Monday, April 26, 2021

Swirly Skirt in Swirling Snow (Sew Chic Gatsby Skirt)

 Every March there is that one glorious morning where you step outside and the grass is green. What looked dead and brown the day before is bright green and alive! The earth is waking up, after months of winter, spring is here!

And then, occasionally, every few years maybe, there is that one surreal morning in April where you wake up and it's snowing. Actually snowing. The air is white with swirling flakes and the stuff is accumulating on the ground.

That took place here last week. The latest accumulating snow in my area in 117 years. It tied with the 1904 record. Craziness! 

The snow wasn't exactly the most fun thing to do chores in, and I had to keep two heat lamps on my poor baby chicks to keep them warm enough in the freezing temps, but it was rather pretty. I decided it was as good of an excuse as any to finally photograph and blog about a winter make I never did get around to documenting.

Back in December, you may recall, I participated in "Designin' December", hosted by Linda of "Nice Dress, Thanks, I Made it". Well, a week after submitting my entry, a copy of a vintage Claire McCardell dress, I discovered I had won a prize - one pattern of my choice from Sew Chic pattern company!

I spent quite a bit of time over the next several days admiring all the options nd trying to decide which pattern I wanted. There were so many pretty dress patterns to choose from! Then I saw the Gatsby Pants pattern, and I was intrigued! Over the past several years I've really come to love wide-legged pants, and, while these really aren't that wide in the leg, the vintage style, high waist, and gathered pockets are just fantastic! There was definitely a place for these pants in my wardrobe!

After a bit more debate, I decided the Gatsby Pattern was definitely the one I was getting! It was the pants that caught my eye, but there was also a skirt pattern included. The skirt featured a trumpet style silhouette, not something I usually wear, but it did have the same fantastic waistband and pockets as the pants.

I kinda doubted I would make the skirt. I was really just getting the pattern for the pants. Then I noticed the godets in the front skirt seams. Those were fun. They looked like they would be fantastically swirly and a joy to wear. And I did need more winter skirts in my wardrobe. Maybe, just maybe, I should gives this trumpet skirt a try.

The following weekend I acquired 4 yards of pink pinstripe polyester suiting for $4 at Walmart. It was the perfect fabric to try out this skirt pattern! I printed out the pattern, cut into the pink polyester, and had this skirt done in an evening or two.

I tried it on and surprisingly loved it!

While I'm not sure this will ever be my go-to silhouette, the trumpet shape is fun for a change and surprisingly comfortable!

The high waist and pockets are just as fantastic as they appeared on the pattern cover.

This skirt quickly became a winter go-to for slightly dressy occasions such as church and whatnot.

I'm so glad I decided to give it a try!

Thank you Sew Chic for sponsoring "Designin' December" and giving me a chance to try out your pattern this way!

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Peruvian Rayon Remy Raglan

 4 years ago I bought 1 meter of pretty floral rayon with a mint green background at a market in Peru. It was the first piece of fabric I bought on the World Race. I brainstormed what I would I would turn it into. After a couple weeks I hit upon the idea of raglan top. This was influenced by the clothing styles I was seeing in Cote de Ivoire, where I was by this time. Ever since, the idea of turning this length of fabric into a raglan has stuck with me, and it's only taken me 4 years to get around to it.

I've kept my eyes open for the past 4 years, looking for just the right woven raglan pattern for what I had in mind. I picked up a couple different Simplicity patterns at pattern sales that *might* have worked, but none were quite right, so the fabric continued to sit in my stash. Finally, a couple months ago I received the Sew House 7 Remy Raglan pattern as a thank-you for testing an upcoming Sew House 7 pattern. I took one look at the Remy Raglan and decided, you know what? It would work! It was time to turn that piece of Peruvian rayon into something wearable!

The pattern required a yard and a quarter of 58" fabric for a short sleeve top in my size, so I figured I could squeeze it into a single meter of fabric. Thankfully, I was right!

After I cut out all the main pieces, the remainder of the fabric was cut into bias strips to make bias tape - a lot of it.

