Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The State Of Things

Posting may be light for a while as I start my fall World Religions class AND try to get some sewing done!

As you can see from the button on the right I will be participating in the Colette Pattern's Fall Palette challenge. As I am still working on the same coordinates from last fall and this summer's wardrobe plans (which all go together color-wise), in a way you already know what I'll be doing but I will write up a new explanatory post on my color choices, pattern choices and why.

But for today I will show you a sweet little pattern I saw on the Web last week. It may not be identical to this coat exactly but if it was made up in chocolate brown corduroy I could still see it satisfying that wish.

McCall's 3617

Images: Millie Motts Flickr stream

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Roy Halston - Slinky in Silk

Here is my last designer profile meant for Colette Patterns.

Roy Halston (1932 - 1990) American

Halston and the Halstonettes.

Born Roy Halston Frowick in Iowa, the designer later known as Halston wanted to be in fashion and sewed as a child. Before moving to New York, there was Chicago where he took night classes studying at the Art Institute of Chicago. In New York he started in the business at the bottom, working as a window dresser and then milliner for Bergdorf Goodman in New York. His high point there was when in 1961 he supplied the first "pillbox" hat worn by the new First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

Halston of Bergdorf Goodman hats.

In 1966, with the help and financial backing of his employer Bergdorf Goodman, he went into business, even establishing his own ready-to-wear boutique within the store. Unfortunately, the venture only lasted eighteen months before Halston resigned to establish his own company, Halston Limited in 1968.

Wool suit, Halston of Bergdorf Goodman, 1965.

At a time in America when it was not fashionable to appear rich, his clothes portrayed an understated wealth, a sort of all-American look combined with a luxe "jet-set" vibe. He was considered America's answer to Yves Saint Laurent, as he brought sophistication to sportswear.

In 1970, he developed Halston International for his ready-to-wear clients. His style was of a minimalist nature. His clothes were usually in only one color, rarely in prints and devoid of embellishments. If a patterned or sequined fabric was used, as he did for Liza Minnelli's stage costumes, then the actual outfit design would be spare and use simple lines. Sometimes the only adornment would be the graphic jewelry designs of collaborating artist Elsa Peretti.

Silk evening dress, 1978.

His signature items were slinky halter-neck dresses and silk jersey jumpsuits in solid jewel-tone colors. Many of his clothes fastened without zippers, slipping over the head for effortless wear. His one-shouldered dresses constantly flirted with falling off the shoulders and his unstructured strapless dresses were held up by elastic, drawstrings, and gravity. These light and richly colored dresses were ideal for dancing and being seen in nightclubs.

Ultrasuede shirtdress, 1970s.

More traditional pieces such as his form-fitting turtle necks, trench coats, jackets and shirtdresses of Ultrasuede were a large part of his collections. He became so well known for his use of the synthetic fabric Ultrasuede that in 2010 a fashion documentary about the designer was released titled Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Silk dress, 1978.

Halston was considered the first American designer of the Media Era and the first true celebrity designer. He appeared as himself on television and was seen out socially with customers Liza Minnelli, Angelica Huston, and Bianca Jagger at nightclubs, especially the famed Studio 54.

Nylon and plastic dress, 1970.

By 1975, he was involved in the design of home linens, menswear, fragrance, shoes, accessories, cosmetics and luggage. In 1983, he was contracted to produce an exclusive Halston collection for American discount department store, J.C. Penney. Unfortunately, among fashion insiders this was considered a huge mistake and a huge backlash developed that resulted in many clients and retail outlets dropping his business.

Silk jersey gown, 1972.

Halston's late night lifestyle and his increasing addiction to cocaine began to negatively affect his life and business. Around this time, the company was acquired by new owners who fired Halston for unreliability and stripped the designer of the rights to his name. In less than ten years, he was dead from an AIDS-related cancer.

Vogue 6606.

Home Sewing Connection: Halston designed patterns for McCall's and Vogue. Earlier Vogue patterns were for his Halston of Bergdorf Goodman hat designs and the company also benefited from his 1970-80s clothing designs.

Silk caftan, 1975.

