MeMadeMay13 Week 4

I finally got the Joan pose down!

Definitely having to learn a whole new skill set when it’s just me and the camera on auto. This is how I ended the week, channeling Joan in my Favorite things outift, and this is how I started the week:

Can we say “Titanic”?

Yes, I FINALLY got to wear parts of my Titanic outfit from last year. The $3 Salvation Army linen blouse has seen quite a bit of wear, so much so that when I found another one I snapped it up so I wouldn’t wear them out so fast. I don’t know about you but I trash the cuffs before anything else.

I used the belt from the jacket for a waist belt and wore the same purple/white shoes I wore to Brittany’s graduation. Because the morning was a little chilly I wore a basic white sweater to work but it was quite nice at the end of the day so Mr. Sweater stayed in my bag. The big hat? In the closet. I can’t imagine it would stay on my head while I rode my bike! Even with ties it is so big it would block my vision so no hat. I’m ok with that but when I look at the above pic I start thinking I look like a Cheesecake Factory waitress (no, they do NOT wear the outfits you see on “Big Bang Theory” and yes, I tried to google that for you but nothing relevant comes up. They wear ALL white!).

  We’re still having this weird weather pattern where it’s cold at the beginning of the week, almost raining, and then by the weekend it’s nice and warm. This particular day, however, was NOT warm. I’ve not only got on a long sleeve sweater as my basic foundation piece but I had 2 more sweaters on over it! I’m only wearing one here but wow! What happened to the mid-80 days??

The skirt is the one I made for the Childhood Challenge last year. I love the skirt, made 2 more from this pattern : ) I probably would have made another couple had it not been shredded by puppy teeth last fall. I did get to wear one of my new-ish bakelite pins, a cornucopia with cherries. Any day with a little bakelite in it is a little better day, which leads me to…

Bakelite galore!! This was just the SECOND outfit I completed for the Sew Weekly challenges. Again, I love this skirt pattern and again, it was shredded by puppy teeth. This pattern, however, is so easy I can probably pull one off the skirt itself. I never would have thought I would love the yellow/black combination of this so much but I do. So much so that I recently found a piece of black/yellow printed chiffon at JoAnn for something like $2 a yard and I bought a piece for experimentation. I recently joined the Vintage Pattern Lending Library and let me tell you, it’s been an education : ) I have several 30’s day dress patterns now that are just BEGGING to be made up!

 And now for the extra special photo of the week:

Four generations.

Grams insisted : ) I guess because Brittany wasn’t around for Mother’s Day my grandmother wanted a 4 generation photo with her so we obliged. My mom thinks my grandmother has a “list” of things to do before she “goes”. I don’t know what to say about that other than “ok” when she asks. I wore my Joan dress from the latest Mad Men challenge. Right color for the day : )

So that’s my collage for week 4. I have to say I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t been able to add more new things to my wardrobe. I’ve got lots of stuff cut out, just haven’t had much time to actually sew. The real challenge has been to make sure I don’t wear the same things over and over again, plan ahead so I’m not ironing a shirt at 5:30 in the morning and make sure I’ve got enough layers on to go from 50 to 80 degrees in one day.

I’m also quite happy that Miss Crayola Creepy has extended the deadline for the Gatsby challenge to June 4. I have a vintage dress that is falling apart that I would love to turn into something Gatsby-ish. Not my favorite era for someone with my boobage but I’d really like to see what I can come up with considering I pulled the dress from the trash. And I’m still futsing over my Lee challenge : )

So much to do…

MeMadeMay13 End of week 3 and Graduation

When we last met I had lost this dress : ( And then I found it : ) I don’t know how big this pic is on your screen but maybe you can see I’m holding the program from Brittany’s commencement?

She’s the one in the red hair smiling with thumbs up : )

And here we are after her ceremony, just after we took our “bent twig” photo.

What is a bent twig?

