before so I’m glad I got to try it out. Not my greatest work. But, you have to try something to learn something.

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On the neckline, I used bias trip to create some interest. And, sewed up the V a bit for modesty’s sake (i.e. no cleavage in the office). I also took the sleeves from the dress version rather than the strips in the tunic top. Oh, I also made a one inch FBA. I think I could have added another 1/2 inch to the length to get it perfectly under the boobage.

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Ok. Now, my shame. The shirring is off center (and kind of sloppy). ARGH. I look at it and all I see is off-center shirring. It’s off by about 1.25 inches. I thought it was centered when I put it together. But, obviously it’s not.  Jordan assures me when on it’s not noticeable. Mostly, because I look pregnant. His words. Not mine.  I’ll be honest with you, it’s bad, but I have no interest in taking it apart and fixing. Mostly because I just don’t think the fabric can handle it.

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Nice enough top. Probably better for maternity.  Not my greatest work. Saved by my absolute unabated love of the print. I’ll wear it while I can. Hopefully, the material is stronger than I’m giving it credit for.


Youse guys! I have a new job that I start next week.  The thing is, I’m going from a strictly businesses dress/ political gig  for pretty much my entire career to a totally casual private sector job.  I mean, we had a strict dress code at my high school. I remember being absolutely startled when a mid 20s guy I was dating didn’t own a suit (we went to church every weekend growing up in clothes that didn’t get worn the rest of the week). Top ten embarrassing moment  was the Executive Producer at the Washington TV station I was interning at pulling me aside to say my knee-length short suit with blazer from Dress Barn was not appropriate for work and she wasn’t comfortable sending me to a press conference  on the Hill. I was mortified. I am super conscious of what I wear to work. When I interviewed for the new gig, there were people in shorts! Jeans! Tanks tops! I mean I knew people went to work not wearing ties or high heels. But, this. This felt like anarchy!

It was bizarre to me that this feels like an existential crisis. I’d actually had this post queued up for over a month now. But, worried I sounded crazy for not knowing what to wear to work or feeling weird about not being in business dress. Now, I  feel in good company! I read Audrey’s post last night about her office going to casual wear. In my position the last year, I was the one who instituted a business casual dress code (no jeans, flip flops) and people damn near revolted.  I still stayed business (dresses, occasional suit). Because, I’ve always had to dress up for work. Now, I don’t want to be the most overdressed person in the office. But, I also totally can’t get with shorts and jeans.

Robin and I talked about this a little (since new job is practically in the parking lot of her development) and we both think we couldn’t do totally casual. I’ve been home the last week sewing for the new job and just trying to take a mental health break. I’ve completed a dress, skirt and tunic. I plan to trace out three more items and sew at least one more before I start working again. The all-to-me sewing time is unbeatable!

Exposed Facing Silk Jersey Top: New Look 6648

I’ve been blogging for seven years now and can hardly believe it. Many people I greatly respected when I started blogging no longer blog. And, that’s fine. Life happens. But, thankfully, most have kept their blogs up with old tutorials still available to us. Today, I have to give a nod to Gigi of the Sewing Divas and Gigi Sews / Behind the Seams fame. Not only have I totally copied her 2008 tutorial on adding an exposed facing to this New Look top. I actually used the same fabric in a different colorway from her third iteration.

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This fabric has been in my stash for six years (insert maniacal laugh). And, don’t fret, I also have it in the same rose/ pink colorway that Gigi does. I don’t have terribly much to say about this much reviewed pattern that hasn’t been said before.

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Oddly enough, I made this top six or seven years ago from cotton and gave it to my mom. In a lot of ways I feel like I’m just easing back into sewing after a long break. This seemed like a good palette cleanser.

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Now, I essentially did all of Gigi’s alterations: lowered neckline 1/2 inch, brought in shoulders one inch on each side (I have narrow shoulders) added the exposed facing, removed ruching from waist.

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What I didn’t do (and should have) was take care to match the waistband motif with the bodice. Sadly, the stripes didn’t match up and I didn’t have enough fabric to recut.

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And, I used my coverstitch whenever possible. Here on the sleeve hems and to secure the waistband. I think I HATE having my photos taken for blogging by Jordan and it shows all over my face in these pictures. It feels so awkward! And, I feel like a massive nag by telling him to retake photos, take more than on in each pose, check the exposure, zoom in on this detail of that. Argh. I think I’m just going to stick with my tripod in the future. The tripod does exactly what I want and doesn’t get salty when I give ‘helpful suggestions’.

