Saturday, February 26, 2011

"The Chuck Dress"

What a week! I am only finally starting to feel relief from a terrible cold I've had all week. So glad, too, so that I can share my dress! 

Overall, I'm really pleased with how it came out. It was rather easy to put together, although there were a couple of fitting snags in the beginning. I used two pattern pieces to help me map it all out. The top half of the dress was roughly taken from this pattern, from Burdastyle
The pattern was originally for a basic high-waisted slim skirt that included variations, including the dress that I used. Halfway through drafting it out, I realized that this pattern piece was not at all what I needed.  In fact, the only detail that remained the same was the overlap in the front. 

The skirt portion of the dress was taken from this vintage 60s pattern. 
I made the sleeveless variation of this dress last summer, and I loved the way the skirt turned out. It is basically gathered from the front and back of the hip, with "soft pleats" that  match the front and back darts. 

A matching fabric-covered belt always makes me happy. I could always trade it out for a solid colored belt if I wanted to accentuate the waist a little bit more, but I love this retro look. Nearly every vintage dress pattern that I have has the instructions to make a fabric covered belt. At one time, apparently, "belt and buckle kits" were sold beside every other sewing notion. I haven't had any luck in finding one locally, but they are pretty easy to find online. I found mine on Ebay. I was so excited to make the eyelets, too, and I bought a special plier to poke the holes and smash them. (Do you sense how much fun I had?) :)

I did a center lapped zipper, and I hand-picked it rather than sewing it on with the machine. You can't see so well how this effect looks (sorry!), but here is a great article on it-

While I was sitting around, lousy sick and sniffly, I made a daisy hair clip. I wanted to hold a daisy like the one that Chuck holds in the photo...but I thought that it might be a tad cheesy. I'm so glad that I sided with the daisies in my hair...


Now if I could get that matching yellow coat!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Inspiration: Pushing Daisies

If you never saw the show Pushing Daisies when it originally aired in 2007, I am right there with you. I just discovered it. Good thing for me, though, cause Netflix streams the full series via instant play. There is so much to love about this show- it paints a  colorful and exaggerated world  full of equally colorful and cartoon-like characters; amongst mystery, an uncanny romance and really amazing pies. Just watch it.  Despite all this, Pushing Daisies also has some of the prettiest vintage-inspired frocks worn by actress Anna Friel's character, Chuck. Full skirts and fitted bodices...arranged in bright florals and dreamy shades of peach, classic red, dreamy blue and, most often, yellow. Wonderful yellow. I have a weird gravitation toward all things yellow.

There are so many to drool over, really. This little number has been dancing in my head for quite some time.

I couldn't get an individual photo at full length, but you can get an idea by the top picture.  I found this vintage sheet fabric from Midwest Vintage Co.

Sheets are my favorite way to get fabric. Not only does it get you a lot more fabric for the yardage, but most of the time, sheeting is made of wonderfully soft cotton. I was looking for something with a little more yellow in the background, but I though this print was so nice. There are still a couple of fitting issues that I'm working out, but I'm hoping to have it finished by the end the weekend. I'll post pictures of the finished dress and construction details soon!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A natural notion

Stitching is a rather new craft for me. I was inspired from the likes of Jenny Hart maybe a year and a half ago, and I decided to give it a try. Recently, I've found that it is the perfect combination between two of my crafting pastimes- sewing and drawing. Since a kid, I found solace in sitting at a table and composing my graphic ideas on paper. Like most young kids, I was an avid colorer. Yes, Crayola was a good friend. I once even submitted my work to a Beauty and the Beast coloring contest, torn directly from the daily newspaper. The prized earnings, if selected, was two tickets to see "Beauty and the Beast On Ice" at a nearby ice arena. It was a big deal. BIG DEAL. And I won. No big deal. 

Sewing was something that my taught me as a kid, too. I remember outings to multiple fabric stores, and the opportunity to find beautiful fabric and pattern combos was so special. Mom made me Easter and Christmas dresses, complete with puffy sleeves and lacy details. Yup, that was the eighties. My first solo sewing project, though, was most likely a pillow. Does everyone learn this as their first project? I suppose that you can't go wrong with two squares sewn together, inside out.  The time spent sitting at the machine, hand stitching and handling fabric has always been the most fun for me. I like the idea that you can take something 2D, and purposely direct it to become something 3D. Clothing is especially magical in that sense. Like sculpture for the body, right? I love it. 

Okay, so case in point- stitching seems to combine these two things perfectly. I get the satisfaction of imagining and drafting my own graphic then using the skills that I have acquired from sewing. More work to come!