“Any current Mills student related to a Mills alumna. The term comes from the quote by Alexander Pope: “’Tis education forms the common mind; just
as the twig is bent the tree’s inclined.’ “

I’m not usually a big fan of commencements. I would have skipped my own if I didn’t get the traditional “You will attend because I’ve waited for YEARS for this!” lecture. I now see what my mother meant and yes, she is *almost* always right.

Part of my reluctance in attending these things are the speeches that I never seemed to have a connection to/with. I remember suffering through high school speeches while sitting in blinding afternoon sun (yawn) and don’t even remember who spoke at my own college commencement but I DO remember being very happy I was done!

Brittany’s ceremony featured Holly Gordon, the woman who helped produce the award winning documentary “Girl Rising“. Her message, which you can see in a podcast here, boils down to this “Just do SOMETHING”. She told stories of her own travels, how she got her start and even though her journey has not been what you might think of as a “straight” line it was what was necessary to get to where she is today.

That’s what she wanted to tell everyone that day. Take chances, take a trip, take on something that may not seem to be in your path because your path may change. One thing is almost certain and that is life isn’t linear.

If you click on the link it should bring up a page with 7 webcasts – Graduate Student Speaker Steven Drouin was GOOD. And at the very bottom is an 18 second clip showing the students “flinging” their tubes full of pieces of tissue paper in their class color of red, with some gold and white thrown in for good measure : ) I have a handfull of tissue pieces in a bag in my drawer that in 30 years my grandkids will pull out and ask about…I hope.

 I wore my dad’s mother’s high school graduation pin on my dress. I can’t help but think she would have been as proud as I am of my daughter and this was my way of taking my grandmother with me. The dress I wore she would have LOVED because of the purple but the other reason I wore it is because purple was my class color when I graduated. And because of the purple and the amount of walking I did I decided to wear my new purple velvet shoes:

Of course I took these pictures somewhat after the fact and someone had to check things out:

Then she moved right into the middle of the action:

And the she flopped down on the deck as if it was all too much to bear : )

While perusing the Mills facebook page I came across this picture of my daughter, who was sitting about 30 feet away from me. Because I’m an alumna I was able to march to the ceremony with the rest of the alumae who attended. They gave us caps and gowns and had us line up in order of our class year (one woman said “We’re getting closer to the front!”), and handed me a banner with my year on it that I made back when I was pregnant with Brittany! When the other women found out I actually had my daughter graduating they made sure, when she was in line to get her diploma, to cheer! Did I cry? Yep.

Lined up…

The site they use for graduation is where the Costume shop I lived in many years ago used to reside. Now they have an area they plant with an “M” and surround it by the graduating class color.

This journey, for both my daughter and myself, has not been linear. But it has brought us here today which is exactly where we both should be : )

Me Made May13 Week 3 Part 1

I decided, with the very busy weekend we have coming up that I would do a mid-week post so I didn’t get overwhelmed. My daughter is graduating from Mills College this Saturday!

This week has been weird, weird, weird weather-wise. We started out in the upper eighties so cotton was in order. I wore my “Quilt” outfit and it was perfect.

Tuesday was blustery but warm-ish so my St. Patrick’s blouse was in order. I’m back in jeans while it’s windy : ) I got tired of fighting my skirts a la Marilyn in “The Seven Year Itch” on my bike and at BART. It’s also tough this time of year because it can be 57 degrees in the city in the morning but 86 when I get home. It’s all about layers…

Wednesday was shopping day!

Brittany needed sandals to wear for the ceremony along with a correct bra for her dress so we met in the city to shop. I HAD to check out the Fiesta display at Macy’s to see if they had any special pieces to add to my collection (they didn’t!) and then we hit the shoe section. Imagine shoes as far as the eyes can see…

And neon vinyl.

Cal Trans orange neon vinyl. Just say no. I made her try them on just because. We laughed. Then we bought some pretty shoes : ) She took me to Uniqlo, sort of like a Japanese H & M.

