Archive | misc RSS feed for this section

Vogue Sewing Patterns: Winter 2014

17 Oct

Well, well, well…  looks like the new Vogue sewing patterns are officially out! Happy day!! :D I’m know I’m late for this one – I hadn’t even realized that the new patterns came out (no shit, this is something that I tend to just randomly discover as I’m perusing blogs. Because, you know, joining the mailing list would be way too easy ), so I’m sorry that this is delayed! Although, to be honest, there’s really not a lot to snark here this go-round. Yay for Vogue, boo for us :) Still, I didn’t want y’all to think that I’d, I dunno, gone corporate or some shit! Since my visit at the McCall Pattern Company offices, I’ve definitely had a much softer spot in my heart for the company and everyone who works there – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still poke a little fun at ‘em :)

One thing to keep in mind (something a lot of us – especially me! – recently learned) – with anything that is a Designer pattern, the garment you are seeing is an actual designer garment. Meaning, Vogue didn’t choose the fabric/notions and sew it up specifically for the pattern cover. It is literally a garment from the designer – labels, price tags, and all – that is being modeled. The pattern is drafted from the exact same garment (which was incredibly fascinating to hear all about), with Vogue sizing and instructions. Anyway, I’m reiterating this because any horrible fabric choices we see on the Designer patterns have nothing to do with Vogue! We should really be ripping the designer a new one (I’ve tried to note which pattern is Designer and who, so you know exactly who to direct your anger toward). That being said, any other Vogue patterns are fair game :P

All right, onto the patterns!

V1426
Vogue 1426 // Badgley Mischka
OH MY GOD THIS DRESS HAS STARTED REPRODUCING

V1428
Vogue 1428 // Tom and Linda Platt
The question here is: Do we consider this print placement an epic fail or an epic win?

V1425
Vogue 1425 // Pamella Roland
Look at the lace at the hem. Wait for your eye to start twitching. You’re welcome.

V1427
Vogue 1427 // Donna Karan
Let’s call this one “Andre the Giant Goes to the Disco!”

V1422
Vogue 1422 // Tracy Reese
Here, Vogue decided to show you the prettiest dress/most gorgeous fabric/bestest hair ever in an attempt to distract you from what appears to be someone’s tool shed in the background.

V1423
Vogue 1423 // Bellville Sassoon
“What do you mean this isn’t how you wear a thong?”

V1424
Vogue 1424 // Rebecca Taylor
I guess the neckline is supposed to be some sort of snappy cutout, but honestly all I see when I look at this is a backwards wifebeater under a tank top.

V9046
Vogue 9046
I just wanted to point out that for once, this dress – with all it’s detailing – isn’t made up in some crazy patterned/shiny fabric, aka, you can see what is being modeled here.

V9066
Vogue 9066
~Tarp-Chic – taking camping to the next level, one business suit at a time.

V9072
Vogue 9072
If I was half this cute when I was a kid, maybe I wouldn’t be the angsty piece of shit I am today.

V9073
Vogue 9073
I just don’t know anymore.

V1429
Vogue 1429
What the everloving fuck is going on with this fabric.

V9065
Vogue 9065
If your lapels are so wide that they cover the shoulders of your SLEEVELESS BLAZER, you’re doing it wrong.

V1430
Vogue 1430
No comment on the pattern itself – my question is: Where the hell did they find this fabric, and do you think I can still get my hands on some?

V9069
Vogue 9069
Vogue 9096: The only time it’s ever socially appropriate to wear a bathrobe out in public.

V9057
Vogue 9057
The neck binding is not flat and that is bothering me way more than I care to admit.

V9060
Vogue 9060
Vogue 9060: When bad things Marcy Tilton happens to good people.

V9059
Vogue 9059
Frumpsville, population: This chick.

V9056V9055
Vogue 9056 & Vogue 9055
So, these are pretty cute – basic knit tops with a few options. Just wondering, though, why the hell they have darts?? I thought that was the whole beauty of knits, that you could eliminate darts (barring giant FBAs or anything like that), and yet here they are. What’s the deal here?

V9074
Vogue 9074
Hey! I actually don’t hate this one. Ok, so that purse is definitely not my style, but let’s all just sit back and appreciate that it looks like a REAL PURSE you’d buy at, say, Macy’s. It doesn’t scream homemade – it actually looks pretty legit! (not that there is anything wrong with homemade purses – I’ve made my fair share of quilting cotton bags! But I think it’s safe to say one has definitely leveled up if they managed to make something that looks this pro, you know?). It even has little purse feet! Eee! Thumbs up for this one. I might pick up the pattern just to get a lurk on the instructions.

V9070
Vogue 9070
Ughhh I’m going to get so much shit for expressing my distaste – but I hate everything about this! The shape, the fabric, THE DANGLIES!

nope

Anyway- what are your thoughts? See any patterns you love or hate? I gotta say, I’m disappointed to not see any Ralph Rucci :( I was excited to see what they’d come up with.

