Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays!!

Well, this year is starting to wind down and none too soon for me.

I am breathlessly waiting for 2011.

My goals for the last few days of 2010 are to finish some unfinished (argggh!) sewing projects and write a few more blog posts that I'll launch in the new year. I also have more fashion designer profiles to write for the Colette blog, including quartets on the great houses of couture, Hollywood costume designers, American female designers, and the designers that epitomized the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Well, I have some holiday baking to do tonight and some driving to do tomorrow. So, please be careful, be patient, and arrive safely to your destinations and have a happy holiday with your family and loved ones!! No fighting!
See ya in the New Year!

Check Out Chuck At Colette's

The architectural master of fashion, Charles James is profiled on the Colette Patterns blog today. Please enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Get Your Holiday Cheer On!

How about doing it in a new dress you made yourself? Here are some lovelies available at the Dragonfly- Metamorphpursuit shop on Etsy. Why not try one of these?

Vogue 1110 SOLD
An Emanuel Ungaro design

Style 2005 $4

Vogue 2065 $5
A Badgley Mischka design

And here is a two-for-one deal, two patterns for only $8:

Vogue 1285
A Scaasi design

Vogue 9971

Robin, Robin, Come Back!

Years ago I used to buy all my clothing zippers from one fabric store. At the time, I think it was either Hancocks or Minnesota Fabrics that carried a smaller brand called Robin. I preferred this brand (still do) to Coats and Clarks, whose zippers are heavier and very stiff in comparison. The Robin's can be wrapped around your little finger, they're so flexible. However, from what I could find on the internet I don't think they're still in business. :(

Luckily, in my stash I have a few left. At some point I must have been into buying in bulk because I was able to find two zippers perfect for my two upcoming dresses and what I have left are some assorted colors in 7-inch lengths for pants and skirts. Which means in the not too far future Coats & Clarks will loom over my future projects.

There may be salvation, in close-ups on the web, the Ziplon coil zippers by YKK look pretty similar to the Robin brand. If I can find them in a store, I'll try them out. It seems you can order them on both the Hancock and Jo-Ann websites but my local stores do not seem to carry them. Do any of you use YKK zippers and how do you like them?

Also, does anyone know why Coats & Clark seem to have a monopoly in Hancock and Jo-Ann?! Why don't they sell a variety of zippers from multiple companies?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Madame Gres at Colette

Prepare yourself for a treat!
The fantastic and unique designs of Madame Alix Gres are examined at the Colette Patterns blog today. I hope you enjoy, as she is now one of my favorite designers.
Images: Turandot, 1967 and silk gown, 1984.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Over the next few weeks I am going to try to load up my Etsy shop, Dragonfly, with all of the patterns that I have to sell. There will be even more as I am going to ruthlessly go through my personal pattern stash and sell the ones that I would never see myself wearing EVEN if I could afford to pay someone to make them for me. See? That's the real test. If that garment is not appealing to me at no effort on my part, then why keep it around?!

Not that there's anything wrong with them, it's just that I probably bought them so long ago that they don't fit my image of myself now.

So check out Dragonfly-Metamorphpursuit throughout the holiday season. There will be seasonal patterns, patterns for the warmer months, designer, non-designer, older 1980-era patterns, and ones from the last few years. All at lower than average Internet pattern prices too.

Happy Holidays!!!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Book Review: Little Green Dresses

The book is called Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More* by Tina Sparkles.

Not only is it about repurposing old items of clothing it is also about taking a pre-existing garment, calculating a pattern, and using it to cut a new shape into the item. And when I say a "pattern" I'm not kidding. From pencil skirts to shift dresses to haltered full skirted dresses these are real patterns you are creating by using your own measurements (always a plus!) and then modify to create other options. It is the nitty-gritty way to learning how to draft patterns. That way every pattern in the book comes in your size! Who could want more?

Why this book has not received more hard copy, Internet, and blog press I really don't know? I discovered it by chance in a big box bookstore and wanted to read the whole thing right there. From beginner to intermediate sewists, definitely check this out when you have a chance! While the styling is definitely geared towards the 1980's (uber-trendy with loudly colored, patterned fabric choices, and glitter makeup) you can still see how the instructions taken on their own could be used to make more subtle designs.

A review complete with a look at some of the pages is at Whipup.
Author Tina Sparkles' own website

And, no, I did not receive a free reviewer copy...I wish! I have still only looked at this book (though pretty extensively) in the store but hopefully after the holidays this little publication will finally come home with me!

