Vintage Lady of the Week: GINGER ROGERS

I adore Ginger Rogers. I especially love her movies with Fred Astaire. For all of the stories I read and heard about, on how they fought all of the time, they danced marvelously together.

I always loved Ginger Rogers for her grace and poise, and her elegance. These are qualities that I frequently think are starting to disappear in modern society. Goblins know I am lacking them!! Her costumes, and her clothes, were always stunning (except for the naughty little lingerie pictures I found!!), which made my selection a little more difficult.

First up is the soft, fluffy dress she wore in “The Gay Divorcee” (1934). The fabric was so lightweight that it almost billowed around her like clouds, and the detailing in the skirt was stunning. This one is definitely on my “To make” list!

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Second is every costume she wore in “The Barclays of Broadway” (1949), but most especially this gorgeous gold dress she wears in the opening number.  On the dress form, it is reminiscent of the white dress that Marilyn Monroe wore in “The Seven Year Itch”. However, the skirt is an interesting sort of deflated-balloon design, which look fascinating every time she spun in the dance number.

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Third is… this… thing… for “Top Hat” (1935). Okay, I’m going to be really honest- all of the fluff up around her neck makes her look like some sort of deranged ostrich. Its the skirt that I’m crazy about. I love the play in textures this dress has, from the silky satin body to the fluffy, floating feathers.

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Lastly (not because I ran out of dresses. I could have gone on and on until the skies fell down!!), is this dress from “Lady in the Dark” (1944). It’s so flashy, and so decadent at the same time, with the touches of fur. I mean, WOW! Show stopping!

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What about you? What movies of Ginger Rogers do you like? What do you think were her best costumes?

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Confessions of an Unapologetic Caffiene Freak

The facts were these-

Three months ago, I RSVP’ed to my cousins wedding. Of course, I had to come up with something stunning to wear, and any old clothing store wouldn’t work- I have an IMAGE to maintain; a standard of (neurotic) excellence to uphold in the eyes of my family. So I decided I was going to make a dress. I had three months. No problem.

I settled on a stunning 1930’s evening gown pattern (not one of my own, shockingly enough, although I did have to size it up from a size 6 to a size 18), and with two months left, I picked out my fabric. I had two months to get it done. No worries.

And then school came along like a rider of the Apocalypse, and gobbled up all my time. When I wasn’t desperately cramming in as much Japanese and Chinese vocab as I could before a test (a test every week??!! That’s pure sadism!!), or maniacally hammering away on my laptop to crank out ANOTHER anthropology essay, I was either folding origami for First Friday until my fingers were numb, or was flopped out in the house in a state very similar to that of a human vegetable. I was exhausted every day, and felt like I’d been run over by a truck. A big rig truck. Multiple times.

Well, my cousin’s wedding is tomorrow.

I started the dress on Tuesday.

For four hours, I sized out the pattern, sewed together a muslin sample, and with a quick prayer, cut into the fabric.

On Wednesday I had a nervous melt down.

On Thursday I worked on the dress for six hours, around a full day of classes and two tests.

On Saturday, I finished the dress, jumped into the car, and scampered off to the wedding.

Is it 100% perfect? Well, to me, no, it’s not. I always struggle with satin, because I don’t actually have a good workspace for laying it out and cutting it. And I skipped the very necessary French seams completely in deference to my limited time.

But that’s not really the point. The point is that with the assistance of seven energy drinks, I managed to put together a stunning evening gown in four days.

Working around five classes, three language exams, and two anthropology assignments.

The moral of the story is this: Caffeine makes the world go around. When you’re at the eleventh hour, line up a few cups of coffee, and get to work! 🙂

Impulse Control Issues

Sometimes, I just can’t help myself. I’m sure a lot of people have this problem. Maybe you see the perfect pair of jeans in a store and you buy them for 110$, ignoring the fact that they look EXACTLY like EVERY, SINGLE, OTHER pair of jeans in the WORLD. Or maybe every time cellphones go on sale, you buy five of them. Not because you need them, but, because, c’mon, they were on SALE!

Actually, maybe most of our problems with over buying would be solved if stores stopped offering “buy one, get X” sales… You can ponder this for today and get back to me!

As I was saying, this impulse control issue with spending is perfectly normal. I myself am known to spend almost beyond my means. And it always comes back to bite me in the tush.

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My most recent splurge was the result of my throwing a tantrum at the fabric store over the cutting counter gremlin. I happen to love Halloween, and this fabric is just so PERFECT. SO I bought ten yards of it, with absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it.

I did the same thing with a bolt of creepy haunted house fabric…

And a bolt of Dia de los Muertos fabric…

Always with no idea what I was going to do with it. I just knew that I wanted it.

But this time, I came up with a genius idea. I sketched out this dress idea-

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And that was when it hit me. I don’t really have the time to do a full scale, 500000000000 piece collection… but why not a Limited Edition Halloween collection?

I ran this idea by my Friend-Who-Remains-Anonymous.

“That’s a wonderful idea!” he said. “You should start creating a buzz about it now.”

And, yet again, I was stumped. How does one “create a buzz”, I wondered.

“Let me guess,” he said, blandly. “You forgot that you had a blog, and haven’t updated it in three months.”

