Sunday, April 13, 2014

April Showers dress and Giveaway Winner!

April showers bring May flowers... in this case, the flowers are springing up on my newly-finished dress! This is one of those dresses that lingered for ages half-finished on my dress form. I used Simplicity 2444, which was last seen during Me Made May '13 as a wearable muslin which I wear a lot. I had done a lot of hand finishing before realizing that when I put the zipper in, there was a possibility it wouldn't fit (eep!).  I lined this version, and I was rather worried that the bulk of the lining combined with the total lack of stretch (not that the last one stretched, but it wasn't quite so thick) would make it too small, but I powered through because I really wanted to wear it to an event: my friend's bridal shower!

I don't have a lot of detail shots. You all know what Simplicity 2444 looks like, though! Evvvvveryone has made one. (Because it is awesome. I love it.)

Wondering where I am? I am at...

Which is where all my favorite fabrics come from. I was dressed for the shower and my mom and I decided to stop in at G Street. Of course, this fabric happens to be from G Street, and alllll the ladies there were like I recognize that fabric!! Um, I don't know whether to be proud or embarrassed?

And now for some thrilling professional photography:

Here I am, wearing my dress at the event that gave this dress the name "April Showers," my friend's absolutely gorgeous bridal shower. (We were playing a game where you had to guess the celebrity couple. I correctly identified Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy, but petered out around 1969. I did get Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass though! Young Adult Lit for life.)


Fabric: A cotton blend(?) stash jacquard c/o my mom from G Street Fabric.
Pattern: Simplicity 2444
Year: Contemporary.
Notions: seam binding, 22" zip.
Time to complete: foreverrrrrrr
Wear again? yes
Make again? yes
Details/changes: lined bodice, handpicked zipper, hand-finished seams and sleeves.

And the (randomly selected) winner of last week's giveaway is...

Amanda from The Year 2050 who said "The ladies in 5527 look like they're getting ready for a jet set adventure - the one on the far right is definitely the stewardess. The two next to her are arguing about where they're flying and the two on the far left are totally ready to go on their wacky European vacation. They are also all a bit miffed that everyone else chose the exact same shade of blue as them. Jeez.

I'll be sending you an email, Amanda! I can definitely see the stewardess look--perhaps you can make your own Pan Am uniform :) 

Thank you for all the hilarious comments. Every time I got an email about comments, I was so excited to see what you all had to say!

miss allie

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vintage Sewing Pledge & MMM'14

My Weekend Wardrobe project has expanded into participation in the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge.

I, Allie Massey, pledge to sew five vintage patterns from my stash in 2014.

The first is my whole Weekender Wardrobe pattern, of course.

I also want to master this nice little blouse pattern, Butterick 3324:

I think all three of these are very wearable. 

So I have made a little white wearable muslin version of View C, which is not quite acceptable for out-of-house-wear, and therefore has been worn out of the house like 5 times already. But that is good, because it shows I will get good use out of tops made from this pattern! If you were curious, the ties on A and B are actually different! The tie on A is cut to go in the same direction when loosely tied like that, and the one on B is cut to be symmetrical when tied in a bow. 

The next two are two cute pajama sets (one for me and one for my man):

Doesn't she just look so darn cute?

And these fine gentlemen have a lot of things to get done, clearly. I like their loafers. 
Also, why are men's patterns just short, average, tall, while we ladies have to deal with misses, miss, petite, junior, teen...? I'm sure I'm forgetting other "sizes" that are so hard to decipher! Boo.

Finally, I'll be sewing up a little something special that you will have to pop over here to see (no boys allowed, this means you, Alex).

And that makes five! Thanks to Marie for inspiration!

With all these lovely separates I will (presumably) have made, it will be perfect for Me Made May, which I cannot believe is here again already! So:

I, Allie of missalliemass, pledge to wear one or more me-made item of clothing 5 days a week.

Oh! but didn't I say every day last year? I did! But I also realize that some days  I never get "dressed" and wear workout clothes all day because I am lazy/a 24 year old sorority girl/whatever I don't need an excuse. This year I'm only saying 5 days a week, and hopefully I will manage to take some decent pictures to make up for those missing two days. Y'all know my pictures last year were not great :) hopefully this year they will be better.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weekend(er Wardrobe) Update & Giveaway!!

