Saturday, December 18, 2010

Not Alexander McQueen

My second muslin for the Pan Am mini-dress is almost done, and looks much better... I'm going to lower the neckline some more, and also angle the center bodice piece in a bit more, to take out some width at the top, if that makes sense. Hard to nab a good picture in the snowy twilight, I'll try again when it's completely done.  Does anyone actually wear clothing made from Polyester Gaberdine? What's the point?  Unless your groping for the TSA, or issuing parking tickets?  It's a pretty joyless fabric.  What on earth was I thinking??

I've sewn this up in the most vile polyester gaberdine knit, that is EXACTLY the same color as my old stewardess uniform... it did occur to me I could have just thrown on my United dress and got more or less the same effect, but oh well!  100% poly, 100% flammable, and 100% unlikely to make it out the door!  But the dress actually looks pretty good, and I'm kind of impressed with how I was able to solve the major fit problems.

After a bit of sewing I hit the thrifts and scored a goldmine of Pendleton and tartan.  The two mid-calf A-line skirts are Pendleton, the kilt is (I think) the real "Made in Scotland" deal.  Really worn... the wool has a few moth holes, and the leather taps are worn and totally punk. I'm going to shorten it to the knee and let the ends fringe.


The Pendletons?  One has already been taken apart, and if I can squeeze the yardage out of it, will be made into a very Alexander McQueen strapless mini (from Burda).  The other, not sure? I got it to shorten and wear, but it seems tres frump.  I thought about combining the two plaids, but theres a reason A MQueen was who he was, and we aren't.  That shit is hard!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Socked In, so Sewing

New Mexico is finally socked in with snow, at least a foot, which is great, except that I live at the end of a long, unplowed drive... but great anyway.  It's an adventure, I probably won't starve, and if I do I can slink of in my new Sorels to an overpriced downtown cafe.  Assuming they are open...

In the meantime I've modified my muslin for the Pan Am dress.  Lots of changes, God knows is they will work.  I've dropped the shoulder down a centimeter, moved the front armhole in a bit to compensate for the slanted wrinkles I had running from front shoulder down to the side of the armhole.  Moved down the bust dart.  Added back darts to take in some of the excess fabric and hopefully help with my swayback.  Given a more open, almost boatneck rather than the tight little jewel neckline.... Taken in the sides a little to accommodate my high hips (there's a pretty dramatic jut at my hips, so i need quite and odd, sudden slope out  right below the waist...

Now of course I'm socked in, so no Jo-Anns for me (the only game in town, fabric wise).  The only fabric I have is some very tacky knit poly gaberdine.  It has a bit of stretch, which probably wrecks my muslining, but I've got nothing else to do today, and nowhere to go... so!  Let's see what happens.

A few days ago I used my 'new' trust Fleetwood for the first time... it ran great for about three seconds, and stopped cold.  The flywheel was turning, but the shank wasn't moving... Which was hugely distressing, since I'd pretty much blown my sewing machine budget buying and rehabbing it.  I put it back in it's table, and tried not to think about it, till my friend round the corner came over.  He's a shy, big guy, and a mechanic.  He took one look, opened up the back, tinkered for 2 seconds, and it runs great.  Easy way to a woman's heart boys!

Hard to see here, but this is the front upper bodice that is cut on a fold, and is an insert in the main front piece (also on the fold).  Very curious to see if these mods will help...


Sunday, December 12, 2010

What I do when not sewing or writing:

Make out with Goats.

Nothing gets you out of a depressive funk faster than week-old kids gamboling with abandon around the gorgeous New Mexican countryside...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Amazonian Night Nurses of The Third Reich

I'm a pretty tall woman - almost 5'9", and this is a mid-60s pattern, but it's practically down to my knees! I can only imagine how disappointed the swinging teens of '65 would have been if they made this up without muslining it first.  Cut as directed it has a distinctly stern Matron vibe about it.  I feel like I need to chastize a candystriper and steal a nip from the flask hidden in the potted ponsietta.  However. I think there is hope. Shortened (pictured), it's getting closer to cute.  The back is too broad, but I think I can take care of that by taking in the center back seam allowance.  The bust darts will be lowered a tad, and the side seams taken in to.

What I really love about this pattern is the unusual bodice piecing, that will make the top stitching really fun.  There's a cute little back belt too...

Any fitting tips welcome... especially around the shoulders and the armholes...

I've always wanted to dress a la Andrea Zittell, in a daily uniform of dresses that only marginally differ from each other... maybe this will be it! 

