Saturday, July 28, 2012

Vogue 1247, skirt love and the top. . .not so much

Strictly adhering to my summer plan to make useful separates I have finally gotten around to Vogue 1247, Rachel Comey skirt and top.  There are many examples of this pattern around the web. Some make only the skirt, others just sew the top and there are also some fantastic outfits to be seen.  My current favorite is Merche with her turquoise skirt  and striped top.  I think the top is really successful in stripes plus her photos are very beachy so of course they look great to me.
What did I think of this pattern?  As I said in the title of the post, love the skirt! Super cute, easy to fit, I can see this working in all kinds of cottons but also in winter weight fabrics.
Vogueskirt and top3
But the top . . .I dunno,  it's just not me.  I was going for a cool, slouchy look, with my shades on. All I can think when I look at this top is . . . nurse's scrub top.    Eek, now I said it and you can't get it out of your head either.  Am I right? Plus it's not your eyes, my outdoor photos were all a bit fuzzy. No matter what is is physically impossible not to put your hands in the pockets when wearing this skirt.

V1247 skirt and top
I am making it sound worse than it is, I really like the outfit.  The top fabric is a remnant I had leftover from making a blouse for a client, it is a Mark Jacobs cotton lawn we ordered from Fashion Fabrics Club.  The skirt is a stretch denim my neighbor Alice gave me ages ago.  So cost of outfit, zero.  That is certainly in its favor.  
Maybe because I had all kinds of issues with the fit of the top and did major surgery on it to get it to feel comfortable and not like I was wearing something 3 sizes too big. I will do a follow up post on changes I made to the top pattern and some ideas I have for modifying the skirt pattern.  

Vogue 1247 skirt and top pattern
It is an interesting exercise to make something out of my usual zone, however it did end up confirming that I am not a loose and flowy style person.  And this top is not really all that loose and flowy!  
Onward, to continue with my summer separates.  Plus I had a brainwave one night and devised a plan to refashion one of my yet unseen one-hit-wonders into a wearable summer dress.  More on that to come.

Stay cool, Happy Summer sewing, Beth

Easter LilySunnyGal garden, a Lily that bloomed at the end of June.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

One Hit Wonder # 2, Simplicity 2588

Time for another of my one-hit-wonders, a dress I made in a hurry and only wore once. Simplicity 2588, which is a very cute Project Runway pattern.  Detour to discuss:  anyone else prepared for disappointment regarding tonight's premiere of PR?  The last few seasons have been something of a letdown, never quite hitting the heights of some early seasons and don't get me started on the All Star version, mostly a waste of time. Here's hoping that they have found some people with actual talent and sewing experience to make it interesting.  As for the Project Runway patterns from Simplicity . . .? I don't see any connection other than a branding opportunity, although I often find nice styles. They seem undifferentiated from the rest of their patterns.

Enough editorializing for now, what about the dress? Hanging lonely and unworn in my closet. Here is why I should plan better for wardrobe basics.  A wedding to go to, 5pm ceremony, outdoors, cocktails on a patio at a hilltop winery, dinner indoors after, October, could be warm, more likely chilly, could be freezing . . . Get the drift?  Perfect opportunity for a nice 2-piece outfit, maybe a fitted sheath dress and coat in a wool crepe. I do have one in my closet, but not quite fitting at that time, dress a little tight in the hips.  So I will wear a dressy black jacket I have to ward off the potential chill.  What dress?  How about this black/pink floral fabric. I rarely wear black. Not really black, it's a print. Always wanted to make S2588. Quickly cut out and sew up. Seems to fit OK. Finish pressing, get dressed and go. And then all evening wished I was wearing a full length coat as it was more than a bit cool - it was absolutely, autumnally freezing!

S2588 too big

This dress didn't fit all that well when I finished it, and I find now that it is way too big.  I was thinking about doing some refashioning but why bother- I don't really like it, the print seems a bit frumpy to me and obscures the seaming details. The only things I like about it are the neckline and sleeves, they have a nice shape. 