I have been busily sewing, but I don't feel like I have been producing anything that quite merits its own post, that's why there's been radio silence from me for a little bit. There's been lots of muslining and trying-on being done around here, and lots of walking back and forth from my sewing room to my mirror in the bedroom, and lots of clothing discarded in the sewing room and frantically searched for everywhere else before I remember where I have left it, and then lots of lint rolling as I discover it is covered in fabric scraps and millions of snipped threads. (Do you do this, leave your real clothes in your sewing space when you fit garments?)

So instead of showing you a finished garment, I have some generally poor photos of works-in-progress to share today. And a giveaway!!

I have been busily at work on my Weekend Wardrobe. The dress and blouse are the same, the top is just extended, so that makes it nicer to fit, but I'm still having some issues. It is too big through the shoulders and bust--this pattern is a 14, and so while it makes the pants fit nicely, I'm really a 12 on top. It shouldn't be too hard to fix, but I love where the end of the sleeve hits, so I don't want to mess that up. Ugh, fitting! It's so annoying!

Here's the dress:

Looks good! Yay! Right?

Nooooooo :( this is way too wide on top. 

And here's the back, which has no darts, and clearly needs some. 

You can see here and in the first photo that the dress's sleeves hit just past the shoulder, almost like tiny little cap sleeves. That is how it is supposed to hit--that is intended. However, that is just about the only thing here that looks good, from the waist up. I took in the CB seam by 5/8" (so that is 1 1/4 inches total taken off the back). You can't tell in these photos but the side seam on one side is taken in a bunch. I have some more fitting schemes that I want to try out though since that doesn't seem to help that much.

Some exciting news: if you are interested in joining me in my quest to complete an entire wardrobe pattern, but don't have a wardrobe pattern of your own...

you are in luck!

Ashley from Craft Sanctuary was cleaning out her stash and generously offered to donate a few wardrobe patterns for a lovely Weekender Wardrobe giveaway.

Butterick 3054 in bust 30 1/2, McCalls 9290 in bust 31 1/2 (1968), and Simplicity 6853 in bust 36

Simplicity 5527 in bust 34 (1973), and McCall's 2415 in bust 32 1/2

People will stare at you enviously while you wear your groovy dress from 1970. 
I can't help you achieve that glorious hair though! Maybe invest in a wind machine? 
Doesn't she look fashionable and carefree?

These two sets of twins from 1974 look groovy in their coordinated outfits. 
It must be nice to have someone to share patterns with--
I wonder if twins have to make all the same alterations?

And these quintuplets are definitely getting their money's worth from this pattern!

These are all rather small sizes, but remember--you can always grade a pattern up or down using Casey's wonderful and detailed tutorial, and I've heard positive things about using a photocopier as well!

One of the reasons I started blogging about my sewing projects (besides mooching advice from all you lovely people) is because of the great community it is! Thanks again (times one million) to Ashley for being amazing and helping me out with this giveaway.

All you need to do to win these five patterns is leave a comment below telling me where you think some of these fashionable ladies are going in their nice new handmade clothing!

I will end the contest Sunday, April 6 at 5:00 pm EST. The winner will be drawn randomly and I'll announce it here next week :)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

hopefully, the 5299 pants final fitting

Hello, lovely readers!

Are you sick of pants yet? ME TOO.

You may remember last time when I tried Kenneth King's crazy fisheye dart technique to reduce the under-butt sagginess in my new pants pattern. Well, I made another muslin, trying a different tactic--instead of trying to do some crazy magic, I just took in the at the side seams at the problem area.

Different? Yes.
Perfect? No.
Better? Arguably, yes!

Back view aka VPL.


I was so enthused by this new development that despite the fact that I never ever want to sew a pair of pants again, I sewed another pair of pants! Ugh, I have gone through so much practice fabric. But it is worth it, because it looks so different in a twill than a thin muslin cotton.

Hey hey!! 

Get ready for some exclamation points, I am excited! 
Unfortunately (for you), I've made more black pants, which don't photograph very well, but I'm trying to use this light in the corner of my sewing room (aka the guest bedroom), which you have seen a lot recently.

PANTS! Wearable pants!

The front! I think it looks nice, right?

Zipper and side view. 

