Sewing Menswear and A Gatsby Party

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This weekend there was a fundraiser for cystic fibrosis with a Gatsby theme. Of course, it gave me two things: an opportunity to sew and a deadline- two things I LOVE. So, I went to work.

For my outfit, I did some research and sketched out a concept:

Gatsby dress sketch

In the end, I opted out of the scarf in front but drafted the boxy top part of the dress and added to it a handkerchief hem skirt. I also added on a bit of bling to the left front of my skirt at the seam. My big excitement with this dress is that I used some sequin knit Prada I bought from the dress shop. First time I ever bought fabric so expensive and so amazing. Sewing sequins wasn’t all that difficult and I serged my edges with no fuss.

I added my short curly haired wig and other accessories. I even went all out with make-up, though I feel like I pulled back from my second trial run. Here you can see what I worked on. I aimed for Clara Bow.

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And now we get to menswear. I made Eric a suit- vest and trousers. I used the Laughing Moon trousers I used for one of the actor’s for the Steampunk Weekend. The period is a little earlier but I think we got the look we wanted.

This vest and trousers are my favorite and highest quality make. Plus…MENSWEAR! I love menswear!

So, here we go. Photo time!

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The cocoon coat is from a Ralph Pink pattern- I just have never blogged about it.

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Geez, Eric looks good!

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This last one is my favorite, though they really are all my favorites. Can’t help myself from sharing them everywhere!

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We’re thinking next up will be 1930s but you never know where the wind will blow us.

Happy Costuming, folks! Stay classy.

1920s Dreaming and a Gatsby Party

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There’s a Gatsby party coming up in a couple of weeks and tonight I decided I’d go. With all the draping I’ve been doing at the dress shop, my skills are getting, little by little, better and more trustworthy. I have a lot to learn, don’t get me wrong. I’ll toot my own horn when it comes time.

Here’s a project I did at work that really pumped me up to drape more at home. Made this from scratch- only thing my designer helped me with was the lining. Of course, she advised me all along the way. Yeah, she’s pretty awesome.

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And then I went home and a couple of weeks later, started playing with a silk jersey I bought. On a whim, I started playing with draping something bridal. 11668063_10153305086355395_1071738638_n

So, now with this party coming up, I want to drape a 1920s evening gown. The cool thing about working for a bridal designer is that I have access to some really high end materials.

Here are some photos of inspiration:

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I really like the beaded piece at the hip.

Vionnete 1920s fringe

From Vanity Fair: “In Vionnet’s early years as a designer, fringe was a popular embellishment, as seen on this 1925 silk-crêpe dress. Photograph by Hideoki, 1925.

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I admit the 1920s isn’t the easiest to pull off when you have more of a 1950s body. I’ll have to wear a strapless bra I have the flattens me out quite a bit to get that boyish look that was so popular in the 20s. It will be challenging for me personally not to nip in at the waist but I’ll hold back. Promise!

Time is short but I think I’ve got this. Just have to collect materials and not break the bank doing it. ha! Isn’t that the challenge when doing costumes. I am going to go through the silk crepe we have at work. We must have something for me to fall in love with!

Anyone out there playing with 1920s shapes and draping? Any 20s dreaming or inspiration you know I need to have?

Show and Tell: Animal print pencil skirt

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I drafted this skirt at the same time as the sweater knit pencil skirt suit (yet to be blogged) and honestly, it’s the easiest thing in the world! I used my own measurements and took out an an and a half to accommodate the stretch in the twill, inserted an invisible zipper, a a waist facing and serged and stitched the hem and I was ready for a work day at the dress shop. It’s a high waisted skirt but I opted to use a belt for some reason. Who knows why? ha!

I’ve been working so much lately that knits are my go-to project. They’re easy to fit and I keep using TNT patters so that I know what I’m getting in the end. It’s been pretty awesome.

animal pencil back animal pencil front 2 animal pencil front animal pencil side

Have a great week! Perhaps I’ll see you on Twitter this Friday for Fabric Chat! Don’t know what the theme will be but I’m sure we can come up with something.