EDIT Just spoke with Meg (of the McCall Pattern Company fame) and she’s going through some family things right now, so there may be a delay in replies to the comments on her end. Just FYI!

About these ads

Fall/Winter Sewing Plans for 2014

10 Oct

It just occurred to me that I haven’t share any seasonal sewing plans in… well, a while. Which is lame, because these are some of my favorite types of posts (both to write *and* to read) – I mean, who doesn’t like lurking inside someone’s brain, even if it’s just to see what they plan on doing over the next couple of months? Too creepy? Naw.

Anyway, now that London/Paris is looming on the horizon (less than 2 months! Omg less than a month and a half! Eee!), it’s really time that I start figuring out what I’ll be bringing with me (and making, for that matter! Don’t want to end up with another frantic last-minute sewing disaster, ugh). Especially since my luggage space will be very limited – I’m only allowed to bring one suitcase with me overseas (well… I use the word “allowed” loosely here. I can bring two suitcases if I want to – but I get to pay $130 for the second one! LOL GURL NO.), and I want to fabric shop while I’m there! So, I will be packing a capsule wardrobe, one that mixes and matches with itself, for maximum outfit options, as well as warmth. This is much different than how I usually travel (as I fly Southwest, where you can bring 2 bags free – so why the hell not, you know?), but I’m up for the challenge! :) Adulting and all that :)

I’ve already made/chosen a couple of pieces to base my capsule around, as well as chosen my theme (like Devon, I think all vacation wardrobes should have themes, because, duh) – Minimalist Parisian Chic. Mostly because my capsule will be very minimal – or, as minimal as I can get it down to, because I am still one of those people who delights in overpacking – with lots of black. Not much on the Parisian Chic side (I’m sure Parisian women will be horrified when they see what I wear to stomp around their city, ha!), but it has a nice ring to it :)

Anyway – to start – I have these black Jamie jeans that I made a couple of weeks ago:
Jamie Jeans + SJ Sweater Made with Mood Fabrics
I haven’t decided yet if I’ll be bringing the star sweater. It’s a little bulky! On the flip side, regarding the jeans – I just finished wearing them for the 5th time in a row (sans wash), and they’ve stayed very close to their original shape. No bagging out, woohoo! So that makes me feel good, because I’ll be wearing these a LOT come London.

Stripey Renfrew
I will also be bringing my Imogene + Willie slim jeans (pictured here), because they are basically the best jeans ever. Oh, and probably that stripey Renfrew top. Can’t have enough tshirts!

Now for the sewing plans! Sidenote: By the time of publishing this post, I’ve already finished more than half these makes. Whoops! Guess y’all see where my priorities lie when it comes to posting vs sewing hahaha. Oh well!

Ikat Lady Skater
The Cowl-Necked Skater Dress
I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now – a Lady Skater dress // Renfrew top mash-up! This cotton Ikat knit fabric (purchased at The Fabric Studio here in Nashville) will be the perfect match for this dress – like a giant, snuggly Christmas sweater! I actually don’t know if I’ll be bringing this one to London, due to bulk factor (my capsule really only allows for one dress, which I’m thinking will be the one below – but we’ll see!), but the plans were too good to keep to myself :)

DVF Wool wrap
The Wool Wrap dress
Another big mash-up – I’m starting with the DVF Wrap dress pattern, but adding long sleeves (stolen from the Lady Skater, naturally) and swapping out the gathered skirt for a wrap A-line (Miette Wrap skirt – I’m looking at you). The black wool knit fabric was picked up at Mood in NY a couple of months ago – it’s SO soft! Like, cashmere soft. I’m so in love ♥

Silk v neck
The Silk Button-down
I already have a nice white button-down – made from the same pattern, Butterick 5526 (my favorite!) – but it’s not really cold weather appropriate, due to the length of the sleeves. Since they are 3/4, they don’t really layer nicely with my long sleeve sweaters! I’d love to make another one, but up the ante with some beautiful silk double georgette, and modify the neckline to be more of a v shape (likely using this V-Neck variation tutorial by Jen!)

Chambray Button down
The Polka Dot Chambray Button-down
Another thing I already have one of, but need a winter version. This one will be made using a gorgeous cotton polka dot chambray, picked up here locally at Textile Fabrics.