*Published by Taunton Press, publisher of Threads and Sew Stylish.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Good & Plenty Twist Top - Butterick 5429

Pattern: Butterick 5429 (2009)

Pattern Description: Sleeveless close-fitting top with front neckline twist, dropped shoulders, and stitched hem. (Note the nipped-in waist in the pattern illustration at left.)

Pattern Sizing: It came in (8-10-12-14) and I made a size 12.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Not really, as it was not as fitted as the illustration would have you believe.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I was intrigued by the twist detail at the center front. I liked the idea of a very simple top but with interest.

Fabric Used: A lovely knit gifted from Kyle that reminds me of Good-&-Plenty candies. I think it is a nylon and spandex blend meant for swimsuits. However, it was fine for this and I used it before to make this dress.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: At first, I made no alterations. There was a construction change because of the fabric I used. Machine stitching was difficult, my machine kept skipping stitches. I ended up going over every stitching line twice, I couldn't even risk doing a zig-zag stitch. Because of this difficulty, all raw edges (neckline, sleeves and hem) were hand stitched in narrow 5/8 " hems.

If I altered the side seams it would look like the sketch.

After wearing this top for a while I realized that it was just too big and shapeless. The illustrations on the pattern were very deceptive, this top came out an almost perfect square (as seen here). There was no waist shaping like in the drawings so I decided to scoop in the side seams for more shape.

Would you sew it again? I think so, but in a smaller size and in a woven or a sturdy knit. I will still hand sew the neckline edges because it's neater and they do show at some points during the day. Also on knits I would be afraid of those edges stretching and causing ripples.

Would you recommend it to others? Yes, with those easy alterations mentioned above. This could be quite interesting with a different color, a sheer fabric, or a similar but different sized print in the upper bodice/sleeve area only.

Conclusion: An easy but interesting top.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Sewing Plans This Weekend

  • Hold a photo shoot for my latest two projects, Butterick 5429 and vintage Butterick 2564.

  • Make up the McCall's 5686 bodice muslin in a larger size.

  • Make up a muslin of the Vogue 8701 bodice. Yes, I'm buying it tonight, I couldn't help it. The pattern is still on sale and I just can't stop thinking about that dress . Also, wouldn't it be better for the gray plaid since it has darts instead of princess seams?

  • Make a pair of flannel pajama pants. Why put those off just because they're easy?!

That's it. I'm not going to push my luck. See ya next week and happy sewing!

By the way, the Colette Patterns blog posts for December are focusing on four of the great fashion innovators of the 1930s and 1940s, so don't forget to check those out every Wednesday.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Ahh, The Bodice Muslins And Some Cheating

First Try at the Muslins:

McCall's 5686

I can't show you the "real" first try because it would be scandalous because it just wouldn't fit! I had cut this one out as a size 10 at top and tapered out to a size 12 towards the waist. In order to get these pictures, I had to remove the waist darts completely and shorten the neckline darts just to close the back. You can see it is still too small because of the strained direction of the neckline tucks which should be almost vertical. Oh, and also the fact that I can raise my arms only so high...

As far as they will go...

I still like this neckline and the general idea of what this could look like, so I will be attempting a size 12 muslin of this same pattern before jumping off to use something completely different like the lovely Vogue 8701.

McCall's 4052

Here's the only decent photo of the first McCall's 4052 muslin, also in a size 10 tapering down to a 12 at the waist. Between the time I made this muslin (and it fit perfectly!) and when I posed for this picture, I had gained some weight, which is evident in the horizontal stretch marks and mono-boob situation. I also do not remember that much gaping in the neckline before.

Therefore, because of my frustration with both muslins, I then moved along to two other projects during Thanksgiving weekend. I will probably also work on a third top or bottom before returning to these dresses. Hopefully, in that time, I will get answers for this bizarre weight thing.*

How I cheated: I didn't want to trace the pattern again or paste paper to the tissue pattern to regain the size 12 seam allowances that I had cut off making a size 10. So, I used a regular office copier. Voila! Instant white borders around the pattern pieces that I could use my curved design ruler on. I will be using this technique from now on for any small pattern pieces.

*No, I did not gain the weight during the holiday weekend, but before it happened. Weird, right? I've since lost some of it by walking more.