crafts · patterns · Sewing

New vintage reissues!

Butterick and New Look have released their Spring patterns.  New Look doesn’t have anything I’m interested in, but there were a few patterns I really liked from Butterick, including new vintage reissues!   Here are my picks:

5605 and 5603 are the new vintage releases.  Both are on my spring/summer sewing list.  I like the open back on 5605, and both the version with bows and the tie sleeves on 5603.  Either could be a day dress, though on the site 5603 is made up bridesmaid style.  I love 50s dresses!

5606 is the second infinite dress I’ve seen this year (there is another in the spring Burda patterns.)    I was obsessed with the infomercials for the infinite dress in the early 90s, so I’m pretty sure I need one of these.  I do wonder how it looks from the back – the panels appear to wrap from back there, and unlike some infinity dresses the dress isn’t strapless.

There are also these two new Suzi Chin patterns:

The product shot for the trench dress isn’t so good, but the drawing is super cute.   The trench dress seems to be having a moment right now, and this one looks cute (the modeled shot is less cute, but look at the potential!)  I already bought the new McCall’s trench dress pattern, but I will probably get this one as well – it is quite different.  I also really like the halter-neck dress above, but I won’t be buying it – halters do not flatter me, but if they work for you I think this is a cute option!  Love the pockets in the pleats.

Fridays are a day off for me, and I spent my day off at the eye doctor’s.  I went to a new doctor, because my old office was one of those places with multiple doctors, and I felt like they never knew who I was.  I was very excited that the new doctor had a special camera to take photos of my eyes, rather than use the dilation drops – so much better!  Eye doctors are fond of trying to convince me that I should get lasik, but I’m not so sure I’m down with that.  Yes, my eyes are bad (left eye is -9, and the right is -6.5.)  I just don’t like the idea of having surgery on my eyes, and then possibly still needing glasses.  It’s true that I would like my eyes to be more even (I have the hardest time with glasses for that reason!) but I’m not sure the investment would be worth it for me.  I did get a new glasses prescription (still waiting on my try-on frames, the company was mentioned in the NY Times and they are slammed with orders!) and a new type of contact lenses to try.

On the way home I stopped at Joann’s to see if the new Vogues were in for the sale.  They were, and these are my choices:

I already have fabric for the two Tracy Reese dresses and the Donna Karan knit dress.   I also saw the new Burdas, which looked very nice.  I have yet to make a Burda pattern (I only own one) but maybe this will be the year!  I might go ahead and start spring sewing soon – I will be ready when warm weather finally arrives!


crafts · outfits · Sewing

Wow… so this is why I make muslins

I think I might have a clue as to why I couldn’t find many reviews of this pattern – the sleeves are insane!  Look at those suckers – you could fit three of my arm in there and still have room to move!  Admittedly, this fabric (left over from Simplicity 2591) is not exactly drapey, but even so… those are some major sleeves.  I must not be used to bell sleeves anymore (remember when they were on everything?) If I decide to go ahead with this dress, I will need to use different sleeves (the pattern includes a short puffed option and a twisted sleeve) and cut an overall smaller size.  I cut a 10, the same size as my last Simplicity, but this is too big.  Will I go ahead?  I’m not sure.  I’m a bit worried that the bust, even on the smaller size, would need to have a small bust adjustment, and the shoulders are also really wide.  I’m putting it aside for the moment – I may come back and I may not.

This is why I’m glad I make muslins!  I get occasional questions about whether I muslin everything.  Well… no, not anymore.  I will make a muslin if there are elements of the style I am not sure I will like (as I did on Simplicity 2444 – I wasn’t sure about that collar!)  On the other hand, I did not muslin that last dress I made.  I picked the size by bust measurement (I know that I like a 35″ finished bust on most things) and basted the side seams to check the fit.  I don’t muslin knits – unless you use the exact same fabric, there isn’t much point – your results can be wildly different, depending on the stretch.  I don’t usually muslin the whole dress either – usually just the bodice.  Skirts are easy to fit (I know that I like to have 3″ of ease in the hips, and 1″ in the waist.)  I will also muslin if the fabric I’m using is very dear.  I am a firm believer in the muslin.  I know that one of the major fit books (Fit for real people) recommends tissue fitting instead, but I just don’t find that helpful at all.  That’s why I usually recommend Fast Fit by Sandra Betzina instead – she recommends a muslin.

