wedding guest dressing

simplicity 6220 | allie J. | alliemjackson.com

I mentioned in a previous post that wedding season has begun. My own wedding on May 2 was the first of the spring and summer, which was nice--all my weekends leading up to it could be spent sewing, not travelling for other people's events! Now, though, it's all about celebrating my friends!

A photo posted by jacksonal (@jacksonal) on

My friend from college (freshman hallmates!), Caroline, was married last weekend--it was a lovely weekend in our old college town and I got see lots of friends. The reception was at her family's farm. Isn't the farm gorgeous? We all went camping here during our first semester, amid the cows. It was freeeeezing cold in the wind, we were all dying.

Onto the dress. I wore the 60s cocktail dress I blogged last week, Simplicity 6220 from 1965.

simplicity 6220 | allie J. | alliemjackson.com

It was perfect for the occasion and I got loads of compliments.

simplicity 6220 | allie J. | alliemjackson.com\\

Looking at these photographs really makes me realize how unforgiving silk shantung/dupioni is--not while sewing (it's not too hard since it is stable) but the sheen really makes every wrinkle stand out! You'll just have to trust that none of the other wedding guests asked about my fit issues! :)

simplicity 6220 | allie J. | alliemjackson.com

Trips to campus or classmate's weddings practically mandates class rings.

simplicity 6220 | allie J. | alliemjackson.com

See you at the next wedding! :)

dress: just-like-the-envelope 60s cocktail dress | clutch: ancient from j crew | shoes: boden


ps: these photographs were taken on my college campus, which is (obviously) spectacularly beautiful. you can see my needlepoint version here!


instagram couture

I've been spending so much time on instagram this month checking out everyone's makes, have you? It's such a great platform for Me-Made-May!

One person that I love to follow on instagram (besides all you beautiful and creative and inspiring people) is the designer Zac Posen. Do you follow him? You should! Here's why:

A photo posted by @zac_posen on

In addition to living a glamorous life and posting delicious-looking homemade meals, every so often, you get this incredible sneak peek at the construction of his gowns. Honestly, these are more "elaborate architectural structure" than "dress."

I don't follow haute couture (or even like, NYFW) at all, so I have no background in fashion (or Fashion with a capital F, maybe) but dang, that sewing!!

Do you follow any inspiring couturiers? I'd love recommendations--I just can't get enough of those interior shots!


ps: he also has a pinterest board called Around the Atelier that features more behind-the-scenes works in progress shots. Just look at that draping! It doesn't help if your model is Dita von Teese, either.


Dinner and a Movie

dinner and a movie outfit | alliemjackson.com

My new husband(!!) and I went out the other day on a typical date... for a teenager: dinner and a movie at the mall! I was super nice and agreed to see Mad Max: Fury Road with him on the condition that he take some pictures of my outfit in front of a nice big brick wall.

dinner and a movie outfit | alliemjackson.com

Not pictured: the dumpster about 10 feet to my right. Glamorous!!

(But actually, this may be a new favorite spot for outfit shots: it's like a little courtyard--well, as I said, a courtyard full of dumpsters--so it is totally full of natural diffused light, which I hear is what you are supposed to have for this kind of thing.)

dinner and a movie outfit | alliemjackson.com

Also, full disclosure: I loved Mad Max: Fury Road. If you haven't seen it, go do it. It was beautifully shot and choreographed and totally brutal. So good.

Here's a weird photograph of me in which all my body parts look photoshopped together and my eyes look semi-audrina patridge-y (2006 anyone?):

dinner and a movie outfit | alliemjackson.com

dress: me-made in 2012 but somehow unblogged, it's Simplicity 2444 | top: pointed flat collar blouse | shoes: lands end 


p.s. have you seen fury road??? omg let's talk about it.


just-like-the-envelope 60s cocktail dress

60s silk cocktail dress | alliemjackson.com

I've noticed that my blogroll has been full of amazingly practical pieces recently. I think a lot of the indie designers have been picking up on the desire for functional yet stylish basics and releasing things like versatile blazers and utilitarian denim.

Me? I'm making silk cocktail dresses.

I don't know about y'all, but it is wedding season over here. I'm 25, and it seems like everyone I know is getting married--I have about a million weddings this summer! I call that a good excuse for a new dress (or two, or three).

When I picked up Simplicity 6220 (dated 1965) on etsy I was totally charmed by the right-hand dress, and I knew I wanted one just like it!

60s silk cocktail dress | alliemjackson.com

I found my aqua silk at Mood (still available here) and it is really very pretty in real life. The color on the pattern image in this post is a little darker than mine is in real life--I don't know if mine is faded or the contrast was turned up for that picture or what, but on my copy, the color of the dress is much closer to the pale aqua fabric I have, not that deep teal. This is really not my color I don't think but I just love it so much I don't particularly care. I will say though that I could not get it to ease for the life of me! I think I did an okay job but my sleeve caps are definitely not a smooth as the line drawing and I have two sets of extra pleats instead of "ease" as directed on the sides of the skirt front and back.

On the fitting front, I did a little SBA (about 1/2 inch, if I remember correctly) which eliminated the dart coming out from the princess(?) seam. I love the V shaped seam. It's really pretty (and not too terrible to sew, either).