Ha! that’s where he was wrong! I showed him my posts.

“Very good,” he said approvingly. “you told them that you hate the only fabric store in your area because the people are mean, you told them you are a starving artist, and you told them you are insane and think the DEVIL possessed your sewing machine.” Maybe “approving” was the wrong word…

“Now,” he informed me, “you are going to tell your readers all about you idea for this mini collection, and show them your adventure in the creative process.”

I think he was expecting a little too much from me. I think he was probably over estimating my abilities, too.

He sighed. “Mack, just do it. I’ll buy you a cup of coffee for each post you put up about this project.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, sealed the deal. This officially goes to my first cup of free coffee!! I win!!!!!

Of Ancient Egyptians and Bias Tape

First, let me introduce you to Hatshepsut!!

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She is my brand new industrial sewi g machine that I bought for 50$. No joke.

She needs some living care, like some oil, and a new cord, and maybe a new lamp, since the old one got smashed in the moving process.

But other than that, she runs like a dream!! I can’t wait until I have her back in ship shape, so I can put her to work… And let my moms sewing machine take s vacation. That poor little Viking has really been a trooper for me!

So what I have for you today is a rant about bias tape.

I just spent two days making 5 yards of shantung bias tape from 1/8 of a yard of fabric. “Why?!” You ask.

Because the fabric stores near me only sell decently priced cotton bias tape, and for this new panty design, I needed cherry red shantung bias tape like this.

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I’m going to cry blood when I run out of this bias tape!

The Pin Up Sew Along Project Pt. 2

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Last week I put some serious effort into the bra project- I even went as far to time myself, to see how long it took me to make… I know. I know. I was a little bit obsessive… :$

Once I perfected my pattern and sewed half of the sample, I simply couldn’t wait to make the final glorious product!!
I used a decadent, reasonably priced polyester charmeuse. On the upper part of the bra, I did a lace overlay with one of the wider galloon laces from my huge stash.

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Obviously, it’s an asymmetrical pattern, so I tooka good hour trying to figure out which way I wanted to lace pattern to go.

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I eventually chose to cut it with the scalloped at the top, mainly because it created a pretty icicle effect.

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The sewing was pretty straight forward. A little tedious, maybe. But with 8 cups of coffee and Katherine Hepburn movies, I managed to get the cups done in about and hour!! 🙂

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Pretty, don’t you think?

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Now I will admit that I made a mistake- I forgot to attach the back of the bra to the cups before I sewed in the lining… So I ended up sewing it like an insert , which didn’t work out as bad as it could have, but definitely not as good as I hoped. Live and learn.

Instead of using hooks to close the bra, I decided to do a ribbon loop button closure… And didn’t think to look for directions… Not too bad!!

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I’m working on finishing up the bra this week for a little pin up photo shoot!! Stay tuned for my finished project and the next part of the sew along I’m working through!!

For more information on the Pin Up Sew Along, check out Anna’s blog : A Few Threads Loose
And Sarah’s blog: Ohhh Lulu

The Pin Up Sew Along pattern package can be purchased here: Ohhh La La Pin Up Sew Along

Or you can purchase the bra pattern I’m working with separately, here: 1950’s Pin Up Bra #2001

Sunshine & Cinnamon,
Mack 😉

A Delayed Christmas Present Part 1

For Christmas this year I got many wonderful gifts from my fantastic family. And they were all spot on for me. There was the iPod so I could run my store on the go, and pajamas, and funky hats, and LOTS of chocolate. But two gifts stood out and made me want to share them.

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This book is from my aunt. For any one out there who is interested in iconic clothing, or cinema, or just getting into seeing and are overwhelmed by available sewing patterns: this is the book for you.

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The book includes full scale patterns and directions for increasingly difficult patterns that range from the polka dot dress in Pretty Woman, one of Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s dresses, and Baby’s pink dress from Dirty Dancing to more historically inspired (and much more complicated) pieces like Catherine Zeta Jones owning costume from Cabaret, Kate Winslet’s evening dress from Titanic and the stunning evening gown that Kiera Knightly wore in Atonement. There are plenty more projects I haven’t mentioned. And yes, Marilyn Monroe’s dress is in there, too!

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What’s even more fun is that each project gives some background on the actress who wore the dress, the film, and the costume designer!

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Once I get the through the sew along, I plan on breaking into the book and sewing my way through it- some of the dresses look like they’ll be intense!!!!

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Pin-up sew along project pt 1

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The holiday season is now drawing to a close, and with it my vacation. To fill in the gaps of free time I have, I have finally started working on the pin up sew along project!!!

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I have drafted out the pattern pieces for the bombshell bra to my size and am currently working on my second muslin sample/toile.

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I’m going to make both bra designs from left-over pink satin I found in my fabric hoard, with pretty antique lace overlay with lace from my huge barrel-o-lace!!

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So far there is much fun being had in my little workroom 🙂

Learn more about the sew along by Anna: A Few Threads Loose
And Sarah: OhhhLuLu blog

Pattern available at this link as a sew along package: The Pin Up Sew Along Kit on Etsy

Or separately: French Bra Pattern by MrsDepew on Etsy