Minimalist Wardrobe: Project 333

Okay, I’m at it again. Have you read about Project 333  – Be More With Less? Project 333 is “the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months” (Courtney Carver: Project 333 blog)Fairly simple.  This core wardrobe/minimalist wardrobe is wearing only 33 items and every 3 months you trade/switch up to a different 33 items.

You can read all the details of Courtney’s plan and its origins here. The 33 items in her plan include shoes, clothing items AND accessories. My plan is a bit different because separating myself from that much of my clothing, shoes and accessories was too stressful to think about. My modified plan is as follows. Continue reading

Vintage Pattern Review – Advanced 4826

For as much as I love vintage sewing, I’m even surprised that I only recently attended my first ‘costume’/historical ball.  It’s held  twice a year; once in summer and again in the winter. I bought my tickets back in January and that was about the time I started thinking about what I was going to make. I think I bought about 20 yards of different fabric and changed my mind on about as many patterns. Finally, I settled on one. Here’s some historical details.

1940s-Ball-2016-3-840x438

1947

The ball took place in 1947 and Tiki was the theme. I’m sure you are all aware that Dior’s New Look hit the scene in February of the same year. This was Dior’s first collection and it was hailed as no less than revolutionary. With the nipped in waists, voluminous skirts and ultra feminine (sexy) look, Dior’s New Look was a sigh of relief from the military, boxy looks that were dominate during the war.

Dior's New Look 1948

Dior’s New Look 1948

Post war patterns

My pattern is from 1948. A couple things to note. 1) Today there are 52 fashion cycles a year. We have a new fashion (RTW) cycle every week, if you can believe that. During the 1940s and 50s there were two fashion cycles. Basically one for warm weather and one for cold. This was for both RTW and high fashion. Same thing with sewing patterns. Commercial sewing pattern manufacturers didn’t have new patterns coming out every week or every month.

Dior’s New Look is typified by the full skirts with a crazy amount of yardage. Rationing was over and what better way to celebrate than with a 7 yard skirt! My skirt is not that full and the entire outfit including the jacket was less than 3 yards. When you look at vintage patterns circa 1940-1945 you’ll notice a defining look. Many skirts hit right at the knee, with a boxy look to jackets, shoulder pads (military influence). After the war, an explosion of fuller, softer skirts going well past the knee were the new fashion.

Color

Shortly after the war, when you look through catalogs and magazines you’ll notice bright primary colors dominate.

Blues, reds, yellows, big bold beautiful color hits the stores.  During the war you’ll notice that military tones take the lead with tans, browns, greens and navy blues and softer hues. Floral patterns were popular after the war years as were gingham, bright red cherry, apple prints and so on.

house and garden 1948

House & Garden magazine September 1948

Fabric
I had a heck of a time picking fabric. I tried to go ultra historic and find fabric from the 1940s or 50s with no luck. I couldn’t find enough yardage or the colors and print just didn’t do anything for me.

Total I purchased 12 yards of different fabric, finally setting my eyes on this golden yellow cotton print from JoAnn’s and for 5.99 a yard! I snatched it all up (about 4 1/2 yards) and 44″ wide. I like this yellow, it’s one of my favorites.

Canary yellow doesn’t go with my complexion, this suited me very nicely. I also like the print, it seems a nod to an eastern/Asian influence which was becoming popular in the US after the war.

gold fabric 1940 ball

Tiki

Tiki culture shouldn’t be confused with Tiki or Polynesian fine art, the two are different. Tiki culture is American art form started around the 1930’s with it’s height of popularity in the 1950s. After the war, men stationed in the South Pacific brought back tales and items from their time spent in this exotic locale and it just moved into a movement of sorts influencing music, food & drinks, architecture and more.  If you want to sample some fine Tiki inspired music you must check out Martin Denny and Yma Sumac.

Construction

The construction of the dress was straight forward. However, these older patterns don’t include pattern pieces for facings. And in the guide-sheet there’s barely mention that you need to cut out a bias strip on your own. I’m so accustomed to having every little detail spelled out for me in the pattern sheet. Back then, home sewers just knew what to do. I lined the dress with a grey poly, that had a weight and feel similar to China silk.

I was warned on Facebook by Katrina Walker that using silk or a poly would be very sticky in a high heat situation, but I didn’t listen. Plus, I was really sick of buying fabric for this thing. Just make it work! I didn’t have time to make the belt or the capelet. I’ll definitely make the belt, but not the capelet. A little to matchy matchy for me. Also, I think next time I would take more care on placement of the straps and their width to match my bra straps.

To get into the dress I do need a bit of wiggling and maneuvering. I’m not sure what I did, but it does not come off or on easily.

