Wednesday, March 30, 2016

More Spring Things

English Spring
With  Spring  actually here,  it is inspiring to see many possibilities in wardrobe extensioning.
Cotton dresses are so much more comfortable than blends or manmade fabrics.  mingo & grace have a unique and yet classic dress pattern on sale now that would work with many colors and flowery prints for Spring and Summer.

 These pictures come from their website and the ladies look very pleased with their results.  I would lengthen the hemline for a more feminine and graceful look. 
McCalls has  another shirtwaist out in 7380 by Melissa Watson.  Again, this would look very nice with an even-length lowered hem.  It has an interesting placket for the front opening.  The skirt is  A-line shaped.
One could change the sleeve style with a shorter sleeve for summer.  The gathers in the back make it fit nicely.  Another challenge!

While perusing dress styles I have noticed that there are very few details on American dresses.  It seems that knit fabrics reign and so it leaves little with one to find those feminine details on dresses anymore. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spring is in the Air And a Couple More Shirtwaist Offerings!

Walled Garden in Springtime Giclee Print
Walled Garden in the Springtime
Helen Allingham

There is an inspiring  freshness when we see the new growth after the winter's chill.  The colors seem more vibrant and there is an eagerness to enjoy the new season ahead.  God's works shout out in the springtime with a glorious array of color and beauty.

This is an wonderful time to gather new ideas and freshen the spring transitional wardrobe that has been sitting idle since the cold Fall and Winter weather.

I have perused a few of the new spring patterns from the major 4 sewing pattern catalogs.  I am always encouraged to see a version of the shirtwaist dress for the new year's entries.  I mentioned previously Simplicity's entry in 8014 in this post.  It is a simple dress with bodice options and varying skirt lengths.  Just be sure to keep your knees covered as it is so much more flattering to the figure.  It is a graceful and feminine look. 

Butterick 6333 has princess seam lines  that run from the shoulder down.  I like these for fitting as it is difficult to get a proper fit with a princess seam that emanates from the sleeve opening.

Butterick  6333

Lengthening the sleeves and skirt a bit makes it usable for transitional season clothing with consideration of fabric weight.

McCalls 7351 offers another classic approach to the shirtwaist with the various skirt types.  Personally, the squared corners remind me of table cloth re-purposing and they are more of a fad than classic looks.  The dipped-look skirts (?) as in the denim style dress below are also a fad. To make it more flattering as it is A-line, just make it the same length all around. The skirts can be lengthened or you may have a favorite skirt pattern that you could replace the given pattern with.  Make sure that your waist measurements match with the bodice on the pattern.

McCalls 7351

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

More Nearing Spring Thoughts: Musings on "Old" Clothing!

Good to remember when I make pillowcase dresses... I love the ribbon detail.  Thanks, @Julie Hudson for the tip!:

Have you ever thought about how many people change their wardrobes and how often that happens?  Then take into the fact that some people just toss clothing into the waste baskets rather than recycle.   My husband receives junk mail  (another wasteful enterprise--although I am sure some do make money that way or it wouldn't keep filling up our mail boxes) that was quite interesting!  It was titled "America Gets Thrifty!"  The article told about a retail thrift store industry and how great it is doing.  Some of you readers might be familiar with  Epic Thrift.  The article quoted a story from June 6, 2013, ELLE magazine saying that the average American throws away 70 pounds of clothing every year.  This equals about 191 T-shirts per person discarded per year.  That is just to give an idea of the wastefulness.

There are many other sites that show that how wasteful and thoughtless America has gotten to be.  There are groups and companies that specialize in recycling clothing and shoes as well as other household goods.   However, there seems to be a growing number of thrift store shoppers as well as folks recycling clothing and shoes.  I enjoy going through such stores and finding "treasures" as well as recycling what we are through using that is still in good condition.

Probably in the larger cities there are a lot of thrift shops that specialize in up-to-date-fashions where trendy looks can be purchased for a lot less.  But the fact is thrift shops work because of purposeful customers who want to use their  funds wisely and others just love to shop for "treasures".

