Friday, November 30, 2012

Project Runway Ain't Got Nothin on Us

Special treat for you today...straight from my classroom!

I'm teaching Fashion Merchandising this fall, on a 4x4 block, which translates to 1 semester of class delivered in 9 weeks! (i.e. I'm locked in a room with the darlings for 90 minutes each day.  90 MINUTES WITH 27 TEENAGE GIRLS.  That explains alot, huh?   Nah, they're all really sweet and most of the time they're not giving me the eye glare of doom.)

It helps they still think I'm fashionable.  Lord help me when they figure out how old I really am.

The week before Thanksgiving, they had a project to practice their understanding of the elements & principles of design, and basic garment shapes (straight, a-line, bouffant, bustle, etc.)  I like to call it Trashy Fashion, and it was inspired by the Season 6 episode of Project Runway, where they created fashions from newspaper:

In essence, each group has two days to design a garment and accessory from newspapers, packing tape, and any recyclable materials they bring from home.  On the 3rd day, we have a little fashion show and then they get to parade through a few classrooms of willing teachers. (We've never been invited through the math hall. I have no idea why.) 

This year's fashions may be the best bunch ever!  They're amazing!  Group shot (heads chopped off for obvious reasons):

And some closer detail shots of the dresses!  The hot pink on this dress is recycled Forever21 bags:

Some of the little trims I allowed because these girls are master negotiators.  Their argument was..."but it's leftover from a previous project, so technically it could be considered trash".  Um, OK. Pickin my battles, daily.  And that's not one of them! haha!

There was so much detail on this next one, I wish I had taken closeup shots of each little piece.  It was incredible!!

Yes, this is a boy, and his girlfriend is in the class.  She insisted he be the model for their group.  He was cracking me up in his runway walk.  By far the best runway model!  The dress is beautiful. It has an intricate woven/pieced bodice that this photo doesn't do justice to.  And the fanned ruffle placement on the skirt?  So well thought out.

 The colors on this dress come from recycled color copy paper.  I love the pops of color!

The zebra duct tape snuck in under the radar of "is this allowed".  She was taped into that dress pretty darn fast, on the principle of "ask for forgiveness later".  haha!  It really is cute.

Pretty cool, huh?  Keep in mind, they had roughly 3 hours to make the garment (and an accessory), and they're "fitting" real people, not rail thin models or a perfectly proportioned dressform.  (well, for the most part.  Of course they're little things, they're teen girls!)

In any case, I'd say the PR folks should be paying attention. We're gunning for them.

TGIF everyone!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Vintage Patterns: Wiggle Dresses

I'm a tad enamored of "wiggle dresses" right now, and I've had some fun packages in the mail over the past few days!  It's like Christmas came early!

My favorite may be this Advance shirtwaist, in wiggle form. Love love the pockets and the simple shape.  So cute!

I also won this McCalls 6778 wiggle with keyhole neckline (and bonus gored skirt) but it didn't arrive. :(  I don't know if the seller forgot to mail it or if it was lost somewhere.  I have decent luck on ebay and etsy, so I'm hoping this seller still pulls through for me!

This Simplicity 3109 suit is so cute!  It's a skirt, jacket, and pussy-bow blouse.  Love!

This isn't a wiggle, but an adorable dress nonetheless, in an unusual larger bust size.  I had to snag it!

And now for the ones I didn't win or I'm too cheap to bid on (doesn't mean I can't set up an ebay saved search for the future though!)

This mail order pattern is sooo gorgeous.  It started out really cheap but quickly escalated.  I think the final bid was $65.  Whoa.

But it's definitely gorgeous!

This is a basic wiggle with raglan sleeves and a cute little jacket.  You could make a million dresses from a pattern like this and let the fabrics and trims disguise the fact that they're all from the same pattern!

I never win the Prominent Designer patterns.  They're ALWAYS too pricy.  But beautiful.

Wiggle dresses are so fitted it's a little risky for me to start one as a new project since I'm in size-fluctuation.

So of course I want to make half a dozen RIGHT NOW.

The little Advance shirtdress is definitely on my radar though, it's exactly my current size!  That should be permission enough, am I right??

Happy Thursday peeps!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

wednesday wisdom.

Kristine, (or K2 as I like to call her)
 this one's for you.
love ya!

Monday, November 26, 2012


Long, long before Tebow found pretension, I had a torrid love affair with bows.

(We still meet clandestinely in the closet.)

Take a walk through my Pinterest Style board and you'll see what I mean...apparently this very girlish accoutrement is not easily outgrown.

(That means I bring inspiration! Holla!)

First off, did you realize little Taylor Swift is all vintagey stylish?  Me neither.  This would be the utmost of easiest knockoff ever.  A little tulle, a natural hued sweater...and presto. Auto-tune box not included.

And how about this sweet polkdot blouse with foldy sheer bow. Another easy add-on to something already in your closet, or even something new.

Don't forget the back.

This is a bow knitted into this sublime vintage cardigan, but I am thinking an applied ribbon or bias strip (a'la anthropologie) would be just as cute. And easier to accomplish.  I don't knit, but this seems rather complicated.  Which is why I don't knit.

Slap a bow on anywhere.  If it's gingham you get bonus.

Lord I love this dress.  The graduated/stacked bows are pure excellence. 
poor unknown source. :(
A pussy-bow blouse. With cheery red dots.  Love.


