Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Jade Skirt From Paprika Patterns Is Ready!

I just heard from Lisa at Paprika Patterns and their fabulous Jade skirt pattern is ready for download! Not only is the pattern cool and funky, Paprika is offering you a great deal on pricing which I'll let them explain to you.

From the Paprika Patterns blog:

At the beginning when I promised to make a pattern out of the folded mini, I said it would be available for free. Because I like to keep my word, it is indeed possible to get it for free! But, since we have become a company and there have gone so so many hours in creating this pattern, we didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to put a price on it, either. Paprika Patterns is my sole employment, and all proceedings will go directly into creating new patterns! So if you’d like to see more of what we can do, then feel free to set your own price. If you can’t afford any price, then consider maybe a tweet, blog review or other mention in any place. Spreading the word would also help us to build our company. 

As I was a tester for the pattern, I received my copy for free. However, because I love my finished skirt so much, I want others to know about it too. Here is my original post of the Jade in the tested version. Please note that I have not checked to see what all has been changed in the final version yet.

However, one thing that has changed is that when I made mine it was in the largest size they had available, a 6, which is equivalent to a RTW size 10. Since then, Paprika has been working on expanding their pattern sizes. While the Jade is available now on the site in sizes 1-6, soon sizes 7 through 10 will be added, and eventually Paprika's future pattern offerings will all be available in the full range of 1 through 10. Isn't that great?

To help you make up the skirt, the site has separate posts on how to choose the right size, fabric recommendations, how to install the exposed zipper, and most importantly, how to fold the origami-like skirt.

So, go and check out the new Jade skirt and get started folding!

Monday, October 06, 2014

What Is Next...

I have finished my first Grainline Moss and it was a success. There will most definitely be more of these. Look forward to my pattern review on the skirt soon.

The dress code at work has changed and now we must wear collared shirts. I have bought two t-shirts and a pair of khakis for this job. I would rather not buy any more clothing purely for the job. Today, I bought an extremely gently-worn mans shirt at a thrift store for $6. I am going to take the side and shoulders seams apart and use the Sew U book's shirt pattern to bring it down to my size. This shirt bought for a practical purpose will also serve as a muslin for future button-down shirts.

Searching thrift stores for patterns is usually hit or miss, a lot of old patterns that aren't old enough (early-late 80s) to be cute vintage and lots of children, costume, or seasonal home decoration patterns. However, I got lucky, a pattern I was actually going to buy the same day from JoAnn or Hancocks (McCall's 6885) was found for 58 cents! I was just thinking of how it was time to start work on View D of this pattern in a plaid flannel fabric. I'm hoping that JoAnn or Hancocks brings back these two fabrics that I missed out on two years ago:

But here are two new possiblities from this year:

I am currently finishing up my first and last dress of the summer. Oops, I know, it's a little late since the first day of fall just happened. I should have put that first on the list to make in early spring.
Oh, well.. a new dress for summer 2015! It was going very quickly and then the upper bodice and neckline needed adjustment. Even though my shoulders look pretty broad to me, they always turn out to be too narrow for most patterns. I am using a combination of darts, tucks, and gathers to tighten it up. If I'm lucky I will probably have about two weeks to wear this.

At a thrift store yesterday, I found a really clean copy of the Coats & Clark's Sewing Book: Newest Methods from A to Z (1967) So, yes there's another vintage sewing book for my collection.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Rundown - Color, Pattern, And Fit

While taking this time off from the blog, I have found myself thinking about my wardrobe quite a bit. Since I wear a uniform the majority of my days now, when I get to venture from it, choosing what I wear becomes more important. It might just be escorting my father to one of his many medical appointments; however, what I'm wearing reveals a bit about me and what I like, right?

Here is the majority of my handmade wardrobe. Let's dissect it, all right?

8 Florals
Looking at my wardrobe in these pictures reveals that at least in my wardrobe I am attracted to florals more than graphic angular prints and patterns. which surprises me, as I stayed as far away from florals (and pink) as much as I could as a child/teen. In addition, a lot of these florals are very dainty and delicate (V9772), though there are some bold (S3835/V8392) and/or abstracted (B5429, Paprika Jade, NL6939, M5042) ones too.

