the weekend scheme

i made some huge progress last week, finishing up a few pieces to clear out a lot of space to finish up....a few more pieces. the week, however, didn't quite end up supporting much work after monday. these things happen sometimes. last night while sprawled on the couch i began to feel that it was time to get back to work.

decisions must be made, focus must be found. it's time to fish or cut bait on a few WIPs--the new 1940s sundress, the New Look sheath, and the vintage vogue re-issue that needs a hem. i will try to finish these during the weekend. if i start something new, i am feeling stirrings of interest in my minako 60s dress, which would be nice to pull out and work on, or perhaps one of my 1950s advance dresses cut out a few weeks ago (two of which need linings cut out first!)

working on a few pieces that require additional cutting may be a nice way to "get something done" tonight while i relax after the week, and will give me something to work on tomorrow during the forecast rain. since i also want to do some baking tomorrow, to make the rainbow cookies for passover, that could be a solid balance as each will require me to take a break from the other. and that kind of weather is perfect stay-at-home weather.


the winter-that-wouldn't-end dress

Pattern Description:
(from etsy seller clovas)
Darling day dress with faux wrap bodice. The dress can be belted or tied. There is also the option of a scalloped or straight edging, so cute.

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

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
the faux-wrap gives the bodice a nice look while using less fabric (helpful in 1940s rationing and also when using liberty fabric!) than a traditional wrap. i like the looseness of gathers on these 40s bodices, and the scallop seemed like a great mate for the fabric i had chosen. in fact, this pattern lingered on my "favorites" list for months until i saw the fabric and immediately found inspiration.

Fabric Used:
liberty of london tana lawn, appropriately titled "winter stem", from purl in New York City

here in the tundra formerly known as NYC, the weather continues to drag on and on as though no one has passed mother nature the memo that it is april and time for nicer weather! although i'd originally intended this dress to be a house dress, or a weekend dress, yesterday, the weather was raw, damp, windy and unpleasant and this seemed an appropriate dress for the occasion:
comfortable, a "winter" print, and yet colorful enough to impart some cheer. alas, the comfort factor on the dress made me realize how much i'd rather be at home, with a cute pair of leggings on under it and a much heavier sweater on over it, with my feet up and something hot and spiked in a mug by my side. all day, whenever i looked down at my dress, i longed to be home and even felt that not all 40s day dresses were created equal in terms of work-week wear.

i have not yet made the tie, although i intend to.

this dress was constructed on a whim one saturday evening a week to the day after i had taken the fabric home--the very day the pattern arrived in the mail. it was late--always a bad sign--and i was cutting. i'll just say that i had to cut the bodice more than once!

also--understitching scallop facing = interesting times...

Make again?
advance 3951 may not get made again, and this particular inclination of it will certainly be employed more on weekends than during the week. however, i continue unabashed my love and appreciation of these 1940s advance patterns. they are basic, a cinch to work with, and offer up loads of options because of their simplicity. prints, solids, stripes, it all works, it's all easy, and it's all fun to wear--if you wear it in the right environment!


the finished frankenpattern

the ideal: McCall 6273, originally spotted on glass of fashion

ORIGINAL Pattern Description:
(from glass of fashion's etsy site)
Cute pattern by McCalls for a button through dress with gathered detailing on the bodice. Choose a high keyhole neck with bow detail or cut-out neck. Three sleeve variations: short gathered, three quarter gathered, or long and straight.

Actual Patterns Used:

Simplicity 3262
purchased from savagespider
McCall 6314
purchased from VintageJubilee

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
yes! in fact, i liked it even better once i decided to make the skirt have some extra fullness in the back, as suggested by McCall 6314.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
i decided that the gathers on the bust darts were too nice a design feature to ignore. of course, the instant i decided this, someone snapped up the pattern on etsy. six months later i finally had enough understanding of the pattern pieces, and additional patterns for inspiration and guidance, to attempt it on my own.

