Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Colette's Clothing Confections

Sarai has just released a sneak peek of her first collection of sewing patterns called Colette Patterns. They were definitely worth the wait.

A few months ago, I missed out on getting to test one of these patterns for her and have been curious as to what she would choose for her first foray into sewing patterns. Well, these are truly delicious. They are full of retro details that invoke a time gone by AND they are named after sweet dessert items.

So go to the Colette Patterns site to see the preview of items with names like Chantilly (my favorite of the dresses), Beignet, Macaron, Parfait, etc.

Best of all, the patterns are sized from 0 to 18 with a range that includes women with measurements from 33-25-35 to 46-38-48.

Sarai, if you end up designing another full skirted, wasp-waisted design anytime soon, may I suggest the name Ambrosia?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mad Men: The Good Girl aka Betty Draper

Oops, were any of you missing Betty? I just realized I never posted this part of my Mad Men fashion series!

Betty Draper, part Barbie, Skipper, and Sandra Dee, all rolled up in one.* In the first two episodes of Mad Men that Betty showed up in we saw a very insecure, nervous, "pretty" girl who looked up to her (flawed) husband for approval and permission. She was an ideal "trophy wife" before the phrase was even invented and put into use.

Vogue 5548, I thought it was interesting how Betty's pose in three pictures on this page match this pattern sketch.

As you can see the shirtwaist dress was a popular item in Betty's wardrobe during Season 1. Despite the constricting underpinnings that Betty wears, the dress "looked" comfortable and easy. Most of Betty's dresses worked on this similar design of using a tight waist complemented with a belt or a change of fabric at the waist that then released into a full skirt. The skirt's size was always emphasized with a crinoline or petticoat. This was the Good Girl's version of the hourglass silhouette.

 Dinner in New York with Don

Working the corporate wife look

And here's a treat for you: While searching for new pictures for this belated post I discovered Mad Men Fashion Mondays on A Rambling Fancy's blog. I'm sure you'll love her posts like I did.

Find your inner Betty by searching vintage pattern sites with search term JackieO, wiggledress, rockabilly:

From left to right: McCall's 3698, Vogue 1631, Vogue 5548,
Simplicity 3580, Simplicity 4003, Simplicity 3434

* The Grace Kelly influence doesn't show up until after episode three, The Marriage of Figaro.

Sister, Can You Spare a Domino?*

Update: Yes, I was an idiot. I linked the Domino magazine covers below from their website and meant to go back and save them proper. Of course, the website just went down. I am currently searching Google images and Flickr for the covers but it's so hard to read the date on the scans so the images don't match with the months listed below.

I just read this post of Holly's and realized that Domino had only published 36 issues in it's short life. How can that be possible? And really, how can it be possible that I don't have more of them? Here are the ones I wish I had at least borrowed and read when I had the chance. If you happen to have issues that you don't want (yeah, ha, ha, ha!) I would love to be the recipient of your de-cluttering. Ok?


Missing September, October, November


Missing January/February, April, June, September, October, November


For some reason, did not buy February 2009 but now want it

*Title adapted from the 1931 Great Depression song, Brother, Can you Spare a Dime.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Being Alive?

I have been feeling this song lately:

As sung by Raúl Esparza in the 2006 revival of Stephen Sondheim's Company. This is the long version, but it gives you the song's context within the show. (And if you happen to click and watch the whole show, hurrah, I helped Broadway a bit!)

Being Alive
(Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim)

Someone to hold you too close,
Someone to hurt you too deep,
Someone to sit in your chair,
To ruin your sleep.

Someone to need you too much,
Someone to know you too well,
Someone to pull you up short
And put you through hell.

Someone you have to let in,
Someone whose feelings you spare,
Someone who, like it or not,
Will want you to share
A little, a lot.

Someone to crowd you with love,
Someone to force you to care,
Someone to make you come through,
Who'll always be there,
As frightened as you
Of being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive.

Somebody, hold me too close,
Somebody, hurt me too deep,
Somebody, sit in my chair
And ruin my sleep
And make me aware
Of being alive,
Being alive.

Somebody, need me too much,
Somebody, know me too well,
Somebody, pull me up short
And put me through hell
And give me support
For being alive,
Make me alive.

Make me confused,
Mock me with praise,
Let me be used,
Vary my days.
But alone is alone, not alive.

Somebody, crowd me with love,
Somebody, force me to care,
Somebody, make me come through,
I'll always be there,
As frightened as you,
To help us survive
Being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive!