10 Non-Floral Prints
The few abstract prints are the black & white Ikat Grainline Scout, the gingham and polka dots of my Sorbettos, Burdastyle boatneck stripes, the confetti dots of B5429 and the One-hour dress, and the gorgeous madras plaid of M6712. I would love to buy more exotic prints but most of my stash stills hails from either JoAnns or Hancock Fabrics. Who knows what would happen if I were let loose at Mood, Britex, or Gorgeous Fabrics.


I love color, and finally my handmade wardrobe reflects that. When I was younger, my mother always moaned that I didn't wear "happy" colors, however, if she could see me now she'd be overjoyed. Check out the bold colors; the blues, purples, reds, and mustard yellows. Strange, but some of my favorite colors are still not represented, a great forest green and pumpkin orange. For those I will need to start frequenting online fabric stores because Hancocks and JoAnn are not big enough fans of those autumnal shades.

You can see how some of my earlier makes were more neutral and my wardrobe became more colorful over time. Surprisingly, mostly when it came to items for my lower half. I'm very proud of the bright red pants and the blue, teal, and purple skirts...but just wait for the next one. My final Moss skirt will not be sunshine yellow like the muslin but the color is just as eye-catching.

4. Pattern Runway, 5. Vogue 2883, 6. Sew U skirt

However, I will always love a good drapey, Japanese-inspired garment such as those in books like the Drape Drape series and the such. I also love a good shift or a-line dress such as the Burdastyle Anda, B4948, or M6712 because they can always be cinched by a belt, if desired.  My Burdastyle Anda is no longer worn only because the fabric (a mystery one) has pilled beyond repair. I must make a replacement soon because I love the easy shape. The M6712 is a bit awkward to wear bra-wise so unfortunately doesn't get much wear in summer. But I could fix that by making a coordinating racer-back tee (MUST get on that for next summer!).

I used to wear a lot more fitted clothing when I started sewing decades ago but the joy of easy fitting and weight fluctuations as I got older brought about a love for more flexible fits when it came to tops and dresses. The Colette Oolong is on the tight side in the chest and is more of a special occasion dress. I'm not even sure if it fits now, which is a shame because it took me forever to get it to fit decently. However, my Paprika Jade skirt makes me think I need a few more fitted items in my wardrobe, maybe even a real femme fatale dress in my future?

I no longer enjoy the fit of these two ample dresses above and they will both be altered. S5190 will be picked apart and become the bodice of either New Look 6968 or Vogue 8787 with a slim skirt made in a coordinating stretch gabardine. NL6939 will receive back darts for more waist shaping, going from a shift to a sheath.


So, that's where my wardrobe is now and this is where it's going: more color, more pattern, more fitted silhouettes, and definitely more pants!

All composite images created with fd's Flickr Toys

Monday, September 08, 2014

Carven + Vogue: A Love Story

Though not officially, it seems that McCall's and its Vogue pattern division has had a little crush on Carven designer Guillaume Henry. First, there was this delicious little dress from the Spring 2013 Ready To Wear collection that showed up in its books as Vogue 8900:
Spring 2013 RTW

Vogue 8900 OOP
The style lines were on-point, including those curvilinear princess seams in the skirt. Unfortunately, not enough sewists purchased the pattern Vogue provided and it is already OOP. However, the Internet is our friend and you can still locate it if you wish. Just imagine it in the fabrics used in the collection; a textured raffia linen and a great Toile de Jouy print. However, don't let the cut-outs intimidate you (which I think was the reason for the pattern's unpopularity), version A has them inset with fabric for a little trompe l'oiel action.

Vogue 8900 OOP
Now, it seems Vogue has interpreted a dress detail from both the Carven Fall 2012 RTW and Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2012 RTW collections. Edit: Also the 2012 Pre-Fall Jonathan Saunders collection. How did I not notice until now that these were all in the same season? Anyway, this lovely bodice design incorporated a dart structure I remember first seeing on patterns from the 1950-60s.
It has become Vogue 9020, a separates pattern that again may not make a lot of fans due to it's exceedingly dull envelope illustration.


Instead, consider how Carven's 2012 Fall RTW collection shows this front dart on a variety of dresses in different silhouettes with varied skirt designs and in multiple types of fabrics, including velvet and laser-cut lace.

Believe it or not, but both dresses above are based on the same bodice design, only with the center seam open for a few inches vertically. Imagine the vertical area between the two horizontal darts in Vogue 9020 as a large bound buttonhole, perhaps.
Oh, what a versatile pattern, right?