Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Starlet Suit Jacket, part III

After all my big talk about not over fitting... I am fitting.  A second look at my muslin photos showed some extra fabric on the upper back.  Which surprised me, since I always think of myself as having a rather meaty upper back, or more technically a broad and muscular upper back.

I pinned out a horizontal fold, but my question is should I be adding that length back somewhere, and if so, where? In addition there seems to be extra fabric on the back side panel, which is possible to fold out, though I imagine it will make the pattern piece look rather peculiar.

 This is where a fitting friend would come in handy, no?

Finally, the horizontal back fold seems to move the shoulder seam too far back, so I've drawn a new shoulder seam line that "gives" some of the front bodice piece to the back bodice piece.  Does that make sense?

I think the front looks pretty good actually.

I still need to move the curve in the princess seam down.  The curve hits me at my 19-year-old bust point.  Not my 41-year-old bust point (I never quite understood Meryl Streep's joke in "It's Complicated," about Alec Baldwin not having seen her standing up naked in twenty years.  I get it now).

Any thoughts?

Vintage 90s Inspiration

The 90s was 'my' era, and I still find it hugely inspiring.  The style of the era was sleek with a cleaned-up 60s and occasionally 50s flourish.  I love the smooth lines, the elegance and the modernity of it.  You could fill your wardrobe with these clothes and - even if you're not perfectly 'in fashion' still look perfect.  

I love the wide-set, high neckline of the era, as in the black dress to the left and red Prada.  Funny how these images are burned in my brain.  I threw away the actual magazines years ago but still remembered these shoots perfectly.

 I love these white coat and the camel jacket.  Let's call them sewing inspiration for the near future.  And of course I love love love Linda Evangelista. There was a tricky moment in the early 90s when Amazonian glamour was out, and waifishness was in, but she made the transition perfectly.

 All images are pulled off of The Fashion Spot, and not my own.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Starlet suit part II

I'm packing my bags for yet another trip, this time to the UK.  You'd think I was some big-wig high-flying executive, but no.  If only. Just someone with relatives all over the world who need me right now.

I'm flying all over the place and going everywhere but home.  I force myself not to think of the waning summer in Wyoming.  It is too sad, and makes my heart hurt to think of the lakes and the rivers and the mountains. 

A key part of the packing process is taking some sewing projects to while away the quiet country hours.  I've decided to take a real crack at the Starlet Suit Jacket.  Now, I have some thoughts about this. I know there was a lot of talk about the pattern in the blogosphere.  My experience was that it comes together really well, with no obvious issues.  As for the fit: I think as sewists we get obsessed with the muslin-ing stage, to the point where we lose sight if the end goal, which is a wearable, flattering garment that expresses something about ourselves.  

The photographs emphasize the fit wrinkles, but my muslin actually looks pretty good in real life.  The front actually fits nicely and the only major alteration it needs is to lower the curve of the princess seam.  The back is similarly acceptable.  It has some wrinkles, specifically on the back side piece, but I feel pretty good that these will be absorbed by a heavier and more structured fabric.  If anyone has any tips I'd like to hear them.

Call it an experiment.

I'm contemplating lowering the sleeve hole - wonder if that would pull up some of the slack?

I'm taking a length of wool I picked up at a thrift store for five bucks (finger's crossed that it is long enough - there are some flaws I need to cut around).  If it doesn't work - no big loss.  

I do think we have a tendency to drive our selves crazy fitting garments.  We forget that ready to wear fabrics nearly always have a smidge of elasticity that allows for a better fit than the non-stretch fabrics one would naturally pick for a tailored project.

Did anyone else catch the Dior pull-out ad in the September Vogue? A beautiful and inspiring behind the scenes peek at couture muslining and tailoring.  Work the five bucks alone!

And finally my Burda style inspired-by-Michelle-Williams in "My Week with Marilyn" sheath.  I'm not that stoked.  The color is too insipid for me (sidenote:  Los Angelenos will remember the Button Lady from F & S, she is now working at Mood, and talked me into buying this fabric.  Turns out I should have listened to my instincts that I need brighter, bolder colors.  The pink completely washes me out.  Props to Oona for the lining selection though!)

I'll take some pics once I've hemmed it at my Mum's house.

Monday, August 06, 2012


Hey hey hey Ladies!
I'm sure that AS WE SPEAK Oona is composing a wildly funny, wickedly observant, bourbon-stained blog post about Promballoona, so rather than tread on her toes I will say that it was indeed wildly funny, bourbon fueled,  tulle-laden and we all had tons of laughs.

As we drove up I told my rather fatigued lawyer boyfriend, "don't worry, it's a Sunday night in LA, I'm sure it won't run too late."  But when we (sadly) departed at 10:45 the party was only getting started...

Early stages, "Ooooh, I read your blog too!"

Tired boyfriend wearing three-piece polyester suit that left him hotter than a Swedish sauna in July.

I wish I could have got pictures of the beautiful frocks and the lovely ladies, but since the guest list was 30 sewing bloggers I'm sure lots of photos will surface shortly.

Happy Birthday Oona!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Prom Night from Hell

I have no photos to document my prom night... twenty years later oh how I wish I could be digitally inserted into Oona's cute little stretch mini... but here is my description of the event.  Perhaps you will understand why documenting it seemed unnecessary and indeed borderline masochistic.

In England we had these awful things called “Balls,” that were basically bastardized versions of old-fashioned Debs nights out, but gussied up for slutty English girls who wanted to drink and snog. The "Balls" weren’t affiliated with your school, but were thrown by entrepreneurial young society men who saw an easy way to get 30 pounds ( a huge sum of money for a middle-class teen) out of lots of girls and boys and lock them in a room with purloined Shandy and some Duran Duran on endless loop.  The guy who ran this particular one - Eddie Davenport - has since been embroiled in many incredibly sleazy English sex / money / title type scandals.  I never met him then but he had a pretty yucky reputation even in those early days. 

The good girls bought their dresses from this vaguely bridal-ish shop on the Fulham Road, that sold dresses made out of shiny stiff synthetic silk-ish fabric.  Very 80s, and very awful.  Mine was lemon yellow and a two piece,  I remember it having long sleeves and a short skirt and looking like some bizarre out-take outfit from Melanie Griffith’s character in “Working Girl.”  It really was horrible.  As a seamstress is blows my mind that I was ever the kind of person who bought dresses like this, and I still feel a twinge of guilt that my (at that time struggling) Mom put down a meaningful amount of cash for it.

The boys wore expensive tuxedos that had been handed down through the generations and Wayfarer sunglasses.  Converse sneakers if they were trying to "go rogue."

I went with an awful boy who kept trying to look down my top and who I never saw again.  Thank God.

And of course after I showed up in my Lemon Popsicle outfit my best fr-enemy showed up in this incredibly sexy crushed velvet, skin-tight dress with feet and feet of black fringe at the hem.  She was the kind of girl who would go to the pub at lunch and drink vodka and limes while I had a ginger ale. Bitch.  She looked super hot and "fashion-y," and I think that was the first moment in my life that I became aware of the divide between girls who were still reading "Just Seventeen" and girls who had moved on to read "Elle."

She actually went on to become a sort-of society-model.  The kind of girl who was regularly featured in "Tatler" with her name printed beside her face.  In 1980s new-old-money England  she had the slightly tarnished currency that comes from being pretty and rich but untitled.


I went home on the No11 bus, no snogging, no drinking, and I lost one of my horrible pointy toe flats in the scrum.  I seem to remember they were an odd shade of green.

And this explains why there is NO photo documentation of this particularly horrific event!