Color of the Year 2020: Classic Blue. That will make a lot of people happy. Blue is an incredibly popular and versatile color. Just look at how blue jeans has become the sartorial standard for most people in countries all over the world. I love blue. And everything goes with blue.
Pantone – “Instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.“
Spoonflower has some very pretty designs featuring their take on Classic Blue.
Fortunately, as an “Autumn”, it is included in my palette. But I believe all people can wear Classic Blue, even as a foundation if not a stand alone color, like blue denim jeans.
It will be interesting to see in the coming year how fashion and interior designers use this color.
And I have plenty of blue fabric in my own stash, like this Cotton + Steel “Arrows” in navy that I’ve had for a few years now.
And their “Moon Bunnies” print.
Plus many other fabrics in varying shades of blue. Well it’s time to get planning. This color of the year is the perfect motivation to stash-bust all those blues.
“Blue moon, you saw me standing alone Without a dream in my heart Without a love of my own Blue moon, you knew just what I was there for You heard me saying a prayer for Someone I really could care for…”
I just watched “Ladies In Black” on Amazon Prime, a charming comedy drama about the lives of a group of clothing department employees in the upmarket store “Goode’s”, set in the summer of 1959 Sydney. It has been adapted from the bestselling novel by Madeleine St John. It Stars Julia Ormond as Magda, Angourie Rice as Lisa/Leslie, Rachael Taylor as Fay, and Alison McGirr as Patty.
The costume designer, Wendy Cork, did a fab job of dressing each woman to character and evoking a dreamy 1959 look.
The story opens with Lisa (Angourie Rice), a shy 16-year-old, taking a summer job at Goode’s department store, where she meets the “Ladies In Black”. She gradually blooms as the story progresses, especially under the tutelage of Magda.
Fay is the film’s romantic heroine. Costume designer Cork says she wanted to maintain that classic 50s Dior ‘new look’ – with the nipped-in waists and the big full skirts and the petticoats. Fay gets to wear some of the prettiest dresses.
Fay meets Rudi (Ryan Corr), a Hungarian, at one of Magda’s parties. He is very cultured with a great sense of style. He’s a colourful character with a good heart, who is out to impress but still manages to be delightfully eccentric at the same time. He’s ready to fall in love and looking for a partner with whom he can share music and art.
Patty is the working wife of the story. I couldn’t find good stills of her wardrobe and I don’t know how to capture good images from video. She dresses very housewifely, but still manages to get dolled up for a night out.
My personal favorite is Magda (Julia Ormond).
Magda, a WWII survivor and Slovenian immigrant with experience in European Haute Couture houses, runs the couture gowns department at Goode’s. She has impeccable taste in high fashion. Magda is strong-willed, sexy and feminine. She embraces her womanliness and unapologetically shows off her figure.
Again I couldn’t find many stills for Magda. You’ll just have to go watch the movie and pay special attention to the cocktail dress she wears in the final scene. It is a beautifully fitted dress with bead embroidery around the neck and wrists, and a narrow scarf-like drape attached to the back neckline which trails bewitchingly behind her.
Magda: “I should have gone to mass this morning. Oh! Too late now.” Stefan: “Well, there is a midday mass.” Magda: “Oh, I need some rest.” Stefan: “I’m sure God will understand.”
Sept. 21st is the 10th International Red Panda Day. These cute little creatures are on the World Wildlife Fund’s endangered list. They are rapidly losing their natural habitat to deforestation and cattle grazing. They face dangers of poaching, traps meant for other animals and attack by cattle dogs. International Red Panda Day was created to bring awareness to their plight. My local zoo, The Charles Paddock Zoo, is aiding in the conservation of these cuddly looking creatures by offering them a safe habitat at the zoo. Go to https://www.redpandanetwork.org to learn more about these little pandas.
Dr. Steve Robinson, the zoo’s vet and my “Star” for the next “Dancing With Our Stars” Atascadero Library Fundraiser in March 2020, says these guys are like the perfect, cuddly teddy bear come to life.
I’m wearing this great Red Panda pin by Erstwilder.
Help save the Red Panda. Use hashtag #IRPD2019 on instagram – set up by the Red Panda Network.
Here’s a dress I just finished for summer, even though summer is supposedly over. But here on the central coast of California, we’ve been having 100°F/37°C days with no end in sight. September into October is typically hot here, so more opportunity for warm weather dresses. The fabric is a chambray I got from Fabrics.com. It’s a medium weight with a very soft hand. It almost feels flannel-like.
This dress pattern is Simplicity 8849 which includes a top and skirt plus a light bolero type jacket or topper. The dress has a modest neckline, great for those times when you don’t want to show a lot of cleavage.
