Boysenberry Pastry Blouse with a Secret Ingredient

This is a blouse I made from a McCall’s 1980′s pattern. I really do love vintage patterns. Truly I do. But I’ve been having trouble finding vintage patterns for prices that aren’t, well….ridiculous. And to be brutally honest, I spent $47 for this pattern (I’m very very very upset with myself too) and it has been lost in the mail. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? Yeah, that is definitely not happening again. In fact, I’ve banned myself from buying patterns online for awhile because of this. (Peter brought up a very good point and so as not to give this seller a bad wrap, Sandra from the Selvedge Shop completely reimbursed me! She’s been excellent to work with. I feel terrible that we both missed out on this gorgeous dress pattern) So, I’m content to buy patterns that I can actually get my hands on. That would be patterns bought from my local thrift store. And those can be quite wonderful as they are usually only $0.50 – $1.00, however usually they are from the 70′s or 80′s eras. I bought this one for $0.50. I’m a real sucker for this kimono sleeve look. I just LOVE it. I’ve bought a few other patterns with this kimono style thing going on. Love them too.

I also had a thing for this dobby dot stuff when it came out. I love the colors these came in. And the voile fabric is just perfect for summery weather. I mean really, this pattern and this fabric = a match made in heaven.

This blouse is also special as its donning some handmade buttonholes (aka, the secret ingredient). There are six of these babies. And though they may not look like too much, they are. These were a major feat for me. I’ve done one handmade buttonhole on various garments, but never actually done a whole shirt front with them. These were….involved. They are very beautiful, albeit not perfect, but I am still an amateur. I read about and saw the photos of these. I can’t compete with those, and that’s fine because I’m not a professional tailor. I will say that getting all the materials together for these buttonholes was interesting. There is nowhere around my neck of the woods that sells buttonhole twist or buttonhole gimp. I found some buttonhole twist here, however you can’t pick and choose the weight. For gimp I ended up using the buttonhole thread from Coats and Clarks. I’ll give you more details on how I made these and how it went in another post. For now, I’m rather proud of myself for even trying. Thank you very much.

Since I wanted these buttonholes to have bit of pop and zing, because they were handmade, I made them in a contrasting buttonhole twist. Adding the mustard colored buttons was just a bit of Penelope-esque fun, you know. I got the idea of sewing the buttons with the “crow’s feet” threading from The Sewing Bible. I seriously can’t recommend this book enough. There are great handmade details like this scattered all over in it. Buy it, you won’t regret it.

And there you have it. Ta Da! Hip hip hooray! It’s a Boysenberry Pastry Day! Say that with a smile – and give your beau a wink from me. He he he.

  • Sandra - Oh my god, those buttonholes are TO DIE FOR! You should be very proud!
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  • Beth - The blouse is gorgeous! I love the fabric and the buttonholes.
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  • Tasha - Found this post looking for examples of garments done in this voile. Your blouse is absolutely fantastic! Did you need to interface the button placket or collar? I plan a button-down as well but the print I have is a much lighter color so I’m deciding the best way to go about it.
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  • EmilyKate - I must admit that though I’m a hound for sewing patterns whenever I go thrifting, I’ve been turning up my nose at anything eighties in disgust! You make me want to take a closer look at them next time and use my imagination. I love your blouse and now I want one. Back to the thrifts this weekend!
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Stitching Spotlights 6.11.2010

It’s that time of the week again. Isn’t Friday such a glorious day? I have a wedding to attend and take pictures of and I’ve gotten a head start on the glorious Beignet from Colette Patterns. I can’t think of anything better than true love and skirt stitching. Well, except for maybe…..

This DRESS! One look and I was completely in LOVE! Meet Jessica from Green Apples and her stunning Space Age Cocktail Dress. Hop on over to her blog for more pics. I completely agree with her. What happened to all the bygone days of dressing up, in a dress, to go have a cocktail with friends? Next on my sewing list, a cocktail dress. You know what Adele Margolis says about those right? “You need a lot more ease in sportswear than you do in a cocktail dress. After all, how much movement does it take to lift a martini?” ~ How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter

Just got some of these too sweet for words buttons in the mail. I don’t know what I’ll make with them, but having them in my possession was absolutely necessary. I do think they would look rather darling on a blouse, or perhaps a flowery pin or maybe adorning a cardigan. As they are made of polymer clay, they are a bit on the soft side. But as they are so sweet, how is there any resisting? Visit TessaAnn for more.

Speaking of Adele Margolis, I just received her Design Your Own Dress Patterns book. I also have this lady’s How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter. Both are used and both are indispensible. When I received the Design You Own Dress Patterns book it had been loved by someone previously. There are some brochures from fabric mail ordering companies and a few sweet sketches of future designs stashed away in some of the pages. Doesn’t that just make a book so much more fun to read? I love it when someone has added their special (non-destructive) touch to a book.

Happy Creative Weekend to you!

Dollars in the Details

I love being able to take a pattern and do something creative with the details. Especially the details you don’t see or at least the ones you don’t see right at first. I finished the pocket lining and the inside facing of my Bella Sweet Slacks with this Nicey Jane fabric . I love doing stuff like that as it makes the finished garment such a treat to wear. It’s such a delight to look in my closet and see that little sparkle that makes me want to wear a garment.

