Monday, January 31, 2011

The Plan for the 80's (and Colette Spring Palette Challenge)

Ignoring my apparent invisible zipper incompetencies, I decided to join in the Colette Patterns Spring Palette Challenge.  It fit perfectly with the focus I was hoping to hone, not just for the 80's but the other 90 years I'm shooting for.

Here is my palette for the 80's and the Challenge:

After some pattern consultation and stash diving, this is what the Girlie and I have come up with:

Item 1

This is the version I'm using -

Simple, straightforward, you would think, right?  I took a look at the pattern, and there are about 16 pieces, and on first glance the instructions read like the flight manual for an F-18.  The top will be the yellow floral cotton, with the skirt being made out of the dotted swiss - again the fabric is really sheer, so I'm not sure yet if I should just make her a few petticoats, self-line it, or make two tiers... that might be fun.

Items 2&3 - from the same pattern

In navy blue cotton velveteen -

In gray cotton sherpa with a yellow knit bias binding -

And items 4 & 5:

Refashioned from a stashed jersey top -

In a pale purpley gray cotton lycra knit, minus the shoulder ruffles -

(I'm seriously reconsidering how full the sleeve caps are in the last one.
Maybe some sort of pattern refashioning is in order?)

So there you have it.  I'm really excited to get working on these.  It's such a great feeling to know that you have patterns and fabric all ready to go.  And not a zipper in sight! ;)

p.s. If you have an eagle eye, you might have noticed there is a colour missing from that the projects that is in the original palette.  Can anyone spot it?

Project Folly (or, don't sew past your bedtime)

So wouldn't you know it, the first sewing item of my project and I'm at a complete standstill.  Not being one who likes to a) be defeated by small things 2) is determined that if I try enough I can do whatever I put my mind to and thricely: why is it that whenever I've thought about blogging about sewing failures, I get all cold and woozy?

I didn't think I was being overly ambitious putting in an invisible zipper instead of a regular one, but there you have it.  The darn thing won't go in.  The problem is getting the seams in the bodice and skirt to line up.  I've pinned, re-pinned, not pinned, dotted, marked and measured, sewn, read tutorials, sewn again and still the seams are off.  I've spent hours on it, and I feel like the stupidest seamstress in the world.

In the interests of moving the project forward, I'm tempted to throw the thing in the corner and just try again later.  Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the project?  I've been stubbornly trying to make it work properly that I'd forgotten that part of this is meant to be a learning process too... and given that there is so much to show and tell, if I wait until the sun, moon and stars lined up we might be here a while.

So shall we move on?  

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hidden Folly

Cheryl was in the habit of keeping her children close, but began to seriously reconsider her fashion choices when, a year after the move, people began to doubt their existence.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Love, love, love, love!

Have you seen this collection by Lena Hoschek?  Oh my!

One of each pretty please! More pics here.

(p.s. I read Lena Hoschek has a line of eyewear coming out.  So far I've only found pics of the sunglasses, which are fab by the way, but if she puts out any of the frames featured on the models in this collection, I'm definitely interested!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Car Trouble

When their jaunt in Grandfather's car ended abruptly and conveniently right next to a car show full of eligible bachelors, Trixie was positively thrilled that she and Gladys had thought to accessorize.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Love Letter

Sullivan Bellue Major 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers to his wife Sarah in Smithfield.

Washington DC July 14, 1861

Dear Sarah,

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days, perhaps tomorrow, and lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I am no more.  I have no misgivings about or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged and my courage does not halt or falter.  I know how American civilization now leans upon the triumph of the government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the revolution - and I am willing, perfectly willing, to lay down all my joys in this life to help maintain this government, and to pay that debt.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless.  It seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but omnipotence can break, and yet my love of country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly with all those chains to the battlefield. The memory of all the blissful moments I have enjoyed with you come crowding over me, and I feel most deeply grateful to God and you that I have enjoyed them for so long.  And how hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes and future years when God willing we might still have lived and loved together, and see our boys grown up to honourable manhood around us!

If I do not return, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I loved you for that when my last breathe escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.  Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you.  How thoughtless, how foolish I have sometimes been!  But oh Sarah, if the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be with you in the brightest day and the darkest night, always.  Always.  And when the soft breeze fans your cheek, it shall be my breath, or the cool air your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

Sarah, do not morn me dead.  Think I am gone, and wait for me, for we shall meet again.

