McCalls 3730: Black Denim Suspender Skirt

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I finished this way back in early October, but only had a chance to take photographs of it now. You might be able to tell by the errant leaves on the floor that it’s getting cold out there, but hopefully my outdoors photo spot will stay until the winter.

I made another version of the suspender skirt, this time in black denim with white top-stitching. This version gets a lot of use and is very comfortable.

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It definitely looks just like the pattern.

Simplicity 4043: The Mermaid Tail

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The Facts

Fabric: Green lamé, 2 yards, $5/yd
Pattern: Simplicity 4043, tail only
Year: 2012
Notions: Green invisible zipper
Time to complete: 3-4 days, evenings only
First worn: Over Halloween weekend
Wear again? Maybe for Mermaid Parade this summer.
Total price: $10

And the arms of the ocean are carrying me
And all this devotion was rushing over me
And the questions I have for a sinner like me
But the arms of the ocean deliver me

I’ve been listening to a lot of Florence and the Machine during the past few weeks, so this costume was obviously inspired by sirens, mermaids, and vaguely inspired by Florence and the Machine and the decadence of the late 20s.

I’ve been a mermaid already once in Halloweens past, but I’ve never had a proper tail, fins and all, until now. I followed the instructions for the tail but greatly simplified it. I didn’t put any sequins on it, I didn’t stuff the tail, and I only interfaced one side of it. The green lamé frayed very easily so I serged the inside seams, and my iron at one point got too hot and melted the inside waistband piece, so I left that out.

The bulk of this costume is in the embellishments. The sequin tank top I’ve had in my wardrobe for years, the gold netting I bought with the green lam&eacute and tied over the skirt, and the gold mesh belt I found in Michael’s while I was buying ivy for a different costume. I bought loads and loads of pearls and seashell necklaces and just piled the on, since I’m guessing mermaids love to hoard jewelry. The trident was from my former mermaid costume.

All in all it’s pretty successful, and I’ll probably wear it again this summer for the Mermaid Parade.

( cross-posted at Sew Weekly )

Simplicity 4043: Work in Progress

Edit: I need to take a better photo of this when it isn’t midnight.

I know I haven’t been posting lately, but I haven’t been sewing as much as I should have, also. Things have been busy all around, but I’m getting back into the swing of things, slowly but surely, and that includes sewing.

This Halloween I am (hopefully) going as a mermaid. I’m on the fence about my tail, which looks baggy. Granted this is pre-styling, pre-embellishments, and I haven’t attached the side zipper yet.

I need some advise, guys. Should I:
1) Make it work! Leave the pattern alone, and rely on embellishment, glitter, fishnets, tridents whatever it takes!
2) Make it work: modify the pattern. Attach the zipper, taper the side seams to produce a thinner silhouette. Also pile on the embellishments.
3) Re-draft a new tail pattern?

The Casual Suspender Skirt

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Pattern used:

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Fabric: Lightweight blue denim, $5/yd, 2 yds
Pattern: McCalls 3730
Year: 1956
Notions: two covered buttons, one invisible zipper, $1
Time to complete: 3 weekday evenings
First worn: I haven’t worn this yet
Wear again? Yes!
Total price: $11

I wanted to emphasize the casual nature of this skirt, since it’s made in light blue denim, so I paired it with a jersey t-shirt and flats.

I’ve wanted a suspender skirt for a long time, and finally got around to making it. However I don’t own a lot of unsaturated colors, so I had a hard time trying to find something to pair it with.

For the most part I stuck with the pattern, but added some changes:

+ shortened the hem
+ adjusted the waist and hips
+ tacked on the suspenders to the covered button instead of making a buttonhole, since making a buttonhole through 2 layers of fabric seemed cumbersome
+ changed the back slit to a back vent
+ adjusted suspender length
+ hand-sewn the inner waistband facing so it wouldn’t flap around when wearing it
+ serged the seams

( crossposted from Sew Weekly )

The Secret Garden Skirt

Shirt: little hearts on black background, my mom’s
Skirt: homemade
Shoes: Born sandals
Accessories: faux bakelites
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Closeup.

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Closeup on bracelets. (And remote, since Esteemed Sewing Assistant can’t hold a camera yet.)

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Sitting down. Note the voluminous poofiness.

The Facts

Fabric: Teal seersucker with large roses and small roses, $5/yd, 2 yards

Pattern: Self-drafted (come on, it’s two rectangles!)
Year: 1950s inspired
Notions: one invisible zipper, teal, $1
Time to complete: 2 weekday evenings
First worn: I’ve worn this four times now
Wear again? Yes!
Total price: $11

This project is inspired by the children’s novel The Secret Garden. I read this book a long time ago, and I always loved the elements in it: romantic English garden, suspense, childhood exploring.

The fabric for this was originally intended to be the dress part of a Macaron. I bought this fabric during my lunch break at the garment district, so I was in a hurry to get back to work, however when I returned home I realized that the roses fall in a grid pattern: large red roses vertically, small pink roses horizontally. I draped it over my dressform to notice that the roses would look … very odd … when placed over the bodice area. I wadded up the fabric and threw it in the closet in disgust, then realized that it would make a good enough gathered skirt.

I’m trying to sew or wear all black, all the time, so this teal skirt was bit of an experiment for me. I didn’t think I’d like it so much. It’s easily the 50s equivalent of sweatpants, since it is that comfortable. The hips are free and it only fits at the waist. I must have measured wrong since the waist is a tad big. I’ve already worn this to work twice and to a picnic in Prospect Park once.

I also feel like a princess when I sit down, and I notice people on the subway scoot over if they think they’re about to sit on my very voluminous skirt.

All in all, a success! I’m not afraid of color anymore. It doesn’t mean I’m losing my edge or dressing like everyone else. It’s all about the styling. More color, more flowers, bring it on.

( cross-posted on Sew Weekly )

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Btw guys, I took your advice into account, changed the camera angle to head-on, and left my house to take photographs. It wasn’t as traumatizing as I thought. Does anyone have any ideas on how to check depth of field when you’re shooting alone? I usually focus on something then stand right in front of it, but sometimes I just want to stand in front of empty space.

What I’m Working on This Week: Gathered Skirt

Teal seersucker with large red roses and small pink roses.

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I miss dressing in vintage. I miss wearing color. I miss sewing colorful things. And since I’ve been wearing all black, all the time for the past two months (in any variation of the high-low hem, leather miniskirt, skinny jeans, t-shirts, tank tops), I’m now really bored with it.

So for something totally different: a full skirt in teal seersucker with roses. I know it’s almost the end of summer and I should be doing a season ahead, but I don’t care.

Black Gabardine Ginger

I finally finished the Ginger skirt. Black is very hard to photograph, but it’s comfortable and has great clean lines.

Pattern used:

Colette Ginger.

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Pattern Description:
A-line skirt with back zipper.

Pattern Sizing:
I cut a 10 at the waist and tapered to a 6 at the hips.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I read the first page of the instructions, then stopped reading and did my own thing.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like that it’s very versatile, and has great lines reminiscent of the 40s.

Fabric Used:
Black gabardine. Sewing with plain black always makes a really boring project, but these are the projects that get the most wear from my closet. Hopefully I can upgrade to plain red or plain dark green soon as a base color.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
None. I did the waistband/zipper differently since the directions looks confusing to me. I attached the waistband facing, then stitched in the ditch at the waistband to tack it down.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes.

Conclusion:
Awesome skirt. I can’t believe I waited more than a year to try this.