Introducing: Diana! & her Chambray Grainline Tamarack Jacket

We have a guest blogger today: my mom! She sews--she taught me--and I asked her if she wanted to write a guest post for this little blog. She actually sews a lot more of the hip new indie patterns than I do, so I will hopefully get her to do some more reviews in the future. 

grainline tamarack by diana | allie J. |

Hi! I was so excited when Allie asked me if I wanted to do a guest blog post. I'm her mom and I like to sew too, but not vintage patterns. I enjoy sewing many of the usual suspects including, but not limited to, Merchant & MillsGrainline Studio, and of course Simplicity 2444. I wasn't sure what I wanted to talk about but I decided to tackle the Grainline Studio Tamarack Pattern.

Announcing: Share your 70s Sewing!



When fashion people started saying the 70s were back, I thought: no. No way. I do not like it, and I will not wear it. Not in a box, not with a fox.

Of course, this always happens. In the past, I have disavowed side-parted hair and skinny jeans, so I'm obviously terrible at telling what I will or will not like in the future.

That said, I'm not totally head over heels in love with 70s style. I am starting out very selectively, my interest currently limited to two new Retro Simplicity releases. But aren't they gorrrrgeous? I would totally wear either. Maybe even in a box, with a fox (...fur stole).

8013 1059

OKAY FINE so technically 1059 is from 1969, you caught me. But don't you think it has a nice 70s feeeeeel to it? Although there isn't a date for 8013 on the pattern, I asked Simplicity on twitter and they said they think it's from 1977. For having almost a decade between them, there are a lot of similarities between the two patterns: v-necks, volume, and very nice bell sleeves. Honestly though I know basically nothing about 70s fashion--just that I have some knockout patterns that I'm excited to make!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand here's the fun part...

A Nautical, Breton Striped Coco Dress

breton coco | allie J. |

I used to be so impressed when I would see bloggers sewing things that look store-bought, since my clothes never looked that way. Some bloggers (Honig Design and Sew Charleston come to mind) have a knack for designing and executing clothes that make you think "where did she buy that--and can I get it in my size?" I struggled with this for a long time, feeling like my clothing, even things that fit decently and were nicely finished, didn't have that "I bought this" look to them, partly because of personal style (for example, a preference for 60s silhouettes that aren't always in stores), but partly because of fabric and design choices.

A 1960s "Lilly" Dress

60s lilly pulitzer style dress | allie J. |

Aaaages ago, I emailed Catherine from Sewing the 60s (one of my very favorite blogs) about collaborating on a twinsies project. I thought we could both sew the same pattern, but in different styles that would reflect our personal aesthetics.  It can get sort of lonely in the vintage pattern world--no sewalongs, no new releases--so I'm always excited about things like the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge and other collaborative or community-building projects.

60s lilly pulitzer style dress | allie J. |

Catherine one-upped me and reversed my same pattern, different styles challenge, very generously offering to send along a few yards of this amaaazing 60s floral fabric that we could both use to create different dresses in the same material. Since there was only about 2 1/2 yards to begin with (I think) we both figured we'd make shift dresses. She cut hers out and sent along the rest to me, and then we both did some solid procrastinating. But at last, the dresses are here!

I have not seen her dress yet, nor has she seen mine, but I'm really thrilled about my final project, and I know she's pleased with hers as well!

60s lilly pulitzer style dress | allie J. |

The fantastic print and my fabric limitations inspired me to make a Lilly Pulitzer-style dress. She is most famous for her multi-colored shifts. To this day, Lilly Pulitzer (the company, the woman died in 2013) makes shift dresses with wild prints and often white lace trim; there are vintage examples on etsy here, here, here, here, and here. What luck that I had some white lace in my closet... on my pink shift dress! Since this dress never gets worn due to fit issues, I didn't feel bad stealing its trim. The trim on my dress is not exactly like any of the vintage examples, but definitely fits within the parameters.

60s lilly pulitzer style dress | allie J. |
that blurry part was a GIANT bruise from donating blood, gross

I used Simplicity 7194 from 1967 as the base of my dress. You may notice, however, that my dress looks basically nothing like the pattern illustration. I left off the sleeves, altered the front bodice to eliminate the pesky darts (like so), ditched the collar and placket... basically I just wanted a princess-seamed dress and this was the only one I had! I mentioned before that I spent ages searching for that perfect shift dress before realizing the look I was going for just didn't suit me. I still have some tweaking to do for this pattern (leave suggestions for fit improvements in the comments if you want!), but now that I have Simplicity 7737 for an a-line dress and Simplicity 7194 for a fitted sheath, I'm feeling confident about my "shift" dress options.

Check out Catherine's dress (and her great blog) here!

If you sew vintage, what sorts of community-building projects would you like to see? What would you add to the line-up that isn't yet there? Decades-specific sewing? Pattern-specific? More general?


ps: funnily enough, we also discovered that we had each independently purchased the same navy on white breton stripe from miss matatabi, as well, so... more twinsies in the future!

allie J.

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