Holiday Glamour Social Sew Round Up!

Sequins and satin and velvet, oh my! Y'all outdid yourselves this month sewing up lots of glam handmades!

Katryna of Boots & Cats is in the spotlight this month with this gorgeous draped stretch velvet skirt (and cool pink hair). Such gorgeous fabric and she got it on clearance!! Be sure to check out her blog post for all the details!

Liz says her houndstooth cape is less glitzy, more English country house glam... and I couldn't agree more.

More pretty pink hair and an asymmetric tunic from Tenille's Thread.

Sew Luxy (a perfect name for this month, don't you think?) made a festive "Grinch-green" Christmas dress. Too funny!

Ashley's black sequin and satin dress is perfect for the season (and so her).

A luxe silk tank with just enough interesting detail from Nathalie Sews (who suggested this month's theme--thanks Nathalie!) She also used an interesting pleated fabric for a last-minute cocktail dress!

The Dress Bakery baked up a cute Christmas outfit with a red burda dress.

Seam Racer used a textural floral fabric to make a gorgeous vintage-inspired party dress.

Lassemista closed out the year in a copper lame dress drafted from her bodice block!

I loved seeing everyone's glamorous makes this month, from sequin cocktail dresses to houndstooth capes. Did you wear handmade to your holiday parties this year? As this posts, I'm trying to finish one last dress for a New Year's Eve party--it will be my last make of 2016 and my first completed item post of 2017! January's theme is New Year, New Wardrobe, and I for one am looking forward to a fresh start, what about you?


ps: if you have future theme suggestions, email them to hello at i'm always looking for new ones!

allie J.

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Everything I Made During #VintagePledge 2016 (+ Giveaway!!)

My favorite vintage make this year... maybe. They're all my favorites!

Has it been another whole year of Vintage Pledge?? Here's an "in case you missed it" round up of allll the vintage and repro patterns I made this year--basically everything I sew! This is my second year doing this, and it was fun to look back at last year's list while formatting this one... Someday I'll have a whole stack of these to browse through!

psst: read to the very bottom for an end-of-year giveaway...

I started the vintage-sewing year in January by collaborating with Sarah from Style Sixties and Catherine from Sewing the 60s! We all made shift dresses with collars and cuffs--here is mine (Simplicity 7737, 1968), here is Sarah's, and here is Catherine's.

In February I went with a pink theme and made two Simplicity repro items: first, my hot pink bow coat (Simplicity 1197, originally c.1960s)! This was, I think, my favorite vintage make of the year. Every time I wear it I get compliments! I also made one of my most-worn items ever, a rose quartz rayon dress made with Simplicity 1059 (reprint, originally from 1969). I have worn it to weddings, parties, work, dinner dates... so many places that the rayon is beginning to get a bit ragged--I'll just have to make another!

March was all about crop tops--I made a sheer white cotton faux-crop top, then a tutorial so you could make one too! I also had the pleasure of making a sewing class for skillshare! In the class, you learn to make a gathered skirt, and I made a matching crop top for a two-piece dress look. I wore this outfit a ton this spring!

April and May were slow sewing months for me (as often happens before and during Me Made May, don't you find?) but I did manage a tutorial for a gathered wrap skirt!

I turned to my crop top pattern again in June for a tutorial on making it in lace!

July was a month-long celebration of Vintage Pledge over on Kestrel Makes and A Stitching Odyssey's blogs, and I was honored to be able to show off a fun eyelet dress (Simplicity 4475, c.1960s) in my favorite color...

...and also run a dress-a-long on the We All Sew blog as part of my Bernina Ambassadorship for which I made another Simplicity 4475 (c. 1960s), this version a seersucker dress perfect for the hot days of summer! I loooove this dress. Finally, I also got an interview with Deborah Kreiling, Simplicity's Design Development Creator, about their vintage re-releases! If you missed this, it's definitely worth a read.

I didn't do any vintage sewing in August (besides a retro-inspired longline Sophie bikini) but I made this leopard look in September--it is Simplicity 6820 (1966) and another frequently-worn make! And my my most frequently-made pattern, Simplicity 4475 (c. 1960s) makes a third appearance in two months. I could make 5 more next year and be totally fine.

October and November were once again low on retro and vintage patterns... I did, however, make a 70s-inspired pair of Birkin Flares and a 60s-inspired little jacket!