Hey, what’s your go-to sewing project?

My Feather Mission (actually a) Maxi!

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I’ve made Jamie Christina’s Mission Maxi a bunch of times. I love the fit and just how easy it is to finish- the beauty of knits! We have this feather knit in the dress shop and I knew I wanted to make the Mission Maxi out of it. I bought 3 yards and, really, should have bought 4 since the repeat is so large. I did what I could and I’m pretty happy with it but just need to remember that a large pattern repeat requires perhaps another whole yard to match things up with this pattern- especially the godet version.

Putting the godet together was simple and I quickly had a new dress. I love how elegant I feel wearing a little train behind me! Love it! I’ve had this make done for a while but I’m finding that this year’s MeMadeMay is getting me to blog the stuff I haven’t had a chance to show off!

Feather Maxi dress godet

Feather Maxi dress front

Feather maxi dress back

Feather Maxi dress close up Feather Maxi dress side close

Feather Maxi dress front close

Definitely one of my favorite dresses right now! This pattern is great for playing with prints, as once you have the fit down, it’s a really fast make. I did use this stretch single fold organza we have in the shop and even with a zig zag it makes the finishing really clean and gorgeous. The longest part of making this dress was the pattern placement- as you don’t wanna end up with feathers right on your Eve! Granted, the tip of the front feather is pointing to my lady parts but I’ll take that over the other option.

Feather prints, come to mama!

Have a great week everyone and keep the drama in your wardrobe.

by hand London Hawaii Holly Jumpsuit Reveal

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Today has proven to be a lovely day of running around, laughing with my kids and Eric, yummy food, playground time and, as you will see, blog photos! I used my tripod but my 8 year old asked if she could help so we can applaud her for her work.

Like I said in my last post, I had already made the pants on the Holly jumpsuit so all I had to do was fit the bodice. I cut the largest size for length at the waist but kept my size for the width so it would match the pants. I did grade up on the front only to give the girls a little more room. I cut the highest size on the cowl and after measuring myself and the flat pattern, knew I’d have enough room in all directions.

I used a Hawaiian Floral Print Crepe de Chine by Maggy London that I got from Fabric Mart Fabrics. Sadly, it’s all gone. I was going back and forth about lining it but I left it as is and it’s very wearable and comfortable without a lining. Perfect for today’s 70 degree weather! I’m all about the Hawaiian prints right now so don’t be surprised if you see more coming from me.

I do wonder if I should have put in plastic boning into the sides of the bodice. If not that, I might want to shorten the sides by about 1/2″, though really, it’s fine. I’m really trying not to overfit things over here. Working at the dress shop has helped me with not overfitting.

I am in serious over drive in the jumpsuit department. Just need to pair recent pattern purchases with fabric. And I know you have to basically get undressed to go to the bathroom but I honestly don’t care. My aim is to make all the jumpsuits this Sprint/Summer. I also can see myself using the bodice on the Holly and pairing it with a skirt, both long and short. I do like wearing a bra so we’ll see what I decide when it comes to the spaghetti straps next time.

Hawaii Holly front 2Hawaii Holly back   Hawaii Holly front Hawaii Holly sideHawaii Holly closeup

I won’t promise to post pictures of everything I’ve made since January- I tried but I kept sewing and never had daylight to take photos of all my Jungle January stuff. I do want to show off a couple of special makes. Let’s hope the sun powers me up!

Have a great weekend! And for crying out loud, WEAR A JUMPSUIT!

Jumpsuit Fever

Yes. I’ve got jumpsuit fever. It’s bad. I’m buying all the jumpsuit patterns and have plans to make them ALL! I’m working up the By Hand London Holly version 2 right now. The Holly trousers I made came out so well I knew I was ready to cut.

I was told on IG to mock up the bodice because it’s short so I cut the longest size, the size that would match the trousers for me and then went up one size for my bust and cut the tallest size on the top of the drape. The back I cut to my size and at the fitting it seems to work well. I really did need the length for my bust size.

