Saturday, November 5, 2011

Vogue 1241, A Copycat

I have this habit. 

Of "window shopping" online.

I love everything.

I cannot buy everything. 

So I save photos of things that I think are spectacular.

And then I go back and look at them and drool. It's my own personal pinterest.

This week I went back to look at my awesome clothes folder, and look what I found from June 2010:

Adrianna Papell Ruched Cotton Sheath Dress ($118)

I fell in love with the pleating at the neckline, the split neck, and the ruching at the sides. The print is pretty fabulous too. I can't find this dress online anymore, but here's a similar style

Then I came across this picture that I saved in April 2011:

Betsey Johnson Leaf Crepe ($178)

What I loved about this dress was the print, the combo of black and grey and royal blue. And again the ruching at the side fabulous.

So I saved these photos ages ago. And forgot about them in my conscious mind. 

In July 2011 I bought Vogue 1241, loving the split neck, the pleating at the neckline, and the ruching at the sides. Are you seeing a theme here?

Line art for Vogue 1241

And also in July I bought this fabric especially for V1241.
Printed Peachskin Fabric, from

And together, they made this:

Funny that Adrianna Papell (my inspiration dress) and Kay Unger (the designer of this pattern) make such a similar dress. And that I found a print so similar to Betsey Johnson's crepe dress. And even funnier that I didn't remember that those two dresses were in my "repretoire"and effectively recreated the look.

So here is the dress on:



I added 3 inches to the skirt, added cap sleeves, put a button loop and button at the top of the split neck, and added a white lace modesty panel in the split neck. 

The reason for the button at the neckline is that without it the neck gaped horribly. And without the modesty panel, there was a whole lot of cleavage and bra-age. I think the reason for that is that I should have made an adjustment for a larger bust, and I didn't. Also, I think I messed up on matching the left and right pieces of the bodice, which means that the two pieces are farther spread apart than they should be. The combination means gape-age.

Regardless of my foibles, I really like this dress. It's a print (yay!), and it's got a flattering fit. I tried wearing it yesterday with grey hose (you know, for warmth), but I'm not convinced that's the best way to wear it. So perhaps this is not a cold weather dress, but come spring I've got a fun dress just waiting for me.

The shoes are Vince Camuto Momas, purchased at the Nordstrom rack last month. I have fallen in complete love with all of Vince Camuto's leather shoes (remember these?); the leather is buttery soft and smells like leather. So TC saw these, pointed them out to me, and well, yada yada yada, they are now mine.

These shoes have ruching on the heel. So charming! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vogue 1220: Everyone else is doing it

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my newest creation: Vogue 1220, a Donna Karan Collection pattern. Now I'm one of the cool kids, just like so many others.

I bought the lavender stretch poplin I used with this specific pattern in mind. I loved the pattern art,

which shows the dress in grey, and was so tempted to copy it directly, but I encountered two problems:
1. I couldn't find a shade of grey that was right for me.
2. I found lavender, which is a color I do not have in my wardrobe.

I really wanted a cotton sateen, but I found a poplin and went with it.

Now a little problem that I encountered was that the pattern only gives yardage for 60" wide fabric. And my lavender lovely is only 45". I guessed on how much I would need and bought 5 yards, which ended up being enough, plus quite a bit. All of the pieces fit on my narrower fabric, except for the sash, which is got across the grain and is super long. I ended up having to cut it in three pieces and sew it together. Not a huge deal, and it really makes no difference in the look of the sash.

Here it is on my dress form.

I think it's pretty spectacular. On me, I think it's also pretty spectacular. I really like this dress!

I added 3 inches of length, and I'm glad I did because the dress would definitely have been too short without it.

And it has pockets! They are shallow, but awesome for having something to do with my hands when I get nervous. 

I encountered one little problem in the instructions which say something completely incomprehensible (to me anyway) about the pleats that hide underneath the sash. I read them, reread them, slept on it, discussed it with my mom, reread them, and ended up just doing what I thought was best, which was just matching up the circles and sewing a line down the middle. There might have been something in the incomprehensible part about tacking them down or something, but I suppose I will never know.

Other than that, the dress went together fine. I found parts of the pattern annoying: the pieces are so weird and irregular, there are too many pivot points for my liking (who am I kidding, any number of pivot points is too many), and the button placket is kind of heavy (because I used an interfacing that was too heavy for the fabric).

One other issue is that I have trouble when sitting. The front along the legs wants to gape, and crossing my legs is tricky without showing some thigh. When I wore the dress out of the house I had to sit with my legs folded rather than crossed. It wasn't a bit deal really, just something to be conscious of to ensure I don't have any wardrobe malfunctions.

All that being said, I love the style of the dress, and I'm glad I made it. I'm also glad I'm finished. But I think this will one of those classics that I'll keep around in my wardrobe for a long while.

