Friday, September 26, 2014

The Rundown - Color, Pattern, And Fit

While taking this time off from the blog, I have found myself thinking about my wardrobe quite a bit. Since I wear a uniform the majority of my days now, when I get to venture from it, choosing what I wear becomes more important. It might just be escorting my father to one of his many medical appointments; however, what I'm wearing reveals a bit about me and what I like, right?

Here is the majority of my handmade wardrobe. Let's dissect it, all right?

8 Florals
Looking at my wardrobe in these pictures reveals that at least in my wardrobe I am attracted to florals more than graphic angular prints and patterns. which surprises me, as I stayed as far away from florals (and pink) as much as I could as a child/teen. In addition, a lot of these florals are very dainty and delicate (V9772), though there are some bold (S3835/V8392) and/or abstracted (B5429, Paprika Jade, NL6939, M5042) ones too.

10 Non-Floral Prints
The few abstract prints are the black & white Ikat Grainline Scout, the gingham and polka dots of my Sorbettos, Burdastyle boatneck stripes, the confetti dots of B5429 and the One-hour dress, and the gorgeous madras plaid of M6712. I would love to buy more exotic prints but most of my stash stills hails from either JoAnns or Hancock Fabrics. Who knows what would happen if I were let loose at Mood, Britex, or Gorgeous Fabrics.


I love color, and finally my handmade wardrobe reflects that. When I was younger, my mother always moaned that I didn't wear "happy" colors, however, if she could see me now she'd be overjoyed. Check out the bold colors; the blues, purples, reds, and mustard yellows. Strange, but some of my favorite colors are still not represented, a great forest green and pumpkin orange. For those I will need to start frequenting online fabric stores because Hancocks and JoAnn are not big enough fans of those autumnal shades.

You can see how some of my earlier makes were more neutral and my wardrobe became more colorful over time. Surprisingly, mostly when it came to items for my lower half. I'm very proud of the bright red pants and the blue, teal, and purple skirts...but just wait for the next one. My final Moss skirt will not be sunshine yellow like the muslin but the color is just as eye-catching.

4. Pattern Runway, 5. Vogue 2883, 6. Sew U skirt

However, I will always love a good drapey, Japanese-inspired garment such as those in books like the Drape Drape series and the such. I also love a good shift or a-line dress such as the Burdastyle Anda, B4948, or M6712 because they can always be cinched by a belt, if desired.  My Burdastyle Anda is no longer worn only because the fabric (a mystery one) has pilled beyond repair. I must make a replacement soon because I love the easy shape. The M6712 is a bit awkward to wear bra-wise so unfortunately doesn't get much wear in summer. But I could fix that by making a coordinating racer-back tee (MUST get on that for next summer!).

I used to wear a lot more fitted clothing when I started sewing decades ago but the joy of easy fitting and weight fluctuations as I got older brought about a love for more flexible fits when it came to tops and dresses. The Colette Oolong is on the tight side in the chest and is more of a special occasion dress. I'm not even sure if it fits now, which is a shame because it took me forever to get it to fit decently. However, my Paprika Jade skirt makes me think I need a few more fitted items in my wardrobe, maybe even a real femme fatale dress in my future?

I no longer enjoy the fit of these two ample dresses above and they will both be altered. S5190 will be picked apart and become the bodice of either New Look 6968 or Vogue 8787 with a slim skirt made in a coordinating stretch gabardine. NL6939 will receive back darts for more waist shaping, going from a shift to a sheath.


So, that's where my wardrobe is now and this is where it's going: more color, more pattern, more fitted silhouettes, and definitely more pants!

All composite images created with fd's Flickr Toys

Monday, September 08, 2014

Carven + Vogue: A Love Story

Though not officially, it seems that McCall's and its Vogue pattern division has had a little crush on Carven designer Guillaume Henry. First, there was this delicious little dress from the Spring 2013 Ready To Wear collection that showed up in its books as Vogue 8900:

Spring 2013 RTW

Vogue 8900 OOP
The style lines were on-point, including those curvilinear princess seams in the skirt. Unfortunately, not enough sewists purchased the pattern Vogue provided and it is already OOP. However, the Internet is our friend and you can still locate it if you wish. Just imagine it in the fabrics used in the collection; a textured raffia linen and a great Toile de Jouy print. However, don't let the cut-outs intimidate you (which I think was the reason for the pattern's unpopularity), version A has them inset with fabric for a little trompe l'oiel action.

Vogue 8900 OOP
Now, it seems Vogue has interpreted a dress detail from both the Carven Fall 2012 RTW and Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2012 RTW collections. Edit: Also the 2012 Pre-Fall Jonathan Saunders collection. How did I not notice until now that these were all in the same season? Anyway, this lovely bodice design incorporated a dart structure I remember first seeing on patterns from the 1950-60s.

It has become Vogue 9020, a separates pattern that again may not make a lot of fans due to it's exceedingly dull envelope illustration.


Instead, consider how Carven's 2012 Fall RTW collection shows this front dart on a variety of dresses in different silhouettes with varied skirt designs and in multiple types of fabrics, including velvet and laser-cut lace.

Believe it or not, but both dresses above are based on the same bodice design, only with the center seam open for a few inches vertically. Imagine the vertical area between the two horizontal darts in Vogue 9020 as a large bound buttonhole, perhaps.

Oh, what a versatile pattern, right?

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Volunteer for Vintage Pattern Reproductions!

UPDATE: This pattern has now been reissued as Vogue 9106!

The McCall Pattern Company contacted me about Vogue Special Design S-4305, a vintage pattern that I own. See my post on it here.

I had contacted them a year ago and offered up two patterns for reproduction after reading this post on the blog Pattern-Vault about the author's experience lending a pattern that they had just republished. I sent my email with some pattern images attached in January of 2013 and they just contacted me June 2nd of this year. So if you've also sent them images, hang in there. Hopefully, the delay is because they're getting swamped with excellent submissions!

Another blogger bringing attention to this cause is Lauramae of Lilacs & Lace. She has made up quite a few of the Vintage Vogue patterns in her day. For yet another take on it, check this informative post from the Pattern Junkie in 2010.

I wish I could say the reason I did this was because I'm altruistic and wanted everyone to have a chance at owning this pattern. But no, it was because I had wanted this pattern so much that I bought it even though it wasn't in my size. Therefore, when they reissue it, I will receive a copy that is actually in MY size. Yeah!

So just a reminder to those holding onto awesome vintage patterns from Butterick, McCall's or Vogue that you only take out of their archival sleeves two times a year and dare to pet and/or breathe on for a few precious seconds, perhaps consider packing them up and lending them for a few months to the McCall Pattern Company for reproduction. Especially, if you have any of the ones requiring inside corsets, intricate boning, wildly-shaped pattern pieces and luxurious draped fabric, all those great design details that don't show up that often in modern pattern design (not even in indie patterns). We need those touches of imagination to spur on our own creative sparks.

Please think of us sewists out there trolling eBay dreaming of the vintage patterns going for $100 and up. Some (most) of those prices are ridiculous and those prices drop as soon as Vogue reissues one of those patterns so...
Here are a few I would love to see in my size:

Vogue 5486

McCall's 4331

Vogue 9803

McCall's 7208

McCall's 5883

Do you have any of these and are you willing to lend them to the cause?

All you have to do is email images of the patterns to the McCall Pattern Company in care of If your pattern is selected, they will then contact you about sending the paper pattern to their offices.