Thursday, May 28, 2015

Navy Pullover Dress

I wanted to sew something easy with very little effort on my part, so I chose this simple dress pattern from 1981. It’s just about the easiest dress I can make: a pullover dress with an elastic waistband.

Learning from my many previous mistakes, I measured the pattern first to see if there were any glaring size issues that might screw me over later. And I’m glad I did, because the top portion was going to be too long on me. My torso isn’t so long, so I always have to shorten dress patterns, and I did so before cutting out my material (this time).

For this dress, I chose a navy with white polyester fabric that I thought would drape well. Sewing this dress was a very smooth process. Although it was a new pattern for me, I didn’t run into any problems (as it was somewhat similar to the Comfy Gray Dress I made recently). Everything was pretty clear cut. I think if I really tried, I could have done finished this dress in a weekend, but instead I doled it out over two weekends.

I’m satisfied with the finished dress. It’s super simple and comfortable, and it’s my beloved navy color. The one negative thing is this pattern didn’t have pockets and I didn’t add them in, and I have to say: I miss pockets! If I make this dress again I think I’m going to add pockets because I love pockets.

To add a bit of interest to this basic dress, I used my thrifted navy and white belt that I bought recently. Because the belt is quite long, I tied it in a way that allows it to be fitted on my waist.

First, I used the belt normally, putting the end through the first and second loop.

The end of the belt is quite long, so I threaded it through the first loop again, and then tucked it underneath the belt.

Then I twisted the belt around so that the metal pieces are on my back. Done.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thrifted for $11.97

I went to a couple of thrift stores and got a few things. First up, I got two sewing patterns for 50 cents each. The first is a dress/jumper and blouse pattern that doesn’t have a date on it. My guess is it’s late 1940s, early 1950s (as the original price is less than the other pattern I got). It looks like a fairly simple dress to make.

The second is a blouse pattern from 1957 that’s “easy to sew.” Overall, I have fewer blouse patterns than dresses and skirts, so I thought this one might be nice to have. I like all the blouse versions and could see this being a very useful pattern.

Next, I got some silky purple fabric for $2.99. It’s been cut to an odd size, 22.5 inches wide by 4 yards long. I liked the floral pattern that’s fairly subtle, and thought the rich color could be flattering on me.

I also got a black short-sleeved Ann Taylor turtleneck sweater for $5.99. Truthfully, I don’t look at this sweater and think it’s particularly special. I bought it because I thought it could be useful. I don’t have tons of sweaters and it’s a neutral color that I think will go well with many of my skirts.

And finally, I bought a patterned navy and white belt for 99 cents. It looks like it’s one of those belts that come free with a new pair of pants or shorts. I don’t really wear these kinds of belts (the kind with the metal loops for the belt to go through), but I thought I might be able to use it because I think the pattern is pretty cute.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Estate Sale: Quilter Fabrics

I know. I just wrote about how I don’t need any more fabric…and I just bought more. [Sigh.] But it wasn’t planned; estate sales are rather luck of the draw, and I just happened to luck out on this one that was jam-packed with fabric. There were probably about ten tables, each stacked with fabric—just an amazing amount that one person accumulated over the course of a lifetime. The fabric was pretty much all meant for quilting, which isn’t the type of fabric I tend to buy since I like to make clothing.

That’s not to say that I haven’t made clothing with quilter fabrics, it’s just that the range of clothing items to be made seems narrower in scope to me—maybe a cute summer dress or skirt. So I felt less inclined to buy too much for myself; I bought most of the fabric for my mom since I thought she might be able to use them for projects.

The selection at the estate sale definitely skewed more towards the blues, greens and purples (which I tend to prefer). I got 18 fabrics of various lengths; yardage-wise it’s less impressive than the other fabric estate sales I’ve gone to (and got bolts and bolts of fabric), but variety-wise it’s definitely a wider range.

Initially I was on the fence on going to this estate sale because I didn’t need anything, but I rationalized my going by buying fabric for my mom. Since I bought most of the fabric as a gift, I won’t disclose the amount I spent—but obviously it was way less than buying new at a store. The first two photos are the fabrics I gave to her, while the last one are the ones I’m keeping. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Hooked on Navy

I try not to go to fabric stores too often because inevitably I’ll see fabrics that are pretty and I may be tempted to get more. And I don’t need any more fabric; I have a sizable stash and adding to it isn’t necessary.

That’s not to say I never go. Sometimes I just want to look and see if anything speaks to me. But this time I went because I had a gift certificate (that’s right, a certificate—a paper one) to a fabric store that I intended to use. I went in thinking, “I’m going to get color. A colorful pattern or a nice red or plum.” [Pause.] That didn’t happen. I’m just drawn to navy. Like a homing beacon, I just find my way to it. That’s the color I like. That’s the color I want.

In my fabric stash I have many fabrics that aren’t navy because that’s what the store had on sale or that’s the fabric that the estate sale had. But when given a choice of any fabric in a store, my instinct is for navy. It’s a hard habit to break, and perhaps one not worth breaking. Because if it’s a fabric I love, then that’s reason enough to get it. I shouldn’t just pick a different color merely because it’s a different color; after sewing a garment, I may not love it as much because it’s not in the color I really wanted.

So I got these two fabrics that are navy-based. One is straight up navy with a very light pattern that feels more like a texture. And the other I got has some color in it—a bit of red (I do love navy and red together) and a brighter blue. I was on the fence on getting the second fabric because it has a plaid pattern and I’m a bit scared of sewing plaids (as I have avoided it completely), but I thought it could be cute.

I’ve just sort of accepted that the bulk of my wardrobe is white, black and navy. I have garments that are other colors, but I tend to favor these timeless neutrals. Maybe this will change over time; I didn’t love navy 10 years ago, in another 10 years, who knows? But for now, I love navy.