I closed the year out in December with another collaboration with a wonderful vintage blogger, Bianca from Vintage on Tap! We both made versions of Butterick 5603, a vintage reprint. (see hers here). I also squeezed in one last flippy dress before the new year, a second version of Simplicity 6820 (1966), this time in gorgeous floral rayon by Rifle Paper Co. and photographed with my pink coat... the year comes full circle.

I can't wait to see what next year holds... and don't forget--there's still time to add your garments to the official Vintage Pledge pinterest board!! (Rules and prizes and details here.)

And I promised a giveaway, didn't I? I set myself a goal last January to grow my blog, and with your help, I accomplished just that. I've had some wonderful opportunities in 2016 that I wouldn't have had without y'all's support. As a small thank you, one lucky reader will win $25 to Indiesew and $30 to Style Maker Fabrics--two independent, women-owned and operated businesses that I've had the pleasure of working with this past year. In addition, Michelle has offered all allie J. readers 10% off at Style Maker Fabrics with the coupon code SEWALLIE (good until January 15). Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


ps: see last year's wrap up here, and i hope you'll stay for vintage sewing in the new year!

allie J.

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Les Fleurs Swing Dress (Simplicity 6820)

more dark florals and my cole haan pumps...

It's old news at this point, but how phenomenal is the Rifle Paper Co. fabric line? I'm a very lucky duck with lengths of the Fleurs in navy AND a bunch of the flamingo print! I wanted to showcase the lovely print of this one so I turned to a tried and true dress with as few seams as possible.

I don't have much to say about the pattern: it's the same one I used here, Simplicity 6820 from 1966. They are both in rayon, and I made the same slight changes I made to the first one. I also omitted the zipper, instead using a little keyhole and a button. Since there's  no zipper needed, I'll have to see next time if I can cut both front and back on the fold--the less seaming the better, but I guess that would take more fabric. (Also, I hacked it this time but y'all, how does one do a keyhole on a seam? I know I'm just an idiot but I can't for the life of me figure it out--my spatial relations are totally failing me.)

Amazing how a print can change the feel of a pattern, though, isn't it? I think my leopard one has a bit of a late 60's sexy-secretary vibe, and this one is totally different! I think I'll get a lot of wear out of this dress year round. The floaty rayon makes it perfectly appropriate for summer, and the darker navy background helps it transition into the colder months paired with a tights and a coat (in this case, my pink Simplicity 1197).

I actually have another Simplicity 6820 planned, but haven't made some final decisions. I have a black rayon crepe and a navy mystery silk that are both potential fabrics, and I want to switch it up a little and add a little ruffle at the bottom, a bit like this or this (but longer). I'm thinking it will be the perfect New Year's Eve dress...

Do you have party sewing coming up? What are you making? Are you using tried and trues, or trying something new and hoping for the best? I like to do a little bit of both--that way there's always a backup!


ps: i intend to make the flamingos into some Carolyn pajamas, which i will dutifully show y'all even though i have no hope of topping these, the best ever Rifle Paper Co. Carolyns.

allie J.

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Happy Holidays!

hoping your holidays are merry and bright and 2017 brings peace and joy to all.


ps: see you in 2017!

allie J.

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Christmas Rose Cocktail Dress (Butterick 5603)

more blush for the holidays...

Happy Monday! This is my last Monday of work in 2016 and I'm very glad for that. We have a few more days before we head home (from North Carolina to Maryland to Virginia and back!) for the holidays and then after a short week we're heading back to Virginia for the traditional New Year's Eve bash with my best girlfriends--last year we did NoVA, this year Charlottesville! I'll be snapping (@helloalliej) basically the whole time if you want to follow along...

I have a few more little projects to share before the year is up, but this is the prettiest one! I know Christmas roses aren't traditionally pink, but that's how I feel in my new dress--like a blushing flower! Anyway, it's December, time for cocktail dresses and those sparkliest jewels that outshine the twinkle lights. It's been a quite a while since I've gone all out "Capital V-Vintage," and after a year of not too much vintage sewing overall, I was ready to dive into a seriously 60s brocade cocktail dress.

Most of the examples of 60s brocade cocktail dresses on pinterest (which, by the way, I 100% recommend browsing) are white, cream, or gold, however, and I wanted to be able to wear this dress to weddings--after all, that's really one of the only times in my lifestyle a dress as formal as this is appropriate. Pale pink--my default shade--it was! I think this dress will be appropriate year-round; the brocade makes it appropriate for winter but the pink color is light enough for spring and summer as well... although pink is certainly a four season shade for me!

