Monday, March 27, 2017

Wistful Wisteria

The day started out sunnier, and I had high hopes for nice light and pretty blue skies to match my gloves, but then things turned grey and my new spring dress seemed to be suddenly a bit out of place. What's a girl to do when the weather isn't behaving?

I mentioned on Instagram last week that I figured out a fabric that had been languishing in my stash for ages was actually rayon after I had long thought it to be polyester. Why oh why did I ever think this lovely cold rayon was poly? I pulled this wisteria print out last week and was surprised to find the drape was much nicer than I remembered from when I bought it years ago, and a quick burn test confirmed it was rayon! Silly me! Determined to have a new dress by the weekend, I cut out a simple A-line late 30's/early 40's basic silhouette. I finished the interior seams, sleeve hems, and hem with rayon seam binding and the neckline is finished with a self fabric facing. This was the first time I have ever made a matching belt with a covered buckle and I found it really fiddly! I'm not sure I am a fan, as the buckle still feels so light and like it will pop apart to me, but perhaps that's just because I'm not used to these sort of kits. I do have some old celluloid buckles that I can use for future matching belts so I may stick to using those for now. I do still need to make or buy some little shoulder pads for this dress too, but you know when you have a new dress, you just have to wear it right away! 

How about this handbag though?! I love my black vintage plastiflex clutch so much that I snapped up this checkered brown and ivory version when I spotted it for sale. I dream of having a rainbow collection of these woven plastic clutches one day, there is something so modern about them even though the patent numbers inside date them to the earlier half of the 1940s. The tile design on this one is very different from my black clutch, they remind me of Legos a bit!

I finally finished beading the bolero I mentioned recently and I just have to finish tacking the lining down a bit inside as it wants to move around a lot for some reason. I haven't made much progress on the galaxy tulle skirt yet, but I promise I'll show you as soon as I have made some headway! I also accidentally ordered some really pretty fabrics from Mood this weekend, you know...when you accidentally buy more fabric, could happen to anyone ;) I hope you all have a wonderful start to the week!

Dress: Made by me
Clutch, Gloves, Hat, & Jewelry: Vintage
Shoes: Bait Footwear
Fishnets: Amazon

Friday, March 24, 2017

Pattern Drafting: Creating a "Kimono" Style Sleeve (Version no. 2!)

So back in October of last year I wrote a post about how I converted my basic bodice pattern to have all-in-one kimono style sleeves, but... I recently made a whole new bodice pattern! With the changes in the fit, my new bodice pattern was shaped a bit differently than my old one of course, so I had to make a new kimono sleeve version of my pattern. When I got ready to do so it became very plain I wouldn't be able to use the same simple method I had always used in the past, as the armhole shape was way too different!

Above you can see my old basic bodice pattern in blue and my new bodice pattern traced on top in red lines. The armhole shape is totally different! So while in the past I was able to just draw on the kimono sleeve without messing with any other part of my pattern, this time I couldn't because the armhole area was so much more curved and generally smaller.

The first thing I did was consult my pattern drafting book from my university days to see how it suggested drafting kimono sleeves from a basic sloper. The book created the sleeve shape by opening up the side dart into the armhole to provide the ease and room needed to draw on the kimono sleeve! So I decided I'd live it a try and it seems to have worked like a charm. I'll show you how it's done...

Draw lines through your dart points to find the exact apex point at the center bust. Draw a line from the apex to the center of the armhole.

Draw another line from one of your side dart points to the apex as well, we are going to cut these two lines to allow for moving the dart.

Cut along these two lines to the apex, but not through it, so you can sort of hinge the piece around, we are going to close the side dart which will re-divert the fullness into the opening in the armhole.

Close the side dart and tape the overlap closed.

Fill in the newly opened area in the armhole with spare paper and tape together.

Now with the added room in the armhole you can draw on the kimono sleeve like I showed in the first version of this post (here).

And there you have it! A kimono sleeve from a pattern with a very curved/smaller armhole! Since the back of my pattern didn't change in the big ways my front pattern did, I was able to use the original method on the back piece without issue. I still have only used this new kimono sleeved pattern for a bolero so I'm not 100% positive I like it as much as my old pattern yet as I haven't really tried it yet, but I hope it will work out just fine.

