Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Blue Beatrice: Another Vogue 8876 Dress by Marcy Tilton

You may remember my rhapsodic post about my first take on this excellent and deservedly popular Marcy Tilton design.  I'm still wearing and loving my first make of this dress, and have been on the lookout for fabric to make into more 'Beatrice' dresses since i finished it.

In early spring, i spotted this gorgeous denim-blue printed linen at Marcy's store and did not hesitate to snap it up. The dress went together quickly, as second go-rounds generally do and as far as i'm concerned linen is just about the easiest fabric to sew. I finished it for my birthday in May, hooray!

That date also gives you an idea of how far behind i am on my blogging - (abashed face emoticon).

I got compliments right off the bat with this dress - one lady at the local grocery store was especially nice and thought it looked so perfect in our first heat wave of the summer.

Obviously this dress is just the best for hot days - sleeveless or with a little cap to protect your shoulders from the sun, the abundant, bell-shaped skirts of the dress catch every breeze and baffle it around a bit before letting it go on it's way, squeezing out every bit of cooling action possible. Who doesn't love practicality along with their edgy femininity!

It's a great piece for fall and winter around here too. Plenty of room for layering tees and leggings underneath, and any waist length or cropped jacket, shrug or sweater works wonderfully. The pattern even has sleeves!  Here in the SF Bay Area this will be a year-round dress.

In case you haven't noticed, i've been adding blue to my well-loved neutrals. It started a couple of years ago when i realized how much i liked denim against black, ivory, and lighter khakis and stones. It's been a smooth process, which really shouldn't be surprising considering how the whole point of neutrals is that they go with everything!

I combined two different buttons on this dress. Tony bought the flat, blue-black ones at Stone Mountain and Daughter a couple of years ago for a shirt fabric he decided not to purchase, and i liberated the grey shell ones from a hand me down Eileen Fisher blouse. I used them first fora  little black jersey blouse in an OOP Butterick design a couple of years ago, but when that blouse died i cut them off and saved them again.  They work beautifully with this fabric.

I love the look of lots of smaller buttons close together, it's one of my favorite trademark closures for blouses and dresses. Using two types of buttons gives a bit of movement to the front of the dress which i like, especially combined with the swirls and motion of the print. I've said it before and i'll say it again - never let a nice button leave your stash!

I usually anchor neck drawstrings with a stitch at center back so they don't fall out or move around during washing or wearing. In this case i thought i'd put a button there in order to disguise the stitching - i picked this one as it's a sleeveless dress.

I hope you all are enjoying your clothing-related activities as much as i am! It's really nice for me, having started this whole 'wardrobe improvement' project back in 2009, all those days later i actually have a closet with a decent amount of new to newish clothing that i enjoy, speaks to my style, and is completely physically comfortable. I even have enough stock to avoid emergency laundry and panic dressing, which happened fairly frequently through most of my life. Trying to avoid these type of events was one of my main motivations in my wardrobe project.

On Father's Day i had an incident which showed me how far i'd come. I'd picked out a nice look for the day (BBQ in the backyard, yum!). It had enough dressy elements so i'd feel stylistically comfortable, good shoes for the look as well as for being outdoors and up and down stairs, just a little skirt and top and coordinating chapeau. At literally three minutes until we would be out the door, as i got ready to wash my hands the liquid soap dispenser went rogue and squirted a line of goo right down the front of my top.

In past years, my wardrobe was so disorganized and skimpy that this would have required a total rethink of my outfit. Panic dressing, as i said.  But thanks to all my clothing obsessed plotting and scheming i simply walked upstairs, chose another top, set the soiled one to soak, and left to enjoy the day in another perfect look.

If you've started your wardrobe journey, but you know you've still got a ways to go and you're getting discouraged, take heart! You can do it! Take a break if you need to, but be sure to get back up and put that nose back to the grindstone because the effort is worth it and you will get where you want to be. And it will be even more fun than you thought it would be!

Have any of you had any 'closet breakthroughs' recently? Let us know if you have!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stormy Riding Peplum Dress

I bought this fantastic rayon from Marcy Tilton over a year and a half ago. I finally found the right pattern to make it up in about a month ago and finished it on Monday.

When i participated in the You Look Fab forum frequently a couple of years ago, Angie identified a minimalist aspect to my style which was not all that apparent at the time. But as the years have rolled on, i've found her observation to be more and more accurate.

Finding the right garment for this fabric is a case in point. This fabric would be a natural as part of a collage in one of the Tilton sisters' tunic, dress or tee patterns. But the color, line, shifting values, paisleys and flowers come right up against the edge of 'way too much' on my personal style meter, and i craved simple lines to let the fabric shine.

I chose April Rhodes' Party Dress from her Riding Peplum and Party Dress pattern. This pattern is a treat to make and to wear. It's as easy as a tank dress, but the full hi-low peplum and shaped waist seam add a bit of drama while also gliding over the stomach and hips.

It's also just as wearable as a tank dress for day to day, and easy to pair with leggings, jackets, shrugs, jeans. It looks so pretty with a denim jean jacket!

I wore it yesterday to pick up Mr. E from the transit station, and i felt so elegant and cool in the muggy monsoonal moisture. I have a length of very light banana linen which i'll make up in the shorter version, i want to try a bit of fabric painting on it and/or add some dimensional treatments to the hem and facings (applied slight ruffle, stacked bias strips, ruching, ?). As always, we'll see how i like the various sample i make up.

picture courtesy of April Rhodes - the Riding Peplum

I've been drooling over this version of the Riding Peplum since i saw it! It's got me in the mood to try out some graded dots or other graded graphic treatment. Plus, may i simply say ohmygoodness who can resist a garment called a "Riding Peplum"?!?!?!?!?  Not me!

Here's a couple of close ups of the fabric, it's so lovely and drapes like a dream.  If i haven't said so before, if you're at all interested in sewing be sure to check out Marcy Tilton's fabric shop. Her photos and descriptions tantalize, and everything i've received from her has been of the utmost quality -  even better in person. Marcy has excellent taste and all she sells is up to her standards. If price is a concern, as it is for me, keep an eye on the Buy of the Week, Sale, and End Cut sections for very good prices. Marcy also sells scarves and bags - just sayin'.

Okay, back to the ironing board and sewing machine! Happy Day!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Eight Gore Skirt with Jacket, Hat and Boots

Another signature look.

I made up this skirt after Shams of Communing with Fabric pointed out the pattern on one of her Vogue pattern release round ups. I didn't care for the look of the jacket at all, so i ignored the skirt. It's easy to make and fit, and fits nicely into my wardrobe.

I saw Shams at a recent sewing blogger event at Britex in San Francisco. This notorious hermit had a fantastic time!

I even heard another attendee or two refer to how odd it is to be in a group of like minded people when we're all drawn together by such a solitary activity.

yes, it's linen - why do you ask?

I sure hope Britex continues with these events! I had a blast, and my eyes were opened to some products they have of which i am in dire need. I had no idea prior to this occasion, frankly i never had much luck shopping at Britex in the past. But now i am planning a trip before the next month or so.  Hopefully this testimony will encourage the powers that be at Britex to forge ahead!

Happy Day!!  steph

Friday, July 4, 2014

Parakeet Shirt and Lavender Lace Socks

Hi you guys! I have some projects i'm working on which squeeze out my blogging time, but i miss it and i like having pictures of my outfits readily available. So i'll be doing some OOTD posts for a while.

Hope you all are doing well. Have a great day! steph