SJ Sweater
The Wool Sweater
Button downs need a nice sweater, yeah? I want to try sewing a sweater, using the SJ Tee as a basis (with a higher neckline, and omitting all bindings). The fabric I have is a lovely camel-colored boiled wool, that I bought from Elizabeth Suzann (aka I totally jacked her wholesale order hahaha). I think it’ll look equally good over both those button down shirts I have planned!

rigel bomber
The Bomber Jacket
I know – I’m already planning a pretty sweet coat. However, the weather in London (and Tennessee, for that matter!) can be fickle, so I’d like to bring a lighter-weight jacket for days when the temperature isn’t as low. I’ve been meaning to make the Rigel Bomber for, well, months now. Just been waiting on the perfect fabric – and I think I found it! Check out this black wool coating – to be paired with gold china silk for the lining.

Other plans I have (no photos, sorry! Use that imagination of yours, ha!)
– Need some thin long sleeve shirts for layering – maybe just a couple out of wool knit, such as this textured black wool jersey (that’s apparently already sold out?! Wah!). I wear these pretty much daily in the winter – and sometimes I like to sleep in them if it’s really cold – so it’ll be nice to have a few to choose from.
– Speaking of sleeping – I need some new pajama pants! Currently lurking Margot pj pants in Tilly’s book, Love at First Stitch, since they seem to be a pretty quick/easy make (I really want to make the Tofino pants, but right now I need quick and easy!). I picked up some really fun orange plaid flannel to make them with – I know, that fabric is ridiculous, which is exactly why I chose it. It’s nothing like I already own! When it comes to pjs, why not, you know?
– I would like to make a flared A-line wool skirt to make as well – thinking about using the Delphine pattern (also from Love at First Stitch), because I love the shape. A little stuck on fabric selection, though! My go-to is usually wool crepe, but that will be too drapey for this shape. Thoughts? I need it to be 100% wool (pretty nitpicky about this, sorry!) and I’m looking for lipstick red. Budget is no more than $25 a yard (and obviously I’d be delighted if it was less than that!)
– Bras! I want to finish at least one bra before I leave – using the Marlborough pattern and one of my kits from Bra Maker’s Supply. Obviously I want new bras, but even more – Norma will be in Paris while I’m there, and you better believe I’m going to drag her into a bathroom and make her assess and critique my fit. Haha! Man, sewing people are weird :P

I think that’s it for now! It feels good to get everything listed out in one place. I’m hoping I can get all this done before I leave – but if not, no worries. It’s not like I’m lacking clothing or anything as it is!

As a side note, I was just notified that one of my lovely sponsors, Indie Sew, is holding a pretty sweet contest where you can win a YEAR of free patterns! Fuck yes! You can read all about the contest and the reasoning behind it on this blog post, but the general gist is that Indie Sew wants to help you transform your entire wardrobe into handmade and end the cycle of cheap/fast fashion. And what better way to jump start a new handmade wardrobe than with some FREE FREAKING PATTERNS AMIRITE? Such a cool idea, and I really really hope the winner shares their journey via blog or social media so we can follow along! Anyway, soapbox rant over – go throw your name in the hat!

What’s on the table for your fall/winter sewing plans? Do you have any capsule wardrobe suggestions for me? Tips for packing light? Are you going to judge me if you see me wearing the same thing for 3 days in a row while I’m on my trip? :)

V1419 Sewalong: My Muslin

6 Oct

Good morning, V1419 Sewalongers – and Happy Muslin Day! Yes, today is all about the muslin – a very important part of coat construction (some of y’all make refer to it as a toile, same difference!). After all, you don’t want to spend all this time and money making a coat that doesn’t fit once it’s finished… do you? (if the answer to that is no, then, um… do you want to share some of your spare time and money with?? haha!)

Meg is handling All Things Muslin over at The McCall Pattern Company blog, so check out her post for advice and tips. Me, I’m just here to be your personal cheerleader this week – as well as share my muslin! Wanna see?

