Sew Grateful and Vintage Wedding Dresses

“Sew Grateful Week” came and went and I was nowhere to be seen, but as always I am truly grateful for this wonderful online community of sewing bloggers, you guys have been such a wonderful source of continuity and creativity in my life, Thank You.  I know I didn’t have time to plan anything as I was out of town last weekend and busy with life the following week (lame excuse?) but maybe this post will make up for it.

This weekend I visited the exhibit “Tying the Knot – Cleveland Wedding Fashions, 1830- 1980” at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. As you are fellow sewists you probably understand the thrill I get from looking at beautifully sewn things. It’s also a wonderful way for me to connect with the sewing history in my new hometown and look at some of the things that people right here used to love and wear. I thought I’d share a few of the pieces that really caught my eye (mostly from the 1900’s and onwards). If you’re in the area and you love sewing, check it out because the exhibit has been extended to March 31st, 2013.

First up is this luxurious golden dress from 1879, its creation is attributed to none other than Charles Frederick Worth, the founder of “Haute Couture”! No kidding once you see all the fine details on the dress:

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Here’s one that has a simple 1920’s flapper silhouette, but just as much shiny goodness. This one is interesting as it was meant to be used both as a wedding and a party dress:

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Just 10 years later,  1930’s wedding fashions changed dramatically and dresses like this gorgeous but reserved silk velvet one became more popular. Look at the train on this thing. I really love the delicate glass beading on the neckline:

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This next one is my favorite one, a delicate floaty number from the 1940’s with a sheer bolero and lovely sequin work:

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Also some pretty vintage underthings like this 1920’s camisole, robe and knickers set:

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You didn’t think I’d forget about the shoes and other important accessories did you?
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And last but not least, one for the guys, some vintage tuxedo vests that the men of Cleveland used to wear!

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In other important historical sewing news (is that an oxymoron?) I learned that the White Sewing Machine company was based out of Cleveland, Ohio. Isn’t that neat?

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I hope you enjoyed this little (limited) virtual visit! I hope you all had a wonderful “Sew Grateful Week”,

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Spring Inspiration: Vintage Designer Coat Patterns

Spring is around the corner and that means I need a new spring coat. That also means that I spent a ridiculous amount of time the last couple of days searching for a pattern that I like.

I was looking through Ebay and Etsy listings for a classic a-line(ish) coat sewing pattern, preferably a Vogue Paris Original (just because it’s time I own one of those) something along the lines of  a 1960’s-1970’s Patou, Balmian or Molyneaux (ooh fancy!), and then finally, I came across this total beauty (Vogue 1356) and my heart started racing…

Image from grannigertsattic etsy shop

…until I realized it wasn’t in my size (and then my heart sank because I don’t think I’m ready to grade a coat pattern! and a designer one at that!). It’s very reasonably priced at $7.99 (the next one I found was $18.00, and then $35.00) so if you’d like the original thing check out grannigertsattic shop on Etsy* (disclaimer: I’m not being paid to advertise this, I just thought  it would be nice to give them a shoutout if I’m using their image for my blog).

I dug around the net some more for some closeups to examine the construction:

So what did I do? Well, I thought about “making do” with what I already have (meh…sometimes this is not so fun). I flipped through all my paper and e-patterns hoping to find one that would come reasonably close with some pattern alterations and modifications and guess what guys?! With a little bit of this and a little but of that, the FREE Talea pattern on Burdastyle comes pretty close don’t you think?!

Image courtesy of Burdastyle.com

All I have to do is omit the shoulder detailing, sleeve cuff and back waist half belt thingey, turn the pockets into side welt pockets and can you believe it?! A free Molyneaux inspired coat! Thank you Burdastyle!

Next: how to make the dress in that pattern (also: the hat, I need it).

But: It’s March now and my Minoru muslin is still sitting there half cut and I didn’t even touch my craftsy BOM quilt blocks for February yet. Why? I’m working on another project of epic proportions (no, no,  not a wedding dress, though that is quite possibly the most epic thing one can sew) that I’ll tell you about soon! I did finish the Colette Crepe dress though (I’m just waiting for nice sunny weather to take pictures of it before I show you).

Happy sewing!

Dressing like a Celebrity: Oscar Top Ten

It’s time for the obligatory Oscar style post.

I mostly watch the Oscars for the clothing (but I think I watched most of the movies nominated this year! I’m addicted to the movies) and I think this year was the best dressed Oscars in a long time! Most years I can’t really relate to the dresses out there, they’re too revealing (or just plain wacky) but this year was different! There were dresses I could actually see myself wearing (if I could afford them and/or sew them myself). Here’s my top ten:

1.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy with her Oscar!

So stunning!

Guys, this was my all time favorite outfit, I just loved it, the color, the embroidery/applique, her shoes (oh I just love Sharmeen’s shoes). I’d probably do without the jewels on the arms and add sleeves but I just went ga-ga over this. I want it (and I don’t know who the designer is).

2.

Sandra Bullock in Marchesa, courtesy of StyleBistro.com

I love the semi-cowl neck and cap sleeves on this dress, such easy elegance! I’ve never really liked the dropped waist look on myself so I’d probably want the bodice to sit higher at the natural waist.

3.

Louise Roe in Black Halo, courtesy of StyleBistro.com

I really really love this little suit-skirt outfit, it has a very 1940’s feel to it, the belt and matching clutch finish it off so nicely. I’ve got to sew something like this one day!

4.

Berenice Bejo in Elie Saab, courtesy of StyleBistro.com

I have to admit, I didn’t really think much of this dress on Oscar night, but when I saw it in the pictures the next morning I was blown away. It’s such a modern gown with just a touch of  the 1930’s silhouette.

5.

Shailene Woodley in Valentino Couture, courtesy of StyleBistro.com

Ooooh maxi dress! I love it, it’s like a futuristic tribute to the 1970’s (make sense? doesn’t matter, maxi dresses always win).

6.

Melissa McCarthy in Marina Rinaldi, courtesy of StyleBistro.com

So very Grecian! I just love this dress and the floaty pink chiffon colour is so dreamy, imagine walking around in that all day. I think I’d shorten the sleeves just a bit though.

7.

Maya Rudolph in Johanna Johnson, courtesy of StyleBistro.com

I LOVE the color and the cap sleeves. The embellished back bodice would be such a pretty sari blouse.

8.

Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton, courtesy of StyleBistro.com

I can’t really see myself in this but Michelle Williams looked so elegant that I just had to include her in this post. I love everything this woman wears.

9.

Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji, courtesy of StyleBistro.com

Octavia Spencer looked stunning, I just loved everything about her outfit. The dress is so flattering and her accessories were so balanced. She was the best dressed celebrity!

10.

Meryl Streep in Lanvin, courtesy of StyleBistro.com

This dress I loved, not so much for the color but for the style. Why?

Because I have a similar sewing pattern in my collection! It’s a  Retro Butterick (B5152) reproduction of an original pattern from 1948, see?!

Who knew?! Meryl and I have similar tastes!