Thursday, September 29, 2011

Belted Dress - Simplicity 2406

Item 2 of the Fall Palette Challenge:

Pattern: Simplicity 2406 - A Cynthia Rowley design

Pattern Description: Belted dress with gathered 3/4 raglan sleeves

Pattern Sizing: Size H5 (6-14), I made a size 14.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very much.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? There was nothing I didn't like about the dress, the only problem I had was the mistake I made. I should have bought the next size group and made a 16 instead of the 14 which is two inches too small at the hips. When cutting, I then forgot to add that missing width to the dress, it can be worn but is a bit snug when I have my hands in the pockets. However, what I love about the pattern is the pockets and the gathered wide neckline.

Fabric Used: Sew Classics brown heather solid suiting, $6.99 per yard 50% off from Jo-Ann Fabrics; Coats & Clark thread in Twig #8480, that perfectly matches the fabric; and Pellon Easy-Knit fusible interfacing.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I made four changes; three because of the pattern and one because of my own mistake. After being warned about the pocket installation instructions in Kyle's review of this dress I instead did them the way I always do and avoided a headache. Also in the same review I learned that additional length would need to be added to the sash and that I could eliminate the zipper completely because the dress would still fit over the head.

Because I made the dress in the wrong size I also had to decrease the back seam allowance to 1/2" instead of 5/8" in order to add as much width as I could to the dress. However, I forgot another point from Kyle's review that stated just how wide the neckline was so I should have only increased it from the waist down and actually decreased the area above to bring in that wide neckline. Oh well, I'll make lingerie bra guards later.

Too much fabric in bodice.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I would with the modifications mentioned above, of course. Perhaps, I'll try a print next time.

How to wear it in the Winter!

Conclusion: A cool non-fussy dress suitable for work or traveling because (Bonus!) this fabric does not wrinkle!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wide-leg Shorts - Vogue 2883

Item 1 of the Fall Palette Challenge:

Pattern: Vogue 2883 (OOP)

Pattern Description: Wide-legged shorts with pockets

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 12-14-16, I made a size 16 with no alterations

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very much.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I was trying to copy a pair of shorts I had seen, the Settler shorts (see left) by Rachel Comey. Looking at this pattern, which I originally bought in the early 90s, I noticed that the shorts might fit the bill. Strangely, I couldn't find one current Big 4 pattern with similar shorts at all.

Fabric Used: Sew Classics brown heather solid suiting $6.99 per yard from Jo-Ann Fabrics, Coats & Clark thread in Twig that perfectly matches the fabric, a matching zipper, and 1 1/4" waistband interfacing that I already had (score!).

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I only made one change, I didn't like the spacing of the front pleats and did them my own way, otherwise the pattern worked out fine.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I would. Next time perhaps in a lightweight corduroy or a more silky fabric.

Conclusion: Great feminine shorts with the ease of a skirt and the practicality of pants.

Rachel Comey image from

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Favorite Collection - Donna Karan

Donna Karan Spring RTW 2012

I love almost everything about this collection! The colors, the jewelry, the diagonal lines, the contrasting bands on the asymmetric, randomly pleated skirts and pretty much all of the shoes. Oh, and yes, that lipstick color too.

The fabrics used were stretch canvas, silk gazaar, organza, paper canvas for the skirts (!), polished raffia, and linen/rayon/spandex blends in shades of black, bone, earth, African violet, copper, terracota, clay, papaya, citrus green, and orange! By the way, I need one of those wooden necklaces stat!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Fashion in Film: Laura Petrie - The Dresses!

The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966)
Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore
Costume Design: Harald Johnson, Marge Makau

Not to be forgotten, but when you talk about the influence of Laura Petrie's wardrobe on me, you also have to consider the dresses that she wore. Her suits on the other hand were very traditional and somewhat reminiscent of the Queen of England's choices. Seriously. Boxy and not cute.

Except for this one:


Let's start with her day dresses, which she wore to school functions, lunch with Millie, or whenever she ventured out in her neighborhood of New Rochelle

Notice how they both have the same silhouette, jewel neck, sleeveless, an almost bell-shaped skirt and a defined waistline. No embellishments. The second dress is a little more dressy and has a clever overlay skirt lined in a contrasting color and is worn with a three-string pearl necklace.

Cocktail and Evening Wear.

I couldn't find a full-length picture of this dress. I love the mixture of different fabrics, which look to me like a matte satin and brocade for the lower bodice section. I believe you would call that a portrait neckline, although a bit more angular? To me, the dress resembles my mother's wedding dress but I know it's not the dress Laura wore to wed because these were taken in their home, see the paneled door?

