I'm having one of those days that is so bad you have a hard time thinking about it and when you think about it your stomach knots up.
All I want to do is procrastinate (like writing on my blog, cutting out a new dress, doing laundry) instead of dealing with it. I need a new job.
I put my car in the shop because it desperately needed it. Loud mystery noises, no AC during the hottest June on record here, and the VA state inspection was due. Now my car is stuck at the mechanics because the only credit card I still have does not have the space for this repair and I do not have the cash for it either. I was so sure I had at least $200 available, but no.
So, besides that I literally do not have the money to get through this month especially if my landlord expects the full rent payment. However, I'm hoping I can get a few hundred off that because of the lack of ac for an entire week and the expected higher electricity bills for the two portable AC units that they put in place now. I did sell a pattern today but $7 isn't really going to help much. How did I do this to myself?!!!!
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I'm having one of those days that is so bad you have a hard time thinking about it and when you think about it your stomach knots up.
Friday, June 25, 2010
I love the mint green tea, raspberry, and lemonade color palette of these pattern covers! Yum. That actually makes me think of raspberry (or strawberry) lemonade, one of my summer drink staples.
I want View 1, check out the open back and neck collar, it's slinky, a bit bare, but still very covered in front.
This one, I'm all over the green tea dress, it is simple in design with the gathered neckline but the added flounce (mini-train) at the hem and the elegantly draped sash add so much to the dress. I also adore the raspberry velvet(?) wrap jacket. Do you see how it wraps both in front and in the back? Gorgeous!
* Customode was actually produced by Simplicity Patterns so maybe that's why I have the same feeling for these both and why the design and colors are similar.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The air conditioning unit in my apartment has been malfunctioning since last Friday. No AC at all during the weekend and minimal cooling since Monday. The building management has informed me that I need a completely new unit and has lent me a mobile AC unit for the time being. I swear this thing is the size of an old-school R2D2 unit. (I will insert pictures later)
However, whatever cooling air comes out the top of it is immediately overpowered by the pizza-oven-hot air coming out the vent in the back. So let's just say, I have been miserable in my apartment for days. My brain cells run away and hide, I have no energy, and I actually look forward to going to work every day because of the constant AC going on there. Now, that's sad, right?
That right vent is the devil!
Update: I realized I forgot to mention that I live on the third floor (heat rises) and my living room ceilings are 13 feet high (again heat rises) and that is a lot of space for one droid AC unit to cool.
So, basically, all the great plans I came up with last Friday during an all-day work meeting (my little written notes in the margins became brilliant ideas for the future) and the plans I had to sew (including an actual one-hour dress) have all been stalled. The only thing I can do when I go home is try to move as little as possible, turn off all the lights, eat Popsicles, and hover over the unit while avoiding the waves of heat from its' backside.
In addition, here's what I have to look forward to for the next week:
Thurs, Jun 24, PM T-Storms 103°
Fri, Jun 25, Mostly Sunny 96°
Sat, Jun 26, Isolated T-Storms 100°
Sun, Jun 27, Partly Cloudy 103°
Mon, Jun 28, Isolated T-Storms 96°
Tue, Jun 29, Isolated T-Storms 91°
Wed, Jun 30, Partly Cloudy 88°
Thu, Jul 01, Sunny 87°
Pray for me, please?
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I know I have been bombarding you with lots of long, photo-packed posts, but I hope you've been enjoying them because I have a few more to go.
- There are new patterns in the shop (these are even cheaper!) and there will be additions every week. Please check them out.
- I have a post almost ready on the unique cuff, collar, pocket, and other details once common in sewing patterns (1940-60s) that gave a garment an extra zing. Most of these details could be revived as additions to modern patterns already in your home.
- In need of a new top, I finished this muslin for my Built By Wendy-Vogue pattern mash-up. I reinforced the basted seams and replaced the elastic. I know it's still muslin but no one who doesn't sew will know the difference. Maybe, one day when I have the facilities, I'll dye it.
- I am finally working on the last item of my long overdue mini-wardrobe; the 1960's Butterick button-back top. Don't know what my procrastination problem was with it. Still up in the air about the bound buttonholes and looking at related tutorials.
- Working on fixing the muslin for the yellow dress. I realize I never followed through on it's progress on the blog. Long story short, that sheet was the worst fabric for this dress and also for this top, but I still wear it. It's far too stiff, has NO give and I had not added enough width to the pattern's hip seams. Of course, the pattern did say Recommended For Knits...which I then ignored. Once I alter the pattern though this will look great in one of the new stretch bengalines that Jo-Anns has right now.
