Friday, January 31, 2014

I like myself the way I am.

I am happy inside my own skin. I am happy with my choices, and the life I am creating. I am smart and beautiful and good. I don't have to be the best to know that I am not the worst. Self-acceptance is no longer something I strive towards; it is ingrained in the fibers of my being. This does not mean I don’t value growth and strive to learn more, do more and be more. It simply means that my perceived shortcomings do not slow me down and stop me in my tracks. The old broken record telling me I am not good enough no longer plays in the background of my life. I do want to try to be kinder, more productive, less self-indulgent. I do want to get better at sewing, read more, learn French. Stagnation can only lead to boredom and depression. Growth is life. BUT, I am not broken. I am not weak. I am not ugly or worthless or a bad person because I’m not everything for everyone. I am a wonderful, messy, work in progress- just as I am supposed to be. Imperfection is the natural human state. I like myself the way I am. Perfectly imperfect. Perfectly at peace.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

1940's Magic- Part 2

Finally, a vintage inspired pattern that looks pretty much exactly as expected!

Remember when I was talking about the finished dress not looking very much like the pattern envelope? This dress is a refreshing exception.  See?

I learned my lesson with the first dress, followed the directions precisely, I did not even shorten the skirt, and this dress turned out perfectly! In fact think it is my most beautiful dress yet.

I used cotton again, this time from my last trip to Portland. I had three yards, and it was the perfect amount, which was great since the dress calls for such a full skirt.

I lined up the seams just right. I added the lining the way I was supposed to (this time), and I finished the dress with hand sewn detailing to add to the vintage feel.

I absolutely love the 1940’s silhouette, but haven’t had a lot of experience sewing this shape. The whole sewing process took most of my Saturday, but was actually very exciting and rewarding. Sometimes sewing is more work than fun, but that was not the case for this little beauty.

Being so successful in my sewing adventures always makes me excited to start my next project! I can’t wait to share what I’ll be working on next, but that is a post for another day. :) Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

1940's Magic- Part 1

Today I have a very beautiful dress for you that started out as heartbreak. Honestly, after I made this dress, I just wanted to get it out of my sight, it caused me so many problems. But the fabric was so pretty, and I had spent so much time on it, that I just simply couldn't let it go. I’m so glad I didn't give up!

So here it is, my first Butterick 5209, quite possibly the most beautiful pattern ever made. There are some really amazing versions out there in the blogesphere, and so I went into this project feeling pretty confident. However, that confidence lead me to get a little cocky, and that is where the problems started.

It all really boils down to one thing. I wanted to be lazy, and it backfired. I thought I was so smart eliminating the seam on the tummy bit (not sure what this piece would be called) by creating a new piece without a seam allowance and cutting it on the fold. Of course, that made the installation of the lining supper duper difficult, and I had to wing it and find my own method that was completely different than the directions called for. This was pretty much a nightmare, causing me to eventually have to cut out most of the lining (which I butchered in my haste to fix my mistake). Also, the lining didn't fit into the sleeves properly, causing bunching.
I finished the dress (out of stubbornness alone), and finally decided to put it away until I was ready to try to tackle it again.

I’m not sure what compelled me to try this pattern again considering how long this dress took me to make and how disappointed I was with the results, but I did try again finally creating the wonderful dress I will post tomorrow, which actually turned out perfectly. Only then was I ready to look at this dress again, and finally figured out how to fix the problems with the sleeves by adding these little tucks where the fabric was puckering. It actually turned out great and I really love this dress! Yay!

The print on the top was gift from my parents, and I only had one yard, which was actually pretty awesome because it gave me the idea to use this solid green for the skirt. Rather than using the skirt pattern provided, I just made a gathered skirt and attached it. I also added pockets to this version.

For something I was sure was a total failure, it turned out really really adorable after all! I’m so glad that I can be a little honey badger with projects, never letting them go until they are wearable even if they seem like they will be totally unfix-able. The lining does look pretty rough, but who cares? This dress was just for me anyway. I’m so happy I found a way to fix it, because I would have been so sad to waste this fabric. :)

Tomorrow I’ll post the second version, which I must say (and already did say), came out perfectly. Stay tuned!   

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Foxy Lady

This is just a simple outfit post tonight, but I must say, this was a near perfect outfit for me.  

You can't really tell, in these photos, but my tights (Anthropologie) have little foxes all over them, making them nearly perfect in every way.  I don't like to "save" clothes, but I am going to try to wear these foxy little tights sparingly so they don't wear out too fast.  

I am also wearing an Anthropologie sweater, a Modcloth dress, and the prettiest jewelry ever- a Christmas gift from my sis Rachel.   I'll have to do a close up of the jewelry on another post.  So perfect.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  Welcome to a beautiful new week.  :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Diamonds and Boats Butterick 5949

'Member these?

Well get ready, 'cause here's another; and it's the best one yet: 

I made this version sleeveless, with contrasting cotton and left-over vintage fabric from the jacket I made.  Isn't it fabulous???

Of course, I used a metal zipper again...

