Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dresses a/k/a I love being a, woman ;o)

There was a conversation going on at Stitcher Guild,10.0.html about dresses. I think the coversation was triggered by the SWAP discussion, along with some very pretty dresses posted by a few members, including Liana and her drop dead gorgeous watercolor 2-piece dress. This discussion forced me to think about why I, the ultimate girly-girl, rarely wear a dress or skirt. Actually, I hardly own any dresses and skirts and this makes me sad as I used to wear dresses every single day, only pulling out pants on very cold days or just for something different.

I think the demise of the dress & skirt (for me) actually came about at the same that fashion dictated "wearing nylons is the ultimate fashion no-no", with open toe shoes which had become acceptable for work, as well as play. Sadly, I started to wear fewer and fewer skirts and dresses. I have to say that the last time open toe shoes and dressy sandals were "in" (1970's - 1980's)we wore hose with them. No self-respecting girl/woman went without hose, especially at work!! I remember going through one pair every day as I would put my toes through them. OK, that part I hated, but this was a necessary evil. ;o) Why did things (fashion) have to be different this time??? Why was it suddenly a sin to wear hose with sandals???And, why didn't I simply thumb my nose at the world and wear them anyway??? Sigh....because I guess I too am chained to fashion and I wouldn't want to commit a huge faux pas and stick out like a sore here I am..sans hose and hating it. Oh, I do wear them in the winter with pants or the rare skirt. At least the chains don't bind me in the winter. ;o) I do have toeless hose, but they hurt like heck and I end up almost bruised between my toes when I wear them.

I will stand up and proudly say that I *like* wearing nylons and I feel finished and polished, not to mention less jiggly in them. ;o) I struggled with self-tanner (hated the inconvenience and mess and smell). Then I gave up and just wore pants. Lets face it ladies, no matter how much we may profess to dislike nylons, many of us do not look our best without nylons, or at least some self-tanner. I work in a building with 1,000 people so I get to see quite a few young and older ladies in skirts, sans hosery, and I'm sorry, but much of it just isn't pretty.

My thoughts then turned to thinking about "why we sew" sew and I collect. ;o) It's so we can wear what we want and in many cases we are not slaves to the at the mall. Soooo....I decided that I WILL WEAR HOSERY and I will wear it proudly, even in the summer as long as I have on closed shoes or shoes with very small peep-toes. For dresses & skirts worn with my pretty high-heeled sandals I will once again pull out the self-tanner and I will faithfully use it.
I must state that I have no objections to white legs in shorts, or casual skirts outside the work environment...hey, we are who we are. I have the whitest legs in the world. But, for my eyes, I just can't think someone looks their best when wearing a work skirt/dress (especially in the winter) and very white, bare, blotchy legs are sticking out from under the skirt. Someone (or many) reading this will probably disagree with me and that's OK. Again, that's why we sew (or collect) to do what we want. Anyone who proudly displays white legs then I say....You GO girl!!!! For this white-legged, blotchy legged gal you'll see hose or self-tanner on her gams. ;o)
These are some of my favorite dresses. I really do plan to make 1 or 2 this summer. I'd say more than that, but it will be a miracle if I get the 1-2 made. LOL!!!! These are only a tiny selection of the dresses I drool over.

Everyone's favorite Vogue 1048- I love Chado Ralph Rucci

Vogue 8491 - this pattern had me when I looked at the jacket

Vogue 1025- I just love the lines

Vogue 1027 - Higher-waist wrap-right up my ally

Simplicity 2888 - Cute summer dress

Simplicity 2926 - cuter summer dress ;o)

Simplicity 3530 - I like that this is somewhat fitted.

Simplicity 3673 - vintage look that I love

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New McCalls Patterns

Yes, I know you've all heard by now that McCalls has released their summer patterns. Just in case you'd like to check them out here is the link:

Some days I'm very slow, so I just noticed this label today on the McCalls site. I'm very excited that both Simplicity and McCalls are trying to appeal to the younger generation and get them interested in sewing. If the economy keeps getting worst more people, both young and not so young, may need to learn to sew. That is if they want to keep updating their wardrobes on a regular basis. Now back to sewing as this is not a political blog. ;o)

When you view my favorites, keep in mind my eclectic style of dressing (on different days) It will be difficult for you to believe I do prefer the Corporate Business Dress Code for work when you see these. But since I work in a business casual a/k/a somewhat trendy, yet conservative, insurance company this is what happened to me. LOL!!!!

Cute dress, but a bit too young for me. However, cut off as a top it *might* work as long as it isn't too voluminous.

This is a cute top, but why-oh-why would we want a top with buttons all the way up the back?? I had dresses like this in the 80's and it wasn't "fun" getting into them. I think perhaps making only the top 3 buttons as "working ones" could resolve the issue.

This is my absolute favorite top from the summer release. Of course I probably already own 10 versions of this from other pattern companies. LOL!!! I would make the blue, pink and red version as I prefer the smaller band.

These 3 jackets are cute for summer. Since I get warm so easily these days I'm not sure how often I'll wear a jacket, but they are cute. M5670 still looks more like a shirt to me than a jacket.



These were my favorite pants in the 70's and my 7 For All Mankind "Ginger" jeans look very much like this pattern. I'd say that's why I like it. ;o)

Another 70's style I love and already have in my wardrobe. This pattern is a winter release. I will give these up kicking and screaming yet again when I no longer can get away with wearing this style. I know we should be ourselves, and not conform to what fashion dictates....but...what do you think about seeing someone with ginormous shoulder pads, obviously from the 80's???? Hmmmm???....... I rest my case. ;o)

Now onto the business look I love. I did purchase these 2 skirt patterns, which were previously released also. I haven't worn a pencil skirt in a couple of years, but now that I'm losing the extra 20 lbs I've been carrrying around I should be able to pull it off. I plan to make the red version, which hits the knee. The blue one is way too long and 80's looking for me right now and the yellow version has pockets where no pocket should be, at least not on this body.