(transcribed from Ken Burns: The Civil War Ep.1.  Sullivan Bellue was killed at the 1st Battle of Bull Run - one week after writing this letter.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More headwear folly...

There is so much to love about this dress... the asymmetrical buttoning in the front, cute self fabric belt, simple lines with lovely details - and check out the shoes!  

But the hat.  Oh dear, the hat. 

Friday, January 21, 2011


So have you noticed the new icons on the right side bar?  Just a couple of projects that are going to be coming along in the near future.

One of them, the Colette Patterns Spring Palette Challenge, fits right in with the wardrobe planning I've been doing for the 80's.  I have a few little projects lined up for when I jump back 20 years, and interestingly enough, one of her icons matched the palette I've been playing with, almost identically.

Pretty close huh?

It doesn't really strike me as particularly spring-y.  No pinks, or pastels.  But I think these colours are still a beautiful representation of spring.  From the blue skies, hopeful green buds, sunny yellow daffodils and daisies, to the spring showers in gray and navy blue.  Fortunately the pieces I'd chosen are also suitable for the warming weather so I think it will be a good match!

Lost Love

Sometimes, everything seems normal.  Maybe a feature, say big pockets, makes you pause a moment.

There may be small details that excite you, like a wooden bracelet, self fabric belt, and yoke details.

Then you get confused for a moment.  Was it the 70's, or is it the space age?

Who am I?  What am I?  Where am I?

I wish I could answer those questions for you.  I really do.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Found it.

Two bucks.  Right size.  Other styles.  Copyright 1981.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Update on Vogue 9479

It was so long ago.... Do you remember it?

Well, I chose the fabric, after some deliberation and stash shopping had not quite yielded the results I was hoping for...  Not to be dissuaded, I chose a plan of attack in View D, I plunged in!

Now, one of the first things I wanted to mention right off, is that more modern patterns have the pieces in multiple sizes (in this case 7, 8 and 10) printed on one giant piece of tissue paper...  Which means that unless you're super confident about what size you want, and what style, and are also sure you're never going to want or need the other sizes, you can just go ahead and cut out your pattern pieces.  If, like me, you're paranoid about ever needing the sizes/pieces and especially if your pattern is out of print (OOP) then you trace off the size and style you want.

Which leads to this glamorous get up:

Doesn't exactly get the creative juices flowing, does it?  (although suddenly I'm craving Indian food...)

For me, tracing off my pattern is my least favourite part of the process.  If there was any way I could skip it, I would.  Anyone know of any tricks?  Or better still, how to let go of my pattern paranoia?

On to the sewing!

I chose my white dotted fabric from the stash for this project.  I bought it about two years ago on my first trip to the fabric district in LA.  It was a Michael Levine find, a little under 3 yards in the remnant bin for about $7.  When I noticed on the selvage that it was a Robert Kaufman screen print, I had an extra little spring in my step!

Washed up it was about 44" x 2 yds 27".  This was enough to get the entire dress out, plus a little over.  Not bad considering the pattern has the bodice self-lined, and I cut out extra to line the skirt.

Regarding turning the bodice inside out:

1) It initally looked like a deflated Telletubbies plushie, because sewing late at night causes brain glitches where a person can forget whether they're right way in, or inside out.

2)  Trimming and grading my seam allowances made a huge difference in how the bodice lay flat.  I didn't notch them like this great video shows, because the notching would have shown through the fabric... which is a shame really because I'm getting some slight puckering at the center of the neckline in the front that is making me want to cry.

3) I'm really pleased with how I thought ahead far enough (and clearly enough, it was earlier in the evening) to plan my french seams so that the outside seam is folded to the back, and the lining seam is folded to the front.  This has not only finished the inside seams nicely with no loose threads to show through, but also created a polished look on the outside.

More to come!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year Folly

We began with a bang - video card fail. Could the universe be trying to tell me something? But then the same day, without any warning, it starts to snow! Right here in the desert valley in southern California. So then I felt confused about my New Year's message from the universe. I can't help but wonder if the message is more about keeping on walking through the discouragements so you can move on to those better moments of unexpected joy.

The one good thing I've found is that having no computer affords you some unexpected sewing time - my thoughts and consequent resolutions about being more organized so that I can spend more time doing what I'm good at, and what I love, are definitely proving true.

Now if I could just get the universe to cooperate! ;)