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Having fun with fashion

Hi there, I finished up Jackie’s vintage Superman dress just in time for her to wear to ComicCon in San Diego on Wednesday.  The final try on and picture session is usually pretty fun, and as Jackie had a few amazing accessories to go with this dress, it made the process even better.  Also, once she had everything on we couldn’t help leashing up the dogs and taking them with us (they were just begging us to go), so we headed to the park.

Jackie really liked how the agapanthus matched her hair.

Her wig was the latest addition to the look.  It’s fun and adds to the comic book look.

She made her headband out of Fun Felt and a little glue.  

Borrowed the red glasses from her brother - part of an old costume….

An easy dress she can wear to work.  It’s fun to do fashion a little different than the same old way!

About Me

Hi, my name is Janine, and I am addicted to my sewing machine.  

Since I purchased my first machine 33 years ago (an Elna Air Electric back in 1980), I have made countless garments, home decorator fashions, quilts, accessories,  designed costumes for musicals, a dinosaur nest and eggs for a museum display; heck I even once made a tent.   While I was in college I worked at a fabric store in Tustin, CA called The Yardage Shop.  I loved that job; the fabrics, notions, pattern designs, helping people with their projects…..   pretty soon I was sewing for people on the side to help pay the bills.  I even taught my boyfriend how to make a shirt - that’s how I knew he was THE ONE, we’ve been happily married for 28 years.

When I got married, I left The Yardage Shop to become a slave at a law firm.  I quit the workhouse when I had my second daughter and became a stay at home mom.  I sewed for my girls; I just loved making their sundresses and pjs, tutus and bathing suits.  My son came along and my sewing took a dive.  Poor Elna only came out once in a while, to patch the knees of a pair of jeans, to make a halloween or school play costume.  

Sewing became more regular when the kids began to go to school, the girls needed dresses and costumes.  When my girls started going to formal dances, for their first dress we did the whole shopping routine; going to the stores, trying on dresses, looking for something unique.  They both bought their first dress, but after that they had me make their formals. They both were pretty unique and hated seeing their store bought dress on someone else.  For my eldest daughter Jackie’s senior prom, not only did I make her dress, but her 4 best friends as well.  After that, I pretty much have been sewing full time.

My daughters Jackie and Kellie both know how to sew and are both extremely talented artists;   Jackie works as a motion graphic designer - basically, she can draw very well.  She makes incredible costumes and has a wonderful eye for color and design.  Kellie is a talented actor, singer and comedian, and she is studying to be a vet assistant.  My son Steven just graduated from high school last week; he is athletic and personable just like his father.  Not artistic at all, but I haven’t given up on him yet.  You might wonder if I have ever gotten him to sew something…..   good idea, but no, he’s never sewed a stitch.  Yet.  Yes I am a proud mama.  

As of last week, my life has entered into a new phase.  So here I am, arms open wide, embracing what comes my way.

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Matching uneven plaids, somewhat….

I’m helping my daughter to make a dress to wear to ComicCon in San Diego in a couple weeks.  She spotted this fabric at a great store in Anaheim, CA called M&L Fabrics, and right away knew that she wanted to use it in a vintage 1940s look.  Vogue 8811 was her choice, for the fullish skirt and minimal seams.  

Unfortunately, being that the fabric was only 44” wide and Jackie is 5’9”, the full skirt took some adjusting and piecing together to make it work out right.  The pattern design calls for the skirt pieces to be cut on the bias, but as the plaid is an uneven one and Jackie really wanted to have the design run up and down, we skipped the bias lay out and choose to have the design centered down the middle of the skirt.   Here is a picture of the cut out back piece:

Next, I lay the skirt front onto my fabric, carefully matching the design perfectly on both pieces.  Then I lay the pattern piece on top of the two layers and cut the missing section on the side seam and bottom, then adding about a 1” seam allowance to the new piece where it will be joined to the skirt.  

Thank goodness for the straight lines in the design of this fabric, they helped with lining up the design and making sure everything was straight.  Finally, I ironed the new extension piece to match where it needed to be attached to the skirt, sewed the 2 pieces together, and then ironed the seam flat.  

