Category Archives: outfits

portrait blouse in bird print

portrait_blouse3Fabric: Same bird-print, polyester crepe georgette I used for my latest tiny pocket tank, underlined with a remnant of fallow colored plain weave cotton/poly mystery blend.
Pattern: Portrait Blouse from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing.
Techniques: Invisible zipper, facing, catchstitching, understitching, FBA.

My first project from Gertie’s sewing book! I have several more I’d like to make, like the wiggle-dress (ooooo!), pencil skirts (can you have too many?), and the coat dress (that looks pretty awesome). The Bombshell dress isn’t in this book, but it’s another Gertie-involved project that I’m looking forward to taking a stab at. Also – this is the first batch of pictures I’ve taken with my new fancy camera remote control thingy! It’s great – it focuses before taking the picture, so I don’t have to run back and forth between each timer-set picture only to see I wasn’t in focus. Dare I say it was even… fun?

portrait_blouse_untucked I *loved* the two Portrait blouses that Gertie made back in the day, as part of her VoNBBS challenge (I hope she continues and finishes all the projects some day!), so it seemed a natural starting point for trying the patterns in this book. I noticed that her Portrait blouse looked a little different – I’m seeing a higher neckline, a slightly less fitted silhouette, and somewhat shorter sleeves. I prefer the fit and proportions of the original vintage pattern, so I made some changes to the pattern. I lowered and widened the neckline, lengthened the body a couple of inches, did a 1″ FBA (full bust adjustment), and cut the smaller of the two sizes I landed between, based on measurements.

Perhaps you recognize the fabric? I’ve made a Grainline tiny tank with this fabric, but just with a single layer of fabric. I thought this blouse would benefit from a bit more structure, so I underlined it with some leftover cotton/polyester lightweight fabric. This also helped the slight sheerness the other blouse has, making it a little more office appropriate! I did the facing for the neckline and catch-stitched it to the underlining instead of just tacking at the shoulders, and I did a bias tape finish at the armholes instead of the stitch and turn method outlined in the book. I actually can’t quite figure out how that method work would work out, since the curve at the underarm is so sharp a double turn would seriously pull the fabric.

portrait_blouse_facingThis blouse is a definite stash-buster – Gertie quoted needing a yard of fabric, and that seems about right. I think it has a flattering neckline, which, after all, is the entire point of the blouse! I think the proportions work very nicely when tucked in – a little less so when not tucked in. For next time (since I will absolutely forget the details before attempting to sew this again!) I would bring the neckline back in a little, maybe 1″ in and 1/2″ up? That way I’d be a little more confident the blouse would cover my bra straps, but sill have the more open neckline I prefer.

I’d need to lower the armhole too, since they are super tight right now! It was pretty snug in the waist as well, so I ended up letting out the non-zippered seam – I’m thinking the size I chose was a little too snug. The dart also needs to be lowered and extended, between 1/2″ to 1″ I think. I can tell the blouse is designed to be tucked in, with inverted pleats ending and opening up right at the high waistline for a controlled blousy effect. If I wanted to make a next version to wear untucked I think I might let the tucks end closer to the bust to control the shape a little more. I should also use a longer zipper since I like a snugger fit, in fact I might actually try the zipper in the “usual” position at the underarm instead.

portrait_blouse2portrait_blouse_backIt looks good though! Paired with one of my first blogged garments (wow how long this simple linen pencilskirt has lasted!) it makes for a nice outfit with a little vintage touch.

outfit: travel wardrobe

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imageIt’s funny to notice what I choose to pack for different kinds of trips. For our recent summer vacation on the eastcoast of the US, I knew our casual activities would be sitting in the yard, family time, and trips to the beach. So I packed breezy skirts, easy dresses and simple tops.