The shoes, while I'm not convinced they go with the dress, are these:

Guess Candice in black satin. They are cute with their little bow on the toe. There is one unfortunate consequence to wearing these shoes: they rub in a few places and tend to clean rub the skin away. Ouch. There's a clump of thread and glue that's nearly microscopic at the heel of one of the shoes. As small as it is, it is enough to cause pain and open woundage. So these shoes are not for everyday use, which is just as well since they are satin and therefore kind of dressy.

I bought them at DSW in August for around $40.

I haven't decided which of my shoes would go best with this dress, or if I need to be on the hunt for just the right pair. On the dress's maiden voyage I wore Guess Florie, and this time picked a black shoe. Bah. Either way the dress is great.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Simplicity 2257: Who's that lady?

Ever since the first time I set eyes on this pattern, I knew I wanted, needed, couldn't live without view D. I have not been able to keep my mind from wandering to that gorgeous skirt. So I've been on the hunt for the perfect fabric.

Then I found it at 

I cut this in a size 12, which if I were to make again, I'd slim down a bit. It fits, but it's just a bit bigger than I would like.

Here's the skirt on. I'm wearing it with McCall's 4922, which I featured in my last post.

This skirt is adorably full. I don't have anything like it in my wardrobe, so it's a welcome colorful change. I feel so lady-like in it. I want to curtsy and twirl and faint whenever I'm under duress. 

I also noticed that most of my clothing is solid. I have no prints, and this fabric was bought in the hopes that I would begin to solve that "problem." The print is kind of islandy. It reminds me of pineapple tops. And the colors are so refreshing.

This skirt was ridiculously easy to make. Except for a small snafu: I decided I wanted to add pockets, so I took a pocket pattern piece from another pattern, and sewed them in. I was even clever enough to sew in an invisible side zipper along with the pockets. But once I tried it on I realized that I was a moron. (As a side note I have that realization at least once a day.) I had sewn the pockets too far down the side seam, so the pockets made me look like I had the worst saddle bags in the history of saddle baggery, and the pockets were only usable when I hunched down to reach them. The whole thing made me laugh. So I ripped out the pockets and continued on without a hitch. Pocketless skirt.

The shoes are some of my favorites, Jessica Simpson Edith. These were the kind of shoes that when I saw them for the first time at the DSW I gasped. Then I tried them on. Then I asked TC eighty-seven times what he thought: where they too expensive, were they worth it, would I wear them, could I really get them? 

He answered me about fifty-three times before he just started to respond with an affirmative grunt. So I got them. 

That was back in February. These shoes have gotten a lot of use and love and care. Unfortunately they are starting to show their loved-ness.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

the Classics: Simplicity 9825 and McCall's 4922

For the third time now I made up S9825. It has become my go-to pencil skirt pattern, and I love it.

This time I decided to go wild with animal print fabric I ordered from 

I had previously cut this pattern in a size 10, which is now too small (too many cookies), so using the a-line version which I had previously cut in a 12 as a guide, I kind of winged the resizing from a 10 to a 12, and surprisingly it turned out great. 

And now on to the shirt I'm wearing. I've had McCall's 4922 in my stash for ages, years, centuries. And just now I finally made it.

I was really REALLY excited about the fabric. It is a woven cotton stretch pique in a great white WHITE color. I bought it from more than a year ago. It was one of those fabrics that I loved so much I was scared to cut into it. It's not even like it was expensive or irreplaceable or anything like that. I think I just couldn't stand the thought of me wasting such a classic, lovely piece of fabric. 

At any rate, I finally garnered the courage.

I franken-sleeved it using the cap sleeves from Simplicity 2473. It fits great. I had to take it in at the sides by about an inch total (so 1/2 inch on each side). It's a great shirt to tuck in, but untucked it's a bit unfitted and lame. The hip area is kind of baggy. Could I fix it? Sure. But with the tail hem line it was obviously meant for tucking, so I've decided that it's a tuck-in shirt, and I'm not going to bother with the baggy hips.

 Oh, and I didn't even have to lengthen it like I usually do. 

Now on to the shoes: They are Guess Florie in cream. They are "all manmade materials" which I typically try to avoid, but still pretty comfortable. They were discounted at DSW when I bought them last month. I feel just a little bit "real housewives of NJ" in the shoes and the animal print skirt, but overall, I love the outfit. I think the white button-down grounds the whole outfit in reality? I don't know.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Simplicity 2473: A long time coming

Way back in March TC bought me the awesomest birthday present ever: a dress form. This dress was my first project using the dress form to fit. I cut it out in a size 14 and shaped it to fit. I pinched a little here, a little there, took in the waist to fit me exactly, slimmed down the skirt from a 14 to a 12, and voila! A perfect fitting dress. I also lengthened the skirt by 3 inches, and still, I think I could have lengthened it just a bit more.

I love the rolled collar like crazy. I think it's adorable and a little bit retro. I have trouble with the back of the collar standing up a bit, but luckily it doesn't show up in these photos.

