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Color swatching, memory transposing

29 Jan

Funny how the memory works. [Non-sewing] Work took most of energy and attention this week but at least on a subconscious level, brain is still fretting about things like lining options for mystery project, etc. Different images, inspirations, color schemes, etc. dancing at the edge of my subconscious, notes in margins, or spools being pulled out and put down for future reconsideration when I get a minute later. In random-association of ideas, somewhere I remembered the above picture. But I remembered it in different coloration, and had transposed a couple of decades. Can you believe I ever found it? Poking in the wrong parts of art site fruitlessly then two minutes on Google images, d’oh! Really much more lovely than I remembered and worth sharing, although it really has nothing to do with anything, except gorgeous coloration, and the kind of details you can just absolutely get lost in.

Anyway… back to my mundane little lining. With a big dream project like this one, I do care that the lining is going to be attractive. Magical color combination is pretty much what I’m going for, and I haven’t found that perfect combination of shades that really sing to me.

The body color challenge, you see is this:

Rich, delicious as the pimenton itself. Hard to find color combinations that don’t read as seasonal or faddy to my eyes, but it’s a fun process.

I’m pondering unusual fabrics too, for lining. Anyone have experience with this? Sleeves of course a very slippy traditional lining of some kind, but the sides and back, wondering about stepping out. Smooth silk-cotton shirting from stash? Crazy luxurious wool suiting from SR Harris in Minneapolis that takes award for my longest-stashed piece of fabric- 1990s! It’s one of those very high thread counts I picked up with coupon deal at that palace of wool suitings, then went back to school and fell out of sewing for about a decade. I suppose it would be way too impossibly static-y, but I’m kind of in love with the idea anyway. I get that way this time of year, can I just wear wool from the skin out please? Why do I need any other fiber?

Oh especially after seeing this; like I needed anything more to feel bad about clothing-wise. I noticed rayon wasn’t super high on the baddie list though, and that’s got to be good news, right?


Inexperienced tailor asks… melty hymo?

22 Jan


So I may have changed gear slightly and gone a tad crazy with regards to priorities, planning, and my ability to accomplish multiple sewing-related goals in a short period of time (before it gets warm here- in North Dakota time: not that short, but in inexperienced tailoring time: Not Long) in response to a contest-notification email that goaded me to do something I’ve been dying to do for ages, but told myself I a) didn’t need, b) wasn’t ready to try to make and c) where would I wear it anyway. All of which are probably still true, which is what makes it double-extra-deliciously fun, I’m afraid. Yes, my responsible sisters, I’m going deeply down the rabbit hole of unrepentant self-indulgence on this one. Now’s the time, stiff hand or no, I’m on board! More details to follow, but it’s going to be GREAT. G.R.E.A.T. There may be some crying and swearing and begging of tips from any of you who will listen before all is said and done, but I definitely do my best work under deadline, and I’m ready for the focus of the challenge. So excited!

So. Preparation for said change of gears has led me to a surprising revelation. B Black no longer sells *heavy* weight hymo containing any natural fibers whatsoever (stuff I got there last year was wool hair/cotton), which at first blush seems like a likely sign of the apocalypse, but I suppose is just the recession, unless- could it be that this stuff is really superior in any way other than cost to a traditional animal-hair product?

So, I’d like to query the hive mind here: have you worked with these? Great/indistinguishable results? Doesn’t it make it harder to tailor? It just seems that if I’ve gone out of my way to avoid synthetic fibers in the shell fabric, I don’t want to monkeywrench it by painstakingly meshing all this synthetic to it- it seems counter-intuitive to the concept of tailoring doesn’t it? Or am I reading too many old-fashioned tailoring books? Isn’t the notion that I’m creating shape with judicious use of heat, steam and pressure, all three of which I’d then have to largely avoid once I’ve introduced all this poly-rayon into the mix? Am I wiser to go down a weight to the medium-weight stuff? (p.s. did you notice Sunni sells that now, BTW?) Entire paragraph of questions!!