This trip to Ireland is much more city-dominated, the weather is cooler, and attending a wedding a lot less casual. Even though these trips were just a couple of weeks apart, I ended up packing totally different for this Ireland-trip, being drawn to muted colors and pencil skirts, pumps and tops and dresses with interesting detail. And a fancy evening gown of course, but we’ll get to that!

beignet corduroy skirt

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Sorry for the kind of blurry photo – the rest of them are better! We were in a slight hurry to get to a birthday party, and since this picture best shows the shape of the Beignet skirt I’m running with it rather than retake the photos. The birthday party was lovely, and I got to wear my very recently finished Beignet (so recent I, ahem, didn’t finish the self-tie or the beltloops. They’re coming soon).

Fabric: Pinwale cotton corduroy from Fishman’s Fabrics in Chicago. Beautiful quality fabric, like everything from that store (though often on the expensive side by US standards). I cut the pieces out so long ago, I don’t know how much I’ve used, but I think at least 3/4 yards of a full 58″ width, possibly a little more for the odd facing piece. I still have fabric left over, though no plans for it yet! For lining I used remnants of kimono silk left over from a theater production. Beautiful stuff!
Pattern: Colette Patterns Beignet. I’ve had this pattern for a long time, so it actually has the watercolor illustrations of the first round, which I sort of prefer anyways. First, but not last time making this, for sure.
Techniques: In-seam pockets, fully lined, bound buttonholes, twill tape for stabilizing waistline.

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I started this skirt over a year ago, and meant to finish it for a Sew Weekly challenge on buttons. For someone who enjoys the process of sewing very much, and in her perfectionist tendencies decided that all twelve buttonholes must be *bound*, it was a bit of a foolish endeavor to undertake in a week. So – the night before the challenge deadline I conceded I would not in fact have time to attach lining to shell, hem it all, and construct the 9 remaining buttonholes. And so it was put away.beignet_buttons_inside beignet_buttons_closeup

Clearly I finished them eventually, but my goodness, there is a lot of fiddly steps to the bound buttonholes! After you’ve actually measured out and attached all the little pieces (which I decided would have the wales running in a horizontal direction and therefore needed much precision in applying) and then sliced and turned and steamed and stitched down flaps…. Then you have to make all the corresponding windows for the backsides! They did turn out lovely though, and in many ways I enjoy doing these fiddly bits – making corners for myself, as Kristen called it – but definitely best done not under time constraints.

beignet_front2 beignet_inside_seamallowance The fit of this skirt is lovely. It curves beautifully over the lower back, and I think it’s a flattering shape. I will definitely make more of this – I’m thinking a sturdier cotton drill, unlined, with fun bias binding on all the seams for the next one. At the same time, I will probably also make some pattern changes, and also deviate from the instructions in the same way I did this time. For example, the width of the skirt front facing is absolutely killing me. I realized it when constructing the inside windows for the bound buttonholes, and then remembered that I’d seen this problem with other people’s skirts: the facing is too narrow. If you notice in the second buttonhole picture up there, the buttonholes should not be that close to the seamline attaching the lining. Not only did it make it very difficult to properly construct those little windows, but it’s not structurally very good.

I also made steps to reduce bulk over how the pattern is written. For example, all my seams are pressed open instead of to one side, including by the pocket where I just snipped in to the seamline above and under where the pocket is attached. Since the corduroy doesn’t fray super crazy, I also turned up just once for the hem. It won’t really show since the lining hem covers it. Finally, though the pattern doesn’t specify how to attach the twill tape, I chose to butt it up against the waist seamline, but only be caught in the understitching, as I thought it would get too bulky to have it sewn into the actual waist seam and folded back on itself. Oh! I changed my mind – here’s the new “finally”: Finally, I anchored the pocket seam allowance to a skirt panel seam allowance, since the pockets kept flipping back in the wrong direction while I was trying this on. I just laid the skirt flat, and pinned where the pocket could be attached to a vertical seam allowance – if that makes sense?

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beignet_inside

As mentioned, I used remnants of kimono silk from a theater production to line this skirt. I had to piece several of the panels in order to have enough fabric, but look how lovely it is! I think it was a good choice for the soft corduroy since it provides some body (the silk being a little on the sturdier side). Unfortunately it also makes the skirt just a little lumpy in a way, since the corduroy is so very soft. That’s why for the next Beignet I want to try a sturdier fabric and not line it.

