My mini Pantone wardrobe

Fabrics:Silk noil from Stone Mountain, linen from JoAnn, sweater knit from stash, skirt rayon from stash
Patterns: Simplicity 4013, Folkwear 205 and Decades of Style 5003
Year: Simplicity from 1950′s, Folkwear 40′s vintage inspired, Decades of style 50′s vintage inspired
Notions: Interfacing, 2 zippers, 6 buttons, 2 sets pant/skirt hooks ‘n eyes
Time to complete: 8 hours
First worn: For this photo
Wear again? YES!

Total Cost: Blouse, including pattern, ~ $32.00, Linen for pants $16.38

Once again I SWEAR I didn’t start out to do this many pieces! I had the sweater fabric in my stash and was excited to see several of the Pantone colors in it – Bellflower, Soladite blue, Driftwood, Starfish and a slightly yellower version of Margarita. When I bought the sweater knit I also purchased the green rayon thinking I’d make some fabulous vintage-style skirt when I lost 30 pounds. Both pieces have been on a shelf ever since : ) I bought the Starfish colored linen back when I was still trying to figure out what to make for the Oscar challenge. My “go to” outfit would have been Diane Keaton’s ensemble from “Annie Hall” and I was VERY glad I didn’t do it since Kazz did such a fabulous job with her version

I love the Folkwear pattern, super easy and I liked the idea of doing something very Katherine Hepburn for a change. I have also started riding my bike to BART and back every day as my car died a very quiet yet thorough death so I really need pants!

I bought the Bellflower silk noil with my mom when we went to get the wool for my Shamrock green hat. She said this particular shade of purple was my Grandma Bertha’s favorite so that sealed the deal.

The sweater was self-drafted – I just took a sweater that I wear and cut a pattern from it. I had it nearly done when I decided on the blouse with the very interesting collar so I had to re-cut the front so it would curve around it rather than cut it off strangely. The fabric doesn’t stretch as much as I would like so this ended up almost more of a short jacket than sweater but that print is so fabulous I don’t really care : )

The skirt pattern was part of a bundle of patterns I bought at the Alameda Flea market a couple of months ago. I love the high-waisted versions and REALLY wanted to make one of those but I just didn’t have enough fabric. I was afraid with the slight brushed finish of the rayon if I tried to fit the pattern like pieces of a puzzle I’d end up with light/dark/light/dark and be very sad.

I ended up taking 3″ off the hem and just squeezing the skirt out but as you can tell the length is perfect. I did try the skirt with my petticoat and all it did was make my lower half look really L A R G E and not at all fun.

It has been cold and wet, wet, wet out so we took the pics in my dining room which just happens to be the same shade of green as my skirt : ) To do the whole thing justice I pulled out a tablecloth that matches the outfit!

The shirt pattern was the most challenging. The company is local and they have a gorgeous line of patterns, this is the first one of theirs that I’ve made. The challenge came when they ask you do a couple things that the pieces aren’t marked for. It isn’t that difficult to figure out, my brain was just a little on the tired side and I didn’t want to think that hard. Total time was about 2 1/2 hours from cut out to buttons on.

Pants took about 2 hours to make and I ended up taking a good inch out of the inseam as well as the outer seams. Loose is one thing, looking like I’ve lost 50 pounds and need to alter my clothing is another thing entirely. I also put in only one pleat, not the two the pattern calls for, stitched them down at the top so they didn’t pooch out (and emphasize what’s there any more!) and made smaller belt loops.

As we were taking photos my little chicken, Pouff, came along to check things out. You can also see the cute sleeve finish on the shirt : )

What should the fifth piece be?

My Grandma always said you can put together an entire wardrobe with five pieces. Only one to go…what will it be?…

The “Joan goes Pucci” outfit




The Facts
: Pucci-inspired rayon from stash, turquoise vinyl from stash, lining from stash
Patterns: Simplicity 7635 and a Sew-Knit-n-Stretch #122
Year: Both from 1967
Notions: Scraps of interfacing, 1 zipper, 6 vintage buttons
Time to complete: 8 hours
First worn: For this photo
Wear again? Probably

Total Cost: FREE!

I swear I didn’t set out to make another entire outfit, all I wanted to do was finish the dress! Then I was looking in the living room closet for some random thing, spied the half-done turquoise vinyl coat….and the rest, as they say, is history.

I was trying to channel Joan Holloway this week, but I ended up with a mixture of Joan and Skeeter from “The Help”. I wanted to loosen Joan up, make her super hip and “of the moment” : ) I also wanted to finally finish or toss these things I’ve had hanging up and in boxes for at least 7 years! I decided on the raincoat in the midst of a week of solid rain here, standing on BART platforms or waiting for shuttles and getting wet. Why not something distinctive? The pattern was in a big box of patterns from a freecylcer, and was perfect since I wanted to use my cool vintage buttons and needed to use at least 6 to make a statement. The style of coat is a little boxy, not something I would normally wear but to be honest, most of the clothes from this era aren’t my “thing”.