- I am about to tackle the alterations I need to make in order to finally finish my Colette Pattern's Oolong dress. Following a suggestion to decrease the seam allowances in the hip area and therefore allow more ease, did in fact, eliminate a lot of the sway back lines in the yellow dress above so I am going to apply that knowledge to both the slip and fashion fabric layers of this dress. Also, it seems I need to decrease the seam allowances on the sleeves or bite the bullet and cut a sleeve with a larger arm opening. The sleeves seem a bit too tight now. Luckily I may have enough leftover fabric. I'm also tempting to substitute the sleeves from this dress, Simplicity 6034, which has a similar look but gives the sleeves some more interest. I have also seen drafting instructions for similar sleeves here on Vintage Sewing.info.
Friday, June 18, 2010
There are two independent fabric stores in Richmond that I've discovered, can't wait to find the others. One I've known about for a while, Quilting Adventures. In it's original location it mostly carried...quilting fabrics. Whoa, did you see that coming? Along with those they carry all the patterns and things you would need to make bags and stuffed animals and have a large sewing magazine and book section. But now I notice more clothing fabric in the back, knits, batiks, canvas prints, laminated cottons, and corduroy. But even cooler, I've also seen some designer bolts. First some Nicole Miller, Marc Jacobs, Anne Klein, some Helen Wang raspberry eyelet, and then some Ralph Lauren sateen the last time I was in.
The last time I was in I asked if they were going to carry any of Anna Maria Horner's fabrics not even thinking of her voile. As it turns out they will likely be carrying some of her fabric but NOT the voile. However, they let me know that the Bernina shop in the West End was carrying it NOW.
Yes, the Bernina sewing machine shop had it. What did I find when I showed up there 10 minutes before they closed on Saturday? Lovely, lovely voile!
I have touched it and it is everything that everyone on the blogs is saying it is. I now want all my summer dresses and tops to be made out of this fabric, all floaty and fine! Even at $15 a yard, it is worth it.
Diamond Mine - Sky, Coloring Garden - Sea
Little Honey - Berry, Coloring Garden - Citrus
So if you are in Virginia, Anna Maria Horner's cotton voile (seen above) is available to touch in person at the Bernina of Richmond store. They also carry Kwik Sew, Sewing Workshop, and some Jalie patterns so you don't have to online order them all the time.
Bernina of Richmond
Both stores also hold sewing and quilting classes. Check their individual websites above for schedules.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
As you can see from my last few posts I have become obsessed with late 1920 and 1930s fashions. The movie Baby Face, really put a fire under me. Also the discovery of Fashion Service magazine, a drafting pattern exercise from the past, a friend's vintage English pattern booklet, and an old publication (seen here and here) that is currently available as a reprint, I'm pretty happy right now.
I took a look around the Internet to see if I could find examples of Lily Power's movie costumes existing in real life (or at least in home sewing patterns). I found the best source of images was at The Blue Gardenia. Enjoy these pretties and the costumes that may have really inspired these designs:
Now these two have to be related, right?! Just crop the gathered sleeves , remove the sleeve band and adjust the size of the collar and I think this one is almost 90% there. What do you think?
Simplicity 1778, Butterick 6698
Construct the ruffles of white organdy and lengthen the sleeves of Simplicity 1708 and there you are!
I couldn't really find this one, but I found a lot of work dresses with great eye catching collars and larger-than-life adornments framing the face.
Simplicity 1827, Hollywood 832, McCall* 9034
Look how similar the patterns on the ends are with those full, floppy bows. Two different pattern companies but if they came out in the same season they were probably knock-offs of some designer fashion or could have been adapted from a movie costume. The pattern in the middle is significant too because the actress pictured, Kay Francis was also frequently costumed by Orry-Kelly of Baby Face.
Simplicity 1645, McCall 7404, Simplicity 1804
These all use contrasting fabrics to great advantage.
McCall 7981, du Barry 1131
These two invoke the use of big ruffles to make a statement. I'm loving that last one so much, I think I need a yellow plaid something in my life.
Hollywood 994 and Pictorial Pattern 7298
For the lady who shops, with super glamorous Carole Lombard on the Hollywood pattern.
Now, check out who it is on this Hollywood pattern below, "Babs" Stanwyck herself! Wonder if this lingerie-inspired gown could have been modeled after an Orry-Kelly design made especially for her?