Accessories

The shoes. These were about all I had that could even closely resemble the time period. The terrain was really rocky and uneven in some places and walking in the dark was insane in 3 inch wedges.Accessories 1940s ball

The purse is an Enid Collins box purse. I have two. This one, for as small as it is can hold  a lot. Enid Collins purses and bags were popular in the 1950-1970’s.

Jewelry is a gold and silver cuff bracelets.

The gold one is from my mom, the silver is from my mother-in-law.  I had a velvet brown and green piano shawl as a wrap. And, some diamond drop earrings to wrap it all up.

All in all it was a really fun time, I enjoyed working with the vintage pattern immensely and it gave me a bit of insight in to making a ballgown. Although on a much smaller scale. I would love to do the winter ball  this coming December. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

More Reading

Great piece from La Maison Dior on the New Look.

A Sewing Journal!

JournalCollage//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A year off from blogging has given me a wonderful boost in sewing energy. In fact, I did so much sewing last year that I decided to start keeping a written Sewing Journal.

The journal consists of an inexpensive notebook and cover. The cover is one I made a few years ago. It’s fashioned after a leather Franklin Covey planner I loved that I found at a thrift store. My cover fits a 5″x7″ spiral bound notebook perfectly. Continue reading

StyleWe.com: A Review

Have you heard or visited the clothing site StyleWe?  Is it worth it to spend $$ here? Is it legit? Read on for a review.

StyleWe has a beautiful selection of modern fashion clothes. But, if you visit their Facebook page or SiteJabber you’ll notice a lot of negative complaints. Here’s my experience with StyleWe. Continue reading

Finished McCalls 7253

Finished my McCalls 7253 skirt awhile back. Finally wore it at a my mom’s birthday dinner. Gotta say I love it! Love the box pleats, love the fabric I picked out from Colorado Fabrics, love it all. Certainly a keeper.

A  few things: Continue reading

Hey, Jill! Whatever Happened To That Core Wardrobe?

Remember that Core Wardrobe thing I was doing? Way back when? I wasn’t really documenting it but I did finish a black dress, black pants and two black skirts. What I haven’t completed is a blouse and a jacket.

Ay, now, here’s the rub.

I love the idea of a Core Wardrobe and I don’t want to give up on it, but I did a couple things wrong and I think if I reorganize I can do it better next time. Here’s what happened.

operatoin-core-wardobe-2_14928166501_o

  1. I made everything in one color and really started to get bored. I’m a color person! Next time I’ll work within a palette of sorts.
  2. I didn’t start out with an arsenal of TNT’s. For many I was starting from scratch and there was fitting, fitting, fitting involved. And, we all know how time consuming that can be. Next time I will have TNT’s at the ready.
  3. The items I made I really don’t wear! The skirts I made are very professional/dressy. The dress is okay but it’s definitely not my fave. And, same with the pants. I’ve even yet to wear it. Next time I’m really going to scrutinize my Imagined Wardrobe vs. Actual Wardrobe needs.
  4. I didn’t really have a schedule down. I think next time working on a deadline of sorts is helpful to me. I need some sort of accountability.

One positive aspect of this experiment is when I go into fabric stores I really look at the fabric and ask myself:  Is this my color? Will this go with more than one item in my closet? Do I really need this yardage? Of course I still answer ‘yes’ to all those questions.

But, I feel marginally better that at the least I have an awareness of my over consumptive fabric/pattern shopping. Awareness is the first step to recovery!

And, that is my experiment with making a Core Wardrobe. I give anyone who does this special props. It’s hard to maintain focus with so much beautiful fabric around and with patterns being as cheap as they are. Our time is so limited and we get so little of it to sew and create I applaud anyone who can even get one damn project done!

I think building a Core Wardrobe can/will be quite rewarding in the end. I’m not giving up!

 

Oh La La! The French Seam of Indianapolis

My knowledge of Indiana begins and stops at Michael Jackson, Indy 500 and Hoosiers (whatever those are). But, somewhere I heard about The French Seam, maybe on social media or in Threads magazine. And, with a name like that,  it’s hard to forget. Frontier Airlines offers low fares every now and then. I told myself that next time a cheap fare came along I would book a flight out to Indianapolis and visit The French Seam. And, so it came to be.

I flew out to Indianapolis on Saturday October 12. I got in around 2 pm. Popped into my sporty Ford Focus and checked into the Hyatt Place.

I had Siri show me around the area. My first request to Siri was to take me to the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art. I figured museums would be located around great neighborhoods. I wasn’t disappointed.  I think there are two contemporary art museums, but the one I located was in the Fountain Square area of Indianapolis. It’s a cute, funky area, looked like fun bars and eateries around and several thrift and vintage stores, of which I had to stop and visit.

Untitled

Continue reading