Dress Like Your Grandma (Sewaholic Granville)

My parents were in town this past weekend! My family is close, and we had a great time--we went to a great restaurant Friday night, went hiking on Sunday, and hung out all day Saturday. I took the opportunity and borrowed my dad for a photo or two in honor of Tanya's Dress Like Your Grandma Challenge!

We don't have a lot of family pictures, but my dad sent me two photos of his mom, my Nana, in the mid-50s and funnily enough, she was wearing a full skirt, pearls, and a button-front shirt in both! Obviously, this was a practical, comfortable "uniform" for her everyday life, just adding a cardigan if it got chilly. I found it to be really touching, since I tend to wear basically the same thing, 60 years and two generations later (and have the closet full of gathered skirts to prove it). I don't look much like her (although I'm practically twins with her daughter, my aunt) but we dress just alike! Of course, I've modernized mine a bit--you know, that's kind of my thing--so rather than striving for authenticity, I've forgone the tiki(?)-print skirt for one in leftover navy eyelet (from this dress) and made my button-front shirt in a smart navy and white gingham shirting for a look that's preppy and fresh.

My skirt is a simple gathered skirt with a zipper and hook and eye waist closure. It's the same exact skirt you can see here and which I teach an online class about making! It's a great beginner project because you can make them in a million colors and prints and have a whole skirt wardrobe. As I said, I have a closet full of them: in pretty floral, coral cotton sateen, chambray, gingham, a neon pleated variation... and now this one in eyelet!

This challenge was one of those things that got started and I thought "why didn't I think of that?" It's just such a cute idea. Plus, it got me to finish my Granville, which I cut out literally months ago. Having a go-to button down shirt seems like a handmade wardrobe staple, but every time I make a shirt I hate doing it. I know some people love making shirts... I am not one of those people. I do  think I'll have to buckle down and make some more  though, because the fit on this pattern is so good on me. This is with no alterations and the fit through the shoulders, bust, and waist is all spot on.

Do  you love shirtmaking, or do you prefer to stick to dresses, like me? I don't know, I guess I just love all the ruffles and gathers that come along with sewing dresses... and not all the precision topstitching that shirts require!

xoxo,
allie

ps: as i mentioned on my instagram stories, the fit of this shirt is great and I do hope to make several more of this shirt... i may leave off the collar however in favor of a simple bow tie neck. collars, ugh!

allie J.

this post may contain affiliate links.

Sorbetto vs. Sorbetto

I don't do this sort of thing often on the blog, but I thought this was too interesting to pass up, even if the photos are a bit boring. Next week--back to prettiness :)
Colette's Sorbetto was, I think, my very first PDF pattern, and in fact I made several versions as I was learning to sew for myself. In concept, it's a great wardrobe-building tank--there's a reason there are so many woven tee and tank patterns out there. In execution, I think it was frustrating for many people, especially those of us new to sewing who couldn't tell if it was us, or the pattern, that didn't work. As beginners, those of us used to ill-fitting ready to wear find it difficult to tell if things fit, let alone how to fix them if they don't, and are easily disappointed and disenchanted with sewing if those first few projects don't turn out the way we hoped, so in my opinion, it's extra important that beginner patterns are expertly designed and drafted to maximize chances of success. If we want this little sewing circle to expand (and we do, y'all!!), beginners need to persevere and become advanced beginners, then intermediate sewers, and they just. will. not. if their first projects are flops. Recently Colette's been reworking several of their patterns from a new block, I decided to make both the old (in the pictures above, shown on the left) and new (on the right) Sorbettos recently as a little sewing experiment. The newly rereleased Sorbetto is supposed to provide a (free!) look at the new block. Lotttsssss of details below the break!

Inspiration: Rain or Shine (Deer & Doe Luzerne Trench)

a classic shirt (or borrow his)
grana jeans (or perhaps Gingers? see my review here)

shine
pretty blush block heels (and less than $100)

April showers bring May flowers, or course, but April also seems to bring new trench projects, don't you think? Last year at around this time I made a burda trench coat, and this year I'm dreaming of adding a blush version to my collection, using Deer and Doe's new pattern, the Luzerne trench. While I wait for the fabric I want to be restocked (it's this one, the same as Deer and Doe used on the sample), I've been thinking of all the ways to wear a trench--it really is the perfect spring jacket for rain or shine!

More blush trenches (and all the trimmings) here:


xoxo,
allie

ps: if you don't have your heart set on blush like me, that kaufman twill comes in 35 colors... i also love this butter yellow (so in this spring), a classic taupe, or maybe go bright and bold with color-of-the-year green?

allie J.

this post may contain affiliate links.

Navy Eyelet Sundress (Butterick 6453)

 
I'm like a summery ballerina in this dress, I think--something about a strappy bodice and a full skirt (not to mention the lace-up espadrilles, of course) just feel very ballet to me! Butterick 6453 is a super simple little dress--just a princess seamed bodice and a full or slim skirt--so it will look good in basically any fabric. I've seen so many cute versions already; thanks to the sewalong, it seems like everyone is making this pattern! I think this would be cute in a floral quilting cotton, or a crisp white seersucker, but I went for this pretty navy eyelet and matching cotton lawn. I used the lawn for the outside of the bodice and also to fully line the top and skirt of the dress. I added a little strip of the eyelet edge to the bottom of the bodice, just so it wasn't so plain. I thought about making a little cropped jacket to go over top (I don't often wear spaghetti straps) but I thought all that eyelet might feel like too much. I made a skirt with it instead, which you'll see next week! I don't know, though, maybe I should order a bit more and make that jacket after all...

