Monday, October 31, 2011

The Halloween dress on a regular day!

Like the title says, I just want to share what the dress I made for my Halloween creepy crazy doll costume looks like when I style it in a simple, toned down way.

I really love how styling can totally change the vibe of a garment. Worn like this: not so crazy, worn like in the post below... loads of crazy! The navy (I know, it looks purple here) cardi I got for free at the last clothes swapping evening, and the boots are thrifted. I think worn like this it's now a perfect outfit for a day of shopping! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween sewing: creepy crazy doll dress

So, this week we're sewing something for Halloween over at Sew Weekly. I got super exited early on... and then nothing happened. Finally, I managed to scrape myself off the couch and to the sewing machine. These last weeks I have had about a bazillion of amazing sewing ideas and not a single one on where or how to start. Putting my highly overenthusiastic plans for a 1930s glamour zombie Halloween costume (I don't actually have a Halloween party to go to, I just love making costume-y things) aside, I decided to make a simple but good looking dress in a crazy fabric I already had in my stash, to make the look of a crazy scary doll!

I took a favorite stretchy mini dress/tunic from my wardrobe and used as pattern for this one, adding self drafted sleeves. My fabric is a 1980's college sweater fabric, I got it in one of the pig-in-a-poke bags of fabric I bought super cheap this summer.

Talking about crazy, I most likely spent more time on makeup, styling and photographing this than on the actual sewing. Then I grabbed my lovely man and my camera and went outside to get to a perfect location to shoot the creepy pictures... of course passing loads of people on the way. By now the whole neighborhood probably thinks I'm a nutjob. Here's why!

I styled the dress with a black lace collar, a green belt, my favorite black heels and stripey tights from the old days of being a punk/metal/goth something (these exact ones may be from my sister, who got them from a friend, but anyway, I used to wear stuff like that, for real).

Below is a closeup of the creepy doll makeup I did.  I really love dressing up and styling and putting on crazy makeup like this!

Despite having done this dress just for the occasion, and it being in a rather crazy fabric, I'm pretty sure I will wear it again, just styled (very) differently. I'm thinking grey or offwhite tights, a neutral big sweater on top and some simple boots and it might seem not so crazy after all! :-)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What I got in the pattern swap!

I am so happy I joined the pattern swap over at Sew Weekly! Last week two patterns were sent to me from a seller on etsy, and I've been waiting eagerly since to get the other half of the swap, with the "early christmas presents" we are adding to the patterns for fun! Today I got the parcel, all the way from Singapore and lovely lady Adey.

Here's what I got:

The 1940s dress is amazing, at the moment actually my favorite style! I am so looking forward to using the pattern! The 60s pattern is equally awesome, it has some great detail and I especially love the cape. I got a bunch of lovely notions as well, and most definitely will use them, right now I'm thinking about whether to use the silvery waist elastic or the yellow/purple buttons first! :-)

I only just posted my own parcel with a lot of fun things to another lovely lady (we were given swap recipients randomly, so we're not swapping in pairs), hopefully it won't take too long until it gets to where it's going, and hopefully she will be as happy with her gifts as I am with mine!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Finished: The Spanish Harlem skirt

So, finally, the skirt! I seem to be in a bit of a sewing drought at the moment - lots of inspiration, but actually sitting down at the machine seems harder than climbing Mount Everest...

Anyway, thanks to having a good day (those aren't all that many right now), I pulled myself together and sewed the skirt that I cut... Monday last week, maybe? The theme for last week was Spanish Harlem (as a bunch of you most likely already know), and I decided to take my inspiration less flowery Spanish and more tough, cool and sexy Harlem (in this inspiration collage).

I took the opportunity to use two favorites, a great red woven upholstery fabric that I got for almost nothing (it came in a box together with equally amazing upholstery fabrics, got it online for less than 100SEK including postal fees, yay!) The other is a lightweight cotton mix in black and white, I used that one only as the waistband for contrast. Here's how it came out:

No side seams! I drafted this skirt based on a few classic skirt patterns I own to put the darts in the back and the tucks in the front in their right places (the darts in the back are not perfect though, but then again, nothing is perfect, right?). I then constructed "side seams" that only go from the waist to the hip. These are then sewn like darts (but a bit more curved). Great way to save fabric and/or avoid more fraying than necessary when working with woven fabrics like this one... (And I think this would be a very good plan when working with plaid as well, no worrying about matching up the sides!)