V1419 Muslin

V1419 Muslin

V1419 Muslin

V1419 Muslin

V1419 Muslin

V1419 Muslin

Some notes & thoughts:
– I started with the size 8, which seems to fit pretty well right out of the envelope! The small bit of pulling you see under the bust is not noticeable in real life (and, god, these pictures are awful. I took them three times and these are the best you’re gonna get. Something about shooting a *white* muslin is just… ugh. And yes, I even tried against a not-white background. No dice, looked worse. Deal with this.), and some of the wrinkles were actually pressed into the muslin. I think that, overall, this looks good, and I will be making no further adjustments other than shortening the length and the sleeves. Thoughts?
– Notice when I said I made a size 8? That’s at least 1-2 sizes bigger than what I usually cut in Vogue patterns – this lady runs a little snug! For what it’s worth, my body measurements correspond very closely to the size measurements for the 8 (I’m about 1/2″ bigger all around). If you’re hung up on sizing, I suggest start with the size that works for your measurements and make a mock to see what direction to take the fitting. I know this goes against everything I’ve ever told y’all about using the finished measurements to start, but maybe Vogue has been hearing our cries about the extra ease? :)
– I used a medium weight muslin to make this mock-up, and it’s a bit more drapey than the fabric that I chose. This is fine, as I’ve tried on the original and I like the way the dramatic shape looks on me – but if you’re still debating whether or not to use a drapey fabric, try making the muslin with a fabric that has a similar hand to get a feel for how you like it.
– When trying on your muslin, make sure you are wearing the same types of clothing you plan on wearing with the finished coat – for me, that’s a long sleeve tshirt and jeans. If you try this on with a lightweight tank top, for example, the fit will be totally different (and, um, might not work with a big sweater!). Speaking of big sweaters – this style of coat is NOT the thing to wear with your giant chunky knit warmest wool pullover. It’s supposed to be very sleek and fitted – the type of fabulous coat that you would wear over a cocktail dress. If you have your heart set on making this an every day winter coat to wear over multiple layers, you may want to consider sizing up to accommodate the extra bulk.
– Need to make some adjustments? Not a big deal! While this pattern does not have traditional style lines, it *does* mark the bust apex and waistline, so that will give you a general idea where to add your adjustments. Due to the time restraints we have for this sewalong, we will not be covering flat pattern adjustments. A few people have asked whether or not this particular pattern can handle a FBA (full bust adjustment) – and the answer is yes! You’ll need to first remove the lower skirt portion of the coat, as well as the sleeves, make your FBA (I like to use the method explained in Fit for Real People)… then rotate out the dart you create to retain the original lines of the pattern, and reattach the sleeves and skirt (smoothing and blending your lines as needed). Don’t know how to rotate out a dart? Here are some links that you may find useful: The Mahogany Stylist, Vicki Kate Makes, The Sewaholic Blog (with extra links!). Alternately, there are zillions of tutorials online of how to do a FBA/rotate a dart – just Google and pick your favorite!
– For length adjustments – you can actually just hack it right off the bottom of the sleeve/length. Which is exactly what I plan on doing, fyi.
– If you’re one size in your bust and another at the waist, you can grade the sizes together to get a better fit. There’s a brief write-up on how to do this here on my blog, but essientally you’re just drawing a line to connect size x to size y to seamlessly blend between the two.

Finally – we have an Offical V1419 Coat Sewalong Flickr Group! Whoop whoop! The group is open, so please feel free to join and upload your photos to share with everyone – fabric selections, muslins, anything V1419 coat related! Additionally, there are forums if you need to ask questions or advice on fitting or selecting fabric. Meg & I will be manning the group and forums as needed, but please feel free to jump in and help if you see a question that you know the answer to! :)

Oh, and don’t forget the Mood Fabrics discount code, if you haven’t already purchased your fabric. “lladybird1013″ is good through 10/13/14 for 10% off your order (not including PV codes or dress forms). If you missed the V1419 fabric selection post, you can see it here.

Don’t forget to read up on Meg’s muslin post over at the McCall blog! How is everyone’s muslins coming along?

Organizing My Pattern Stash

3 Oct

I freaking love sewing patterns, y’all. Love them. I snap them up at an alarming rate – indies, big 4, vintage, whatever I can get my hands on. I love to collect them for the artwork, the instructions, even the odd pocket or facing piece that I might need later (ok, that’s a little hoardy, but whatever). The vintage ones will fall in my lap en mass – either someone gifting me a huge box of whatever belonged to their grandma and/or they found in their attic, or I’ll find them for the flea market for less than a dollar a pop (at this point, I’m kind of convinced that I can sniff them out).

So, yeah. I have a lot of patterns. Over 300, to be exact – ranging from printed to PDF, and, lord. There’s just a lot of them.

Sewing Room

Previously, I stored them in open boxes that I sat on a shelf – that way I could easily see them and sort through them (I’m the kind of person who needs to see something to remember that I have it). This was fine when I had 20, 30… even 100 patterns. Nowdays, not so much. Despite my patterns taking up most of an ENTIRE CABINET (the photo above is from about 2 years ago, so – while I had plenty of patterns then, I have about 3x as many now, and they take up way more shelf space), there wasn’t enough room. They were crammed into boxes, which made sorting through them difficult (if not destructive, especially with the delicate vintage ones), which meant I never sorted through them at all. Which, in turn, meant my ~open shelving concept~ was BULLSHIT, because why bother if you don’t actually use it?

It was time to find a new organization system.

No doubt most of y’all have read Sarai’s post on pattern organization over at the Coletterie. If not – you should! It’s where I got this entire post idea from, ha :). Anyway, I was inspired by the post and decided to get my pattern stash under control, once and for all. Drumroll, please…

Pattern Organization

Yeah! How do you like THEM apples?!

Pattern Organization

Here’s another sexy shot, because – sexy.

