Friday, July 21, 2017

How to Move Darts and Change Necklines : Slashing & Spreading (Pattern Drafting)


Alright, after the last few posts you now have got a basic 2 dart bodice block pattern (you do right?). So what can we do with that? We can use the bodice block as is, with one dart at the waist and one to the side, it works great and I myself use this basic bodice style for nearly all of my dresses. Often I use this 2 dart bodice pattern but modified to have a kimono style sleeve instead of a set in one, which is a modification I explain here. The different fabrics, necklines, sleeve styles, and other details can make this same very standard 2 dart bodice pattern look very different or work for a verity of eras.


For my white eyelet dress I used my basic 2 dart bodice pattern. The only change in the pattern for the dress above from my basic bodice block was to draw on a v-neckline, super simple!

Still, you don't have to stick with one waist dart and one side dart, you can move one or both of these darts to create some different style lines! Or perhaps instead of a dart you want to use gathers instead? Darts are used to make the fabric curve to the shape of the body, taking in fullness to create shape, but of course this fullness does not have to be controlled with a dart. You can use pleats, gathers, smocking, or darts to reign in fullness and using the slash and spread method of moving around fullness means you can move the area where fullness is controlled around too. For example the dress below is again a variation I created from my standard 2 dart bodice pattern, first I used the slash and spread method to move the side dart to the neckline and then instead of actually sewing the dart I instead used gathers to control the fullness.


The red lines here show where the darts are on the pattern, but while I sewed the waist dart as usual, I gathered the fullness of the dart at the neckline instead of actually sewing the dart.

Most if not all bodice styles are created by manipulating the excess fullness created by fitting the fabric to the body with darts or style lines. You can transform the standard darts of a pattern into a style line or princess line quite easily, but I'll be showing you that another day. Today lets simply look at how to slash and spread to move darts around.
Endless possibilities!
So the darts, and in turn fullness, radiates from the apex (bust point) on women's patterns. All darts usually point to the apex, and gathers usually radiate back to the apex as well. Different style lines or additional added fullness can go against this basic principal, but when starting with the 2 dart basic bodice block pattern, you are usually going to be moving darts around the apex.

Lets start by tracing a copy of the front basic bodice block.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Auburn Summer











I lightened my hair up a bit, and as the color fades it is becoming more and more auburn. To be honest I am speeding the fading along as I want it to get a bit lighter and then go pink...but we'll see. I've never had pink hair before, it could be a disaster with my skin tone, or it could be really fun! I may chicken out, you'll know if you see me with dark brown hair again soon then I probably didn't like the pink and dyed over it ;)

This red circle skirt is surprisingly versatile in my wardrobe, I wear it more and more! I suppose a fun bright color is pretty standard for summer, but as I only started wearing color again a few years ago  after years of devotion to nearly all black, I still find bright colors surprising in a fun way. The blue striped top makes the whole look a bit patriotic looking so I tried to cut that by adding some yellow accessories. Not only do I really like all three primary colors together, but I'm also not too keen to look patriotic just about now when the US is driving me mad. The less said about that nonsense the better here in this space devoted to nice things like sewing and fashion, but goodness, what a mess. I think it's time to add another colorful circle skirt to my wardrobe since I have been wearing this one so often, so I have some "shell pink" cotton sateen on the way to make a new skirt!

I was going to pick up some pink fabric from my local Joanns, but the store was a mess! I asked an associate what was going on and they said they will be launching a ton of fabrics in mid August and were shuffling everything around for that. I'll certainly be interested to see what that means, hopefully they will be adding nice new apparel fabric but most often changes at big stores like this mean even more quilting cotton and less and less for apparel seamstresses.

I'm not going to lie, this week has been weird so far you guys. Monday started with driving my dad to the airport at an early hour and having woken up with too little sleep I felt almost ill and it really really shattered me. I was useless until I had a nap and lost the first half of the day essentially! Then I have been having nightmares the past few days that wake me up early too! I didn't get a video together in time to go up Tuesday which broke my nice streak of uploading every week, so now I feel behind and like I've let myself down there. Then I realized my drivers licence had actually expired on my birthday and I hadn't noticed so I spent the day at the DMV renewing that. Just odd things knocking me out of sync, but hopefully I'll get back on track this weekend and also get some nice sewing done. TGIF right?

