Friday, August 29, 2014

Pregnancy and Beyond

I am having a lot of fun creating new looks to wear now that I pretty big and aproaching my 24th week of pregnancy, but I hate to think that I am spending time and money on projects that I will have to scrap after the bump is gone.

That is why I have been trying to make a lot of shift dresses that will transition nicely, as well as other flowy items that I can wear before and after little Nora is here.  I think my style will evolve naturally to a more ethereal look for the day-to-day once I am a mom, just based on what I am buying and making now, and also what will be most comfortable and flattering as I get used to my new body-after-baby.  And oh boy is my body changing and the baby weight coming on now that I am in my second trimester!!!  I can't believe how hungry I am, and how big the bump has gotten.  I'm all about loving my body at every size, and honestly I think I look pretty cute, but it is a change!  I promise pics soon.  :)

But while shifts are fun and easy to make, they can get a little tiresome.  Enter this funky little dress that I made out of linen in only a few hours (no closures! Unlined!).  I made it out of a variation of the Laurel pattern by Colette.  Seriously, if you only buy one pattern ever, buy this one.  It is extremely easy to make, versatile, and perfect for almost any fabric choice.  Anyway...I added the funky little drop skirt for a little different look.  I also added pockets!

But I admit, this dress is a bit wide for me to wear once I have a waist again.  The fix?  I plan on adding darts to both the front and back, and adding a side zipper, once I don't need the extra room any more.  Smart, right?  I am trying to think of little of way I can slightly alter pregnancy clothes to be a bit more flattering post bump.  For most items, a simple belt should do the trick, but I love my darts idea for this one.  I hope it works!!!

Just for fun, some Laurel's from the past.  I will make so many more in the future!!!

Silk (I still need to properly blog about this dress, and the fabulous necklace that goes with it!)
Brocade (this one was more Laurel- inspired than actual Laurel pattern) 
Simple cotton

 And my favorite vintage drop-waist dress!  I hope mine comes out half so well.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Vintage Treasures

My husband and I had the great pleasure of meeting our friend Bev a few years ago through Jer's mom.  She is in her early 90's and she has lived an amazing life.  

Recently, she decided to move into a smaller place that will be more manageable for her, although she is still living on her own with her dog Anya, and needed to get rid of a bunch of stuff.  Guess who she gave her beautiful hand made clothes from the 50's and 60's to???  It was ME!!!

She made these items herself from patterns from Paris when she was living in Germany.  The first one is a beautiful fitted coat dress made of grey wool.  Unfortunately, I had to make some changes to this one because of large moth holes.  I needed to cut the sleeves (although it nearly killed me because they were so pretty!) because of some very large holes, and I added some flowers to the collar to cover more holes.  Even though I loved the dress as-is, I really like the slightly more modern update.  I can just see myself wearing this around Santa Fe on Christmas Eve some year, drinking cider and taking in the sights.  I am not sure if I will wear this as a dress or as a coat over something more fitted, but either way, I can't wait (although I will have to for at least a few years, since I will be prego this Christmas, if not giving birth)!  

I know these photos do not do these pieces justice, but they are very fitted, and there is no way I could get them over the bump to model them right now.  Hopefully next year I will be able to properly show them off!

This little cocktail dress was actually made in the 1960's.  It has a gorgeous built in silk slip inside.

This fantastic wool cocoon coat is actually something I have been looking for for a while now and I will be able to wear it this winter over the bump!  Bev also gave me a pencil skirt out of this same wool.  She told me that she got the wool from "the wool man" who used to go door-to-door selling beautiful wool for home sewests. Such a different time it was!

I am so honored to have these hand made pieces in my wardrobe.  I am really starting to love vintage items more and more, especially gems like these that have stood the test of time so beautifully.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Flower Child

For someone who loves clothes as much as I do, you would think I would have learned to accessorize by my early 30's.  And for someone who loves a new haircut as much as I do, you would think I would have somewhere learned along the way how to actually style my own hair.  You would be wrong on both counts.  Bonus!  I also don't really know how to do makeup- although that one bothers me less since I like a more natural look (for myself) anyway.  I do love to see how others do their makeup when it is interesting or vintage though!  I'm looking at you Tatianna and Tiffani.  :)

However, accessorizing is a a skill I would really like to learn.  Part of the problem is that my clothes tend to be so loud, and most often with a pattern on the fabric, that it is hard for me to know where to go from there.  I like a statement piece as much as the next fashion fiend, but for the most part I am too lazy to bother to actually find the right moments to use mine.