Anyway, here’s what I did -

I started out by sourcing the supplies – I bought plastic bags, cardboard backing boards, plastic dividers, and cardboard boxes with lids. All of these things are made for comic book storage, but lucky for us – sewing patterns are pretty much the same size. I know Sarai had luck with getting her supplies at Bags Unlimited; I can’t personally vouch for that site as I bought all my stuff here locally, at The Great Escape, which is conveniently located right by my house. (upon linking this, I just noticed that they have an eBay store! They’re also cheaper than Bags Unlimited, because they rule). I started out with buying enough stuff to house 100 sewing patterns… then went back again. And again. This is how I know a rough estimate of how many patterns I have, ha!

Pattern Organization

Anyway, the patterns are stored in a little plastic comic book bag, with the backing board added for stability. I really love this because you can cram and push and shove the patterns around as much as you want – and even the delicate ones won’t rip, because they are protected by the bag.

Pattern Organization

You can also shove pattern pieces in the bag itself, instead of back in the envelope, if rips are a concern.

All this talk of shoving makes me sound like I’m super violent with my patterns, hahaha. Promise I’m not *that* bad!

Pattern Organization

Once I got the patterns in their baggies, I could start organizing them in the boxes. I used the plastic divider boards to separate them by type, in a way that made the most sense to me.

Pattern Organization

Even if you cram them in the box super tight, it’s still relatively easy to find the pattern you’re looking for – especially with the tab dividers.

Pattern Organization

I also labeled the boxes so I would know the contents at a glance. I used scrapbooking paper and just taped the labels on – that way, if I need to switch things around, I can just peel it off the box and make a new label.

Some things to note:
– I agonized for WAY too long about what size bags to buy. I don’t know anything about comics, so I had no idea that they came in different sizes! I ended up buying the bags for regular size comics, as well as the regular size backing boards.
– The boxes, at least at my store, come in 2 sizes. I bought the smaller size – they were $5 a pop, lid included, and they are short enough to fit in my cabinet. I would estimate that each one holds around 50 patterns, give or take.
– I also played around with resealable vs non resealable bags. My personal verdict: get the resealable. You’ll end up taping the other ones shut. Just pay the extra dollar and get on with your life.

Ok, so that’s part one of the pattern organization! Next, I had to deal with patterns that didn’t fit in the boxes – PDFs, the big Vogue patterns, and my collection of Papercut Patterns.

Pattern Organization

For the Papercut Patterns, I decided to take them down from the wall (the sheer amount of them was taking over the wall and starting to look extremely sloppy!) and stack them on the one stupid shelf that I couldn’t adjust. The patterns don’t have their names printed on the sides, so I wrote it on the bottom of each one so I could sort through them in a glance.

Inside the basket is my tape gun thingy that I use to tape PDF patterns, as well as some cardstock pattern pieces (like shirt pockets) and extra bags.

Pattern Organization

The bottom shelf holds all my PDF patterns, big Vogue designer patterns, and a couple boxes of random fabric scraps.

Pattern Organization

The manhandling of those PDF patterns into submission is my FAVORITE part of this makeover! Before, I stored each one in a large manilla envelope (I scored boxes of them from my old job when we switched to digital filing for our job jackets). That was, to put it mildly, a clusterfuck. It was hard to sort through the patterns, they didn’t all fit on the shelf, they looked like a hot mess, they were always falling out of the shelf, AND THEN I ran out of envelopes (and ew, wow, those things are expensive!). While I was debating what to do about this, I came across Andrea’s Craftsy post on organizing PDF patterns. Solution #1 – that was my answer!

Pattern Organization

As with the printed patterns, I agonized for forever over what supplies to buy for storage. I know Andrea gives specific products, but they were a bit out of my budget. Plus, I have like 40 PDF patterns – so I needed to keep the budget way down. I ended up getting these clear plastic sheet protectors and these 3″ 3 ring binders, both from Amazon. As with the printed patterns, I organized them according to what made sense to me, and labeled the outside of the binders. Since my plastic sleeves are not resealable, I just paper clip them closed. Haven’t had a disaster yet (fingers crossed, tho).

For the Vogue patterns, I found that they fit perfectly in magazine-sized plastic sleeves (and they also make backing boards this size!), so that’s what I used. I didn’t even buy a whole box – my shop sells them for pennies individually, so I just took what I needed. They are stored in one of my old pattern storage boxes – which actually looks kind of nice when it’s not so full :)

Pattern Organization

Finally, I keep a running “list” of the patterns I want to sew on top of my sewing cabinet – they’re just pulled from the boxes and stored in their cd case holder (omg I love repurposing things hahaha). This way I can still see things to be reminded of them, but not overloaded with seeing OMG EVERY PATTERN I OWN.
(also, this picture is old. I’m not sewing that McCall pattern. Actually, I scrapped it because the very smallest size was like 4″ too big for my sad little rack. And yet everyone keeps making beautiful versions of this pattern and I’m super jealous, so stop already).