The stairs LIGHT up and change colors! We quickly took this photo just like the rest of the tourists : ) The mannequins you see on the left side of the photo turn in unison and there are a couple dozen of them. Very avant garde. I wore the top from my 40’s outfit with my Target red sweater and polka dotty shoes. It was VERY windy out! I will admit that it was a chilly ride home which explains why I bundled up Thursday…

The red wool sweater was a $3 thrift store find and the plaid coat was from the Twin jackets post I did last October. Jeans again and it was windy AND rainy AND some random guy decided to dance on the BART tracks during the morning commute so it took twice as long as usual to get to work. At least I was bundled and comfy during my wait!

I finally decided to wear my Grandma Bertha dress to the graduation. Because I’m an alum I get to sit in a special section and get breakfast ahead of time. Once the ceremony is over Brittany and I will take an official “bent twig” portrait. When a relative graduates they are called “bent twigs” and the moment captured on film. I figure we worked hard for this and I’m getting that picture! The purple/green dress would have been perfect!

Notice how I said “would have been”? Went to pull the dress out tonight and no dress to be found. It must be with the blue Joan dress that is AWOL as well. Either we’ve been hit by a thief that has a fondness for vintage-style clothing or I’ve had a pretty good brain fart and they are somewhere very safe. Both Jim and I have looked in ALL our closets (all 4 of them!) and can’t find either dress. I’m not sure if I’ve got anything else quite appropriate for a spring graduation in the sun on a large grassy meadow. I’m also not sure if I’ve got time to make anything since I need to be in Oakland at 8 am in 36 hours!

Time to panic yet?

Me Made May13 Week 2

The week in pictures : )

I actually made it all seven days but the day seven pic…I’ll save that for the end. There’s a few new pieces here and some “old” so to make it easy we’ll go one day at a time. The one I’m MOST excited about was actually my Tuesday outfit and since the inspiration photo is just too cool we’ll start there.

This remarkable woman is in Finland! She did a blog similar to my tablesetting blog only she did a different vintage outfit, with very few repeats, for 365 days. You read that right, a different outfit every day for a year. Amazeballs. I think it took me three days to read each and every post because of course I discovered her after she was done. She still posts on a blog called Fintage, along with a few other women, who are *just* amazing. If I try to describe the delights on those pages I’ll not do it justice so to cut to the chase you can go here to see the rest of the post about this outfit and here to start with the most recent post. If you have ANY interest in the 30’s to 50’s GO, just GO. Now.


I have been looking for a green/purple polka dot fabric for MONTHS. Haven’t found one I like. Last trip to Stone Mountain I found the blue/green polka dot I finally bought for this blouse. I liked it so even thought it wasn’t “perfect” it was good enough. If I ever do find my green/purple then I’ll have two awesome blouses : )

The linen skirt is from the same 30’s pattern as my Pomegranate outfit. I tapered the skirt a little and put the slit in the center back. Silly thing took me a whopping hour and a half. The sweater isn’t quite the same as the inspiration shot but here’s the deal – it’s cashmere. It was $2. I had several sweaters in my stash (for making Katwise coats!) but none were big enough for me to make into a cardigan. It took two of us looking at this sweater to discover a small green stain on the right sleeve. For $2 I’m ok with something that took me 10 minutes to find. I have no cha-cha belt…yet…but I will : ) I do have a cool pin:

Lucite “feathers” with a stylized bakelite fleur de lis. Or so I think. It was a mega deal at the flea market a few months ago over which my mother raised her eyebrows. I knew it would find a place. The earrings are vintage but so painful I wore them for photos only.