And yes, that is my Jenny skirt.  Just for fun, here is today’s outfit.

Jacket: Evan Picone, vintage, perhaps 1970s?

Blouse: Mossimo, thrifted

Skirt: Doubleknit Jenny skirt

Pin: Vintage Sarah Coventry

Boots: Style&Co

We still have snow, but I couldn’t take another day of those flat boots!  So I’m wearing these instead – they aren’t leather, and they’re pretty old, but they have a little more style.  All the magazines say you should belt a jacket if it makes you feel boxy, so I’m trying it out.  I quite like it, though it depends on the jacket.  This jacket fits, but it’s a double breasted style that I find hard to wear.  It’s not the sleekest look ever, but at least I’m not wearing that black cardigan I wear with everything (I am so tired of wearing sweaters over all my clothes!)

Back later with a great vintage find, and maybe thoughts on another project.

crafts · Sewing

Project planning: Simplicity 2644

I was sifting through my patterns in Evernote yesterday, and came upon this pattern.  I must have bought it in one of the 99 cent Simplicity sales, and then promptly forgot about its existence.  I think the dress has a certain 1940s look to it, with the six gore skirt and the sweetheart neckline.  I also think the pattern photo is pretty bad.  I couldn’t figure out what was bothering me about it, but then I realized that it’s too monochromatic, which (in my opinion only) can sometimes give things a homesewn appearance.  Not always, of course – some dresses don’t need embellishment – but I know most of my solid RTW dresses have some sort of a contrast to break up the color.  Imagine the dress with a contrasting tie waist, as in my line drawing – isn’t that much better?  My main fabric is a rayon challis, slightly brighter than the color appears on my monitor.  I have not managed to find matching thread, so I will have to be careful that it doesn’t show on the outside.   For the tie I’m considering using a patterned cotton.  This should give the waist structure, and allow me to use a fun print (in a small dose.)  I will have to take a swatch with me to the store tomorrow to figure out what I want.

This pattern basically doesn’t exist online – there are two reviews on Patternreview, but one of them used a different skirt pattern, and the other doesn’t have a photo.  I tried a Google search, but came up empty.  I sincerely hope there isn’t some sort of awful flaw to this pattern!  I guess I will find out… My plan is to sew a bodice muslin first (I have some leftover rayon that should work.)  I’m a little worried about the neckline, and the sleeves have the possibility of being too big – I will have to try it and see!

We are on snow day number 6 (I think) for the school year today.  I still teach in the snow, but I am certain to have some cancellations – which leaves me time to work on my muslin in between (this is the reason why I love working at home!)

fabric · outfits

Winter outfits and Spring shoes

We have snow on the ground, and temperatures in the 20s this week.  I pretty much fail at dressing for this sort of weather – I’ve only recently started layering, and I’m still trying not to wear pants.  Actually, I find the combo I’m wearing in the first photo – leggings with tights, socks, and boots, to be much warmer than pants anyway – and they don’t drag in the snow and get wet!

Jumper: Simplicity 2848

Sweater: Merona, thrifted

Socks: Merona

Boots: Alfani

I’ve had a lot of trouble incorporating this jumper into my wardrobe.  It has a tendency to look a bit young to me (and it’s short, which doesn’t help.)  I’ve layered it with a button down shirt, but I didn’t care for that either.  This is the best combo I’ve found, other than wearing it as a dress with nothing underneath (which does work.)  I like the look of the cowl draping over the neckline, and it’s also pretty warm in this combo (the sweater is tunic length.)  I also like the looks of socks peeking over the top of my boots, which I’ve seen quite a lot lately.  This outfit was warm, especially when I wore it outside with a heavy coat, earmuffs, and a handknit scarf!

