Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Too Small Dilemma

Well, last weekend I really wanted to start on some projects. I was going to get the easy ones out of the way, the ones where I didn't need to alter the pattern in any way. Well....

New Look 6939 New Look 6939

For the longest time I knew I was going to make New Look 6939 in view C out of my Alexander Henry Mocca Chocolate fabric. Unfortunately, my fabric is only large enough for the indecent version of the dress, remember from last week? In order to reach the new modest length I prefer, I will have to add a panel at the bottom of this one too.

So, a piece of the same fabric but not trying to line up the pattern or instead use a contrasting solid strip?

What do you think?
Simplicity 2406 Vogue 1922 (OOP)

In the meantime, I'm going to measure and alter the patterns for the View C dress of Simplicity 2406 (I'm one size larger than the pattern) and the pants of Vogue 1922 where the pattern, bought a decade ago, is now two sizes too small. I have to add an inch to each seam allowance for the pants to fit.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Say It And It Will Be Done...

  1. I will start on two new projects this weekend, an easy top and an even easier dress. I have already altered the pattern pieces and just need to lay them out and cut.

So now that I have written (said) that on this blog I must be held to it.

Give me h___ if I have no progress to write (talk) about on Monday, ok?

UPDATE: I was a very bad girl. No sewing happened. I thought about it a lot though. Does that count?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Open For Business!

As you can see to your right, my Etsy shop Metamorphpursuit is back up and open.

I made a new header

(which I made in Powerpoint...who knew?)

and added 20 or so new patterns. In a few days, I will have ALL of the patterns I mean to sell in the shop. While the store is still heavy on 1980-90s patterns I am also including some more recent ones (from the 2000s!!) as well as some from the 1950-60s, courtesy of the Ruth Harvey pattern collection.

I spent this last weekend getting everything organized and ready. So, please check it out.

Metamorphpursuit at Etsy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Coordinated Summer Wardrobe

Over the last few months I did a little bit of fabric shopping. As I've written before, most of my pants no longer fit and I don't own any shorts. So I felt some new fabric was warranted. I used my state tax refund of $50 to buy most of this so I don't feel guilty. I don't, I swear!

Here are the goodies and the projects that these are destined for:

Brown heather linen-like, Daphne batiste (for linings) in papyrus, Prairie Rose Swiss dot, a stone gray polynosic woven, and an Alexander Henry Mocca print in chocolate. What I love about these fabrics is that unconsciously I ended up with mostly items that go together, with the designer print standing alone. They are destined for a top, two dresses, shorts, and pants.

The Swiss dot is destined for a sweet top, perhaps a 2nd Sorbetto? I was only able to get 1 1/2 yards of this, so it is pretty precious. The brown heather woven is the same fabric used on this skirt. I chose it this time to make a pair of shorts, either classic style Vogue 2532 view B, skirt-like Style 1902, or Vogue 2883, a combination of the two.

Luckily, I bought enough of the brown to also make a Simplicity 2406, view C dress, the gray will be pants from Vogue 1922, and the coveted AH print will either be another New Look 6939 or the Vogue 2883, view B dress. I first need to compare the patterns to find the least sack-like one.

Mosaic Multi Dots matte jersey

Of course, there was one fabric I did not buy because it wasn't on sale. I love this Mosaic matte jersey at Jo-Ann. I've been wanting this fabric for over a year now. Next time I have money and it's on sale, IF it is still there, it will be mine!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yves Saint Laurent - Le Style du Monde

Originally published on the Coletterie blog.

Yves Saint Laurent (1936 – 2008) French

"Le Smoking" tuxedo suit, 1966.

Yves Saint Laurent arrived in Paris from Algeria at 17 years of age.  In his second time competing he won 1st prize in a 1953 design competition for the International Wool Secretariat. The award led to being hired to assist couturier Christian Dior. In his three years as a Dior assistant he submitted approximately 400 sketches for each collection and as many as 50 of his were produced in a resulting Dior collections of 180 pieces.

