Jul 22, 2014

Finished Project: Vogue Sundress Hack Attack Take 2

If I kept all my failures to myself, what kind of (virtual) sewing bee buddy would I be?

Because we all have them (right, people? Right?). And if my M.O. is anything, it's keepin' it real. So check out this, my second sundress sewn (partly) from Vogue 8766 — a scroll-down nightmare.

Try it. The bodice looks great...lovely fit...nice spaghetti halter straps....cute daisy print...sweet button placket detail...and then (scrolling down), oh dear, that skirt:

My husband tells me it's adorable. I think he likes that it's, er, defining through the bodice. I do love the daisies. I choose the print because it had a Sassy magazine-circa-1992 sweetness to it.

But that gathered skirt...I thought I swore those darn things off a few years ago? On a lady like me, they just look dumpy. And, if this dress looks shorter at center front, that's because it is. I was trying for something...but it just looks like a mistake. Also, that white eyelet trim is a little twee. (However, if I were a Sassy magazine stylist, I would pair this with combat boots and a beekeeper's hat and maybe it would look cool.)

I once again used shirring to gather the back bodice. This time I used a single large rectangle for the back bodice and skirt. Last time,  I cut the bodice and skirt separately, and it turned out much better. I think the fabric choice this time around had a lot to do with it:

Also, I should iron more
I like this dress just enough that saving it somehow is important to me (After all, it's a lot of work shirring all those rows!). But how? Swap out the skirt entirely? Chop the hem straight and use some other kind of trimming to add length? What would you do?

Jul 21, 2014

Finished Project: Wonder Woman Swimsuit!

I would tell you how to make this Wonder Woman swimsuit I created for my six-year-old, but it's probably copyright infringement. Also, I'm feeling a little protective of this project; a lot of work went into drafting and sewing a wearable Wonder Woman swimsuit — and if the whole world had one....well, it just wouldn't seem as special:
Feeling pretty special

Jul 5, 2014

Finished Project: Vogue 8766 Hacked!

If I learned one thing from Me Made May, it's that I need more easy summer sundresses in my DIY wardrobe. And though it's my opinion that any dress that must be worn with a strapless bra does not actually qualify as "easy to wear," I do think my Vogue 8766 hack will gets lots of love from me this summer:  

I made quite a few changes: I smocked shirred the back bodice piece and created a button placket down the front; I added spaghetti straps and thread belt loops, plus side pockets. Here's Vogue's line drawing of 8766 to give you an idea of the original look. I used the strapless bodice variation with the circle skirt (bottom right):

Jun 30, 2014

Finished Project: LBJ Dress

Like the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Butterick 4029 took more time than expected. 

I started sewing this vintage 1960s pattern weeks ahead of a planned night out on Broadway with my husband to see "All the Way," the play about Lyndon Johnson's unscrupulous (but ultimately admirable) efforts to push anti-discrimation legislation through the United States Senate in his first year as president. My husband is fascinated by LBJ; he prays every night that Robert Caro lives long enough to write the next volume in his epic biography on LBJ. The play was incredible (but it closed last night so if you're interested, you'll have to wait for the revival).

The dress was also pretty incredible. My husband may be as obsessed with it as LBJ. He told me a dozen times it was his favorite thing I've ever sewn:

Jun 27, 2014

Seeing *Your* Fabric Out In the Wild

So the other day I was picking my daughter up from kindergarten when I saw it: a lady wearing a peplum top made from the same fabric I bought at Girlcharlee.com for these Hudson Pants I made.

My hand-made pants
Yes, this is what some women wear to pick their kids up from school in the Bronx (she didn't have the matching mini): 

 And then, a couple days later (also on my way to pick up my kid from school), I saw another lady wearing a maxi dress in the same fabric (this is not her; I found this pic online after much googling):

Of course, I wanted to ask both women where they bought their "nautical striped" ready-to-wear, but neither looked especially open to questions from strangers so I let it be. The fabric is pretty cheap (it pilled after just a couple washes) so I'm guessing it was not sourced from a high-end designer.

Meanwhile, in my latest sewing class, one of my students brought in this fabulous toile du jouy, which she bought at Mood and had been told it was John Galliano. It has a brocade sort of finish on top:

We all loved the fabric and I was dying to see how Galliano used it. After a few minutes googling I discovered it's from Oscar de la Renta's Fall 2013 collection, though in a slightly different variation:

 You can see it's the same print, but with a black quilting-style finish on top rather than the brocade (apparently the same toile du jouy is available in different colorways at Mood NYC). My student was using this fabric for a skirt, which was clearly a good choice considering that same collection featured a multitude of skirts in similar toile du jouy prints.

We're lucky in New York to have such exciting, high-quality designer rollends at our disposal. Often you can find something that cost a fortune in ready-to-wear for a steal at the fabric store. A few years back I bought this bow print cotton by Marc Jacobs for just $5/yard from Metro Textile:

Curious to see what Marc Jacobs had made with it, I googled:

 Once I saw what Marc Jacobs had done with that bow print, I wished I had bought the entire bolt.

Recently I saw another Marc Jacobs print at Metro — this navy heavy weight cotton printed with his initials:

It was available in several colorways (at $5/yard), so I grabbed some for a friend's daughter whose nickname is MJ. I figured anyone with the initials MJ would be happy to have something special sewn with his fabric. Try as I might, I could not find any items made from this print.

Do you ever search to see what a certain designer has done with the fabric you bought? (Or have you ever run into someone wearing ready-to-wear made from your fabric?


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