Thursday, March 26, 2015

Stripes Galore - T-Shirts And Comfy Tops

So, I'm sewing again. No, I did not get a new job yet but I need something to do for fun around here. So why not start acquiring those striped t-shirts I've talked about always wanting?

The Fabrics:

A while ago, I bought some striped ponte de roma from Mood (!) for a pair of t-shirts. I think I might now use one, the jade and mustard stripe, for a t-shirt dress made from New Look 6838. Since I only have two yards, it will be short-sleeved for spring similar to the examples below from Banana Republic and Zara..

After buying that amazing ponte from Mood, I found out about a sale at Girl Charlee and I decided to give the company another try. I had a disappointment with an order a year ago with a semi-sheer knit that wasn't advertised as such. Not only was the white portion of the mustard and white stripe fabric see-through but the mustard was printed instead of being woven in the fabric. I returned it and exchanged it for a superior black and white Lycra knit that I did love and used here. So one good - one bad. However, I was still leery of the accuracy of their fabric descriptions on the blog and as it turned out, I was right to be.

With the fabrics averaging a price of $4, I decided to take the chance and ordered four cotton poly blend knits described as 7 oz. lightweight to mid-weight and one 10 oz. medium weight patterned ponte. (Not pictured: a white and red stripe just like the green and white one shown)

Well, even though the four knits felt soft and had drape, they were no way near mid-weight, in fact, the ones striped with white were see-through at the white parts and specifically, the red and white one read as red with extremely pale pink stripes. I prefer my white to be opaque.

In addition, their black and white ponte was thinner than any ponte that I've encountered and again the white portions of the print would require a lining if I made it as a skirt, which had been the goal.

I am first trying out the two grey-striped fabrics, they have already been washed. I feel they are not as scandalous as the white striped ones, which would definitely require a camisole if worn. Because of the low prices, I don't feel bad using the others purely for muslin since I have a lot of free knit top patterns I would like to try out. The ponte might be used for a boxy top instead of the Mod-inspired skirt I originally wanted.

The Patterns:

Grainline Hemlock (1.5 yards), Simplicity 6216 (1 yard), New Look 6838 (1.5 yards), Grainline Scout tee (1.75 yards), and Let's Twist Again... from Burdastyle (2 yards).

Images: Banana Republic, Zara, Grainline Studio, Simplicity, and McCall Pattern Company.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Adolescents or Women: Patterns Today

Butterick 6168

I have just come from looking at the very first pattern of Butterick's new spring collection. It's a lovely dress by Lisette, B6168, that I would really like if the waist was lowered by about an inch.

I have noticed lately that so many of the new pattern styles, whether from Big 4 or independent companies seem to think a woman is more attractive if her waist is approaching an Empire line and therefore, two or three inches above her real waist. There is even a French independent pattern company, Deer & Doe that has specialized in this style. I disagree. In my opinion, anything designed to make me resemble a preteen is not a look meant for me.

So, I was inspired to write the above after viewing that pattern. However, any ill will toward Lisette disappeared as I viewed their second offering, B6182. I am in love with both pieces in this pattern*! Alas, as I looked at it, I realized these same pieces could also look extremely appropriate on a child and also don't really promote a "womanly" shape so I guess I should just shut up about that waist issue. ;)

It truly seems that the Lisette patterns have grown up! Their earlier designs** had a whiff of the juvenile to me which was only enhanced with the coordinating fabric designs they sold at Jo-Ann Fabrics. However, I love these new stylish entries, B6182, B6183, B6168,and B6169 especially.

That black dress (with pockets!) is to die for.

*Did you notice that this top incorporates that same center front dart that I wrote about here? It's becoming quite a popular design element, isn't it?

**By the way, I just realized that Lisette has moved from being offered by Simplicity Patterns to the McCall Pattern Company. I wonder how that all came about?

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Future Goal: Repair Wardrobe Disconnect

I used to keep an actual scrapbook of fashion clippings that I pasted the looks I liked. Of course, I now have Pintrest and Flickr to record my favorites.