S2588 dress patternS2588 floral front neckline

I appreciate all the lovely comments on my previous one-hit-wonder. Many commentors said that one did deserve some more wearings, and I agree. It has many of my favorite dress features (sleeveless, bright silk fabric) but I think this one is going in the donation box.

Edited on 7/20/12:  I just realized I had made this pattern previously, actually that version I like better, in a solid color.  Here is that blog post. Scroll down to see the Simplicity dress.

On the drive home that evening I decided I needed a new coat, one that fufilled at least 3 requirements, those being 1) works with formal clothes  2) keeps me warm  3) a neutral color that will go with any outfit.  Based on that resolution I made this black wool coat and in the 2 years since it has been a great wardrobe addition. While it is the height of a very hot summer here in North America perhaps it is time to start planning your own winter coat.  If you click over to that post I have lots of details on coat and lapel construction.

Coat collar up side

I have had a well-loved and frequently worn garment result from a sudden whim but I think on balance the planned items such as the coat work out better.

We are not done yet with the one-hit-wonders, there are more of these languishing in my wardrobe.  

Lipstick roseToday's SunnyGal garden photo, a rose to match my floral dress.  I think the name of this rose is Lipstick (although that could be a different one)  Love this color and it is a good repeat bloomer too!     Happy Summer Sewing, Beth

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Drawing winners, Celebrate the 70's

Whew, it has been a busy week!  All weekend a voice in my head said, "do the blog drawing - someone may be anxiously waiting to make their 70's creation!"  Time to start thrift store shopping for some Famolare shoes. Heat up that curling iron to perfect your Farrah flip hairstyle. Let's get to it.

The Simplicity Sewing Book, drawing winner is   
GC Mom

Simplicity Sewing book cover

The Creative Pattern Company 70's Empire waist Dress Pattern is

Creative Pattern front cover

and the drawing winner of the 70's skirt is

Wrap skirt front1

GCMom, Kitty and Michelle, please e-mail me your addresses and I will get these in the post to you.

We now return to the current decade and my plan to create much needed casual separates. I am currently crazy for Simplicity 1916, a pattern with 2 different knit tops. I first saw this on Myra's blog, she has done two very pretty versions, here and a revised version with some great hints, here.  I have completed 2 of these tops with maybe one more on the way.

Hydrangea June12SunnyGal garden photo: my favorite mophead hydrangea. There are 7 different hydrangeas here at Casa SunnyGal, all different shades. I am always asked about soil pH and what I do to get the different colors.  Nothing! I figure if they bloom every year I am happy, whatever the color.    Happy Summer Sewing, Beth

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Skirt Giveaway to "Wrap Up" Celebrate the 70"s

It's a wrap!  For Celebrate the 70's week, a nod to one of the most popular fashion trends of that decade.  The DVF wrap dress was introduced in 1973, and probably launched a million versions of that iconic dress, reinterpreted in skirts, dresses, and tops.

So for the final giveaway of 70's week, a wrap skirt.  Please leave a comment below and I will send the skirt to a random winner. Let me know what you think about wrap dresses/skirts.  Easy to wear or potential wardrobe malfunction?  I can come down on both sides of that issue.
The fabric for this skirt is something I found in my stash, I think it is a cotton-linen blend, in a black and white kind of twill weave. Or maybe a  lightweight denim weave, I am not sure but it behaves like linen.
Wrap skirt front1