Silk and pearl suit, Spring/Summer 1963.

In 1958, following the death of Dior, Saint Laurent was chosen as his successor; a decision made by Dior himself earlier that year. Saint Laurent was 21 years old at the time and his first collection, Trapeze, was a huge success. However, his second collection three months later was not. While prior Dior collections embraced a feminine and mature woman, Saint Laurent wanted to design for modern woman who were members of the youth culture. In addition, his drastic changes in design themes and moods were not appreciated by the old school couture customers or the fashion press.

During his short stint in the French army in 1960, Saint Laurent suffered a complete nervous breakdown and was medically discharged. During his recovery and absence from Dior, the company took advantage of the situation and installed Marc Bohan as acting chief designer. At that time, Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre BergĂ© chose to start their own company. This split divided the Dior staff and half chose to follow him to his new venture. A breach of contract lawsuit was filed and Saint Laurent won.

Wool jersey Mondrian day dress, 1965.

Saint Laurent opened his own couture house in 1962 with a successful first collection. His subsequent collections would shock the world, such as his 1966 Pop Art collection and the 1965 Mondrian-influenced collection consisting of checkerboard dresses in primary blocks of color.  “Le Smoking,” the female tuxedo, safari leisure suits, bold jewel tone colors, the use of gold, bold pairing of colors, and ethnic inspired collections with Eastern influences, and the use of non-white models in his runway shows are all fashions and design elements associated with Saint Laurent.

Silk and feathers dress, 1974-75.

Saint Laurent launched his ready-to-wear boutique line, Rive Gauche, in 1968 for his younger female customers believing that ready-to-wear was the greatest force in the fashion world. He supplemented the line with designs for handbags, belts, jewelry, knitwear, shoes, and even menswear.

Ethnic evening ensemble, Fall/winter 1976.

He is well known for his Russian Collection of Winter 1976-77 that incorporated elaborate embroidery, metallic piping, braided trim, full sleeves and embellished bolero jackets. It was inspired in part by Babushka peasant costumes and the Ballets Russe, which was also an influence for the designer Poiret. His other collections would pull design references from China, Peru, Central Africa (the Safari Collection in 1967), bullfighting (1979), the 1940s (1971) and even the hippie culture of the time.

Saint Laurent’s later years would be complicated by a heavy alcohol and drug addiction that included many attempts at rehabilitation. After retiring from the business in 2002, he succumbed to brain cancer in 2008.

Claudia Cardinale in The Pink Panther, 1963.

Film Connection: He designed costumes for the female leads in The Pink Panther (1963), wardrobe for Leslie Caron in A Very Special Favor (1965), and that of Catherine Deneuve in several of her films such as Belle de Jour (1967), Liza (1972), Mississippi Mermaid (1969), and The Hunger (1983).

Vogue 1675, 1967.
Home Sewing Connection: For decades, Yves Saint Laurent lent his name and designs to Vogue Patterns.

Ethnic evening ensemble, Fall/Winter 1976.

His style, innovations, and lasting influence on fashion:
  • The designers Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel were great influences on him.
  • His great friends and style muses were actress Catherine Deneuve, model Iman, and Loulou de la Falaise.
Evening dress & shoes, 1960.
  • There was a 1983/1984 Metropolitan Museum of Art retrospective exhibition of his career. This was the first one held for a living designer.
  • Saint Laurent was also honored with a posthumous retrospective in 2010 held at the Petit Palais, City of Paris Fine Art Museum in Paris. This exhibition featured 307 pieces from his entire body of work between 1958 and 2002.
"Pour Homme" cologne ad, 1971.
  • In 1971, he posed nude to advertise his cologne, Pour Homme. Recently, designer Marc Jacobs appropriated the same concept for his fragrance Bang.
Sources: The Great Fashion Designers (2009) Roger Tredre and Brenda Polan; The World’s Most Influential Fashion Designers (2010) Noel Palomo-Lovinski; Yves Saint-Laurent: Forty Years of Creation (1998) Beatrice Dupire, et al.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Knit Cardigan - Simplicity 2560

Pattern: Simplicity 2560

Pattern Description: Misses' Knit Cardigans

Pattern Sizing: View A in size 14, no alterations

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very much. Because this was a knit I used a combination of straight and zigzag stitches on the seams.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved the flowing nature of the design.

