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Okay, after this weekend’s green slippy fabric impulse buy, here’s something to show for it. Another incarnation of Burda 2-2008-119, the tie-neck sleeveless blouse:

Silky clothes aren’t really my thing, but I just love this color, so I think I’ll be getting some good wear out of this one. It’ll work well under a cardigan too. I like it with these sort of loose windowpane check pants, but I think it’ll also work well with lighter pants.

Here’s the side view. I think I’m channeling a candidate for class president in this photo. See?  I’m inspired!

Vote Selfish! Vote Selfish! Vote Selfish!

My first version of this blouse (and ever so slightly more detail about the construction) is here.

Okay. We’ve got friends visiting from out of town so we’re off to hike for a couple of days. Try to behave yourselves, okay? I don’t want to hear any stories when I get back.

I’m not the biggest or most extreme stasher, but if you’ve been following along, you know that I can hold my own in fabric and pattern acquisition. But despite having plenty of both around the house, I often find myself running up against a bottleneck because I’m low on something else. For example, I’m forever running out of lining and interfacing and I never seem to have the right type, length, and color of zipper in the house. Frustrating, and yet I find it hard to stock up on these things strategically.

So this past weekend, I made a little trip to my local fabric store to take advantage of the 50% off sale, and came back with some of my favorites:

Covered button sets in different sizes (I love these things! I already broke into one pack for the plaid pants hat), denim needles, hook and bar sets for pants, and just because I figured I would eventually need it (and learn to use it,) clear elastic. Interfacing, lining, and zippers were also 50% off, and I picked up a few yards of lightweight fusible interfacing, but once again I stood in front of the linings and zippers with no idea of what I’d have a need for down the line.  (Doesn’t help that the linings at my local store are pretty weak and that 50% off still leaves them at $8/yard.)

Oh, and teeny tiny confession- although it had been my plan not to purchase any more fabric, I was seduced.  By a charmeuse of all things, and you know I generally have no love for slippery, silky things, either for sewing or wearing:

But ohhh the color, somewhere hovering between grass green, moss green, and olive, with a muted, subtle shine. I was sucked in by it and by the quality of it. It feels and looks like silk, but I’m pretty sure it’s not given the general caliber of my fabric store, so perhaps it’s rayon?  It doesn’t look, feel, or move like polyester, but perhaps they’ve really improved the technology for making poly charmeuse. All I know is that I’m rediscovering how little I enjoy sewing with slippy fabrics, as I make up yet another Burda blouse 119 from the February 2008 issue (still in progress):

Fortunately it requires no lining or zippers! How about you?  What notions or materials do you find yourself unable to keep in stock? What strategies do you have for making sure you’ve got a healthy supply of basic sewing necessities without having piles of stuff you’re never going to get around to using?

Whew!  It’s been a busy couple of days here at Chez Selfish with little time to sew, and I’ve been making some sloooow progress on a McCall 6305 blouse in navy poplin. I’m kind of lukewarm on the poet sleeves so far- they feel a little bit current-day Meryl Streep or Diane Keaton- pretty and elegant, but a little lacking in edge, and maybe not really my look:

Anyway, seeing as how sewing progress has slowed to a near halt, I thought I’d look for something else to show you, namely these two enormous vintage pattern catalogues that I purchased a few years back. You know, the kind you flip through at Jo-ann, but back from the days long before Jo-ann. They’re McCall August 1957 and Simplicity 1959 volumes (did they really put these things out monthly back then??):

I love looking through these, especially the McCall’s one, as 1956-1958 are some of my favorite years for fashion. Flipping through them, I notice a number of neat trends that I don’t see much these days but that might just be due for a resurrection. I thought I’d share a couple of these with you- who knows? Maybe you’ll be inspired to add one to your list.

For today, I’m featuring the short cape, which was a staple judging by the 1957 McCall book, for both day and evening wear. It appears this little garment was even more popular than the bolero, which is what I usually think of when I picture a light layer over a 1950s dress. (All of the capes pictured are from the McCall book):

Although the short cape is often included with a dress pattern that has a full or semi-full skirt option, the cape is almost always shown with a straight skirted dress, which balances the flare and keep it sleek.

