Illustration Imitation: Houndstooth McCalls 6566

A few years ago I discovered something really fun (at least I think it’s fun!): I had this early 60s pattern:

McCalls 6566 Continue reading

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Late 1880s Winter Ensemble

***WARNING***Image-Heavy Post – I really love this outfit!!!!***

This was a very spur of the moment make. Only a couple of weeks before Christmas I decided to make it all of a sudden one afternoon to wear out for a holiday dinner with the same co-conspirators friends as the Victorian picnic summer before last. I could have worn my Autumn 1880s ensemble, and planned to do so. But all of a sudden in the afternoon one week before our intended dinner I was struck with inspiration for a new ensemble specifically for winter and vaguely Christmas-y. Within the space of a few hours I had the fabric and design picked out. I don’t know when I’ve ever gotten a sizable project sorted so quickly!

I got most of it done in a week, but ultimately our dinner was postponed until after Christmas. That gave me time to finish it properly, make the hat, and add an extra piece!

In case you missed my year-end round-up post, I won’t keep you in suspense, here it is:

IMG_1677c Continue reading

My MMM’14 Challenge Exception

In my first MeMadeMay post I mentioned that I’d allow myself one exception to the ‘sewing with only Indie patterns’ part of my personal challenge because I’d already planned & started it.

This post is about that dress.

Which was inspired by this dress I saw on Modcloth (probably one of my favourite places for idea shopping, I must confess)

Night Brunch Dress in Fern | Mod Retro Vintage Dresses | ModCloth.com

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My First Me-Made-May!

I’m a little late to the start of the party, but hope to join in soon!

I first heard about Me-Made-May last year but not having a blog I didn’t actively participate.  When I saw that it was happening again this year, I was really excited to try and be part of it.  However, I had a teensy problem: this is supposed to be a challenge but 80%-90% of my wardrobe is already me-made.  People I know have basically stopped even asking if I made what I’m wearing assume that I did (and they’re almost always right in doing so).  Me-Made-May isn’t supposed to just be about showing off all one’s makes, but challenging oneself in some way.  I’m also in a situation of having to be really strategic with my sewing right now considering the time constraints I have between currently curating a fashion exhibit and (supposedly) writing my PhD thesis.  Initially I thought to imitate Tilly from Tilly & the Buttons’ pledge (it is the sincerest form of flattery, right?) to be more conscious of one’s clothes and clothing needs but I wasn’t totally sure that was right for me either.  So it’s been stewing away in the back of my mind while carving (and re-carving, ugh) foam discs into mannequins this week for my exhibit and while strolling through other people’s awesome starts to MMM.  I’m really happy to say that just a few minutes ago I figured out my pledge!  It’s actually inspired by my finding out about May also being Indie Pattern Month – and I just found out right now, while looking for a link about it to slip in here that there are not one, but two (at least?) big online events for it via Modern Vintage Cupcakes and Seamster Patterns.

I’m going to do a mash-up of MMM’14 + Indie Pattern Month.

So, here’s my pledge: Continue reading

Dressing for a Canadian Spring

Especially pertinent this year, amiright!?

Anyway, a few years ago I came up with a method to help with the end-of-winter-everything-is-grey/brown-and-gross blahs.  As soon as March arrives I start wanting colours, pretty colours!  Spring fashions start arriving in the stores at that time, but there’s no way you can wear them without contracting hypothermia because it’s likely still below zero temps and there’s still snow on the ground (and at least one more good winter storm on the way during March, even when it’s not a polar vortex year).  The stuff in stores doesn’t matter to me much since I mostly don’t buy clothes anymore – it just makes me laugh to see spring and summer dresses in shop windows when there’s still lots of snow on the ground, lol.

Spring/summer patterns and fabrics start coming out at this time too.  It does make sense since it usually takes more time (and often planning) for spring/summer sewing than buying clothes, but I want something spring-y to wear in March/April!