Scrapbook images from the Tweeds catalog.

The funny thing is how the items and looks have stayed consistent over the many years even though the items still don't currently exist in my wardrobe. I don't know when I will be sewing again, but my future plans include creating the life where the wardrobe I have always wanted will exist. Believe me, when I reveal the wardrobe you won't be shocked, in fact, you'll probably wonder why I haven't put it together before now. You're not the only one wondering that... Perhaps I didn't think I deserved it yet?! Yes, yes, I DO have issues...

Striped knit tee shirts, crew, boat, and v-necks
Same type shirts put in silkier matte fabrics for dressier occasions
Similar shaped fine-gauge sweaters
Slim flat-front ankle-length pants
Carrot topped pants with fullness at top from gathers or pleats that taper to the ankle.
Long-sleeved shift dresses
Fit and flare dresses, with darted bodices and full skirts
Full skirts in above- and below-knee lengths
Collarless duster jackets and cardigans
Simple beautiful pieces incorporating drapery and unique twists

So when I get back to sewing this is hopefully what you will be seeing. Luckily, the projects currently in my sewing queue fit in this group and I have already taken a step in that direction. My eldest sister gifted me some holiday money and I just happened to check out the Mood Fabrics website and bought myself some striped ponte knit goodies for that top entry on this list in jade and brown and in mustard and jade!

Does anyone know where I can get a wide striped red and white knit like that second example? I can't find any that are not see-through.

Monday, January 26, 2015

In The Details: All the Caped Wonders

And now, some light distraction...

Capes are an item of clothing that has always been in the fashion sphere. They began as practical cloaks to protect from wind, rain and other elements and have now evolved to a true fashion accessory, not really worn to stave off the weather, sometimes just to enhance an outfit, and above all, be cute.

I saw this gorgeous cape pattern and I thought it was truly amazing looking. I love how the side front arm openings are disguised as a seam detail that would only be noticed when an arm is thrust through. What a stylish way to deal with a practical function.

Here it is again on a recent Fendi coat with a similar armhole hidden in the seam detail that also involves a tuck secured at the shoulder that hides the opening inside the resulting pleat. This picture was from the July 2010 issue of Vogue Italia.

This double-breasted beauty from McCall's uses the more commonly seen welt pocket treatment for the armholes.

Simplicity 8353

A truly funky cape for the mod chick of style. Included in this ensemble pattern, this cape has rounded edges, decorative edging and reversibility, check out that faux fur or fleece lining on the plaid one. Loving the goldenrod vest and skirt outfit on the right with the thick ribbed turtleneck. Check how the pleated flares, knee socks, loafers, and go-go boots on the left truly catch the era. This pattern is easily available on Etsy.

Vogue 7451

This pattern provides a more formal adult version of the cape. This one provides you with angled exterior patch pockets for keys or lipstick and the raised collar is a bit smaller. This one, when made to floor length would be perfect for evening.

Simplicity 7858

Another elegant formal cape with high collar and simple vertical slits for the arms. The bonus of this pattern is that is included is an adorable square-necked, empire-waist A-line dress or gown. Oh to live a life when this pattern was considered a practical purchase. This pattern is also everywhere on Etsy if you want it, just make sure to compare prices and get an appropriate deal.

Vogue 8145

Vogue #8145 is another vintage 1960's elegant cape/coat pattern. More detailed, this beautifully flared cape with a shaped standing collar, raglan shaping, side front button closing, and side front slits. Because of the slits, the tie belt holds in the front panel at the waist and allows the back to hang full and free. This one has a little Dr. Zhivago feel to it, no?

Butterick 3261

I adore the bell shape of this one. The short cape is decorated with mitered trim around the vents fashioned for arm mobility while the long version incorporates large patch pockets.

Images: Vintage Pattern Wiki, Tom & Lorenzo, Carynification, Catnip Hill, SewBettyandDot