sewing

Photo Shoots with Friends

photo shoots with friends, chantelle-and-i, the artyologist

This post is coming to you pre-scheduled as I am on a holiday this week with friends, one of whom is my dear friend Chantelle, who is pictured in these photos today. I decided it would be a perfect time to share these photos, which I got back in June when I visited her, as they are too special to not post at all despite the lateness of them!

It is a bit of a tradition that when my friend Chantelle and I get together, we do a photo shoot- we did this even in my pre-blogging days. (Maybe sometime I will share some of those old pictures. . .) Sometimes our photo shoots are themed, and usually the theme is some kind of vintage style, because that is what I have for “costumes”. As in, it is a costume for her, and regular clothing for me 😉 We’ve done “model”, “wedding dresses”, “1940’s” and last year we did “1950’s“. This time, we didn’t have any theme planned- and as I was traveling, I didn’t bring extras in my suitcase. However, while I was visiting, I found this great straw hat at the thrift shop and Chantelle was able to borrow this lovely blue topper, so we figured that was good enough.

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-hat-detail

The photos of both of us were taken with self timer and, as I didn’t have my tripod with me, we precariously balanced a pile of wood on top of a kitchen stool and placed the camera on top! It was a bit dangerous for the camera, and we had no way of knowing where we were in the frame, so the results were a bit interesting. Somehow we still managed to end up with these lovely shots though- and even with me running back and forth, I managed to not look too disheveled!

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-and-i-standing

I’ve shown both this skirt and shirt together before, but why mess with a good thing, right? I am not above repeating an outfit if it worked out well the first time. And, I wasn’t kidding last week when I said I have worn this skirt too many times to count. I even brought it on my trip this week, so I might be wearing it as we speak 🙂 However it is nice to share my new hat, especially since I have worn it a few times now. Sometimes, like in the case of this hat, thrifting can be very rewarding. I saw a hat very similar to this one, with an asymmetrical brim, and green ribbon and accent, for sale online, but it was quite expensive. It was a justifiable price, for a handcrafted piece of millinery, but I am so glad I found this secondhand one instead!

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, hat-detail-nicole

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-adjusting-hat

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, nicole-spinning-skirt

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-portrait-1

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, wildflowers-and-nicole

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle

She looks like she should be going to a Royal Wedding. 🙂

nicole straw hat, photo shoots with friends, the artyologist

And because you can’t have any photoshoot without silly ones. . .

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-and-i-being-creepy

I didn’t realize I was so far away from Chantelle in this picture, and instead of hugging her, I am just creepily/awkwardly putting my hand on her shoulder! It doesn’t help that I have that strange expression either. . .

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-and-i-snobby

These expressions, above, are just too funny. . .

photo shoots with friends, the artyologist, chantelle-and-i-laughing

Do you enjoy doing photo shoots together when you meet up with friends? Have you ever been looking for something in a shop or online, only to find something similar in a thrift shop?

Peony Season

seersucker dress, peony season, the artyologist

I sometimes seem to think of seasons in terms of flowers. When the snow is melting, it will be tulip season soon. Once the weather has warmed, it is blossom time. The middle of May means lilac season. And then finally, as the lilacs fade we reach my favourite of all: peony season. Peony season is the best, because it comes in June. The trees are lush with leaves, and the gardens are filling in with green foliage. We aren’t into summer yet, so the days are warm, but not too hot, and the evenings are cool. And my favourite large, pretentious, many-petaled, sweetly scented flowers burst into bloom! We are lucky to have six peony bushes: four white ones, and two fuchsia pink ones, which are not my favourite (my absolute favourite are the blush pink variety) but medium pink is the next best thing! I couldn’t not have a photo shoot with the pink peonies when they were in bloom, but alas, I don’t currently own any pinks that are cool toned like this peony bush (and peach tones would look terrible with this backdrop). So beiges, browns, olives – and a tiny bit of a pink necklace had to do instead. This is an outfit I wear a lot though, so it’s nice to show this dress off again, as the last time was over a year ago.

