Sunday, March 28, 2010

big love.

Now that's a big skirt.

with lots of gathers.

and a vintage metal zip,

that has to be lapped because its not quite the right shade of green.

Vintage Simplicity 4657...still in progress.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


It's a serious thing. For example, when I already own X-number of adorable shoes, why do I covet more?

Hi. My name is Angie and I have a problem with shoes.

I think part of the problem is that by and large, be they cute, adorable, sexy, swanky, retro, vintage, funky...they fit. (This is not true for clothing, you see.)

And, you know, I can't make shoes. (Please don't tell me how. Plugging my ears now. lalalalala.)

This morning, I bought these...
FLY London. In PLUM, people!
(Um, and in a hot orangey-red)

MIA in the perfect green. (Shannon, shut up. I know I just bought green wedges. What of it?)

OMG. The BEST prairie boot. *hearts* So much like a John Fluevog ankle boot I'll never be able to afford!

The pricey John Fluevogs in lavender! (Nope, didn't buy these. Just a comparison photo. See? I have restraint.)

Should great shoes give you a buzz? I'm extremely happy right now.

You know, I-tunes should really have a shoe hookup for people like me. Buy this many shoes, we'll reward you with this many i-tunes bucks. Steve, are you listening?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Simplicity 2501 pt 2

Yes, I finished something! Woohoo!

As you can see, I went with the blue buttons! They really pop off the shirt, which makes me happy. Here's a closeup of the collar in better lighting than yesterday:

The puff sleeves aren't gathered, they're tucked. I love the way they pouf! It's the perfect amount. This is a great sleeve.

Here's the bottom of the sleeve "puff". The pattern calls for you to turn under the hem and topstitch (which is what I did). I originally planned to do little bias binding for a sleeve hem, but this works too.

The blue buttons couldn't have been more perfect:

And the money shot. You probably won't believe me, but I didn't cut my head off on purpose! I attempted to retake it about 8 times and each one was worse than the previous, so I gave up! It was uber windy today (but BEAUTIFUL. Can you believe I had a foot of snow on the ground 36 hours before this photo was taken?)

Now for the important details...I used a 16 D cup bodice (LOVE those patterns with multi-cup sizing!) and had to do a pivot/slide to add for my waist/hips (about 1.5"). I used the size 18 through the shoulders & armholes and the size 20 for the rest of the back.

It fits great through the neck and shoulder/mid-back area, but I ended up with some "bubbling" at the back waist like I needed a swayback adjustment. I don't really have a swayback, I think I just needed more room at the high hip. It's not enough to make me not wear this cute thing though, especially since I planned to tuck it into a high waist skirt anyway!

The photo of me above shows some folds pointing toward my bustline on the right, but I think that's more my stance in this shot (I had to contortion around to get the remote to connect to the camera then quickly repose, haha) because those are not there in real life. The bustline feels nicely fitted, but not tight at all. It buttons easily and the placket is nice and smooth. The tightness at the back high hip is probably not helping in this pose either.

For future versions, I'll add a bit at the back waist to hip, and scooping the armhole by about 1/4" (sometimes I have to do that if I pivot/slide more than 1"). I'll also be adding about 2" to the length. This view is very short, which I'm surprised about. It didn't "look" short when I was making it. And I'm very short-waisted, as you can probably tell from this photo! So if you make it and are longer through the torso, make sure you check the length!

Now, I'm on to the Jen Paganelli Patricia tunic!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Simplicity 2501 pt 1

As per my usual, I did not work on what I said I was going to. Nor did I work on any previously planned project or UFO. Because that would be too predictable.

Instead, I started on this one, Simplicity 2501:

And I entirely blame Shannon for her Emma Pillsbury postings. Damn her. She misdirected my mojo again. (She has a way of doing that.) I watched my Glee DVD's all weekend and pulled out all my Gleerific patterns to boot.

Emma loves bows. So do I!