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The second photo only shows the front bodice and front trouser pieces but honestly, I’m excited!

In the first photo you can see my scuba knit skirt I finished this weekend.

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I really want to work with scuba knits again. So easy to work with. On my facebook page, I got the idea to make scuba knit pants! What a great idea. Thank you Sharon!

So, my hope is to finish my Holly jumpsuit for a show I’m hoping to go to tomorrow night. It’s Bloodshot Bill. He’s an amazing rockabilly guy.

Check him out. He’s cool. And so are jumpsuits!!!

It’s a comfy jungle out there!

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jungle skirt front jungle skirt back hair jungle skirt backjungle skirt sidejungle skirt waistbandjungle walking

I’m going for super comfy this winter with this rayon knit animal print skirt. I draped it on my new dress form, giving a straight front and a gathered back along with a wide knit waist band. I finished the hem by serging the raw edges and turning it up 1/2″ and doing a lightening bolt stitch to secure it.

I really needed something super quick and easy to make since I’ve been sewing complicated things for other people, both at the dress shop and for my own clients. One afternoon later and I had a drapey, doesn’t-matter-how-much-you-eat skirt.

If you aren’t already participating in Pretty Grievances’ Jungle January, where sewists all over the world pull out the animal print stops and make all the roary outfits, you should go check it out and sew along! I’ve been hoarding animal prints and have every intention of adding more to this year’s JJ but first I have a swimsuit to finish. Once I’m done with that, I will reward myself with more selfish sewing and maybe some fun sewing gifts for a local animal print lover.

By the way, can I just say, holy carp! my hair is long! When did this happen??

Another add: Yes, I do now own a pair of leopard print slip on sneakers. I’m happy to report 40 degree weather lately that allows for such frivolous footwear.

Welcome, 2015! Naval gazing and My Word of the Year

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I feel like I can start 2015 now that I bought a new day planner. I use google calendar to be able to check everything on the go but I also like seeing everything written out at a glance. Ah, yes. Paper. Can’t live without it.

As a lot of you know, 2014 was a crazy year for me. My (now) ex-husband walked out, we got divorced, I started working after a 7 years of being a stay at home/homeschooling mom and now share custody of two beautiful people I get to call my kids. You’ve seen me through getting 3 tattoos- something I had always wanted to do; I started working as a server at a local restaurant- something my ex insisted I would be crap at and, as it turns out, I’m actually pretty good at. (Yes, I’m leaving that sentence hanging- grammar be damned!) Edited to add: I also started working at Erin Young Designs as Erin’s assistant. We do alterations on mostly bridal gowns and of course take on a number of custom clients.

Thanks for hanging in there with me as I make this transition in my life. I’ve kept sewing- though I hope to sew a lot more in 2015.

Excuse me as I borrow from my own IG feed to show you images of what’s going on in my life.

I’m working up a cocoon coat by Ralph Pink Patterns, though it’s not the one I posted I was going to make. I’m loving it so much right now. Working on the pockets this weekend and hopefully putting the whole thing together so I can wear it next week.

I got a new sewing machine! The Juki JZL-F600. I’ve been waiting for the day when I could buy it since it came out several years ago. I’ll be doing a review of it in a couple of months when I’ve had time to really put it to the test. For now, it’s love. True love.

The table the new Juki is on was a classroom table The French Seam (a fashion fabric shop in town) was selling and the timing was all too perfect.

I was gifted a dressform as well! I’m a lucky kitten. I’ve named her Ms. Bacall- as in Lauren Bacall. Wouldn’t you agree she looks so classy in this faux fur shrug I designed last winter?

All of these pieces were part of my master plan to transform my bedroom- the largest room in my apartment- into a full blown sewing studio. I have a lot of work to do still but I’m already sewing in my new space. This is the room that gets the most light and it works so well for what I’m wanting.

My hopes for this new year are to have my sewing studio up and running, increase my freelance work, and overall, organize and optimize my time better.

My word a couple of years ago was precision. For 2015, my word will be: FREEDOM.