Sweater: Ann Taylor, thrifted

Dress: Vogue 8663

Boots: Nine West outlet

Here I’m trying out the “sweater over dress” method of winter layering.  It works well to take this dress into the colder parts of the year – though it has long sleeves, the knit is rather thin.  I think this would look better with different shoes, but I’m unwilling to subject any of my shoes to the snow and salt except these two pairs of boots!

I’m still having trouble with my eyes, thus the glasses.  The infection is gone, but I’m having difficulties with my contact lenses going blurry after several hours (and they are supposed to be the kind you can wear overnight.)  It’s like they develop a film over them that is hard to clean off without leaving them overnight in the heavy-duty cleaner.  I have an eye appointment on Friday, so hopefully that will clear things up.  Perhaps I need different contacts.  I’ve decided that I need to come to terms with my glasses and wear them occasionally, to give my eyes a rest from contacts, but I don’t like these frames.  They need a new prescription (I bought them ten years ago) because one of my eyes has worsened, and I need bigger lenses – since I am pretty nearsighted, I have a lot of trouble reading etc in these, because the field of vision is so small.  I read over at The Story Girl about a company called Warby Parker.  She ordered glasses there, and hers are so cute!  They offer free at home try on of 5 pairs, and have a lovely selection of the vintage styled frames I like.  They are also pretty cheap – $95 for prescriptions between  -4 and +4(and only a little more for over – and mine are over -4!)  I’ve ordered 5 pair to try on, and when they get here I’ll be sure to post for opinions.

On to the other part of this post title: spring shoes!  I have mentioned my love for shoes before – I do not thrift them, so they are nearly the only clothing item that I buy new.  I usually look at the new styles, and then wait for them to go on a big sale or clearance.  I don’t pay full price.  My favorite place for clearance shoes is, which is Zappos’ clearance site.  I’m a big fan of Zappos – their warehouse and clearance center is located here, and my best friend used to work in the warehouse, packing and shipping shoes, and she only has nice things to say about their treatment of their employees.

Last spring I fell in love with two new styles from Seychelles.  They make great vintage-style shoes, which are also sold at Anthropologie.  I was unwilling to pay the full retail prices, so I waited until yesterday, when the daily email from 6pm informed me of a sale of Seychelles.  I got these two styles:

Trip the Light Fantastic in taupe.

I ordered these shoes in black last year, but ended up cancelling the order because I felt bad paying full price.  I thought the taupe would go with most of my closet, and it’s not a color that I already own.   These are sold out now on the website.

Get Outta Town in nude

These are sold out in nude, but there are some left in white here.  I remember seeing these on several style bloggers last year (were they sold at Anthro?)  I think they will look nice with casual dresses.

It’s worth signing up for the daily emails from 6pm… the deals sell out fast, though anything left usually stays at that price until it sells out.  There are more Seychelles still on the website for cheap.  I’m waiting for a sale on Poetic License shoes, my new obsession.  I have a pair of these boots, bought at the clearance center, and I love them, but their new shoes are super adorable, kind of like doll shoes.

Yes, impractical, but so cute!  And the heels are all manageable heights.  I like to wear heels, but I won’t wear anything over three inches (the red shoes are 3.25″ but have a platform, so it would feel like 2.5″.  I’m not interested in damaging my feet, and I do have to stand up a fair bit.


crafts · finished objects · Sewing

Calico dress: Simplicity 2591

Pattern: Simplicity 2591, view A

Fabric: Stretch Poplin from Fashion Fabrics Club, available here.

Notions: White packaged piping, vintage buttons from a yardsale, invisible zipper.

Inspiration: With Flying Florals dress by Trollied Doly (via Modcloth.)

I have had this dress saved in my inspiration folder all year.  I liked the little piped cap sleeves and the ditsy floral print.  When I noticed that Simplicity 2591 was nearly identical, I knew I had to make it!  I bought this cotton poplin from Fashion Fabrics club right before Christmas, during a 20% off everything sale.  I was afraid it would be too light for a dress (it’s described as blouseweight on the site) but it was nice and substantial.  I don’t think I would use it for a pattern requiring a drapey fabric, but it worked for this one.