On this note of recycling and repurposing, I received this interesting website  and wanted to share it with you as I believe it is an outstanding contribution that one can easily become involved in.  Here you can use up those fabric scraps with gratefulness that God has made a way to clean out those fabric stashes and others can be so blessed by your kindness!   Please check out this site:  Little Dresses for Africa!  I am definitely going to do this as they have several ideas for children's clothing.  I noticed that some of these have been at it for several years and a few have had to quit sending dresses for a variety of reasons,  shipping costs are expensive as well as dispensing concerns.  Anyway, one of the simple ideas is making pillowcase dresses.  I know that there has been a great venture promoted for making just pillowcases by sewing stores in the U.S., not sure of those details as it just didn't interest me, but this makes a pillowcase seem to take on new life!   I find there are many sites that donate sewn clothing to children around the world.  We adopted from Haiti in 2005 and I  always wanted to sew some dresses for the  little girls and as well as pants for the boys at the orphanage, but got busy with our own corner of the world and now that our children are much older I find golden opportunities!  This is one site that is interested in pillowcase dresses from what I can read.

Another site that wants dresses  is found here:
Dress A Girl Around The World

 Opportunities rarely exist whereby one can make a pretty outfit for a girl that is appreciated for its being a dress for daily wear!  Anyway, if the Lord leads you down this path for a while, may you enjoy the blessings!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Surviving the Winter--Getting Ready for Spring

A Fireside Read

By: William Mulready

While the raging storms carry on whether snow, ice, or just plain hard rain, cold weather is a challenge for keeping up the spirits and anticipating warmer times.  Appreciation for a cozy home and warm blankets, hot cocoa, and soft music welcomes weather-weary souls.  It is a time of reflection, reading books, writing letters long overdue, maybe getting some projects done in sewing, needlework, scrap-booking, record-keeping, etc., family board games, and many other relaxing and engaging activities.

This is a time to regroup the clothes and weed out the ones that are not useful, soiled beyond repair, dated by style, or colors that are not what you like or even styles that are seldom worn anymore.

Begin to check out colors that are perky for spring that will go with your style and wardrobe.  Perhaps you have everything you need and maybe a scarf, necklace, or belt might add a touch of newness to what you have.  Wise use of your funds will help alleviate any purchases that will end up at the thrift store or become dated by the next season.

Some parts of the country may be experiencing warm weather and already gals are donning spring wear.  This is also a transitional time and weather dictates whether to use a heavier or lighter piece of clothing.  One can add warmth with scarves or vests or layering sweater over lighter blouse.

This is also a time to use jumpers.  Simplicity has a wrap-around jumper that was revived from the 70s.  I do know that wrap-around  skirts and jumpers don't work very well in windy areas unless they can be fastened so as not to blow open.

Vintage 1970's Apron Dress
Wearing a long sleeve turtleneck or crew neck sweater will make this a comfortable outfit for those not-so-warm days.  Adding length to version B will cover the knees.

This Vogue 9025 is good for all body shapes.  It is a nice comfortable style that floats and wears well.  It would work for transitional days as a jacket or sweater could be added for warmth as well as warm tights.

McCalls has a similar one in this pattern  McCalls 7241 in which the skirt should be lengthened in either  flared or pleated version.

The new shirtwaist dress pattern that Simplicity offers would be warmer with a sweater either over or under the dress.  The shorter one would work very nicely by adding a longer length to cover the knees.
Simplicity Misses' Shirt Dress 8014

Here is a dress pattern from Vogue 8970 that could be dressed up or down with sweaters under it or scarves if the weather is warmer.  The neck is rather low so it should have some thing to make it modest.  It is also one that goes well with all body types.

These are just a few ideas as the catalogs bring out more spring and summer patterns.  Unfortunately, Hancocks Fabrics is closing their store where I shop.  I will miss their store and their many sales.  That leaves us with JoAnnn's for any pattern sales unless I find them online.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cold Days Ahead-Winter Wear Considered

Here are some interesting dresses.  These are found HERE. The top "little black dress" is elegant!  The middle dress with children's art is cute and whimsical  (reminds me of Ms. Frizzle of the Magic School Bus) and the lower picture says it all!  The video shows dresses are simple in line with A-lines, fitted chemises, waisted silhouettes, as well as shirtwaists.  The  double-breasted coats and jackets look nice.  There are outfits inappropriate  but that is to be expected with hi-fashion designers.  Use discretion if you share this with your children.  The lower the hemline the more feminine the style and that goes along with being covered-no see-throughs or lots of flesh showing.

I noticed some uses of fur or faux fur.  I think that one could make a collar like the model who has fur around her neck with the sleeveless black dress.  A collarless jacket with the dress would have looked better.  The little touches of fur can be accent pieces for the winter as well as for warmth.

