Monday, February 27, 2012

Ulyana Sergeenko - Spring/Summer 2012

Hello, lovelies! Did everyone have a wonderful weekend? This morning, I had originally planned to blog about my latest creation - a white eyelet version of Simplicity 1873 - but complications have arisen. Namely, the sleeves are an inch too small, because I was brilliant and neglected to alter the pattern piece as planned.

Luckily, all blogging hope is not lost. The lovely Garnet, of Ruby Satin, drew my attention to a very exciting fashion happening: Ulyana Sergeenko has a new Spring/Summer collection! Let's be honest: we'd all much rather look at her breathtaking creations than mine.

Her debut collection was a favorite among bloggers this past fall, including yours truly, and her follow-up effort does not disappoint. It's a curious, but wonderful, mix of old Hollywood glamour and Eastern European rustic chic. I've chosen some of my favorite looks from this gorgeous new collection:




The entire collection can be viewed at Vogue Russia, the source of these images. Which is your favorite? I'm rather torn between the emerald velvet dress and the blue floral circle skirt.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lena Hoschek - Spring/Summer 2012 Lookbook

With Fall 2012 fashion season in full swing, there have been no shortage of lovely clothes making their rounds on the internet. However, it's not a new autumnal collection that's making me swoon, but a spring one.

Lena Hoschek released the lookbook for her spring/summer 2012 collection and the images are stunning. From the runway show, we knew the clothes were beautiful (Really, how could a Hoschek collection not be?), but seeing them in an idyllic Mediterranean setting is amazing. It has me dreaming of sailboats and Vespas, the perfect accessories for the summery, Sophia Loren feel of this collection.

Photos sourced from Lena Hoschek, where more of the lookbook can be seen!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hello, lover: Spring 2012 Simplicity Patterns!

Oh, oh, friends. Have you seen the new Simplicity patterns yet? There were squeals at Chez Mary tonight, when I ran across them. They are fantastic. Let's discuss some of the highlights, shall we?

First off there are two new Cynthia Rowley patterns, both lovely. It's odd, because I don't normally enjoy Rowley's runway designs, but her patterns are consistently among my favorites. These two are no exception.

Simplicity 1872, Cynthia Rowley:  A tiered design, two dress variations or a blouse, made up in soft, floaty fabrics like georgette, voile, or challis. Isn't this just lovely? I have a bright, floral silk georgette that will be ideal for this flirty little dress.'s a pullover design. Hooray for no closures! I can't wait to make this one up. 

Simplicity 1873, Cynthia Rowley: Dress with box-pleated skirt, in two lengths with a cap sleeve option, paired with a capelet blazer. Cynthia, darling, you just invaded my wishlist for this one, didn't you? I have been dying for a proper box-pleated pattern. Just when I was wrapping my mind around drafting one, you come to the rescue. I can't wait to make this dress, in all three iterations.

Next up is the surprise of these spring patterns...a new designer! Leanne Marshall, the much beloved winner of Project Runway Season 5, has her own Simplicity line! She starts off with a bang, thanks to two cute, modern patterns aimed at the ever-growing number of young sewers. 

Simplicity 1876, Leanne Marshall: A fun, flirty dress with a halter or strapless bodice and a tiered skirt option. Okay, this is one of those patterns that I love, but would never wear myself. I can totally see someone like the lovely Julia Bobbin wearing the hell out of the tiered version of this, however. It is so, so cute! I just like sleeves on my dresses, so it's out of my realm.

Simplicity 1877, Leanne Marshall: Two dresses, both with kimono sleeves and v-necklines, with ruffled and a-line skirt variations. Okay, I'm in love with this one. Sure, those ruffles would make my hips look even wider, but I love them. They're so joyful! I will definitely be buying this one, if only to make the equally lovely a-line version. Kimono sleeves are one of my sewing true loves.

There are also two new Lisette patterns in this batch, neither of which I'm too crazy about. The fabrics are, as always, lovely but very similar to the line we saw last spring. The patterns themselves seem tailor-made to showcase these fabrics, rather than the female form, which I find often happens with designers who dip into both aspects of sewing.

 Simplicity 1878, Lisette: An empire-waist a-line dress, in three lengths. If you've been dying for an April Cornell-reminiscent maxi dress, you're in luck! Not going to lie, this design just feels a bit dated to me. It's not something I would pick off a rack in stores, personally, so I'm certainly not going to sew it. With the right fabrics, however, I could probably be proved wrong.

Simplicity 1879, Lisette: Three-quarter sleeved dress and top, with a pair of cuffed shorts. Of the two Lisette patterns, this is definitely my favorite. The dress is something I haven't seen elsewhere, which on the right body type could prove super adorable. The top is simple, but chic, and those shorts are divine. There just aren't enough modern-cut shorts patterns. I don't plan on sewing any shorts this season, but if I did, you can bet I'd use this pattern!

Finally, we have a couple of new Project Runway patterns, one of which might be the shirt-dress to rule over all other shirt-dresses. Are you ready for this loveliness?

