Here is a photo of my finished tailored jacket and skirt. It took a while to finish it (the class ended in December – I finished it last month), but I kind of love it. It’s so nice having a jacket that has enough room for the girls AND the sleeves are the right length. Normally I’m swimming in the sleeves. I’m looking forward to making my next suit. First I need to make one for Ryan and make some dresses and shirts for myself.

As an attorney, I spend a lot of time in court and that means having to wear suits pretty frequently. I HATE wearing them, but haven’t found anything better. Luckily, women have it much easier than men (at least in Oregon) and we’re not required to be so formal. I’ve seen women attorneys wearing belted shirt dresses, LBDs, even clubbing clothes (criminal defense attorney – not something I would consider for myself).

I recently made my first tailored jacket and matching skirt, but it’s pretty heavy weight and very hot for this time of year. So when I saw this cute jacket in the May issue of Burdastyle, I thought it would be a great alternative to a formal jacket.

I made the skirt last year sometime (it’s from Burda – 12-2009-112) and only had a bit of fabric leftover. I *barely* got this cut out – it took about an hour to find a layout that would work.  It sewed up pretty easily (I still need to hem the sleeves and put in a snap), except for those darn seams near the armpit where three seams meet. I normally don’t have a hard time with those kinds of seams, but these just gave me a lot of trouble. There is a slight pucker at each intersection, but it’s not that noticeable with the pleats. Please excuse the no makeup/bad hair photo. :) Also, sorry for the crappy photos – the sun was going down and it’s hard to see the detail of the black fabric.

I love the style – the peplum is very fashionable this season and the jacket is very comfortable. The peplum is lined with some scraps of Pendleton wool shirting I had leftover from a shirt I made for my system. I should have lined the whole thing, since I don’t like the facings much (they flip up sometimes), but I didn’t have enough wool and I think it would have made it too hot. I also did hong kong seam finishes using some vintage pink bias tape I found in my stash. I wanted to do french seams, but had to cut it with 3/8″ seam allowances due to the shortage of fabric. I do love hong kong seams though.

I might actually make this one again if I have a small piece of wool that doesn’t allow enough for a skirt and a tailored jacket. Although, I’m going to give it a wear in court first to see if the facings annoy me.

BTW, that’s my fourth Renfrew blouse that I’m wearing with the jacket. :)

I’m always interested in seeing which color Pantone predicts for the color of the coming year. Last year it was Honeysuckle and I really did see it all over the place. I even almost made a shirt out of a honeysuckle silk/cotton, but, alas, the shirt was unflattering and I didn’t finish it. I really need to be better about muslining the simple garments.

Anyway, Pantone is predicting that the color of 2012 is Tangerine Tango.

It’s not my favorite color, but I do not dislike it. The problem is that I have decided not to buy any new fabric until I use up at least SOME of my huge stash. I guess I need to get sewing stash projects so I can go fabric shopping soon. :)

I started a tailoring class in October at Portland Sewing. The last class was on December 20, however I was on a train to San Francisco that day, so my last class was the week prior to that. I also skipped the class that occurred the week of Thanksgiving, so I was only able to get in 6 classes. However, the 6 classes afforded me a ton of new knowledge.

I didn’t take many pics during the construction process, but I do have this pic of the shell (sans sleeves).


I will share any other pictures once I find them (if they exist). My next project is a suit for my boyfriend. He is VERY excited about this, which is new for him since my sewing (mess) seems to annoy him normally. :)

I was watching Gone With the Wind the other night and reminiscing about the days when I used to make historical costumes. GWTW was my inspiration to start costuming. I saw it for the first time at the end of my senior high school year at my friend Ann’s house. I can still remember sitting on Ann’s couch and watching the first scene fill the screen of the TV. That hoop skirt! Those ruffles! That waist! I knew right then that I wanted to make that dress. The BBQ dress scene was even more motivating! I loved the movie and was inspired!

Over the years, I’ve thought about those dresses numerous times, even purchasing some patterns that would have allowed me to easily make one or more of the GWTW dresses. Alas, life got in the way and none of them came to fruition. I think part of the reason is because I never had a place to wear them. Halloween is great, but one night is not enough for the amount of work a dress like this would require. I was a member of the SCA for a few years in college and loved making medieval costuming (my favorites were the Elizabethan with the farthingales, etc.) Unfortunately, I never discovered a Civil War or similar period group in the Pacific Northwest.

So, that brings me to the present. I was watching GWTW dreaming of owning one of those dresses and had an “AHA!” moment. Why can’t I make modern versions based on the styles from GWTW? The thing that makes the dresses unwearable is the huge skirt. If I can redesign that and make a corset unnecessary, the dresses would completely fit in with current fashion.