Criticisms aside, I really do like the shape of this skirt, and look forward to making it again. Not to mention how happy I am to have both this fabric out of my stash, and finally – this skirt out of the UFO-pile!

beignet_front1

Pinwale Corduroy

outfit: pile on the neutrals

IMG_2690-2One of my favorite ways to build an outfit, is to pile on as many shades neutrals as possible at the same time, and lately I’ve been favoring a brown-toned, greeney grey sort of neutral. I don’t think I noticed I have so much in this hue until putting together this outfit! On a sunny winter’s day I felt like brightening things up with this fuchsia shirt-dress for a day of running errands, and taking my new-to-me bag out for a spin.

A new bag may not seem like a big deal, but I’m not very in to bags, which means I don’t have many. I usually just have one in constant rotation until it more or less fall apart, and for the past few months I’ve been lugging around a faded cotton tote bag that was getting more and more pitiful by the day. So it’s such a relief to have a bag that makes me feel put together instead of embarrassed!

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outfit: February fitted pullover, with a mini

IMG_2578Another instalment of figuring out how to wear my February fitted pullover! This is by far my favorite, with several repeats already (the first and second outfits have both been singular events). There is something about the proportions of this combination that just works for me – the 3/4-length sleeves, the mid-thigh miniskirt. The slight bulk of the sweater is balanced out by the amount of leg, I guess. Either way, this one is a keeper. And the sweater is very cozy and warm. Success!

outfit: February fitted pullover, another dress

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Here is another installment of Birgitte-tries-to-find-ways-to-wear-her-February-fitted-pullover, this time with a dress! Wait, this time still with a dress, just like last time. I actually think this is more successful – at least I felt more comfortable in this combination. The strapless dress I wore with the sweater last time is a little bulky, and combined with the slightly bulky February pullover, it was just too much (but quite warm!).

february_pullover_dress2

Check out the lovely old wooden houses in the background! We took these pictures while we were at my parents’ house for Christmas, and the area has a lot of traditional buildings left. I love that!

The dress I’m wearing is the same jersey dress from this uniform-post, and like that time I put the attached ties to good use. The holes in the sweater were actually big enough to fit the ties through, so I just brought them around the front, and tucked the ends underneath themselves in the back.

Since we took the last pictures I’ve also been a good knitter and actually blocked the sweater, which grew a little bit in the process. I’m not always good enough with doing swatches, so ideally I should have knit this a smidge smaller, but I smooshed the sweater together instead of stretching it out, and it seems alright. Blocking also smoothed out the kind of abrupt waist-shaping that was a bit more apparent pre-blocking. If I were to knit this again (slash, my advice to others knitting this) I’d probably try to do the waist-shaping more gradually.

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And then I ran back to the car, since it was in fact literally freezing.

around here

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These past few weeks I’ve:
- made the 14-hour train trek back home, and then the 14 hours back. Done so happily to celebrated the season with family and friends, good food, and a whole lot of wine (yum. It’s also how I survive the winter.)
- been frustrated with the short days and the stupidly dark and blurry pictures that come of it. Not to mention the effect on my energy levels. But now, thankful that the days are getting longer!
- had a love-affair with kale, and the old trains bringing back childhood memories with their worn mirrors and old-school bathrooms. Those who’ve been on those trains will know what I mean.
- gotten cozy with magazines and new socks at the ER for hours of waiting to be seen for a ill-timed throat infection.
- gone to work dressed as a circus princess. Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s gotten dressed by putting on favorite individual objects (oo, yes I feel like pink tights today, oh and I like this belt, and I do like this dress, etc, etc.) only to find yourself surprised at what you’ve put on *together* when confronted with a mirror later that day?
- made progress on my Geithus lace knit top. Still the softest yarn in the world, and not as stripy as I was fearing thankfully.