Wrap skirt button closeup

I used this pattern which I found at a garage sale. I would come home with armfuls if I did find them since they are often around 25 cents so it is lucky they are scarce. I made the version in the center, and the finished skirt measurements are as follows:  waist measure when skirt is buttoned, 29.5 inches. and skirt length from bottom of waistband is 21".  Note you can move the buttons a bit to change the waist measurement.  I decided not to hem the skirt, so the edge is serged and the giveaway winner can hem to their liking. 
S2111 70's skirt pattern
A small sewing detail are the tabs on the waistband that provide the skirt closure.  I interfaced one side of those pieces, since they would be getting buttonholes, and then drew on the stitching lines with chalk. For any points or angles like this I like to draw with chalk, so that the stitching at the machine is easy-peasy. 
Skirt tabs1
However, for the center angle on these tabs, I don't sew those at the 45º angle that is specified because there is almost no way that I can turn that corner and get a crisp point. At the apex of that tab I do one or two short horizontal stitches, and then turn and continue the angle. On the left I did a sample in muslin to show the stitching, and then the finished and turned tab.

Skirt tabs2
A comparison of the tabs, muslin and fabric.  I think the skirt fabric one came out better, and that one had one stitch across the top, so maybe that is the answer. It depends on the fabric and stitch length. I always think on these small details a bit of practice and experimentation on scraps pays off.

Skirt tabs3
So leave a comment and if this skirt is not your size - you can have a ready made gift for someone who pesters you to sew something for them !
International is OK, (if you don't mind ordinary and not speedy US mail)
For my previous posts on the 70's and the other giveaways which are still open here are the links. I will draw for all recipients later this week, on Thursday 7/12.
Here is today's SunnyGal garden photo - did I show this one already?  No matter, as the gardenias bloom all summer and the scent is fantastic. 
Happy Summer Sewing, Beth

Gardenia June12

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Vintage Vogue look and Celebrate the 70's week Giveaway # 2

Back to this week's programming, Celebrate the 70's.  A decade that influenced my younger self, sewing and otherwise.  Today's Giveaway item, another item I found at the thrift store. It is way ahead of its time or more likely it proves that there is nothing new in fashion.  Probably clothes have been sewn this way for ages (millenia?)  i.e. the basic components and then build on that with different additions and subtractions for style.

Before we get to the giveaway, a look at one of my projects from the era.  I ran across an image of a vintage Vogue designer pattern and remembered that I had made it, so I rummaged through some old photo albums and came up with two photos of me wearing my versions of this dress. I remember I liked the dress so much I made it again, but I can't recall which was the first, I am thinking the green.

Here I am with my mom, (and now you can see why I am called by her name at family gatherings by elderly relatives). She is quite the snappy dresser - but no sewing.  I asked her the other day if I could use this photo on my blog, and told her a bit about what she was wearing, she proceeded to describe her dress with all the details. Yes, we have been clothing obsessed for a while.  Also when I look at family photos from this era, all I can see is our suntans - California poolside living in the pre-sunblock era!

JandB 80's
My dress is Vogue 1648 Christian Dior Paris Original. I think this version was inspired by the image on the pattern envelope, although both mine are knee length. The fabric is a pale blue and white cotton pinstripe.  A style with the cut-in armholes, obviously a favorite from way back and I keep on making it. On the right is the actual label that came with the Vogue Designer patterns, I never sewed them in, just stuck them in my sewing box. I wore this dress a lot, it was so cool and crisp, perfect for a hot summer, and showed off the tan too! The ties in the center front were threaded through buttonholes, a clever detail. 

Vogue1648 vintage Dior
Vogue woven label

B in greendress

That concludes today's blast from the past, and now onto today's Giveaway, a dress pattern kit:  Creative Patterns Company, Empire Style Dresses  Model A3, copyright 1975.  Not exactly sure what you would call this. It is a pattern set, with instructions and goes along with a number of other pattern sets so that you could mix and match to make a huge variety of styles.  I remember that there were about 3 or 4 other of these booklets and I am regretting I didn't buy all of them.  What was I thinking?

Creative Pattern front cover
A quick search on Etsy taught me that this was a set of pattern and craft books covering a full range of clothing including fitted dresses, jackets and coats, tops, pants, caftans (totally 70's) crafts and the ultra-intriguing exotic styles (wow would I like a peek at that one).  Here is a listing in case you feel the need to own the entire set. 