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I am 100 percent in love with this top and it’s totally luxurious in silk jersey. I was going to use this fabric for the Vogue 1244 dress I just completed and I am so glad I didn’t. I’m all about upgrading my look for a more expensive vibe.

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This past weekend was the wedding weekend I was rabidly sewing for last week (before Minneapolis). Sadly, I didn’t finish my pink seersucker dress. I just didn’t have time! So, I wore a ready to wear one I’ve had for a few years in pink and white houndstooth. No face featured as this was one of the worst sets of photos I’ve ever taken, LOL.

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I’d love to remake this dress (with an FBA). Kindly ignore that fold above my bust.

Also, we traveled with Linus this weekend to upstate NY for the wedding.  He sat on my lap the entire way there and back.

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We also forgot his food bowls. Hence, he drank from the Days Inn ice bucket. Which, is nearly as big as him.  He’s a great dog to travel with. I had no idea!

Never Say Never. Dress Into a Skirt.

I’ve always said that I ‘sew’.  I don’t ‘refashion’.  When I went to Florida to visit my dad, one goal to was organize my mom’s personal items. My dad was just. not. ready.  But, he was good about me taking any mementos I wanted. So, I went ahead and selected a few items from her closet that I wanted to preserve in some way. It was remarkable to go through her things because an unbelievable amount were either items I bought for her when I worked retail, clothes I made specifically for her, altered for her or clothes for myself that she got when they no longer fit me. She was always happy and excited for any of them. So, there were a great number of memories in her  closet.

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Inow have this fairly sizable stack of clothing that belongs to her that I don’t want to just give away (won’t fit me because she was teeny). But, I also don’t want to be a hoarder! That leaves me with a bit of refashioning to do. Never, say never. Refashioning these items will allow me to keep the memories of the garment, but still get use of them.

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This dress I made six years ago in 2008 (WHERE DOES THE TIME GO??)  I loved this dress!! But, it was before I knew to make a FBA. And, I couldn’t wear it with my strapless bra which made me my ‘real’ size vs smushing me in. So, I gave it to my mom who wore it to church with a little jacket. I always loved this fabric from my trip to Ghana and worked *really* hard on the dress: silk organza underlining, motif matching, pieced waistband, hand picked zipper — the works!

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So, I’ve turned it into a skirt! I removed the bodice, redistributed the pleats and added a narrow waistband. I can’t tell you how much I love the Perfect Waist Maker by  Dritz (below). Perfect for making interfaced straight waistbands. I need to buy it by the roll.

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Now, the fabric is back in my life, I get to remember my mom, and I have a new skirt.

I sewed like I was single over Mother’s Day weekend. I sent J. to his parent’s house and sewed, sewed, sewed with Linus at my side. Which means, I have three (!!) completed projects — all previewed on my Instagram and to be worn on my Memorial Day vacay to Minneapolis. Love the colors of this knit dress!

Review: Hot Patterns 2004: Mr. H.P. Hemmingway Windcheater

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Almost three months past his birthday, Jordan’s got a new jacket! I bought this HP pattern back in 2013 with the thought I would sew it up for a Hanukkah gift. Then, I promised it as a February birthday gift. Luckily, Jordan is patient.

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I love how the HP Windcheater is modeled after high end and very expensive jackets. I submit to you the Filson Fisherman Parka

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At $500 that was never going to be purchased by me.

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I think my version looks pretty similar to theirs in blue!

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So, fabric is a cotton from Mood that I purchased in store in 2013. It’s navy blue cotton with a waterproof layer sandwiched in between. I don’t think it’s super breathable, but, it has great hand. It generally sewed fine with a regular needle. But, when I got to the buttonholes on the front I tried three different needles before the stitching ‘took’. I used a leather needle as it is A designed to go through non-wovens and performed like a champ.

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The lining is a cotton flannel from Joanns that he picked out himself. The sleeves have a silky lining to make it easier to take on and off.

Alterations:

  • Add an inch in length to the jacket
  • Add a inch to the sleeves (he likes them long)
  • Broad back adjustment for movement ease while on his Vespa
  • Added a pleat to the lining for movement ease
  • Scoop out the center front neck at the hood to accommodate for his larger neck.