I also have to say that there have been times when I’ve tried to do these sorts of details and they just did not work. Sometimes when you go too crazy, your garment can end up looking just plain crazy. For example, I made a pair of pants a few years ago (these I have unfortunately, thrown out) out of a beautiful dark grey pinstripe wool. The fabric was stunning, but the fit was bad. Not only that, but I used a light pink silk for the pocket lining. Very bad choice as the pockets became sort of an eyesore as that was the first thing you saw rather than just a little surprise you saw if you looked closely. The light pink was blaring and much too light colored for the fabric I had picked. Ever done something like that?

So tell me this, what makes it work for some garments and not for others? What about my Naughty Secretary Dress and the peekaboo turquoise lining? I find it fun and flirty and for some reason it just works. Same here, with these Bella Sweet Slacks. It seems that since the lining isn’t right in your face, it works. A little surprise if you look closely. What do you think? Are the details you don’t necessarily see more exciting if done with something special? I have noticed that sometimes these details are present in rather expensive clothing, maybe as something of a couture touch. What are some of the details you like to include in your sewing projects?

Bella Sweet Slacks

I know, I know, it’s been quite some time since I posted a finished creation. I’ve finished up a few loose threads and now its time for some show and tell. My dressmaking groove is finally back which couldn’t be better news for my Spring/Summer wardrobe, which is in serious  need of refreshment.

A nice pair of denim dress pants have been on my mind for quite some time. I’ve wanted, and needed, some to wear to work. I got this idea into my head that I needed I high waisted pair too. I wanted to go for that vintage vibe, you know, that “I’m innocent and sexy at the same time” look. The Bella trouser from Burda Style fit the bill. I was around the online sewing community when these pants first hit the Burda Style front page. I also remember that my reaction to them at the time was one of sheer horror as I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to wear, let alone make, a pair of these. Let’s just say that my fashion sensibilities have definitely been broadened since that time and I am fully ashamed to admit I had any hesitation in making these and seeing them as anything but simply darling. If you don’t like them, fine, but let me just say that Mr. S finds me to be quite the sizzling siren in them.

About the pattern: Hmmm….I love the style as you know now. Everything went OK with the construction however the instructions were poorly put together. I looked on the Burda Style site at some other guest creations and I couldn’t believe that some people attempted this pattern as their first pattern in sewing and were actually able to make pants from them. The written instructions seriously do not make sense at all, and the illustrations are so small you need a magnifying glass to see them. I would rate the instructions at a 2 on a scale of 1 – 10. Does anyone else have this problem with Burda Style patterns, or is it just me? I also went down 2 sizes in these. I am a size 40 according to the Burda Style size chart, but these were enormous. Not only did I go down 2 sizes I had to take in each side an extra 1/2″ to get a snug fit. Moral: these are running big.

And how about them red buttons? Giving your garment a bit of zing with buttons is never a bad thing right?

Last but certainly very not least is my favorite detail. The corset-like waist. I kept getting the “have you lost weight” comment while wearing these slacks at work. I’m actually quite surprised at how slimming these pants look. I had thought that perhaps, they would accentuate my not so flat tummy, however these make my waist looked cinched in. Love that!

I feel really girly in these slacks and I think that’s one of the most wonderful things about this look. I mean, pants have a sort of masculine vibe and that contrasted with the feminine details of these pants are quite a powerful match. Have a look here for more takes on these beauties. I’m off to primp that hair and give those lips an extra coat of something sparkly.

Stitching Spotlights 5.28.2010

I’m wishing you all a very long and wonderful weekend with lots of sewing and new adventures in dressmaking. It will be a super long weekend for me as I’m taking Memorial Day off and the day after. Much sewing will be done. I’m almost finished with a simple blouse from a vintage 1980′s pattern and trousers are next up on the list. Happy, happy sewing.

This week’s spotlighted creation is from Threadsquare. I love the fabric she used for this Coffee Date Dress. I’ve liked this pattern, but haven’t seriously contemplated making anything from it yet. I love this rendition in swiss dot, but then again, I’m a serious swiss dot fan. Oh and those shoes are perfection, as is the belt. So so fabulous! I’m already thinking of my own swiss dot coffee date dress. Completely inspired… and jealous that it’s not mine.

I’ve been trolling around looking at tailored buttonholes and found this gent’s beautiful photos and posts of some of his gorgeous handmade tailored buttonholes. Oh my goodness! This is definitely love at first sight! Simply breathtaking and such an ornament for a coat or jacket, let alone any other garment. Definitely have a look at his video and have a read here for more on this art. Haven’t been able to find buttonhole gimp, but here is a site that sells some lovely buttonhole twist in superb colors.

I’ve been contemplating rompers lately. Found this sweet vintage pattern for $1.00 and am seriously considering giving it a go. Summer is just around the bend and I think it will be the perfect complement to warm weather.

And there you have it! That’s a wrap of a week. Some strawberry shortcake definitely in the forecast this weekend along with a nice long soon to be summer nap. Happy weekend.