We have some little wrinkles going on, but good! 
And partially because I am twisting around.

Awkward self-photo, but good light.

Similar awkward self-photo.

I am pretty pleased with myself. I feel like Laura Petrie--success!



Sunday, February 16, 2014

Secretary Laurel

I tooooold you I made two Laurels! I needed a break from pants fitting, and I love my Colette Laurel pattern--it fits very nicely out of the envelope and it is really versatile.

While the first one was fairly straightforward, my second dress obviously diverges from the pattern a little! I've been hoarding this fabric, purchased for me by my mom (thanks Mom!) for exactly this dress, but I wanted to wait until I had my shift perfectly fitted, and take my time making it. It is some sort of geometric jacquard, I think a poly-cotton blend. I sort of feel like a cross between a glamourous secretary and the most beautiful couch ever. I love it.

I wore a vintage pin (my great grandmother's costume jewelry) with it for these photos, 
it has little pearls and tiny pink rhinestones!

In addition to the modifications mentioned for my Floral Laurel, I added a little roll collar with a split back, which is easy: just cut out and attach a rectangle as long as your neckline and twice as wide as your desired collar depth (like this).

Here you can see the collar points in the back. They don't lay down very nicely in this fabric, so I think I'll have to tack them down. Oh and did you notice my seamed stockings? They are nude with pink dots and seams, and I got them for free from What Katie Did for filling out their yearly customer survey! Score!

I also switched out the sleeves. Laurel comes with a sleeve option, actually two: an elbow-length sleeve and the same sleeve with a ruffle that brings it almost to three quarters. I wanted real three quarter sleeves, and I really wanted sleeve darts--I think they are such a nice vintage touch--so... I sniped one off a vintage pattern!

I used the sleeve pattern from McCall's 6969, also seen in other various incarnations here, from 1963.

The pattern illustrations on this one kill me.

Here's what I did: I lined up the grain line, because that is a thing that you are supposed to do. Then, I lined up the underarm points. I basically ignored everything above the underarm from the vintage pattern, tracing the laurel.

First, press your pattern pieces. (I skipped this for my little recreation.)

So, trace the left side of the laurel sleeve.

Then, I ignored everything below the underarm from the laurel, tracing the vintage pattern. I just fudged the seam from the underarm point of the laurel to the sleeve hem.

I ended up (luckily, through no skill of my own) with a beautiful, vintage sleeve tacked on my modern Laurel. I'm really kind of shocked how well it worked, and the resulting sleeve has lovely elbow darts.

Lovely, lovely sleeve darts, bonus french side seam.

I'm really pleased by the interiors of these dresses. The Laurel is so simple that it is easy to finish all the seams nicely, and it really is worth it. I know that taking my time with French seams (and French whipped seams for the armscye seams on the pink one) will not only extend the life of my garment, but make me happy! I am so proud of the insides.

French whipped seams, also known as double row of stitches plus zigzag.

To attach the collar, I sewed it right sides together, 
then pressed and stitched in the ditch.

Bias bound center back seams, lapped zip.

And the outside on the mannequin.

Fabric: A mystery stash jacquard c/o my mom from G Street Fabric.
Pattern: modified Laurel, size zero.
Year: Contemporary.
Notions: double fold bias binding, 22" zip.
Time to complete: even with the seam finishes and additions, this took me less than a day.
Wear again? yes!
Make again? yes.
Cost: free to me!

UPDATE: I have entered this as my Mad Men make in Julia Bobbin's third annual Mad Men Challenge! Although I am terribly far behind, I do love the show and the fashion. I'm going with Megan as my inspiration once again--she is always wearing this color--and that makes two years in a row that I've made a Laurel inspired by Megan (here's the other one). What will I do next year?!


Friday, February 14, 2014

My Floral Laurel! ps: NOT PANTS!

I've felt like I'm fighting through my sewing recently. Pants fitting! arghhhhhh!!!

After all these close-up pants fitting posts, how about some nice loose fitting dresses?

I was really feeling in need of some "instant gratification," and I turned to Colette's Laurel. I have made the Laurel several times (my Megan Draper dress and my Lilly Laurel)--it is super easy and fits well. 

So I made two! Here is the first one, a lovely spring/summery shift with a bright floral.