I left the pockets off. My hips are wide and I don’t like to add more width with extra large pockets. The button spacing was a little too far apart in the bodice so I sewed snaps in between the buttons to the waist. The pattern has no button placement at the waist either, so the snap sewed there helps to keep the button placket closed. No gaping at the waist please!
The facing edge is finished with a serger. The pattern has you turn under a narrow hem on the long edge of the facing which is sewn down later. I thought this would make it lumpy and I prefer my facings to be flatter where possible.
I tried the tissue fitting method instead of making a full muslin. It came out ok. I’m still not very good at the tissue fit process yet. I really have to take one of those class from Palmer & Pletsch. The tissue didn’t reveal to me just how high the underarm area is. On me it hits quite high right up under the arm.
So if you need more room in the underarm area, I recommend you check this carefully before you sew. Fortunately, I am very short from the top of my shoulders to my waist, so it worked out just fine for me. This is unusual in patterns. They are more likely to have arm holes that are way too low and large for me. I also recommend bra strap keepers on the shoulder straps if you like to keep your bra straps out of sight.
Overall I’m happy with this dress and it will get worn a lot as long as this hot weather continues.
I sewed this dress to wear for a fundraising dance demo with my dance student/partner, Dr. Steve Robinson, the Zoo veterinarian for the Charles Paddock Zoo. Dr. Steve is raising money for the Zoo.
I found this very nice Leopard Print ITY 2-Way Stretch Knit Polyester Lycra Spandex from FabricsUniverse on Etsy. Steve is wearing a leopard print shirt, so I wanted to match/coordinate with him. I sewed the whole dress using my regular sewing machine that comes equipped with a stretch stitch.
This is a Franken pattern project. I started with a base pattern, Simplicity 1111 view A-B for the crossover bodice and torso. Then used McCall’s 7046 view D for the flounce, and Simplicity 8874 View B for the sleeves.
I used the size 16 for the front bodice pieces. Sometimes it works for me to fake a full bust adjustment by using the next size up for just the front bodice pieces, but this time I still needed to add some length at the bottom gathers. I also had to pinch out half an inch along the neckline to prevent gaping. Those are typical bodice adjustments for me. I used size 14 for the back and body pattern pieces. I could have cut the size 12 for negative ease, but I preferred this dress to be body skimming rather than body hugging.I added on the flounce to make the dress swingy and swishy for swing dancing. I used the flounce pattern piece from McCalls 7046 and doubled it. The pattern uses just one full circle and I increased it to two, a full circle for the front and a full circle for the back. This called for some mathematical adjustments to the hip circumference on the original pattern piece. There’s a fantastic article about flared and circle skirts and how to calculate your own in the current Threads Magazine (November 2019 #205 issue). The doubling of the full circle flounce makes it extra swishy. The flounce hem is a regular straight stitch. It doesn’t need to stretch so this worked just fine. I also added an attached, self-fabric half-slip underneath the flounce for modesty. When I spin and twirl, the flounce really flies up. I’m 50-something and prefer not to expose myself all the way to my hoohaw these days. The half-slip, which does need to stretch, has a 1 1/2″ / 4cm hem done with the stretch stitch that is included in the stitches on my regular sewing machine.
I ran into trouble with the neckband. My regular sewing machine did a lousy job of topstitching the band, so I hand sewed it into place on the inside with an invisible, tiny, stretchy catch stitch. Next time I’ll drag my Coverlock out from the bottom of my closet for a more professional finish.The bodice is lined with some poly spandex-like knit I had in my stash.
I love the sleeves with the tie detail from Simplicity 8874. It’s a very simple design and an easy-to-sew tie sleeve.
The knit fabric was very forgiving as far as fitting all the different patterns pieces together. I didn’t run into any any problems. I’m very happy with this dress and it’s easy to dance in.
“In the jungle, the mighty jungle The lion sleeps tonight In the jungle, the quiet jungle The lion sleeps tonight Wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh, wimoweh…”
I meant to make this sundress to wear on our trip to Catalina Island in May. But the weather was damp and cold, so it was left unfinished in my sewing room until last week. This EvaDress pattern was originally manufactured by a German pattern company in 1935. It has a front button closure with a diamond shape cut-out design on the bodice. In the original pattern, it had 6 buttons down the front and was sewn at the center the rest of the way to the hem. Eva Dress changed it to 9 buttons leaving the seam free and finished with a long front facing all the way down the front. It has a belt that has two buttonholes which then is buttoned directly to the dress’s front button. I skipped the belt because I don’t like wearing them and avoid them where I can.
Eva Dress offers this pattern in sizes 30″ bust to 40″ bust. The fabric is an Amy Butler 100% quilting weight cotton called “Love Water Bouquet” in Midnight. I think I got it from Craftsy. I skipped trying to do any pattern matching. There was just barely enough fabric to fit the pattern pieces. I usually don’t like to use quilting cotton, but in this case, it holds the cut out shaping nicely. The armholes are faced with bias tape and topstitched. I’m not sure I like the topstitching look only around the armscye.
