Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Lantern Skirt and Deadwood Vest

I finished these two pieces months ago and have been getting a lot of wear out of them. In fact, although i just drooled over this Marcy Tilton for Vogue Patterns vest design from the get-go and couldn't wait to make it up, i still have been surprised by how much of a workhorse it's ended up being. It's got the structure of a jacket with a lot less heat (no sleeves and whatnot). No reason i shouldn't have sussed that one out before, but i'm more than happy to learn from experience!

The skirt is genius. Hot Pattern's Fast & Fabulous Lantern Skirt is the same front and back, so it cuts out and sews up very quickly and easily. The contoured waistband sits comfortably along the navel and the roominess of the skirt makes for happy legs. I chose natural linen for my first version and it's saving my life during hot, cranky days when i want to look stylish and/or other than bedraggled. I plan on a dark version for colder seasons, and i'm seriously eyeing all the polka dots i come across for a fun print version. This could be a rewarding project for an advanced beginner who likes the silhouette, due to the straightforward fitting and construction. I'm very happy to have this as a TNT skirt, and scheming to try it out as a frankenpattern skirt option for dresses, too.

The 'Deadwood' vest is a more intricate pattern and i took my time with it. I chose a glistening/pearl finished linen with a plain reverse side, as well as a silk/metallic blend for the ruffle trim. In the photo above i tried to convey the sparkle and see through effects of the silk blend.  The texture variations subtly enhance the natural color of the materials, adding a bit of femme flash. Of course i love my neutrals, but the natural scheme also downplays what could be a pretty dressy piece so i can easily wear it with jeans and denim.

I decided to finish the inside seams with bias cotton lawn leftover from this Sorbetto top. It took a lot of time, i think over a month of working on this vest - partly because this was my first time finishing a garment in this way, so i had to stop and think deeply at intervals. I so enjoy wearing a nicely finished garment! Such a different feel than ready to wear. The best way i can describe it is that the piece functions as a harmonious whole.

But who is that mysterious figure strolling the beach? A while back i learned that Magdelan Rose had posted a very flattering and touching piece on how The Dashing Eccentric had influenced her personal style. Well, all i can say is i still blush occassionally thinking about it, and you should check out her site! Lots of thought provoking fun in the archives. However, i was so tickled by the graphic she chose to illustrate her post, because i suspected it could solve a big sewing problem for me, one i've had for decades. I've wanted a personal label FOREVER. But they were all geared towards....well, grandmas with buns sewing teddy bears for grandbaby number 32. Tumbling blocks, ABC's, pastel colors, pink for girls and blue for boys. Very nice, just not me.

Of course, with the internet all variety of personalized items are more available, including sewing labels. But what with one thing and another, i guess i just wasn't in the habit of of looking for labels of my own and made no progress. But when i saw this lady on the beach, i knew. She embodies slow fashion, i love bustles to the point of wearing them in real life, i'm known for scarves and canes and overly exuberant hair, i went to UC Santa Cruz (school mascot is the banana slug), and this lady is a wonderful pun on my last name. I made up a graphic file from the common domain file, then printed some up on printer friendly cotton. Next thing i knew, i have my own exquisite clothing labels, only thirty five years later.  All thanks to the beautiful Magdalen Rose!

 Marcy Tilton designed this vest as a showpiece for unique buttons, and i followed her lead on this garment. I've had some of these buttons for over twenty years now, i still love them and they still work wonderfully with my style.  Never let a great button escape your grasp!

I have to admit i have a terrible time remembering the various numbers associated with this and that Big Four pattern company offerings. That part of my brain is slippery as boiled okra. Fortunately (for me) a few designs suggest their own name and i don't have to remember that four digit sequence, at least when talking to myself or writing myself little lists. Thus, Vogue 8599 will always be the Deadwood vest. Trixie would rock it in a magenta and tangerine striped cotton sateen with black swiss dot ruffle; Joannie of course would don it in burgundy velveteen strewn with cobweb grey lace; Alma Garrett could wear view A straight off of the envelope photo; and i like to imagine that Calamity Jane herself might wear my humble version in some beautiful alpine meadow alive with chattering tanagers and larkspur shimmering through a cerulean sky, in a land she wanders hand in hand with her impossibly wild and dashing man.........


  1. Fabulous! I really love that skirt, and its simplicity-yet-personality is divine. I would love to see you in all kinds of fabrics in that skirt! The vest is beautifully done, kudos.

  2. I am in awe. This is how you use a single color and add details and design and look great- I always enjoy your work- this is a new favorite!

  3. Adorable vest/jacket - perfect for summer. Your finishing on the interior is swoon-worthy. That's the kind of wonderful detail you just don't see anymore. Love your label!

  4. Hi Patti! yep, Trudy did a great job on this skirt design. and Thank You :)

    Hullo prttynpnk! oh, i blush :) thank you very much. I have to say i've been enjoying both these pieces, together and separately, quite a bit!

    Hi Sheila!!!! thank you, and gosh - 'swoon-worthy', be careful & don't hit your head, you've been having enuf physical trubbles recently :) i hope things quiet down for you there SOON, meanwhile you're looking great anyways!

    and of course you know i was thinking of you as i created this label - land molluscs rule :)

    Happy Friday! steph