Lining the coat in the dress fabric was pure serendipity – I happened to have a piece *just* big enough, I had used it as a tablecloth in my First Day of Christmas tablesetting (you can see it here if you like). I didn’t have enough to line the sleeves so I used a piece of turquoise silky in the same box. I’m loving being able to use all this stuff finally!

I didn’t realize how much the belt was going to blend in with the dress but check it out! It is an actual vintage piece from the 60′s, and you can just see the vintage ball buttons on the coat. I had to work to salvage them when we had a major flood in my shop about 16 years ago, and there was still a little dirt caught in the holes but the effort was well worth it : )

The coat was a pain in the you-know-what. Do I recommend the fabric? Absolutely not, unless you’ve got a ton of experience working with pain in the rear fabrics. This stuff is right up there with velvet <cringe>. It’s tough to press (MUST use press cloth), you can’t wash it or dry clean it (wipe it with a sponge) AND it has some stretch to it. I ended up doing bound buttonholes in the off-chance that I’d wear it enough to put a strain on anything. I top-stitched the hem because honestly, I ran out of time. What I “should” have done was what I did with the sleeves:

Instead of doing the traditional hem (turn up fashion fabric, stitch, turn up lining fabric separately and either slip stitch to fashion fabric or stitch separately and tack at seams) I treated the vinyl and lining as one. I took some of the print, wrapped it around the raw edges like a bias binding to enclose everything and then stitched the hem to the lining. You can’t really hand hem vinyl, and you shouldn’t : ) This way you get a clean edge finish without putting holes in the vinyl…because if you make a mistake you can’t fix it well or easily.

I channeled Najah this week with the pockets : )

I didn’t do the “nice” finish with the coat hem because all hand work was done in the car on the way to pick up a couple rescued chicken girls in Vacaville Sunday morning. By the time we got back I had just enough time to throw a machine hem in, get hair and makeup done and get to my girlfriends house to do photos.

Sue has all KINDS of goodies, she’s my partner-in-crime with our tablesetting blog. She has the vintage record box (you’d store your singles in it and could take it to your friends house for a sleep over) AND Monkees records! I decided to pull out the “Day Dream Believer” single as an homage to Davy Jones. I was much more a David Cassidy fan but appreciate a good-looking singing Brit : )

All the furniture is Sue’s…I match : ) Check out those vintage shoes too! They are only a half-size too small this week and a little narrow but very shiny and purple! I also totally lucked out with the tights – I used to own about 2 dozen pairs in all colors and they just sat in a box for years. A few months ago my daughter needed materials for a project at school so she took them all and made an enormous spider web in the wooded area at school…and somehow left me one pair of turquoise. Serendipity : )

This totally cool picture is vintage and made using fake fur : ) Reminds me of troll hair…

So Joan met Pucci this week, what do you think?

The “Shamrock Linen” dress

It’s not easy being green…

Fabrics: Shamrock linen, poly lining  & wool felt Pattern: Vogue 8280
Year: 2007 (!?!)
Notions: Scrap of interfacing, 1 zipper, 1 hat frame from stash
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: For this photo
Wear again? To work this Friday : )

Total Cost: Dress $15.42, Hat $5.11

I was all set to go for the Pantone challenge when the theme was changed, even had one of my items almost done! Rummaging through my “green” storage bin I discovered I had almost nothing useful. There was a very interesting piece of ombre organza in greens with a slight yellow edge on one side and heading to the blues on the other. It would make a stunning, yet slightly shiny and Easter-y dress and matching jacket but needed lining.

One trip to the fabric store later and I came home with the green linen you now see. There was NO fabric suitable for lining my organza so all that ombre loveliness will just have to wait : ) While searching for fabric I kept thinking about the “Mad Men” challenge coming up and Joan Holloway popped into my brain and refused to leave. I knew I had this pattern at home, perfect for a Joan wiggle dress, so I had my fabric cut and hustled home. I was SO excited to make this so imagine my horror to find out the sales clerk cut the WRONG amount of fabric – 1 1/2 yards instead of the 1 3/4 that I asked for!

