Saturday, May 23, 2009

a sewing lull but a pattern shopping bonanza

I have a couple of projects almost finished... the purple dress which I wore once but decided to alter only needs some work on the sleeves and a hem, and the camo print Vogue dress just needs finishing on the facings and also a hem.  But, between work craziness, the New York trip last week, and now the fact that I'm feeling really under the weather and have no energy to do anything, I'm kind of just stuck in a lull.That's ok though, the one thing I did have energy to do was shop for deals on vintage patterns at MomsPatterns and LanetzLiving.  And I found some pretty good ones.

I probably shouldn't be buying patterns because I have a ton of them that I haven't even made yet, but some of the ones I already have were sort of impulse buys that I didn't think hard enough about or that I bought in lots on eBay when really only a couple of them were styles that I'm likely to make.  In some cases I was a bit overambitious; I have been planning for a long time to learn to re-size patterns but I haven't gotten around to it yet so the ones that aren't really the best size for me right now have gone unmade.

So this time I only bought patterns in sizes that would fit me with minimum changes, or that are too big rather than too small because I'm much better at altering down sizes than up.

I kept in mind that I need things that are pretty simple so that they can work with a more casual kind of look, since I rarely need to dress up.  I find that shirt dresses and shifts and early 60s styles with clean lines and a minimum of fussy details tend to fit the bill.  

I also took into consideration that I ought to find dress styles that can work in cooler weather as well as warmer weather since San Francisco is almost never truly warm.  For that, I wanted styles that had 3/4 or sleeve options, or that seemed like they would look good layered over a turtleneck or under a jacket or cardigan. 

Finally I remembered lessons learned from certain disastrous previous projects, namely that not every style looks that great on my figure.  I avoided pleats unless I was pretty sure I could convert them, and focused mostly on A-line skirts, princess seams,  things that cling at the bust but not the midsection, and/or high waists.

So, you can see some of the ones I came up with here!  I don't have real specific plans for any of them, but I certainly have a fabric stash backlog to match up with them when I decide.
The first one, way at the top of this post, I hesitated about a little bit because the collar is maybe bigger and more 70s than I strictly prefer, but it is otherwise really cute.  I like V-shaped high waistline, and this certainly is the kind of style I could easily dress down and wear for casual comfy weekend things.  I also think it would look great with tights and boots, a look I wear probably at least 1/2 the time.

The second one down, the Simplicity 8889, is probably the simplest and most versatile of them all.  It looks easy to make, and easy to fit.  It's that clean line mod fashion that can be made dressy or not depending on fabric or accessories.  And it can be done for summer or winter wear, also depending on fabric and sleeve option.  In fact even the sleeveless could probably be worn on its own for warm weather or layered over a turtleneck like a jumper for cold weather.

The third one, Butterick 8883, is more of a 50s look I think.  I'm not so sure about the double darts or pleats or whatever those are in the front of the skirt, but I can probably deal with that somehow if I need to.  And bonus, it might as well be two totally different patterns, for all the difference between the two options.  That seemed like a good value to me!  Completely different collars, short or 3/4 sleeve, full or straight skirt... it's like 2 for the price of 1 and I actually like and think I could make and wear either.

The next one, Simplicity 5655, I really adore, just as much from simply looking at the pattern envelope as from pondering the prospect of making it.  MomsPatterns described it as Jackie O and Air Hostess, two very cool icon styles that I just enjoy thinking about.  Honestly I even have a couple of pillbox hats that were my Mamaw's, one navy blue and the other a very fab leopard skin, that I could use with it if the fabric matches and I want to go fully costume retro!  I probably won't, though it is tempting.

I also love it because it fits pretty much all of the criteria I mentioned above.  Early 60s, A-line, multiple sleeve options, simple clean lines, a natural waistline, can be dressed up or down.  It also looks pretty darn easy.  And I bet the V-neck version on the right might look ok layered over a turtleneck.  Jackpot!

Finally, I bought a smock-like blouse pattern.  I don't do a lot of blouses, but I intend to start soon because I usually have fabric left over from dress projects that could be used in a smaller project like a shirt.  This top needs a lot of fabric, so it may not work that great for leftover yardage, but I think it's cute enough to warrant its own fabric purchase.  I'm in love with the pin-tucks and square neckline on the version at the far left of the picture.

I also bought two others that I didn't have good enough pictures of to post here.  One is a tent dress/shirt dress from the 70s with a collar and buttons up most of the front.  The other is another very simple mod looking dress, which can be made with contrasting fabric on the top part of the bust.  I thought that sounded promising, both for punching up a very plain shape and for using smaller pieces of leftover fabric yardage.

Anyhow I hope to get back to actually finishing some projects to post here soon, and I do still have some pictures of prior projects that probably haven't been posted that I may resort to if I don't get around to completing new stuff.  I don't feel quite as bad as I would if I have a real flu or something; I think I'm just worn down and hopefully will be much better by tomorrow or Monday at latest.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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