Still one of my favorite all time shirts, I made this last year and call it my “Fiesta” shirt since the print is all the colors of the original Fiesta ware. The sweater was a Target find and I decided on jeans because it was in the low-50’s at 5:30 am. While I love my skirts it can be tough to psych yourself up to get on a bike at 6 am in one : )


This actually IS my Pomegranate skirt! I made the blouse this week, finished it Tuesday night. Because the weather was still being temperamental I not only wore my purple sweater over it but a long, heavy black one as well. There is a belt there, it’s the same linen as the skirt with a black bakelite buckle but amazingly the sweater is such a good match to the skirt it’s all a little hard to see!

The shirt is cute but slippery. I dug out some sale poly I bought at Joann’s months ago, I like the colors but it drove me NUTS all day long! The collar and facing on the right side never seemed to work well, I spent the whole day futsing and tugging and vowed when I got home I was throwing it on the mannequin and figuring out WHAT was up once and for all. I actually changed out of the skirt to walk Chloe, pulling on a pair of jeans and suddenly…all was well. WTH??? I have no idea. I put the skirt on to do photos and we’re all funky again. I was too tired to try to figure out the dynamics of skirt/shirt but did find some moderate amusement in the whole situation.


New skirt, old sweater, new purse. The skirt is Dia de los Muertos cards : )

The sweater is another $2 cashmere that I remodeled for the Black and White challenge last year. I found this fabric at Stone Mountain & Daughter a few months ago and snagged the last 3 yards : ) Originally I wanted the color version of this but they had run out : ( I used the skirt pattern from Vogue 8811 and made SURE to match the print where I had to piece it at the bottom as well as down the side seams.

The purse came from the Alameda Flea market a couple of months ago. Again, my mother thought I was a little crazy buying it but I bought it from the original owner (who had used it in the 60’s) and on the inside it says “The Original Box Bag by Collins of Texas. Hand decorated for You! copyright 1966 enid collins” Did I mention that it’s wood? It’s wood.


My Kazz top : ) Black jeans. Easy peasy. We went from rain in the morning to 78 degrees in the afternoon. We’re calling the weather menopausal since it’s going from hot to cold to hot again.


I LOVE this dress. I made it for the Make-this-Look challenge last year and when it came time to get dressed to go to my mother’s house for a Mother’s Day brunch on Saturday this screamed “wear me!”.

My aunt came up to see my grandmother so it was decided to celebrate all the Moms in the family a day early. I was still staining and working on the deck-that-won’t-be-finished (you can see my dirty knee in the picture) so I threw this on and jammed over for lunch.

My youngest sister, Erica, is on the left with Grams in the middle. It’s pretty awesome that she’s chugging along the way she is. She’s a little frail physically now but mentally she is ALL THERE. Not bad for 93 1/2 : )

Four generations here : ) My niece is on my grandmother’s right (in front of me), and my sister and mother are on her left. My own daughter was off camping this weekend. She finished up her classes last week, turned in her final projects and is DONE with her bachelor’s degree work! She graduates officially next Saturday and I can’t tell you how proud I am : ) In a few weeks she leaves for her summer hiking experience (from the Oregon border back to the Bay Area!) but there will be plenty of time later to talk about that.

All in all a pretty festive week, eh? But there is one more…

This is how I REALLY dress on the weekends : ) I did a cheesy mock sexy pose since I’m in just about the least sexy outfit possible. The shirt sort of fits into the MeMadeMay parameters – I got it at the swap last fall (free) and then had the image screened on right there. One of Brittany’s friends has a silk screen business so whenever they do the swap Raquel brings 5 or 6 screens that you can choose from. This one is her version of a scantron:

“Homey Grown” is the name of the business : ) They also have a screen that prints the images of a nickel and a dime for the 510 area code. If you didn’t get it for a few seconds don’t feel bad, no one does : ) But then you do and you’re in the “know”.

So there’s my secret – I spend 5 days a week in cute clothes and the weekends in funky t-shirts and boxers. (These are my favorites, they have skulls on them.) Stacey and Clinton would be appalled. The animals still love me.