Don't you love this fabric? It's amy butler, and I think it looks just like the fabric from Betty Draper's floral dress.

My original plan was to make a similar fitted sheath, but... ugh. I don't want to bother with that. I don't know, I can always pin out some more and make it more fitted, but this relaxed shape is more practical since my life has more crawling on the ground than lunch dates meetings with politicians.

I only made slight modifications:

1. I lowered the bust dart points by about half an inch.

2. I straightened out the side seams. I consider myself a slender pear which sometimes makes vintage shift patterns annoying to fit, since they seem to be built for someone with a real hourglass figure (the shift from my Weekend Wardrobe pattern, Simplicity 5299, falls in this category). The Laurel has a dramatic curve at the side, such that it gives you, like, hip wings? Anyway, I just used my french curve to straighten it out a little. The hem circumference ends up the same, I just straighten out some of the S-curve. You can see my "enhanced" seam on the left.

3. This pattern is short. I loooooooove short dresses, the shorter the better in my opinion, but I am also practical (at least, sort of) and I want to be able to wear these dresses to work.

4. I made myself some facing patterns and used those. I know they are supposed to all be bias finished, but whatever. I like facings. I sew and I can make whatever I want, SO THERE.

After all the tedious pants muslins, it is so refreshing to whip up an easy shift, and even more satisfying to see all the nicely finished insides. Plus, now I have a Laurel for both the Draper wives, Betty AND Megan! 

Fabric: Amy Butler's Tumble Roses (from my stash)
Pattern: Laurel, size zero.
Year: Contemporary.
Notions: 22" zip
Time to complete: not long.
Wear again? yes!
Make again? yes.
Cost: $20ish

p.s. I will not be wearing this outside since there are INCHES of snow on the ground--in North Carolina! It is in the process of melting, but that means all the places are not covered in snow are covered in slush.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

another pair of ill-fitting pants

Before I start, let me just say that this post is not particularly interesting. It is mostly for personal reference.

Last post I compared the two flat pants patterns from Simplicity 7087 and 5299. We've already seen 7087's pants, so lets compare it to my first version of 5299, unfinished (I didn't do the waistband or hem the legs) for fitting.

The 7087s are in navy, the 5299s are in black. (side note: It was so hard to get picture you could see! I ended up flipping through all the settings on my fancy camera and, fittingly, "retro" mode takes great photos of fitting wrinkles!)


Zipper side:

Non-zipper side:


Whew! The black pair from my chosen wardrobe pattern fits interestingly does it not? I think I have low hips (the things we think when we sew), so there's a lot of space in the torso (but not the waist). Fortunately many of the wrinkles can be pinned out of the top. Also the side with the zipper fits better than the unzippered side, surprisingly, which I think is because of the extra bulk of the zipper in that not-filled-with-hips space. I lengthened the inside set of darts on the front and the outside set of darts on the back, each by 1", and took out a tiny bit on the non-zip hip, which improved the fit.

In stage two, I improved the butt sagginess. I used a modified (read: lazy) version of Kenneth King's alteration, seen in this Threads article on just how to fix the baggy-seat issue. While poking around on the internet, I found some delightful person had created a pants fitting pinterest board! The two main fixes for bagginess under the seat are pinching out a dart at the hip line detailed here OR taking a dart/slash out just below the crotch line, a la Mr. King. I stood in the mirror and tried both, and decided to try Kenneth King's because 1. it seemed more appropriate for my shape (I really doubt the under-butt sag was cause by lack of butt) and 2. it seemed easier.

Soooo much better than before. Its still not smooth--but remember, this pattern does not call for stretch fabric specifically, and I would like to be able to sit down. I am thinking about making the same pattern with my adjustments in a slightly stretchy fabric just to see how it reacts.

My under-butt alterations didn't fix my front crotch issues, but it didn't aggravate it either. Side profile looks much better--the side seam still has the diagonal wrinkles, but not as drastic as before, and the leg profile is much better. 

So my question for you is: what's the deal with my front wrinkles? They don't extend through the CF seam. What is the deal?! 

Alternately: if these pants are BLACK and you can't see any of these problems without messing with your camera for ages, should you even bother? Would you wear these out in public? Should I maybe hem the legs and attach the waistband before doing so?