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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

· Keeping it Quiet ·

This outfit is quite a bit more subdued and quiet than my normal, but I love the play between brown and black and honestly, I'm surprised by how much I like wearing dark colors!  I've noticed this mood coming around every fall/winter and I've started sewing some things to accommodate it.  I used to scoff at the idea of wearing lots of black... now I'm starting to understand the allure!

I've always loved Simplicity 3673 and I made the flared skirt view several years back. This time around, I was looking for a more tailored secretarial look and we had just enough of this thick wool suiting left for a classic neutral jumper.

This project turned into such a warm, cozy outfit and I really do love this pattern!  It might be a bit over-represented in the vintage sewing community, but I think it's got enough redeeming qualities to earn its place as a classic. I really like the empire waist accented with the band, and a boat neck is universally flattering! The faux bow at the front is finished off with a vintage buckle.

This vintage double-strand necklace dresses up the outfit a little more than maybe it deserves- this jumper is so warm and cozy that it makes me feel like I'm wearing a vintage-styled, office-appropriate version of sweatpants.

Granted, it's been a loooong time since I've worn sweatpants.... so this notion is just a bit suspect. ;-)  The fact remains that it makes me feel like settling in with a good book!

More shoe clips! I feel like Marilyns are perfectly suited to shoe clips and I got both this set and my buckle pair at an antique mall last summer.  I'd never specifically looked for them before, but this makes me want to go on a little online shopping spree for more additions!

This vintage purse has become my standby- it's sturdy and it's just the right shape to hold massive amounts of things very efficiently so it doesn't look bulky!  Gum, sewing kit, tape measure, pad of paper, wallet, checkbook, pillbox, mirror, 4 colors of lipstick... you know, just the essentials. ;-)

Plus the black/brown combo makes it an ideal match with this ensemble!

· Photos by Kathryn ·

Saturday, March 24, 2018

· Effortlessly Chic ·

We're having one last blast of winter weather and this seems like the ideal time to share my latest, greatest thrift store find!  Whenever I wear this coat, I feel like I'm a model in some 1950s ad and like I should probably be hanging out in Paris or somewhere else super cool.  Consequently, I try to wear this coat as much as possible.

I went thrifting with a friend at the best charity shop around- the prices are rock bottom and there are always vintage knick-knacks to call our names... This time I got preferrential treatment and was ushered into the secret inner sanctum storage room- since I was wearing vintage styles, the woman working behind the counter knew that I'd appreciate some of the coats they currently had in storage.  I ended up coming away with several and since then, I've added a few more to my rapidly-expanding collection.  One can never have too many vintage coats, right?

I really like cold weather anyway, but now every autumn I start itching for temperatures low enough to break out my collection of vintage outerwear.  This coat quickly became one of my standbys and it's just perfect for the commute to work.  The style is not as suited for bitter, windy days... but that's what I have a complete coat wardrobe for- options. ;-)

The coat is made from a soft thick wool felt, unlined.  The scarf is attached at the back of the neck and its exact purpose is a bit open to interpretation, but I am fond of the styling shown.  The coat closes with just one button- and a giant one at that!

The construction is very simple, with a few details that make it stand out.  I love this aspect of vintage clothing- I can tend to overthink all of my own projects, but it's a good reminder that sometimes less is more!  The loose swing style is versatile for layering over full or narrow skirts and is so cozy to wrap up in!

The back is angled and overlapped at the back. The sleeves are a gentle bell shape and have a slit with rounded edges.

The pockets are accessed through slits in the front of the coat and just "float" on the inside without being attached to seams- ingenious!

This hat is one of my all-time favorites!  Delightfully quirky and flattering to a variety of hairstyles!

Overall, this coat just makes me feel super chic. And what's not to love about that??