peonies-1, the artyologist

teacup necklace and seersucker dress, the artyologist

I guess I don’t really have much to say about this outfit, aside from the fact that: I actually wear this dress a lot in the summer, I am trying to break in these shoes semi-successfully (don’t you hate breaking in shoes??!!), and I bought this purse when I was eighteen, carried it for a few years, then decided that I didn’t really love it. Fortunately I kept it though, and have been using it again- I think I just needed a bit of break from it to remember that I do still like it 🙂

What is your favourite “flower season”  and which flowers grow where you live?

peonies-and-sky, the artyologist

kilties shoes--sitting-on-rock, the artyologist

peony-petal-detail, the artyologist

teacup necklace-detail, the artyologist

portrait and peony, the artyologist

olive green doctors bag purse-on-rocks, the artyologist

peony-bush, the artyologist

green doctors bag purse, the artyologist

peasant style dress, sitting-with-purse, the artyologist

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With The Hell Bunny Melissa Top)

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist

Apparently I wasn’t kidding when I said that my Roman Holiday inspired circle skirt was going to be a versatile addition to my wardrobe. I’ve already worn it a few times, and here it is again; this time paired with my new Hell Bunny Melissa top.

I rarely ever sew or buy neutrals. I’m always drawn to the patterns: the florals, the ginghams, the stripes, the abstract prints. My sewing stash is full of patterns (most of them florals) and my wardrobe is bursting with them too. As much as I love patterns though, there is something to be said for a nice neutral solid. Neutrals are just so easy to pair with everything- I guess that’s why they are “wardrobe basics”. I have been endeavouring lately to add some more neutral pieces to my wardrobe- after one too many times of trying to pair my separates and coming up with “pattern clashing” rather than “pattern mixing”.

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), in the flowers, the artyologist

Both my skirt and my blouse here, are recent additions to my wardrobe, to try and fill in the voids and create a more mix-and-match wardrobe. Strangely enough, this outfit is so neutral and monochromatic, and the only pattern comes in from the feathered clutch. Apparently it’s either “all the patterns” or none 🙂 I got this Hell Bunny Melissa top a few weeks ago, from Rowena, since I had a store credit to use up, and decided that a black peasant blouse would be a good option. This blouse originally had a keyhole in the front, but as that was too revealing for comfort, I just sewed a piece of black fabric behind the keyhole, and now it’s perfect. I really like this top as it is just a bit dressier than a t-shirt, but the cotton fabric makes it comfortable and still cool for summer. This outfit makes me think of something you would wear to a picnic in the 1950’s: wildly unpractical- but it looks nice!

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist, sitting under the plum tree

So, as I don’t have much else to say about anything, I will stop talking for now. Oh, but one last note- these pictures were taken in front of our plum tree. Isn’t it beautiful? Or rather, wasn’t it? It’s finished blooming now. But, now the lilacs are in bloom, and after them, then it will be the peonies. . .  isn’t it nice that flowers bloom at different times?

Do you lean towards neutrals and solids, or patterns? What flowers are blooming for you right now? (if you are in Spring/Summer where you live.)

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again, (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top) the artyologist, holding-blossoms-2

ps: I might be smiling, but in reality I was being eaten alive by mosquitos!

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist, pearls

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again, the artyologist, hanging-branches

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist, spinning

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again, the artyologist, purse

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again, the artyologist, sky-and-blossoms

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist, back

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again, the artyologist, blossoms-1

The Circle Skirt Strikes Again (With the Hell Bunny Melissa Top), the artyologist, sitting-and-tree

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist

I think a common misconception about sewing your own clothes is that by sewing your own, you can achieve a perfect fit each time and you will end up with a closet full of clothes you love.