And I wore it for a special date night with my wonderful husband.  We are both happy in these pictures, because we were looking at each other.  :)

Everyone bored with this pattern yet?  I can assure you that I am not, but I do have a new creation in the works that is totally different.  I've already made a somewhat unsuccessful wearable muslin, but I'm hoping the actual dress will turn out a little better, and not kill me in the process. Stay tuned!  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Vintage dream

Isn't this dress amazing???  I had to wear a girdle (not a joke) to get this over my butt and hips, but it was worth it.  

I got this handmade vintage dress from Etsy, from a shop that unfortunately has closed since.  Not only is it a beautiful find, it also has lots of hand-made details that the 1950's were known for.  Clothing construction in the 1950's was pretty amazing and something I definitely want to learn more about and emulate.   
This dress features a mandarin collar and is made out of a silky material which is very very delicate.  I wore it  (carefully) with a beaded belt and my tan Dillard's pumps.  
I am really on a vintage sewing kick, and wonderful pieces like this really teach me a lot.  Also, I can't wait to wear it again!  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mint Tea Dress

As you may be able to tell by the fact that I am clearly not freezing my butt off in these photos, I should have done this post a good long time ago.  Oh well, better late than never. 

Yes, this is another Butterick 5949, and not the last you will see from me!  I absolutely adore this pattern and its amazing versatility. 

I pared my cotton, fully lined dress with mint heals form Modcloth, grey gloves from Modcloth, a grey belt from Anthropologie,  and a beautiful maroon beaded clutch that was a gift from my sis.  My earrings were vintage clip-ons.  The dress itself has little paper boats as the print.  So cute!  It also has a medal zipper, because I love medal zippers so so much! 

I wore this dress to a fancy book clubs tea party.  These are my beautiful book club friends.  :)

This dress was just a tad large for me in the chest and now lives with a friend. 

And here is a shot I took of my lovely little sister Rachel wearing an Anthropologie dress, and a J-Crew hat (I bought her both) just ‘cause she is so pretty.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

My first Butterick B5707

Here we have one of my newest creations, Butterick pattern B5707, which I wore to work.  I've got to say, I wish Butterick would give their patterns cute or sexy little names rather than just numbers, but I digress.

I got this fabric (not quite sure what it is) from my bestie for Christmas, and while I knew it was destined for greatness, I couldn't quite picture it.  I’m not sure how I decided it was gonna work for this project, but somehow, something just felt right.  I wanted to be careful not to make something too sweet with fabric so pink and shiny.  I had a feeling that despite this pattern being a reproduction of a vintage pattern, it would have a very modern feel if I used the right fabric, and I think that I was right. 

The truth is, I wouldn't exactly call this dress flattering, but I don’t consider it a miss either.  Actually I quite like how it turned out.

I like this dress for several reasons.  Number one, it is super comfy.  The fact that it is a strange combination of semi-structured while still not being super fitted means that it is work appropriate and easy to wear at the same time.  I also really like how well constructed it is (if I do say so myself).  I put a lot of time into this simple dress, hand hemming the sleeves and bottom of the skirt, lovingly hand installing the hidden side zipper, and making sure that the dress itself was built to last by not rushing the process.  It was actually one of the most fun items to sew that I have made in a long time.

Also, I really like the neck and the sleeves.  I love kimono style sleeves that you do not have to install separately, and I think these turned out beautifully.  The neck is meant to simply drape, which I think would be a lovely feature with different material.  It didn't quite work with the material I chose, but I ended up really liking the way I sewed it into place.  I think it looks purposeful, and not like an afterthought.

Lastly, I have absolutely nothing in my closet that looks anything like this dress, making it a refreshing change.  I really feel that I made the right choice with fabric and was able to create a very modern twist on this vintage style dress.

Despite the fact that I ultimately love this dress, the pattern itself is a little strange for several reasons.   First of all, although this is a quick sew, the pattern pieces look very strange when they are laid out.  Most modern pattern pieces kind of  look like what they will end up being even before you start.  That is not always the case for vintage patterns.  I rather like that vintage patterns tend to be a little overly constructed, because it often creates a more interesting look, but it is certainly more challenging to figure out when you are first getting started.  The planning stage of this dress took a lot longer than most for that reason.

Secondly, this pattern calls for gathering on the bodice rather than darts, creating this billowy shape rather than a fitted one.  Ultimately, I actually liked that feature, but I can see why some people would find it a little sloppy looking, and it did not scream vintage to me which is both a good thing and a bad thing (since I was trying to make a vintage style dress).

Also, there is a seam all the way up the back of the dress for absolutely no reason since the zipper is installed in the side.  If I use this pattern again, I will eliminate that seam.

But the weirdest part of sewing a vintage pattern is how differently the actual dress looks from the drawing on the pattern envelope.  Of course, I know that I am not a fashion drawing and don’t expect my body to look that way.  Still, it can make the dress hard to visualize before you start.

Recently, Gertie from Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing wrote about how the fit of a vintage inspired piece can differ greatly from the pattern envelope.  Boy oh boy, is this a perfect example of that. Even my long line bra wasn't going to make much of a difference for this dress.