Images: Blue Gardenia, Peppermintchick's Flickr stream (Hollywood 832 + McCall 7404),
* McCall was the company's name before they added the -'s to it.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent
Costume Design: Orry-Kelly
Baby Face - a story of rags to riches, with a lot of sin mixed in. Available in an uncensored and censored version, it was extremely racy for it's day as Barbara Stanwyck's character, Lily Powers, literally sleeps her way to the top of a Manhattan finance company, ending up living in the penthouse.
Again, the clothes in a movie that inspires me turns out to have been designed by designer Orry-Kelly.* As it turns out, Orry-Kelly designed most of the outfits in Barbara Stanwyck and Bette Davis' film wardrobes that I have loved. Movies like Now, Voyager, The Little Foxes, and Gambling Lady. He also designed the costumes for Auntie Mame, Some Like it Hot, Irma La Douce and one of my favorites, An American in Paris.** So in this post we'll look at what he created for a girl from the Erie, Pennsylvania slums "working" her way to the top.
Please note how great these screen captures are. I was given permission to borrow them from Kate at Small Earth Vintage, do yourself a favor and check out her great vintage shop here.
Chic in the Big City
Lily's first job in the Big City and she wears a cute polka-dot bias dress with flutter sleeves, topped with an attached white cape-collar, adorned with large metallic buttons and larger than average buttonholes. Note that this is pre-makeover.
Movin' on up!
This is worn as she makes her move for advancement, standing out from the other ladies by adding flare to her wardrobe with an infusion of (organdy?) ruffles not only at the decolletage but also at the wrists, all topped with a new permanent wave in her hair. See the plainer version of the white collar and cuffs dress in the background?
My fave look!
Now in the midst of having an affair with the bank president's future son-in-law, she ups the stakes by wearing a classic background dress jazzed up with a large quilted (yes, quilted!) scarf and matching cuffs. This one says clean, classy and professional, so what is her character doing wearing it? I can't help but read that monogram as a giant red letter "A".
Bubbles and sparkly things bought by her Sugar Daddy
Soon after, she dumps the son-in-law and moves up to the bank's much older president. Lily no longer needs to work and is set up in a doorman apartment and given an obviously generous clothing budget. Check out those jewels!
Lady of Leisure
She is now wearing full ensembles with accessories such as hats, gloves and fur capes and I suspect she now spends her days shopping.
In time, great scandal happens threatening the company and she is shipped to the company's Paris branch. (Yeah, I wish that was how it works!) Lily is soon pursued by the brand new company president (George Brent), a much younger and hunkier model. Once married to him, she is quickly spoiled rotten (real rotten!) in the company's penthouse apartment.
The Big Time!
I guess this is her "just hanging out at home" outfit. Black satin bias gown with metallic encrusted, draped open-shoulder sleeves, a slight train and a jeweled brooch at neck.
She's got plenty of nothing...
Fitted satin (charmeuse?) gown with voluminous dolman sleeves, draped buttoned back collar and scandalous open back.
Another view of the pure Glamour
Images: courtesy of Small Earth Vintage
* If anyone knows of a coffee table book on Orry-Kelly, please let me know. I can't believe with his list of credits that no one has documented his genius yet.
** Two of the movies mentioned above will be the future subjects of new Inspire Me segments, guess which ones?
Friday, June 04, 2010
A while ago, I wrote about the green silk dress from the movie Atonement and how it was created. Well, Gemma commented that her wedding dress was inspired by that movie costume and that she had pictures. So, I emailed her back to send them and then also sent her a little questionnaire about how it all came about that she wore a version of Cece Tallis' dress on her own wedding day. Please enjoy her answers (and the gorgeous pictures!) below:
Happy couple + Mr. Rory McCrory
I'm Gemma McCrory from Belfast, Northern Ireland but now living in London, England. I am a Deputy Head of a primary school in Hackney, east London. Any spare time that I have I love to shop! Depending on my mood I either like trawling through vintage shops and warehouses or searching on the high street for vintage styled pieces. I am not very good with my hands so am a bit hopeless at actually making my own, but what I am good at is finding vintage patterns and emailing them to my sister-in-law in Belfast to make for me. It was Marie, my sister-in-law and 1940s fanatic, who actually alerted me to Lisa's post about my wedding dress.
Jacqueline Durran's design
How did you find your dressmaker or did a family member/friend make it for you?
If given the choice, would you have worn the dress the same way that Keira did in the movie, with the long slit in the front of the skirt that was only revealed when she was walking?
What did your intended/now husband think of the dress? Did he have an idea that you would be wearing it, had he seen it before that day?