Skirt: Made by me
Top: Charming Charlie
Shoes: Chelsea Crew (Royal Vintage Shoes)
Handbag, Belt, & Scarf: Vintage
Brooch & Earrings: Luxulite
Sunglasses: TJ Maxx

Monday, July 17, 2017

Flowers and Chocolate










Doesn't this Plastiflex clutch look like a giant chocolate bar? ;)

This dress is another favorite (don't I always say that? I like my clothes I guess!) every summer. I hope you all don't get too bored with my repeating outfits, but I suppose it proves I don't really have a super crazy sized wardrobe just yet ;) Hopefully the fact that I try to style things differently each time I wear them helps add some semblance of variety. Last year I paired this same dress with red accessories and this time I decided to base everything around the dark brown in the print instead. Mostly I just wanted an excuse to use this chocolate bar purse! You all know how I love Plastiflex style clutches, and this is the third of my small collection. I'm not sure if it has been featured on the blog yet, so this may be it's debut even though I have had it a while now.

Even though I opted for a brown belt and clutch, I chose white for the jewelry and shoes because I wanted to wear these really fun white flower heels. I got these floral strap high heels on super sale from Modcloth last year (the year before? I don't remember!) and though they are rather modern in style I just had to have them! I quite like the look of vintage dresses and modern heels together. It's interesting to me how many of the biggest fashion bloggers actually have really vintage influenced style but they just mix in more modern pieces or styling. If I wore my hair straight and got myself a name brand handbag could I be sitting front row at fashion week? I think I'll stick to my retro curls and love of more authentic vintage styles, but I do wonder sometimes why people seems to like vintage style pieces on their own but not all together. Vintage blogs after all are infinitely less "popular" than regular fashion blogs. I really enjoy following both, but perhaps I am an anomaly!

I did finally finish sewing together a new dress this weekend so I expect you'll be seeing that soon as I can't wait to wear it! Unfortunately this focus on sewing will mean the first break from a new Tuesday video in a while, but I am determined to get something together for next week. I hope you all had a good Monday!

Dress: Made by me
Belt, Clutch, & Jewelry: Vintage
Shoes: Modcloth

Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer Sewing Plans : Using Fabrics from the Stash


Most seamstresses have one, be they quilters or couturiers, a (sometimes quite large) stash of fabrics in cupboards, boxes, stacks, and piles, all waiting to one day be remembered and turned into finished projects. Perhaps you ran to the shop just to grab buttons for that new blouse and got distracted by the flashy cottons on the discount table, or maybe you were online searching for the perfect linen and found 2 printed rayons you couldn't live without, or perhaps you were super excited to make a new gingham dress until you got super excited to make something else and the gingham lay suddenly forgotten. Who knows why these piles of fabric grow in quite the way they do, but like a dragon hoarding shining golden coins, I've got quite the stash of fabrics laying in wait for inspiration to return.

Well, most of these fabrics here have been languishing in my stash for while a while, and perhaps they would continue to were it not for one crucial detail plaguing my summer : I have no pocket money for new fabric this year! Which means no matter how many new flashy ideas come into my head telling me to run out and buy fabric, I simply can't, so I must turn to the stash and return to old ideas long forgotten. It is rather fortunate actually, such economy will force me to use what I already have!

Some of your will even recognize most of these fabrics from past sewing plans posts, because I still haven't gotten to them! This is their year I promise, they will be clothes before the summer is out! Let us start with some long time languishers...


Sources: (1) (2)
These two lovely cotton floral prints have been waiting a long while to be turned into 1930s inspired button down blouses. The moth and butterfly print cotton was bought a while back to make a blouse to wear with my turquoise linen 30's skirt and I really want to finally get to that as the outfit idea still strikes me as pretty. The Liberty print floral cotton lawn I purchased in 2012 at Liberty of London as a final splurge (its 18.50 pounds a yard I believe!) before leaving for Paris that summer during my studies abroad at university. It is high time the fabric is actually put to use! I have already bought buttons for these blouses (last time Joanns was having a 50% off button sale, good time to stock up!) so I have no excuse not to get to work on these. The only think holding me back is that I will have to draft a new button down shirt pattern first and make a mock up, but perhaps I could document that process to share with all of you?