Also, this pattern is not a “vintage pattern” exactly, but a reproduction.  Reproductions, especially ones modeled after patterns from the 1950’s, often take a vintage pattern and update it for modern sizing and construction.  While I appreciate this in a lot of ways as I am not about to subject myself to wearing my long-line bra to work, or a girdle on a daily basis just to fit into my clothes, it can also mess with the look of the dress in strange ways, making them look a lot less like the vintage drawings than they would have during the 1950’s. 

However, I really don’t think that was the issue with this pattern.  I don’t think this would have ever been a slimming dress even if the waist was nipped in to an inch of my life.  This was always going to be a different silhouette than what I am used to with either modern or vintage patterns.  Luckily, I am more than okay with that.  It’s fun to try new things!  I’m glad that I allow myself to experiment rather than finding a formula for dressing and sticking to it.  I might look better if did. But I certainly would have a lot less fun!

Which brings me to part of my philosophy for fashion, and life.  It isn't my job to look a certain way all of the time.  It isn't my job to be pretty or sexy or even cute.  Yes, I don’t feel like this dress would be any ones go-to date night dress, yet, I still feel really special in it and I think it is a really interesting dress. Dressing, for me, isn't always about achieving my ideal proportions.  It is about experimentation and fun. I am aloud to dress in whatever way makes me happy. I don't have to fit into any mold.  Honestly, I think that attitude has a lot to do with why I have such great personal style (if I do say so myself-which, of course I do because I am conceited).  That is a longer post for another day, but I do think it is an important point that I really try to make here on this blog again and again: fashion is for fun.  You deserve to have fun no matter what you look like.

I have big plans for this pattern in the future, although I’m not sure I will use it to make another dress. I actually feel like this pattern would make awesome separates.  Next time, I am going to elongate the top of the pattern and forgo the gathering and make a few quick tops.  Also, I have plans to use this pattern to make some silk and cotton skirts.  Cute ideas, right?

I paired my new dress with white tights from Target, a mint Anthropologie headband and mint Modcloth shoes.  I also think that this dress would look really great with darker accessories in reds and greens, although that may sound strange.  Next time…

This week, my sewing goals include finishing sewing a dress for a friend (hopefully she will model it when it is done!) and sewing another retro reproduction or two (ambitious I know).  I am totally on a vintage dress kick lately, so I think it is going to be a fun year for dressmaking.  I will never have enough time to make everything on my sewing roster, but it sure is fun to try!  Still, I know that sewing is only fun when it is well thought-out, so I’m going to work on my impatient nature, and try not to attempt to make everything on my list at once.  The key word here is TRY…

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Butterick 5949 Revisited

 Remember this green dress I made back in October?  Would you believe that I used the same pattern to make this adorable jacket?  Well I did!  This pattern has turned out to be one of the most versatile in my collection, and one of my all time favorites.

 Although I used parts of the 5949 pattern, this jacket was basically my own design.  I made my own band, used vintage fabric for the outer shell and lined it with beautiful silky fabric on the inside.  Lastly, I used bias tape all around the edges and added snaps and a hook to keep it closed.  I really love how it turned out.  It works perfectly for the occasions that call for a short jacket, which are surprisingly many in my wardrobe.

 A flash of the lining.  

I made this jacket for my Portland trip last month, along with two other dresses from this pattern, all of which I have failed to blog about.  Oops!  Oh well.  I'm going to make a point of wearing them all again soon so I can show how busy a little sewing bee I really have been lately.  

I paired this dress with a Modcloth dress, green gap jeans, my favorite boots and an Etsy necklace.  I got the dress for $15 dollars during a Modcloth "Stylish Surprise" sale which is basically a wonderful grab bag from heaven.  You never know what you are going to get, but it is from Modcloth so you know it is worth more than $15.  This last grab bag sale was my best haul yet (I have done it three times), and this was my favorite piece of the bunch (I ordered two dresses and two pairs of shoes).  

That's all for now though.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful night without any post holiday blues.  Besides the dresses that I made last month, I have already finished a brand new dress today that I will feature tomorrow.  Yay for sewing!  Yay for Modcloth!  Yay for pretty clothes!  

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Stylin' Sister

This is my pretty little sister Rachel modeling a dress I made for her.  She paired it with a scarf, a Modcloth coat, flats, and thick socks over tights because baby, it was cold outside!

 She also paired it with a moss green cardigan from Gap.  Obviously, she looked adorable!  

The dress, and a beautiful NM style statement pendent...

Rachel does an amazing job layering.  Part of her design for dressing includes simple pieces that work wonderfully together.  She likes simple shapes and simple colores, but she always has one feature to her outfit that makes it special.  In this case, I think that was the neacklace.  

I used the same pattern for this cotton dress that I used back in August for this blue brocade version.  She wore the blue brocade again on Christmas Eve.  I am wearing a Modcloth dress in these photos.  

I love Rachel's sense of style.  She always dresses both cute and classy at the same time.  Her taste has been defined over time to perfectly suit her personality.  Isn't that the ultimate goal for dressing well after all?  :)

Love you sis!  Thanks for being such a beautiful model!