Monday, May 31, 2010

SATC (II), Not For Me

Jezebel writer Dodai, live-blogged a morning showing of the new Sex and the City movie in New York. Read it here. I wouldn't consider this a spoiler because there doesn't seem to be any real plot points or drama involved in the movie at all.

I had already decided that I was not going to pay to see this movie because the first one left a bad taste in my mouth. Unbelievably, this one sounds worse, in fact, it sounds offensive. Culturally insensitive both to the gay community and to Muslims. What were they thinking?!

For the clothes, well, I'll just wait for some fashion blog to analyze the fashion. Though, from what I've seen I'll probably only like the stuff worn in New York, the desert clothes look more like costumes.

Yes, I was/am a fan of the show but the movies are really bringing that legacy down.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hats Off To You!

Friday, I spent innumerable hours scanning patterns into my computer and transferring them to Flickr in advance of adding them to my Etsy shop. I am not even halfway through the 135 I'm going to sell.

Why don't I just take digital pictures of them, you ask? Well, my camera, the Kodak EasyShare C310, is crap at taking close detailed photos. See?

Which is something you should definitely think about if you bought a digital camera primarily to use on a blog to document specific details of your homemade projects. Oh, well.

What I wanted to say hat is off to anyone who sells patterns on the Internet. After awhile I was tempted to just drop these things off at Goodwill and be done with them. I don't know how you do it while getting new stock in daily or even weekly? I appreciate you all so much more now. Thanks for all you do!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Polynosic What-sis?

Have you heard of polynosic fabric*? Me neither, not until I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics a few months ago to get in on that $.99 Butterick sale. There, I found the most beautiful fabric, in a fabulous color, and with a fabulous drape and feel to it.

Jo-Ann had quite a few different bolts of this type of fabric but only one like this! This one has a twill-like weave and the color is like old-fashioned sharkskin in that it primarily looked dusky blue but reflected green when you bent or curved it around your hand (and when photographed!). Then, surprise, the reverse of it was a medium lavender shade! It was just screaming to be made into a sheath dress with a coordinating jacket that would somehow use the reverse side. The weirdest thing is that there was no color name assigned to the bolt. All of the pieces weather they were solids, a marled grey & black, or this one were just listed as "Polynosic woven solid" on the bolt. How curious, right?

Yup, the same piece of fabric!

Check out that crazy selvage!

Too bad I can't buy any fabric until I'm done with what I already have (or I get a new job). It's been in the store for three months now so maybe I'll still get lucky.

By the way, has anyone sewn with this type of fabric yet?

*It also sometimes goes by the name Modal.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

3. Jumper Dress - Butterick 4948

Pattern Description: Butterick 4948 - Loose-fitting dress has all-in-one pointed collar and band, front neckline slit, front and back yokes, extended shoulders, in-seam pockets, and top-stitched trim.
Pattern Sizing: Size 12 (bust=34, waist=26.5, hips=36) I made a straight 12, no alterations!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, very much!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yup.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the idea of a dress that fits like an artist smock. However, the neckline is almost too short to get the dress over my head since they have you stitch the opening an inch above the yoke seam. I might have to take that stitching out or it will probably rip itself out eventually.

Fabric Used: 16-wale, 42 inch wide Blackberry Sew Classics corduroy from Jo-Ann Fabrics on sale for $6.99 per yard; Wrights Flexi-Lace Hem Tape.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made two alterations: I redrew the collar to eliminate the curve and squared it off. I also reshaped the pockets to make them bigger because I value pockets that I can really use. Then I shortened the shorter View A, which originally was supposed to be 41.25 inches by eliminating 2.5 inches. However, I will not be wearing this dress with a belt so I may shorten it by a few more inches.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will probably sew it again in a more flowing fabric. Hopefully the corduroy will release a bit more after washing, the skirt tends to stick out tent-like. I would use a better fusible interfacing on the yoke or no interfacing at all. Anything that was not sewn over stopped adhering after a few days and I'm not sure if it was really needed there.

Topstitching on the yoke and lavender lace trim on the hem

Conclusion: I like it, though now I realize I could have gone down a size. It's a bit maternity... However, if I did make it smaller I would have to lengthen the yoke, because I can barely work this dress over my head getting dressed. Any less wiggle-room and I could see some ripped seams.

So the count is 3 out of 4 mini-wardrobe items. There is only one more to go. Can I finish it this month? Stay tuned.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fashion In Film: Atonement (2007) - Green Silk & Lies

Director: Joe Wright
Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan
Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran

Jacqueline Durran's design

Yes, I am talking about the green silk dress in Atonement.

I'm sure everyone who has seen the movie has already oohed and ahhed about Cecilia Tallis' (Keira Knightly) green silk dress, designed by Jacqueline Durran. Well, I just saw the film for the first time.