A look at the back of the booklet.  Note the preponderance of green which reminds me of my first car in the late 70's, it was the then popular avacado shade ('69 Mercury cougar, 2-door, secondhand, sporty and super fast, just right for a newish teen driver. . . huh?)
Creative Pattern back cover

With this pattern you can make any of the A3 dresses. The pattern pieces included have the following size range:  30"bust/32"hip to 38"bust/40"hip so like any multisize pattern there is a lot of leeway for adjustment when you trace. The instructions are good, and I think each booklet probably gave a mini-lesson with nice diagrams on sewing and construction.

Creative pattern text

Creative pattern text p 2

Creative pattern pieces

If you are interested in entering the drawing for this Creative Patterns booklet/pattern set, leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts on 70's style, your first car or how much tanning you did in the pre-sunblock era! 

My first post in the Celebrate the 70's series is here. There is still time to leave a comment to be in the drawing for the Simplicity Sewing Book, 70's version.  I am a bit swamped these days so my 3rd post will probably be in a few days and the drawings for all 3 giveaways later next week.

Happy Weekend Sewing, Beth

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Butterick 5455 - get it before its gone

Slight interruption to my Celebrate the 70's week for a post about Butterick 5455, one of my all time favorite patterns. For ages I have been meaning to write about this pattern, and then today I saw it in the  clearance sale on the McCalls website. I guess it is going out of print which is kind of a shame as it is one of the best patterns I have come across in a long time.  I like it so much I have made at least 7 versions for different people, with nothing but smiles. (now that is a good batting average, right?)
But to tell the truth - I have never made it for myself!  Regular readers will know that I have an excess of dresses in my closet so I just never got around to it.  Pictured here is the first version I made, as a test, using quilting cotton. A bit small for me but I was able to squeeze into it.  As a happy coincidence we have an unintentional red, white and blue 4th of July theme.

B5455 front2
What is it about this pattern I like?  Just about everything.  For starters it has pockets incorporated into the skirt front, always a good feature. It is really easy to make. It comes with lining pieces. The shape of the V-neckline both front and back are very pretty.  The straps are delicate - since there is no sleeve option they didn't have to design the chunky shoulder that is common on the multi-version dress patterns. (those dresses never look right to me in the sleeveless version).  It has an open neckline but not too low cut.  It is relatively easy to adjust the pattern, in that for a full bust you can lengthen the bodice top pieces, reduce the front midriff portion, and no change needed on the back. I almost always have had to take up the shoulder seam but it didn't alter the look of the dress.  

Butterick 5455 back view

B5455 pattern
One of the versions calls for piping, but that is way too much work for lazy me.  Here is a red version, for a tall friend of mine, in cotton sateen (which works beautifully). Version on right for someone about my height, with the upper bodice lengthened a bit.

Red dress Butterickredwhite magic dress

A closeup of the bodice below, a version I made just last month as a belated birthday present for a friend. Same fabric as the first version in a brown colorway. It is hard to believe that hidden among the quilting cottons is this little gem with a bit of a sheen like a cotton sateen.  In fact the dress on the right is also quilting cotton, someone saw the blue version and then found this fabric.
MC brown dress front closeupbrown floral magic dress
So who is convinced?  I have yet to try a knit but I think in a ponte it would be great for travel. Interesting that this dress has a very similar shape to an older one, Vogue 2470 that is also one of my favorites. This pattern is going-going-almost gone but of course the same could be said for lots of others.  Why do I look at the sale website when I have a stack of perfectly good unopened patterns already?  Sigh. . . .

As for the garden, today I found a wasp's nest in a tricky spot, we are awash in zucchini as usual, no ripe tomatoes yet and the coral color rose in the foreground has had a reprieve since it finally started blooming after 2 years.

