Here is a dress that I made, wore once (as a Halloween costume), and immediately refashioned. I love how it turned out! By simply cutting the bodice to a more desirable length and adjusting the skirt length accordingly, I ended out with what is possibly the most comfortable dress I’ve ever made. The fabric is light and airy, but the pattern is feminine and classy; so it’s basically perfect. I added a bit of elastic in the back so that the bodice would be a bit more fitting. I have been counting the possibilities– in the fall with knee-highs and a cardigan, winter with tights and a blazer, spring with a button-up shirt and belt, and summer with bare feet. What do you think? How should I wear it this fall and winter?
If you saw my last post, you saw some of the inspiration I used in making this lovely 1920′s dress. But actually, I ended out being most influenced by these two other dresses I found later.
Look at Lady Mary’s striped dress!
While it is functioning as my Halloween costume, I may be more excited about wearing it afterwards. I have a few ideas for little changes here and there to make it more wearable. It will probably lose the drop-waist…. but you can’t say I didn’t try it out! I’m really glad I made it drop-waisted, so that I could try the technique and the look. I’m just not sold on the look. I guess I’m more of a waist-definition/high-waisted kind of girl. From the beginning, I was planning on using a cream fabric but could not find any. Is that not a shocker?!? No thin, cream fabric in my town. None. I should have used a sheet. Eh, but what am I griping about? I really love this tiny-striped, gray and white fabric. It’s very light, and all the gathers lay well. I feel like I was whisked straight off Downton Abbey when I wear this dress. By the way, I made the pattern, which was very simple, and made the dress in one afternoon. I think it turned out well for such a quickie!
It seems like 1920′s fever has been going around. The Great Gatsby and Downton Abbey have gotten into everybody’s heads, I guess. I’ve never loved the drop-waist trend that was so popular, but for some reason (I must have gotten the fever, too) I am dead-set on making a 20′s dress. I’m planning on this being my Halloween costume, though I would love for it to be something I will wear again. So, I come to you, my lovely readers, with a question… What should it look like? I am aiming for elegant, not flapper. Based on that fact and these photos, what aspects should I incorporate? Tiers, lace, vertical ruffles, deep v-neck, side bow, sleeves, sheer fabric…. And what color?
What sewing room, or bedroom, or living room doesn’t need a little perk? This is pretty much the cutest “little perk” I’ve ever seen– scrap bunting! You can personalize this within only the limits of your own scraps… burlap, polka dots, pink, lace, vintage novelty, anything you have in your sewing closet (do you see my pink flowery pinata fabric?). On top of its cuteness, this bunting happens to be super easy and super cheap to make. All you need is a few fabric scraps, some bias tape, and a bit of lace trim, and about an hour. Simply, cut your triangles in whatever size and quantity you like with pinking shears. Next, fold your bias tape in half and stick the lace trim (I used a ruffled eyelet) in between. Stitch the lace trim into the bias tape for a few inches; then begin adding your triangles under the trim but still inside the folded tape. Continue to stitch along the top of the bias tape until all your lovely little triangles are attached and finish by sewing the last few inches of lace trim into the bias tape. This project would make a great gift or party decoration (I’m using this one for a Shirley Temple birthday party), or of course an adorable addition to your room, hung daintily over your window.
My dress shop, Margaret and Alice, is having a sweet 30% off sale! It is a significant cut on the price, and we have some great pieces that will look adorable in a layered, fall outfit. I am hoping to make a post in the near future with some different outfit options from these pieces. Each of the dresses would be so cute with a cardigan and leggings, or maybe with a chambray button-up and leather boots. The lace trim top would be perfect to layer with a bow-tie blouse and skinny jeans or perhaps over a simple, dark-colored dress with a belt. In case you can’t tell, y’all need to buy this stuff soon, so I won’t decide to just keep it all for myself! Anyway, to get the 30% discount, use the coupon code: MARGARET30. Also, I’ve got another dress made that I’m going to put in the shop very soon. So keep your eyes peeled!