60s silk cocktail dress | alliemjackson.com

I underlined the bodice only with a cotton muslin (possibly an old bed sheet, actually?) in order to give the thin silk some strength and also hopefully make it a bit cooler. The skirt I left unlined, and I'll just wear a slip. I wish I had one of those smaller sixties crinolines, though!

I finished some seams with pinking and some I just overcasted down. This is a dry-clean-only dress, and one which I don't plan on wearing weekly, so I'm not too terribly concerned about my seam finishes.

60s silk cocktail dress | alliemjackson.com

I finished this late this evening, so I don't have any modelling photos, but I am planning on wearing it to a wedding this Saturday, so I think you'll see it in a what I wore post next week :)

Do you copy the fabric choices and styling from the pattern envelope or do you like to go your own way?  Sometimes it seems a little more "authentic"--not that I strive for authenticity all the time--to copy how they originally imagined it, what do you think?


p.s. i realized after i took all my pictures that i forgot the bow belt! but don't worry: if there is a supposed to be a bow, i will always make it (and sometimes when there isn't supposed to be a bow, i'll add one anyway).


two years ago & today

As I mentioned in my Me-Made-May pledge post, I'm participating mostly via instagram this year, but I wanted to check in since we're about half way through! I know this month can be annoying, but I do think it is a good time to reflect on your handmade wardrobe in a more casual way.

You know how sometimes you look back on past fashion choices and think "whyyyyyyyyyy?" Although I never had a goth or emo or whatever phase as a teenager, I think we as sewers sometimes look back on past makes and have the same sort of reaction as you might to embarrassing middle school photos. Especially as beginners, that turn over happens really fast as you gain skills and techniques.

Generally I don't think my what I wore posts will be such downers, but I suppose this is a hazard of looking back at past makes. I made this dress just two years ago (almost to the day!), and already there are so many things that I would do differently.

I feel like although I do have many more options this year for Me-Made-May, I am also becoming more particular in my wardrobe choices. When I look at a lot of my options, I think: nope, not feeling it. Some of this is because I am learning what I like to wear and feel good in, but most of it is because my sewing has improved! I'm not a perfect sewer by any stretch of the imagination, but just look at this bust dart. Where is it going?

So there are some things in my stash of me-mades that won't get worn this year, and that's okay. I will have about the same number of garments as I did in 2013 and 2014, so expect some repeats, but that's okay too. I see improvement in that compared to previous years, I do think Me-Made-May has gotten easier--not because I have more options, but because the options I do have in rotation I feel better about wearing!

dress: Lilly Laurel | shoes: Jack Rogers


ps: i'm totally stealing the "what I wore" idea from Rachel--a lot of times I see everyone's interesting sewing projects just after completion and then they are never seen again!


help me fix it: neon pink skirt with eyelet overlay

Y'all know I love a dirndl. They are possibly the quickest, easiest, prettiest, most satisfying sewing projects possible: you only need one measurement (your waist) and you can usually just tear across the grain of your fabric the length you want (+ hem, of course) and call it a day. Plus, there's no bias to worry about and a straight hem.

neon pink skirt with full eyelet overlay | alliemjackson.com
front view: cute idea! looks terrible on!
After all the hard sewing I've been doing (ahem, wedding dress and two lace jackets that I hated making) I really was dying for a quick, indulgent project and turned to my stash. I bought this insane neon pink several years ago, planning to use it in this same combination of neon pink + the white eyelet (left over from this laurel top) but as a shift dress. I decided instead to make a skirt with a slightly longer pink layer and a eyelet overlay, but... maybe I should have made a shift dress instead.

This is not my favorite thing I've ever made. Actually, I don't like it at all! That's why there aren't any outfit pictures--I tried it on and I felt super 80s, for some reason? As much as I love pink, I just don't think trendy neon pink is for me. I didn't even sew a button or buttonhole because honestly, I don't think I'll wear this.

neon pink skirt with full eyelet overlay | alliemjackson.com
back view: no button, no buttonhole.
Cutting my pieces for the eyelet overlay I discovered that there is still yards of the eyelet left, so I'll try another project with it eventually and hopefully it will go better. At least my dud only took a few hours!

How would you alter this skirt to make it wearable? Or, if you love it, how would you style it?? Help help! Have you ever made something you really didn't like--whether because it didn't fit or you didn't like the style?



Forsyth Square, Savannah

I mentioned before I'm going to try to pop in every Wednesday with either a "what I wore" or "work in progress" post. Here's the first one, and it's extra special! Here is a little video (I don't know why fashion/style/sewing bloggers don't do more videos) of me in Forsyth Square during my mini-moon in Savannah, Georgia.

chambray top and skirt | hat: tuckernuck | knot bracelet: kate spade | shoes: saltwater sandals | bag: cambridge satchel co.


ps: if you're ever in Savannah, stop by Fabrika. Small but well-curated selection of apparel and quilting fabrics, cute gifts (tea towels, pincushions, that kind of stuff), classes, friendly owner!

pps: thanks for going fabric shopping with me on our honeymoon, alex.