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Apr 21, 2011

Decisions, decisions...


File under, Must Sew and Soon.

Good morning, friends!  First, let me assure you that the view from the wrong side of 49 is much the same as the right side, just blurrier and shorter.  But the less said about that the better.  We have decisions to make.

Do you ever walk out of the fabric store with bundles under your arm, wondering, What did I just buy and why?  I looked at a lot of lace and taffeta yesterday at my rock-bottom fabric dive, but nothing seemed to go with anything else.  Finally, I just closed my eyes, ran my fingers over the bolts, and picked whatever they struck first.  Here's my take:



Let's call these two colors steel and burgundy.  They're both heavy acetate taffeta and subtly iridescent, on 60" bolts and $2/yd.  As far as I can tell they're the same stuff for sale here.   I know I just made a taffeta dress, but what can I say?  I like taffeta and want another shot at it now that I know it better.  This time I won't put water in the iron.

Here are the new colors next to the green I used last week, to give you a better idea:



Christmas wrapping paper, right?  What I like is that with black thread in the weave the taffeta has a rich velvety luster, especially the burgundy.

So I was thinking of making a simple, somewhat monastic dress with one of these two patterns in my collection:



Despite its ugly envelope, this Advance pattern is versatile.  I'd put a zipper in the back and cut the front as one piece, maybe extend and/or lower that bateau neckline a bit.  I love the kimono sleeves. 

The alternative is this, which I bought last month on Etsy.  Its virtues include an interesting neckline and construction (the front bodice and skirt panel are all one piece). 



It makes me think of this New Look silhouette.


As well as this vintage gem I found, perusing Etsy.


I also poked around in my fabric stash and found this oyster cotton sateen I bought last year and never used.   I have at least 4 yards from a 60" bolt.


Here it is with black lace overlay.



Doesn't it remind you of this dress, which I posted yesterday?


Picture it with matching bolero or something in taffeta perhaps.

Friends, if you're confused, imagine how I must feel?  Not wanting to disorient you further, I think I'll sign off now and pour myself some more coffee.  You may be needing some too.

Readers, I hope you have a pleasant day in store -- if not in your real life, than in your fantasy one.


Have a great day, everybody, and easy on the taffeta!

32 comments:

  1. I try to blend fantasy and reality every day, so it's the same thing... I'm gearing up for a 1950's dress that I feel is a little more worthy of Cathy than me...

    Looking forward to seeing what you make up from this. I'm trying to to puke with envy over $2 a metre fabric that's worth being caught dead in. Lucky.

    Happy Birthday.

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  2. Hey Peter, I love the color of the changeable taffeta. I am worried about the weight of it for the first pattern, especially the sleeves. It may be a bit too stiff, and make Cathy feel like she is a paper doll wearing a cut out dress! I would use it for a voluminous skirt, and maybe just as an underlay for a bodice; maybe with chiffon instead of lace as the overlay? Just my two cents worth...I could use your input on my latest fabric choice! A black rayon burnout fabric with orange-ish flowers...it looked great in the fabric store, especially at $2.95 a yard! I am using it to make a 1949 shirt waist dress, and I am having one of those rare moments of "what was I thinking?"!!

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  3. Oh and, most Happy Birthday to you!

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  4. Hi Peter,
    Happy birthday!
    it seems to me that you've reached a point of project confusion, illustrated by random fabric buying, disparate inspirations and a return to coffee addiction.
    Frankly I'm concerned. Perhaps you should walk the dogs. Or indulge in some left over cake. Lets face it; any cutting you do now is going to result in regret.

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  5. Hey there, Peter!!!

    Fist of all, I'm a little envious that you managed to find taffeta at 2 dollars a yard/ 60 inches!!! Nonetheless, it looks amazing and I'm thinking the second dress would be perfect for it. Although sturdy, make sure you allow enough room in the top to move. The last thing you need is for Cathy to feel like she's stuck in a cardboard box....lol. Hope to see the dress soon!!!

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  6. I love your new taffeta selections, the shine and shimmer is so glamorous. Go for the Butterick pattern, it's fabulous! 49? really? Cathy must be your much younger cousin?

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  7. Happy Birthday to you, . . . Happy Birthday to you.... Happy Birthday dear Peter, Happy Birthday to you. Love the taffeta, but yes, it is somewhat stiff.

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  8. Beautiful blessings on this day of your birth. You are the same age as you-know-who!! Both looking pretty spectacular at 49!

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  9. A very happy Birthday to you!

    I like the Butterick, that one fell swoop of cloth down the front, with the skirt folding down around the panel, is just "ooooohhh". I see it in the burgundy fabric. It calls for a clean line, no lace overlay for this dress I feel.

    The steel would look excellent with an overlay of that black lace.

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  10. Happy Birthday Peter! I love your idea of "monastic." No I'm imagining the Christian Brothers in Burgundy.