Or… is it just that I react to synthetics like a kid reacts to vegetables- I just haven’t learned how to appreciate them yet and someday I’ll love their unique properties and special wonderfulness pad-stitched all over my wool?

VPLL 1923 - 1924 Couture Porfolio; A little winter garment eye candy to sign off with


Bad Kitty, and the Black-Tie Silk Peony

12 Jan

Sorry for radio silence, guess who ended up in the hospital and had to have emergency surgery with an infected cat bite on her dominant, nay, let’s say sewing hand. Yep. WTF. Apparently there’s this wealth of popular lore out there about cat bites that has up til now escaped me, but somehow in a lifetime of being an animal adorer (cat owner my entire adult life, not to even start on dogs), I didn’t realize that one can end up so sick so fast, or that there is such a hazard there.

Peabody participating in Me-Made-May 2010

Peabody’s a unique one, though. She wandered into my back yard in 2009 a starving, matted, plaintively begging little 5-month old stray at a time when I was least able to resist her, after having recently lost a beloved elderly, soul-matey cat.  I most definitely believe in adopting rescued animals whenever possible; all but one of the pets I’ve had have had lives elsewhere before they came to me, and you expect that there might be baggage that might turn up, but Peabody does kind of take that to the next level sometimes.  She has some little quirks, including some territorial tics I never experienced with cats I had previously; one of which (office chairs with arms!) I ran afoul of in the excitement of installing my lovely new computer monitor.

In any case,  I don’t need to have a complete rehash of the situation here, but that is where I’ve been and what I have been doing, and I have at least gotten to a point where I can do some typing, but hand sewing is not in my immediate future, boo!  I really wanted to get cracking on winter coat and there was a whole lot of pad stitching on the immediate agenda.  Perhaps it’s a sign I should go RTW route???

On to happier things, I owe some pictures of my “black tie Peony”:

Colette Patterns Peony in black silk dupioni, with the accompanying cummerbund belt (backwards) in silk charmeuse with vintage glass buttons and bias self-loop closures. I chose dupioni for the dress because I knew from previous experience that I really like to take advantage of the flattering A-line of the Peony skirt by using a fabric with maximum body- the dupioni was an absolute delight to work with, and wear. Mmmm, rustly!

The only change I made to accomodate the dupioni was I had to do tucks instead of the gathering in the front upper skirt; the gathering was almost too subtle for the dupioni in a way, and after several tries I wasn’t getting a good result, so I opted for tucks instead.

As for the slippy charmeuse of the belt, who knows what I was thinking. I even went off script and added extra fabric to the front-front panel, thinking even MORE gathered pearly-white charmeuse would be even greater, but it’s really not. What actually IS greater are these pearly vintage glass buttons, and I adore how that part of the belt looks with the button-loops, so I just spun the belt around, let the cummerbund part drape at the small of my back and had the buttons at the front, and loved it.

Actually one of these days I’m plotting to make a second back half, and replace the cummerbund-part with another button part so it buttons at both center front and center back.  Too much?  I don’t think so, I love the button effect that much!

Not liking the cummerbund bit this go-round: it’s not the pattern’s fault.  I have a version I did in sateen that I love (big self-covered button on the back, so cute!), but it just didn’t work out the way I did it in the charmeuse.


I keep trying to get away from these hallway pictures with the bad lighting but after the dress’s maiden voyage to a holiday gala concert, I managed only the most hilarious pictures:

I kind of love the spooky-Wednesday-Adams vibe, I just wasn’t looking for glum pictures in a dress that makes me happy!

Or perhaps you prefer apparently trying to form an S-curve with body in admiration of my own belt:

Did I mention I managed to fit a subtle vintage crinoline under there? Helped to accentuate the fullness in the skirt. Actually one of my mom’s that came to light in her big move earlier this year. Our family are sartorial packrats indeed but you’ll hear no complaints about that part of it from me!

Admittedly a black silk dress isn’t the most light-spirited or frolicsome- there’s something almost inherently nineteenth-century-mourning in the way the fabric rustles or something, it’s an odd association,  but it’s really a feel-good garment for me regardless.