But Emma doesn't have my, erm, bustification. Hee. So I didn't want to start off (in my blatant copying of Shannon copying Emma) with a pattern that I wouldn't love (i.e. one that closed me up to the neck and made me look like one big, bow-tied uniboob.) So I chose View C, the bow-collar view (but sans peplum).

I used a stretch cotton from Fashion Fabrics Club. It's a lovely red & cobalt print. If you look closely, you'll see little birds in the floral. Here's as far as I got yesterday, the basic top is together and the collar and facings attached. I still need to finish sleeves and decide about vertical darts in the back (and possibly front).

And here is a closer view of the collar. Gertie made this top last week too, in the peplum view, and her's was in an adorable navy gingham. She changed the collar (I think she'll be doing a tutorial shortly for her collar).

This view, the bow collar, wasn't as popular with Gertie & her readers, but I think mine is turning out quite cute! But that's the great thing about sewing blogs. You get to see a wide variety of garments and variations! Everyone's taste and preferences are different and that's OK.

I've been digging through my smallish stash of vintage buttons for the perfect final touch (well, after sleeves I mean). I have narrowed it down to these two, both 1940s-1950s era. At first I was sure I was using the blue (I actually bought the blue from an Etsy seller to use with this fabric). But the green look pretty fetching too.

Ok, no more blogging until I finish something and photograph it! (ps...I have a skirt to make to go with this too. I promise to try and not get distracted until the entire outfit comes together!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Yesterday the first day of spring looked like this in Oklahoma:

This morning it looked like this, with a bit more scheduled to arrive today. I measured this morning in my back yard and I have 11 inches on the ground.

Keep in mind that on Friday it was over 70 degrees F. Welcome to the OK weather! If you don't like it, wait 5 minutes.

While I'm snowed in (aaahhhh, SPRING BREAK! Neener Neener to Beangirl & Shannon.) I've got loads of sewing and stuff to accomplish. Not that I'll get much done with all the loafing I plan to do. First up I thought I'd show you my spiral bound copies of Jen Paganelli's pattern books. I printed them out and then took them to school to bind:

Aren't they awesome?? (If you don't have access to a binder and don't want to pay someone, what about a 1/2" 3-ring binder for each? That would make an awesome "instruction book" too.)

Here's my planned fabric for the Patricia tunic (the one on the left in the photo above):

So...not very subtle. Are you surprised?

Didn't think so. ;) (But I also have a lovely Lecien blue rose print tunic planned too that is much tamer. yawn.)

Friday, March 19, 2010


If I survive today, it will be...


Long and crazy week is almost over, sorry no updates! I started new classes this week (yesterday) and finished up our block (I teach in "quarters"). So it's been a flurry of grading finals, preparing new class materials, and trying to adjust to the time change.

And it's going to snow tomorrow. WTHeck?

Monday, March 15, 2010

the amazing jennifer paganelli

If you're a print lover AND a juicy color palette lover like me, then you're probably familiar with Jennifer Paganelli & her Sis Boom line of fabrics! They are my all-time-hearted fabric line ever!! I have several prints just lying in stash because I can't bare to use up the last yard. haha.

Well, she also designs patterns and I'm really loving the Patricia Tunic:

So much so, I've just bought it from You Can Make This. You can buy it too, here. It's a PDF pattern, and I normally don't enjoy taping together a printed out pattern. But for Jen, I'm willing to sacrifice.

I have the perfect fabric stashed away for it too.

And anyway...I'd hate to actually finish one project and end the string of UFOs I've got going.

But back to the's nearly 300 pages! Seriously one of the most complete (and gorgeous) patterns I own. The instructions are amazing, IN COLOR, with both snapshots of steps and beautiful, color-illustrated steps. The instructions alone are about 50 pages. You could print and have this sucker bound at Kinko's and have a wonderful little pattern booklet! In fact, I'm not sure the techniques wouldn't be transferrable to other similar patterns. Plus, its just pretty. The rest of the pattern is taken up with pattern pieces in the various sizes.

The sizing is very generous too, 0-18 and 1x - 3x. What I really love is that you can print off your size and there's NO tracing! (sizes are grouped by 2, so 0-2, 4-6, etc.) Of course if you need more than one size range you might have to grade.