Harrumph. Fine, make the sleeves shorter, it’ll work out. Then I went to cut the lining, which was also consistently cut wrong and I didn’t have enough to line the sleeves, just the dress. Oh well, at least I don’t have to worry about a slip! The good news is the linen is sturdy enough that sleeve lining wasn’t an issue. The bad news is the dress is linen with all its inherent linen qualities : )

Don’t get me wrong, I love how linen feels but today I wish I’d thought about the photography process just a bit more. In the future I’ll either take the pics at home or somewhere we can walk to, or have my daughter drive and lay down in the back seat : ) I also need to find a reflective surface in which to check my overall look (pull down the top after climbing up the embankment, fix the belt, rearrange the girls properly…). But hey, this is real life, not “The Real Housewives of Walnut Creek” and I don’t have hair, makeup and stylists to help out, just my daughter. I think we did just fine considering we lost an hour and were each having a poop-y weekend for entirely different reasons. We channeled Joan with the hair as best we could and I wore it all day like this!

My hair : )

The pattern was a breeze to make, I HIGHLY recommend it. Easy to line although they don’t have you interface the neckline which I strongly recommend doing. My last adventure with this dress came when I decided it needed a belt and possibly a hat. I dragged my mother to Stone Mountain Daughter in Berkeley where I discovered she had never been! She was like a kid in a candy store, feeling all the fabrics. She finally looked around and said “I see why you like it, it IS a real fabric store!”. While she was delighting in the fabric goodness I managed to find my belting AND wool felt that EXACTLY matched my linen! Again, so excited, and when I got home I immediately made the hat using an old pillbox frame that has been kicking around in the garage for 6, yes six, years. Took a whole 45 minutes and makes me ridiculously happy. Went to get the belting out of the bag and…they forgot to put it IN the bag! Just for today I wrapped a piece of the linen around an existing belt but seriously…

Back to Neiman Marcus we went to take advantage of the GREEN windows this time. As we walked down the street we could see 60′s-style furniture in a shoe department, and my daughter said wistfully “I wonder if they’d let us take pictures in there?”

Speaking of shoes, I’d just like to point out the vintage friends on my feet.  For all you who appreciate beautiful vintage things I shoved my size 8 1/2 feet into size 7′s because they were the right color and style : ) The jewelry is vintage and the bag is, I think, alligator.

Shoes and bag

The key element to this outfit? Spanx. Buy some, feel the love : ) Now that I’ve warmed up with this Joan dress I can’t WAIT for next week!

“The Kiss by Klimt” coat

Fabric: All scraps left over from some project or another
Pattern: Vogue 2338
Year: 1946 Notions: 3/4 yard of elastic. Does thread count? I went through a LOT of thread! Time to complete: 17-18 hours
First worn: February 2012
Wear again? Absolutely!!

Total Cost: F R E E

I honestly couldn’t tell you what thought process picked this piece of artwork and paired it with this pattern. Some things you just let happen and every once in a while magic happens : )

Here is the original piece of art:

The Kiss 1907-08

And here is what I started with:

My pile of inspiration

I have bags of literal scraps, silk scraps. I did a series of shows that we were lucky enough to be able to use gorgeous silks so I saved some of the bigger scraps thinking one day I’d do a fabulous silk crazy quilt. I saved those pieces for 7 years and yes, I finally DID make my quilt! But despite making an all silk quilt large enough to put on a queen sized bed I still had a considerable amount of pieces left. We separated the colors out so each color lives in its own little bag so when I need something like gold I can just pull out that bag, dig through and get what I need. That is why there is a pile of rumpled silk in the lower left corner : ) The rest are larger pieces left over from all kinds of things but the ONE piece that was pivotal to this piece is the gold silk crinkly mesh on top.

What I REALLY didn’t want to have was a fancy “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” coat. I wanted the translucence of the gold mesh while using the other silks for the squares that make up the cloak design in the painting. I didn’t have enough of the mesh to do the entire jacket so I knew a certain percentage of the coat had to be the other silks otherwise…no coat : )

I started out cutting 4″, 3″, 2″ and 1 1/2″ strips from each of the colors. Then I just got into a kind of zen “zone” patching pieces together. I laid the strips down over the actual pattern pieces because I didn’t want to cut ONE extra square and needed to make sure everything stayed on a straight grain. My routine became cut, piece, stitch, overlock, iron, repeat…about 1000 times. Each panel took about 2 hours to do and there are, effectively, 8 panels. The KEY thing was to NOT overthink the piecing! Doing something like this is easy to start micro-focusing so working 2 hours a night was a good thing, it let me step back and see what I had done without getting so caught up that I got tunnel vision.

Up close of the inside

Overlocking each seam was essential since these silks can ravel. I’ve got gold threads all over the sewing room and a couple of cats. I’m sure the whole process time-wise could have been cut down about 10% if I wasn’t constantly moving a cat off the ironing board or the cutting board.

Cat on cutting board : )

Despite the fact that this could also be “The Coat that Ate all My Spare Time this Week” I LOVE IT!!!

