Monday, December 29, 2008

Vintage influences in modern fashion

Of course we know that many of today's fashion fads are influenced by the past. But how many popular modern patterns have roots in the past is always interesting to find as I sort through my favorite vintage pattern sites.

The similarities to Simplicity 3835; a VERY popular Built by Wendy pattern, can be seen here in Butterick 2932, Simplicity 5578, and a little bit of Butterick 6124.

Images: Lanetz Living, Out of the Ashes Patterns

Monday, December 22, 2008

Boatneck Top Solution?

McCall's 8251

Argghh, this pattern! I have loved it since I first laid eyes on it, but the satisfactory completion of my very first item from it keeps alluding me.

These images from a past J.Crew collection were how I saw the pattern turning out. I wanted several versions of the dress and the top. Alas, I'm still working on the very first one!

Here, I talked about it when I THOUGHT I was finished with it although I did admit that it had major problems in wearing because of it being too large on my somewhat narrow shoulders. Here I discussed my options for correction and here, I thought I had a solution in mind. Wel, after searching for the remnants I realized I didn't have enough fabric to really create the mod collar I was contemplating and the idea of adding a contrast collar was not appealing to me.

Note the gathers along the shoulder seams.

Then I saw this similar tunic in a Lucky issue I was recycling. I have already made a pleat down the middle of my top's front and taken in the equivalent ease from the back. But perhaps I will also try something like this in addition to the center pleat. I found enough perfectly matched seam binding (in the stash!) that I'm going to use to bind the neckline and with the remnants, perhaps create some faux godets* to close up the neckline. I really want this thing satisfactorily completed before the new year so that I add it to my slightly pathetic number of completed sewing projects in 2008.**

*I can't think of a better term. When I show it to you, maybe you can help me name it?
**Compared to some of you more organized sewers!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Stash

The pictures aren't the best but I wanted to get a quick "before" photo before I organize the bins.

This picture shows the two bins of fabric: the one on the left hold yardage bought for particular projects (which includes three yards of expensive navy wool crepe meant for this dress that I never had the guts to make more than ten years ago) and the one on the left has all my smaller remnents, linings, and assorted scraps. The smaller bin at the bottom holds assorted notions like snaps, velcro, seam guides, sewing feet, seam binding, tracing paper, hem tape, etc.

The only things missing from the notions bin are my two Mason jars; one filled with buttons and the other full of zippers.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Suede Patch Cardigan - Oh shucks, darn it!

It may have taken me months to do this, but I am very happy with the belated results. Even more months earlier I had discovered a hole in the sleeve of my favorite black cardigan and I put it aside to mend it one day. Before I was ready to do that I put it on one more time and while I blogged my heart a way the little hole became a huge awkward mess. I didn't want to throw it away so I started to think fabric patches but didn't really know how to do that. So the cardigan just waited...and waited.

Luckily, a few weeks ago, I read about someone darning socks on their blog and thought perhaps I could use that to at least tighten up the hole which I could then cover up. I searched around until I found two tutorials that I thought explained the technique well and set down to fix up my sweater. This one, explains a more intricate method very well, but I found this video tutorial* the most helpful, because I could actually see it step-by-step.

I didn't have a darning egg/mushroom so I just used a rolled-up magazine under the hole and though a bit awkward, it worked fine.

This is the corrected side.
(Enlarge to see
blurry detail.)

Note: Very important, remember to darn from the wrong side, once you are done the opposite side is the one that will look much better than the "working" side. I did it wrong, but luckily for me, it didn't matter because I was going to cover the hole with a black patch, but if you are darning socks you want to be sure to do it correctly.

Embroidery needle and red floss.

I decided on using this black faux suede that I inherited from my mom's old fabric stash. I also had burgundy and camel to choose from but decided to go with the matching fabric color.

However, I then realized I had no black embroidery floss so I ended up going with bright red instead! This is what the inside of the good arm looks like. I used a backstitch which allowed the inside to look quite cool too.