At any rate...I'm off to print this beauty! (I'm lucky too...I have a binder at school so I can bind my pattern myself after I print it here at home!)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

HP Delicious Dress pt 1

Just doing my part to keep the UFO pile large and unruly. I started this Hotpattern, the Deco Vibe Delicious Dresses:

Being a print-match-er, I love love love the mixed print view. But I chose to test out this pattern (no muslin! Eek!) using a poly knit print I purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics a couple of years ago.

The pattern itself is fairly straightforward to put together. The neckline is a bit fiddly and I could have used a few more notches to match up to the seams on the dress body (when attaching the neckband). I used alot of pins, not my normal habit. The directions are pretty sparse too, but there are some diagrams to help you along.

Part of the neckband fiddliness was due to the fabric choice though, entirely my fault. Let's just say I won't be making this dress in a poly knit again!

Here's how far I got this afternoon:

Really hard to tell what's going on in that crazy busy print! I chose to make the view with the long, ruched sleeves. Here's a closeup of the neckline, which is super flattering (reminiscent of the Sunshine top in fact):

Still really hard to see anything, but you can see above that I haven't finished the neckband. I only have that and hems to do, and this dress is finished!

All in all, I like it, but I don't love it, and its all due to the fabric. The pattern does call for a stable knit or drapey woven, and this is most definitely not a stable knit! I can't wait to make it again in a better fabric choice, although I do plan on wearing this one!

Unfortunately I won't be finishing it tonight. I have a stiff neck and a headache and I plan on lying in front of the tv for a while.

Cross your fingers that I'll find time to do a HP Delicious Dresses Part 2 later this week. In that post, I'll give you size & alteration specifics and my other thoughts on this pattern.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Seriously, my favorite article of clothing right now.

1950's pink petticoat, via ebay

Now I just need some place to wear it.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

mid-week makeover!

So, maybe you remember this Built By Wendy rayon chambray top?? It's Simplicity 3964 (and I think it's still in print.)

Well, I loved it then. Loved it. But I never wore it. I finished it right before school started, and I can't wear sleeveless items to school. I thought maybe I'd wear a little shrug or something over it, but I never did. So this completely adorable top has languished in my closet for months!

That simply won't do. I really have been wanting to wear it the past several days too, since our weather is GORGEOUS!

Sooo...Makeover Time! I luckily had the foresight to save a bit of the chambray because even last summer I thought I might, might, want to do a short sleeve instead of sleeveless.

First I had to unpick my armhole binding and remove it:

Then I had to cut and insert new, puffed sleeves.

And make binding. Which is attached, but not pressed, turned, and topstitched yet.

And... I still have one side to go.

Which means this completely finished object (F.O.) has now magically turned into a U.F.O. (ok, so not exactly magically since it was entirely my doing.)

But never fear, I plan to finish it this week so I can wear it with khaki pants. Or a khaki skirt! Beautiful weather motivates. It's a fact.

So now I have TWO things to photograph for you, the Sunshine top and this top (when its finished). Good thing its only Tuesday!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

red carpet time!

So far there's not a ton to love, but definitely a ton to make you go...huh?

Charlize Theron. Oh honey. No.

Actress I never heard of. Sorry, missed your name when I snagged the picture of your very, um, interesting dress.

Zoe Saldana, who I thought was Jada Pinkett Smith with her hair like this. My bad. Ummm, this is probably going to be a big hit with the fashion police. With me, not so much.

Love these two. Ferris & my best Square Pegs pal 4Ever? But what the heck is with that dress?? Wrong color. Wrong type of tin foil rose. there a right way to make a tin foil rose? Nevermind.

Diane Kruger reminds me so much of Grace Kelly. I hate to say it, but as odd as this dress is, there's something about it that I sort of like. (Oh-No's! The Hollywood Kool-Aid is coming through my tv speakers!)