I also managed to FINALLY finish my Bubble sweater from Norah Gaughn's Nature Knits... I'm not in love with it, the work is pretty careless, but it's been at least 4 years from start to finish.  I misplaced it about 6 moves ago, and it finally resurfaced when I was unpacking in Santa Fe.  It has a majorly Molly Ringwald vibe to it, but at least it's (almost) done.  Just needs some finishing and some ignoring of weird seaming and lumpy bits.

And my Bubble sweater success inspired me to fish out my Wendy Bernard' Essential Stripe, which languished due to a f****-*p that required a lot of ripping / cursing / tears to rectify.  Its' cute though...

It's cold and dark outside my little adobe house. Thank god for electricity and hot water!

I'm off to sign up for Hulu Plus, so I can spend this Saturday night in bed, watching Law and Order!

Friday, December 10, 2010

United Airlines, 1965, Flight 1 Hong Kong

I used to be a stew at United, and I loved going to World HQ in Chicago, and looking at the displays of old uniforms.  I actually picked UA to work for because I thought they had superior branding and style over AA and Delta (the other choices at the time).  It's been a while since I last flew as a Trolley Dolly, but I picked up this pattern on ebay because it really sums up the style of the era, and how UA stews were uniformed in the mid-60s.

I'm muslining it now, here's hoping it fits....
The other dress chugs along, but nothing exciting to share just yet....

Have a great flight!

Thursday, December 09, 2010


I've renounced shopping since I found myself out of work, and minus one fiancee, and life generally in upheaval.  Luckily I've moved to the thrifting epicenter of the world.  Though the heyday of Santa Fe thrifting is behind it - you can no longer find killer cowboy boots for five bucks at the Sally Ann - it's still pretty good, especially if you are looking for Tchotches to brighten up the place....

I scored with a great little adobe hideout right in the middle of town, but it came fully furnished with some pretty gnarly stuff - now the little grey armchair is the last hold-out of gnarlitude.  My sister's beat-to-hell IKEA couch is covered with a $4.00 crocheted throw from Sally Ann.  The colors are very New Mexico and I say a silent thank-you to the Grandma who whipped it up.  The little teeny chairs are great for the fireside parties I like to throw.  The little New Mexico coffee cup is pure chintz, but kind of cute.  And I love the RoadRunner. Kind of reminds me of myself this last year.... And the Time Life series from the 60s are essential reading if a) you like to cook.  b) you like to sew.

Working on a couple of seasonally-inappropriate dresses... and I'll post soon.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Naive Snow Princess seeks Prince

In the last few months I've:
1) Dealt with some significant emotional turmoil... which led me to
2) Move out of state, a good 800 miles away from my former home.
3)Gotten started on making a new life for myself here in The City Different.
4)Signed a book deal that is due very very soon.

All this adds up to a testing time, and not much room / energy for sewing, but conversely the insane stress of the year 2009 means that I really need to sew.  I need that sense that "I did this."  Something good came out of bad and life moves on.

My new locale is at 7000+ feet, and we should be deluged by snow any minute.  But for some reason all I really want to sew are dresses.  I've cute out the pattern for Simplicity 0495, which is a fantastic Cynthia Rowley dress,  I'm doing the long sleeved dress version. BUT...

Twinkle Sews: 25 Handmade Fashions from the Runway to Your Wardrobe (Book & CD)
Misses Dresses

I'll be changing the neck line to add the very charming cut out detail a la Twinkle, and this anonymous fashion photo.  With plenty of long underwear, scarves and moonboots, this should be just perfect for bitter cold and snow drifts!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Fleetwood Mac

My new old machine is getting it's first test drive repairing my Groovy Mod Mini.  The Groovy Mod Mini is made out of vintage fabric sourced from ebay... I'm not sure what it is, it's clearly a man-made fiber, but it's quite soft and pleasant to the touch. I made it for a meeting with Trina Turk, when I was trying to persuade her to let me write her book... but I'm not sure if she was impressed or not.  I saw her eyeing it up and down, but no actual comment.  You be the judge of what that means! Maybe it felt like I was trying to hard.  The pattern is from Burda WOF, but I'll have to dig around to remember what month / style.

I subsequently wore this to a Hollywood Hills party, where a designer for Max Azaria told me, "big flowers are in," and I got kind of drunk.  When I got home I ripped the zipper tab off, and end up having to pull the dress apart to get it off... alcohol!