His style, innovations, and lasting influence on fashion:
  • He won the Coty American Fashion Critics award in 1962, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1974 and was placed on the Fashion Walk of Fame in New York in 2000.
  • He appeared as himself on a 1980 fashion-themed episode of The Love Boat.
  • Designers who have stated that they were influenced by his work are Calvin Klein and Tom Ford, especially in his 1990s designs for Gucci.
  • Like many of the designers in this series, he also designed airline staff uniforms, in his case for groovy Braniff Airlines.  

Images: Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Sources: Fashion: The Century of the Designer, 1900-1999 (1999) Charlotte Seeling; The World’s Most Influential Fashion Designers (2010) Noel Palomo-Lovinski; Fashion (2003) Christopher Breward; Halston: The Bergdorf Years Patrica Myers, Bergdorf Goodman blog .

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fashion In Film: Midnight in Paris Dress UPDATE

This pattern image is from a handout created by Bridget Bradley-Scaife for her course on making the One-Hour Frock, a simple 1920s dress.

When I wrote the original post about this dress I was sure that I had seen a pattern for that exact dress style and I wanted to direct you to it for your own use. Well, I had to search through my numerous "In The Future" aspirational files to find it. But find it, I did.

Unfortunately, I did not have permission to post this and for that I apologize to Ms. Bradley-Scaife, especially in light of it now being all over Pinterest. She has been extremely nice about this. Unfortunately, I can not retrieve each and every pin from those boards; therefore, she has provided me with another image that includes her copyright and has asked me to post this one instead.*This incident did alert her to the popularity of her pattern so...

She is offering the One-Hour Frock as a PDF pattern in her store on Etsy!!

You may purchase the pattern and its clever instructions here. So, go get it and show your appreciation!

* My first thought was to delete this post entirely, however, I will leave it up here so that if anyone is repinning this she will get credited each and every time.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fashion In Film: Midnight in Paris (2011)

Director: Woody Allen
Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard
Costume Design: Sonia Grande

AKA: The best dress in Paris at any time of day

Midnight in Paris pleasantly surprised me. I liked it. Now, of course, my last Woody Allen film was Everyone Says I Love You, which was horrid, and even more horrid because it butchered the musical film genre. But this movie, I liked. A lot. Being both an art history major and a fan of the 1920's, I got a lot of the references and characters within the film.

However, one thing pulled me out of the film experience. A little white and red dress worn by the character Adriana (Marion Cotillard) during a few scenes. It was found by Sonia Grande, the film's costume designer. I have always loved 1920s dresses, see here and here. I've even thought about making one of my own by using this booklet, The One-Hour Dress. But this dress made me REALLY want to make one. Just look at it!

It is such a basic design, every article that explains how to make a '20s dress basically describes this dress. The only addition to the design would be the middy collar and trim details. It is a simple shift but with the extra hip fabric gathered on either side. In this case, the top of those gathers are covered with ribbon trim and matching buttons.

Note that the sleeves, even though made of the same fabric as the dress, are not lined. This gives me a look at the fabric weave which seems to be lawn or batiste. What do you think?

I would love to see the trim closer; it could be jacquard ribbon or lace, I can not tell. However, there are many decorative ribbon trims that could be used in this way.

Isn't it a sweet and simple dress?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

If I Ever...

...start another blog, I swear I'm calling it Chasing Some Kids Off My Lawn.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My New Lip Discovery

I don't wear much makeup. In fact, I wore the most makeup when I was in middle school when I was finally allowed to. I remember wearing purple eyeshadow, a look I keep thinking about reviving every few years. Throughout college I was known for my bright red lipstick, unfortunately, negatively because it was always on plastic beer cups/bottles and on my two front teeth. After college, my lipstick colors started toning down, resulting in me wearing a lot of brownish lipsticks that were just a few shades darker than my skin color, like MAC's X-S*, or Dubonnet. However, I have decided that I need to return to the red lips, and you know, act as if I want to be noticed (because I do!)

Looking through Lucky Magazine last month, I noticed an article about a matte lip gloss with staying power. A few days later, I saw a mention of the same product on a blog I read. So, since Lucky was doing a special deal with the company for 35% off, I ordered it. $7 for two tubes of gloss, a pretty great deal, right? Even at it's regular price of $6 each, it's a great deal.