This will be a financial, creative and emotional freedom I intend on reminding myself I want, need and deserve. I don’t know what it will look like and right now I feel like I’m at the beginning of putting a puzzle together. I can’t find all the pieces and some feel like they’ve gone missing but in the end I know they’ll all be there.

Happy New Year, everyone! What’s your word of the year?

My 1920s Ralph Pink Patterns Playsuit

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Disclaimer: This pattern was gifted to me in exchange for photos.

This Ralph Pink playsuit has been finished for what seems ages. According to Instagram, I started it 4 months ago and it was done 3 months ago. It’s not a hard make, I just didn’t have time to sew. It’s rather quick and quite the pleasure to sew. I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner just on account of all the seaming. On the other hand, it’s just more pieces. Put them together and you’re good to go.

I followed the pattern instructions to give an accurate review and I have to say that the instructions are really spot on. I like how they have you marking the stitching lines, or corners, giving you a really perfect seam. In some cases, you really do need to do it so follow along. You won’t be disappointed. Also, note that seam allowances are 1cm- it wasn’t on the pattern but they’re on social media and not hard to find.

I used this poly chiffon from JoAnn’s and lined the front with a white lining. You can see in one of my pictures that I’m wearing a white strapless. It was the only way I could see me wearing this since the sides are completely open. The side zipper only zips to the top of the hip so make sure the hip measurement is right for you. Definitely size up if you fall in between. The piecing and pocket details add to the allure of this playsuit for me.

This is the back midway through construction. The ruched, low waist is low but as far as a 1920s look, you’re gonna get it. I didn’t do any alterations on this pattern and I think the fit is spot on. I knew the top was open on the sides and knew I’d have to layer it which is why I didn’t bother make any top changes.

There is a set of straps on one side of the shoulder and a button on the other side. Very dainty.

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Have a great weekend! Go get your costume on!

Keeping the Drama in my Wardrobe

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This Autumn/Winter I’ve been wanting all the drama in my wardrobe. I’m actually focusing any drama into my clothes so that I don’t have to live it. Of course, there’s daily drama and definitely drama in any workplace but you get what I’m saying.

I have two unblogged mega scarves I want to show you one of these days. I swear I’ll be doing that soon. In the meantime, I am craving more dramatic coats. My Lolita Spearmint coats (the more Autumny animal print on and my short blue wool one) are the kind of drama I want. Something big collared or just gigantic in general. Read into it if you like. I just want to be warm this winter.

First I thought I wanted ALL THE CAPES but then as I searched for cape patterns I remembered the two that are in my closet that hardly get used. Mental note: Use capes. Granted they were simple capes, so mayhaps more flair added would make me happy.

I searched and searched and didn’t quite find what I wanted. Yes, I know. I should just sit down and draw out what I want and make it. All in good time.

After the capescapade, I thought I really just want an oversized coat I don’t have to fit (fitting takes time, of which I have very little) so why not something like a cocoon coat!

From Daks A/W 2012

Does it look too much like a snuggie?

uh oh.

Scary thing is that I still want to make a cocoon coat! So, I started looking at patterns and remembered…

The cloud cape by Decades of Style. Gorgeous and I will make this one day. But not today.

Not a huge coat but an awesome dramatic collar by burdastyle

Not fitted so I could get away with a quick muslin and possibly no fitting…but, not now.

Lekala has this belted cape that you can just draft at home. I like the half circle sleeves but not the kind of drama I was dreaming up.

I did like this gigantic swallow-me-whole cocoon coat found on Etsy by MixMind Design.

Or maybe it was the memory of Oona’s version of the Ralph Pink Patterns cocoon coat

Yes, I want her dress and her hair but I think I just start my single white female with making up this coat.

So, here I am, typing and printing the Ralph Pink Patterns Cocoon Coat and wondering what I have in my stash since I’m forcing myself into early retirement with a fabric diet. I know! I said the D word. What will become of me?? I hope I’ll get inspired like LadyKatza said she did on Twitter- I think it was you.

Anywhooo! Off to tape together 65 pages! *faints*

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