Have any of your discovered and new pattern drafting tricks lately? I feel like I am constantly learning!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dry Creek Trail

Well, why it sure is dry right now, in summer I assure you this area is usually quite lush with green and has a lovely fishing pond (usually populated with ducks, but on my last visit just two geese). This park is one of my favorite spots in the late spring through early fall, so I was worried when they recently filled the place with tractors and started tearing down trees and moving around a whole bunch of dirt. Turns out they had drained the creek, bulldozed a ton of bushes and a few nice old trees (!!!), moved a lot of dirt where the creek had cut in a very miniature canyon so that the area was now smooth, and then laid down some concrete (in a brown color to match the surroundings) in "natural" stepped rock shapes in some areas of the creek bottom (but not all?). Though they did quite a lot of work to the creek area, I was relived to see they left the old fishing pond and lightning gnarled huge trees alone. Hopefully we will get some rain soon and lots of new grasses and plants will begin to spring up and cover all the unnatural looking landscaping they smoothed over down by the creek.

Anyways, while I finish up several sewing projects in various stages of completion, I give you a modern dress from a fast fashion brand! Quelle horreur! This dress has a rather 1930s silhouette, the back even has a long keyhole from neck to waist like some slinky 30's evening gown. I'm happy whenever I discover something vaguely vintage at a high street store (as the Brit's would say), and as I like digital prints in theory I appreciated the more subtle color tones in this languid orchid design. To try and make the dress lean more vintage, I paired it with a suede belt, black straw hat, and creamy celluloid jewelry. As it has been so dry (not good for my dreams of spring greenery), I wore my wonderful Remix suede heels without worry. These shoes are still the most comfortable heels I have ever owned, I can run errands for hours with no pain, they are magic shoes! I must try and get my hands on another pair of Remix shoes this year, I'd love a pair of their basic pumps in black suede for year round wear <3

I am working on some sewing projects that you won't be seeing for a few weeks as they are for my upcoming vacation ;) I even got chic new suitcases this week in preparation for this trip! They are smaller and I'm glad we won't be burdened with huge bags this time around. I'll let you all know my destination soon, and till then I hope you all have a great Friday!

Dress: H&M
Belt, Clutch, Jewelry, & Hat: Vintage
Shoes: Remix
Hosiery: What Katie Did

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Highlights from Vogue Pattern Book Magazine Spring 1953

In addition to the huge Montgomery Ward catalog I acquired recently, I also picked up a few old sewing magazines including the February-March 1953 issue of Vogue Pattern Book magazine. Inside are illustrations of spring fashions, so I thought now that it was properly spring I should share the best pages with all of you! I scanned the most interesting images and present them here for you today for pinning and pining...if only we could still order lovely fabrics like those advertised in this magazine! 

I didn't scan any of the advertisements from the back today, mostly because I was too jealous of the Shoes-To-Match (send in 1/3 yard and they will make custom pumps to match your dress!), and multiple ads for "...and so inexpensive!" covered buckle belt kits. Does anyone have a good source for covered buckle kits now? I'd love to get my hands on a bunch but they seem to be pretty pricey whenever I find them! 

These novelty prints look awesome!

Umbrella print dress!

Another amazing novelty print!

More under the jump!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Vested Interest

This is one well traveled blouse, far more than many if not most humans. I mean let me just list for you the tour stops for you: United Kingdom (starting from the lovely Heyday Vintage) to Los Angeles, to City of Industry CA, to Anaheim CA, to Denver CO, then to San Francisco CA, then back to Denver, then to Boston MA, and then finally....back to Heyday in the UK. Yes, the USPS actually got the package to Denver twice and yet never to! The wonderful people at Heyday noticed I hadn't even opened the package so they sent it along again and luckily this time the postal service actually functioned properly and I received it in my actual mail box! Wahoo!

So due to the fact that I originally ordered this blouse in the first week of December and only just received it now in early March, I was super excited to pull it out of the package and find it fit perfectly! It is such a wonderful addition to my 1940's wardrobe and I am sure I will wear it often. I'm sorry if it still appears a bit wrinkled here, but I don't have a steamer right now and I was steaming it using a heavy iron and my arms got too tired to continue in the end. I paired the blouse with a new black wool vest I made recently which contrasted the collar to show off its wonderful shape!  The wool skirt is one of the oldest me-made items still in my closet, and I have left over fabric knocking around that is destined to be a matching jacket someday, and hopefully that someday will be soon. I pulled out my tiny airplane pins for a small accent of gold, but kept the rest of the ensemble in neutral colors for a day of running errands and a family dinner out.

I also made a pencil skirt out of this same black wool to make a nice little set, and I'm sure I'll wear them together soon. You all know how I love coordinates! I've got some more lovely wool to work with before the sun truly returns for spring, which won't be long now so I better get a move on! I hope you all had a most lovely weekend!

Vest & Skirt: Made by me
Blouse: Heyday Vintage
Shoes: Modcloth
Hosiery: What Katie Did
Hat, Pins, & Clutch: Vintage

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