Friday, March 24, 2017

Pattern Drafting: Creating a "Kimono" Style Sleeve (Version no. 2!)

So back in October of last year I wrote a post about how I converted my basic bodice pattern to have all-in-one kimono style sleeves, but... I recently made a whole new bodice pattern! With the changes in the fit, my new bodice pattern was shaped a bit differently than my old one of course, so I had to make a new kimono sleeve version of my pattern. When I got ready to do so it became very plain I wouldn't be able to use the same simple method I had always used in the past, as the armhole shape was way too different!

Above you can see my old basic bodice pattern in blue and my new bodice pattern traced on top in red lines. The armhole shape is totally different! So while in the past I was able to just draw on the kimono sleeve without messing with any other part of my pattern, this time I couldn't because the armhole area was so much more curved and generally smaller.

The first thing I did was consult my pattern drafting book from my university days to see how it suggested drafting kimono sleeves from a basic sloper. The book created the sleeve shape by opening up the side dart into the armhole to provide the ease and room needed to draw on the kimono sleeve! So I decided I'd live it a try and it seems to have worked like a charm. I'll show you how it's done...

Draw lines through your dart points to find the exact apex point at the center bust. Draw a line from the apex to the center of the armhole.

Draw another line from one of your side dart points to the apex as well, we are going to cut these two lines to allow for moving the dart.

Cut along these two lines to the apex, but not through it, so you can sort of hinge the piece around, we are going to close the side dart which will re-divert the fullness into the opening in the armhole.

Close the side dart and tape the overlap closed.

Fill in the newly opened area in the armhole with spare paper and tape together.

Now with the added room in the armhole you can draw on the kimono sleeve like I showed in the first version of this post (here).

And there you have it! A kimono sleeve from a pattern with a very curved/smaller armhole! Since the back of my pattern didn't change in the big ways my front pattern did, I was able to use the original method on the back piece without issue. I still have only used this new kimono sleeved pattern for a bolero so I'm not 100% positive I like it as much as my old pattern yet as I haven't really tried it yet, but I hope it will work out just fine.

Have any of your discovered and new pattern drafting tricks lately? I feel like I am constantly learning!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dry Creek Trail

Well, why it sure is dry right now, in summer I assure you this area is usually quite lush with green and has a lovely fishing pond (usually populated with ducks, but on my last visit just two geese). This park is one of my favorite spots in the late spring through early fall, so I was worried when they recently filled the place with tractors and started tearing down trees and moving around a whole bunch of dirt. Turns out they had drained the creek, bulldozed a ton of bushes and a few nice old trees (!!!), moved a lot of dirt where the creek had cut in a very miniature canyon so that the area was now smooth, and then laid down some concrete (in a brown color to match the surroundings) in "natural" stepped rock shapes in some areas of the creek bottom (but not all?). Though they did quite a lot of work to the creek area, I was relived to see they left the old fishing pond and lightning gnarled huge trees alone. Hopefully we will get some rain soon and lots of new grasses and plants will begin to spring up and cover all the unnatural looking landscaping they smoothed over down by the creek.

Anyways, while I finish up several sewing projects in various stages of completion, I give you a modern dress from a fast fashion brand! Quelle horreur! This dress has a rather 1930s silhouette, the back even has a long keyhole from neck to waist like some slinky 30's evening gown. I'm happy whenever I discover something vaguely vintage at a high street store (as the Brit's would say), and as I like digital prints in theory I appreciated the more subtle color tones in this languid orchid design. To try and make the dress lean more vintage, I paired it with a suede belt, black straw hat, and creamy celluloid jewelry. As it has been so dry (not good for my dreams of spring greenery), I wore my wonderful Remix suede heels without worry. These shoes are still the most comfortable heels I have ever owned, I can run errands for hours with no pain, they are magic shoes! I must try and get my hands on another pair of Remix shoes this year, I'd love a pair of their basic pumps in black suede for year round wear <3

I am working on some sewing projects that you won't be seeing for a few weeks as they are for my upcoming vacation ;) I even got chic new suitcases this week in preparation for this trip! They are smaller and I'm glad we won't be burdened with huge bags this time around. I'll let you all know my destination soon, and till then I hope you all have a great Friday!

Dress: H&M
Belt, Clutch, Jewelry, & Hat: Vintage
Shoes: Remix
Hosiery: What Katie Did

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Highlights from Vogue Pattern Book Magazine Spring 1953

In addition to the huge Montgomery Ward catalog I acquired recently, I also picked up a few old sewing magazines including the February-March 1953 issue of Vogue Pattern Book magazine. Inside are illustrations of spring fashions, so I thought now that it was properly spring I should share the best pages with all of you! I scanned the most interesting images and present them here for you today for pinning and pining...if only we could still order lovely fabrics like those advertised in this magazine! 

I didn't scan any of the advertisements from the back today, mostly because I was too jealous of the Shoes-To-Match (send in 1/3 yard and they will make custom pumps to match your dress!), and multiple ads for "...and so inexpensive!" covered buckle belt kits. Does anyone have a good source for covered buckle kits now? I'd love to get my hands on a bunch but they seem to be pretty pricey whenever I find them! 

These novelty prints look awesome!

Umbrella print dress!

Another amazing novelty print!

More under the jump!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Vested Interest

This is one well traveled blouse, far more than many if not most humans. I mean let me just list for you the tour stops for you: United Kingdom (starting from the lovely Heyday Vintage) to Los Angeles, to City of Industry CA, to Anaheim CA, to Denver CO, then to San Francisco CA, then back to Denver, then to Boston MA, and then finally....back to Heyday in the UK. Yes, the USPS actually got the package to Denver twice and yet never to! The wonderful people at Heyday noticed I hadn't even opened the package so they sent it along again and luckily this time the postal service actually functioned properly and I received it in my actual mail box! Wahoo!