Friday, March 27, 2009


  • Finally finished stuffing two Wee Wonderful dolls. Their faces have to be sewn on tomorrow night as at least one will be delivered on Saturday at a baby shower.
  • At said baby shower, I will be wearing my New York & Co. dress for the first time with my cordovan Clarks. Of course, I will try to get a picture for the blog.
  • Spent some of last night hand sewing the hem on that "quick & easy" gray skirt. I shortened it four inches after I couldn't stand feeling frumpy in it. I wanted to wear it today so a quick sewing machine hem was done but as time goes by I will hand sew the hem bit by bit. The Philip Lim-inspired sash was finished a few days ago.
  • My belly dance class is going great!
  • Doctor's appointment #1 went well and I have a mammogram scheduled for Monday.
  • Will try to get to the Anda dress. It is ridiculous that a simple dress like that is still not done. I just haven't had time to check the fit on me.

  • If I opened an Etsy shop, selling different sewn accessory items and a few key clothing pieces, what do you think I should call it?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm late, I'm so late...

to acknowledge a great honor.

I was nominated for a Sisterhood Award weeks ago by Antoinette and it's taken me all this time to finally say thank you. But please don't think that it didn't mean the world to me. I unfortunately, am not as prolific as the rest of the nominated sewers/sewists so it means so much that I'm considered to be a part of the group. You are all so amazing!

To pass this honor you need to:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

I nominate:

Trista at Sugardale
Kyle at Vacuuming the Lawn
Notamermaid at Sewing in the City
Very Prairie at Sew Very Prairie
Kristy at lower your presser foot
Stephanie at Creative Reveries
Amanda at Amanda's Adventures in Sewing
Jen at the fabled needle
Moggy and Kitty at I wanna frock and roll all night
(the two for one blog!)
Miss Amelina at Mamie's Musings

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

No Sew Duo Shirt DIY Idea

Pretty wild DIY clothing project from the Fashiontribes website; this is from the September 2005 issue of NYLON magazine and the designers of Preen:

Two men's shirts are simply buttoned together and worn with all four sleeves intact here.

Funny thing is I found this when I was searching for research on a dog crate project idea for SHELTER. Yeah, I know...

Please let me know if you try this out!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Ha!

I just found out why I loved that little black 3.1 Phillip Lim dress so much.

Look at this Claire McCardell dress from the 50s. Similar, no?

Align Left

I was about to say that Phillip (yes, I'm on first name basis) used a completely different neckline while still having the silhouette feel the same. But then I remembered I also had this one in my saved images folder...

THAT is why his dress felt so familiar. Again, his neckline is different but definitely more similar to this McCardell creation than the one above. It's such a great design; a very cute springy dress which would be only better by the addition of pockets for picking up stones along your way.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Coconut Pancakes, Anyone?

While searching the Web, a notice about the Original Pancake House restaurant in Chicago mentions a new addition to their the menu that got my attention. As

...coconut pancakes ($7.29), which have roasted-coconut flakes in the buttermilk batter, shredded coconut on top, and a tropical syrup made with reduced orange juice and lots of orange and lemon zest..."

Does anyone know of a recipe for this? Of course I could probably create one using that delicious-sounding detailed description but I am just wondering if someone has already come up with it.

Yes, I am lazy.

Update: Guess what I just found out. This restaurant is a nation-wide chain and there is one in Virginia! Yay! Check out their mouth-watering offerings in pancakes, waffles, and crepes!

Friday, March 20, 2009

That is a big deal

I just found out that for the rest of March, all the actresses on ABC's All My Children will be wearing clothes from New York & Company. How did the company get that to happen? That's huge! I heard about it through the PR emails they keep sending me but there isn't anything about this on their website.

So, if you watch the show, let me know if you see my dress. Yes, I said MY dress. After they sent me multiple emails with coupon offers, I finally went and bought it for myself for 20% off. In addition, the little sweater is now $25 online, so I'm just waiting for their next 20% off coupon to snatch that up too.

Yes, I'm getting a tax return and I think I shouldn't feel guilty for spending less than $20 on a little cardigan.

I also want you to know that they are currently having 70% off sales, so you should check them out. Here are just a few of the incredible deals on the site right now:

Cute paper-bag waisted skirt for $8!
The safari dress shown in this post is now $30
The cute shirt also in that post is now only $20

(Hey, I wonder if they are getting La Lucci to actually wear their stuff too?!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Designers as Fashion Inspiration

(almost identical to OOP Vogue 1600)

My goal was to link these to current or past patterns with similar style lines but that was more than two weeks ago, so....

Max Mara
(similar to Vogue 1025, zoom in and see the waist detail)

Piazza Sempione
Lida Biday dress
(very Claire McCardell, no?)


All images are from the Nordstrom Collectors section.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Just call me "cupcake"

Creamsicle cupcakes!

I have one of those offices that uses any occasion to have cake, pie, cupcakes, or even sometimes fruit (?) in the break room. It seems I talk A LOT about cupcakes at work because a co-worker now thinks that should be my nickname. Oops!

