Sweet Betty Blue Kimono – Part 2

Good morning!! Well, okay, maybe it’s not morning. But that’s not the point.

The Betty Blue Kimono

I actually did it! I made progress on the kimono! I’m so proud of myself. As I suspected, the body of the kimono went together very quickly. However, as you can see from what I’m trying to make vs. a kimono I happen to have on hand, there are some differences in the construction. The main one is that the red kimono has open sleeves, that do not close up under the arm.

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The kimono… okay, from now on I’m going to call it a negligee, since that’s what it’s referred to in the book, and since I really strayed away from a traditional kimono pattern to get it the way I wanted it… the negligee doesn’t have open sleeves.

Drafting out new sleeve shape

Drafting out new sleeve shape

So I directed myself to my trusty pattern drafting book, and looked up how to make “western kimono sleeves”, and continued on from there.

So nice and warm.

So nice and warm.

 

Oh. Am I in your way? I thought I was just holding the fabric for you!

Oh. Am I in your way? I thought I was just holding the fabric for you!

 

Let me move out of your way and be as cute a possible!

Let me move out of your way and be as cute a possible!

Pickles helped me with the drafting process, making sure my fabric didn’t move

Look what I made for you!

Look what I made for you!

And then she inspected it once I had cut. She thinks she did all the work- I was just in the way!!

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Before the front was cut open. It's finally taking shape!

Before the front was cut open. It’s finally taking shape!

The front opening of the negligee follows the same style as the kimono, where the fabric is slashed open, and then the raw edges are either turned under in the lining (I haven’t gotten there yet, but I have some nice light blue satin that I think will do just fine), or in the collar band (which I also haven’t done, since I’m having trouble deciding if I want to keep the red from the image, or make the robe all light blue.

What do you think? Keep the red, or ditch it?

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! 🙂

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 😉

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

The Fine Art of Frolicking

There is something magical about a full skirt with a flouncy petticoat underneath it. It evokes the fairy tale princess, dreams of Cinderella and Prince Charming, and the delicate femininity of the 1950’s fashions.

I have been working on a 1950’s style dress for this Sunday, and, as luck would have it, unearthed a black net petticoat from the maelstrom that is my costume shop. I pressed it, tried it on, and swirled through the shop in a tee-shirt, beat up jeans, my petticoat and sandals, like a little girl at the holidays.

Having finally finished my dress (by finished I mean that it’s not held together with pins, and has a functioning zipper, but still requires hemming and a few fitting alterations), I was determined to try it on with the petticoat underneath.

The result was fantastic. it added just the right amount of body to the skirt, and gave a wonderful twirly effect when I turned around to show my patient mother. I jumped up and down, and swirled the skirt.

“That’s not how you frolic!” my mother admonished.  “Stop looking down at the skirt! Stand up straight! Now you can frolic!”

I followed her directions, and frolic, I did, through the living room, and the dining room. And then, having entirely too much fun, I careened into a table in the kitchen and knocked over a bowl full of fruit.

The moral of this story is that as much fun as it is to prance and dance around in a full petticoat and skirt, it is important to keep one’s surroundings in mind. you must be graceful and princess-like… and princesses DO NOT slam into tables! 🙂 Also, remember that a full skirt can knock things off coffee tables… like your coffee mugs! BEWARE,  and, most importantly, have fun!! 🙂

Over the Top (But it’s OK) Pt. 1

You are going on a date. it’s a date with a new gent. Maybe you have butterflies, maybe you are nervous. Maybe it doesn’t even phase you. But there is one thing that I bet every woman does: they try to figure out the “perfect out fit”.

I never really had that problem. I always ended up dating people that I had know for a little while. I got to skip all of the nervousness of a “first date”, and I always considered that a blessing.

Until today.

I met a very nice man online (please hold the snickers, snarky comments, and eye rolling), and after two months of emailing and texting back and forth, we decided to go on a date (the exact day is still up in the air because of our schedules)

But now, I find myself in the exact place that I used to make fun of my friends for. Now, I’m nervous. Now, I’m trying to figure out the perfect outfit, the perfect jewelry, the perfect hair style, the perfect shoes, and the perfect make up.

I feel so freaking girly!!!

And that’s not even the worst part! The worst part is that I don’t have anything to wear!!! Sure, I have some gorgeous vintage gowns (waaaaaaaay to fancy for a first date). I have some frocks that I wear at work (waaaaaayyy to casual), and of course tons of sundresses, and frilly frocks. But nothing was what I wanted. Some dresses that I thought would work, I couldn’t even get zipped up! (It doesn’t help that my wardrobe and my body are going through this really awkward transitional phase…).