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Looking at the completed garment I think the shoulders are a little long/ wide for him and I’ll shorten them a bit next time. And, the neck is still tight for him and I’ll need to scoop that out some more.

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For the zipper, I used a two way zip so when he’s on his Vespa or bike, he can unzip from the bottom. I bought and had it cut at Stadham Sewing.

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I also skipped snaps and went with buttons.  He chose these buttons from my stash.

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I didn’t do the drawstring waist. He said he would never use it.

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I added a zipper to the chest pocket. Just big enough to hold his iPhone.

So, I don’t want to gush, but I think he looks so stinking good in this jacket! And, not because of my sewing. I think it just fits him really well, and I love him in navy (and dark green and browns).

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It took me a long time to make this pattern because I’m lazy and it’s the first ‘real’ thing I’ve sewn since last July! I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve *really* sewn.  It felt incredibly good to sit down at a sewing machine and watch a project come together.

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I can see using this pattern over and over and over. And, I’d really like to make a two-tone version for myself like these Universal Works jackets that retails for $345 (it’s unlined).

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The next time I make this, I will use pre-installed drawstring and elastic. You’ll note that I have in the grommets. But, no drawstring yet.

And, I will add interior pockets like so

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and so

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Too bad it’s now too warm for him to wear the jacket…

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Burda Magazine 12-2010 No. 102: Alexis Carrington Dress

There are several patterns from Burda I’ve had my eye on for years and years.  This wrap dress with the drapey sleeves is one such. I sewed it way back in August to wear on my dativersary. But, it seemed too late fall for what ended up being a warm summer night. Plus, I thought it was more mid 80s corporate takeover than va va voom.

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I meant to wear it and take some photos before two months passed. But, wonderful and terrible things happened at the same time and now I’m just getting around to actually wearing it and taking pictures!

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I was drawn to the drapey sleeves and the wrap style (totally flattering on me) and the relatively straight skirt.

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For this dress, I went in to the Carol Collection and chose these blue with purple maple leaf motif. Do you like that my dress has maple leaves and there are maple leaves on the ground? Do you? Yes? The fabric is a polyester print with a thick silky hand (confirmed by my burn test).

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It’s totally Alexis Carrington from Dallas, no? I also considered naming it the Oh, Canada Dress by virtue of the maple leaves.  I loves it!

I didn’t change too much here. I made a FBA (and of course forgot to make the same adjustment to the facing). Yep. I  sewed the facing too. I don’t know why I’m not hating facings like I used to. On this, I love the smooth and firmness of the wrap. I reinforced the neckline, armholes and waist for support.

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The hems on the sleeves and skirt are finished on my blind hemmer

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I don’t have terribly much to say other than I really love this dress. You’ll never find something like this in the store. And, it’s somehow ‘dressier’ than my other work dresses.

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I don’t think my sleeves look anything like the draft nor the model’s. Mine don’t seem quite drapey enough.

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And, the obligatory photo of the back

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Nice pattern. Will def be making it again in the future. Especially since it has sleeves!

Burda 9-2012-109: Black Eyelet Dress

I needed a dark / black dress that I hadn’t just been seen in.  I really don’t have a lot of dark clothing. Since I had minimal time to sew, I chose something I’d already traced and worked out my fit issues,  Burda 9-2012-109. I made it first in a blue sweater knit. This time, I sewed it up in a woven black cotton eyelet from my stash.

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Since the dress was going to be SO BORING in solid black, I decided I wanted sleeves with an impact. I stole these awesome flutter sleeves out of the December 2011 Burda.

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These sleeves give both me and the dress life!  I actually wish I could have made the dress this came on (below).

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But, I was 3/4 of a yard short in the only other black fabric I have. Actually, I had to cut two inches off the length of this dress to eek all the parts out of this dress.

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The fit was pretty loose and I ended up taking in the waist by a total of three inches. I’d already worked out my French dart FBA from my knit version. I also added binding to the neck, like the knit version.

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The dress is lined in a rayon lining (breathable for summer). The hemline is done with Snug Hug seam tape and my blind hem. The lining is sewn with my coverstitch using the hemmer/ feller foot from Brother.

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I love it when a plan comes together (and I get to use every single machine in my arsenal). Of course, since this was practically made overnight, now my mom thinks I can make a dress at the drop of a hat! But, this was already worked out and just three pattern pieces and made interesting with the sleeves.