Because this post is so long I’ll post mid-week with more Cake in a Mug recipes and maybe, just maybe, the deck will be done. Here’s a sneak preview;

The staining is done, the bench has been re-painted and I pulled out the cushions. You see the stuff all over it? Squirrels. They mock me and throw all kinds of “stuff” on the new deck and furniture, sort of a two steps forward, one step back sort of deal. Sigh…so close and yet so far.

MeMadeMay13 – Week 1

’I, Loran of Loransworld, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade item each day Monday thru Friday for the duration of May 2013′

True to my word I wore at least one item each day. Actaully, everything but the belt, undies  and shoes are made by me : ) The first day was my latest dress that I call the LVM dress from this post and the red dress was my final dress for the 40’s Sew for Victory Sewalong.

 The outfit on the mannequin is on the mannequin for a reason – the day I wore it was a no good, awful, terrible, very bad day. Normally I can handle people being difficult, that’s my job. They can whine and moan and yell and I can calmly tell them how to get where they NEED to be and if they can’t/won’t listen I can send them to someone else. Thursday was just “one” of those days, and when I walked out of work I was SO looking forward to getting home, walking the dog and sewing. It was not to be, not easily. BART had issues, we were delayed and then trains were so full of people who insisted they had to be on THAT train that I got hit with backpacks, elbowed, squashed and stepped on for over an hour. The AC systems were overloaded so by the time I got off at my stop it was cooler outside in the 92 degree day than on the train. Did I want to take my picture? I did not. Hence the mannequin : )

The top was from my “It could always be a quilt” outfit from last year’s Sew Weekly Mix It Up challenge and the skirt was from my “Golden Gate” outfit. That is one easy skirt to make and you may see its friends later this month!

Speaking of which – sneak peek of what’s coming up this week:

I have a very specific inspiration outfit I’m copying and am VERY EXCITED!

My backyard is also starting to become exciting. My goal this year was to make it as fabulous as possible, preferably on a small budget. My girlfriend and fellow farmgirl, Sue, has found herself burdened with TOO MANY plants. Such a dilemma! Fortunately she calls me, I bring pots and a shovel and we dig things up. She first gifted me with over 100 poppy plants that we weren’t sure would transplant well or not. They did : )

She’s called “Drama Queen”. Very fitting I think!. Now they just need to re-seed and cover my backyard…

Next she gifted me four different kinds of squash plants:

I don’t even know what two of them are, I can’t read her writing on the sticks and yes, I can ask but for now we’ll just be surprised. The above pic is the “before” shot. Within moments of taking this I had to enclose everything in chicken wire to keep the chickens out. No, they don’t eat the plants, they dirt bathe in the moist dirt and “inadvertantly” dig them up : ) The hill they are planted on is terraced with broken pieces of concrete a freecycler donated. A gentleman had decided to get rid of his hardscaping and had broken up an acre’s worth of trails that he piled in his driveway. “All” we had to do was drive down, pick through the mountain  pile, load the truck and bring it all home. I’ve been unloading, moving, stacking, fitting etc. for I don’t know how long. This is in addition to the THIS:

We live on a hill : ) Everything needs to be terraced. I’m getting there. And things might be further along if not for the deck. The deck, that should have been as complicated as clean it off, hose it down, add a layer or two of stain and put everything back. Hah! Not. It is almost done and looking quite lovely but until I have the details all finished no pics. Believe me, I want it done more than you know. It hangs over my head, the squirrels mock me by throwing stuff on it so it’s never clean. Last week it was in the 90’s everyday, today it’s raining. Soon….

So to make my head happy when I’m frustrated or have a bad day I like chocolate. What a surprise : ) But I don’t have time to do the kind of baking I’d like to do and if it’s 90 degrees out who wants to cook? But what if you still want cake? Enter Cake in a Mug.