I discovered the diamond cut-out was WAY smaller than the envelope drawing in my test muslin. It was more like a perfect little square. I almost always make a muslin when using vintage patterns as there can be unexpected quirks in the design. So I extended the width of the diamond so it looked more like the line art on the pattern and re-drafted the facing to match. I also made my usual FBA and shortened the waist by ½ inch. I like the deep back although I raised it a bit so it is bra-friendly.
I hemmed it higher to just below my knee. I know the hemlines in the 1930s were at mid calf or down to just above the ankle, but those lower hemlines are very unflattering on me. Although I think this could make a really pretty maxi dress.
I’m really happy with my new sundress.
Dress: Eva Dress D30-6222
Shoes: Royal Vintage in Rose Gold
Clutch & Jewelry: vintage
Hair flowers: hot glued by yours truly
This is my entry for Pattern Review’s Sheath Dress Contest.
My inspiration is Ann Margaret from the Elvis movie “Viva Las Vegas”.
I made my dress from Butterick’s Retro Line of patterns, #6582. It’s a 1960s dress with a faux crisscross bodice and gathered shoulders. It can be made as a sheath or with a full skirt. The fabric is Deco Delight by Fabric Freedom London England, a mid weight cotton.
I started with the size 12 on the bodice and graduated out to size 16 on the hips. I have hips, so for a fitted dress, I need to go up 2 sizes. ACK!!The jewelry is a fab vintage celluloid set I nabbed on eBay.
I used an invisible zipper for the center back instead of a regular zipper or a lapped application. I like vintage style but I’m not a purist.The dress pattern just uses facings around the neck and armholes. Usually I would go ahead and make a full lining, but this cotton is mid-weight, probably a quilting fabric. It’s been in my stash for many years, so really I’m not sure. And so because of the heft, I chose to eliminate interfacing for the bows or they would have gotten very bulky. I have the bows attached with safety pins. Not sure if I want to make them permanent or leave them off.
Here is the dress without the shoulder bows.
For my figure, I needed to make a full bust adjustment, shortened the torso length by .5 inch/1.2 cm. I lopped off 4 inches/10 cm, from the hem (I’m short). I had to pinch out a 1 inch/2.5 cm, wedge from the front armscye to fix the major gaping there.
I love this dress. Paired with my kitten heels, I feel ready to meet Elvis in Viva Las Vegas!
“Bright light city gonna set my soul
Gonna set my soul on fire
Got a whole lot of money that’s ready to burn,
So get those stakes up higher
There’s a thousand pretty women waitin’ out there
And they’re all livin’ devil may care
And I’m just the devil with love to spare
Viva Las Vegas, viva Las Vegas!”
I just got back from Catalina Island where we attended the Avalon Ball put on by the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles.
This was my first trip to Catalina Island. No wonder they named the town here Avalon. It’s an enchanting place.
I made Butterick 5136 (Retro 1948) gown out of a celery hued crepe backed satin from my stash. I have no idea what the fiber content is. It’s been in my stash for over 20 years!
It was fairly quick to sew as this was a last minute decision to sew a dress. So typical for me to give myself a tight deadline of just 3 days, from muslin testing to finished dress. I made a wide fabric shoulder strap instead of the jewelry chain suggested in the pattern instructions. I sewed black mini Camellia chiffon flowers I got on Etsy to the strap as a kind of corsage.
I also added a full self-fabric lining and an underlining with boning inserted next to the side seams and to either side of the zipper on the back. The pattern only called for a facing for the back. I didn’t want any wardrobe malfunctions on the dance floor! I did quick and dirty boning channels by cutting out 1 inch wide strips with pinking shears. The boning is that plastic stuff that has to be dunked in really hot water to get it pliable enough to unbend it. After cutting the boning to size, I used a lighter to slightly melt the sharp, jagged cut ends. This made it so much easier to slide it into the channels and avoided poking me while wearing.
I moved the shoulder strap from the left side to the right side. This is a preference of mine as a ballroom dancer. In the dance hold, men tend to pull at the dress on the woman’s right side (because of the arm that goes around her back). I wanted my dress to stay put.
I hemmed it to the top of my foot and eliminated the train. This is for dancing and I didn’t want a train tripping me up or getting stepped on all night.
It’s rare I can get hubby into a suit these days!
I ran into this lovely, talented lady, Angela (here on the right). She sewed her dress from a vintage pattern from Lady Marlowe Patterns on Etsy. I love that vintage dress clip she’s wearing.
“I could have dance all night
I could have danced all night
And still have begged for more….”