Maggie Gyllenhaal. I think I like this? The shape is beautiful. The Oriental (hand?) painted brushtrokes are interesting. The color is a welcome change. It just doesn't feel very "I'm nominated for an Oscar".

Now on to my likes... Anna Kendrick sort of came out of nowhere for me in this year's Oscar race. She looks lovely, though I know many people won't care for such a pale skintone dress on a pale girl. I really like it though. (see last year's commentary on Drew Barrymore's similarly colored gown). Not sure about the shoe choice?

The fabulous Queen Latifah. Girl, I love you. (Not crazy about lavender, which was popular this year, it seems.)

Sandra Bullock looked stunning. The gown is beautiful and a gorgeous shade of platinum too. Wish she had left well enough alone with her face though. People! Lay off the Botox and Rejuvaderm!!

Love Rachel McAdams. Her dress was very pretty too, I enjoy seeing a print on the red carpet!

Mariska Hargitay is the most stunning woman in Hollywood. Or possibly the northern hemisphere.

Ryan Reynolds. Rawr.

(you didn't think I would do a Oscar recap without some man-candy, now did you?)

(pps...Keanu, where are you?)

Off to watch the show!
**UPDATE...OMG! John Hughes tribute!! Sniffles.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

interesting bits.

anthro has some really amazing knit things right now. I've been dissecting (in my mind, mwhuahaha) a few of them this morning in the hopes that my scientific research might nudge the actual fruition into overdrive. Or some such.

In love with this over-embellished knit tee:

So let's get on with our dissection. The tee is a basic cut-on cap sleeve tee with a scoop neck. The scoop is then slashed & spread incrementally to add gathers at the front. Basically in this manner:

The pleats at either side of the scoop neckline would be a little tricker. You'd have to slash horizontally and then vertically up (toward the shoulder) in increments, to create enough fabric for the little pleats. It might look something like this:
Of course you'll have to excuse my very rudimentary-not to scale-drawing, but that should give you an idea. (I'm too lazy to sketch it and scan right now!)

Once you get past the structural part, you get to play with the fun part, the embellishment! Here's a closeup shot of 1/2 of the center front baubles and beads:

I don't think those are covered buttons, but just stuffed circles of fabrics (like stuffed "yo-yo's"). Then there are bias tubes stitched haphazardly down. I can't tell about the triangle points, which look like fabric "shark's teeth" but I assume are created more by mitering a strip of the fabric (or even ribbon would work). Beads are laced throughout the entire piece. I feel like the whole thing is then appliqued down to the tee, but of course it could be inserted (so much easier just to topstitch it onto the tee though!)

See? That wasn't so bad, right? Of course that's quite a bit of handwork for a tee that retails for $68. Since I get kind of excited about projects like that, I'd probably make it before I bought it.

Another one that caught my eye was this one:

Fabric roses we can do, that's an easy embellishment. The tee itself is fairly simple too. There are a few patterns out there that already have that CF ruching or gathering around a piece, but using basically the same technique above you could absolutely draft your own from a well-fitting tee pattern.

Just draw out your oval "insert", cut out (of a tracing of course). Then mark your incremental slash marks all around the cut out edges. Slash, spread, tape tissue underneath. That's it. It will be a way-funny looking pattern piece, but you'll feel so accomplished!

On closer zoom, the CF embellishment turns out to be none other than gathers to create a vertical panel of faux "smocking". Although, you heirloomer's out there, we could so totally do actual smocking. OMG. I just got bit by the biggest smocking bug I think. Cool!

Again, I'd just topstitch this into place, then finish the neckline and apply the rolled fabric roses to complete the top. This one retails for $58. I'd rather make this one than pay that. Just think, you could have it in any color you desire!

While we're on the subject of paying for clothing, here's a perfect example of why I sew:

Adorable color, adorable shape, love the graphics, adore the fluttery sleeves. But...check out that wonky hem and listing grainline. I see off grain knits (and wovens too) ALL the time in RTW. But for $60 bucks? You just know that twisting tee is driving that poor mannequin crazy. I know it would be making me nuts.

And that's why I sew.