And I especially love the examples in which the short cape is actually integrated into the design of the whole ensemble, such as in this outfit, in which the pleats of the dress are repeated on the cape- how much more interesting and pulled together this looks than it would have with a plain cape!

Or this outfit, in which the cape physically buttons onto the straps of the dress, making for a cute open look, while keeping the cape on the shoulders. This would be so easy to make and add to your sheath dress:

Even very simple short capes add elegance and sophistication:

And check this out- the short cape worn over a jacket! Who would have thought? That’s almost like wearing two jackets! And yet, so much cooler- if I’m not mistaken, the cape actually slips under the collar of the jacket and then attaches right onto the jacket buttons. Oooh, I love brilliant sewing engineering!

I think this trend of the 50s may be due for a revival. In the last few years, we’ve already seen the resurgence of capes in general, usually hitting at the hip or longer and filling the role of light- to mid-weight outerwear. (Actually, now that I think about it, Burda 8/2009 did feature a short version of a cape- it was cute!) The short cape seems like it could fill a somewhat different role, and could also be worn by women who aren’t built like trees. What do you think?  Are you interested in seeing this one come back? Weigh in!

Also, let me know if you found this interesting- there are a lot of other nifty vintage trends in my pattern books that I’d be happy to show you as well :)

Another freezing day, another super quick, ridiculously frigid outdoor photo shoot!  Here’s blouse 119 from the 2.2008 issue of Burda, a simple sleeveless top with slightly gathered neck opening and an attached scarf collar:

[Hmm.  I think I need to add a second hook closure on the tab waist of those pants (self-drafted pattern) because it’s not sitting flat against the waistband.]

Yes, another 16 degree Fahrenheit day with crazy wind and snow (the little white streaks!) And this time, unlike yesterday’s Vogue 8379 shoot, I wasn’t wrapped in wool knit, but instead in filmy sleeveless silk. This silk, you may recall, is one that sneaked into my stash and had me puzzling over what to do with it. I’m actually pretty satisfied with how it rendered in this blouse and have decided it was probably the best use of it. I can’t say it’s made me a pattern convert or that I’ll be wearing this weekly, but it’s less clown-y than I feared. There was some lively comment discussion of the fact that the colors might not suit me, but these are all colors that I wear regularly so I wasn’t too worried about that. If they don’t work on me I have yet to figure that out, and I’d have to purge my wardrobe of much more than just this blouse. Or perhaps the Selfish Seamstress defies all color theory!

The blouse itself is pretty simple to construct with just 3 main pattern pieces and two bias strips to make a sort of bias facing for the arm openings.  You stitch a folded bias strip along the openings on the outside of the garment, trim the seam allowances, flip the bias strip to the inside, press, and topstitch for a clean finish with no exposed raw edges:

As you can see, I also used French seams throughout. I must say, although I like the blouse, working with this kind of slippery silk is not my cup of tea. It doesn’t stay put and it doesn’t behave the way I want it to.  So although this pattern was pretty easy, I didn’t find it to be tremendously pleasurable sewing. And I guess that is why I now have no more silk in my stash!

I’m often a little wary of Burda difficulty ratings because I feel like they often don’t take the fabric challenges into account. Burda gave this pattern one and a half dots for difficulty, which I suppose makes sense on account of the simplicity of construction and small number of pieces. At the same time, I wouldn’t wish this on a novice given the kind of tricky fabrics to which this pattern is suited.  That bias faced armhole, while not that much of a technical feat, takes a bit of coordination with a slippy fabric with an unstable grain and could be discouraging for a beginner.

That being said, I could see myself making another one of these.  In a solid of course ;)

For your entertainment, here are some blustery out-takes. As you can see, I could barely keep my eyes open in the wind!



About this blog

The Selfish Seamstress loves to design and sew garments, but only if she gets to keep them. I'm Elaine, known in the online sewing world as elainemay, and welcome to my selfish sewing blog.

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