I made a few alterations to the pattern to get the look I wanted.  I cut a straight size 10, based on the measurements on the package.  I could have probably have taken a smaller size in the bust and shoulders, but I wanted it a little looser.   I had to add piping to the sleeves – I got some great suggestions here, and ended up using Carolyn’s suggestion of hem facing tape.  Lots of people suggested using a double layered cap sleeve, and if the sleeves hadn’t been slightly gathered at the top I would have – I was afraid of the extra bulk.  I made a little pocket, as in the inspiration, but I ended up leaving it off.  I couldn’t get past the fact that with white piping it looked like a winking eye over my chest!  Instead, I used some vintage buttons from my collection:

The purple buttons match well, so used them on the sleeves.  They were lost on the front of the dress.   After that, the front of the dress still looked too plain to me.  Although I love Laura Ingalls, I didn’t really want to look like I was appearing in Big House in a Medium sized City (this would, of course, be the name of my personal pioneer tale, in which I would occasionally have to brave the blinding snow for up to a block to reach the nearest coffeehouse.)  I decided the dress needed a belt, and I added contrasting buttons to the neckline:

I like them because they are unexpected, but I might replace them with some other trim if I get inspired.  This is not even faintly a winter dress, don’t let my boots fool you!  It will work for fall and spring, with a jacket, and summer of course, but not for our current weather (3 inches of snow last night, and the grocery store is sold out of milk and eggs… honestly, it’s bad when even I think people are wimpy about the snow.)  I think I got pretty close to the inspiration, but added my own touches to make it more me!

Sewing · tutorials

Tutorial: Making your own storyboards

As requested, I’ve put together a tutorial that leads you through the basic process of creating a storyboard for your projects.  This storyboard includes the ability to fill line drawings with images of your selected fabric.  I find storyboards to be very helpful and inspiring – it’s so neat to get an idea of what your project will look like, and to pull together the various inspirations for your project.  This tutorial uses Adobe Photoshop.  If you have Photoshop Elements, it will mostly work, but you will not have a pen tool – I know there are workarounds for that, but I don’t have Elements so I can’t test them!  If you need a program, I’d recommend downloading Gimp. Gimp is a free, open source image editor that allows for the use of layers – you must use layers for this tutorial!  I tested most of the tutorial in that program, and it works, although some of the tools have different names.

I haven’t assumed any prior Photoshop experience, so this is a detailed tutorial.  I am not a Photoshop expert by any means, but I hope my explanations make sense! I really enjoy writing tutorials – it’s so satisfying to my OCD tendencies to list steps!

You can click on the images to make them bigger.  Menu commands are in parenthesis.

Begin by starting a new document (FILE–>NEW)

Name it whatever you like – I use the pattern number.  Choose the width and height of your blank canvas.  I usually go with 640 pixels for the width, as this displays nicely on my blog,  and a long length that I will cut off later.  Press ok, and you get a screen that looks like this:

It’s awfully small!  Click on the zoom tool (bottom arrow) and then on “Actual pixels” (top arrow) to get a true representation of the size of your canvas.  You can also right click on the canvas to select actual pixels.  Now you will need to open the images you will be using in this storyboard.

I am using the pattern illustration, the line drawings, and my selected fabric.  For McCalls, Butterick, and Vogue, you can get the large images off their website, even the line drawings.  I’ve had to look around for Simplicity patterns, since their website has the zoom feature, making saving images difficult.  A google image search usually works.   You can, of course, scan your envelopes, but my scanner is currently broken!  You will want to photograph a fairly large part of your fabric – if the fabric has a large scale, it should look large on the drawing, and small scales should be small.  It doesn’t help to have the scale all wrong!  You can also scan fabric, but I don’t find that to be a large enough swatch (and, as I said, broken scanner.)  I like to give my fabric images rounded edges.  You can do it in photoshop, using the rounded rectangle tool and some layers, and I sometimes do, but I find it quicker to use Picnik – it’s free, and I can do a whole batch at once.