To sew on this patch, I used an old pleather wallet** underneath to keep from stitching both sides of the sleeve together.

*The video tutorial found on Molly Knits Sweaters was created by

** Ooh, a step up from the rolled-up magazine, see?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

If only it could really be mine...

Check out my DREAM closet at Making it Lovely.

Right now, (hopefully) Nicole is just putting the finishing touches on it and soon (very soon, I hope) she will be shipping it down to me, where it will live in my bedroom.

I must have all those boldly patterned dresses and all those vintage-looking Mary-Janes.

Do you see that luscious tray of girly accessories?

Just Lovely.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ha! I think the joke is on her.

Renovation Therapy is upset about the lack of traffic on her blog so she enlists me to tell EVERYONE who reads my blog that she has a contest going on.

I sure hope she told a lot of other bloggers.

A little update...

  1. This top (McCall's 8251) may take a while. I can't find the leftover fabric from when I made it. All I could find was one long strip that could be a collar if I make a "perfect" drafted pattern for it, which I'd have to because it is all there is left.

  2. On this shirt (Simplicity 4077), buttonholes have been made (!), the hem has been finished, and now all I need is to sew on the buttons during a TV-watching activity.

  3. I darned my black cardigan sweater a few weeks ago and have finally pinned on the faux suede elbow patches. I went with plain black because I had the perfect fabric in my bins.

  4. I actually pulled out all of my fabric this weekend (looking for the fabric in #1). Found remnants of outfits I wish I could remember because the fabric is so cool.

  5. I have more craft or upholstery-type fabrics than fabric for garments so...

  6. I feel better about the unfinished wardrobe list. It really isn't that much fabric (see #5). And as time has gone on, the patterns I wanted to use for particular fabrics have all changed anyway. Ex. I don't think I'll use this Built by Wendy pattern, Simplicity 4111, since so many people have had problems with the bodice and instead will use this similar pattern, New Look 6836, view A.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Now these are cool...

I saw these in an ad for Chanel a few days ago and without looking I already found a similar and cheaper version online at Urban Outfitters here for $14. The difference is that the originals from the Winter 08/09 collection are opaque white and black and the UO version are sheer and black. I guess you could layer them over white tights? However, I'm sure someone is making a pair closer to the Chanel version, right?

These are the other pair that Chanel showed on the runway. UO has a knock-off pair for these too.

Photos: Chanel, Frances Tulk-Hart for The New York Times

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In the Details: Those Mod-Collared Girls

 Butterick 4430

McCall's 8877 and Simplicity 7341


Simplicity 7807 and Butterick 4290
Isn't it strange how similar the color stories are?

Vogue 6963 and Butterick 4367

Images: Lanetz Living and Out of the Ashes online pattern sellers - links at right 

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Good News Tuesday

1) I saw Jon Hamm on the Today Show before I left for work.

2) That was right after a report that Mattell (maker of Barbie®) has officially put the Bratz dolls out of business! All current Bratz doll merchandise must be pulled from the shelves. Mattel now has the choice of either destroying the merchandise (YAY!) or marketing and selling the dolls themselves (BOO!!!!)

I haven't done any research yet, but if you find a organization(s) petitioning Mattell not to do that last horrid thing, let me know. Barbie; no matter how you feel about her, is already an American institution, but please don't let them give Bratz dolls the same opportunity!

Friday, December 05, 2008

A (Non) Progress Report

Simplicity 4077

Well, the shirt has no hem or buttons yet. What is it about making buttonholes that intimidates me? I don't remember any traumatic buttonhole-related disasters in my past. Hopefully, I'll get it together this weekend.

The other top still seems to be too wide in the neckline despite my creation of a 1/4" inch (1/2" in total) pleat down the center front.

the pleat

Does anyone have a suggestion for a way to finish the neckline and create a closer neckline? I was thinking something like a stand or a wide Nehru-like collar but I'm not sure how it will look on this style top.
McCall's 8251