As is my previous Peony which I might as well post a recap picture of here for funsies:

Self-Stitched-Sept 2011: Yarn-dyed cotton Peony

This is just a “homespun” cotton from JoAnn’s, yarn-dyed black & tan cotton, but cut on the cross-grain to give it more body and really take advantage of the pattern shape- I think it really brings out the hourglass in the pattern and the woodgrain effect in the fabric.  Love it, if I do say so myself.

Pretty sure this exceeds my typing ration for the evening; more sooner!


Self-drafted Tie-Neck Blouse: First Draft

13 Nov

1st draft: wearable!

I’ve never really been very comfortable drafting projects for myself but when I came across this Lanvin blouse when collecting some inspiration ideas and pictures for my Colette Fall Palette Challenge board, it stuck in my head as a really perfect example of its type as far as my tastes are concerned, and one I wanted to try to emulate in the ochre wool jersey I’m currently so in love with (see the one-piece Burdastyle T made from same, below).

I’m not really experienced enough either with bias silk satin (or with lycra-containing jersey for that matter) to really know how the one translates to the other but I am a bit of an expert on construction techniques of tie-neck garments, having studied more than my fair share of such patterns. I also did kind of a shooting gallery on Pinterest of tie-neck blouses, to compare and hone in on what I liked or didn’t like about this versus others.

In the end obviously I overshot the ease particularly in the cap sleeves, which obviously will be coming out of the ochre one. (and, I do see will have to come out of this one; picture really is worth about a thousand mirrors isn’t it?) The truth is, the raspberry cotton jersey here was really just supposed to be a straight-up muslin to make sure things went together right- but I got a little excited and carried away and finished it before realizing how much it would stretch out upon wearing.

It’s the absolute magic of a tie-neck blouse to me, that fabric whose color previously turned me off suddenly seems delicious to me and wait, isn’t that a rosey mauve in the far right second tier of my palette stack? Yep I think so.

Can’t wait to do the ochre one now that I know what I need to do!


Fall is blowing away here already

28 Oct

Hello and welcome to my sewing blog!

28 Oct

Vogue 5456 ca. 1940s

Hi I’m Hillary and I love to sew, especially from vintage patterns, although I have a particular affection for Colette Patterns too. Previously most of my sewing has been posted to my Flickr page. Sewing is by far my favorite hobby, and there never seems enough time to do it in, which is why I have been so blog-resistant for so long. However, I have learned through wonderful Zoe’s Me-Made and Self-Stitched events how inspiring and rewarding it is to be more active and engaged with the extremely talented online sewing community, so I’m finally taking the plunge.

As I’m sure you’ll agree if you’re reading this, stitching is tops! A friend of mine calls it my sewing meditation because of its unique and profound de-stressing properties for me. Sewing just has so many more different facets for me than other pursuits- relaxation/antianxiety, intellectual/historical/continuing ed, creative/artistic and artisenal/crafting, and the sheer enjoyment of beautiful color and texture.

I plan to use the blog to document my sewing progress, but also to gush about my current pattern crushes, and muse about project challenges. In short, standard-issue sewing blog! Only sub-set really is my patterns overall tend to skew earlier in the 20th century.

My neighborhood, Fargo, 1912

Also, since I just moved to this oddball place last year, which is an interesting mix of intrigue, amusement, affection, and exasperation for me, I do find myself wanting to make Fargo a definite star of the blog. If I find I do in fact have readers and they actually turn out to be turned off by that aspect, I can of course tone down the Farblogsky. But Fargo is a major character in my life right now. Although I spent my whole adult life up til now in Minneapolis, I did grow up in Bismarck, way in the center of North Dakota where it starts to feel like “The West”, and thought I had a pretty good handle on what “North Dakota-ness” was to me, but this place is surprising in how completely different it is from my expectations.

Format around here is on the drawing board; I’ll be interested to hear what anyone thinks about the current theme/color scheme however (“Vertigo”). Since I work mostly in pretty saturated colors, I’m quite liking the black background and angley little grey frames quite a lot so far.