Simplicity 1880, Project Runway: Shirt-dress and faux-wrap dress, with cap, puffed, and three-quarter sleeve options. Okay, Simplicity, you can call this line "Project Runway" inspired all you want, but I know your real inspiration. That yellow crepe pattern photo says it all. This, my friends, is the Duchess Catherine pattern line. Just like last year's 2145, this is straight from Kate's closet.

Looks familiar, doesn't it? This has been a favorite on my Pinterest boards. Now, armed with a little yellow silk crepe and Simplicity 1880, this dress can be mine! 

So, what do you think of the new Simplicity patterns? Any that you're dying to try? The releases are pretty extensive this time around, so I've only highlighted my favorites, but there are some other diamonds to be found I'm sure. My spring sewing is certainly filling up fast, thanks to these lovely new designs!

Update 2-18-12: The lovely Montana, of Sew*Seam-Rip*Repeat, alerted me to exciting news: JoAnn Fabrics is having a 5 for $5 Simplicity sale for President's Day Weekend. My local shop, amazingly, even had the new patterns in stock. I came home with an embarrassing number of them this afternoon. Hopefully, you will have just as much pattern luck!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Miss Millie, Will You Be My Valentine?: Simplicity 4987

Friends, this is an exciting week. Not, as one would think, because of Valentine's Day. Sure, I love flowers and hearts as much as the next girl, but there are more exciting things. Like...vintage patterns!

That's right. I, Mary Danielson, finally made a vintage pattern. Well, mostly. The bodice is vintage, anyway. (We'll get to that.) Why is this such a big deal? Many sewing bloggers use vintage patterns. Between Etsy and estate sales, they're not exactly hard to find. And found them I have. Y'all, I have a ridiculous amount of vintage patterns, but...I've been too afraid to do more than caress their lovely envelopes or unfold their library-scented pages. What if I damaged one while sewing? What if I made one up, only to have it be horribly unflattering? All my vintage sewing dreams would be crushed!

They were not. My first foray into vintage patterns was a success! Hooray! Does anyone have any confetti to throw?

So, what finally made me take the plunge? This week's Sew Weekly challenge and some really fabulous fabric. Since this week is technically focused on Valentine's Day, the theme was red and I had the perfect yardage - this red striped cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics. It's been hanging out in my stash since last summer, when I snapped up it and its black striped sister fabric. How could I resist its pinstripe and bold stripe mix? So interesting! So...striped!

It was a perfect match for Simplicity 4987, a 1963 lovely with a six-gored skirt, bow collar detail, and matching jacket. Of course, I ended up making it with a dirndl skirt and no jacket. Let's be honest. A striped six-gored skirt? Can you imagine a first vintage project with more headaches? I am not a sewing masochist, friends. So, I switched to the nice, easy, no-matching-required dirndl.
For the bodice, however, I kept it original. In order to keep the stripes from overwhelming my face, I used a red twill for the collar. Not only does it have the lovely bow detail at the front, but it made the finishing of this dress so simple. Used just like bias tape, it is top-stitched to the bodice, circling both the front and the low scooped back. Isn't it lovely? I can easily imagine it in white on a blue dress, as a lovely Alice-inspired detail.

 Bow-type-thing collar!

Scoop! And horrible, blurred picture! Backs are hard to photograph, yo.

As for other construction details, everything was rather straight forward. It only took me four episodes of Downton Abbey to finish the whole dress, from cutting out to hemming. The armscyes are finished with red bias tape and all the inside seams are overlocked like crazy. Instead of the prescribed lapped side zipper, I took the easy way and used an invisible zip. It was all ready for a night out on Valentine's know, all romantic-like, eating hamburgers and chocolate pie. I like to think my peppermint striped dress classed things up, naturally.

 The Ever-Important Details...

Things I Love:
  • The lovely neckline! After all, that is why I bought this pattern in the first place. I'm so glad it turned out as beautifully as on the pattern envelope!
  • The fabric! I've been waiting to use this fabric and I'm so glad it was on this pattern. It really needed that coordinating bit of red, to make it work perfectly.
Things I Changed:
  • Switched from a six-gored skirt to a dirndl, because I am easily daunted by pattern matching.
  • Switched from a lapped zipper to an invisible zip, because I am lazy.
  • Omitted arm facings, in exchange for bias tape, because I do so hate facings.
Things I Would Change, If I Made It Again:
  • Keep the original skirt. I'm dying to make this in a solid color, to really take advantage of the six-gore skirt. It seems to have such a lovely bell skirt quality to it on the envelope.
Notions & Fabric:
  • Red striped cotton - Gorgeous Fabrics - $8/yard
  • Red cotton twill - JoAnn Fabrics - $9/yard
  • 12 inch invisible zipper
  • Self-made red cotton bias tape
Construction Time:
  • Precisely four episodes of Downton Abbey. What, you don't measure your time in Lady Mary/Matthew Crawley scenes? Well, then. Three and a half hours.
There's something about the stripes that makes me pose like a superhero. I swear, 98% of pictures from this shoot involve me putting my hands on my hips, as if I'm posing for a statue. Super Sewist! Seam rip, rip, ripping away! Yikes.