So due to the fact that I originally ordered this blouse in the first week of December and only just received it now in early March, I was super excited to pull it out of the package and find it fit perfectly! It is such a wonderful addition to my 1940's wardrobe and I am sure I will wear it often. I'm sorry if it still appears a bit wrinkled here, but I don't have a steamer right now and I was steaming it using a heavy iron and my arms got too tired to continue in the end. I paired the blouse with a new black wool vest I made recently which contrasted the collar to show off its wonderful shape!  The wool skirt is one of the oldest me-made items still in my closet, and I have left over fabric knocking around that is destined to be a matching jacket someday, and hopefully that someday will be soon. I pulled out my tiny airplane pins for a small accent of gold, but kept the rest of the ensemble in neutral colors for a day of running errands and a family dinner out.

I also made a pencil skirt out of this same black wool to make a nice little set, and I'm sure I'll wear them together soon. You all know how I love coordinates! I've got some more lovely wool to work with before the sun truly returns for spring, which won't be long now so I better get a move on! I hope you all had a most lovely weekend!

Vest & Skirt: Made by me
Blouse: Heyday Vintage
Shoes: Modcloth
Hosiery: What Katie Did
Hat, Pins, & Clutch: Vintage

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sequins & Stars: Planning the Project and Collecting Materials

Do you ever feel like diving into a super time consuming and possibly even ridiculous project? Well, I recently decided that may be just what I needed to finally kick my sewing-block (like writer's block?), a problem that has been hanging over my work thus far this year. So what have I decided to make? An embroidered and beaded wanna-be-couture tulle circle skirt! (What about that Victorian bustle gown you say? It is totally still happening! I recently found the white fabric I want to use and everything <3 )

Perks of tulle as a material: 1) the edges don't fray so I don't have to "hem" the skirt, which is very good as I plan on having several layers of tulle, 2) tulle fabric is super inexpensive!

So with tulle, just because I am planning a time intensive project, it won't have to be an expensive project. Another plus is that tulle comes in wider widths so I may end up being able to cut the body of the skirt out in one piece so that there will be no side seams.

But I am getting a bit ahead of myself, would you like to see my little inspiration board for this project? (too bad I'm showing you anyway)

From left to right, in rows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 above here 
I have been dreaming about Valentino's recent space/star related gowns for years, but obviously I'm never going to be purchasing any Valentino, so DIY is the way forward. I have found several examples of 1950's tulle skirts in both plain and embellished varieties, so I feel confident this skirt will still be in keeping with my vintage style. The modern way to style such skirts seems to be to dress them down with chambray button down shirts or other casual pairings, but I love the more 50's idea of velvet bodice type tops for evening or perhaps a lace blouse. As for more casual but still vintage appropriate options I think a black sweater will look nice too. I plan on using both gold and silver sequins so both metallics will "match" with the skirt in the end for open options when styling.

Concerning sequins, I have to simply have to share my source with you all. The website I order sequins from, which is like a tempting candy shop filled with every color sweet possible, is called Cartwright's Sequins. Who knew just how many colors and types of sequins there were available in the world! Metallic sequins, square sequins, tiny itty bitty sequins, matte sequins, cat sequins! (yes really) They have sequins in the traditional finish, or in holographic prismatic finish, cupped shape or completely flat. They have beads to match. They have printed sequins, sequins with tiny printed designs on them (like galaxy print!)...OMG! It is so easy to get really carried away on their website, I am always tempted to add tons of whatever looks beautiful to my cart , but in reality I would never end up using many of the colors. This is one source which requires a lot of self control! One day when I learn how to bead my own 1920's dresses (#thedream) I will finally allow myself to go nuts and order some of everything, but until that day, I try and keep the motifs and colors that I want for a particular project in mind.

I ordered some great shooting star shaped sequins in silver and gold, also some of the aforementioned galaxy print sequins, and of course lots of other fun options in metallics and  black. I will be using some sequins from previous orders too, like some fun dark red metallic tiny sequins and steel looking gunmetal flat sequins. (This may be a good time to mention this isn't a sponsored post, I just fricken love this sequin shop!)

The idea of a big project with a lot of free rein as a jump-starter too reigniting my creative sewing mojo seems to have already worked even before my sequins have arrived in the mail, as I already got too anxious to start and began another project in between! This smaller project began as a way to test my new kimono sleeve bolero pattern and then blossomed into a Schiaparelli inspired embellished bolero using left over Gertie/Joanns brocade and lots of black and blue sequins. I have been working on it all week and have sunk many hours into beading this little jacket and I AM LOVING IT! The process of allowing myself to turn on a great podcast and then just go mad with the sequins, arranging them however strikes my fancy in the moment, has seemed to have done the trick and awakened my fire to create. I guess I forgot just how much I love to embellish? Well I have remembered, dear reader, and I can't wait to start the skirt next!

Sneak peak of the bolero, I am hoping to wear it soon :)
The point is, sometimes you don't need a break from the thing-- sometimes you need to jump off the high dive into the very deep end. I had to remember why I love to swim, ahem, I mean sew. Now my list of projects and every looming stash of fabrics look like a hoard of fun possibilities again, and I am so excited to get to work on new things for the upcoming spring season!

How have you clawed out of creative ruts before? Are you pro sequin or embellishment adverse? Tell me in the comments below ;)

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