Thursday, October 27, 2016

Spinning in a Web

Velvet spider webs on a black taffeta ground, how was I supposed to resist this fabric? Not even the fact that it is a stiff polyester or acetate of some kind could deter me, I had to make something from this glorious novelty textile! Joann's festive collection this year was really quite good, go snatch up whatever is left (I'm sure it's on sale by now too!).

Of course another circle skirt won out, I do love a circle skirt these days. Even if they do take hours to hem; this one and its fall leaf cotton cousin from earlier this week took me half a day just to finish the hems! Still, it is always worth the effort once I slip this skirt style over a petticoat and get to twirl around for a bit feeling like a princess. I paired the finished skirt with an emerald green sweater to match the sparkling green eyes of my spindly rhinestone spider brooch. Topped off with my trusty black velvet hat, I was ready to stomp around the local castle (okay, its not a real castle but it does the job) before heading out to run errands. And yes people do look at me funny when I push my cart around Target dressed like this, but it doesn't matter when I feel like a spider queen.

I am all kinds of busy this week and all I really want to do is sleep in! I'm dreaming of the weekend, though I still will have a bunch to get done then on the sewing front, at least I can have a lazy morning (or two) ;). I hope you are all having a wonderfully spooky week as we draw closer to Halloween!

Sweater: Forever 21
Skirt: Made by me
Shoes: Modcloth
Hat, Jewelry, & Handbag: Vintage

Monday, October 24, 2016

Layers of Leaves & Lace

Quilting cotton once more...oops! I realize the real reason this fall leaf print was offered in a wide width (60" as opposed to the typical 45") was for people to use it for making table cloths, but I see a wide width fabric and I immediately think circle skirt. So of course I some how ended up with just enough to eek out this light weight skirt for the warmer days of fall.

The lace of this top almost looks like spider webs too, which is just perfect for the week before Halloween right? I scandalously skipped the camisole I would normally wear underneath this top too, as my new Rago longline bra provides a lot of coverage by itself. I'll be reviewing this longline bra and the Rago high waist shaper (girdle really) soon, as I invested in both recently. To add even more leaves to the mix I pinned on my duo of celluloid and amber rhinestone brooches and paired them with gold and rhinestone earrings in a similar hue. The belt and handbag are vintage, but the shoes are my new favorites from Royal Vintage shoes! I have to resist the temptation to wear them all the time, rotation is good ;)

I am quickly running out of time to prepare things for my trip to Mexico as November is approaching fast. I have an amazing vintage skirt I need to hem among other sewing tasks weighing on my mind before I can pack. Still a few days at the beach (and a lovely wedding) could be just what the doctor ordered to chill me out before we dive into the holiday season at work!

Top: Old Navy
Skirt: Made by me
Shoes: Royal Vintage Shoes
Gloves, Handbag, Belt, & Jewelry: Vintage

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday Spotlight: Spider Web

As it happens to be the week before Halloween all of a sudden, I though today we could take a look at some lovely vintage pieces with a spider web motif! Though I personally like the look of spider webs (not spiders themselves though, eek!) year round, October is undoubtedly the best time to wear such a fun Halloween-esk design. It seems the motif was popular in times past too, and what I wouldn't give to have the 1920's lace dress below! It's a good thing I have two spider web projects coming up in my to-sew projects list shortly, I only hope I can get them finished in time to wear them before Halloween :)

Click on each photo to be taken to it's source. Isn't that last "poodle" skirt with the full spider's web so excellent? What a great project idea, I'd like one in black wool with the spiders web done in sequins (or maybe on black velvet!). How do you all feel about donning a spider web design? Do you have any more Halloween worthy novelty prints in your wardrobe?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Brocade & Lace

This 1960's brocade dress arrived in the mail after an impulsive "buy now" click on Etsy a few months back. Black brocade, that's all it takes to get my attention. Well when it arrived there were two issues; it was a bit too big for me and I thought the neckline was super unflattering. After the dress hung neglected for a while, I finally took in the waist a bit, but what to do about the neckline?

There was really only one thing I could do, bring out the box of trims and have a good rummage. I had two short lengths of this spiky black polyester lace and tried to see what it looked like straight across the circular neckline. Not great it turns out. How about layered in a V? Ah yes, there's the fix!

Of course while I was wearing this ensemble (to lunch at a local cafe) the side seam split a tiny bit as I got out of the car, so back to the repair pile it goes! Ah vintage, so needy sometimes!