Sources: (1) (2) (3)

Sources: (1) (2) (3)
These next two fabrics are totally different. The first is a stretch metallic gold lace that I bought to possibly use in my senior collection at university back in 2012, and seeing as it is still hanging around I might as well make something 1950's lurex inspired. I am thinking a simple knit cowl neck top like view B above to wear with my hand painted tourist-wear Mexican circle skirt. Of course such a top would be very pin-up with my high waited black cigarette pants from Vivien of Holloway too!

The rose print cotton is actually quite sheer, but I already have some black poly/cotton I could line the dress with. What dress you ask? Well a classic bombshell style sarong dress for summer of course. Though I'm not sure exactly what to do about the straps vs. sleeves debate for this dress. Most sarong dresses have straps or are strapless and have a matching bolero, but there a re a few examples with sleeves as well. I don't wear sleeveless things, so if I made the dress in the more traditional way with straps and a bolero I would just always wear the bolero, which I suppose is fine. Then again would it be easier to just make the dress with sleeves? Yes? I'm not fully sure which way I want to go yet!


Sources: (1) (2) (3)
Do these rayons look familiar? More fabric that has been kicking around my sewing room for absolutely ages, and it's mostly because rayon just takes more work! Could I serge the raw edges? Yes. Would it be much nicer to bind them in rayon seam tape instead? Yes. So of course I put off making these lovely rayons into dresses because I know the silky flowing rayon will be more time consuming to both cut out and to prep the raw seams. I would really like to have some nice rayon dresses though, and I certainly can't afford to buy any real 1940s rayon dresses in my size, so I better get to work!


Montgomery Ward Spring Summer 1949

Sources: (1) (2) (3)
Even more rayon! This time its a black, white, and grey rayon in an almost taffeta weave from Mood fabrics (apparently it was Marc Jaycobs?). I like the bodice of the second dress from the left on the above Montgomery ward catalog page for this dress, but I think I'll be putting a plain a-line or half circle skirt on it. The vaguely tropical print is super nice and I'd love to have a nicer summer cocktail dress. The grey toned color palette would work with any color accessories too which is always nice.

The last fabric here today is this amazing white and green tropical palm frond print rayon crepe from Mood fabrics. This is dream level status fabric for me, I just absolutely love it! I'm thinking a 1940's draped dress, with some nice details like those above, something just a bit extra with gathers or sash/bows/drapes. I will be taking my time on this one for sure and if anyone has a nice green straw hat they would like to give me to wear with it I would be much obliged!

But before I can get to all this, I have to finish a green gingham dress as I have finally used up all of the gingham in my stash! Can one have too much gingham? The answer is firmly no I believe. What are all of your sewing this summer? Anything extra special in the lineup, or are you stash busting like me? I'm off to finish that gingham dress, hopefully you will be seeing it soon!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Many Colors and Even More Sunshine








For some reason, *ahem* the blinding SUN, it was really hard to get good photos of this outfit! Which is a shame, because I really like it!

This fabric was one of a few I picked up from an Etsy seller based in India a few years ago. They had sooo many good prints and the fabrics were really inexpensive, so I was bummed when the shop later disappeared from Etsy! I haven't done much fabric shopping lately, but hopefully that will change soon as I have so many fabrics on my wish list! I do already have a ton of fabrics still in my stash, but when has that ever stopped anyone from wanting more fabric? I have no motivation to use the fabric I already have, I have ideas for things that require different fabric of course! I must get over this aversion and use what I already have in stock or I'll never get any sewing done this summer :)

I hope you are all having a great week, I'm trying my best to get lost of work done but finding it difficult to sustain the energy required to do so. I want to wave a magic wand and turn the pile of fabric on my ironing board into finished clothing in a flash. Unfortunately I have no such wand, so hopefully I can accomplish these goal the old fashioned way somehow. I'd rather be lazy and watch Ghibli movies all day, I don't feel like adulting this week even if I did turn 26 on Monday! Hopefully my desire for new dresses will outweigh my desire to procrastinate my sewing.

Ah July, it always sneaks up on me and the heat always leaves me more lethargic than I'd like. Still, the middle of summer approaches, and soon we get glorious, incomparably wonderful....autumn! There were pumpkin decorations already at the craft store today, and I was happy to see them <3

Dress & Bracelets: Made by me
Hat, Necklace & Earrings, Clutch, & Belt: Vintage
Shoes: Bait footwear (Royal Vintage Shoes)
Sunglasses: Forever 21
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