Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Above is the inspiration, and below is the wool I'm considering making the ruffle tiered skirt from.  Because it's iridescent I couldn't get a good picture of the color even without flash in bright natural light sadly.  I believe this is Donna Karan suiting that I got 10 years ago at SR Harris in Brooklyn Park, Mn.  I guess it's true sharkskin, but it's so lovely that I hate to bring a shiny aberration to mind.  Actually I really like sharkskin, but in my mind sharkskin totally has tacky implications, and this wool is not at all tacky.  (Although it is that cranberry color that the judges on Project Runway kept cringing over every time Gretchen used it this season...)

Here's the knit fabric I'll use for the long-sleeved tee with the bust bow.  It's rust with a horizontal stripe of gold that's outlined in charcoal.  It's completely the sophisticated fall palette stripe I was hoping to find, and I found it in my very own stash!  In the picture here, you can see the dark shade of the sharkskin a little better.  It's kind of a green or gray depending on what's next to it.  I may decide to just go with a gray wool crepe I have in my stash, and use this for my Cupcake Goddess's Boyfriend Jacket project instead..

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bickle Bait

"The days go on and on... they don't end. All my life needed was a sense of someplace to go. I don't believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention, I believe that one should become a person like other people." 

Any number of forces have gotten me thinking about Taxi Driver lately. Boardwalk Empire inspired a Martin Scorcese binge that started with Casino (which I really only like for the clothes) and also sparked a conversation about favorite Scorcese movies in which my younger counterparts conveniently forgot any Scorcese movie exists prior to Goodfellas. Well, Taxi Driver has all the gritty, sweet, intense, violent, creepy ultra-reality that I associate with Scorcese, and will always be the first movie I think of when his name is mentioned.

Another thing that's brought Taxi Driver to mind was Marc Jacobs Spring collection in which every look seemed to be inspired by Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) or Iris (Jodie Foster) respectively. I can't help but think of the seventies as our sexiest decade and the vibe in this collection epitomizes that look of detached sexuality. These girls have either seen it all, can handle it all, or are above it all. Even on the runway there is something about these looks that just imply these ladies are walking through the garbage of wet alleyways. It's a weird kind of glamour, but it is still somehow glamorous.

I'm in the process of going through my fabric stash, (a subject of which is a future post in itself) and immediately saw some resemblance in this purple mod print knit fabric I already had and the following dress from Jacobs's Spring show. Sadly I only have about 1 yard, but I feel that I can easily create the top portion of this dress with a wide knit band, making it super easy to wear with skirts or pants. I may also accentuate the seventies further by making the long sleeves out of the same contrast material as the band, or maybe making elbow-length puffy sleeves with a knit cuff.  

The fabric is a really silky nylon jersey or tricot, not stretchy enough to be swimwear fabric, but has some of that luster. Knowing already that this kind of fabric wreaks havoc on my machine's tension I am going to make sure to make this top have the least amount of seams I can manage, and will make sure I have a brand new needle. The nice thing is this silky knit is lovely to wear, like the lingerie it was made to be used for.

Here we have Simplicity 5250, a pattern I was completely inspired to buy because of the Cupcake Goddess's current project. Her muslin mockup looked so modern to me, with Taxi Driver on my mind, that I compulsively google-searched for it and somehow immediately found it in a size I wouldn't have to grade up too much. The hat on the pattern sleeve is totally Iris too! I'm thinking corduroy since I have no interest in working with satin, especially for a jacket with lapels.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bust Bows

I might as well start with the image that started the obsession with tailored bows on a bodice. It's the secretary in green. Just look at the size of that tailored, crisp, ready for work bow. That's a no nonsense bow that isn't afraid to be what it is. That's a bow that could reside on the large shelf of bust that is my own.

These Lena Hoshek tees have stirred a deep need in me. I must have a striped long-sleeved tee accented with a bust bow. I was delighted to find a really fall hued variegated stripe with a nice persimmony-rust as the main color..

I'm also TBT (taken,but torn)about the 3 ruffle-tiered skirt as well. Torn because I owned a knit miniskirt version of that skirt in the eighties, and Taken because at this length it's retro and ever so fetching..