I have finally semi-completed my Mexican embroidered dress right in time for….. fall. There’s nothing like wearing bright flowers and turquoise after Labor Day. Ah well, I am pretty happy to finish my first embroidery project. I said “semi-completed” because I may still add some embroidery at the side seam, right under the armholes. But I was bound and determined to make this blog post before Labor Day; thus it is only partly finished. Though parts of the embroidering became rather monotonous, I really enjoyed making the little pink flower, and I love how the big red rose turned out. The pattern for this dress was hands-down the most simple pattern I have ever drafted. This pattern would probably be cute for other dresses, too– maybe in a more airy fabric? Here are the dresses that inspired me to make mine.
That is- the color “wine.” Making this dress was my first experience with a vintage pattern. With double darts, a faux button-up front, and the fit-and-flare style, this pattern is one of my favorites, even among the ones I have drafted. I am amazed how well it fits! What could be better than a dress that fits perfectly? Fabric for $1 a yard, of course! And wine-colored rayon challis at that, which is the color I have been loving for this fall and winter (please don’t call it maroon… that takes away from the whole elegance of the look) and my favorite material of all time. To top it off, I used a lace collar from a garage sale, which I have been saving for the perfect project. This ought to be just the dress for casual occasions throughout fall and winter. A cardigan will layer nicely over it, or tights under it, and boots beneath it! Also, for anyone wondering, my new (vintage) sewing machine stitched up this dress like a dream.
I just bought an a old Singer 301 sewing machine! For 70 bucks, I got the machine, the cabinet it was in, and various accessories and feet attachments. This entire summer, even with kicking off a business, I have been without my own sewing machine. My Brother sewing machine decided to stop working after two years of hard sewing; so, I was forced to borrow my mother’s machine regularly over the past few months. But, yes, it has paid to be patient in the search for a new one. I was on the verge of paying another $125 for a Brother just like what I had before, when I stumbled across this perfect old-timer on Craigslist. Reading up on the Singer 301, I found that it runs on gears instead of a belt drive. This makes it a dependable machine that will last through years of rigorous stitching. Another thing that makes me smile when I look at this machine: no plastic. It’s all metal, making it a 16 pounder. It conveniently snaps out of the cabinet for easy portability. But, the cabinet makes for a great sewing table in my room (not to mention a cute addition of furniture). This darling machine works perfectly, sewing even stitches quietly and smoothly. In case you can’t tell, I’m sold. Well, actually, it’s sold…… to me! Hip hip hooray!
Perhaps the first project this machine will get to make under my guidance will be this sweet vintage pattern. Generally, I don’t use store-bought patterns; but seeing this one in an antique store, I just couldn’t pass it up.
Over the summer, my friend and I have been working on putting together an Etsy store. Finally, we have managed to put a few of our products on, and the shop, Margaret and Alice, is now open! Being tall, skinny gals, we have been thinking, “There needs to be a dress store that caters to our size, because we can never find satisfactory dresses that are long enough….. Why don’t we open one?” Thus, Margaret and Alice is meant to provide classy, modest dresses for the tall and slender. The dresses are inspired by vintage styles, especially from the 1930′s. Peter pan collars, bows, and lace are our signatures. Every dress (or shirt) is carefully handmade by my friend and I. All the patterns we use also are hand-drafted by one of us to perfectly fit a tall, slim lady. We hope to list a few more dresses over the next week or two. In the mean time, if you happen to be thin and long-legged or know someone of this type, please drop by our shop or tell your friends about the chic dresses at Margaret and Alice! Also, any questions you may have I would be glad to answer!
An elegant lace trim top:
A lovely pale blue sun dress:
And a comfy navy blue dress with white stripe detail:
It seems that, when my laundry situation allows, I always choose to wear black and white with a pop of either coral or turquoise. And by turquoise, I mean all bluish, green colors… So I should say teal, sea green, peacock blue, mint, turquoise, etc. Thus, I perpetually look for new opportunities to make a piece of clothing in one or another of these colors. Buying fabric often discourages me, because very rarely do you actually find what you came for. When I found a surprise two yards of black and white print that actually happened to be cute for $4 per yard, I bought it without hesitation. Here is an important bit of information: if you find promising fabric for a good deal, buy it, even though you may not have a plan for it yet. It WILL work out! Any way, in a few short hours, I made this high-waisted, comfy skirt. I am going to try to start wearing dresses and skirts more often; so this casual, practical skirt should fulfill its purpose well.