Tremendously Two-Tone

Hello all.

It's no secret I love combining fabrics in the garments I make. Sometimes I cross stripes, or pair polka dots with plaid. I think pairing different fabrics is a great way to highlight the design elements on a garment.

But I've always had a weakness for two tone styles. I've done it with hats, blouses, and even my Gardenia Dress. I love the idea of pairing bold colors together. I think it's a sophisticated way to make a garment pop, and can be a down right flattering ascetic to the wearer as well.

It's no wonder that type of design element was so stylish in the war time 40s.

So youthful, and a practical way to use up fabric when you may not have enough for a full dress or blouse. Looking on some of the patterns I have from that time, I just adore the two and even three or four tone suggestions that are given on the envelope covers.

That's not to say that you can't make any garment a two tone. I don't even think it takes that much planning. I often dig around in my fabric stash just to see what fabrics I have left over from a larger completed project that I can fashion into something else.

Take my newest Simplicity dress for instance.

This dress is an amalgam of three different wool crepes, each one not a large enough remnant to make a full garment. The maroon/brick crepe was JUST enough to make into the skirt and back bodice, of which I had to do some serious piecing. The front and sleeves are cream, and because the skirt was not long enough, I made a band around the bottom for length, but I do think it's a great effect.

Even had enough left over to whip up my new favorite beret.

So go for it, be daring and don't fret if you ran out of fabric for a project. Improvise and see what else you have in the stash, or plan ahead intending to alternate fabrics. You may be pleasantly surprised.

More images of the two-tone dress and beret are on NVL.

Stout Woman Revolution: Choosing the right sleeve.

Long sleeve. Cap sleeve. Kimono sleeve. Drop shoulder sleeve. Flutter sleeve. Short sleeve. Cuffed sleeve. Two piece sleeve. Fitted sleeve. Sleeveless.

Oh, what to choose.
It's no secret the love I have for sleeves.

I select sleeves for garments based on my confidence level. I'm a plain type of sleeve gal for most outfits. Either a basic design for day dresses, bracelet length for winter dresses. I used to lack the confidence in displaying my arms and made all my sleeve lengths at least past the elbow. But then I got brave, and started doing shorter sleeves and, well, the earth did not explode after all.

I just don't think my arms are my strongest asset. There is nothing wrong with that, but oh, how I do so envy the larger ladies who can work a flutter sleeve.


So feminine and frilly and wonderfully womanly. Delicious. Or, her more practical cousin, the cap sleeve. Squeeee! In a contrasting fabric from the garment's bodice? Be still my heart. Or, for the stout woman who can do it with pride, sleeveless. I worship you.

But, as I've said many times before, I'm about making what you have work the best it can, and for me, I feel the most confident with sleeves that cover most of my forearm.

It is a personal choice.

How daring do you feel? How safe do you wan to be? Even with all the decisions of fabric and choosing which notions to use, sleeves are often something that most just take at face value. But then there are some outfits where the sleeve is the *best* part.

If there are some tips I can give with sleeve selection it would be these:

1) Choose a sleeve based on the seasonal design of the garment.

If it's a sporty number, chances are you don't want to do a full length cuffed sleeve.

2) If supplementing a sleeve, do a mock up first.
New sleeves have to be adjusted to the bodice of the design you are using. Subtle alterations from the opening to how far the shoulder length needs to be extended should be looked at. I've ruined many a garment by not planning ahead.

3) Don't overpower the design of the outfit.

If you choose a fantastic sleeve, make sure the outfit plays with it, not against it. Too many design elements can harm your overall intent for the garment.

4) Play with fabrics.

Two tone your design, or use a different fabric to use up left over material. Buttons, bows, cuffs. Yay!

Thats it for now.
Happy Sewing!!

And the Winner is...

***Pokadot Pumps***

Just sent me an email, Miss Pumps and we can take it from there.

I want to thank everyone for entering the giveaway. I loved looking at all the projects and man, you guys are way more accomplished than I am! Fitted bodices and period gowns, wow! I haven't even begun to tackle things like that!

Thanks again everyone and have a great week!

In Memoriam

My best friend of nearly 8 years died this morning.