I was almost ready to just throw in the towel and say “FUX it. I’m not freaking going!!!” And then I had an epiphany! I’m a costume designer! I know how to sew! And I’ve got TONS of fabric laying around the house!

SO, being the genius that I am, I decided to make the dress.

The black yoke will be a bronze satin

So I settled on this dress, which I have a hoarded pattern for! Isn’t it GORGEOUS!!!? Of course, the pattern is only a size 10, and my big tush barely squeezes into a size 18… so there will be a sample made first. And I want to wear a girdle with it so I have a pretty little waist, which means some more pattern alterations. …

But it will look gorgeous when it’s done, and, more important, I will look FABULOUS in it!! 🙂

So the next question becomes, what accessories should I wear?

 

The Story of the Living Dolly

Yesterday I got all dressed up in my FINALLY finished and perfected “Lil Munster” dress, a pair of lime green-and-black striped stocking, and bright red lipstick, and tromped off to work.

Lil' Munster dress

On the bus I was immediately confronted by a little girl, maybe five or six years old, who was with her mother. The girl took in my outfit for a moment.

“What happened to YOU?” she asked, in that tone of incredulity that is usually only found in an adult.

I stopped, thrown. I looked at her mother for help. Her mother looked like she had surrender for today.

“Nothing HAPPENED to me,” I informed her, unloading a huge sewing/first aid/make-up/emergency kit, a large hat box stuffed full of unfinished hats and a laptop bag crammed full to bursting with laptop, paper work, daily planner, power cords for more electronics than NASA, a journal, and a reading book, all onto the luggage rack.

“But why do you dress like that?” insisted the girl. I thought about all of the smart ass remarks I would normally give an adult. But she was five.

“Because I can,” I said honestly. The girl thought about this. When she was all grown up, could SHE dress like this strange woman?

“You look like the other girl,” she decided.

“Other girl?” I asked. I looked at her mother. Her mother was just as confused as me.

“The other girl. The one under the house.” Her face informed me that I should know EXACTLY who this was. Now is a good time to admit that I adore children. I don’t have any, and because I dress bizarrely, most parents don’t let me near them. I’ve had parents with small children actually CROSS THE STREET. You get used to it.  Some people have small minds.

The fact that this precocious kid’s mother wasn’t running for the hills in fear encouraged me. True, for the first few minutes, she watched me like a hawk, but she didn’t see anything in me to be afraid of.

After a few seconds of contemplation (trying to think like I was twenty years younger) I put two and two together.

“The wicked witch of the West? from the Wizard of Oz?” I asked.

“Of course!” Her mother sucked in a breath. Was I offended? The girl grinned at the joke. I started laughing.

“You’re a sweet kid,” I chortled, well aware that sarcasm was lost on a little kid.

Encouraged by this, she began to interrogate me. Did I always dress like this? Only in October. But why? Because it’s Halloween Month. But it isn’t Halloween!!! It might as well be.

And then she said absolutely the cutest thing in the world.

“Do you turn into a dolly when people aren’t around? Because then I could take you home and keep you and play with you all day long!”

“She’s not a DOLL!! You can’t just take her home! Stop being ridiculous!” her mother admonished. I assured her that I wasn’t a doll. She didn’t believe me.

“What’s under your skirt?” she asked.

“What do you think is under my skirt. Legs! What’s under your pants? Legs!”

She tugged at my skirt. then she grabbed the hem and yanked it up to my thigh.

“Whoah! Kid! I’ve got a real body under there! And I’d like it to STAY under the dress!” I tugged the skirt away from her.

“I’m sorry,” her mother said helplessly. “She wanted to see if you were wearing stocking or knee socks. I’m really sorry.”

She still thought I was a doll. And she informed me that her mother was really a big puppet. Then she wanted me to show her everything in my kit. And then she wanted to see the hats. She was disappointed by the hats.

“You lied! There are no KITTIES in there!” (your guess is as good as mine on that one).

The entire ride, she bombarded me with millions of questions, trying to prove to every one that I REALLY WAS A DOLL. And she planned on keeping me. Apparently she hadn’t heard about human trafficking laws, but I’m sure she will when she is older.

A few minutes before they got off the bus, I handed her mom my business card.

“I usually make adult clothing. But if she really wants a rag doll that has this outfit, I could make one.”

‘Will it talk?” demanded the girl.

“No, ” I informed her. “Dolls can’t talk.”

I doubt that I actually will ever hear about the doll. But the little girl and her mother gave me a really wonderful present – one of acceptance. The little girl wasn’t afraid of me because of how I looked, and her mother wasn’t worried about the affect speaking with me would have. By now they will have forgotten about the woman in the funny dress. But for years to come, I will remember the young girl who swore with all her heart and soul that I would turn into a dolly after work.