And finally, I stitched the side seams together, making sure the lines matched up  so that the design looked somewhat mirrored. Note, the skirt is not full length, it only looks that way on my petite dress form.  

A Funny Coincidence.

Last week I was contacted by a client who wanted a prom dress for her daughter.  She sent me pictures of 2 dresses, very different from each other.  One was the Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany’s black dress; the other was Kiera Knightley’s Atonement dress, the green one.  Funny enough, I have made both of these dresses before.  Here is the dress she eventually chose, which I made back in 2008.

Have I made so many dresses that I am now starting to do them all again?  Haha, this we a really lovely dress, with beading on the bodice, fullish bias skirt and yummy color.  BTW, Gabi’s boyfriend also has red hair, and the tie & vest were also the same color!

My creative process usually goes something like this:  My eldest daughter comes jumping over to me wildly gushing about a dress idea she has suddenly had, or we are browsing the fabric shops and stumble upon a one of a kind print that says “buy me!!”   That’s all it takes to get us off and running. 
For this dress, the fabric came first.  My daughter wanted something fun to wear for her office holiday party.  After digging through vibrant taffetas and bolts of silky prints, she found what she describes as a “Peppermint Explosion”.  The moment I saw the fabric,  I immediately thought of Vogue Vintage pattern #2787.  
This unique dress with its’ slinky “s” curve has a decidedly Asian feel.  I made a couple of changes to the pattern:  The skirt was very full, so I cut that down a bit; and I added a ball button/loop closure to the top of the back.  I loved the unique instructions for achieving the s curve.  My advice:  Use a slinky fabric, cottons and linens won’t do you any favors!
Here’s the pattern!
http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v2787-products-15.php?page_id=850

My creative process usually goes something like this:  My eldest daughter comes jumping over to me wildly gushing about a dress idea she has suddenly had, or we are browsing the fabric shops and stumble upon a one of a kind print that says “buy me!!”   That’s all it takes to get us off and running.

For this dress, the fabric came first.  My daughter wanted something fun to wear for her office holiday party.  After digging through vibrant taffetas and bolts of silky prints, she found what she describes as a “Peppermint Explosion”.  The moment I saw the fabric,  I immediately thought of Vogue Vintage pattern #2787.  

This unique dress with its’ slinky “s” curve has a decidedly Asian feel.  I made a couple of changes to the pattern:  The skirt was very full, so I cut that down a bit; and I added a ball button/loop closure to the top of the back.  I loved the unique instructions for achieving the s curve.  My advice:  Use a slinky fabric, cottons and linens won’t do you any favors!

Here’s the pattern!

http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v2787-products-15.php?page_id=850

My eldest daughter and I were talking the other day about what the “aughts” would be remembered by:  Jeans, hoodie sweatshirts, Uggs, hoochie shorts and belly baring cami tops:  In general, a decade without any style.   Recently, the desire for style has led to a general resurgence of retro fashion.  Hopefully, shows like Mad Men are fueling the fire for people to step into a smarter, more fashionable era.
This dress was inspired by the beautiful Betty Draper (played by January Jones) of Mad Men.  It is made of polished cotton, in a retro orange and green floral.  We used several patterns, all “frankensteined”  together, and created our pattern out of muslin for the back.  Needless to say, this dress will make anyone feel like a stunner!  
 
 

My eldest daughter and I were talking the other day about what the “aughts” would be remembered by:  Jeans, hoodie sweatshirts, Uggs, hoochie shorts and belly baring cami tops:  In general, a decade without any style.   Recently, the desire for style has led to a general resurgence of retro fashion.  Hopefully, shows like Mad Men are fueling the fire for people to step into a smarter, more fashionable era.

This dress was inspired by the beautiful Betty Draper (played by January Jones) of Mad Men.  It is made of polished cotton, in a retro orange and green floral.  We used several patterns, all “frankensteined”  together, and created our pattern out of muslin for the back.  Needless to say, this dress will make anyone feel like a stunner!