Saturday, March 31, 2012

That's a Lotto Pleats

Well, rats.  No winning here.  Not that I expected there to be (since I forgot to stop and buy a ticket after work).  But there was one in Baltimore county, MD!   Which has me humming along to this all morning...

(And there was a winner in Illinois, but they don't have a catchy retro tune.  Do they?)

Well, maybe the winner is a follower and will buy me that beach house anyway.  ahem.

Meanwhile, it's Saturday!  I have buttonholes to sew and a new project to cut out.  I pinned this dress this week and it is fantastic:

The color is gorgeous.  LOVE the tiny pleats on the skirt and the tailored sleeve.  Looks a LOT like this doesn't it?

Which is my favorite Chuck dress of all time!  This collar/neckline is better suited to me (I might be too old for peter pan collars? Nahhhh.)

I have had this pattern (vintage Simplicity 3039) in my stash for a while now:

 And I still have that bold royal blue dotted swiss too:

That combo would be like....

And bonus, if I get the dress all nicely fitted (should be easy since I've been playing around with a "sloper" I made from another project bodice) then I can use that hot pink Imperial broadcloth I bought last year to make Chuck's dress too.

Good plan, right?

Friday, March 30, 2012

What would YOU do with $540 milllion??

That's a fun thought isn't it? Let's see...I would:

Build myself a Craftsman Bungalow

And one for Shannon too. 

And a lakehouse for my parents.  (Hi mom!)

And beachhouses for my parents, me and my siblings, in a neat little row. (So we can vacation together. Or not.  Or ignore each other even if we do.)

Then I'd buy my Lu that vintage pickup she's always wanted.

And my boy a slicked up custom:

And my mom's always wanted a Corvette:

Then I'd outfit all the local animal shelters with state of the art equipment and a nice healthy repeating yearly donation.

I'd secretly pay off  the mortgages of all my poor teacher friends.

Then I'd make sure my kids and nephews all had plenty of these.  And then I'd set up trusts for future grandkids too.

Then, just for fun, I'd fly over a local football game in a hot air balloon and drop money over the crowd.

I'd randomly pick stores on Black Friday and pay everyone's tab.

Then... I would write.  

Every day.  

All day.

That would be the ultimate lottery prize to me.

What would you do with $540 million??

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vtg Mail Order 1839: Grey Print Top

This weekend I cut out two little tops from this vintage pattern I mentioned in my last post, a 1940s mail order pattern (unknown company) #1839:

I've made the cap sleeve version twice before, and love it (I still wear this one all the time!)  I thought it was the perfect pattern to knock off this sweet grey and white that Amy Adams wore in the Muppets:

I knew as soon as I saw it that I had the PERFECT grey and white print cotton in my stash.  REALLY similar, huh??

My vintage pattern probably fits so well because of the shoulder gathering (no FBA needed). 

And the back bodice/shoulder piece is extended to the front about 2 inches, so the gathering doesn't start at the shoulder seam, but just below in the front.  It makes everything super easy since there are only 4 pattern pieces including placket and collar!  The shoulder "yoke" AND the sleeves are both cut-on.

The collar is a simple 1-pattern-piece, no stand. That saves a bunch of steps right there! The placket is a separate piece that folds to the outside and is topstitched in place (easy to add trimmings under before topstitching!)

You can see I'm not quite finished.  I have to slipstitch the collar down inside, and add buttons and buttonholes.

I need to hem the sleeves too.  They're a simple turned-under hem in the pattern, but I could make a scalloped facing to apply.  The scalloped sleeves on Amy's blouse are one of my favorite details.

I also wanted pink lucite or pearl buttons, just like the inspiration top, and would you believe I don't have any?  The closest I could come was lavender 1" pearl, which are way too big.  So I made a trip to Wally World yesterday (no small you know, I hate WM) to see if they had any.  Nope.   But they did have a clear pink plastic button in a "flower" shape.  I'm going to tack them down with a glue stick later today and see if they're too girly.

Hopefully not! I want to wear this!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Muppets: Amy Adam's Wardrobe

Our Muppets DVD came yesterday and I had a little free time this morning to grab some screenshots of Mary's wardrobe (Amy Adams).   I would wear every piece!  I'll try to go in order of appearance (as close as I can remember!)

