Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Homage Murakami

Well, even though i have more than my share of gaping holes in my wardrobe basics, i couldn't resist making this little piece just for fun. Obviously, it is a blatant rip off of Nancy Murakami's little bubble lace cardi in black, over which i drooled in my last post. I made my version using the same Marcy Tilton for Vogue pattern, and just used an ivory dot patterned lace instead of black. I had been eyeing this pattern for months, but it's out of print so it can be hard to get ahold of, and the price can get pretty steep. By happy circumstance, Vogue Patterns recently had a fantastic sale on out of print patterns - $2.99 a pop! - now 8559 is mine. (And just in time, too - i went to link back to Vogue Patterns and 8559 is sold out.)

Heesh, i'm such a copy kitten i even wore my new cardi over a black dress in the same silhouette as Nancy's!  In my defense, I didn't have to run out and make the dress, after all, it's been in my closet for a couple of years. As has the white petticoat (stolen from this knockout Murakami ensemble), the shoes and other accessories. Many style gurus will advise one to take inspiration and make it your own. Others opine that mediocre artists take inspiration, great artists steal wholesale. I'll just say, why mess with perfection?

Even though this particular garment is a bit of charming fluff, i did have a serious underlying purpose in purchasing this pattern. A warm, easy layering cardigan is one of the backbone pieces of my closet, especially during the cooler months. For decades i've relied on a succession of little black cashmere cardigans to fill this role, one at a time. I love cashmere for it's warmth, comfort, and feather weight. But a jewel neck cardi with little shell buttons.......eyelids dropping..........wake me when it's over!  Where is the cardi that slips over a top and under a jacket while actually adding a bit of style along with it's practicality?

In my closet, thanks to Ms. Tilton and Ms. Murakami!  This cardigan pattern is very comfortable and perfect for layering. There's back interest without adding bulk, the 3/4 sleeves don't get in the way while washing dishes and such, and the neckline adds plenty of style without interfering clumsily with more ornate collars, scarves, etc.. There's even a variation on this cardi with faux ribbing at the hems and front and back cut as one. The pattern also includes a cute little tank, which like the cardi-jackets makes up in a snap. In fact, i'm making up the tank in this same bubble lace for a  twinset. And i'm scouting a couple of nice knits for more practical (warmer) versions of this cardi. It's so exciting for me to have found a wonderful solution to a very distressing, decades long wardrobe problem!

All right now, if any of you have made any workhorse breakthroughs or found the style icon who's closet you would steal outright, tell us all about it in the comments!  And if you missed the links in my last posts, click here (scroll down) and here to ogle more Nancy Murakami creations.


  1. That is an awesome cardi/jacket! Love the irregularly spotted fabric. I can see that would be a wardrobe basic.

    So good to see you! I've been thinking about you this month as I do my month of winter neutrals. I've really embraced the neutral for November, instead of fighting it by trying to work in colour - it's been a real revelation.

  2. That is great. I love that whole look.

  3. You look great! I love that little white cardi!

  4. Hello Sheila!! i have not been able to keep up with/comment on your challanege this year anywhere near as much as i would like. But i think it has been one of The Most Fascinating and Useful style experiments i have ever witnessed. Hands Down! I am especially loving the way you are showing how a person can put any number of "restrictions" on their personal style and still have it be a true reflection of that style. Like with your newt months - still gorgeous, still bod con, edgy, flattering, very bold and unexpected while completely tied together. You're working textures, patterns, details and silhouettes overtime - maybe even more than ever with much less color to coordinate.

    I bow before your greatness, as always!

    Revelation indeed! i have to say i think this cardi pattern will be a bit more of a workhorse in more 'practical' fabrics. But.....when it's hot hot hot here in summer how wonderful will it be to have a third layer i can stand to wear!!! :)

    Welcome Marla and thank you! heehee, thank Nancy M. too! :)

    Hi Shams! thank you, it's a fun look and also super comfy (no waist was a good move on last thursday). Stay dry - it's funny, i love skinny pants in rainy weather and looks like you are awesomely prepared!

    Have Fun! steph

  5. Well I had to tear myself away from the vintage Vogue patterns - stunners! And I adore your new cardigan, and the fabric you chose is so lovely. Great look!

  6. I love the fabric in the off white. So unusual that fabric maybe I can convince my husband I need to fly to San F. to shop for fabrics.. He would keel over I'm sure. Well since I didn't win the big lottery this time, I'm back to thinking about my next project. Love all the links to Marcy and Catherine Tilton's stuff. I think that those designs would not work on my figure. I would look even bigger than I already do however it may also have the opposite effect and work as camouflage because they are so big. I might have to experiment with those proportions. Maybe I would be pleasantly surprised. Now I am going to go drool over all of the patterns on the Tilton's web site.