Next, I’d like to digitally organize my patterns. The second half of Sarai’s post talks about creating a digital database using Tap Forms, an app that costs like $9. I’m embarrassed to admit that I bought the app (mostly because I was so sure that actually paying for it would ensure that I actually USE it) and then uploaded like 10 patterns (so much for that theory). It’s kind of a huge time-suck! Argh! But I can’t think of a better solution, so I really just need to suck it up and deal with it.

deal with it

I don’t want to say this entire process was difficult – but it was very very time-consuming. It was also a bit more expensive than I had originally budgeted for – I think, all in all, I spent around $100 for all the supplies. It was spread out over a few paychecks, so the cost didn’t hurt *that* much – but still, that’s a chunk of change for organizing a mess! Anyway, it was worth it. It’s so much easier to find what I’m looking for (without destroying it in the process), and the clean white boxes and red binders make my entire sewing room look SO much better than the original messy piles. Woohoo!

Anyway, that’s my organization story! What about you? How do you organize your patterns? Or are you one of those cool minimalist people who has, like, seven? (ps, please teach me your ways).

GIVEAWAY: Casual Sweet Clothes

29 Aug

I’m still not quite back into my normal routine as of now (YET – the good news is, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! Yay!), so today I wanna take it easy with some eye-candy of the Laurence King variety :)

Casual Sweet Clothes book

This is Casual Sweet Clothes by Noriko Sashara, a new Japanese pattern book from – you guessed it – Laurence King. This arrived as a nice little surprise at my door recently (which, speaking of LK and surprise book, I don’t know how they manage it but they have their send-Lauren-a-surprise-book-so-it-arrives-when-she’s-having-a-bad-day shit down to a SCIENCE. It’s almost creepy how much they are on my vibe brainwaves, haha), and I really enjoyed looking at the pictures so I thought y’all would too!

I generally don’t care for most of the patterns in these sorts of books – they are cute, but not always really my style – but I see a lot of things in this particular book that I would actually like wearing! The styling is especially great – it’s still pretty sweet, but it’s not so sweet that you’re giving it the side-eye and wondering who the hell would wear that shit out in public.

Casual Sweet Clothes book

FORREAL THO. What is it about this photo? Is it the styling? Is it that the shirt is actually pretty freaking fabulous? Is it the hat (I could never pull off a hat like that)? Is it the babely model herself? I don’t know, but I want everything about that outfit on my body right now (minus the model because, guys, I already have a boyfriend ok).

Casual Sweet Clothes book

Not sure if I would wear the jacket, but it’s ADORABLE. I love the camel wool with the black bow contrast! And on the opposite page – such a pretty tank top! I have a vintage RTW dress from Mexico that’s in a similar style, and I’ve worn it so much it’s basically deteriorating. I’d love to make another one to replace it.

Casual Sweet Clothes book

If those last 2 photos were still sweet enough to give you a toothache, just know that there are some good solid basics in this book as well – like this tiered pencil skirt.

Casual Sweet Clothes book
Casual Sweet Clothes book

One thing that I love about these types of books is that they offer a lot of inspiration in ways other than just the pattern itself. This dress pattern in particular isn’t necessarily something I would wear – but I *would* wear that cool lace inset in the sleeves! The book gives great instructions for adding this design element, and it would be so easy to modify an existing pattern to allow for a little lace love :)

Casual Sweet Clothes book

I REALLYYYY love this blouse. Look at the cute little bows on the shoulders! Ahhh!!

Casual Sweet Clothes book

Also – this coat. See what I mean about the styling? It’s still pretty sweet (like, girl is wearing a tutu), but that coat would not look out of place in my closet.

Fun fact: this is the same pattern as the second photo (camel wool swing coat with the black bow). Just a couple small design changes – pocket, hood – plus the fabric choice make it a completely different garment! That’s another thing I love about these types of books – even if you don’t like the patterns offered, it’s pretty cool to see how the designer took the same pattern and reworked certain parts to make a completely different garment.

Casual Sweet Clothes book
Casual Sweet Clothes book

My very VERY favorite part of these books are the instructions! Yesss! I LOVE the diagrams – those alone are basically artwork to me. I’m so tempted to rip them out and stick them directly on the wall, but I’m one of those people who is mortified to see books get torn apart haha.

Casual Sweet Clothes book

There are a couple small drawbacks to the patterns in this book- the sizing and the seam allowance (or, lack thereof). As with most Japanese sewing books (well, at least in my experience), the sizing is pretty limited – the largest size allows for a 36″ bust. That being said, the clothing is all very simple and relatively loose-fitting (and the finished measurements are printed for each pattern), so it wouldn’t be too hard to increase the size a little bit – or you could even find a similar shaped pattern and made adjustments (such as adding the shoulder ties to that tshirt). Or you could just use the book as inspiration, because there’s plenty of it in there! Ha! The patterns are all nested and crazy overlapped (so you gotta trace ‘em if you wanna make ‘em), and there are no seam allowances included, just fyi! Fortunately, the patterns don’t have a lot of pieces either, so there’s that!