So when I saw this a few minutes ago I knew first, I had to send this to that co-worker and second, I needed to post it here for you. I know from my sites on Bloglines that most of you will appreciate this as much as I do. Enjoy!

Click here for lots of cupcake recipes from Food.com.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Update: Positive

Well, I had my belly dance class on Tuesday and I loved it! I was worried that I was really rusty since I hadn't used some of those muscles for five years. But no, I was keeping up with the other girls who had taken it last session. Two days later and I'm still not sore so my muscles must be pretty good. I had so much energy the next day. So yeah, this exercise thing is really going to help me out.

I finally finished my taxes and I will be getting back a check for more money than I make in a month! Of course, I don't make that much in a month, but still..."it's a good thing," as Martha would say. This will also help me out immensely.

I have many projects on my plate right now, so I'm doing a little bit each night:
  • two stuffed animals for one newborn and one upcoming baby shower
  • a musical keyboard cover for a friend in exchange for some computer help
  • that Burdastyle Anda dress (just haven't had time to do anything past sewing up the side seams)
  • make a sash for that gray skirt (though I did take out that 2nd row of elastic that was making me feel thick in the waist)
  • other misc. mending jobs (hems, repair tears, replace buttons and other fasteners)
Let's just say, TGIF, TGIF!

Victoria Secret chandelier sandals I always associate with belly dancing. I so wish I had bought these years ago! (Now, I'd feel guilty having such an impractical pair of shoes.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One day...

I want to:

  • fall in love
  • own a dog
  • have a good reason to wear a ballgown
  • visit Rochester, NY
  • be my own boss
  • own a little house
  • grow my hair so I can make a bun or a top knot
  • learn flamenco
  • travel to London, Scotland, and Spain
  • track down two old boyfriends (Facebook to the rescue!)
  • attend a performance of Austin City Limits
  • attend a show on Broadway, preferably Sondheim
  • meet Amy Sedaris
  • live happily ever after

Note: in no particular order

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Ok, this is hard to post...

Two weeks ago I withdrew from my spring semester class, the History of Modern England.

I shouldn't have signed up for it in the first place. My last class (again with that horrid little man*) ended in a fiery crash & burn. I should have taken a break after that but I felt I couldn't "waste" the semester. You know since I've been "counting down" the credits till completion. But then that is exactly what I DID do.

I had no motivation to study and when I did do the readings there was no retention of what I read. And what was worse, no real guilt. Bad, really bad. I've been here before and that's not good at all.

What is really unfortunate is that I didn't come to this decision 4 or 5 weeks ago when I could have received a refund for at least a portion of my tuition (which I could use to pay on a credit card or a damn school loan!**) So let that be a $900 wake-up call to me. "Do not go back to school until you actually want to AND can succeed at it!!!!

I have a lot of work to do on myself now. I already feel better and making those doctors appointments were a step in the right direction. Hopefully, a new diet, some exercise (my class starts on Tuesday!), some kick-a-- pharmaceuticals, and some talk therapy will get me in shape so I can graduate sometime before the year 2525.

* He unfortunately teaches a large amount of the classes that I need to take. Arggghh!
** Since I wasn't signed up for part-time status (2 classes = 6 credits) I am already in repayment...an extra $180 a month I now have to pay.

Fashion In Film: About Mad Men

Awesome posted interview with Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant on the all plaidOut blog. Check it out here and here!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

3.1, Phillip, I Love You!!


I am now a Phillip Lim fan. After finding that almost every picture of my desired skirt was made by him, I am still finding that most outfits I see and like are ALSO by him. So let me share with you some of his genius.


If you look at his stuff on eLuxury, they have a great zoom-over feature that lets you really see the detailing on his garments. Like with the dress above, you must check out the ingenious way the belt is attached to the front of the dress and then check the back view to see the belt itself.

Yes, I can't afford any of them but somehow looking at clothing WAY OUT of your reach is easier than looking at things JUST OUT of reach. Understand?

*If anyone knows of a pattern or tutorial for a dress like this, please let me know, ok?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Dress: Remind Anyone of Anything?

Like these, maybe?

Just so I can remember the details:

Sophie Theallet silk chiffon dress, $3,505.
  • 100% delicate silk chiffon
  • Semi-sheer
  • V-neck with ornate petal-like ruffle detailing
  • Sleeveless
  • Wrap front with long ties
  • Elegant gathered tiers encircle hem
  • Satin slip with scoop neck and spaghetti straps
  • Straight silhouette

And in turn, this dress reminds me a bit of this favorite too, Vogue 1030.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Well, lookee, lookee, lookee...

See this beautiful Derek Lam dress from my inspiration file?

Well, look what McCall's patterns went and did? Coincidence...I don't think so. But, sure took them long enough!

Just what I needed today...

A day off!

Images taken from my balcony.