We first meet Mary in this sweet floral blouse and yellow circle skirt. Mary favors fitted bodices and swishy skirts, with accentuated wast (usually a snappy color belt).  I wonder how many of these pieces were custom made?  The minty green pearl buttons on this top are sweet and unusual.  The placket also has a tiny ruffle.

The next dress we see is my favorite, the seersucker dress.  I'm still determined to have one of my very own!

This was a new outfit to me.  Is it funny I got so excited over a simple top and skirt combo??  This is a sweet grey, white and pink dainty print cotton blouse, with pink lucite or pearly buttons.  Note the "collar" buttons back too.   And the sleeves are sweetly scalloped and I *think* the topstitching is pink (instead of a hem, I think the sleeves are faced).  Paired with another simple solid pink circle skirt.

I think this next dress is probably vintage.  Isn't it beautiful?  I love the ruched bodice and the bias trim with bows at the neckline.  This purple belt shows up a couple of times.  Mary's a schoolteacher, so she's on a budget!  She reuses items!

Only a brief shot of this sweet sundress, but it does show up more than once. Just never a full view. Rats.  I'm thinking it is probably vintage too, those oversized shoulder ties and the colors seem very 1950s.  Love the crossover bodice!  It's like an extra little detail that is easy to skip, but adds another interesting layer.  In another scene, Mary wears it again with a cardigan.  I love that the cardi doesn't quite match, but is good enough.

The next dress had the BRIEFEST of appearances in the actual movie. I could tell it was a different dress, but Mary is always behind a gaggle of cute muppets.  I was so frustrated!  Until we watched the "bloopers" reel. And there it is!!  Just for a couple of seconds, and it's an "outtake" but sooo cute.  Adorable dress (vintage?) and Amy Adams being adorable in it (being silly and stealing a scene she's not actually in!)

Doesn't the green and yellow stripe pattern seem very vintage tablecloth??  Maybe it was a custom made piece.  The dress itself seems familiar to me.  Maybe I have a similar vintage pattern in my stash.  LOVE the "cap sleeves".  Brilliant.

 Another too-brief peek at an outfit. This one appears in a couple of scenes, top half only.  I wish we could see the skirt fully!  It appears to be a circle skirt with extra large polka dots of multiple colors (I spot yellow, green, and possibly brown or black).  Paired with a white eyelet peasant blouse and red cardigan.

Another dress that was impossible to catch  many details for in the actual movie, but that I snagged some good shots of in the bloopers reel.  This was in the office of "French Vogue", when they were trying to persuade Miss Piggy to return with them.  This dress is gorgeous.  Cream lace tipped in red, with a red underdress or slip.  The sleeves are lace only, and I believe it buttons up the front with creamy buttons, but it's really hard to tell for sure. Maybe someone with an HD tv can tell us!

The skirt is not full, and is the only skirt in the film that is not.  It does seem to be a-line though.

And I never got a good snap of this dress' skirt either, but it is a dress, not a top.  You can see the skirt portion when Mary is sitting.  I LOVE this bodice, and note that the collar buttons back just like the grey/white/pink blouse above.  Except for the shoulder change (these shoulders are gathered, very 1940s/50s!) and the cute cap or flange sleeve, this could be the same pattern.  (Another custom?)  The fabric looks vintage though. I really want to knock this one off. 

Very sweet eyelet dress, with sweetheart neckline, reminiscent of the seersucker dress.  Once you have the bodice in place, swap the sleeves for a more tailored gathered sleeve and swap the circle skirt for a gathered one. It appears to be lined in red or a very deep pink.  And there's the purple belt again!

This is another of my favorite outfits.  I love the peach color, and the simple dress.  I thought perhaps it was two separate pieces since the peach color doesn't quite  match bodice to skirt.  But in one scene, the belt slips and you can clearly see the skirt/bodice seam.  It's a dress!  LOVE the border print, and I adore pintucks, so the bodice is a win too.  Maybe it's another vintage piece? The purple belt again.