I’m going to use the drawing of the back of the dress for my storyboard, because the tie is my favorite part.  Use the quick selection tool (where the arrow in my drawing is pointing) to drag and select the entire area you want to cut.  If you accidentally select too much, it’s easy to erase part of the selection by clicking the image of the wand with a minus sign in the toolbar above the image, and then left clicking and dragged to deselect the area.  Once you have your image selected, check the selection by clicking the “refine edge” button on the top toolbar.

Oops – I forgot to select her head!  Go back and fix the selection by hitting cancel.  When you are satisfied with your selection, adjust the sliders on the “refine edge” dialog to capture as much as you want.  Since I’m putting an image on a white background onto another white background, I will drag the contract/expand slider to the right.  If your image is colored, you may need to drag it to the left, or zoom in and delete colored edges around your image.  Click ok, and then press CTRL-C to copy the image.  Click on the tab that contains your blank canvas, and select paste from the edit menu.

Your first image is now in your storyboard.  Notice (by looking at the layer box, to the right) that you have created a new layer, called “layer 1”  This layer will only contain this image.  If your layer box isn’t open, go to (WINDOWS–>LAYERS) to open the menu.  You can use the move tool (the top tool in the toolbar to the left, it looks like a pointer) to move the image where you want it to be.

Now we are going to do the fancy bit – coloring in the line drawing with the fabric!  First, adjust the size of your fabric image (IMAGE–>IMAGE SIZE) to the size you want – you should try to get the scale of your print (if any) to be close to the scale it will be on your dress.  In my case, the scale is slightly too large, but not much.  I decide it is close enough, and rotate the image to stand on its head (IMAGE–>IMAGE ROTATION.)  Click on the tab that has your fabric image, and drag it out, so that it floats on top.  Open your line drawing underneath.

Using the move tool (red arrow in the photo below) drag your fabric image onto your line drawing.

It will create a copy of the image in a new layer.  Use the move tool to drag your fabric directly over the line drawing that you wish to color in.

Click the picture of an eye next to “layer 1” in the layer menu – this will hide the layer, and the image will seem to disappear.  Make sure that Layer one is still selected.

You are now going to select the pen tool (red arrow above.)  This is the tool that Photoshop elements does not have.  This tool is called “Paths” in Gimp.  The pen tool allows you to select the edges of a region, and creates very smooth curves without any weird jagged edges.  Start by clicking on a corner of your line drawing, perhaps the edge of one of the shoulders.  This creates an anchor point.  Now continue to click around the outline of the dress.  Finish by clicking on your starting point again, closing the region.  Click the eye next to layer 1 in the layer menu again, to make the fabric image visible.  You will see the outline of the dress visible.  Right click within the outline, and select “make selection.”

Click ok in the dialog box that appears.  You have now selected the region within the dress outline.  Now we are going to reverse the selection, and cut it out!  Press (CTRL–>SHIFT–>I) all at the same time to reverse the selection.  Press the delete key to delete the area around the dress – and you will see that the dress shape has been cut from the fabric image!

With layer 1 still selected, click the drop down menu at the top of the layer menu (right now it says “normal.”) Select multiply.  This will allow the line drawing underneath to show through the fabric (a little hard to see in mine, I know!)  You can adjust the opacity of the layer next to the drop down menu, to allow more of the lower layer through if you like.  We are done changing the dress color, so go to (LAYER–>FLATTEN IMAGE.)  This basically squashes all the layers down on top of each other.  Now cut out the colored in dress, using the same steps we used for the first image.  Paste the image into your storyboard, and place it where you like using the move tool.

At this point, filling in the rest of your storyboard is up to you!  I decided to use my fabric image (I just used the move tool to drag it onto the canvas) and add some text, using the text tool in the left toolbar (bottom arrow below.)

Remember, each element is on a separate layer – be sure to select the one your want to work with!  When you are happy with your storyboard, you can cut off the bottom of the canvas using the rectangular marquee tool (top arrow above) and (IMAGE–>CROP.)  You will now need to flatten the image – use (LAYER–>FLATTEN IMAGE.)  Now that your image is flattened, it is ready to save!  You can save it using the file menu.  I recommend jpeg format.  If you want to use your storyboard online, you may wish to reduce the size of the image.  Go to (FILE–>SAVE FOR WEB & DEVICES.)