I love the detail of the flippy back on this skirt. NancyW used this pattern in her SWAP. She did a wonderful job sewing the skirt and it looks wonderful on her. BTW, check out her SWAP, in her blog, as she worked hard and did a great job!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday morning ramblings about Style & Patterns.......

Since my fitting class is on hold for a couple of weeks due to our store closing (sob!!) and the need wait for our teacher to return from vacation to start our private group lessons, I'm going to ramble about other subjects. I will however, cut out and pin baste my, really I will...promise. ;o)'s Saturday morning, the sun is shining and the temps will be in the 70's. Who could ask for anything more? Thank you Carol and my friend Elle for leaving comments in my blog. Those comments make me feel warm & fuzzy and..well...established. I hope my ramblings are worthy of anyone actually wanting to read them.

Carol found me from Tearsa's blog, where there is a discussion going on about personal style and do you still wear "trends". I started thinking about my personal style and realized that although I am not eclectic, nor do I dress in an eclectic style on any one day, the garments I'm drawn to are all over the style board. Thus, I think my style is eclectic. My extensive pattern collection reflects this eclectic (or disjointed) style.

If you were to peruse my pattern collection you would find vintage patterns from the 1930's, a few from the 1940's, many from the 1950's, several from the Jackie O era of the 60's and even a few from the 70's. I love the 30's for the long, elegant lines and the 50's for the bouffant skirts and puffed sleeves to the elegant wiggle dresses and fitted jackets. Now that the Jackie O era is *in* I can really appreciate how elegant and refined she always looked. I'm not a huge 70's fan, although I did love my bell bottoms, micro-mini skirts, platform shoes and palazzo pants back then.

The vintage jacket that Elle is making in our fitting class had me drooling in class and set me on a hunt through Ebay to find similar patterns. This is Elle's pattern, lifted from her blog, (forgive me Elle)

It's difficult to see the lines of the jacket, but when I saw the traced pattern, pinned to her in class, I was blown away by the lines and elegant cut of the jacket.

Any 80's patterns I still have are in storage and as Elle said, "That's where they belong". LOL!!!! I was a teenager in the 70's, but I blossomed in the 80's. I loved my huge shoulder pads, big, (albeit frizzy) hair, pink & white Princess sneakers, spike heels, power suits and girly clothing. I gave up those shoulder pads kicking and screaming. Just as some day I'll give up my wide leg and boot leg pants kicking and screaming all the way. (although I'm not giving them up yet!!) I just remembered that I gave up "bell bottoms" in the late 70's-very early 80's kicking and screaming. Hmmm.... yes, sometimes change is difficult for me. ;o) Does this mean that I will again one day wear big shoulder pads and then have to give them up....yet again????

My current pattern collection ranges from Vogue's Chado Ralph Rucci, who is my absolute favorite designer, to a couple of Simplicity Project Runway patterns and everything in between, including many independent pattern companies. If I were to choose my favorite companies, hands down....HOTPATTERNS!! and Vogue. I own almost every Hotpattern printed. I love the owners, the styles, the concept..well..everything about them.

Out of the Big 4, I'd say Vogue is quickly becoming my favorite company. With McCalls purchasing Vogue & Butterick I can see how they are evolving each pattern line. McCalls seems to be more "trendy"; Vogue, more classic and elegant & urban; Butterick more
suburban. I agree with other postings I've read that I think Vogue is getting back to it's former designer image and I love it. I do understand that anyone reading this may have a different take on the pattern companies, and I'm definitely interested in reading your thoughts. As a side note: I know you may hate Hotpatterns, but please do not slam them in my blog. I feel they've been slammed enough elsewhere, and I wouldn't want to see that happen here.

Now I have a couple of questions for anyone who stumbles onto my blog:
1. Do you buy a lot of patterns you probably will never make up?
2. Why, or why not?
3. Are these patterns reflective of your true style or are you buying them for a different reason?

I ask this because I must own somewhere around 500-800+ (or more) patterns and I purchase them for many reasons: to actually make up the garment (yeah right!), for the artwork, for a lifestyle I'd love to live and just because I want them in my collection. I'm truly curious and interested in why you buy your patterns.

Have a wonderful Saturday. I'll spend mine cleaning my house and sewing room. Tomorrow, I plan to go to Osgood's again with Elle. Pendleton wools are calling her name and I want to explore this vast warehouse of sewing goodies.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Butterick 4855 & Cotton Lycra Fabric

Everything has a beginning......

....and thanks to all the wonderful blogs I read daily, or almost daily, I decided to dip my toes into the water and give blogging a this is my beginning.....

I spend way too much time on the internet anyway, so I might as well be productive. I'm hoping that by blogging I'll hold myself accountable for completing projects and not just talking about completing them.

I'm finally taking another fitting class and my first project for this class is a simple Butterick blouse pattern (4855). Yeah, I know you're probably gagging at my choice of pattern, but I like it. ;o) I wanted something simple and collar and set in sleeves. This fit the bill. I'm making View D, with the simple open collar and I'm using View A's shorter puffed sleeve. Hmmm..... mutton, dressed like a lamb...I hope not, but we'll see...! LOL!!!!

This is the fabric I'm planning to use. It's a wonderfully soft cotton lycra that I purchased at last winter.

Please see my next post for the pattern and fabric pictures...sigh...don't ask. ;o) Anyone who knows me, and my computer skills (Holly, Carol & Theresa) understands the previous sentence and why my pictures are in a different's a curse. ;o)