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I’m going to see if I have enough of my pink and cream seersucker to make another.

Vogue 8888: Minty Green and Black Lace Chemise

Minty green and black are so retro, aren’t they?

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This is my third foray into sewing clothes I can sleep in. My flannel short set and flannel pyjama pants are still going strong. I made this nightgown last year, but it didn’t hold up well. I decided to dig into deep stash and sew this minty green stretch silk. I bought this fabric back in 2007 to copy a dress a friend has. I just never got around to sewing it.

Vogue 8888 (from Vogue website)

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I think this is so pretty!! I’ve always wanted pretty things to sleep in. For this pattern, I made a one inch FBA and no swayback adjustment. I’m bustier than the model and will tell you the slip has a great level of cleavage.

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The awesome black lace was gifted to me from Kathi R. I love how it plays against the mint green. I was worried it was too sharp a contrast and would have done better with something lighter. But, I love how the colors play against each other through the lace.

The pattern calls to be cut on the bias. But, I went up two sizes, cut cut on the straight grain and with the stretch of the silk — it was perfect.

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Yo! Check my straps! I bought this strapping off of eBay. The original pattern calls for sewing tubes of fabric for the straps.  Yeah, screw that noise. Well, 1.) I lost the pattern piece. 2.) I hate sewing small tubes of anything. So, I bought these bra straps and sewed them on.

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It looks a little more RTW in my opinion and was a snap! And, if you’re wondering, this slipprovides ZERO support, LOL!

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I tried a narrow hem and it was not a good look – bubbly, wrinkly, wavy.  So, I serged and turned under once. I still may turn under a second time.

I told myself I was making view E next. Same material. Different lace. I’d also like to make this pattern again using black knit tricot from my stash and wear it as a slip. I really like this pattern!

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Thank you for the good wishes for my grandmother. She’s back in her nursing home and hopefully on the mend. The news has been less than encouraging. But, she’s a seriously tough broad. I mean, c’mon. She raised TEN children!

Thank you also for the comments on my last dress. I too am super happy with it.  Since it’s black cotton, I think it will be a dry clean only dress to prevent fading over time.

 

Granny’s 90th Birthday Party Dress: Vogue Patterns 8633

As I started to write this blog post, I looked up Carolyn’s blog. It was her post that alerted me to this fabric at Metro three years ago (and she sent it to me too!). Then, I clicked the link to Allison C’s blog (she bought the same fabric) and see she used the same fabric, on the same pattern, on Fourth of July weekend three years ago. How funny is that?  I actually said out loud, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”  hehehe.


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For my (maternal) Granny’s 90th birthday party this past weekend in Brooklyn (New York), I went in to deep deep stash and pulled out this border print cotton.  One reason I was committed to sewing and wearing a dress is that my grandmother was a seamstress in Carriacou, Grenada, WI. She was sent as a small girl down the road to a woman who taught her how to sew. My grandfather was also a tailor in Grenada. It makes me feel incredibly connected to my roots when I make clothes. I caught my mom looking at me once when I was adjusting a garment on her. She said it reminded me of her father. I never met my grandfather, he passed before I was born. All that being said, granny didn’t teach me how to sew. I learned in Home Ec and from books. But, I do remember her making a dress for me in college. And, I remember her inspecting my work when I started sewing. Granny thought I did a good job even though I needed a pattern (that I paid good money for no less!). Oh, she said I also needed to work on my  finishing :-) 

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From the Vogue website. View DE.

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I decided to let the stripes speak on the border print. I did think about the stripe placement. The possibilities (with enough material) for placement with this dress are endless. I could have done the entire bodice in stripes. Or placed the stripes on one side. Or, just did the skirt in stripes and kept the bodice solid. Seriously, endless possibilities.

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The cotton has a thinner hand. So, I underlined the bodice and waistband with silk organza. The dress is lined throughout with black cotton batiste. I finished the skirt hem with my blind hemmer and a little hem tape. I am in love with my hemmer y’all!

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I despise facings. But, on this, I see how it works. I was able to use my blind hemmer to attach the facing so it wasn’t floppy. I’m still getting the hang of it….. A colleague wore a similar dress last week. The ‘V’ is lined with lining all the way to the edge (rather than a facing) She said her neckline always flips out. So, for that reason I’m glad I have the facing.