I paired the dress with some anachronistic accessories, as I am not much of a 60's gal usually. The shoes are of course my new black Marilyn's from Royal Vintage Shoes, while the leather belt and clutch were thrifted finds. I have been waiting to wear this fun glittering arrow brooch for a while, though as it is slightly curved I suspect it was originally intended to be worn on a hat. The "apple juice" colored plastic earrings are not real bakelite but they fake it rather well and match the brooch perfectly.

It is October after all, I had to pull out the black lace at some point right?

Dress: Vintage
Shoes: Royal Vintage Shoes
Tights: What Katie Did
Handbag, belt, & jewelry: Vintage

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pattern Drafting: Creating a "Kimono" Style Sleeve

I have been talking a bit about actual Japanese clothing like haori here on the blog recently, but the "kimono" style sleeve in western fashion is really nothing like a Japanese kimono sleeve! Hence why I am putting quotes around the word kimono above, because the word kimono gets rather over used these days for things that bear little resemblance to actual kimono (those flimsy chiffon shawl/cardigan things in every shop these days for example are being labeled as "kimono"...). Still, this style of sleeve, which was very common in the mid 20th century, is one of my favorites and I use it in my designs/sewing all the time!

Above are just a few of the many many results that come up when you quickly search vintage kimono sleeve on Pinterest. The best thing about using a kimono style sleeve is that as is cut in one with the bodice, you don't have to set in the sleeves separately. So you save a step while sewing up the dress or blouse in question as the sleeve is created simply when the bodice pieces are sewn together at the side seam and shoulder. See the difference between a set in sleeve (the red dress) and a "kimono" sleeve (the print dress) in the side by side photos below.

You don't have to buy a new sewing pattern to use a kimono style sleeve for your next project-- they are super easy to add to an existing bodice pattern! So pull out your favorite dress bodice, button down shirt, or even knit top pattern and give this pattern hack a try. (Though as always I suggest you try any new pattern in muslin or a mock up first to test it out and make any fitting adjustments!)

Some more notes before I continue: the patterns I use below are self drafted and I use them over and over so these traced versions have seam allowance already included, and you will notice I don't add any additional seam allowance as I know it is already there (does that make any sense?). If the pattern you start with doesn't have seam allowance do make sure to add some. Also, this isn't some official way to add a kimono sleeve, this is just a method that has always worked for me.

Start by tracing the front of your preferred bodice pattern onto a fresh sheet of paper (this gridded paper is called alphanumeric paper and comes on a roll, I highly recommend it for pattern drafting.)

First add 1/4" to the top of the arm side edge of the shoulder line and redraw the shoulder. See what I mean in red on the illustration below.

Next measure 2 inches down from the underarm at the side seam and put a mark, then put another mark 1/2" further. Draw a line 1 1/2" out from the first (the 2") mark like above.

Draw a curve between the two marks from the last step. As you can see my sleeve ends up starting directly above the side dart on this particular pattern, but this has never caused me any trouble.

Next measure 5" out from the first point you altered at the shoulder line. You can make the sleeves longer than this too of course. I am also factoring in that at least 1/2" inch (or more depending on if you line the bodice or simply hem the sleeves) will come off the sleeve hem in seam allowance eventually when this pattern is sewn up.

Then connect the two points between B and C on our little diagrams. Like magic you have added a kimono sleeve to your bodice front!

Now for the back pattern piece start by measuring just how long that last line you drew for the front (from B to C) ended up being in the end. For my pattern this measurement was 9 3/4".

Next add the same 1/4" to the outer shoulder to the back too and redraw the shoulder line like you did for the front. Then add the same 5 inch extension to the shoulder line too.

The easiest way to progress from here is to have the front pattern piece cut out and to lay it on top of the front matching the shoulders and sides up and then tracing the sleeve you drew for the front. Or you can measure down 9 3/4" (well that was my measurement, but use whatever your measurement was) from the 5" out point on the extended shoulder and connect it to the side seam using the same curved 1 1/2" line like you drew on the front. I hope some of that made at least a bit of sense...sorry!

Again I'll repeat that you should test your lovely new sleeve by making a muslin before you cut into nice project fabric ;) With a muslin/mock-up you can check both the fit and adjust the length of the sleeve if you need to.

I hope this will help someone take the plunge and have a little more fun editing patterns, go ahead and dip your toes into pattern drafting, it's super rewarding! As I use this sleeve style in my own sewing all the time it was well time I explained how I manage it :)

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