Me and my coat!

Would I do this again? Probably not : ) But now I have something amazing to wear should I ever go out again somewhere really nice.

Back view

There are a couple things that I would change about this, and probably will in the future. If anyone is interested in making this pattern be aware – it is really big! I would normally cut a 14 or 16 in a Vogue pattern so that’s what I did here. Next time I’ll cut a 10 or 12. The armholes hang very low, and I could put a couple small children under the body of the jacket like Mother Marshmallow in “The Nutcracker”. I could easily remove 15-20% of the fabric and be fine. The one thing I didn’t realize, though, was how cool it looked from the back until my daughter started snapping pics.

The back in motion

I wasn’t sure how brave I was going to be today, we first went to the park and library in town but ended up at my first choice for the shots, in front of the soon-to-open Neiman Marcus building. I really wanted to see how this would look in front of their gold glass windows and against that white, white marble. Being self-conscious to be so dressed up on this warm day (in hat and gloves!) I wasn’t relaxing as well as I needed to until a woman exclaimed “Oh, that background is absolutely perfect for your outfit! I’m an artist to this is just stunning!” My daughter went on to say “The outfit is inspired by a famous piece of art, can you guess what it is?” She couldn’t quite get it but she was close. I felt much better after that : )

The back full out : )

I love the whole outfit with the vintage wool hat, vintage leather above-the-elbow gloves, bakelite earrings, bracelets and belt buckle and purse. My daughter kept trying to straighten my seams which you can see are still crooked. She used to do a show where she had to wear seamed hose every night and finally had it with trying to keep the seams straight so she had them tattoo’d on! I’m beginning to think that isn’t such a bad idea… : )

The “Sad 90’s sweater meets a tablecloth” outfit

Sad little sweater before : (

The Facts
: 90′s sweater from Salvation Army, table cloth from personal collection and some felt and suede scraps
Pattern: Self-drafted
Year: Contemporary but with a distinct 50′s influence
Notions: Zipper, 1 yard blue grosgrain ribbon and 4 hooks n’ eyes
Time to complete: 3 1/2 hours
First worn: February 2012
Wear again? Yes!

Total Cost: ~$7

I was a little stumped by the “re-do” category – not because I didn’t know WHAT to do (we’ve all seen Marissa’s New Dress A Day blog, right?) but what to use. I don’t have very many clothes, I spent three years in the same outfit five days a week and then my husband was diagnosed with cancer so I was lucky to find a t-shirt and jeans to put on every day and didn’t really care what I wore. When I finally went back to work I bought enough to get by but since what I personally wear fits into a closet the size of a large suitcase I had nothing to re-do. One quick trip to Salvation Army and Goodwill solved that little problem : )

I wanted turquoise with beads if possible and this is what I found. I took it almost completely apart; took out the sleeves, opened up the left side, cut off the neck band and laid the whole thing out flat.

Flat sweater (sorry about the lighting!)

I laid a sweater pattern on this, you can just see the pins in the upper left corner marking a new shoulder and half an arm hole. Once I knew I had enough square inches in all the right places I cut it out. The former armhole became the center back and the remaining side seam became the center back seam. Then I sewed the new shoulder seams, took in and reattached the sleeves and attached the neck trim now sliced in half. To give the new front some stability I used grosgrain ribbon hand stitched down on the inside.

Once the sweater was done I pulled out the tablecloth, which was round to begin with. It was HUGE, which is good, so all I had to do was cut the center out for the waist, add a zipper and hem it. Here is a before of the tablecloth:

Tablecloth before…

And here is the tablecloth in action:

The tablecloth in action: )

Basic beige cotton/rayon, goes well with the dishes : ) This is one of the tablesettings from my blog, and I just wanted everyone to see it BEFORE. The dishes are by Red Wing and called Bobwhite, after the quail. For many years I had a yearly party that was 50′s themed, everyone wore turquoise and/or brown and we had fabulous food made using vintage recipes served on vintage dishes. For this years party I’m using this now former tablecloth as part of my outfit.

My Better Homes & Gardens pose : )

Thankfully there was enough fabric that when I cut off part of the hem I could use that fabric for a waistband. I then pulled out a scrap of ultra suede and cut out the shape of the quail that is on the dinner plate and put it on the skirt instead of a poodle. A few scraps of turquoise felt and some copper t-shirt paint and I had myself a quail : )

Mama quail with a baby : )

Because I have now made my skirt out of my tablecloth, I set another table:

Would you like a cuppa?

I am infinitely pleased with my outfit! The petticoat that I made for my red dress has come in quite handy, as I knew it would. It *almost* makes up for the pesky time I had of things that week : )

Join me : )

I’m now looking at my tablecloth collection in a whole new way…