However, over a year ago, I was reading through the archives of The Costumer's Guide (a fabulous site on film costuming) and read about the dress. The page on the dress includes detailed closeups of the dress after it was placed on display and anything else you might want to know about the choice of that particular shade of green to any details on Cee's other costumes is there or a link is provided to other sources. One of those links was to a great post on the creation and maintenance of the many dresses used in the film at Sunday Couture. It detailed how delicate the original dresses were because of their laser cut detail work.

The dress is fabulous and there have been many copies sold and some patterns made resembling it, the closest would be Vogue 7365, still being sold today. Eva Dress and the Vintage Pattern Lending Library also offers a dress with a similar feel but not as drop-dead sexy or exposed; Eva Dress 5941.

  Vogue 7365

Eva Dress 5941

Though I also love the dress, in the film, the dress seemed so asexual on Keira. Her body type in this movie unnerved me any time she wore something form fitting or wet (you remember the fountain scene, right?) I so wish that such an iconic gown had been shown on a slightly more filled-out frame because I worry that all the girls who wore it to prom thought that was the ideal body to wear it. What were your thoughts about the dress and about Keira's body in it?

A New York Post story about the dress.

Images: The Costumer's Guide, Vogue Patterns, Eva Dress, Vintage Pattern Lending Library

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Yummy Snack

Last week at the grocery store I decided to take a chance on a new snack and since they were also on sale for only $1.99 I snatched them up. They are Keebler's new Wheatables Nut Crisps crackers. Wow, oh wow, so good! Note: No paid endorsement was involved in this post.*

I grew up eating pecans because we had trees in our backyard. However, they're not the nuts that I normally buy in bulk for snacking, those are almonds, cashews, and walnuts. So I decided to pick up the Toasted Pecan flavor. Now I've tried Blue Diamond's Nut Thins when I was eating gluten-free a while ago. Those were good, but there weren't a lot in the box (4.25 oz vs. 8.5 oz)) and they were far more expensive. These of course have wheat in them but still have a similar taste and I love how they added just enough sugar to enhance the sweet pecan flavor. I will be buying these again but I'll try to spread them out as I ate this box way too fast.

*I wish they had contacted me to eat these, that would mean they'd have shipped me boxes of these for free, but no such luck.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pattern stash for sale

This coming weekend, I will be adding some of those 135 patterns to my Etsy shop.

Here are some payment options that I'm mulling over:

  • The majority of the patterns will go for $2-3 each, certain Vogue patterns for $5.
  • Since the original owner of this group brought her patterns in one size range I will offer some as lots of 10.
  • I have a Flickr group of patterns I would love to own. If you happen to possess any of these patterns in my size (12-14) and see a pattern in my store you want, we can arrange a straight swap.
  • If you see a few patterns you want, I will offer a group price.
Please, please, please check out the store and pass the link around, if you can. 135 patterns are a lot to have sitting in an already packed living room.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Uniform Project Completed!

I believe a lot of you already knew about The Uniform Project. I think I may have even written about it once. But I kind of lost track and didn't even know that it had been completed.

Sheena Matheiken spent 365 days wearing one black dress* as a charity fundraiser for the Akanksha Foundation and all the donations went toward their School Project to fund uniforms and other educational expenses for children living in Indian slums. The project ended up raising $80,353 and paying for 220 kids to attend school who might not have attended without the help.


Here's the adorably cute video picture book of the entire project. I had a few problems, not with viewing it, but with hearing the theme music. It kept cutting in and out but then my computer is V. old.

Uniform Project Picture Book from The Uniform Project on Vimeo.

The song is "This is the Day" by Matt Johnson (a.k.a. The The) and it brings back wonderful memories from college. I used to drive myself crazy playing this song over and over! So, enjoy.

YES, they will be manufacturing and selling the LBD, designed by Eliza Starbuck. So, check their blog for more details as they come. However, I will be waiting for the pattern, as the dress being sold is way too short for me!

*Actually, seven identical ones, so one for each day of the week, ie. why it's called a uniform.

Friday, May 14, 2010

3rd Mini-Wardrobe Item Finished!

So, why no picture? Well, because it's been gray and raining for the last few days so the "photo shoot" will have to wait until the weekend, ok?

Well, I already wore my 1970-flavored purple jumper on Wednesday. I love it and it is definitely noticeable, being all bright purple-ly and tent-like. It looks just like the picture too. The pattern review is coming up too.

Yesterday, I wore my new black tee (mini-wardrobe item 2) and guess what? I'm loving it now! However, that means I have a situation. You see, I made all of the alterations on the final garment, only the first few changes were made to the tissue pattern. So, if I want more of these, and I do, I now have to transfer the changes from the finished garment to the pattern and make a muslin to check if I got it right. Yep, a complete backwards operation!

I will also be scanning some of those 150 patterns so I can set them up in my Etsy shop. More details to come.

So, have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Never Too Late, Right?

To finish an UFO?

Simplicity 8126

Took it from this to this!

Even though I've worn this item over 12 times AND it has been almost a year (June 2009!) since I posted its completion, it was never really finished. I never got around to putting the pockets which amazingly were the whole reason I wanted to make this skirt! I cut the first ones out as the pattern instructed; on the bias. That was a major mistake when you are making something out of stretch denim, the result was wavy and wiggly in the extreme. Then it took me a while to track down in my apartment if I had any scraps left over. But now after cutting the pockets on the straight grain I can finally call this item complete.