Apparently this was a “thing” a few years ago. I found a whole lotta recipes online, and my grandmother even had one to share with me. Here’s the problem I’ve found with quite a few: they’re dry. They resemble brown styrofoam. Back in the 80’s we could buy a complete microwave cake mix in a box, complete with pan, that my chemist father looked at and said “You know, this is only one molucule away from sytrofoam.” “Well” I replied, “it must be a very important one becaue it doesn’t TASTE like styrofoam”. “Yes” he said “but is it really ‘food’?” He had a point. I don’t think they tasted as good after that and I gave them up.

But now, because someone (or lots of someones) got creative, there is a host of recipes to make one serving desserts in a mug in the microwave : ) Instant gratification. Because I’m curious I’m trying about a dozen of them and sharing the results. It’s a tought job. So far here’s my favorite:

Nutella Mug Cake

I substituted the new Almond Chocolate goo from Trader Joe’s and it’s a WINNER!
4 Tablespoons self rising flour
(I made my own by adding 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder to 1 c. flour)
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 egg
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons Nutellla or other chocolate goo
3 Tablespoons milk (I used goat)
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I’ll try coconut oil next time)Combine all ingrediants in a large coffee mug, I used a Starbucks 16 oz. mug. Whisk well with a fork until smooth. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 3 minutes (mine took 2). Top with whipped cream if you’re so inclined. I put on a scoop of vanilla ice cream made with coconut milk instead of cream since dairy and I aren’t friends.
YUM! What separates this recipe from the others I’ve tried is the oil. That and the Nutella goo makes this about as good as you’re going to get especially if you NEED cake NOW.
You’re welcome : )
And don’t ask me about calories or carbs, if you have to ask that question then this isn’t the droid you’re looking for.

 Stuart decided he needed to check out what’s in my mug, it’s usually chai so he has a sip and goes about his day.

What IS this stuff??

How hot was it last week? Hot enought that the dogs would roll around in the dirt trying to get cool. Chloe SHOULD be white:

Here’s to a little rain! Hopefully she’ll be white soon, the deck will be done and polka dots will abound.

A Swimsuit Project meets Laurel

The Challenge: By the Sea
Fabric: Cotton/Linen
Pattern: Laurel top by Colette, Folkwear 253 for knickers and self-drafted overskirt
Year: 1870
Notions: 12 self-covered buttons, 6 dingle balls, 30 yards of twill tape, an entire spool of thread
How historically accurate is it? Sort of, maybe a 5 or 6 out of 10.
Hours to complete: 20 give or take
First worn: April 28, 2013
Total cost: $34.00-ish

Leimomi Oakes, aka The Dreamstress, is hosting The Historical Sew Fortnightly. Every two weeks a new themed challenge, things like period undergarments, embellishments and acessories. You can read more here. I chose to work on the “By the Sea” challenge after seeing this alluring photo on her blog:

I’ve been staring at this image so long it feels like a friend. I thought the whole outfit was adorable, sort of a period-within-a-period. What the heck, why not?

Here’s where my reality collided with my fantasy – I found out about this challenge in the middle of the Mad Men nuttiness AND the Laurel challenge. Look carefully at the lines of the top. It’s a scoop neck, short sleeve shirt. Timeless right? So why not combine the challenges? I know, it’s not “period” but it will have to do : ) Laurel meets the 1870’s bathing beauty!

Let me break down the elements for you. If you look at the drawing you see the shirt, scoop neck, blousy at the waist. You can definitley see set-in sleeves so they didn’t go so far as to cut it like a traditional Chiton. The greek key trim follows the scoop of the neckline and the sleeves are edged in it as well. I traced the neck edge onto a piece of gridded pattern paper and sat and drew the key design during lunch at work : )

Can you see the center front? That pink stuff? Lipstick. When I put the shirt on for photos I managed to kiss it accidently : ) Doh!