A little bit of this bias tape would be used to finish the neckline of my top. . .

But most of it would be used on another project.

Now, back to the project at hand.

The Remy Raglan can either be made with or without a center front seam. If made with a center front seam, it can feature a split neckline which fastens with a large button.

I opted to make my top with that center front seam and split neckline, but rather than the button fastening at the neck, I decided to add ties instead.

I just extended the bias tape finishing the neckline by 6" or 8" on either end to form the ties. Easy-peasy.

The ties can either be worn, well, tied, or open.

I generally wear mine open, which gives a nice v-neck shape.

I made my top in about 2 hours one morning. It was a nice break from wedding dress sewing.

Quick and easy, and I love the results!

I've worn this top at least weekly since finishing it, and I fully intend to make this pattern again!

I absolutely love getting to wear this fabric I acquired on the World Race! I've still got fabric in my stash from Ghana, Romania, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia, whatever shall I use up next???

Monday, April 12, 2021

Prancing About in a New Costume, with Friends, in the Rain

 At long last, after over a year, I got to attend a St. Louis Historical Sewing Society event last weekend!

A group of about 10 of us donned costumes and masks to do a (socially distanced of course, other than for a quick group pic!) outdoor costumed parade for a local nursing home. It was great fun to dress up, see one another in person, and share our fun with the nursing home residents who haven't been able to see many people for the past year.

For the two weeks leading up to the event I kept going back and forth on what I wanted to wear for the occasion. The outfit I'd made for the event back in November that I was unable to attend due to a family emergency? My Edwardian evening gown? My Regency open robe? Finally, I decided to just watch the forecast and pick my outfit the day before the event based on that.

The forecast predicted a drizzly, windy, chilly, day. So, the 1860's outfit I completed last November it would be!

This outfit began about 5 years ago when I made an 1860's gray wool Garibaldi Blouse. Gray wasn't the most common color for Garibaldi Blouses, but I had some gray wool in my stash to use up, and I come across this 1864 painting "Lady with a Dove", by John Brett, which indicated to me that gray blouses of this type did exist.

Ever since I made the blouse, I've wanted to make the rest of the outfit depicted in the painting. So, for the past couple years I've gathered a couple different types of black silk for the skirt and materials for a "swiss waist" as well. Finally, last fall, I pulled the hoarded materials out and made the skirt and swiss waist in about 2 weeks for the event I'd intended to attend.

Well, the event came and went, and I was out of state, unable to participate. Thus, the finished outfit resided on my dress form for the next couple of months, waiting to be worn for something, anything, and getting worn for nothing. 

This Saturday's costume parade, with its wind, scattered rain showers, and 50(ish) degree temps seemed the perfect time to wear a snuggly wool blouse and debut the ensemble!

As I haven't made a bonnet to go with the ensemble yet, I opted to pair it with the headdress I made 6 years ago to go with my purple ball gown. It reminded me of the flower in the hair of the woman in my inspiration painting, and it was fun to find an excuse to wear this headdress again!

After our event at the nursing home was over, a couple friends and I decided that since we were all dressed up in the first time in forever, we should take full advantage of the afternoon and do a few more things.

We started with grocery shopping, and received almost no comments on our attire.

This was followed by a trip to the local history museum.

Where shawls were shared to protect my regency era attired friends from the chilly wind.

We enjoyed the woman's suffrage exhibit and admired the few extant dresses that had on display, ranging from the 1850's through the 1920's.

We ended our outing with ice cream - enjoyed outdoors, in the rain, because you know, Covid times. No indoor eating.

All-in-all however, wind and rain included, we had a wonderful time prancing about in costume and enjoying each other's company in-person once more!

Hopefully we're not too far away from being able to make costume events a regular thing once more!

Monday, April 5, 2021

My Easter Outfit, Made Well in Advance

 Something about the fact I'm getting married in 2 months and currently sewing my wedding dress, (It's coming along beautifully, thank you!) meant I did not have time to make myself a new Easter Dress this year. Darn. There is such a lovely tradition of a new dress for Easter Sunday, and I like to keep it up. 

