Saturday, March 14, 2015

Random Threads # 11 pattern choices and fabric purchases

Spring is well and truly here in Northern California - not that winter ever fully arrived. Thank you for all the nice comments on my last jacket project, I appreciate it and while I am very happy with that pattern it is going in the closet until November or so. No way I would have any opportunity to wear it as our temps are hitting the 80's (F) this weekend so I am breaking out the shorts. Once again I apologize to you in the snow zone - but when you have a lush green summer and we are parched and scorching then the tables will be turned.

Speaking of summer sewing - I bought some new fabrics recently. Which may seem a typical thing to say but not for me as I hardly ever buy fabric in a store lately. It seems I have found about 75% of my fabrics at garage sales or sewing swaps. To tell the truth I just bought some this morning, some turquoise blouse weight linen and a two tone cotton, both destined for shirts, investment four dollars.

Also I have been looking through my patterns and deciding what to make. This past year was all about pattern repeats but I want to crack open a few that I bought with full intention to sew and haven't. Plus I need to talk about my abiding pattern obsession - which is any Vogue pattern by Donna Karan. It is so strange as I don't really get any charge out of her collections when I see them. Probably due to the use of black, earth tones, a lot of oversized items. They just look too New York for this west coast life. But the shapes are often so flattering on a female body and that is the beauty of sewing, picking the fabric and color that suits you personally.

So here is a collection of my DK patterns and some thoughts on what I might make next.
First up:  these are two I plan to make this spring. The one on the left, V1220 was picked up at a pattern swap at a Bay Area Sewists meet up - my friend Laura Mae dragged me over the the table and said "you have to take this pattern, it looks good on everyone who makes it"  OK I was sold. The one on the right,  V1236 seems such a simple yet easy silhouette to wear, and uses almost no fabric so I will give that a try as I live in shift dresses when the temps go over 100F.

V1220 imageV1236 env

And now two patterns that I have had for a while - never purchased them as new but got them for free at other swaps. They always were on my "I wish" list but due to my miserly tendencies hadn't bought them at retail. But free - can't resist. I like them both and have seen seen nice versions on the web, particularly the V1087 on the left. (checkout this version). I almost started the one on the right last summer, V1281 but kind of ran out of time so didn't get that made. (But again Carolyn did, in a completely unique version).

V1087 imageV1281 env

Sometimes these Karan patterns start to seem a bit similar, as these two look kind of alike on the envelope but are not at all. The one on the left, V1287 I made for myself back in 2012 and have only worn it twice. It is just too much drapey fabric on my, I probably should have sized down and maybe taken out some fullness. So not a winner. Although I like the skirt design with the drapey (droopy?) pockets. The one on the right, V1159 was much better. I made this for a friend and while the pattern has some issues (gapey armhole problem that everyone encountered) it is very glamorous and I was really happy with the result. Here is the link to that dress's blogpost.  I also did a post comparing this pattern to a Vogue Michael Kors dress pattern as they are similar in idea, and that is one of the most read posts here on my blog.

V1287 envV1159 env

What's left in my DK Vogue pattern stash? This one qualified for my designation of "Pattern Love" which I don't hand out lightly. And I hate the version on the envelope.  I don't even like cowl necklines as a rule. But this dress is SO well designed, sews up beautifully. Can be made in a knit or a woven.  I have made it 4 times, my first version here and then a couple more times for a friend.

V1351 env

Some honorable mentions - this one below V1250 doesn't appeal to me but I made it for a friend and it looked great on her. I think if you have a fuller upper body and slim lower - which some women do - then this dress looks very flattering. If you lean more towards the full hip and smaller bust then the pattern above  (V1351) gives a similar cowl effect but might be better. The V1250 is maybe one of the easiest dress patterns I have ever sewn, Vogue or otherwise.

V1250 env

And my Donna obsession goes way back, as this one below is my most treasured pattern. Just a simple sheath dress but somehow perfect for me. The copyright date on my pattern says 1990. This dress is a keeper - truth be told a bit snug now but I will never get rid of it. Wore it a zillion times, made with coral wool crepe and has held up beautifully. I think wool crepe is a perfect dress fabric as it shapes beautifully, the colors are fantastic and holds up to wear.

V2470 envRed DK dress front

So those are my DK pattern obsessions, the strange thing is I have not bought any of the most recent releases for maybe 18 months? If history is any guide I will be snapping them up later at a swap or trade.

What about all that fabric I bought?  Here is a quick rundown.
First a purchase from Girl Charlee. They have so many fabrics I like but this cherry blossom blue knit print has caught my eye for many months. The pineapple print denim is a bit goofy but I showed it to my mom as I thought it would make a cute little denim jacket for her. So I ordered 4 yards. I may end up with some wacky shorts as well.