Because the sun was cooperating in my "photo studio"* I was able to take quite a few good pictures, there are more here on Flickr.

And now, I can tote me some stuff! POCKETS!!!

* the narrow alley in front of my bedroom closet doors.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mothers Day!!

My mother as a teenager! Too cute, right?

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Oolong Dress - Colette Patterns #1008 - Part 2

I made the shell garment out of the red twill I have had for over six years. I remember the dress that this was meant for and maybe one day I will make that dress still. Cute isn't it?

I know I should probably take more length out of the back (see wrinkles above) but after taking the two sections apart and adjusting them I just don't want to do it again. Also the dress seems to fit a bit smaller than its lining so I'm scared to adjust the size any since I have to join the two and still be able to pull the entire thing over my head. What do you think?

Well, I have duplicated the fit of the lining for the body of the dress and I have taken some pictures of the details. Since the dress is constructed the same as the lining, the top and skirt portions are uniquely attached, not by a regular right-side facing seam but instead the skirt portion is placed over the bodice piece at the seam line and attached by top stitching as seen here:

Because I used two separate sizes, a 2 (34") for the bodice and a 8 (39" hips) for the skirt portion, I had to make some adjustments to match the seam lines after I had to shave some width from the waist (27") area.

More images of the dress at this stage:

side view

The neckline gapes only because the center gathers are not secured like this:

What is next:
  • Tighten the gathers at bodice center on both lining and fashion fabric.

  • Add sleeves to outer dress instead of attaching them last as in the printed instructions. Because I want the inside of the dress to have a clean finish I will achieve that by slip-stitching the lining to the sleeves over the raw seam allowances.

  • Attach the neckline facing.

  • Hem both skirts. Not looking forward to this part at all.Who knows how long that will take me?
Next post (whenever that will be*) will show the finished dress.

*Anyone want to take bets on which month, which year? Hey, money could be made!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

My First "Real" Interview Suit - Vogue 2883

I've been searching vintage pattern shops for months trying to locate images of patterns I had sewn in my major sewing years (late 1980s and early 90s) but one continued to elude me. I wrote about it; the suit I wore for my first "real" interview, here. I hated the fact that I couldn't remember what pattern it was. So after I wrote that post I looked for images of similar suits that I could alter to show how the suit jacket looked, at least in my memory. These were my two examples:

Simplicity 3862 and Simplicity 3478

I actually used a lot of Photoshop on the yellow jacket to resemble the one I remembered by adding details and rounding the corners of the jacket.

Well, recently an amazing thing happened to me and in that stash of 150 patterns from the lovely Pat; what would jump out at me but the very pattern I had been seeking! Uncut and in my size, to boot! So now compare my mock-ups above with the real one below:

Vogue 2883 (OOP)

Not bad, huh?

Though looking at the pattern now, I notice there was no skirt pattern so I believe I used an a-line skirt pattern to go with the jacket. I made the dress in an incredible print fabric that I think I kept, at least I hope I did. It's a great slip-on dress pattern so I'm happy to have the pieces again. I know I made the tank at one time and even maybe those shorts. In the right fabric it could be very skirt-like as in View C.

This suit was made of a linen/poly blend in black. It had a very Audrey Hepburn look to it, which I probably emphasized by wearing it with Mary Jane flats and a little black box purse, like the one on the pattern.

Monday, May 03, 2010

What Came Before...

My sewing machine is pretty old because it is now 15 years old (as old as my car too!) It is a Babylock BL2100. I actually bought another brand first, got it home, stitched on it, didn't like it, took it back the next day and bought this one, which was a lesser name brand and came with less frills and attachments. However, it has served me well.

The funny thing is that I didn't try to buy a machine when I was working at Cloth World (a precursor to Jo-Anns) for the summers during college. With an employee discount I could have made out well. Oh, well...

Visiting my dad for his 75th birthday a few weeks ago we went on our usual adventures in various thrift stores. And look what I found on Warwick Blvd. Note: I did not buy this but enjoy the sewing machine pics anyway.

Singer Automatic 319 swing-needle machine (1954?)

This machine is a straight stitch machine with automatic zig-zag. It is called a swing arm machines because the zig-zag needle bar pivots from the top. I have since found this machine, either alone or with all its attachments priced on eBay, Craigslist, etc. for $150, $500, up to $1,500. This all could have been mine for a measly $50. Wow.

The complete manual (which can be seen in full here.) Even though this manual says 306, Internet research seems to identify this machine as the 319 instead.

These are the stitch levers that allow you to choose different styles of stitching. I used the existence of these to identify this machine as the 319 model.

More attachments and feet, see the ruffler in there?

Those two drawers in the wooden cabinet held all the equipment for the machine.

Last, but not least...

The buttonhole attachment. These things fascinate me, so how do they work?