I spent a good amount of the first half of last week contemplating what I would wear Easter Sunday. Then, I realized, past me had actually prepared for this very moment. I had a brand-new spring outfit in my closet, just waiting to be worn.

About a year ago, I found a 1(ish) yard remnant of brightly colored polyester taffeta at a local Mennonite-run fabric store. The woven pattern of pink, and green, and yellow squares was cheerful and fun. I wanted this fabric, but what could I use it for? I carried it around the fabric store for a while contemplating the possibilities.

Finally, it struck me, I could make a pleated skirt out of this fabric! So springy! So fun! It was settled, the plaid polyester taffeta was coming home with me. Now, what would I pair said skirt with?

The colors in the plaid were a bit different than anything I could recall off hand in my closet or my fabric stash at home. Thus, I took another trip through the remnant pile at the fabric store. I unearthed a 5/8th yard cut of faux quilted knit in just the right shade of dusty, orangey, pink. It would be tight, but I thought that with a bit of clever, careful, cutting (sleeves off-grain, contrast facings, and that type of thing), I just might manage to squeeze a top out of this bit of fabric. So onto my pile of purchases this remnant went.

Of course, I intended to make this springy outfit within a couple weeks of bringing the fabric home. And, of course, that didn't quite happen. It wasn't until November, the least springy time of year, that I took an evening and made the outfit. 

Really, it did go together very quick and easy. Like most things, I have no idea why it took me so long to get around to making this!

The skirt required no pattern. I cut a long narrow rectangle from one end of the fabric for the waist band, then cut the remaining fabric in half, so I had two pieces of fabric just over a half yard long. I carefully matched the plaid, added inseam pockets (made from cotton out of my scrap bin), and sewed these two pieces of fabric together selvedge to selvedge. 

Now, I didn't want a size seam zip, and there was no center back seam to put a zipper in, so I improvised, and cut a slash in the center of the back skirt panel, for an exposed metal zipper.

I think this is only the second exposed zipper I've ever done, but it wasn't too hard to do. I looked up a tutorial online, somewhat followed the instructions, and am reasonably pleased with the results.

Once the zipper was in, I played around with the fabric until I had a pleat arrangement I liked, then I sewed the skirt to the waistband.

 Then I finished off the skirt with this double hook and eye thing out of a package of miscellaneous  hook and bar type closures I picked up in Japan back in 2019. (Pre-pandemic, a lifetime ago.)

And, with that, the skirt was done.

On to the top! Out came my trusty Winter Wear Designs Outer Banks Boatneck pattern. What else would I have used?

Anytime I want a quick top, this is the pattern I use. It fits me well and is a great base for just about anything.

For this version I hacked the neckline to have a bit of a sweetheart shape, like this sweater I made last winter.

I used the bishop sleeve pattern piece to make short flared sleeves like those on my Easter top from 2 years ago. I just had to make these sleeves a bit shorter than those ones (and off-grain) to accommodate my fabric shortage. 

Turns out this faux-quilted knit is a bit too stiff to get nice drapey flared sleeves, but oh well. They look nice enough.

Once I finished the top, I tried it on with the skirt, looked in the mirror, and decided I liked the outfit. Then, I hung it up in my closet. It was November after all, and just a bit too chilly to wear this ensemble out and about.

Outfit hanging in my closet, I sort of forgot about it as the winter got cold and long. 

Until last week, when I was contemplating my new Easter dress, or lack there of. Then I realized, I did have a new outfit to wear. One that had been waiting all winter long.

Little did I know in November that I was making my Easter outfit, well in advance, since I would be engaged and sewing my wedding dress when April rolled around. At the time I just thought I was sewing a spring outfit 6 months late.

Isn't it funny how things work out?

I had a rather nice Easter with my fiancé and immediate family. We went to church to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, then came home and enjoyed a ham dinner. I did miss seeing the extended family however, and look forward to next year when the pandemic should be a thing of the past and large family gatherings are a thing once more!

Happy Easter!