Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Image patterns

I had heard of the My Image magazine, from the Netherlands but had not looked into them before now. I found the layout similar to Burdastyle but some of the patterns seem more interesting by way of details and interesting seams. I find many recent Burda patterns surprisingly plain, reused from earlier issues, or really not that different from Big Four patterns. My Image is similar to Burdastyle because they also produce envelope patterns that you can order, from ImageWear, instead of purchasing an entire magazine.

The pattern instructions are written in English, German, Dutch, and French and seam allowances are not included on the patterns. You may order individual patterns for $7 each or in a group of three for $18 with free world-wide shipping. The individual Image Wear patterns seem to be a fairly recent venture because they only have nine patterns: six for women and three for girls.

Imagewear Pattern IW1002

You can order the patterns and/or magazines from their website or order the magazine in North America from online store Sew Baby. Each magazine includes 16 patterns and cost $7. If you bought three envelope patterns and one magazine it would only cost you $24 plus $3.95 shipping for the magazine, as the patterns are always shipped free. Most unbelievably, their stated shipping time from the Netherlands to US/Canada is only 4-8 days!

So, what do you think of them?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fashion In Film: The Power of Fashion

All of my fashion influences come from movies and television, starting at a young age. As a child, I eagerly watched all the black and white films on channel 20 and as I aged became addicted to the Technicolor musicals. Here are the most significant influences that are still relevant to my style today.

1. Princess Charmain/Charming (Anna Maria Alberghetti) in CinderFella (1960), costumes by Edith Head.

The princess meets Cinderfella (Jerry Lewis) at a ball where she wears a white embroidered satin dress with a slim tapered skirt and a full over-skirt* that she holds away from her body when she dances. I fell in love with this dress long before seeing the similar embroidered ball gown in the movie Sabrina.

When trying to convince Fella that she loves him despite being a princess, she reduces her elegant red fur-trimmed dress bit by bit by ripping off the fur sleeves, her elegant headband, taking her hair down and snapping off the heels to her shoes so they become flats. All to show him, "But I'm a girl, a real girl..."

2. Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn) in Funny Face (1957), costumes by Edith Head and Givenchy.

"Take the picture, take the picture!" If you've seen the movie, you know the scene. Whenever I see a grand staircase I hear that line in my head. The powerful image of the red velvet dress with the chiffon scarf filling the air and billowing above her as she swiftly crosses down the stairs toward shocked fashion photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) is an amazing moment in my favorite fashion movie.

The wedding dress by Givenchy, of course! The dress beautiful with its bateau neckline, Basque waist, and  skirt made of layers of net and tulle, topped with a delicate cinched balloon veil. This look is so famous that it was copied by actress Molly Ringwald for her first wedding, all the way down to the iconic tied "balloon" veil.

3. Laura Petrie (Mary Tyler Moore) in The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966), costumes by Harald Johnson and Marge Makau.

Nowadays, much shorter pants are mistakenly called Capri pants; however, these slim pants with a hemline one inch above the ankle bone, are in fact, the real Capri or cigarette pants*. These particular looks with a loose pullover sweater or casual shirt or blouse worn with black flats is my idea of comfy clothing; no jeans or even sweatpants can beat them.

4. Gigi aka Gilberte (Leslie Caron) in Gigi (1958), costumes by Cecil Beaton.

The white draped satin dress with black feather birds perched on the shoulders designed for Gigi's "coming out" party as Gaston Lachaille's (Louis Jourdan) mistress. The dress is easily compared with the black and white "race day" dress Beaton designed for My Fair Lady; however, I feel this one is timeless and could even be worn today.

5. Fiona Campbell (Cyd Charisse) in Brigadoon (1954), costumes by Irene Sharaff.

The dress worn in the "Heather on the Hill" musical number with its exaggerated rolled collar, tight waist, lush full skirt, and blazing orange underskirt hidden in pleats that release whenever she turns or lifts her legs while dancing. The dress, dancing, Gene Kelly, and Scotland as the setting made my love for the film a given.

6. Tracy Samantha Lord (Grace Kelly) in High Society (1956), costumes by Helen Rose.

This luscious organza or chiffon confection with sheer jacket was designed by the same woman who would create Kelly's royal wedding gown that same year. I love the garden party nature of this dress, its delicate embroidery, the airy full sleeves, and the short gloves.

7. Frau Maria Rainer (Julie Andrews) in The Sound of Music (1965), costumes by Dorothy Jeakins.

This structurally elegant gown was far more than I expected to see on a nun. Simple and slightly Monastic in design, the otherwise plain Maria was transformed into a beauty in this gown. I also admire how the dress has more of a subtle sheen versus a heavy shine.

8. Louisa May Foster (Shirley MacLaine) in What a Way to Go! (1964), costumes by Edith Head.

The clothing styles in this comedic fantasy film run the gambit from quaint country girl in black and white to French beatnik to art world glamour girl to plush technicolor pink celebrity wife. As the character inherits more and more wealth and the movie progresses the costumes seemingly attempt to top one another in outrageousness.

9. All of the elaborate and artistic garments from the Edwardian age to the early 1930s seen in the British television programs Partners In Crime/Tommy & Tuppence (1983-84) with costumes by Linda Mattock/Penny Lowe and House of Eliott (1991-94) with costumes by James Keast and Joan Wadge.