Another easy lace bow on a plain white tee. And would you just look at that jacket!

another unfound source

Nanette Lepore is also having closet shenanigans with her tie-bows.  It's OK Nanette.  We support your habit.


More Taylor looking adorable.  Sheer, sky blue pintucks.  Umph.  She's killing me.

Another sheer tie neckline, this one in a low V. 

And how about this knit number... This looks like something that should be in a Jalie pattern or maybe a Burda Style mag.  Bonus girl points for the peplum!

 It's probably a good thing I wasn't around in the 40s and 50s.  I don't think my closet would have held all the bows and ties and petticoats required.  I would have to star in my own radio show to support my habit.

All too much?  How about just a jaunty bow on your toes? 

My faves for the moment.  I have more to share, but blogger is being a real butthead tonight.

That's OK.  I want you to come back! 

GUYS.  We survived Monday.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Don't Hate Me Cause I'm Lucky.


I could effuse on my love of all things hotpatterns, 
but you all probably want to cut me right about now.


that is all.

j/k!!  There's more!

I cannot WAIT to see what amazing patterns
are coming my way next year!!!!!!!!!


Know what is even sweeter?  My birthday is tomorrow!  How appropriate. Yes? In honor of my disgusting random draw good fortune, I will be setting aside all UFOs and cutting out and sewing up this gorgeous vintagey blouse, the Metropolitan Tie Me Down Blouse:

See you on the flipside, Black Friday shoppers!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Collar Inspiration

I've got 4 woven blouses in the "UFO" pile that just need hems and buttonholes/buttons.  It's always the little things, isn't it? I can set in a sleeve and attach that collar and I stall on the EASIEST PART!  Argh.

Anywho...4 unfinished blouses isn't enough to stop me from dreaming about a whole slew of new ones (especially since all 4 of these will have to have the darts taken in so they fit now!)  Currently, I'm especially taken with collars.

Like this lovely from Puttin-on-the-Ritz:

A wide peter pan with keyhole:

source unknown

Another scaled down peter pan:

And whoever said I am not appreciative of subtlety has clearly been hitting the sauce. Subtle shaped collar right here folks..

If you can figure out this next foldy origami-ish collar and send me the instructions, I'll give you ten cookies. And some tasty fudge.

Another simple lace collar...easy to substitute allover lace for fabric! Probably backed in organdy or another sheer (I'll take organdy over chiffon any day).

Speaking of organdy...I don't think there are words for how much I love this organdy collar with faggoting. Over a vintage 30s print.  No. Words.

This layered almost-collar is so very 1930s too:

Pintucked velvet..

Pintucked velvet seems like a proper place to stop salivating.  And could I get any more dainty and girlified?  No?  Oh you just wait.  I saved all the bows and tie collars and necklines for a post all their own!

You're welcome.

And in the spirit of gratitude in this week of Thanksgiving, I'd like to say...I'm thankful for all of you. Your visits and comments and emails and snark add much to my days.  Without you I would be convinced that the world out there is not fit for the me in here. Or vice versa. So thank you.

wednesday wisdom.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Call the Midwife: 50s Inspiration

Kristine got me hooked on Call the Midwife last week when I had a long weekend and total control of the television.  Have you been watching??

Set in the late 1950s, the story follows Jenny, a young nurse who takes a position as a midwife in very poor East End London.  Jenny discovers on arrival that she will be living and working with the nuns at Nonnatus House.

The fashions and hair are very period accurate, so it was pretty much love at first sight.  Then the storyline sucked me right in annnnddd... it's all over.  I'm hooked.   

street fashions

I love Jenny's sweet style.  They all spend most of their time in uniform, but you get glimpses of everyday fashions from their patients and the people on the street, and when the girls are "off duty".  Jenny is a cardigan and swishy skirt kind of girl.

Isn't she adorable?  Her hair is so cute too.  I'm very tempted by this hair.  And her wardrobe. When Jenny arrives to Nonnatus House in the first episode, she's wearing this beautiful suit:

I am now very nearly obsessed with finding a vintage pattern to duplicate it. I read a blog that speculated the suit was from the 40s, not the 50s, but I disagree.  I think it is very period appropriate.  The nipped in jacket, with shortened sleeves, and the tiny bow accents all speak 50s to me. Check out the suit in the illustration below, which is from a Progressive Farmer catalog, 1957:

And this sweet tailored suit from 1953 is very similar. I'm feeling knockoff inspiration!

My love for Jenny has very nearly been eclipsed by her friend and fellow midwife Trixie.

Trixie is sassy and fun and a big old flirt.  She's also gorgeous and has more of a "bombshell" vibe than our sweet Jenny.  She drinks and smokes and wears pants (occasionally) and strips down to her skivvies and jumps in the pool! With boys!

The awesomesauce that is Trixie is best told in full animation: 

Then there's Chummy, the very tall, very awkward, very amazing latecomer to their small group.  Who pretty much steals the show.

Chummy sews!!

(I don't remember that part.  Kristine??)

I don't even have space left in this post to tell you about the nuns, who have their own special quirks and adorableness.

Or the tiny midwife, whose name I can never remember (sorry, tiny midwife).

The only quibble I have with the show has to do with the American PBS broadcast, which has been editing out 7 minutes of each episode.  SEVEN MINUTES.  Ugh. I was hoping my Amazon On Demand episodes would be the full British broadcast, the way my Downton Abbey eps are, but nope. 

Are you watching???