Luckily I was able to use the whole width of the fabric so when sewing the back seam I did not have to worry about the fabric fraying! Because I made this a midi skirt I added a slit in the back (or it would have been impossible to walk...) Also, I can't help being quite proud of making that zipper go in without any visible seams on the outside of the skirt, and it's almost not wonky at all! ( I still hate zippers, but a little bit less for each time.)

Fun detail: The white shirt I'm wearing comes from my dad! I got it years and years ago, and before that I assume he wore it in the 70's... Quality.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Inspiration Collage: Spanish Harlem

I love this week's theme, Spanish Harlem. (Over at Sew Weekly, if anyone's wondering what themes or challenges I'm always rambling about) Of course, since I live far across "the pond" and dreams of New York are well fed but put on ice until days filled with more money, I love everything about it. The city of a million different cultures, all wonderfully mixed up into loud and extravagant versions of themselves.

The parts of the Spanish Harlem fashion and culture I wanted to pick up was not just the obvious Spanish influences with flowers and bright colors, but the roughness, the strong and the proud women who expressed power, hotness and joy of life through all hardships that come with living in a not-so-perfect neighborhood. The ladies of Jazz in the 40's, the glamorous party-going women with fringed dresses as well as the tough young ones wearing mens shirts and boots in the streets in the 50's, and all the other colorful and cocky lovely ladies that stand their ground all the way up until today. In fashion, the inspiration from these women, and of course, the Puerto Rican culture that so many of them come from, is clear and often outspoken, in the collage below by Chanel 1991 (small picture of two runway models wearing mostly black and loads of gold chains) and more recently in Burberry ads for spring/summer 2011 (second pic from left on top).

My first intention this week was to make something super amazing, like a skirt-blouse-jacket combo... then I came back to earth. So, at least a skirt will happen. After all, I do have a very, very... hm, very big wardrobe full of amazing vintage and freepiled clothes to wear and match with what I make. Probably a good time to remember that.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Finished: The pink Carrie dress

A little late, but for a very nice reason (visit from my mum this weekend!) the Carrie dress is finally finished! I probably spent ten hours thinking about how to construct the pattern for this one so I could make my dress as close to the original as possible... And then sewed it in maybe five.

My fabric is a pink linen that I got from mum when I was at my parents place last weekend. It was originally intended for a pair of pants but had been sitting in mums fabric stash for a long time, so she gave it to me when I said I was making a pink dress, yay! The original dress is most likely made out of a cotton/something stretchy mix.

I did a few small changes on my version, because of the stiff fabric I made it a bit more roomy so i can both breathe and move in it, also I made the pockets go all the way around to the back. This dress has a great amount of detail in it, and it was super fun to sew!

 Again here's the inspiration collage I posted in the beginning of the week that I did all my sketching from:

And this is my sketch of the construction, as far as I could see from the pictures I had, and my plans on how to cut the pattern. As you can see the skirt only consists of two pieces, the back is cut like any normal skirt, but the front is double, and cut to make the pocket that goes around to the back. Cutting the bottom half straight from the hem to where the pocket ends made the pockets stand out from the dress sides. Two oval pieces make the top of the pockets, and simple folds below create the second row of stitches and gives the pockets even more stiffness.

 (Yes, it says "Carries pink dress" "Front" and "Back" in Swedish on the sketch!)

And my finished result!

I love the dress styled just like in the movie, but it's not exactly suitable for Swedish cold and rainy autumn weather... So I added a navy blue shirt (second hand, and I've had it for twelve years, now that's quality!), a vintage belt, one of many favorite rtw tweed jackets I own, paired with dusk blue Italian leather boots I got for almost nothing in a storage clearance sale!

 (I know both shoes and shirt look black in these pictures, my camera is evil at the moment and all indoor pictures come out yellow bastards despite all efforts on fixing white balance both in camera and editing software, sigh. Must buy a grey card... )