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I cut and sewed a 14. Made a 1/2 inch FBA and took in the waist about one inch.  I also did not make a swayback. The bias skirt give a TON of volume and awesome swing. 

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This skirt is not rear end friendly if you’ve got some junk in the trunk. On me, I think I look wider than I am in the butt and hips because of the folds of the bias skirt.

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Even on the dress form, I think it adds some width. Or, I’m just telling myself that…

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I was super happy to see my parents this weekend too. They drove up to NYC from Florida.

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 I don’t know when my dad got so grey in the beard. He’s a handsome devil isn’t he? My mom is standing with a first cousin below. And that’s a cousin behind us.

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So, peeps, I’m getting old. My cousins are having babies and I’m a second cousin to five (the oldest being a pre-teen 12). Here’s a photo with the newest addition to our family (she’s an identical twin). You can see her sister in a matching outfit through the door. I remember when her mom was still in diapers!!  She’s so STINKING precious. Oh, those are two more cousins behind us.

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Here’s a first cousin. We’re only 30 years apart :-) That’s another first cousin behind us to the left.

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And a first cousin from my generational cohort.  That’s another first cousin behind us. I can’t even count all the cousins. I think… 15 first cousins plus the five second cousins were in attendance.

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Super happy with my dress. I’m very pleased I was able to wear it in honor of my grandmother. Because of an incident, she was not physically able to attend her celebration on Sunday.  It was a wonderful tribute to her to see how many people she’s impacted. If you have any extra prayers and positive vibes to give out, they’d be greatly appreciated right about now.

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Vintage Simplicity 8276: House Coat, Art Smock, Lab Coat, Beach Cover Up

I don’t really consider myself a modest woman per se. I think there is an appropriate mode of dress for most situations and the bulk of humanity ignores said accepted rules (i.e. football jerseys in church and pajama pants to the grocery store). One thing that is generally acceptable, but I’m too self conscious to do is walk around a beach or pool in my swimsuit. I. Just. Can’t. Not even in my skinny-but-thought-I-was-fat-20s. I always tossed on shorts or a tee shirt when I wasn’t in the water. There was a time in middle school where I would only get IN the pool wearing a tee shirt over my swimsuit. Heh. I actually didn’t even start wearing a two piece until near the end of college. Hmmm, maybe I am actually a prude.

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And, this is why I love that I can sew.  Even when they are super simple garments. Still feeling inspired by my trip to Detroit and the Motown Museum in May, I turned to my small vintage pattern stash when invited to the Eastern Shore to visit the boyfriend’s parents. No freaking way was I trotting around in my swimsuit in front of them. Especially because all we do is eat. Pizza, french fries, latkes, bread, ice cream, Italian ice…. you name it. I eat it when we visit. This 1969 beach robe from Simplicity was just what I wanted.

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I immediately knew I wanted to use a vintage bed sheet for my fabric. This plaid just stood out to me at the second thrift shop I visited. Oh, and check the sewing pattern at the top (which I didn’t take with me). There’s a yellow and pink plaid right there, BOOM.

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The colors are just the right era in bright yellow, orange and pale green. And, a beach robe hides a multitude of sins…

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The beach coverup was generally constructed when Trena came up last weekend for our annual Tour Dem Parks 25 mile bicycle ride through the City (gratuitous photo below). Yes, that is now my third bicycle. Yikes.

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She said it looked like a lab coat. I thought it looked like an art class smock. My boyfriend thought it was a new jacket for work…. None of these what a beach coverup should like like, right?

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Trena convinced me to lop of eight inches!! She also suggested I add tabs to the sleeves (I didn’t). And not to wear it buttoned (true dat).

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And here I am. With the teeniest Afro puffs known to mankind, heh. I’m obviously, not at the beach. But, in the backyard of the house we stayed. The view… amazing.

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You have to love vintage for putting darts into a casual garment. Darts my friends! There are also raglan sleeves and deep patch pockets that I placed on the bias.  In addition to shortening the hem by eight inches, I also lopped about four off the sleeves.

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The coverup reminds me of the house dresses my mom and aunt still love. I may have to whip one up just to wear around the house.

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But, for the beach, this is kind of ideal for me. I felt like I had some sun protection, felt confident prancing about and stood out along the boardwalk. I need to make another one in a solid material as I have two swimmers I made last year that are crazy prints. For real, totally happy with this simple cover up.

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