Fabric Used:
liberty of london tana lawn "hanako" from B&J in New York City

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
simplicity 3262 had both the bust gathers i admired as well as a kimono sleeve, instead of the set-in sleeve on McCall 6314. gathering up the sleeve and tying it off was simple and easy and best of all, built into the sleeve on S3262. M6314 inspired a continuous gather going from the bust apex down to about the hip, which i found both flattering and aesthetically pleasing. also, i really enjoyed the skirt design on M6314, which gives one some extra fullness in the back.

obviously, looking at the pattern pieces, there is very little complicated drafting going on here, and given enough time i could have done it myself--maybe. (drafting is a bit out of my wheelhouse, but necessity may have surprised me...) still, i had these patterns in the stash, and why re-invent the wheel? the major "drafting" i did was to turn the v-neck into a sweetheart neckline (thank you, french curve) and to draft an extension beyond the CF point on the bodice and skirt pieces to accommodate a button front.

i shortened the skirt to go 22" down from my natural waistline instead of the period-appropriate below-knee length. but i'm beginning to wonder, given the prevalence of longer hems this season, if i may need to stop shortening my vintage skirt patterns!

as has become my standard practice on these gorgeous 40s dresses, i didn't line or face anything but finished all seams (including neckline and armscye) with a bias binding. in this instance, i used a matching bias binding on all seams and finished the waistline seam with a bit of contrast grosgrain ribbon from Pacific Trimmings. the hem was turned up and finished with some basic wright's hem lace in the same color as the ribbon.

buttonholes thanks to jonathan embroidery. to make the front extensions work as a sort of makeshift placket, i took a strip of fusible interfacing tape, sewed it to the RS raw edge of the extension, flipped it over to encase the edge, and turned the entire bit over once more for a clean and "faced" finish. really, an adaption of the excellent facing techniques recently described on both the off-the-cuff blog as well as the male pattern boldness shirt sew-a-long.


feeling directionless

a tough week at the machine.

i had a fantastic weekend. i finished both of my vogue 6043 tops, the skirt, and about 60% of the shorts. i had a breakthrough on my vogue couturier design pucci top and made very exciting progress-into a home stretch, now. i did an exhaustive clean-up of my sewing space and got the whole system under control. i whipped up the little new look dress in some Liberty print that may have been a mistake--should use the leftover for a simple top--and started my 2nd simplicity sundress with my modified princess pattern. (i will still need to dart in under the arms. *sigh*)

i managed to work in fits and spurts during the week but overall accomplished so little that the only thing keeping me sewing was knowing that if i took the week off, it would take me a while to get back into the swing. then on wednesday night i had a crisis of conscience. i was trying on my vogue tops and everything about them seemed wrong. i tried on my new look dress and it seemed wrong. and i remain paralyzed on what to do with my etro print and two of my puccis. last night i sat in front of my project board and stared helplessly at all of my marked projects. i pulled out the puccis, spread them out, folded them up, and put them away.

fortunately i managed to end up an up note of sorts--i retried my vogue tops and they fit, both of them, and fit nicely. so i will outsource the button attachment to the dry cleaner tomorrow and feel better about life.

weekend outlook? maybe the pucci top lining--i'm feeling ready to finish my bias-cut "purple chris" dress and to commit to what to do with the rest of the scraps--i feel ready to spend the hour (or less) it will take to finish the yellow dress with the cute floral inverted pleat. i'd like to cut the bemberg lining for my new project runway dress in the ian rhodes LoL print, because that dress will make up beautifully and easily and is perfect for april/may, before i allow myself to take the plunge on all the crazy and adorable summer pieces i am plotting.

it's time also to fish or cut bait on getting started on my chanel.



starting to feel some actual stirrings of actual energy. i've noticed this week that it's been marginally easier to wake up and that sleep has been more satisfying. i've been more interested in food. i've been more excited during the day about projects--not always a good thing, since i so often lose focus on the drive home.

not sure what my approach will be this evening. for dinner, i am thinking classic: grilled cheese and tomato soup. i ate some of my leftover burritos for lunch and they were satisfying and super-filling, which was unusual.