The next element was the easiest, the knickers. I like the Folkwear swimsuit pattern, hadn’t used it in years but I remember good results.  The pattern was drafted from a swim costume from 1890 and is pretty basic. I don’t know if people remember but Folkwear started out as a little independently owned pattern company in the mid-70’s in San Rafael, CA, just a bridge away from me. It was owned by three women who did EVERYTHING themselves. The original patterns were hand drawn, with hand written instructions! They used actual vintage clothing for their patterns a la Janet Arnold, stuff they collected in their travels and that people loaned them. They started with ethnic patterns, then evolved into vintage. At one time I owned almost every single one of their patterns partly due to winning 12 of them at the Marin County Fair when I entered the Vintage Clothing Recreation contest. The most intricate one I ever made was the Edwardian wedding dress with 90 yards of insertion lace, 300 yards of flat lace and a panel of 1/4 pleats that took 10 hours to do by hand. Do I still have the dress? No. I lent it to a dance company for a photoshoot and they refused to return it. I’m guessing they ripped it and weren’t smart enough to say “sorry”. Ah well.
Folkwear still exists and has reverted, after many buy-outs, to it’s original form! You can find out more about them here.

NOT a rolling pin, NOT a chef hat!

The third element is that over-skirt. That I draped and drafted by hand. The cut is simple, the beauty of it is the trim. Here was my conundrum: I had a couple weeks to make this (no big deal really), and needed at least 20 yards of trim. My first choice would have been something of a natural fiber like a cotton twill tape. Any such luck? No. Then I thought of ribbon. Grosgrain or something not shiny…but no. The stores around me were OUT. Then I thought I might do something cute like red or blue trim on the white. NO! Can we say CLEANED OUT??? I’m not sure what prom or other event was going on but I could find NOTHING in the yardage that I needed.

In desperation I looked at the packaged trims and found poly twill tape, 5 packages at one store and 3 at another so I had 32 yards total. Fingers crossed.

The fabric I chose is a linen-cotton blend with a 1/4″ stripe woven in. I decided not to wash it so it would keep it’s “hand”. I used a purple “disappering ink” pen to draw on the key designs. I did change the pattern a bit, if you look at the detail on the skirt you can see an extra “dip” in the “P”. I tried doing one key with that tiny dip and it nearly made me cry. I deleted that dip and then the design was manageable. It still took me 3 hours to sew the twill on the skirt pieces, an hour and a half for the shirt and another 1 1/2 hours for the kincker cuffs.

Then I ran into an issue. The purple disappearing ink? It didn’t disappear. No worries, you can rinse it out so I did. And then, in a disconnected genius moment I decided to iron the pieces when they were damp. What happens when you apply heat to damp fabic? It shrinks. No big deal for the knicker cuffs and skirt but a semi-big deal for the shirt and only the top of the shirt.

See how the top pulls a little? I was actually really excited making this thinking I could wear a lovely linen blouse with a black skirt to work and look so cool. Now I have two choices (and no, banging my head on the desk isn’t one of them although it was considered) – I can either wait to lose 15 more pounds or so OR make another shirt and cut the key design out and use it as a yoke or applique.

The second issue occured when I went to pleat the skirt and get a waistband on it, you know, an hour before I’m supposed to leave to take pictures : ) It was too big. The picture is very specific of two pleats and then the center with the buttons. It was a “crap!” kind of moment so I made each pleat a little bigger and it worked out ok.

Looking at the stain on my shirt…seriously??…

Now for the accessories – the hat. No, I’m not channeling one of the chefs from “In the Night Kitchen”. I got carried away when I cut out the circle for the hat, again, about 45 minutes before I was supposed to leave. I gathered that sucker down, threw some ties on it and looked in the mirror. Sigh….

I can fix it later. No, there is no Greek key design on it, see the above statement about leaving in 45 minutes : ) Besides, I was already running a week behind, my daughter was taking 30 minutes out of her day one week before classes ended so I just had to Make It Work.
The shoes in the sketch are a farily easy sandal. I was going to add the straps and ties to re-create the sketch but by now we’re down to 10 minutes before we need to leave. I could feel the sweat trickling down my back and it was starting to feel like tech week so I called it quits. I had a pair of sandals that I covered with my white fabric and called it Done is Beautiful.