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
Ok, giveaway time! :D Laurence King has generously offered a copy of this book to one lucky reader! Yess!! If you’d like to enter to win your very own copy of Casual Sweet Clothes, just leave a comment on this entry and let me know where YOU like to go for eye-candy inspiration (I love eye-candy, need more in my life!). This giveaway is US ONLY and I will close the entries a week from today, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 2014 at 8:00 AM CST.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

If you are itching for your own copy RIGHT NOW, no worries, I got a discount code for ya! Use the code LLADYBIRD35 to get Casual Sweet Clothes for a whopping 35% off! This code is good through 10/1/14, so you have time after the giveaway ends if you want to make sure you didn’t win first ;) Whoop whoop! Don’t say I never did anything for ya ;)

Good luck, guys! I promise I’ll try to be back to a more regular posting schedule next week :) Also, international readers – I’ll make it up next month! Haven’t forgotten about you ♥

NYC Part 2: Touring the McCall Pattern Company

25 Aug

Ok, y’all, time for part 2 of my NYC journey – touring the offices of the McCall Pattern Company! Whoop whoop!

McCall Pattern Company Tour

Before I get too far into this post, there are a couple of things I’d like to address, as I’ve had some emails and comments about this:
– The McCall Pattern Company did NOT fly me into NY to visit their offices. Umm… I wish? I paid for my plane ticket all by myself, sorry!
– I did not come to NY specifically to visit The McCall Pattern Company – I was here to teach a workshop at Workroom Social. As soon as I announced my impending visit, I was emailed by Meg from McCall’s and offered an invite to tour the offices while I was there.
– Meg is the new Social Media Pro at McCall’s. If you’ve talked to anyone from McCall via Twitter, Instagram, their blog, etc – you were likely talking to Meg. I personally have known Meg for a couple of years now – well before she went into working for McCall’s – which is why she reached out to me to visit while I was in the city. Much to some the butthurt anonymous commentary on my blog, McCall doesn’t have a grand scheme of shutting me down (I mean, let’s be real you guys – I’m not hurting their sales when I post commentaries. There are a WHOLE lot of other sewists out there who don’t read my blog/don’t read blogs/don’t care about my opinion on Koos Van Den Akker. They still buy the patterns – some of the traffic coming directly from my blog. So there’s that.). They simply wanted to reach out and let me see the company, so, (in their own words) that when I’m talking my shit, at least I’m getting the facts straight ;)
– I’m sure there are people who are thinking about what a sellout I am right now. That’s totally fine. You do you! I got over that whole ~sooo underground anti-coporation~ shit when I was like 17. DGAF.

With all that being said – OMG! Longtime dream – accomplished! I’ve ALWAYS wanted to lurk around the offices of this pattern company (as much as I poke fun at them, it doesn’t excuse the fact that we are still talking about dream job territory here. Nevermind that I’m not a patternmaker in any sense of the imagination, nor do I plan to become one), so this was an absolute treat for me! Full disclosure – I went into the offices with every intention of taking lots of photos (hence my phone in my hand in, well, every picture haha. Wish that dress had some pockets!), but since I never end up doing what I planned, all the photos you see in this post were taking by Meg. Thanks, Meg!

McCall Pattern Company Tour

I got the grand tour, you guys – I saw every department, met sooo many people (except the CEO, who was unfortunately in a meeting when I arrived. Oh well! Next time!), and a few of them even knew who I was! So crazy!

One of the biggest things I learned was just how freakin’ small this company is! Sure, they had a hell of a lot more employees than any of the indie designers we know and love – but it’s not like there are thousands of them, scattered across the world in giant corporate offices, with a big fat CEO smoking a cigar in his silk bed jacket and laughing all the way to the bank (I mean, I know I just said I never actually met the CEO but I’m just gonna ASSUME here, you guys). Everything is done in-house in NYC – they produce the patterns for McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue, Kwik Sew, and even do Vogue Pattern Magazine. Each individual department is very small – some only having a couple of employees at most. It’s also one of those companies where everyone is basically family, which I just think is really nice and feels good to be around. Everyone was extremely friendly and clearly very happy to be there.

There are a LOT of rooms and departments – the fabric library (where they keep zillions of swatches, plus buttons and trims and notions and, oh god, it was heaven in there), drafting, dressmaking, customer service, in-house photography (complete with racks of clothing and even more racks of shoes aieeee), etc etc. All in all, I think I was there for about 3 hours – flitting around, chatting everyone up, getting all grabby hands on the various fabrics (and apologizing every few minutes. Forreal, my mom hates shopping with me because I’m incapable of not touching things. This is why I hate museums and love flea markets, haha).