The celebrate the 70's giveaways continue, you can still comment on the previous post to be entered in the drawing for the groovy Simplicity sewing book. Check back, or maybe you might want to follow the blog as there is more 70's goodness to be seen including something to come from my sewing machine. It's a wrap! (that's a hint :)

If you are celebrating Independence Day -  stay cool and enjoy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Celebrate the 70's week with SunnyGal Studio Giveaways

The 70's - A wild and weird decade for fashion and for society.  It's time for a giveaway (or 3) to celebrate some blog milestones and I have decided to highlight this decade.  2 years of blogging - past that in February. 100 posts, past that two weeks ago.  200 followers, past that earlier this year.  Wonderful new friends, lots! Meetups, several that have lasted way longer than anticipated while we talked about all things sewing and life.

To thank the sewing blogosphere - my 70's theme giveaway. Note that I started sewing around age 8, so I have been at it for a long while and the 70's, overlapping in part with my teenage years, influenced my style and maybe explain my fondness for bold patterns.  I have collected a few 70's items and once again I find there is nothing new in fashion, or to paraphrase my mother, "hold onto that, it will come back in style."  She is so right.

First giveaway is a Simplicity Sewing book, published in 1972. What else could it be with this freaky image on the cover. Surreal, no? Obviously they were playing with photo editing back then, check out her ring finger morphing into the yellow scissors.  Could you imagine a book with this image on the store shelf today?  Despite the fun/crazy cover, it is 256 pages of totally useful sewing info. I think these old books were less concerned with the look and style of the pages, and more inclined to cram the  publications full of every possible fact.  Zippers, sleeves, collars, tailoring, fitting (including pants) buttonholes, stitches, pockets, pressing, and creative extras including embroidery and crochet. Some of my favorite chapter titles:"Bias? On Grain? We'll explain" "A Shirtdress, No less"  "Press now - or pay later"  sounds ominous but helpful.

Simplicity Sewing book cover

If you are wondering what a 70's interior looks like, they include this dreamy sewing room.

Simplicity book sewing room
Perhaps the yellow walls plus print linoleum are a bit much, but the amount of storage and light are great, I could use this space in a heartbeat. Plus with that wall phone you can talk and sew :)

Because it is a Simplicity book, they are in the business of selling sewing patterns and it includes a few color pages of garments. Strangely they do not include pattern numbers but I suppose at the time you could run to the pattern book to find the #. They also mention the Simplicity Fashion News, a free publication you could get at the store.  Does anyone else remember these? I do, they were mini-magazine type booklets with the latest patterns made up, a marketing tool that my 12 year old self would bring home and study for inspiration.

The fashions, once more proving my point that everything comes around again.

Simplicity book page1
Color blocking, so popular now.  Little red dress, bias cut, timeless.

Simplicity book page2
Structured neckline and hot brights, love it.  Asian influence - see Burda Feb 2012 issue.

Simplicity book page4
Striped knit T-shirt - wardrobe staple. Pants with interesting pockets, check out my pal Shams.

Simplicity book page3
The outfit on the right is tragic 
but the denim skirt on the left is cute, current and would fit right in my wardrobe.

Simplicity book page 6
Some things should stay out of style, Crocheted Vests I am talking to you!

Simplicity bookpage5
Pages of how-to sewing instruction with very clear photos.

Now you want to make your own 70's style outfit and need to get your hands on this book, right?

Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for this book and check back during week for two more 70's inspired giveaways.  I will have a separate blog post and drawing for each item and announce all the winners at the beginning of next week.  This book is awesome, I know, but as they say on the late night infomercials, there's more!  A pattern giveaway, a secret something from my sewing machine, and a look at a couple of (let's call them vintage, not old) photos of me wearing my creations from the decade.  And if you were sewing in the 70's I would love to hear about it.

Are you feeling Groovy?   Far out!     Right on!    Happy Sewing, Beth