Another lovely white (or pale colored) dress. This one seems to be made of a brocade satin that is lightly beaded and has a few hanging strands of beads. The skirt is made of chiffon and again the dress has a very defined waistband.

Now this one, believe it or not, is for cocktail parties though it definitely has a boudoir feeling to it, some of which can be attributed to her pose. The satin hostess gown worn over the metallic brocade pants and shining evening shoes is amazing and automatically makes me think of Auntie Mame. This is not a sweet Laura Petrie, this is Naughty Laura!

This one is definitely for a black/white-tie event. From the intensity of the black, I believe the skirt is velvet and the bodice with three-quarter length sleeves is made of a drapey embossed fabric. There also seems to be some sort of reinforced cummerbund constructed under the bust.


Another out-on-the-town gown, this time in a patterned silk. This style is very reminiscent of an Alfred Shaheen gown. It is shocking how exposed it is for her character, it is not typical.

Yeah, this is more like it!

Laura in a sweet filmy see-through peignoir for looking adorable when Rob comes to bed.

Yes, except for the last piece, I would love to have every item of clothing in this post!

Wouldn't you?

Images: LauraPetrie675 photobucket jpegs. Thanks!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

2011 Fall Palette Challenge (with a change)

Yes, I am participating in the Colette Patterns Fall Palette Challenge. My plan; however, is for all of 2011 and includes projects for both summer and fall.

Summer: Simplicity 2406, Vogue 2883, Vogue 1922, Vogue 9772
(last three, all OOPs)
Fall: Butterick 5429, Vogue 7714, Colette Pastille*, McCall's 5042 and McCall's 5686 (Vogue & McCall's all OOP)
My goal, of course, is not to make everything here within the eight-week time period (puh-lese!) but to complete at least four of these garments during the Challenge. I have three of them near completion, I just need to...well, finish them!

my dream wardrobe palette

Here is my convenient year-round, all-season palette that I've been working from for the last few years. It's from a Crate and Barrel catalog spread for linen drapes. I found that this line-up represented all of the colors that I liked to wear and are also flattering. The only colors missing are an orange-red/brick shade, pale grey, and a strong, rich purple.

Three of the cold weather pieces are from last year's sewing plan. I have worked on muslins for two of the dresses and the Pastille is stitched up but I ended up having some fitting issues so it is not completely finished. The new fall project is another Butterick 5429 with long sleeves in this beautiful matte jersey print from Jo-Anns. I can't believe I never noticed it before as it incorporates so many of the colors that I like.

Tribal Rayon Jersey from Jo-Ann's

* I was a tester for the Pastille dress from Colette Patterns.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One Of The Best Dogs I Have Ever Known

Rest In Peace, sweet Angie.

*Not my dog, but a friend's dog and one I loved as well.

Lemon Ice Sorbetto - Colette Patterns

What a perfect name, right?

That's what Wright's calls the color bias binding that I used for this top, Lemon Ice. The fabric is a re-purposed yellow gingham cotton-blend pillowcase that is soft from use.

For this version of the Sorbetto, I started with scooping out the neckline some. Jewel necklines are not as flattering on me as a scoop or v-neck. I also decided to have the pleat inverted, thinking it would be more loose, unfortunately, for some reason, it looks like I should have done a FBA because it's pulling horizontally and causing vertical stress lines too? Why, when the Sorbetto with the pleat sewn up fits is this one too tight?


I did my piping without the last top-stitching step in the instructions and hand sewed by piping on the inside with a clean, smooth finish on the outside.

The substantial hem appropriated from the pillowcase that this top once was. You can really see it in the pictures above.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fashion In Film: Want To Dress Like Laura Petrie?

The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966)
Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore
Costume Design: Harald Johnson, Marge Makau

I mean, have you seen the show lately? Almost everything she wore on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) could be worn today. Lovely, flattering, classic shapes and styles. I was searching for a picture of her in the capri pants (which turned out to be cigarette pants instead) and I discovered an amazing source of saved jpegs from the show, all saved on photobucket by LauraPetrie675 here.

Yes, a collection of 366 screenshots!!

Laura Petrie is well known for her cigarette pants, which caused a sensation, housewives nationwide were soon wearing them:

I covet her simple tops with their subtle details or optical patterns. She rarely wore shirts with buttons and I believe these were pullovers or fastened in the back.

What do you think about this, doesn't this top look like it could be a Pierre Cardin knock-off?

LauraPetrie675 is also working on another album of general 60s fashion which already includes images of Mad Men, Emma Pillsbury, Ali McGraw and I Dream of Jeanie.

Thank you, oh thank you, LauraPetrie675!

Coming up...the dresses!