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  11. Happy Birthday! I love the last dress pictured in the red at the bottom of the post. I know you don't have a pattern for it. But it is awesome. And think of what you could do with that little underskirt. And the fabric you bought looks stiff enough to do what it is told around the neckline. Just a crazy thought.

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  12. Happy birthday! The Butterick pattern in either the oyster or steel with the black lace overlay would be gorgeous.

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  13. Make the butterrick with the taffeta...it'll be awesome. I want, WANT, the advance pattern, but I think it would look better in a polished cotton. Ahhhhh the rustle of a crinoline...nothin like it. Enjoy

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  14. I know that feeling well. In fact, I have a closet full of fabric and a good portion of it came to me because of fabric.com's $35+ ships free policy. I'd rather get $7 worth of fabric than $7 shipping. In fact, as we speak, I have some $1.95 organdy coming my way as well as some $1.95 organza that will probably end up as little girls' dresses...

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  15. I have a miserable cold this week, but I can manage to type: Happy Birthday!

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  16. Thanks, everybody! No decisions have been made yet; still trying to make a choice.

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  17. I would like to see you make Butterick 8975 in any fabric. Happy Birthday to you!

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  18. The shape of the patterns you show in today's entry remind me of some of the costumes in THE SOUND OF MUSIC movie; the ones Maria makes out of the drapes (Liesl's dress?) and even some of the dresses Julie Andrews wears (not the dirndls).

    http://www.movieposter.com/poster/MPW-6725/Sound_Of_Music.html

    No? Similar? Am I just obsessed with THE SOUND OF MUSIC?

    I find it interesting that the shape is reminiscent of the 50s though the story in THE SOUND OF MUSIC takes place in the late 30s... probably because Liesl could not have done all those fantastic grand-jetés in the gazebo in 1930s garb.

    Happy birthday!

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  19. OMG, Eli, you are right. Now if only I could find a gazebo...

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  20. Great fabric find, I'm envious! I love the Butterick too, it would look devine on Cathy. Nothing wrong with having a thing for cocktail dresses, it's springtime and the right time for getting out and about!
    Happy Birthday!

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  21. I've been blogstalking you for quite some time, but always kind of wondered; have you ever considered getting a corset made as underpinning for some of Cathy's outfits?

    I know you've recently picked up some lovely vintage undergarments, but it just seems to me that some of these narrow-waisted and highly structured dresses might benefit from a little bondage, if ya know what I mean. :)

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  22. OMG! I made a knock-off of the Dior dinner dress with "cummerbund" for the guest artist of the Portland Gay Men's Chorus holiday show last December! And on a bare-bones budget, too; no wool crepe or silk faille, alas. Still, she loved the dress and looked amazing, at least from stage!

    You've insprired me to start making some cocktail dresses: the jeans can wait!

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  23. Christopher in Aotearoa NZApril 21, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    Decisions decisions... if you were to come across a Brother LS2160 advertised for $NZD190, would that be a good buy for someone who has never sewed before and really, just wants to learn how to make men's long/short sleeved shirts cause my heart just sinks looking at shirts in the stores... bleuck.

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  24. Happy birthday to the delightful duo (of Peter and Cathy, of course)! I really like the burgundy taffeta and think it would make a great dress, like the vintage gem dress you found on Etsy.

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  25. Thanks, again, all! Edsel, we want pics!

    Christopher, that looks like a decent mechanical Brother that should get the job done. Can't comment on the price in NZD, of course, but I think it's probably a decent starter machine that will serve you well.

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  26. Happiest of Birthdays, Peter! (I made it in right under the wire.)

    I do hope you have a cocktail dress sew-along; I haven't made anything like that for a long time and think it would be great fun.

    Now, just to figure out which of my friends will get the most use out of a sexy little cocktail dress...

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  27. Happy Birthday!
    Make the Butterick! I think those gathery bits will create awesome shine and shadow effects in the taffeta!

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  28. The taffeta all looks so wonderful. You make we want to buy some, but I can't wait to see what you work up next, but I like the Butterick pattern. Man-o-man, that red number is fierce.

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  29. Happy Birthday, Peter,and many more! I love iridescent taffeta--one thing I always forget is to cut the pattern pieces all going the same way so the color is the same (sort of the same kind of thing with a napped fabric). When you're feeling flush, check out iridescent silk dupioni--Cathy will swoooooon!

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  30. A bit late to the party, but Happy birthday! Taffeta and scheming about new dresses is totally the best way to celebrate.

    I am voting for the Advance pattern in the red taffeta! I think the Advance could totally be a diamond in the rough sort of a pattern and I am loving the color on the red taffeta!

    Also, makes me think of the most strange and fabulous thing I saw in the fabric store the other day - stretch taffeta. It was so so strange. And so crazy stretchy. And yet, it was still taffeta. Perhaps I have been living under a rock, but I have never seen the like before and couldn't think of what to do with it and didn't get any at the time, but now I can't get it out of my mind. And a recent pattern I have been playing with simply begs to be made from the stretch taffeta. Your recent purchases inspire me and I just may have to go back and pick some up...

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