But all hope is not lost!  I have purchased or have been gifted some pretty amazing statement pieces lately that are just begging to be worn.  Starting with a beautiful flower headband from LOVELYMUGGLE .  It is so me, and yet, I have never been bold enough to wear anything like it. Sure, I had no problem sticking a huge bow on my head when my hair was short, but styling long hair frightens me.  It feels like such a commitment to do anything other than wearing it down long!

For the last year at least I have been focused on growing my hair out in the most boring way possible.  This was completely by design since I knew I was going to try to get pregnant and I didn't want the fuss of trying to look stylish in a hospital gown or worrying about my hair with a new baby in the house.  Sure, there were some minor trims and some color changes along the way, but ultimately I kept growing it out and went back to my natural brown.  No fuss, but also no fun.

Until recently when I decided I couldn't take it any more and cut my bangs, not once, but four times, four different ways, until I finally got it right and ended up with these cute super short retro bangs that I actually love!  But a new haircut requires a new hairstyle once in a while too- and this headband is the perfect way to step out of my comfort zone.  Isn't it cute?  I have another like it to model soon too!!!

I styled my new headband with this cute little dress I made some time ago.  On it's own, I like this dress, but it can read a little 90's or even matronly so I haven't been overly excited to wear it.  I think this headband gives it a little bit different vibe that makes it a bit more earth mother and less 90's teen.  Also, this dress works well with the baby bump, so added bonus!

Stay tuned because I have some beautiful necklaces to share soon, also from Etsy.  Thanks Tiffani for helping me find a new look!  I have a feeling that my style is going through a bit of an evolution right now, and will continue to evolve after I know what my post-baby-body will be like.  I'm excited for the possibilities.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Gold Crepe

Colette patterns Crepe wrap dress was one of the fist dresses I ever made.  I originally chose it for the same reason that I think many people choose a wrap dress- it is an easy started piece with no closure to sew that does not need a lining. However, I have found that this particular wrap dress is so much more than an easy first project, es specially when the right fabric is involved.

A lot of people use cotton when making this pattern, which is a fine choice.  Cotton is a safe fabric to work with when you are getting started, and has a nice drape for a skirt like this one.  However, I find that a stiffer fabric works best for this particular wrap dress for a few reasons.  One, it completely changes the silhouette of the dress making it a bit more interesting, two, it allows for a more fitted bodice as this dress wraps in the back for a more vintage feel, and three, the puffed sleeve detail stands up so much more nicely with a heavy fabric than a floppy cotton.  Using a substantial fabric choice takes this dress from beginner sewest to expert seamstress without too much more effort. Of course, if you do bother to use an expensive fabric like this one, you sure as hell better take your time and use as many details as you can on both the inside and the outside to make your dress as close to perfection as possible.

The fabric I used was a gold brocade, and believe it or not, I only had two yards to work with!  I chose this pattern specifically to use with this fabric because I needed something that I knew would make a great finished product since this fabric was supper-duper expensive (like $25 a yard!!!) and high quality.  I try to always use tried-and-true simple patterns when working with very expensive fabric because I like a simple shape to show off the material, and also there is less chance of butchering it.



Sleeve detail
I love how this dress turned out!  I used bias tape on the inside and really took my time to make this dress one that would last in my wardrobe for years to come.  I think it looks gorgeous (yes, I am as modest as ever)!  The only changes I made to the pattern were to shorten the waist so the dress would fit me while I am prego as well as after, to shorten the dress itself to help it to keep a less draped and more stiff shape, and to shorten the belt out of necessity (again- only two yards used!).  Even though I was sort of forced to shorten the belt, I actually really like how it ties in the front, giving the dress an even more Asian feel.

I have so many dresses that I have made and never posted and I am going to do my best to post them this year while I am prego and not feeling overly inspired to sew.  Hopefully with this dress I am getting my mojo back though because I have a lot of ideas-if not the ambition to put them together.