The 1997 movie Wings of a Dove with its designs by Sandy Powell is included in this group. These programs and film contain all I love about that period in clothing with its dropped waists, coordinating accessories, cloche hats, intricate beading, embroidery, bell-shaped, cap, and Dolman sleeves, elbow-length gloves, bias-cut flounces, and oversize velvet cloaks (much like my own coat).

*In fact, there is an illustration explaining the different lengths of pant in Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph-Armstrong.
*The dress could be recreated by using this OOP New Look 6686 wedding gown pattern from the 1980s.

Friday, January 11, 2013

10. Fall Faux Wrap Dress - Simplicity 5190

Pattern: Simplicity 5190 (2004)

Pattern Description: Loose pullover dress with neckline bands, 3/4 length flared sleeves, and attached side sash.

Pattern Sizing: Size PP (12,14,16,18) I made a 14 for shoulders and armscye but a size 16 for all measurements below b/c scared that the hips would not be wide enough.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? Not quite, but this was my fault. To make the dress fit on my fabric I cut two inches off of the pattern when I needed to add length to the original hem. Otherwise, yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes; however, manipulating around the v-neck with the neckline bands was frustrating. I had to take out the stitching many times to get it right. You have to really clip into that V for it to lay down. I chose to hand-baste around the entire neckline before edgestitching and topstitching.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the relaxed look and the 3/4 length flared sleeves. The dress with the low waist and loose sash had a 1930s feel. Unfortunately, the skirt needed to be six inches longer.
Fabric Used: Orange, mustard, taupe, khaki green, and white 58/60" floral pumpkin blossom peachskin from Jo-ann on sale for $4.99 per yard, Pellon Easy-Knit fusible interfacing, and neutral colored thread.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made? This fabric was not originally meant for this pattern so I did not have enough for the dress as pictured. I measured the pattern against one of my dresses and decided I could eliminate two inches from the hem. This was a mistake, the dress would look better at a 1930s mid-calf length. It needed the length. Using fusible knit interfacing on the neck bands worked well, it gave structure but was still flexible. Even after the pre-shrinking in hot water, it still made a durable bond. I had a bit of a trial sewing the band to the dress because my machine skipped stitches. I tried three times (one was just basting) before I took it all out and went to bed. You won't believe how many times I ended up sewing along that same stitching line!

I used a different layout (making sure that the grainline stayed the same) and pieced the sash in three pieces instead of two so I could fit everything on the fabric. Unknowingly, I sewed a larger seam allowance on the sash (5/8") than required (1/2") but it made no discernible difference to the final product.

The worst thing about the fabric I used was that it frayed easily so all seam allowances had to be either folded over and stitched or stitched and then pinked.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I like the dress, but will not make it again. With this particular fabric print all of the details around the neckline are lost! It should look like a wrap dress but you can not make out the topstitched neckbands. It looks like a v-neck dress with a sash. I still would recommend the pattern; however, use a smaller bodice than the measurements say and take care not to use a dense print like I did.

Conclusion: I received a lot of compliments on the dress at the holidays. However, for a dress I was only slightly excited about making in the first place, I ended up being underwhelmed. Maybe the frustration with the neckline and the deadline sewing took a bit out of me and I'll eventually come around to liking it. 

UPDATE: I wore it with my green J. Crew jacket and thought it looked cute. So I might take in the bodice, curve in the waist some, and close up and gather the sleeves (like this top).

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

12 in 2012 Conclusion

I know that I've been talking about this 12 in 2012 vow. Well, I didn't make it, according to my ever-changing wardrobe plan, I only completed 10 of those items. However, in terms of creative output I created so much more. So from here out all plans are fluid, just like life. Whatever I create is a triumph because in the past few years I've spent less time on exercising my creative side (I was an art major!) than I would have liked.

This is my actual list of 2012 creative accomplishments:
  1. Pattern Runway Pattern Mash-up Gray Skirt
  2. Built By Wendy Corduroy Skirt from Sew U
  3. McCall's 4632 Boxy Blouse
  4. My first wooden bead necklace
  5. Burdastyle Irmchen's Twisted Drape Top
  6. Grainline Studio Scout Woven Tee #31002 
  7. A pair of strappy sandals made from Old Navy flip flops.
  8. My second,  more elaborate wooden bead necklace.
  9. My first quilt; pieced, bound, and completed in four weeks.
  10. Grainline Studio Tiny Pocket Tank #31001
  11. New Look 6939 Shift Dress in an Alexander Henry print
  12. Vogue 9772 Swiss Dot Summer Tops (2)
  13. A men's necktie from a Purl Bee blog tutorial
  14. Initiated a successful meet-up and fabric/pattern swap of Beltway-based (VA-DC-MD) sewing bloggers.
  15. Vogue 9745 Flat Front Pants
  16. Simplicity 5190 fall-flavored floral faux-wrap frock
  17. Two children's jumper dresses and two tops, made from fleece and New Look 6911 (OOP)
6 tops, 5 gifts for others, 2 skirts, 2 dresses, 2 necklaces, 1 pair of pants, 1 pair of footwear, and 1 quilt. Not bad, not bad.

Therefore, I feel really good about last year. In terms of creative output I accomplished an item per month, at least. Looking forward to 2013. Expect to see more projects you've already heard about (ad nauseam!) and some you haven't.

Oh and I almost forgot, I also graduated from college!!!