McCall Pattern Company Tour
McCall Pattern Company Tour
Checking out the fabric room and perusing the samples was one of my favorite parts. Sooo much eye-candy!

McCall Pattern Company Tour

This look of wide-eyed wonderment was pretty much plastered to my face the entire time I was in there, ha!

Another highlight of my tour was getting to finally meet the famed Vogue Pattern Designer, Carlos Correa (I didn’t get a photo with him, but you can see him chatting about some of the designer pieces in this McCall blog post). The very first thing he said to me was, “I LOVE YOUR BLOG!” hahahahaa!! Apparently, he reads it and loves the pattern round-ups (and I reckon he’s reading it right now, so HI CARLOS!). I spent a long time in his office, talking about the pattern and their styling vs how they look in real life, and saw some of the new designs for next season as well. I can’t say much about those, but what I can say is I kept going, “Oooh! I want one of those!” haha!

McCall Pattern Company Tour

I also stopped in the Vogue Pattern Magazine offices, to chat with the Editor and LURK THOSE DESIGNER DRESSES.

Did you know that the outfits on the Vogue American Designer pattern envelopes are actual designer garments? That was news to me! Take Vogue 1409, the Saber-Toothed Tiger dress, for instance. This dress literally came from the Donna Karan Collection – and McCall’s based the pattern off it, then used the actual dress in the photoshoot. It wasn’t sewn by them, nor did they choose the fabric (since it’s from Donna Karan). If you look inside, you’ll see all the tags – including the original price tag. This is much better explained on the McCall Pattern Blog, but that’s the general gist.

McCall Pattern Company Tour

With that being said, the next order of business was to try on the $10,000 Ralph Rucci coat.

Me: If it fits, that means I get to keep it, right?
Everyone else: lolololololol

Damn, that thing was a work of ART! I know I hated on the arm holes at one point (that’s such a random thing to hate on, ha), but seeing it in person absolutely made me change my mind (and I still think it looks weird on the envelope photo, maybe it’s just the way the model is standing?). The inside is amazing – all bound seams and even some hand stitches! Apparently there’s a whole Pinterest board for lurking the inside of the designer garments, so we can all drool from far away.

After that, it was obviously time to play dress-up. Because, duh.

McCall Pattern Company Tour
McCall Pattern Company Tour

In another Ralph Rucci original (pattern is Vogue 1404), featuring the wind machine ;) Also, those shoes are like 4 sizes too big.

McCall Pattern Company Tour
McCall Pattern Company Tour

Obviously I had to try on the Guy Laroche purple nightmare (that is actually silk chaurmeuse) (pattern is Vogue 1416. The sleeves were cracking me up to no end.

McCall Pattern Company Tour

Hahaha!
(side note: holy shit I need to touch up my hair color)

McCall Pattern Company Tour

Ughhh WANT THIS COAT (pattern is Vogue 1419)

I had an amazing time visiting the offices and meeting all the wonderful people who work so hard to produce all these patterns (whether you personally love them or not, I think we can all agree that the sheer amount of patterns they put out every year is quite impressive!). I did bring up some personal beefs – the excessive ease, the styling situation – as I feel like these are areas that do need some improvement. My opinions were definitely heard, and some things were already in the process of being addressed before I even brought them up, thanks to customer feedback. The McCall Pattern Company is absolutely interested in what the consumer has to say, and they’re making a huge effort to reach out to the online sewing community and bridge that gap. I know it’s really easy to hate on the ~big guy~ for just being there (especially when it’s a faceless corporation), but at the end of the day – I want to support the sewing community and it’s future! I’m absolutely invested in doing whatever I can to bring home sewists more options, and that includes supporting the Big 4. It was such a treat to visit the offices and get to know the people who make things happen there.

If you have a question or a complaint about a pattern from the McCall Pattern Company – contact them! They don’t know there is a problem unless you tell them, and their customer service department is extremely dedicated when it comes to helping. Follow their blog to learn more about the company, Like their Facebook page, lurk their Pinterest. Don’t be afraid to reach out and chat them up if you have a comment or concern. I’d love to see the gap close between the Big 4 and Indie pattern companies – I mean, we’re all in this for the love of sewing, right?

McCall Pattern Company Tour
(me hanging in the styling room. I was told to pretend I was fixing my hair – I promise I don’t sit at every available mirror and preen, haha! Although my hair did look really good that day. Minus the whole I need-to-redye-it situation)

Now, I can’t stop thinking about that Ralph Rucci coat…
So, like, if I paint it... I have to sew it, right? ❤️
I am definitely going to sew the shit out of that pattern. Just need to find my perfect red wool.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,215 other followers