My solution? Sewing clothes for “Canadian” spring.  Basically, this means making winter-weight clothes in spring colours!  I kind of can’t believe that no clothing line/brand has hit on this idea for Canada and other “climates of extremes”.

I also try to include making pieces that are transitional, such as fully winter colour clothes that are neutral enough to be combined with spring-coloured pieces and clothes that may not be heavy enough for deep winter weather, but work for that period transitioning between cold and mild (ie April – most years, not so much this one).

I don’t have a huge Canadian Spring wardrobe yet as I find the necessary materials tricky to source.  I like best to use woollens, and acquiring them in pretty spring colours doesn’t happen too often for me as I exist in a constant state of “I’m not really supposed to buy fabric” and only pick up pieces as I happen across them and feel I can’t live without them.

So, I’m adding to this segment of my wardrobe bit by bit each year and thought I’d show you the types of pieces I’ve got so far.

It really all started with these two skirts:

IMG_0997c Continue reading

Regency Ball Ensemble Post #2: Fur Muff

My Regency Blog ensemble posts must seem very out of order or terribly teasing.  The reason is that I’m posting items according to the remaining 2013 Historical Sew Fortnightly challenges.  By a happy coincidence, this ensemble fulfills the criteria for the final four challenges of the year.
Here’s where the fur muff fits in.  What does a fur muff have to do with a Regency Ball ensemble, you might ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Although according to the calendar Winter doesn’t start until late December, practically speaking it starts late November where I live.  I knew there was going to be a little walking involved in getting me from the place where I dressed to the Ball itself and wanted a cohesive whole.  I’m sure you can now start to see where I’m going here.  Because I had lots of the main fabric for my dress left over (it was the original choice for my upcoming Garrison Ball gown so there was 9m of it at 54″ wide) I made a matching/co-ordinating hooded cloak and a fur muff lined with scraps from the dress fabric.
Here are the HSF deets:
Challenge: #24: Re-Do – Challenge #7: Accessorize

Year: Made to go with Regency attire but almost any, really

Pattern: None

Supplies: Silk fabric, wool batting, recycled (reclaimed?) fur from an old coat/jacket

Historical Accuracy: meh. It’s a combination of machine and hand sewing

Hours to complete: about 2-3 hrs

Total cost: all made from leftover bits, so I’m gonna say $0

First worn: November 30, 2013 to the local Regency Ball

Here is what I started out with:

IMG_0387

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UFO Fall Coat, Vogue 8307

Hot on the heels of finishing my UFO fall dress from last year the other week I finished a UFO fall coat, also from last year.  I had hopes to finish it to take with me to the UK for last Fall/Winter, but it didn’t happen.  A winter coat happened instead, which was probably for the best.

I used Vogue 8307:

Vogue 8307 Continue reading

UFO Dress from last Fall: McCalls 6433

I started this dress a little over a year ago, but didn’t manage to finish it before I considered fall over.  As much as I love wearing fall colours, it somehow doesn’t feel right to me to do so once December arrives.  It may seem silly in a time when most traditional sartorial rules have been thrown out the window, but I also follow the ‘no white after labour day rule’.  So, I left off this dress and focused on more wintry sewing.  Going through my UFOs a couple of months ago I found this and decided it should be finished.

Here is McCalls 6433

M6433 Continue reading

Autumn Apron, 50s Style

I’ve been meaning to make myself an apron for some time now, but dresses and other clothes always seemed more fun important.  Two years ago my husband and I hosted my family for Christmas dinner for the first time and spent my day in the kitchen in a silk dress with no apron.  I did the cooking and even made an apple pie from scratch and inexplicably, miraculously didn’t get anything on the dress.  I’m still completely baffled by how I managed it.  This year we hosted them for Thanksgiving.  I was determined to make a silk ‘Thanksgiving’ dress (which will likely be the subject of my next post) but there was no way I was going to push my luck a second time!  Thus, an apron became the next important thing to sew!  I have a few vintage apron patterns and decided on Simplicity 4213:

Simplicity 4213a

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