If you're curious about the fit of this pattern, I made a straight size 10 as usual and it fits well but not perfectly. That's fine for me but if you are picky about fit I definitely suggest you join the facebook group for the sewalong where there are tons of people helping each other with every aspect of the sewing process, but especially the fit. Gretchen herself is a member, too! My friend Bianca also made an amazing video series detailing her fitting and sewing process!

I think this pattern will be a real workhorse in many people's pattern collections; you really could have a closet full of these in different fabrics, prints, and maybe trims. I'll likely make at least one more version, but I do prefer a sleeved dress so I can wear a non-strapless bra and don't have to wear a cardigan to cover my shoulders!

What do you think, should I still make a crop jacket? or should I stick with my little cardigans? If I made a jacket, I could wear it with the skirt... Do you make sets of clothing out of the same fabric, or do you make one item per fabric selection?

xoxo,
allie

ps: i do love a good skirt + crop top coord...

allie J.

this post may contain affiliate links.

How to wear vintage Patterns--and not look like you stepped out of 1955 (Simplicity 1123)


I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Rachel for the Maker Style podcast. (It was so fun, y'all!) Several of the questions she had for me for about my modern-vintage style--how I got into vintage, how I adapt a lot of very 50s/60s patterns for everyday wear in 2017... I can't wait for y'all to hear the podcast, but in the meantime I thought I'd share an example and a few tips for mixing modern and vintage style. Sometimes I want to dress up and pull out my fullest petticoat, and other times I just want to go to work or brunch or the farmer's market. If your vintage style tends towards the latter, here are my top three tips for achieving a perfect mix of retro and modern.

1. Fabric choice: If you want a very authentic look, it makes sense to pick an authentic-looking fabric: an oversized floral for a full-skirted 50s look or a ditsy print for a 40s feedsack-style dress. On the other hand, pick a modern-looking textile and you'll look like your clothes belong in 2017, not 1957. This elegant mid-50s dress pattern is paired with practical chambray--a classic textile, but one in which this pattern wouldn't have been traditionally sewn. The illustration on this pattern's envelope (Simplicity 1123 from 1955) shows it in a floral stripe, and if I copied that, I would look very vintage-y at best, and at worst, like I wrapped myself in my childhood bedroom's Laura Ashley curtains. Not cute! Chambray lets the interesting pleated surplice bodice shine, while dressing down a slightly-fancy silhouette. Next time I make this (and there will be a next time, this is like, the best pattern ever) I plan to do it in a seersucker that is possibly slightly more period-appropriate, and will result in a girly, preppy, more vintage-looking dress. It would also be cool in a graphic black and white stripe!

2. Accessories: I try to mix modern and vintage not only in my clothes, but in my styling as well! You might have noticed that I'm wearing practically the same combination of pieces as my pink floral dress post last week--full-skirted dress, modestly-heeled shoes, a straw bag; it's a bit of a uniform of mine in the spring and summer!--but this combination seems much more fresh and modern than last week. In addition to the updated fabric choice, I've picked some more of-the-moment accessories like my Bosom Buddy bag and these amazing tassel earrings from designer Hart Hagerty (c/o). Tassels and statement earrings are both quite popular right now, so even though oversized earrings were big (literally and figuratively) in the 60s, they feel very cool and trendy today, and these are so cute with the knot on top! Apparently they are very durable too, which I was nervous about since they look so delicate, but she recommends them for festivals and says you can throw them in your bag and have them still spring back to life. Hart is based out of Charleston, SC, one of my favorite weekend trips... I've been itching to get down there this spring, it's so beautiful and there's so many cute boutiques and independent designers downtown, not to mention amazing food (and the most beautiful ceiling ever).

3. Hair and makeup: These finishing touches, separate from your outfit itself, can really make or break an look! Think of the rockabilly girl wearing white keds, jeans and a tee shirt. She may not be wearing a particularly retro outfit, but she looks undeniably "retro" simply because of her cool victory roll hairstyle, red lips, and cat eye liner. The opposite is true as well! I typically wear a cat eye liner for a vintage touch, but don't go overboard on the hair (partially because I'm too lazy), just wearing it down and either strait or slightly curled, or in a high bun or ponytail.

I hope this makes wearing vintage a little less intimidating! I feel like there's a lot of bloggers who seem to be 100% vintage, 100% of the time, and while I love that, it's not particularly practical for many women's lifestyles... but don't let that scare you away from sewing vintage patterns! If I've piqued your interested in sewing vintage, why not sign up for Vintage Pledge 2017 (you can pledge to make just one vintage pattern if you want!) and enter my etsy giveaway here to fund your first pattern purchase! Have you signed up for Vintage Pledge yet? What are you pledging? In my opinion, everyone should pledge to make at least one vintage pattern this year... no excuses!!

xoxo,
allie

ps: and if you want a whole tutorial to ease in with, why not try my skirt sewing class? at the end of the class you'll have a skirt that's exactly like the one on this dress, which you can mix and match with different bodices no problem!

allie J.

this post may contain affiliate links.

@helloallieJ

Back to Top