Those above are for dress-up occasions.  Getting more practical for every day wear  there is always the denims for a country or western look such as this:
Dresses for casual wear can be made from any style pattern you like as long as you are able to move easily and gracefully with no low necklines or short skirts.  The style you choose can be similar to the basic black dress above with a smaller neckline.  There are heavier fabrics that would keep one warmer such as twills, and bottom-weights.


The above outfit is more sporty and ladies styles vary greatly.  It is all a matter of looking feminine while you wear what you choose.  

Simple dressing is best for home and this can be skirts and tops, dresses, culottes and blouses.  
McCalls3129 is a practical pattern, but out of stock.  Substitute New Look 6587 and make the neck higher.  You could add longer sleeves from another pattern or use  McCalls 2718 (below) fitting pattern to raise the neckline and for different sleeve lengths.
McCalls 2718

This pattern by Lisette, Butterick 6182, is simple and  would work with a skinny knit top underneath the blouse for winter.

Here are some more dresses that can be used for winter dresses and when summer comes make them with shorter sleeves and lighter fabrics.

If you like to wear jumper dresses and want a comfortable one, this is a summer pattern, but one could make it in heavier fabrics and wear knit tops or blouses under it for more warmth.  McCalls 7159

There are few simple patterns for blouses.  I like high necks in cooler weather and longer sleeves.  Cottons are warmer than blends.   
McCalls 6750
The fitted one is not as easy to move around in as is the looser shirt style above.  Also  New Look 6394 is another simple shirt style.

There are many simple skirt patterns available.  For home it can be more comfortable to wear A-lines, and if your waist changes size over the day, just add and inch or two to the waistline to accommodate the change.
New Look 6346 skirt is easy.

 Below is an easy skirt from Butterick 5757
McCalls easy skirt pattern

That's just a few of the patterns offered by the major pattern companies.  Many of you may have your favorite "go-to" patterns already.  

Wishing you happy sewing times !

Monday, October 26, 2015

Quick and Easy Light Jacket for Cooler Tempertatures

I found a very practical pattern to stitch up and take off the chill as the weather cools down.  It is offered by CNT Pattern Company.  This past week my sister visited with us and she has a new sewing machine and was looking for simple projects and patterns to work with.  It has been almost 30 years since she sewed so I took her to the local quilt shop and she purchased the batik fabric above to go with her brown pants.  These really look lovely with skirts!  This is a pattern that anyone can wear.  I highly recommend sewing up several to add color to your basic skirts or dresses.  They advertise them as being able to sew up in three hours.  What a perfect way to unwind in some spare time!  The instructions are easy to follow.

                                      A Little Somethin' Jacket 

A Little Somethin' Jacket 

Breeze into the season in this carefree layer of pure casual elegance! The jacket has a slightly flared 3/4 length sleeve or full-length sleeve and is designed to move easily from work to weekend. The front edge is self-faced. Just fold, press, stitch for quick easy construction. This is truly a three hour project! Whether 22 1/2" or 25 1/2" finished length, this feminine silhouette is as comfortable as it is stylish!
Sizes included: 8-24

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Musings on Fall into Winter

Gather It Up

With the wind blowing very steady at gale forces, I am inside thinking of how to be prepared for winter.  So far our fall has been unusually warm with only two frosts that nipped the top leaves of the vegetables.  With an 80 degree day yesterday, it is hard to imagine colder days are coming.  We have had a beautiful golden Fall but today the leaves are definitely disappearing in the wind.

The circling scarves are still fashionable and are a mainstay for winter warmth.  Fabrics and hand knitted or crocheted neck wraps work wonderfully. Sewing your own would save time and money and give you a very usable accessory. This would be a project you could work on when the weather changes and you can sit and put a little time into a scarf that would suit your needs.  Here are some to check out:
Fabric scarf to make.

Free Pattern

Another great site and printable instructions for the infinity scarf is found here from Pink Chalk Fabrics.

I like the cooler weather for layering.  It works better for warmth.  I know there are those that don't care to wear layers, but I need them to keep warm.  I do like to wear the leggings under skirts.  This year I found some fleece-lined tights.  I know they aren't a natural fiber, but I hope they will do the trick as I usually wear knee-hi socks with the leggings and sometimes the leggings look a little baggy around the ankle even though I try to fold them to keep them flat against my ankle under the knee-hi socks.

Getting the right pair of shoes or boots helps also.  The clog-type shoes go with a lot of heavier fabrics as well as boots.  It really depends on your preference and weather.  For shopping, I prefer a low shoe of leather.  Be sure to get a shoe with a good gripping sole as the slick soles can cause serious injury if you slip on wet flooring with them.