  7. Hi Patti! i completely agree, those vintage vogues are something else! and many are very wearable today, too. Good design is good design! and thank you :)

    Hello Adrienne! heehee, actually the same fabfic is available on Marcy Tilton's site:

    the coton/nylon blend is very soft, drapey and warm. (warm for lace, that is). Altho i would love a meetup!!! :)

    Adrienne, i would suggest you spend some serious time over at Sham's blog Communing With Fabric:

    yes, the same Shams who commented above! Shams has a figure with some strong similarities to yours (lot of emphasis on the bust and shoulders), however with attention to fit and styling she has made many fun and funky, edgy patterns and wear them with complete panache - looks from the Tilton sisters included.

    Here's a link to her Tilton pieces:

    This post on making two version of the same pattern is very helpful. Not thrilled with the 'out of the box' iteration, Shams made some styling and fit changes to result in a much sleeker look:

    Finally, Shams fantastic post on the Full Bust Adjustment with special attention to knits:

    I want to add a caution about relying on photos. They DO lie!! i've met Shams in real life, and the camera adds about 25-30% to her bust by volume. Unless you're making something strictly to be photographed in, i would give a lot of weight to your mirror and the opinion of valued friends when it comes to garment flattery. Don't panic just because something looks great in the mirror and wacky in pix - chances are it's just the camera.

    Have fun and HTH!! steph

  8. I did laugh out loud in surprised delight when I read about your proposed twin set.

    I can't imagine what my workhorses are. My whole notion of dressing is constantly evolving, though. Lately, whenever I put an outfit together that pleases me so much I don't want to take it off (and keep working with the wardrobe), I hang it together. I keep a little list, too, but darned if I can see much relation between those outfits.

    I also, no matter what glimpses of someone's wardrobe I get online - hundreds, thousands of wardrobes over time, too - don't want any of their closets. If I have current favorites I like to check on, they always seem to be women who play up their own style wonderfully but are totally physically different than me and appear different personality-wise, too. And different from each other.

    The one who influences me the most, currently, is Lisa Armstrong, the editor of the Telegraph's fashion section. Used to be a Bazaar editor, too, I think. I love the way she writes about things, always some pithy little observation buried in there. But most of all, I am intrigued by how she can regularly take garments I would have said I hated and are sometimes garments she herself says she still hates and makes them look desirable to me in her What I'm Wearing series. Not that most of these things are actually in her closet. In fact, this week's post, that I haven't read yet, is about full skirts - a difficult item for me because of the high hip and I can't wear them without looking like the hippos in Fantasia. And I see there's no photo this time of her, either!

    I loved her post on her bespoke suit where she said that her tailor told her to have shorter pants length and bracelet length sleeves - on a suit! - in order to feminize it more. I have been working the most on feminizing the masculine, masculinizing the feminine.

    I guess that's in line with my thoughts that it's the attitude and poise that make the closet and not the other way around. It's your developed worldview that came up with your version of that astounding cardigan and viewed it as workhorse to boot.

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  11. Hello My Vildy!! first, thank you for turning me on to Lisa Armstrong - i had no idea, and her writing is just so fun to read! " ....all the feisty, ballsy, times-they-are-a'changin' characters wear pencil skirts. It's the depressed, suicidal housewives who get marooned in the enormous meringues."

    ha! and another example of 'looks may be deceiving', as it's a hellulva lot easier to git thangs dun in the full range of movement allowed by 'meringues'. as for your own wardrobe, i have to say i would be surprised if you said you had particular workhorses - that concept wouldn't seem to be useful in your type of closet. I suspect (altho darn it i have no visuals so it's pure speculation!) you are at heart a horse of a different gait - a clotheshorse, as they are called. One of those people with a very intense intellectual, physical/sensual, and aesthetic relationship with their clothes who really need a large amount of diversity in their closets - over time if they don't have huge amounts of clothes all at once. To me, someone like Sheila of Ephemera embodies this type very seems to me that true clotheshorses aren't really restricted to particular styles, palettes, silhouettes, etc. They are virtuosos and they have to express it!

    i don't know if any of that resonates with you, but when you describe the phenomenal variety of your outfits especially it makes me think of 'clotheshorses i have known'. That type is really far from my own approach but how i respect them! And it doesn't have to be a frivolous, mindless consumerism thing - in fact, ones i've known are very mindful. And talk about fun! Not to mention the 'vavavoom' factor, another clue to the clotheshorse. phoof! what a ramble! sorry about that :)

    "I also, no matter what glimpses of someone's wardrobe I get online - hundreds, thousands of wardrobes over time, too - don't want any of their closets." Yes! as a style blogger and reader it seems kind of sacrilegious to say so ;) There are a handful of ladies who have a number of particular pieces i love. But even then i always think of the different ways i would style that piece, and non of those pieces even would really be part of my wardrobe 'backbones'.

    I think your observations about what make a person/wardrobe interesting are spot on, and thank you for reading and commenting here!!!!

    take care and have a great day, steph

  12. Everything about your outfit is adorable!

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