In theory that is true, but I think every seamstress has, at some point in their sewing life, sewn something that has turned out terribly wrong. A complete failure. A dud. The fit is off, it’s too small, it’s too big, it has wrinkles where there shouldn’t be any, the armholes gape, you loved the look of the pattern, but once you put on the finished garment, you realize that you don’t look quite like the model. . .  I could go on.

Making your own clothing is incredibly satisfying, when you end up with a garment you love, but incredibly frustrating when it turns out badly. While making a muslin, or tried and true patterns are helpful, sometimes despite all of your careful preparation, you end up with something that doesn’t turn out like you thought it would. This recently finished dress (Vogue 8789) that I’m sharing today, is one such example of dress that went wrong, but I was able to salvage and make something new out of.

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, hat-and-blossoms

I sewed a dress out of this fabric four years ago, based off of a pattern I had made for another dress I have. I loved the other dress, and really liked the fit and style. It had a fitted waist, like Vogue 2962, but with a regular sleeved top, not a halter. It was, I thought, a tried and true pattern, so I decided to make another out of this striped cotton. However, when I finished the dress, the bodice ended up too wide, and the neckline gaped. It looked OK, when I stood still, but, as I don’t usually stand in one position all day, it was rather ill fitting and uncomfortable. I wore the dress two times, and then promptly removed it from my closet and threw it into the box of shame (aka- box of unfinished sewing projects) where it sat for four years. 🙁

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, portrait-1

This past October, when I took part in Slow Fashion October, I made a decision/ pledge to use up my stash and finish up my UFO sewing projects, before I started embarking on too many new projects and buying new fabric without any plan of what I was going to make with it. And, when I saw “The Vintage Fashion Challenge” prompt on Instagram for today was “Me Made Style”, I knew that it was finally time to tackle this dress. And, as I wanted to highlight the stripe design, I decided that it was a perfect time to try out Vogue 8789.

So how did I like this pattern? I did end up sizing down and that worked, although I think that if I ever make it again, I will actually size down once more, and do a full bust adjustment instead for a better fit. The muslin for this pattern worked out really nicely, but (again) when I sewed up the bodice there were many fit frustrations. I couldn’t get the darts to lie nicely, and they kept having bubbles on the ends of them that (to put it rather bluntly) were quite, um, nipply. I did so much research about darts, consulting sewing blogs and books and reading about how you need to keep them 1-2″ away from the bust apex, etc. but nothing was working. Finally, I read in one of Gertie’s old posts about using two small darts, rather than one large one, as a large dart will always end up being pointed. One of my sewing books recommends never doing a dart larger than 3/4″. So, I took out the dart, marked the apex and then drew two new 1/2″ darts, and the problem was instantly solved! If you have ever faced difficulty with pointy darts, I would definitely recommend using two small darts!

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, v-detail

As for the rest of the dress, it went together quite well and I finished it up (even matching my centre back zipper perfectly). And they all lived happily ever after, right? Wrong! I tried the dress on, and it was too big! At this point, I despaired of ever having a striped dress, but I resolutely picked it out, and then refit the bodice, with my mom’s help. And then I sewed up the rest of it, and it was a success this time.

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, back

When I look at this dress, I see all of the problems with it. There are wrinkles on the back that shouldn’t be there. The skirt seam ended up being on the front. The waist seam over the zipper doesn’t match up exactly. But, overall, those are just nit picky complaints, and ultimately I have ended up with a dress that I love. I have worn it once already and I know that it is going to end up being a new favourite. I am also glad that I was able to save this dress, and make something “new” from it. So, the moral of the story is, when you turn out a new garment and it ends up being a failure, instead of despairing, see if you can turn it into something new. Although, maybe don’t wait for four years to do so 😉

Have you ever made a garment that was a complete failure? What did you do? Were you able to save it, and turn it into something new? Have you ever tried Vogue 8789?

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, blossoms-2

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, back with branches

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, me made style

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, hem-and-purse

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, blossoms-1

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, portrait-and-blossoms

Salvaging a Sewing Project with Vogue 8789, the artyologist, hat