The last outfit Mary wears is in the finale dance scene, and it's one of the most modern things she wears (right before this she also wears a modern dress or top/skirt in blue, was kind of homely, and the scene was "outdoors" at night so the lighting was dark.  So I didn't nab a photo of it).  The top is orange print silk with a crossover bodice and fluttery sleeves (that are open to the shoulder).  The skirt also appears to be silk or's a modern design with circular shaped side pieces.  I think the side pieces use one side of the fabric and the center front/back uses the other side of the fabric so that one is matte and one is shiny.  Burda Style magazine had a skirt pattern just like this a couple of years ago. 

Not one of my favorites.  In fact, I dislike it a little bit...I don't think it fits the rest of the movie wardrobe.  I like the top OK...not crazy about the print.  And the skirt is fine too...not crazy about the color.  Just a miss for me, but I thought I would include it because it is the finale.

Mary's shoes are the same throughout the least I think they are.  They're the Seychelle's Fig, which is long gone. Mostly I think Mary wears this version, with the green strap:

But I think she also wears them in this colorway too:
If you're interested in recreating Mary's wardrobe, you're in luck!  Most of the shapes are simple and easy to replicate with a couple of basic patterns.  Let's figure it out!

Mary's wardrobe consists of:

4 short sleeve tops:
--1 puff sleeve floral with ruffled placket
--1 scallop sleeve floral with turn back placket
--1 eyelet peasant, bow/tie in front
--1 silk wrap top with flutter sleeves

4 skirts:
--1 circle skirt in yellow
--1 circle skirt in bright pink
--1 circle skirt in white with polkadot
--1 silk with shaped side inserts

8 dresses:
--1 sweetheart neckline, seersucker, tulip sleeves, circle skirt
--1 sweetheart neckline, eyelet overlay, tailored sleeve, gathered skirt
--1 scoop neckline, bias and bow trim, ruched princess seam, gathered skirt
--1 wrapover bodice, stripes, tie shoulder, gathered skirt
--1 square neckline, contrast bodice fold, gathered cap sleeve, 4-gore skirt
--1 allover lace, button placket, a-line skirt
--1 gathered shoulder seam, center "V"-slash with button trim, cap/flange sleeve, gathered skirt
--1 basic fitted bodice with collar and fold back placket, gathered skirt

Now let's talk patterns!  I'm not going to necessarily stick to "in print" patterns.  Let's just focus on shapes.

First, you will need a simple shirt bodice with a placket that can be buttoned up or turned back (two of Mary's blouses or dresses feature a button trim on the turned back placket).  I have this vintage mail order pattern 1839.  It has two views, one with cap sleeves and one with 3/4 sleeves.  I've already made it here and here.

This will work for every top and most dress bodices too, with a few tweaks.  I happen to really like the fit of this top and I love the gathers at the shoulder seam, which work really well in place of a dart.  But I could also convert these to pleats or pintucks for the peach dress bodice.  The collar and placket work for most of Mary's wardrobe.

Here's a more modern top pattern with vintage flair that could be used for Mary's tops and dress bodices, Simplicity 2501.  You can view mine here.

There's no "basic" collar piece, but I just love this pattern and the variety of looks you can get from it.  You could draft that little scalloped sleeve from the short sleeve in this pattern.  (There are tons of basic top patterns out there, so I tried to pick one that was more than just "basic".)

My favorite circle skirt pattern is New Look 6889 . I've made it a dozen times, but one of my favorites is here.

My favorite peasant top is this Built By Wendy pattern, Simplicity 3835 (I made it here).  It's not as full as most peasant tops, and has that cute band neckline option.  Mary's top has a sweet tie in front, which you could "mock" by tacking on a bow, or you could make functional by adding a couple of buttonholes before you stitch down the neckline casing and running ribbon through. 

Burda Style magazine 9/2011 had a sweet plus size peasant top too, #138, that had a button front placket.  That would be another option, if you can wear those sizes.

Again, there are lots of peasant style blouses out there.   Just find one you like!

As for the dresses, you already know my quest for the seersucker dress (go back a few posts if you're not familiar with that particular search and trial!)  But once you find a pattern that works (the sweetheart bodice is really the important part for that can swap out any old skirt for a half-circle skirt pattern!) you can reuse it multiple times for different looks (a'la the seersucker AND eyelet dress above). 