Shoes- Marilyn by Royal Vintage
· Photos by Kathryn! ·

Saturday, March 10, 2018

· Checking It Off The List ·

I am SO excited about sharing this dress!  Check out this fabric- isn't it the most adorable ever??  What's not to love about a dress covered in checklists, right? The moment I saw this fabric line (Five and Dime) from Penny Rose fabrics, I knew I had to jump on the chance to make a work dress out of this ever-so-motivating print.  I mean, with a dress full of checkboxes and checkmarks, how can you not stay motivated all day long??  Coincidentally, my job just so happens to involve using lots of checkmarks as well, so it really couldn't be more appropriate!

I found the pattern for this dress at an antique mall somewhere along the line and it seemed like a great fit for this fabric- streamlined, but with a few details to set it apart. I can never keep things simple, so I took the opportunity to highlight the details with a narrow piping.

It also pairs rather nicely with my vintage black wool sweater, so it works for cooler weather too!

I was a little hesitant to use a cotton print for a sheath dress, but I wear a linen slip under it and I've never had any complaints about the way it behaves- yay! Penny Rose is also a nice-quality fabric, so I can rest assured that the dress will wear well and remain professional-looking for a long time.  Penny Rose very generously gifted me the fabric and I'm so grateful!  All opinions are still my own. :-) 

The dress buttons all the way up the side of the dress and that was one of my favorite elements of the design!  I'm so glad I ended up finding these buttons that can do such justice to the idea!

While I was in the production process of this dress, I visited a friend down in Dallas and we stopped by Dallas Button Supply in the warehouse district. Thousands of buttons! SO. MANY. BUTTONS.  I was glad I had very definite parameters because otherwise I never would have decided.....  I ended up with exactly what I was hoping for AND at wholesale prices!

One of my perennial favorite colors is green, but it's a rather uncommon color for fabrics. I had to jump on the chance to add a completely green dress to my wardrobe!

This dress checks every box for me (pun not intended)  (wait, who are we kidding? that pun was totally intended.) - it's appropriately quirky, vintage, and green!  Hard to get much better than that!

I finally, finally, finally took the plunge and ordered my own pair of Marilyns from Royal Vintage!  A perk of having an office job is that I now have an excuse for wearing cute heels 5 days a week and consequently.... I can justify buying more pairs! The shape of the Marilyns is a flattering, classic style that works well from the 1940s into the 1950s and since they come without extra embellishment they were the perfect candidate for these fabulous vintage shoe clips that I got for my birthday!  I love them so much and they add such a fun detail!

(link contains an affiliate code- which gives a little boost to my shoe fund! thanks!)

The final detail to this dress is the asymmetrical pocket. Between the cute pocket flap and the pointed collar, I knew I'd need to accent them so they didn't get lost in the printed fabric, and the narrow piping was just the trick!

· Photos, as ever, by the inimitable Kathryn! ·

Friday, September 15, 2017

· Basic Doesn't Have to Mean Boring ·

I've needed to expand the portion of my wardrobe devoted to basic blouses, but let's face it- white blouses get pushed to the back of the list when there are things like novelty prints to dive into!  I devoted a weekend to making a couple blouses and wouldn't you know- they are the most used items in my work wardrobe. Imagine that. ;-)

I had made a wearable mock-up of this pattern before and I was eager to whip up another version!  In order to keep this blouse from getting too boring, I used a nice vintage fabric with a woven stripe design.

Despite not being the *most* boring blouse of all time, there's still a limit to how much I can say about it.... so this will mainly be photos!

Side zipper! Not much else to say, haha!

I love the way the stripes echo the twist feature on this neckline!  The pattern is a vintage McCalls 3577 which was given to me by a former neighbor. The pattern came along with the pattern I used for my flamingo dress and Indian muslin dress- this woman's mother had excellent taste! (and even better- was my size!)

You might remember this skirt from my post last year- since remaking it into from its original state, it's seen a new lease on life!  I'm so glad I found a way to give this print the appreciation it deserves. :-)

While the blouse might live up to the title of this post, I'm not sure this post did.... but thanks for stopping by anyway! ;-)

· photos by the wonderful Kathryn! ·

Monday, August 21, 2017

· Sewing Pattern Buddy app ·

Happy Monday, everyone! :-)  I was approached by Megan of Kwirky Kiwi about trying out her app for organizing sewing patterns and I loved it so much that I wanted to share this with all of you!

