Pattern Acquisition: Butterick 9427

+ + +

From the Vintage Pattern Wiki: Butterick 9427; ca. 1960; Misses’ Quick ‘N Easy Dress. Soft dress with bias cut bodice and skirt, shaped cowl collar continuing into a shoulder bow, self-belt. (A) Short sleeves cut in one with bodice. (B) Sleeveless.

I really like the sleek lines on this pattern, however I don’t know how I feel about the gathered (undefined?) skirt. I’ll have to take a closer look at the pattern, but I will probably change those to darts.

Personal Style: Figuring It All Out

Esteemed Sewing Assistant also works as an Esteemed Wardrobe Consultant.

+ + +

The longer I’ve been sewing, the longer I realize it’s not just the technical skills of following a pattern, making adjustments or even pattern-drafting, it’s also about being practical and making sure you wear what you make.

Things are taking a slightly different direction here sewing-wise. I’ve enjoyed and worn my knit projects almost every day, but they haven’t been very gratifying to make. My sewing skills also haven’t improved very much, unless you count that I can now successfully

Since I made my modern transition, I didn’t go out and buy a bunch of clothes since I wasn’t sure how long it would last. I started with two t-shirts, then it got warmer and I added two more tank tops.

I’ve also realized how few items of clothing you really need to make a versatile wardrobe. Since I’ve started sewing knits, I’ve been rotating:

Tops:
- plain black tank top
- black striped t-shirt
- plain dark red tank top
- plain black t-shirt
- plain grey t-shirt

- beaded black cardigan
- long tunic cardigan, homemade

Dresses:
- long striped dress, homemade
- long grey dress, homemade
- long black dress, homemade
- long leopard dress, homemade

Bottoms:
- long lace skirt (not pictured yet)
- long chiffon skirt
- short leather skirt
- leggings
- black pencil skirt, homemade

That’s about five items per category. The key thing is that all the pieces match color-wise (mostly all are grey and black), and all are layerable and have the same style. The dresses are all jersey sleeveless tank-dresses that I’ve been making all summer, and the skirts are either plain long skirts or high-low long skirts. They all have the same silhouette, which is long and layered.

I plan to go back to doing vintage (or vintage-inspired) sewing and dressing, but plan to remove elements that made me hate it in the first place:

- Still no plans to set my hair every night
- No regimented dressing (if something doesn’t fit in the period and I like it, I won’t ignore it)
- Greys and blacks, for now (maybe with a smattering of red, grey-blue, or dark green)
- No high necklines (not flattering on me)
- No circle skirts (too costume-like on me, for now)

Most of the time when I get to the fabric store, I have to ask myself to look at my wardrobe, imagine the finished product, and ask myself if I’ll even wear that. The past two months I’ve bought a lot of black and grey jersey, but I’ve worn my projects almost 3-4x a week. My goal is still to have fun sewing and to wear my projects the same way I’ve been doing now, just with a different look to them.

So what you’ll see here in the future:
- 40s/50s silhouettes
- vintage pattern with modern details (I actually haven’t seen a lot of examples of this on the internet, for example): leather pencil skirts with exposed zippers, cut-on 50s sleeves with lace contrasts, keyhole necklines with lace yokes and leather ties
- more vintage sewing
- more vintage-inspired sewing
- still a lot of greys and blacks

McCall’s 7262: 1940s Playsuit

I just bought this pattern now on a whim. As much as I like sewing and wearing knit dresses, I do miss the slow process of fitting and muslins. Although I wear my finished knits quite often, it doesn’t feel as rewarding to finish knits as it does to finish my older vintage projects. I’ll definitely have to tweak the styling so it looks more modern and edgy, but this might just be my cue to go back to a modern and less costume-y way of sewing and wearing vintage patterns.

As for McCall’s 7262, I’ll have to alter this so it’s somewhat wearable, but I picture it mixed with sheer chiffon dressses and lace skirts, and transitioning into the Fall with tights, layers, tall boots and sweaters.

Shameless Sewing Confidence Boosters

After making ugly projects (there, I said it!), I usually follow up with something easy.

This is my fourth time making this pattern in the last two months. I cut it out, stabilized the shoulder seams, and adjusted the high-low hem in about two hours. I still need to finish the edges though.

+ + +

I still haven’t decided which pattern to make, Burda 7205 which looks wearable enough, or Very Easy Vogue 8805. The dress looks suspiciously like a paper sack and I can’t tell if it’ll look good on me, but I really want to make something different.

SS2012 SWAP, Revised: Spring palette, what Spring palette?

I’ve been seeing a lot of gorgeous pastel-inspired Spring palettes out there, but you won’t see anything like that here. Spring palette, what Spring palette?