This is Butterick 5603, but made the bodice of this pattern with a whole slew of changes, mostly with the aim of streamlining the silhouette. My first step was hacking together the A and C bodices, eliminating the underbust gathering in favor of darts. I also taped together the view A main bodice and the trim (for the record, it's not applied trim, but a separate pattern piece). I muslined my changes and was pleased that they all worked, so I stitched up the whole dress, and even posted a "nearly complete!" photo to the MBV facebook group (which you should definitely join, by the way) when I decided I thought the bodice fit could be better. Do y'all know how annoying it is to unpick stitches from brocade? Would. not. recommend. I made a quick FBA (of all things) and lengthened the front a bit to lower the seamline fully below my bust. You can't tell when comparing it to my bathroom selfie but I think the fit through the bust is much better. Other than the bodice, this was a straightforward make with no edits beyond taking the hem up a bit. I did add a separate belt to highlight the waist--empire waist is not my thing! It's just a simple tube, the same width of the underbust detail, with a hook and eye closure.

And did I mention... Bianca of Vintage on Tap has also made a version of this Butterick pattern to share today!! If you aren't familiar with her site, she is a pin-up style vintage blogger with amazing taste, and her boyfriend has some serious photo/videography skills--she makes videos of each of her projects, how cool is that? Showing just how much difference fabric choice can make, Bianca took hers in a totally different direction, using a gorgeous red satin to make view B (with front and back v-necklines) and I really feel like we should wear these when we co-star in a silly 50s romance... can't you see us as a Betty and Veronica duo? (She also whipped up a little cheat sheet to help you make your best dress yet in 2017, if you sign up for her mailing list! While you're at it, sign up for mine too?)

How is your holiday season going? I wore this navy dress to a friend's party this past weekend, and I was thinking about wearing this new one to Alex's office party, but it's on a workday evening, so I think it might be too dressy. What should I wear? Take a look through my archives and tell me what dress to pick or tell me what you're wearing to your upcoming events, I need some inspo!!


ps: keep your eyes here, i predict an end-of-year giveaway... :)

allie J.

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La Parisienne de Louis Antoinette (+ Giveaway!)

thank you to louis antoinette for providing the kit used to make this garment.

I often think about the wonderful sewing blog community I'm lucky enough to call myself a part of as being global, but a quick glance at my stats is enough to tell you that's not quite true--London, New York, Sydney? All English-speaking cities! I know based on my preliminary research that there are loads of sewing bloggers--and pattern designers--worldwide, that I never hear of because they exist in the parallel universe that is "sewing blogs in (insert non-English language here)."

When Louis Antoinette reached out to me, I was so excited to hear of a new pattern brand. Actually, they are definitely not new--but they did just launch an English language website! In honor of the launch, they offered me a kit of my choosing. Their being French and located in Paris, I just had to go with their dress "La Parisienne"--plus, it has that mock-crop top look that I love! How could I say no?

My fabric choice ("pearl") ended up being a bit darker  than I was expecting (my fault) and it's not the most flattering color to have directly next to my face, so I popped on my little dickie collar (from this post) which I think adds a little touch of Parisian charm and brightens it up a bit. This color would be gorgeous on someone tanner/darker complexioned than me but if you are pale like me, maybe stick to the navy or black options?

As for the construction, I made a straight 38 for the top and 40 for the bottom, altering the pleats slightly to fit (same as I did for my Basel dress--the perils of pear-dom!) and I think the fit is quite good, although looking at these pictures, I think I could have done with a sloping/forward shoulder adjustment or some shoulder pads (or better posture... working on it! #yogalates). I followed the instructions, which were clear when it came to construction order, but had some confusing translations. For example, "oversew" was used throughout to mean overlock or finish your seams, and they switched all metric measurements into imperial, so what would be 2 cm ends up as 13/16ths inches (actually, often written ".13/16" with the period beforehand--that's really small, haha)! I think most machines have markings for both mm and eighths of an inch on the throat plate, so it would have been less confusing to just leave in centimeters, but its easy enough to figure out what they mean with a side-by-side ruler or switching to the French section occasionally. I would say if you are used to the "hand-holdy" instructions in many indie patterns, you might struggle, but if you know how to decipher big 4-to-burda quality instructions, you'll be fine.

One last note--my kit came all the way from France to me in North Carolina in about 10 days and it was all beautifully packaged. Inside the box was a nice branded paper bag which held the pattern as well as a cloth bag for the fabric and notions. And that little tag!! (My American is showing but everything is better in French, non?) A Louis Antoinette kit would be the perfect holiday gift for the dressmaker in your life, don't you think?