I don't know about you, but I tend to amass patterns in batches and I'm quickly reaching the stage where I can't remember every detail of every pattern I own.... I'm happy to report that the Sewing Pattern Buddy app is the end to my woes!  Megan has designed the app with so many opportunities to organize and categorize patterns according to your personal favorite method and I've been so impressed by how intuitive and easy it is to navigate. :-)  This app is free for up to 25 patterns and is just $6.99 NZD (approx $4.99 USD) for unlimited storage!

Despite being a Millenial, I'm very decidedly *not* tech savvy, but I'm here to tell you- if you already have a smart phone, you're tech-y enough to figure out how to utilize this resource too. ;-)

The app has a wide range of customization already built in with different filters for Pattern Company/Number, Garment Type, Era/Year,  Personal Rating scale, Tags, Previous Makes, Pattern Completeness, and Pattern Type.  There is also space on each pattern listing for measurements, fabric requirements, personal notes, skill level, place/time acquired, purchase cost, printed/unprinted, condition, relevant website URL, location in your stash, and number of copies!

The categories come empty, all the better for using your own organization method.  I really love that I'm able to add specific design elements to the "tag" section.  Frequently I'll be looking for a pattern that incorporates princess seams/long sleeves/collar/etc and having an easy filter to find them is so helpful!

After backing up the photos and info, the app is fully navigable without internet or data- which is huge for me since I'm on a no-data plan!  The images are clear and zoom-able, so if I need to see details from the envelope back I still have access to that information. The app takes up less space on my phone than any other app I've downloaded- I really haven't found a negative to this app. ;-)

This app really is all could ask for as a pattern database and I'm excited to keep adding to the database!  This probably settles me firmly in "nerd" category, but I'm not ashamed.  I love organization so much that the thought of spending this evening adding more patterns to my personal catalog adds a little spring to my step today, haha! ;-)

· Disclaimer- I did receive the expanded app as a gift from Megan without the requirement for posting, and all opinions are my own! ·

Friday, August 11, 2017

· Cornflower Blue ·

A couple years ago, JoAnns carried a few lines of fabrics from Denise Schmidt that I was absolutely smitten with!  I made sure to snatch them up when I saw them on clearance, but, as in the case with this blouse- there was frequently only a yard or so left.  Perfect opportunity for a blouse!

I was inspired by a cute blouse from a movie set in the 1950s and I decided to use my trusty kimono-sleeve bodice sloper as the base.  Well, I'm not sure what the issues were... but man. This was one stinker of a project.  My basic pattern did not work AT ALL but I'm not one to give up without a major fight.  I beat it into submission and it's still not awesome... but it's passable. Good thing it has cute details and is fabric I love. ;-)

Target had the cutest flats this spring and I've been tickled pink with how well this color fits into my work wardrobe as well!
The blouse closes at the side with snaps.  I have been using zippers at the side of blouses without center front openings, but I'm not always sold on that- they can get so bulky feeling and the zipper pull can tend to be lumpy under skirts.  I decided to take a page out of pre-1940s sewing and try out a snap placket and it's been great!  I used snaps on a heavier-weight blouse as well, but that was a dismal failure.... so I still don't have a favorite method, haha!

I talked more in detail about this skirt over here- happy to have another blouse to wear with it!

The "bow" on this blouse is just a strip of fabric pinched in by a fabric tube in the middle.  I sewed the ends of the bow to the blouse, but left the sides free to keep the 3D effect.

Buttons on the shoulder add a fun touch and a little something to set it apart. Part of my woes with this blouse involved too little overlap and various other shoulder issues.  A few tweaks mid-project and a little extra grace.... and I'm safely to the other side and successful! ;-)

Do you find that you frequently change gears due to necessity?  I seem to have this happen to greater or lesser extent, but I think it's one of the reasons I love sewing- overcoming difficulties, challenges, and puzzles is right up my alley!  I usually find that I'm happier with the result than the initial idea as well!

· photos by the ever-amazing Kathryn! ·

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