Fabric Used: Rayon/Spandex knit in Potent Purple from Jo-Ann Fabrics, $9.75.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Besides lengthening the sleeves as much as the pattern layout would allow (to right below my elbows) I made no other alterations to the pattern. I hemmed and double stitched the sleeve hems to look like a twin-needle. At first I wanted to leave the edges raw, scared of the hem stretching out and rippling. However, I ended up hemming the piece because it just didn't feel finished without that step. It worked out fine, probably because the fabric is three layers at that point. Next time I will add more length to the sleeves even if I have to piece them.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes. I highly recommend this pattern, it was an incredibly easy and quick sew.

Conclusion: A very comfortable cardigan that could be made out of even thicker sweater knit for a more substantial feel.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Small Repair To My Reputation

This was a little project I did a few weeks ago. I had been wearing this dress all summer even though it was scandalously short, especially for someone who spends a lot of her days bending over and crouching to retrieve documents on low shelves.

Some time ago I had purchased a 1/2 yard of a coordinating Calla Green Weavers cloth for $2.25 to add a tier to the bottom of the skirt. I will not tell you how long it took before I finally sewed it on or the very short amount of time it took in order to do it. However, I will show you how cute it looks!

New Look 6939

This dress was originally made to be little less than 34" long, it is now comfortably worn at 36.5" by adding a 6" strip of fabric and topstitching the join. So much more comfortable. And so much more decent!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Easy Quilts of 2011

Okay, looking through the archives of this blog it seems every year I talk about making a quilt. I now have so many saved tutorials and patterns that it is truly ridiculous.

But one day it will happen.

In the mean time, here are a few I want to share with you. If you make any of them please let me know. Perhaps, I can complete a quilt through you.

The Purl Bee's Zig Zag quilt

Here's a handy tutorial on an easier way to construct the triangle blocks.

And from the Bee Square Blog, here is another great way to make a zig zag quilt without using ANY triangles.

Another design from the Purl Bee blog is this unique Sunny Tied quilt

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Sorbetto Tank Top - Colette Patterns

Pattern: Colette Patterns Sorbetto Top (free!)

Pattern Description:
Tank top with center box pleat detail

Pattern Sizing: Sizes 2 -20, I made a size 4 tapering out to an 8 at the hips

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very much.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Well, first of all I liked that the pattern was a free download! I also liked the simple shape and the fact that it could be used to draft different variations. It was quick to make, only used 1 1/2 yards of fabric, and needed no fastenings. What I disliked was the alterations I had to make for it to fit me without gaping.

Fabric Used: A 100% cotton Fruit Spots print by Jo-Ann Fabrics and Wrights 1/2" wide single fold bias tape in Stone Blue (an almost perfect match).

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I originally made a size 6 at the shoulders and armholes and tapered the pattern to a 10 at the hem but after wearing it once realized it was way too big at the neckline and gaping at the underarms.

I took it apart and recut the pieces in a size 4 at top tapering out to an 8 at the hips. It seems my shoulders and upper chest area were too narrow for the pattern as is so I took in the top of the pleat a bit more to eliminate the gaping there.The length of the upper chest was too long so I cut the shoulder seams to the size 2 on the pattern. Then because the shorter straps caused the underarm seams to rise I scooped out the underarm 1/4" and tapered up. I made the changes to the pattern by tracing each fabric piece with every change I made.

After wearing it again, I think I will scoop out the underarm another 1/4".

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I actually have a beautiful Swiss dot print chosen for another one. Now that I have a custom pattern prepared it should be lovely, I might even add wavy cap sleeves as the new fabric calls out for feminine details. I highly recommend preparing a muslin.

Conclusion: A very comfortable top that could possibly be made in an hour (if you're not me!).