Here are a few dresses I’m thinking about recreating:

I know, it’s blasphemy (in Sheena’s mind at least). However, I have made a cowgirl shirt for someone else. I can’t say yet who it is for, but here are some pics:

Not my favorite fabric, but I didn’t pick it out. I think the shirt turned out very nice, however.

I also have been working on a jacket – McCalls 5816. I intended this version to be a wearable muslin, although I don’t think I am going to remake it. I used a brown corduroy that I’ve had in my stash for probably 15 years (or more). It’s the same fabric as the blue I used in my previous Burda jacket (I even have some burnt orange – I have no idea where I bought all of it). I also used a cornflower blue Tahari silk/cotton blend semi-satin fabric for the lining. I wasn’t sure if I should add buttons, but I ultimately decided the jacket would be better if it had some. So I drove to Mill End on Monday and purchased some buttons (as well as a few other things, like fabric for some PJ pants for Ryan). I haven’t had time to put them on, but I think they will look nice. Here’s a pic of the jacket without the buttons:

My next project is a pair of PJ pants for Ryan and (hopefully) a skirt for me.

Many months ago, I agreed to make my sister many different cowgirl shirts. You see, the first cowgirl shirt I made her just happened to fit her perfectly and be exactly what she wanted. So what was a sister to do but make a bunch more? So when Sheena was visiting a few months ago, she bought a bunch of fabrics at Mill End. I think she bought enough for five shirts. So last month I made her the first one:

It was a vibrant blue paisley for the contrast on top of a black (Sheena says it’s a super dark brown, but evs) on black paisley. The pattern is a late 70s men’s western shirt pattern that just happens to be perfect for Sheena (I only have to add some waist darts front and back and I added the cowgirl cuffs).

So, Sheena let me know (via demand) that she needs another shirt for the Lake County Roundup on Labor Day weekend. She lives in Lakeview, OR and will probably be barrel racing and team roping at the rodeo. She will definitely be singing the national anthem on one, if not all, days of the rodeo. So it is imperative that she look fantastic with a custom made shirt. She decided that the black and white fabric she picked out was the pattern that would look best and I fully agree. It’s really going to pop even from far away. Here is what I have done so far this weekend:

Both the patterned fabric and the black fabric are stretch cotton. I was originally going to make the piping out of the patterned fabric, but I decided that white piping would look best and I’m glad I went that route. Here’s a picture of the back yoke:

I plan to finish it tomorrow. It will have white snaps and the cuffs are the same patterned fabric as the yoke.

Once the shirt is done, I think I will make myself a skirt and/or a shirt. I haven’t picked either one out yet, so we’ll see.

Miss Dandy is giving away a $25.00 Vintage Pattern Shop Gift Certificate over at her blog. Check it out here!

I was watching Jersey Couture the other day (LOVE that show). The girls were at New York fashion week and loved this Vassilios Kostetsos dress. I loved it too and decided I needed to find a pic of it and make an inspired copy.

I have three colors of stretch silk satin that I bought at Mill End last month, one being a peacock blue that would look great for this. I think I will make the skirt longer and the shoulder not so high. I’m not really sure when I will get around to it soon, but hopefully I can do it by next month when my sister is visiting.

I’m not sure there is a pattern out there that will work, so I think I will just drape it. Actually, I’ll probably find a skirt that I like and drape the bodice. The skirt must have pockets, btw, because I love pockets.

I promised my sister that I would make her a bunch of barrel racing shirts after I made her the first one. Here’s a pic of the first one I made her. I found this fabric at Mill End (Milwaukie) – it was a (probable) rayon almost silky type fabric. Quite sheer and VERY flowy. I backed it with a woven fusible and used it as the yoke and piping fabric on a 1979 vintage western shirt pattern. I added a few darts front and back and it ended up fitting Sheena PERFECTLY.

So, after this shirt ended up being a complete hit, Sheena visited Portland and picked out a ton of new fabrics. I think she picked out enough for 5 new shirts. Yikes. Since I’m such a nice sister she also bought me a few yards of a fabric I loved. That fabric is here:

It’s fairly lightweight and somewhat see-through. Not quite as lightweight as a lawn, but still needs a lining. It’s also got a crispness to it. So I’ve been wanting to make something with this fabric for months now. I think I’ve finally decided on Butterick 5319 with the sleeves.

I’ll need to do an FBA, but that should be easy. And I think I’ll pick up a contrasting fabric for the sash. The only problem is that I have no fabric on hand for the lining. I’m very annoyed about that, although I suppose it’s a good excuse to head to the fabric store asap. :)

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