If you'd like to try out a Louis Antoinette pattern, they also sent me a copy of a their pattern "Imagine," a very cool dress with an optional sheer back, unique yoke cap sleeves, and a center front zipper. I'm not doing a great job of describing it, but you can see on their site that it's not your typical twee fit-and-flare vaguely 60s indie designer pattern (although they have that too!). Plus, they just finished their second #hacklamode contest in which everyone made versions of this pattern, so there's no lack of inspiration available! Enter below to win a print copy of the Imagine pattern--I'll ship it to you wherever you are!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you ever used a Louis Antoinette pattern or a pattern from another French designer, like Wear Lemonade? Isn't Named Patterns French? The French are largely thought to be more chic than the rest of us, do you find that true of their sewing patterns as well as their style?


ps: does anyone have any stellar sewing, style, and/or fashion blogs in French for me to read??

allie J.

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Inspiration: The Holiday Glamour Social Sew

Holiday parties and get togethers and events are heeeeere! If you're anything like me, you are looking in your closet and just seeing the same old dresses you've worn to a million things already. Well, in the spirit of Holiday Glamour, sew up something new for the social sew!

Remember, my main goal is designing the Social Sew link-up was to make the theme narrow enough that someone unsure of what to make next could find some guidance, but broad enough that someone with sewing plans could find a way to make their pieces fit. If you're a bit stumped on what to make for this month's theme let me suggest...

A little black dress: Probably the most obvious option but also possibly the most useful, and there are about a million options from sweet to sexy. I have plans to make one in addition to my main project. Got to have something for new years!
Patterns: Any pattern... but in black. But, seriously.

A winter cape What better to pop over your new lbd than a toasty wool cape? I have a vintage cape, but haven't made one yet, though I have my pattern all ready. Plus--minimal fitting!
Patterns: Simplicity 8017 is a rereleased 60s pattern (and the pattern I have), and Style Arc's Clover has some wonderful military detailing. Burda has tons of cape patterns; I like this double-breasted one, especially in red!

A party skirt: Sometimes a dress just feels a bit expected, don't you think? A knockout skirt with a simple sweater or silk cami is a nice change from a cocktail dress (and warmer, too) and even Jennifer Lawrence is doing it!
Patterns: The Sewaholic Gabriola or Megan Neilsen's Cascade are gorgeous pieces, but any skirt pattern in silk, tulle, or sequins would be a perfect glamorous addition to your closet...

I have a few glamorous makes on the docket, including several dresses--making my Basel dress got me in the mood to make dresses, and it's also been a while since I've made any vintage... like, who even am I? Perhaps this month will be a return to form...


ps: i expect to see some faux fur and satin, ladies.

allie J.

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Social Sew #9: Holiday Glamour (& Introducing...)

The December Social Sew is here and it's time for a bit of Holiday Glamour, don't you think?

All the details are here... plus, scroll down to the bottom for an announcement!

Some rules: 
1. This is for adult apparel sewing, so no kids clothes or home decorating (unless specified otherwise in the theme).
2. Newly blogged garments, please: the things you add to the link up should be made or blogged in the month the link up is for. Remember, the theme and the link up are there to inspire you to create something new!
3.  Please click on the logo above to download it, and put it either in the post you are linking up, or in your sidebar. I'd also appreciate you linking to the Social Sew--the more people who discover it, the more participation we'll have, the more inspiration! Thanks, y'all.

Upcoming themes:
December (this month): Glamour
January: New Year, New Wardrobe
February: Date Night
March: TBD

And my announcement...

A few months ago, I sent out a survey to participants asking how I could improve the Social Sew. Several respondents mentioned they'd like more reminders, and had various suggestions for how to go about making that happen. I try to mention the Social Sew cut off on the last Monday post for the month, but I admit I've been a bit lax about posting reminders on my facebook and instagram accounts. I'm making an early resolution to improve on those front, but I'd also like to introduce a new way to get Social Sew reminders... the brand-new allie J. newsletter!!

Join the fun!

* indicates required

I'm excited about this--you can sign up right here and I'll be using it for sneak peeks, Social Sew announcements, and even some vintage pattern sales & giveaways, so sign up for all the details and exclusives! psst: there IS a giveaway in the first newsletter, which will be sent out December 8th... but you'll have to sign up to see what it is, so make sure you've signed up by the 8th!


ps: i absolutely can not wait to see y'all glammed up! 

allie J.

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