Saturday, October 31, 2009

Say Cheese!

playing with the diana That's Kate with my new reproduction diana camera. She had a grand time photographing everyone at our halloween brunch (pumpkin waffles, quince juice, and almond muffins! mmm yum) with it. Once she got over the lack of a view screen to see her picture, of course. It takes medium format film, so she won't see her portraits for a week or so.

Here's a sneak peek of what I spent the afternoon working on. Lots of handsewing, for a precious 3 year old niece with red curls... ;-) The bodice of this dress is actually made out of a scrap of fabric that I found in my mom's stash. It's a left over from my senior year prom dress! (That's me last year trying it on to check it out again.) It's an ivory moire taffetta, lining is some pink flannel backed satin left over from another project.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunny october day

I've bookmarked a few sites online which talk about 1960s wedding fashions. This one is about a 1965 dress and this is a general 1960s overview. Both are fun reading.

The sun was out all day today so I ran into the garment district at lunch. I had lots of fun tracking down a few trims...

I don't know what I'll do with these exactly, but they're very pretty.


MJ Trim, if you haven't been, is VERY dangerous. See that blue tulle trim? I carried it around the store for half an hour before breaking down and deciding to buy some. It's $24/yard. Yikes. On the other hand, it's most likely going to be used on the coat I'm making to wear over my wedding dress... and it's beautiful... however if I keep buying $24/yard trim, I'm going to save absolutely no money whatsoever making my own dress. Well, If it doesn't get used on the coat I'll just use it for Kate or Ana's dresses, so it will get put to good use somehow. I bought some silk thread in the same blue as the tulle since it's pretty much going to have to be hand sewn on if it's not done in the style of a lace insert.

tulle trim

And these are laces for the nieces' christmas dresses.


coat front Here's the coat fabric... a gorgeous blue silk duchess satin from Paron's. I pulled out a navy blue silk and asked if they had anything like that but stiffer, and this was a shelf over. Soooo beautiful... it's hard to photograph, it's a deep navy blue. I have to find a silk to line it (possibly a bright turquoise blue? That contrast could be really pretty), and think about whether it needs a silk organza underlining or if the satin is stiff enough to hold that neckline on its own. This coat is kind of funny, I doubt anyone but my family will ever see it, but I think it will be a nice project and my one chance to wear a satin coat. My sister, by the way, had claimed dibs on the dress in the coat pattern for her first choice for her bridesmaid dress. It's a pretty column dress that I could never wear, but will look wonderful on her.

blue duchess satin

dress neckline I also finished up my niece Ana's halloween dress. It's very similar to her big sister's dress, but without the stomacher and point at the front. Instead of a ruffle at the top of a pretend stomacher, there's a just a bit of lace around the neckline. The lace on the cuffs and at the hem is from my grandma- we had to wash and then iron it because it just spent the last 50 years rolled up in a drawer in her sewing room.

halloween dress for ana

Thursday, October 22, 2009

my Carolyn skirt

Did you see Carolyn's fantastic 1950s inspired dress? Wow. I love the collar! I got to inspect some of her dresses and jackets very up close and personal and oh my, she sews beautiful pieces. So I left her sewing get together with a yard of the gorgeous berry fabric she used for the dress, and made it up into a little work skirt. I've been thinking of it as "my carolyn skirt".

Unfortunately, the camera timer and I had some issues. (I just bought a new plastic Diana film camera... so perhaps my digital is acting like a sulky child because it's not getting all the love right now??)


Of course, my dog was also contributing to the camera woes. Can you seriously pose for a sewing fashion shoot when your BOY dog is doing this? Geesh- get some manners, Declan!

The ribbon at the hem was left over from last year's christmas sewing- I believe it's from Joyce Trim in NYC, but my memory is a little fuzzy on that front. It's lined in bemberg (which I still detest sewing with, but I suffered through) and has a zipper at the center back. In honor of Carolyn, I used my TNT skirt pattern, an a-line skirt pattern 122 from BWOF March 2008. This is my kind of sloppy hem:

And a ribbon waistband:


I also finished up Kate's halloween costume. This is what she requested- the cream print dress in the photo. It's a page from an American Girl book about Felicity, who lives in Colonial Williamsburg:

And what she got:

Kate's halloween costume

Kate's halloween costume

Kate's halloween costume

Eh. Sort of close. It's a Halloween costume, so good enough. The point on the bodice is completely wonky, but it's done and Kate doesn't seem to mind.

Finally- anyone have any opinions on wedding dresses with tiny buttons over invisible zippers? I think it looks a bit odd. Seriously, I'm rather leaning towards a size zip and plain back... or just dealing with it and doing the buttons and making my mom button them up.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

cake stand

my new cake standWhen your grandmother gives you a new cake stand to match your dishes, there's really only one thing to do with it. You have to spend an afternoon flipping through cookbooks to find a nice cake to try it out with. The Chocolate Snowball is one of my favorite dessert cookbooks, and it has a nice, light carrot cake that I'd never gotten around to making before. Any cake that starts with whipping eggs and sugar for 5 minutes is going to be airy and light, even if you then add in 4 cups of shredded carrots.
While it chilled for the frosting step, I cut out the material for Kate's Halloween costume. She wants to go as an american girl (whichever one is in Williamsburg- Felicity maybe?), so we bought some calico and I'm using the same dress pattern (from a Patrones carneval costume issue) I used last year for her princess dress.