I love to wear a little brooch on the collar. 

Overall I like this dress. The extra effort in fitting really paid off. I finished it in April and it's gotten quite a bit of wear since then, which brings me to my shoes...

Guess Patches in black leather. They are comfortable. So comfortable. and I love wearing them.

We bought them in March from DSW and they have been getting a lot of wear since then.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Let's be snarky

Let me begin by saying that I'm a snarky jerk.

I think most of you already knew that.

I just want this to be a full-disclosure website.

If judgmental snarkiness turns you off, if you don't have the stomach for it, I invite you now to close your browser, navigate to another page, do anything except read this post. Because I warn you right now, it's gonna get U-G-L-Y.

Our house hunt continues. The reason it continues and has not come to an end is that we have very, VERY specific ideas about what we want. I mean really REALLY specific. So specific that we decided to look into building. There are unique challenges that come with that project, which is a post in itself for another day.

While we search for land to build on and the like, I continue to look at homes for sale, just in case something that meets our very specific specifications comes on the market right at our price range, right in the neighborhoods we are interested in. Fat chance, right? Right.

Instead I have found more to be snarky about. Like this home, which seems like a bargain at $51 a square foot. This whopper of a home is nearly 7,000 square feet.

But it has a few leetle tiny flaws:

It needs some work. Like some wallpaper ripped out. Some carpet replaced. Some window treatments removed.

It's a little dated. The turquoise carpet is a dead giveaway.

Oh, and the rose carpet.

And the dark sea foam carpet.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that it has a "some" water damage. And "some" mold.

And checkered tile.

Oh, and hot pink doors.

And a colorful tile backsplash that looks like it's straight out of Super Mario Bros.

Also, I noticed three doors leading to the outside. Three doors that each look like "front" doors. (Seriously. Go back and count them.)

And a urinal.

Wait, what?

That's right a urinal.

Okay, so I know what some of you are thinking: These are all very fixable flaws. With the exception of the water damage, these are minor fixes. Put new carpet in here, retile there, paint, etc. It's all cosmetic. And having a urinal installed could be very convenient for the men in my life.

Some of you may be thinking that I am beyond a judgmental creep, and what did this house ever do to me that I am calling it out on the (stained-dirty-filthy) carpet.

Some of you may also think that I should just feel lucky to even be able to consider buying a home. I should feel lucky to have a place to live at all. I should feel blessed that I have the opportunity to be so picky.

All of those statements are true. And believe me, I do feel blessed. I want to keep my bless-ed state as in tact as possible. Which is why I am steering clear of homes with urinals. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Vogue 1169 finished, for the second time

Remember I told you all in November that I was going to redo Vogue 1169, Rebecca Taylor suit. Well, I finished it a few weeks ago, and finally took photos. I have to say, I'm really pleased with the results.

The storyboard.

Because the skirt on my first attempt had major tummy puffiness issues, I decided to go with a pattern with similar lines. I used Vogue 8063, which I've made a few times. I added the skirt flounce at the back just like the skirt in V1169, so the only difference between my skirt and the pattern is that the front has three panels instead of five and the back has four instead of six. Less panels is fine with me. That meant less pick-stitching.

The flounce at the back of the skirt, and the pleat in the peplum of the jacket.

So here's the overall result. The jacket fits great. The skirt could use a slightly smaller behind filling it to eliminate the folds on the front. I'm working on that.

See how pleased I am? I'm practically giddy!

A quick note about the fabric: I found worsted wool an absolute dream to work with. I love it! I want to make everything of wool now. So lovely.

Some of the details of the suit that I love.

Covered buttons. You might remember that I had major problems covering buttons on my first attempt. That was due to the fabric, entirely. This time the buttons were super easy to cover.

The flounce I added at the back to match the original design.

Peplum and piping.

Pick stitching.

The pocket. Admittedly the piping is wonky, but I still love it.

I added lace hem tape to the wool before hemming, and using a tutorial I made a chain stitch to tack the lining to the skirt. I am really pleased with how that turned out! 

And the last detail I want to share is the waistband. I had some leftover piping from the jacket, so I decided to add it to the waist of the skirt. I figured it would help keep the waistband from rolling out to expose the lining. And it turns out it does. And I think it looks great.

And here you can see my bling pouf shoes.

So the low down on the pattern: it's not necessarily difficult, just fiddly and labor intensive. It's worth the effort if you love the design. One thing that I think is a bit odd is the look of the sleeves. I don't like the way they sit on my shoulders and arms. Perhaps I should have extended the shoulder of the jacket a bit so that the sleeve doesn't come so far in on my shoulder. Ahh. I don't know. 

All in all, I'm pleased with the result. And I'm glad to be finished. And I'm glad to present it to you all.

My next project is another labor intensive pattern, a Belleville Sassoon pattern from Vogue, V1162. I'm making it in a red satin, so it should turn out identical to the pattern. So exciting!