Adjust the image size and compression (I usually use a jpeg, but this screenshot is set to save a GIF.)  Save under a different name – don’t replace your original.

And that’s all there is to it!  It seems like a lot of steps, but I have tried to include everything.  It only takes about 10 minutes to make one of these after the first few tries.  And of course, there are lots of creative possibilities for fun storyboards – this is just a basic model.  I hope this tutorial helps with your inspiration and project planning!




Outfit: Tied with a red bow

Cardigan: Thrifted

Dress: Merona

Obi Belt: Kwik Sew 3758

Shoes: Alfani

I’ve worn the belt from that Kwik Sew pattern a whole lot more than I’ve worn the dress.  I have plans to make several more – in my opinion it’s the perfect obi belt (not that you need a pattern to make one, but since I already have it…)  I love red belts – I’ve been looking for a good patent leather one all winter, but I have yet to find one that is both reasonably priced and available in my size.  I bought this dress for six dollars at Target this week, while I was picking up Brita pitcher filters.  It’s got a metallic plaid pattern, which I love, but it’s not as fitted as I would like, thus the belt!

I wear a lot of long sweaters and jackets now – I keep trying with the shorter styles, but I just don’t like them on me nearly as much.  I’ve also noticed that I suddenly own a great deal of black, which is funny because I owned exactly one black dress (for funerals only) for at least five years.  I’ve decided that I like wearing black because I’m so very, very pale.

I once made the very ill advised decision to dye my hair black.  I thought it would be dramatic, and it was, but I have naturally blonde hair – the roots, when they came in, looked like a bald patch!   I had to have the black dye removed, and since then I’ve varied from platinum (lighter than my natural shade)  to dark brown and my current very dark red.  I do like the dark hair, because I like contrast, but I’m pretty sure I won’t ever dye it black again.

crafts · Sewing

Up next: in calico

I’m working on the storyboard tutorial, and it should be up tomorrow!  In the meantime, here is my planned project for this week.

I’m making Simplicity 2591, which seems to be a very popular pattern (recently discontinued.)  The inspiration is from Modcloth.  I love the piping around the sleeve, and I want to copy it – how would one pipe a sleeve?  Would I have to use a facing instead of a hem?  I’m leaving off the waist tab (in the technical drawing) because I don’t like them for some reason.  I’ve cut the fabric, and I plan to work on the dress when I have time throughout the week.  I’m not making a muslin – I cut a size 10, and plan to do a basted fitting.  Hopefully that should work, and I’m not cursing myself tomorrow!

crafts · finished objects · Sewing

Vogue 1209: Rachel Comey dress

Pattern: Vogue 1209, a Rachel Comey design

Fabric: navy/black flocked matte jersey (available here, also in purple.)

Notes: I bought the pattern for this dress as soon as it came out.  I love Rachel Comey, and I’m so happy to see her designs at Vogue.  This is the first I’ve sewn, but I also have 1161 planned at some point!  You can see the dress I made in her Spring 2010 runway show here.  I believe the garments photographed by Vogue are the originals, not a version made of the pattern, so you can’t blame Vogue for that awful oatmeal color – that’s what they got it in!  I hear that beige is big this spring too, but I will not be wearing it – people who are as radioactively pale as I am do not look good in beige!  I think that photo is what kept me from making the dress until now.  But I’m very glad I did – I love this dress!

The pattern envelope suggests the following fabrics: Lightweight Crepe, Matte Jersey and Silk Jacquard.  The dress this pattern is based off of is made of a silk/linen blend.  I decided to go for matte jersey, because I wanted to really showcase the drape, but I didn’t want anything too lightweight.  Matte jersey is one of the fabrics that confused me when I first started sewing – some places will label any knit that isn’t shiny “matte jersey,” but in the traditional sense it is a 100% rayon or poly knit with a matte finish, a weighty drape, and no stretch to speak of.  That’s what this is – 100% poly (but nice to work with!) and not stretchy.  I treated it like a woven, but since it does not fray I was able to leave my seams raw.  This fabric is flocked with a velvety navy blue paisley pattern.  It’s very pretty, and it is machine washable.