i do plan to do some work tonight. i have a feeling that if i let myself go with whatever strikes me, i could get a lot done. i pressed out the linings for both of my tops last night, although i didn't feel like dealing with the logistics of sewing them, taking them in, and figuring out the best way to attach them, but the time is drawing near. the skirt i can do easily, and i may finish my evening with that as it is relatively simple, relatively quick and likely to be something i can use to end on a high note.

i did some work also on my bias top with the rose-print liberty. it took me a few tries, but i understand the assembly procedure now and may be able to finish that as well, which would be fun. i'm not sure, but it may not need a zipper, which would, of course, be excellent.

i'm thinking toward the weekend. i may have no choice but to go out to the house because of my drivers license, which needs renewal. my ideal would be having enough finished to be able to go to jonathan and get the buttonholes on my mini-wardrobe, as well as my fake mccall dress, taken care of--then i could get out to the house and over to DMV before 1 (closing time). the best use of my time after that may be to do muslins on all of the fancy silk work i have been plotting for april, may and june. i can head up to jo-ann and get some cheap "silk" to play with, and maybe even do some work on my already-cut pucci top, which i've been considering hand-basting together. other than that, i am largely caught up on cutting, unless i want to jump ahead (which, yes, part of me wants to) to the three summer frocks i'm plotting with my new liberty acquisitions--but those are great, easy little frocks and i think they could be a great memorial day weekend project (all the more reason to cut them now? i'm not sure--but it seems premature).

heck, i should probably even do two muslins for the silk--one with muslin, to tweak any design issues and major fit changes, and one in "silk" to see how it plays out. the muslin would be easier to modify pattern-wise and i'll need to do something in silk to make sure that the drape is still appropriate.


getting back to form?

i definitely have not been as focused as i might like this week. nonetheless, in spite of strange spring weather, lingering "jet lag" from the time change, and just general tiredness, i kept at my little tops and last night was rewarded with a burst of energy and interest just as i was getting ready to shut down for the evening.

perhaps the tops are not as skillfully done as they might be. i definitely messed up on the french darts, one of which is...awkward, but potentially fixable. but i have been practicing my islander technique, and i adjusted the fit of both tops so that i can be satisfied that they will be fun and whimsical and cute when they are done. i made the neck straps last night as well. now, only the linings remain!

since wednesday night is often such a good productivity night for me, i will go home, put on the NCIS marathon that inevitably airs on wednesdays, and go forth. i might even make some dinner.

since breakfast at aaron's on sunday i have been obsessed with food. it's a good feeling. it reminds me why i started caring about food in the first place. last night i made a delicious little burrito for myself and i'm already craving another one. i'm dreaming about getting some good bacon at the saturday market and maybe pulling some meat out of the freezer. i'm thinking maybe i will bust out the rancho gordo pack this weekend to try one of the yummy soup recipes in my "heirloom beans" book. we'll see.


back to focus

staring at my project board last night, after an unusually successful day of planning on cutting on saturday, i started to feel the dreaded overwhelmed sensation again. i read these blogs--the sew weekly or what have you--and i know that i can, with direction, easily accomplish my goals if i can break them down into a discrete task and finish them within a week. a few weeks ago, i even finished an entire project in a night. and yet i continually flutter around from thing to thing until it all spirals.

that said, this week i hope to:
finish my 2 vogue liberty scrap tops
finish the purple shorts
finish the purple skirt
put buttonholes in: purple skirt and frankenpatterned ruched bodice dress.

knowing this will probably fail by tomororw, i offer myself the following schedule:

monday: vogue liberty tops
tuesday: shorts and/or skirt
wednesday: often my most productive night of the week, i will give myself sewer's choice. plenty of my cutting from the weekend was for simple, 1-session projects. perhaps i can tackle the new look dress or the simplicity sundress or the almost-50's project runway pattern, although i should really line that
thursday: assemble the front and, separately, the back halves of my march jacket, so i can investigate embroidery options on saturday.
friday: night off? what might be fantastic is actually to cook, and then catch up on my firefly re-watch while i do the hand-stitching on my cashmere dress. i began dreaming of this yesterday and still got sidetracked by determining if the cute bias-cut dress pattern i got will accomodate my etro charmeuse.