It was sudden, and I was with her, and in the back of my mind I was expecting it, but still. She helped me through my mother's death, the pains of college, the stress of life and everything it threw at me. And all she asked for was routine potty brakes, the occasional dog treat and a puppy kiss here and there.

I'm going to miss her so much.


2/2001 - 9/24/2010

New Pattern Day & Etsy updates!

Hi all.
Halloween is right around the corner.
What better way to celebrate than with a vintage costume. I have some children's size vintage costumes now listed in my store in the new Halloween section,

...and a nurse wrap coat in a 32 bust as well.

I also have a new repro too.

It's from one of my men's patterns and its now available for pre-order. Its a man's 'professional' jacket. Can't you see this a something an evil Steampunk scientist would wear, or perhaps some sort of mad doctor? Fellas get creative.

The pattern is a 38 chest and will be available through October only.
Happy sewing!

Red & Cream Dream

It's getting colder. Not too fast here in Los Angeles, but it's time to start thinking about warmer clothes. I had this old wool Pendleton that I usurped form a giant pile of clothes at a thrift store some time ago.

I knew it didn't fit, and it was pretty moth eaten in some places, but the wool was so bright and lush that I couldn't pass it by. I stowed it away for some time. I guess waiting on it to call to me to make something out of it. I had always planned a hat with it, perhaps a bag of sorts, and when the beret pattern in chambray turned out so well, I just couldn't help myself. The beret was only a sleeve and a half! Yay! Bag, here I come.

I think the striped piping makes the beret so sporty.

More photos on NVL.

But the red and cream idea didn't start with this hat. Actually it was this dress that is still in the works. You know how you have some fabric, but not enough to make anything substantial but you see a remnant in the store and you just have to have it.

That's how it was with this wool crepe I purchased. Each remnant piece was no more than a yard and a half, but I didn't want to pass them up. I bought these a long time ago, and I always planned to make a two tone garment from them, but then I used one of the larger pieces on something else and the one garment idea just fell away.

Now enters my new favorite dress pattern.

After making some stays, I knew I could finally get the dress to the point of awesomeness. I did all the same touches I did on the first attempt, the chambray linen (i'll have pictures of that one soon). I hand basted the gathers, but with the stays, I was able to be more accurate, and i mean isn't that the point!?

I trimmed the front sipper and d neckline with a woven wool and I love the subtle detail of it.

Because the maroon wool (more reddish than purplish maroon) was too short to make the skirt the length I liked, I used some of the cream wool that was stained. You can't see it on the strips I cut for the skirt, so the addition was perfect!

The thing about two tone garments is that they take a while to make because you can get obsessive about the thread matching. What, I'm alone in that?

I matched the threads for the side zip, I'm a dork.

What remains are the sleeves, the hem, and a hook and eye for the neckline. I may make a shoulder brooch for this dress out of the mums pattern in my flower repro. I've been wanting to make that flower for a while and it seems simple enough.

I hope to have the dress completed in a day or two. I'm just bummed that the red of the beret does not match. Aw well. We cant have everything.

Free 1930s pattern: The first NVL giveaway!!

Hi everyone.
It's time for a giveaway. My first real one in fact. As I mentioned in my sewing karma post a while back, I wanted to continue the generosity in which these patterns came into my life.

Up for grabs is this lovely turn of the decade Advance button front dress. Most likely dates from the late 1930s. I thought 1940 at the latest but I've been informed its most likely 1938 at the latest. I think thats cooler!

Its condition is apparent, but its complete and itching to be made into a lovely frock. Its measurements are 40b 32w 43h.

Now, what do you as a reader need to do for a chance to obtain this lovely? I'm making it pretty simple. I know a lot of people require that you follow their blog to be able to win. I'm not that demanding, although it would be nice.
I want to see a picture of your most accomplished sewing project!
Whether it was for you or someone else does not matter. Clothing or something else is perfectly alright. Vintage or not, does not matter, just your most acomplished. A brief description of the creation would be lovely. You can either post a link in this post, or use the flicker user group I have set up. I'll be checking it a few times daily. I created a special thread for this giveaway.

I'll look through the contestants and choose my favorite and announce it on September 27th. then send out your pattern to you! Easy enough, right?

Well, lets see those creations!
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