Here are the details and you might even be able to get the same price. The offer is open until supplies run out.

It's NYX Soft Matte Lip Creme. I bought it in two colors, Amsterdam, an orangey-red and Monte Carlo, a more blue-red shade. It goes on just like they say; applies like a creamy gloss but then immediately turns matte. The coverage is really good and it doesn't require it's own separate gloss like other long wearing lipsticks on the market. Most of the time it is right between sticky and dry, and eventually, if you don't reapply, you may need to pat on some lip balm but that's it. Updated: Most importantly, it barely comes off on your cup and the majority of the color made it intact through a few meals. It also has a very slight scent when it goes on, kind of like cupcake frosting (!) but the smell dissipates quickly.

I like it, I just hope they come out with a few more darker shades for the darker ladies.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Vintage Patterns In Etsy Shop!

I just entered a few of my vintage patterns into Metamorphpursuit, my shop on Etsy. There are a few skirt patterns, a sheath dress, a perfect little Jackie Kennedy/Oleg Cassini-inspired suit, and a set of women's pajamas from the 1940s. You won't believe the low prices!

Please go and check them out here.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Who Wears Dressy-Shorts?

Vogue 2883 Style 1902

Ok, I am waffling on the shorts pattern I was going to use. I have the fabric but I can't make the first cut. I want shorts that are full enough to also look like a skirt and I'm just not sure if the fabric or the pattern will get me where I want to be. Above are the sketches of the patterns that I currently have in contention.

Below are some inspiration pics I've picked up on the net.

Rachel Comey "Settler" shorts, ASOS shorts

The "Settler" shorts are nearly identical to the Vogue pattern illustration!

The kind of look I want!

Oh, and please don't refer to these as "skorts"! Skorts were deceptive by having a panel in front disguising the fact that they were really just shorts. I've lived through those when I was a kid and these will NOT be those!

Images: Totokaelo.com, shoppenelopes.com

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


In Richmond, we have two Jo-Ann stores at our disposal. There is the original store, #1479 which is 7 miles from my house and the new store, #2141, which is 14 miles in a different county. Here is this weekend's story:

I cut out the dress from Simplicity 2406 and was about to cut out the shorts from Vogue 2833 when I realized that
1) the dress sash was not included in the fabric requirements but separately listed at the bottom and 2) Since I bought the fabric before I narrowed down the three possible shorts patterns I didn't have enough for this pattern's pair.

I set out for the original Jo-Ann in Westland Shopping Center. Of course, I did go during the Columbus Day sale and it was towards the end of the day but I was still shocked that all of the brown heathered suiting was gone. It was around 4:45 and the store would close at 6. On a whim I decided to try to beat the new store's 6 PM closing time. So I got on the road, hoping to arrive at the shop at least 10 minutes before closing, enough time since I knew exactly what I wanted. I made it there at 5:50 only to see the sign outside said that this Jo-Ann store closes at 7 PM on Sundays!!!

They had an entire bolt of the fabric I needed so I got a yard cut. No problem. Then I looked around the store and saw how many ways the newer store surpassed the original.

For example:

  • The sad trimming aisle at the original store is two large aisles at this store;

  • the clearance tables at the new store have actual fabric that was once on the sale floor while the clearance at the original is full of mystery fiber fabrics that I never saw on the sales floor before.

  • The original store never got that gorgeous silk/cotton voile print that Patty from Snug Bug used in her maxi dress. Yes, that gorgeous fabric came from Jo-Ann?!

  • They already had the new Simplicity pattern collection (not on the web site yet) in the drawers and the books on the table.

In general, the new store just has more sewing stuff than the other store. Even though half the store is still crafts-related you never get the feeling that the fabric side is only for quilt making and making mysterious fleece objects. There are far more garment fabrics represented.

Oh, and the best thing; they had two copies of Tomoko Nakamichi's Pattern Magic 2, the English version for only $25.00! No special ordering required.

There is no contest, the Midlothian Turnpike Jo-Ann store #2141 is my now my preferred store and is totally worth driving twice the distance to get there.