About the pattern: though it looks complicated, it is actually easy to sew – I think an advanced beginner could handle this dress.  The hardest part is getting the front and back gathers even.  The pattern tells you to sew three rows of gathering stitches – one on the seamline, and one 1/4″ on either side.  I recommend doing just that – it is much easier to get the gathers even.  You have to sew the tab on top of that and edgestitch it in place.  A tip: I use my blind hem foot (which came with my machine) as an edge stitching guide.  It works very well!

I did not line this dress – the fabric is weighty, and I prefer to leave out linings whenever possible.  I used the included facing pieces and serged the lower edge of them.  If I made this dress again I would replace them with a bias binding.  I did not like the way the facings made you do the v in the back – there are a ton of layers right there, and it was very hard to get it to look good and lie flat.  I think a bias binding would be much easier (I prefer to clip and spread a v-neck, rather than pivoting at the point (which I am not good at.)  I ended up using a few pieces of fusible web,  and stitched in the ditch at all the seams, to ensure that the  facing will not flip out.

My favorite part of the dress is the peplum – so cute!  It is sewn in at the side seams, and doesn’t visually widen the hips at all.  The skirt is very short – the pattern says “above mid-knee length,” but it’s shorter than that.  I am about 5’8″ for reference.  I do not usually find that I have to add length to skirts, so I was suprised how short this was!  I don’t think I would wear it without tights.  I did not have to put a zipper in this dress – the back is so open that it goes on easily.

The back is low enough that a normal bra will show.  I have a strap that converts a normal bra to low back, which is what I’m doing here.  In addition, the neckline is wide – I might recommend sewing in some lingerie guards to keep straps in place without showing.

I think this is a great pattern – the style is very modern, but the peplum appeals to the vintage lover in me.  The front gathers are flattering.  The wide neckline balances out the peplum, giving a nice shape.  It’s highly recommended!  Here is what I’m actually wearing today – I’m not silly enough to wear no socks and a backless dress when it’s 30 degrees outside!

Jacket: Express, thrifted

Boots: Poetic License



Outfit: my 90s self

Dress: Talbot’s, thrifted

Cardigan: thrifted

Belt: Calvin Klein

Boots: Poetic License

One trend that I’m very excited about is the return of the ditsy floral print.  I love a bold print, but small prints are nearly always easier to wear.   I used to have a ton of dresses like this.  In fact, my 90s self would approve of this outfit (except for the boots – I didn’t own any then!)  This dress is probably actually from the 90s.  I thrifted it a few months ago, but it went in my alteration basket – it went below my knees, and I wanted it to be about the length you see it here.  It’s made of rayon crepe, and my experience with rayon crepe that says “dry clean only” is that it shrinks tremendously in length.  So – I threw it in the washer and dryer, and it came out the perfect length! Luckily it didn’t shrink anywhere else, but I would not recommend this method.

I got my boots at the Zappo’s outlet in Shepherdsville (just outside Louisville.)  If you are ever in town, it’s totally worth the trip – I only paid $20 for these brand new boots, which had been on my wishlist for ages.  Everything in the store is usually 50% off retail, with special sticker colors being on sale every day.  My boots were 70% off, and there was an additional friends/family discount that I was able to get.  I can’t go there too often or my shoe collection would be even more out of control!  I love the boots because they have a sort of Steampunk vibe.  Poetic License is a new brand to me, but their shoes all have an over the top vibe that appeals to me.

I wore this outfit to go thrifting, but I only made it to one store.  I went to the store nearest my house, apparently to remind myself of why I don’t bother.  It’s a big store, but it’s always picked over (the ratio of hipsters to non-hipsters in my neighborhood is pretty high, so I’d imagine they go there!)  I plan to spend the afternoon cutting fabric to make Vogue 1209 – I’m not making a muslin, since the fabric itself was so inexpensive, so wish me luck!