Girl charlee fabrics

A few more. The dot/stripe knit I got at a fabric swap, and will make a cute summer t-shirt. The paisley blue cotton print I bought at Joann fabrics this week, along with the blue mosaic floral print ITY on the right. The paisley print for a button front shirt and the ITY jersey for a wrap dress which may look slightly polyester and/or geriatric but I will give it a try.

blue paisley cotton and dot knitblue mosaic floral ITy

Some stripes - the light blue and the black/white I got at a fabric swap, good for t-shirts. The Navy blue with kelly green stripes is another actual purchase ! which I bought at Stone Mountain, for another version of the shingle dress Vogue 8904 which I wore a lot last summer.

trio of stripes

So as usual a heavy dose of blue in all forms in my sewing queue. However I am working on something green for St. Patrick's day,  a long standing tradition in my very Irish half of my family.

green knit shirt

Happy weekend sewing and I hope the leprechauns don't hide your scissors as they sometimes do to me!


Today's garden photo, the Spanish lavender seems to have bloomed overnight and I can't get enough of these gorgeous colors, purple and green are perfect together. 

Spanish lavender


  1. Oh, I so recognise your post. Most of the patterns you mention are in my possession as well, and I have some others. I love that they are original, well designed, but above all I enjoy sewing them, because they are a puzzle. Most of them anyway. Vogue 1250 is a hit btw for me. Narrow shoulders, full bust. I needed an fba on the 1351, but that indeed is a wonderful pattern. In short: shared love, Donna Karan/DKNY ;) Your new projects look very promising!

  2. I love your DKNY pattern collection! I also own 1351, but I've yet to make it up. Your review of the pattern though makes me want to bring it to the top of the to-make pile. In fact, this post makes me want to look through my stash to see what other DKNY patterns I have. Our flowers are blooming up here in Seattle, too!

  3. Pineapple print DENIM??? Get out of town! That's awesome!

  4. I love the DK patterns I have tried, they are always fun and interesting to make.

  5. Interesting, I have a few of these patterns but never really thought about the designer... I for one am a small chested big bottomed person who loves V1250 - mostly what I love about it is just two pattern pieces and I can make it from fabric to dress in less than two hours. It has rescued me from many dressy occasion emergencies. I think it's got enough drapey bits in the front to disguise a bit of tummy, but I am intrigued by the other cowl dress, which I have never seen, and agree may be more flattering on me.
    Also, careful with V1236. My version, which is in a lovely stretch poplin, is really poochy in front over the tummy. From the side it looks kind of ridiculous, so I always tried to keep my hands in the pockets when I wore it to weigh down and flatten the front. I do love the neckline, though.
    And I just made a Camas blouse from that cherry blossom print, I love the colors. I'm not usually one for floral, but the mod little orange centers of the flowers make me so happy. I'm sure you'll make something fabulous!

  6. I happened to click purchase on a few DK patterns just this morning! In fact, the first ever dress I made was a DK dress (V1218) - but never worn as I made a terrible fabric choice for it. I've had my eye on 1220 for some time on ebay, but have yet to make the plunge. Every single review on PR for it shows its uber flattering, like you say. Your red sheath dress is a real beauty!

  7. Oh wow! So excited to see vogue 2470! I have been searching for this pattern for several years. I made it in the early nineties and still have that fabulous gold jacquard embroidered number hanging in the wardrobe as it was an absolute favourite. Can't believe I parted company with the pattern at some stage and could never locate the actual pattern number to narrow my search - tonight I have found it in my size unused on etsy! it is now winding its way from Canada to Australia with my name on it! happy days!! I do love me a DK pattern! Big thank you!!

  8. Wow, this brings me back. I had 2470 in the early 1990s. I need to get another copy, post haste! It is a classic.

  9. I can't wait to see the V1220 made up - the structure and bow on the front are gorgeous. Your coral wool crepe dress is beautiful too.

  10. That 90's pattern is stunning! If I had a post office I would be quite tempted to look for it on Ebay...

  11. That pineapple print is so cute!

  12. Flash from the past - I also used to wear Donna Karan a lot! But RTW, as I was working and not sewing. But such classic designs, great for dinner out, cocktail parties, church... Evan Picone was a favorite as well. I enjoyed seeing your DK collection!

  13. 2470...I´m in love. Well, I´m actually in love with all your picks for the spring, so I´ll be stalking your blog!

  14. Can't wait to see what you do with these patterns (I vote for 1220, but I guess you already know that!). One of these days I will get the courage to work with one of the knit options . . . because, like you, I adore just about every design Donna Karan comes up with!


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