Belive it or not everything was pressed thoroughly and thank goodness Leimomi just wrote a very articulate article on why garments don’t always look perfectly pressed. The other observation I’d like to make on this outfit is this – it’s a good thing I’m wearing my standard modern underwear! Would the original wearer have worn her standard underpinings? Maybe, probably, depending on the social situation. Then again, if she were on a holiday with very good friends and had total privacy, and she was sufficently fiesty of nature she might have worn the outfit as is. It is pretty comfy but quite sheer and will only be more revealing when wet!

I just need to fix that top somehow and then it’ll be a wonderful addition to my wardrobe. And then figure out somewhere to wear the whole outfit : )

The parasol? Because I needed one : )

Phew… Makes Me Made May look tame in comparison!

What do Vicki, Laurel and Nelson Mandela have in common?

Me : )
Vicki sent me shwe shwe (a printed cotton from Africa). But Vicki sent me ONE meter of shwe shwe, 35″ wide AND a border print no less. Challenge ON! So what to do with one meter of fabulous border print fabric that even she says isn’t enough to make a skirt since it won’t clear the hips? Enter Laurel, the latest pattern by Colette.

The Facts

Fabric: Mandela border print from Vicki,  1 yd. navy cotton from JoAnn
Pattern: Laurel by Colette
Notions: 102 vintage buttons from stash
Year: Modern
Time to complete: 4 hours (half of that was sewing buttons on!)
First worn: April 2013
Wear again? Yes
Cost – $3.00 + $14 for pattern so $17 all together

So this is what I decided to do – use this VERY simple shift dress pattern for the front and pray that I could get a small sleeve out of the rest. I made a muslin (!?!) and am pleased to report this pattern runs either true to size or even a little big, depending on how you like dresses of this style to fit. I cut the 16, trimmed it down to the 14 from my muslin fitting and have decided to taper it a little more through the waist and upper hip area. What you can’t see in the photos are the big safety pins down my back, bringing in the excess : ) How close did I cut things? This close:

You can see the 2 1/2 Mandela faces I have left and the curve where I cut the one sleeve. Everything else was tiny scraps. Now you know why the sleeves aren’t longer : )

 Because this challenge is dedicated to Vicki I wore my plane earrings since she travels a lot, or at least more than I do : )

The other Vicki-inspired part of this dress are the button decorations. Last summer she took a basic linen skirt and decorated it with bias tape and buttons in the African Mfengu style. I liked it so much I filed the idea away to use “someday”. I have jars and boxes of buttons so it seemed a natural thing to incorporate. There was only minimal cat involvement and after I sorted the buttons to use I covered up the whole project with an upside-down cookie sheet. Not a single button was eaten/lost/broken !

I didn’t think the fabric needed any more trim, you can see the nifty border here. Those buttons add a surprising amount of weight to an otherwise medium weight fabric. I have to say I REALLY like the shwe shwe, it washes well and feels really good to the touch. Vicki had a funny story about buying the fabric:

“When the lady was cutting it, she accidentally cut through Mandela’s left ear, and then she stopped and cried, “Sorry sir!  Sorry sir!”, while rubbing the cut portion!”

I tried not to cut through any Mandela’s but I’m afraid I couldn’t help it, I did say a quiet “sorry sir”.

You can see her original post on the fabric here. Here is the side of the dress where you can see the plain back:

Oh, and my shoes? Kazz inspired : ) I found them at a small, upscale shoe store in town when they were going out of business. I have a couple pieces of Ikat fabric to make other items to go with them since shoes this awesome need to be worn : )

And for Vicki, an outtake photo:

I have one more Laurel project that I’ll post tomorrow. I decided to combine a Laurel top with an historic challenge of Leimomi’s : ) It may not be strictly period but it was fun. More soon!