Simplicity has a very cute colonial times girl costume, but I couldn't see buying another pattern when the princess dress still fits her and I have all the pattern pieces cut out already. So if you're looking for one, the Simplicity costume pattern is S3725, with 4 dress variations. Very cute. :-)

Here's the carrot cake with some apricot jam on it, chilling down enough to be frosted:

chilling in the freezer

On the wedding topic, The Martha Stewart Weddings Blog has been wonderful reading all weekend. There are apparently a bunch of wedding fashion shows & some wedding trade show going on in NYC this weekend, and they are posting TONS of beautiful wedding dress photos to their blog. Lots of eye candy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Look 6802 - Knit dress with twist front

As Carolyn posted last weekend, I had one of the greatest treats of my sewing life on Sunday- a small get together with other sewing bloggers at her place! Here's Cindy with Carolyn-

cindy & carolyn

Isn't this a great group of ladies to talk fashion with?

cidell & lindsay T

elizabeth & karen

We got to dig through her button collection, too. Thank you Carolyn for such a fantastic Sunday afternoon!! :-D


I knew I had to wear something I'd made, so I stayed up late on Saturday finishing up New Look 6802. It's a basic knit dress with a gathered front skirt. One option has a front twist piece that's sewn over the front of the dress, making the front essentially two pieces. This overlay is only joined a the shoulder, armhole, and side seam. It's actually kind of nice, because you don't have to worry about getting too-plunging of a neckline, or attaching a skirt to it.

There are several reviews of it on Pattern Review, praising how versatile it is. I think I'll be making it up again soon with sleeves. It comes with neck and armhole binding pieces, but as usual I just cut strips with my rotary cutter and used them as binding. For the skirt hem, I used a twin needle with turquoise thread. It's a nice pattern and went together very easily!


I got to leave with a gorgeous piece of pink tweed from her sewing closet that's on its way to being made into a pencil skirt. We talked about how crazy J.Crew's pencil skirt prices were- I immediately thought of their versions when I saw it. So hopefully this weekend I'll sneak in sewing it up in BWOF 08-2009-110.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More wedding dress pattern choices

My mom (resident wedding dress/formal wear sewing expert who I guess I have to listen to if I want help (; ) pointed out this evening that vintage vogue patterns fit me the best after my beloved BWOF patterns. Soo.. we found a few vintage vogue wedding dress patterns. Voting is open, so if you have an opinion please go ahead and voice it! And don't worry, there will be no puffy sleeves walking down the aisle.

I'm not a fan of the high neckline here, but my mom points out that redrafting the neckline is easy if the rest fits well. This one is her favorite by far since she really likes how the skirt hangs in the photo. (Better photo and view of the back available on vintage patterns wiki.) I don't like the 3/4 bell sleeves, but those could be shortened.

How cute is the hippie bride in her kerchief? ;) (Don't worry, there will be no kerchiefs but I'm sure my birkenstock wearing farm girl hippyness is going to come out in this wedding somewhere)

V 2192- the lace overlay is interesting, but I'm not overly sold on the look.

I'm going to apparently have a good sized collection of vintage wedding dress patterns before this is done!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dress patterns and a veil

Well, my mom is in full mother-of-the-bride mode here. ;-) We decided to start with a veil and dress patterns, and ended up buying the veil this morning.

You can see the one I picked out here... I tried on all the chapel and cathedral length veils in the store, and we liked this one the best. The loooong piece comes off with velcro, which means that you can keep the shorter part on for the reception and photos. I was a little iffy about the rhinestones, but they're very tiny and scattered pretty widely.

Veil shopping was a nice reminder why I'm making my dress- I asked to look at any short sleeved dresses the store had, and they didn't have a single one. Seriously. Good grief. Thankfully there are a whole slew of 1960s patterns of exactly the type of dress I want! Here are some of the patterns that I bought... I'm going to make muslins of a few and probably end up creating a franken-pattern.

vintage McCall 8083

vintage simplicity 9260

vintage butterick 3478

vintage Simplicity 5872

Saturday, October 3, 2009

october at the beach

I've been on a short sewing hiatus the last two weeks- work has been crazy, and then I got to escape down to Virginia Beach. Aaaah. You can't possibly be stressed out at the beach- even though it's October, it's fantastic down here. The ocean never fails to make me feel happy and centered.

virginia beach

And I got the surprise of my life the other day. Apparently the trip we took to see Master Chief up in Maryland was full of plotting, which I managed to entirely miss in favor of hanging out on the sand there with a few books. The other night we went out to one of our favorite restaurants here at Virginia Beach- and at the end of the meal, my sailor proposed. I was caught completely off guard, and made him repeat the question, because I was sure I wasn't possibly hearing that right. Oh geesh. So- we're engaged. No date, since that's pending what ship he goes to next. Wow.

I already have a gazillion thoughts on the dress I want to make. Silk eyelet, definitely. And obviously empire line. And short sleeves. I REALLY want to make my own cake, which might be a terrible idea, but I've been my family's cake baker for years. ;-) We're thinking small, just a party for our close friends and family. So here's a fancy wedding cake photo- this is from my best friend's wedding out in Seattle 3 years ago.

finishing the cake