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.
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?
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”.
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!
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.)
ps: I might be smiling, but in reality I was being eaten alive by mosquitos!
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.
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. 🙁
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!
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.
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?
I do love a good Instagram community challenge! Last year I took part in Me Made May, but this year I decided not to take part. I just don’t have enough homemade pieces in my wardrobe right now to make it significantly different from last year, and though I am sure no one else would have noticed, I would have gotten fairly bored with it. Thus, I was excited to see that there was another challenge being hosted this month, called “The Vintage Fashion Challenge”. (It’s nice to see a vintage focused event on Instagram). This one is being hosted by Carla of tinyangrycrafts, jennylee.knits and iliveinmylab and these three ladies came up with different prompts for each day of May. I have not been posting every day, but have been taking part when I have something for the prompt of the day. At the beginning of the month, as I was looking through the monthly overview, I saw a couple of prompts that I would need to sew something for. One was “Me Made Style”, (which I will be sharing next week) and the other was “Movie Style: A Film Inspired Outfit”. I decided that I would combine some of the prompts with blog posts, and to finish in time, I have been doing a fair bit of sewing this month- maybe at this rate I will be able to take part in Me Made May next year after all! 😉
I was quite excited about the “Movie Style” prompt, and started brainstorming for that one, before the challenge had even started. I love old movies, (actually I love new movies too!) and one of my favourite things about movies is the costumes. Costumes can make or break a film, don’t you think? It can be a great story, but if the costumes are off, it just ruins it. Conversely, sometimes I watch movies just for the costumes- even if the storyline isn’t that good. 🙂 I always enjoy good costumes, and then dream about “someday” sewing similar pieces for myself, but rarely do I ever actually end up creating those pieces. Having a challenge to create a specific film look was great, as I knew that it would force me to actually come up with something. (If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you might sense a trend here- I need deadlines in order to finish things- otherwise I procrastinate!!!)
Before anything else, first came the hard part of deciding which film look to recreate. So many old films, feature elaborate garments which I don’t have the skill or resources to create, and I also wanted to find a look that would be a valuable addition to my wardrobe. I mean, I do love the costumes from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but where am I going to wear a sapphire blue evening gown or a leopard cape and muff. Ok, never mind- if those were in my wardrobe, I would find a reason to wear them! But, while so many costumes from movies are extremely glamorous and elegant, they aren’t very wearable for my lifestyle. Thus, I started combing through old movies, to find a film inspired look that would be both useful and versatile to wear, and reasonable to recreate. When I came across Roman Holiday, I knew I had found what I was looking for!
I haven’t seen the movie for ages, (if you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend it) but I knew that Audrey’s Roman Holiday outfit would be perfect to recreate as all I needed was a circle skirt. The colourized photo versions of the costume show a blue skirt, but I found this image which shows a tan skirt. I believe that the original costume was tan, which for some reason was colourized to blue in the photos. Tan is a great colour for my wardrobe, so I decided to make a tan circle skirt, though I thought that if I couldn’t find any suitable tan fabric at my local shop, I would make it out of blue chambray. I did find fabric, but since I really like how this skirt turned out I might end up getting some chambray anyways. I have been wanting a circle skirt for a while and this tan circle skirt has proven to be a great addition to my wardrobe already. It goes with everything. I made it out of a tan slubbed cotton/poly fabric. I wish that it was 100% cotton, but they didn’t have any nice cotton fabric, and so I decided to just go for it anyways.
The skirt took me a few days to sew up. I sewed it in one evening, left it to hang for 24 hours, and then went to finish it two days later. Of course, despite all my meticulous measuring, I ended up having to take 1.5 inches out of the waistband. I hate having to pick things out, and it took me a while to redo it all, but I still ended up finishing this project relatively quickly. The most time absorbing part was the hand stitched hem- this is how I prefer to finish my garments, but it sure is time consuming! I hand stitched it with lace hem tape, but did it while watching movies (over two evenings), so it went relatively quickly, and at least I got to enjoy a movie at the same time 🙂 I also made a separate slip to wear underneath as the loose weave of the fabric is slightly sheer. I decided to make a separate slip, rather than just lining the skirt, so I can wear the slip with other dresses and skirts.
All in all, this turned out to be a very quick sewing project and the only part left was to style it as a Roman Holiday look. I didn’t want to take this outfit literally, and copy the shoes, the belt, the scarf etc. exactly as it was in the movie, but rather took the basic formula to create my own look.
I chose this tie front blouse, which is actually quite similar to the one Audrey wore, with the rolled sleeves and collar, because the colour of tan in the leopard print pairs perfectly with the colour of the skirt. I think that this shirt goes so well with the skirt, and as I haven’t had much to pair it with so far, I am excited about being able to wear it more often.
Next was the shoes. I have these brown shoes which used to have a zigzagged elastic which made them into a slip on shoe. However, by the end of last summer, the elastic in one of the shoes had stretched out, so I had been thinking of replacing the elastic with proper tie laces. This look is quite trendy right now, but is quite a vintage look too, as illustrated by Audrey’s look in Roman Holiday. For these photos, I used black shoe laces (that’s what I had), and tied them around my ankle for the same look. I am planning on getting some shorter brown laces, and not wearing them looped around my ankle. (I don’t think it is the best look for me, though it was fun for this outfit)
The final touch to this movie inspired Roman Holiday outfit, was adding a vintage off-white sheer scarf. In some of the pictures you can see I’m wearing it tied around my neck, while in others it is under my collar. I decided after a few photos, that it looked like a neck brace in some of the photos, and having it tucked under my collar looked better 🙂
The only thing left to do to finish my Roman Holiday outfit, was to bring out my bicycle. As I don’t have a vespa, like in the film, a bicycle will have to do for my own “Rural Holiday”. 😉
Have you seen the movie Roman Holiday? Have you ever watched a movie and then wanted all of the outfits? If you were going to recreate a movie look, which would outfit would you choose? Share in the comments, so we can all look up your favourite movie costumes. . . and then add them to our own lists too 😉