The best thing about sewing entirely in monochrome (off-white, light grey, medium grey, dark grey, black, silver, black/white patterned) is that there’s never an expiration date for this season’s “colors”. I wore black for years and years year-round before I started to sew. I was always told it was a “New York thing”, and lately I’ve been starting to embrace it again, only this time adding pale grey and off-white to the mix.

Here are my candidates for the Spring/Summer 2012 SWAP (sewing with a plan):

Dresses: 2 – Long Dress, One-Shoulder Dress
Tops: 2 – Basic Shirt, Basic Blouse
Pants: 3 – Colette Clover in grey twill (not shown, already done), Colette Clover in metallic denim, Colette Clover in black denim

+ + +

Here are larger photos of some of my favorite fabrics from this batch.

The metallic denim I found is gorgeous. It’s very very dark blue but photographs almost black and is shot through with silver.

+ + +

This was the fabric that inspired it all. I found this splotchy black/white rayon last week.

+ + +

I’ve been quietly following a lot of modern designers as well, but that’s another post for another day.

Image sources: thank you Net-a-Porter for letting me dream big (and plan even bigger.)

Change of Style: Vintage meets Rock and Roll

+ + +

Style inspiration: Lady Gaga, Madonna, Kat von D, leather, jersey, denim, lace. Fitted silhouettes, 40s blouses, 50s pencil skirts. Black, grey, white. Simple shapes, year-round pieces that work with each other.

So my inadvertent hiatus didn’t last too long. The new camera came in today, but I’m still missing a USB cable so I can’t upload any pictures yet.

My two weeks off from sewing and blogging has made me re-assess how I dress naturally. Slowly and surely it’s reverted back to black denim, black leather jackets, plain jersey t-shirts, sheath dresses, lace stockings, leather ankle boots, black cuffs. The new vintage-inspired elements I carried on were sheath dresses and pencil skirts.

I was trying to write a cohesive paragraph about this, but I do better with lists:

1) Vintage makes me look 10 years older. No kidding. I love how graceful and on point vintage looks, but for me I feel like if
it’s not done all the way, it doesn’t look right. It was also starting to feel like I was wearing a uniform, which is not good.

2) I’m tired of setting my hair. I’ve been sleeping in curlers for the past two years, and I’m just way too lazy now. I’m also tired of fighting with my hair’s natural state, which is wavy, curly and naturally rebellious.

3) Sewing in grey/black/white monochrome is very easy. No palettes, everything goes together. Less color variation mean a tighter focus on silhouettes and textures, and less on buying fabrics to match other fabrics. Also more of a focus on abstract graphic prints, stripes, plain fabrics.

4) Will still sew vintage patterns, but styled modernly. I learned how to sew on vintage patterns and I still love them. However, after some reflection I’ve realized it’s not really me. That means 40s button down blouses in lace or weathered chambray mixed with Clover pants or distressed denim, or 40s blouses accessorized with leather cuffs.

5) Will also sew modern patterns, mainly jersey tops. I also realized I wear a lot of my basic jersey tops because they are comfortable and go with everything, so I need to stop dawdling and start on my Sewholic Renfrew soon.

6) Sense of style is bred out of practicality, comfort, attitude and wearing whatever makes you feel beautiful. For me that means realistically embracing the fact that I like wearing flat shoes, cigarette pants, jeans.

I still love vintage and still want to continue to sew vintage patterns, but this time with my take and interpretation of how it suits me and less of a “vintage accurate” way of dressing.

Pattern Acquisition: McCall’s 4822

McCall’s 4822.

+ + +

I’ve been stalking this pattern for a few months now on Etsy, and always hesitating when I press the “buy now” button since I’ve been trying to keep within my monthly sewing budget. However when I saw it somewhere else for a more reasonable price, I finally gave in.

I really like this pattern since can be the foundation for many SWAPs yet to come, and I’ve been really into sewing separates lately. Since I won my three-month skirmish with Clover, I’m no longer afraid of sewing pants. I find that they get worn more often and are more versatile wardrobe-wise. Paired with a self-drafted gathered or circle skirt, this pattern can even be a an appropriate 50s-era dress, or a blouse and skirt faux dress combination.

I’ve been trying to re-use most of my sewing patterns. This is partly so I can focus on getting the fit properly the first time and then get maximum use of it the next x amount of times I decide to make it again and again. I also like the challenge of coming up with something unique looking based on one pattern. It’s impressive to see how much variation can come out of different collars, cuffs, buttons or even colors and weights of fabrics.

This brings to mind my next question: when you start delving into pattern drafting, how many patterns do you really need? Is making the same pattern over and over again (with minor variations) cheating?