All of these pattern images illustrate the kind of secretary tailored bow I crave. I own this pattern with the deep, almost sailor neckline, because it screamed Joan Harris to me, especially if it's made in wool suiting with a floral pattern blouse fabric for the modesty panel.

I really love both of these looks too, especially the bow beneath the split neckline. Both those girls have flipped brunette hairdos so I'm kind of helpless not to love them..

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lena Horshek Fall 2010

Lena Horshek's Fall RTW 2010 has been especially inspiring to me, partially due to great styling contrast with mens' shoes and hats. I would rock this look without hesitation. Plaid is my favorite color..

I feel all these looks are so wearable that I'd almost say they are more clothes than "fashion", but they are also all the editorially desirable things Nina Garcia seems to always be looking for. In any case, I am captivated. I have striped vintage fabric just begging to be a dirndl (albeit in a Spring palette more than Fall/Winter.)

I adore that black taffeta three-tiered skirt. I have a beautiful sharkskin/iridescent wool that might be great for that look actually, especially if I could find a coordinating stripe. The fabric is cranberry/merlot with a gold/camel sharkskin iridescence. I have enough yardage for a whole vintage dress in that wool though, we'll see. I love the long sleeve tee with the bow accent on the bust too. I have some men's super shiny black squared-toed oxfords that might really work for these looks, not to mention some fantastic vintage gold patent leather mens' Gucci-style loafer circa 1968..(update pics to come!)

A tale of sexual repression, love, heartbreak and manic-depression

By no means am I the only person whose sewing passions have been ignited by what Marc Jacobs put out in Louis Vuitton's Fall collection, but this dress grabbed me first, if only because it reminds me of the dress worn by Warren Beatty's wife at the end of Splendor in the Grass, when Natalie Wood visits him and essentially gets peace from his humble existence. I remember being furious with her character since he was clearly married (in the film) to an impossibly succulent cross between Ava Gardner and Sophia Loren..The actress's name is Zohra Lampert, and I can't find a single picture of her from Splendor in the Grass unfortunately. Of course I agree that Natalie Wood is also a lovely visage, but somehow she was the subject of great hostility in my teenage years. Her performances were exceptionally aggravating to me both in Splendor in the Grass and Rebel Without A Cause. In any case I thought Bud Stamper was better off in the end without that simpering fool.

UPDATE: Forgive the glare from my window on these pictures, I really wanted to get pictures of Zohra in this post. As you can see, her dress is nothing like the LV inspiration dress, it's instead the simplest housedress ever. But you can see how sweet and lovely she is.

This is one of many Fall RTW inspirations I have, and there are many more items from the Louis Vuitton Fall RTW 2010 show too, but this mix of pattern and silhouette is one I am particularly
taken with. Because of the aforementioned recollection it holds connotations of romantic justice and karma to me..

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


In browsing through the seller's of my dreamy fruit basket applique shift pattern (which I want mostly for the envelope art I admit) I found a pattern for what might be the most perfect 50's dress ever. Just take a look. I think the gathered fullness for the bust, as well as the fuller skirt in back will be a dream for my figure. I stalked the pattern since there'd already been an outbidding coup earlier, so I decided not to bid at all until 5 minutes before the auction ended. It worked, I won both auctions and paid less than $20 including shipping. I'm totally high on my coup d'etat.

As much as I adore McCall's pattern drawings, I will admit, the recent patterns I've truly lusted for have been vintage Simplicity. I'm a little disappointed that the photo of the pattern back doesn't include the portion indicating how much fabric is needed, so I'll have to wait to receive the pattern before I can plot much further. Unfortunately, my standby amount of fabric I tend to purchase if I don't really know what I will use it for is 3 or 4 yards. Most vintage patterns with full skirts require at least 4 yards, so I'll have to start thinking in a full skirt mentality for my stash. I like the idea of sewing this in a wool suiting, since it's usually hot in the office combining wool with short sleeves is a good idea to try out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Oh, McCall's vintage patterns, you are always the most alluring to me. You undoubtedly have the best envelope art, and the ladies featured look so precocious and sassy. But this pattern, boy oh boy. This pattern I would absolutely love to own.

Update: Soon it will be mine, all mine! The gem of McCall's patterns in my trove of treasures!

Update #2: Mine all mine! I am jubilant, and feel the need to point out that the basket part of the fruit applique is a pocket. I am beyond charmed...