Both striped dresses are very individual...those might be harder to replicate.  I'll keep my eye out for pattern suggestions for those (I'm guessing it will be vintage pattern recommendations).

The peach dress with the border print and the "ivy" print dress are easier.  You can just use your basic top pattern (I'm going to use my vintage mail order pattern above!) and then add whatever skirt you like!  Determine your waist length and add your skirt choice! 

I love when a movie inspires all sorts of wardrobe ideas, don't you??

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Muppets Dress: Vogue 9668

So I've spent the past 2 days working on my Amy Adams-inspired Muppets dress.'s where I'm leaving off on this one for a while.  Complete with crappy early morning indoor photo:

Looks great pinned on the dressform, even before sleeves and lining, right?  And it looks beautiful IF I don't zip it up all the way.  It's too tight!  Ack. 

I ended up using this Vogue 9668 pattern, as I mentioned before:

I cut my high bust measurement and added a 1" FBA and it fit REALLY well through the front.  And that neckline!  So flattering.

This seersucker fabric is beautiful! (The fabric for this project was provided by Online Fabric Store).  It has a lovely drape and is lightweight and perfect for summer.  I love the color too... a deep brown and white stripe.  I'll definitely be purchasing more of this, in some of the other colors.

Back to my too-tight dress.  I did do a tissue fit, which seemed perfect.  I tried sewing smaller side seams but it I needed MORE ROOM.  I have no idea what happened.  Unless, as Kristine mentioned yesterday when I was whining, I made a cutting error.

Too late now!  Well...not entirely too late.  If you look closely in the bodice photo, I tried adding a horizontal striped "gusset" (a'la this helpful article on Threads).  I decided to do a full-length strip, because I was hoping it would look like a design element.

Meh.  Right now it looks like the dress was too tight and I added a couple of contrasting strips of fabric.

But maybe I'm too close. In any case, I'm setting this project aside while I mull it over and gain some distance.  (Good news...the invisible zipper was PERFECT.  Of course.)

Moving on to a new project...which I haven't picked out yet!  I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Maxi Skirt

Yesterday morning while perusing Pinterest, I saw a really cute maxi dress tutorial pin and got all inspired to drag out some cotton crinkle gauze I've had stashed FOREVER.  (literally...since 2003? 2004?)  I didn't want a tank dress (I didn't have any tanks I could sacrifice), so I decided to make a skirt.

No pattern or tutorial followed (although the tank dress tutorial above, is pretty thorough, if you need one!)  I just cut lengths of gauze, size determined by holding the gauze at my waist and eyeballing how long I wanted it (adding about 6" for mistakes, casing and hem).  The panel width is double my hip measurement.  (At first, I had even more, since the gauze is very floaty, but that just added unnecessary inches so I hacked off about 10" per side!)

I did a very small "paperbag" waist casing, since I knew I wanted an elastic waist, but one that would still be cute if visible, but the ruffle should still sort of anchor a belt if I wear one:

The crinkle gauze will probably shrink up in the wash (I prewashed it eons ago, but that's how gauze is.  It is a shrinky-dink in fabric form).  I have about 1/2 a yard left though, so my plan is to just add a wide ruffle hem at the bottom if it shrinks up too much in length.

It's windy today and this sucker floated all over the place...but is surprisingly still fairly flattering:

In the top photo on the right, you can see the hem is about 3" deep.  I thought the extra "weight" might pull the skirt down so it didn't puff out as much around my hips.  Ha.  Wishful thinking.

I wore this outfit yesterday about 5 minutes after finishing the hem.  I wish I had a statement necklace...Are bib necklaces still "in"??  That would be perfect.  Or one of those fabric bead necklaces??  Help a girl out!

I did get some interesting double-looks and stares while out and about.  I started to worry I had black panties on, but Lu assured me I didn't.  And judging from these photos, it's not particularly sheer either.  It *might* have been because I was in Atwoods Farm and Home. 

I also busted out the summer favorite sandals, from Modcloth.  I even painted my toenails.

Super easy and quick project.  Took about an hour start to finish.  I have big plans for a couple more!

Spring Break Day #1:  Successful.