My first attempt at sewing an article of clothing: Part One

After pouting about how I felt like I wasn’t getting any better at sewing, I looked back on my list of “completed” projects and realized I really didn’t sew all that much, for a handful of reasons.  I decided that I should really try to commit more to sewing projects.

I’ve been pinning a lot on my Pinterest boards on DIY projects and sewing projects lately, and yesterday, I finally started on a dress pattern that I had since summer.  I can’t just keep pinning things and adding further things to my “to sew” list if I never even begin on what I already have on it, right?

Part of the reason why I held off from doing this dress for so long is because I was afraid I would mess up.  But what comforted me was the memory of meeting a wonderful lady who spent many years sewing and had worked on many more projects than I have.

She said, “It’s just fabric!

So true. It is, indeed, just fabric.  With that in mind, I set to work yesterday on a trial run of the Vogue Easy dress pattern designed by Rebecca Taylor. I already had gathered the fabric and notions… it was time to do it!

Naturally, since I had never sewn clothing before or even read a pattern, I was sure I would mess up, so I practiced on muslin to spare the that expensive Liberty of London blue-and-white floral fabric that I adore so much.

I’m glad I did the muslin first.  As it turns out, there are a lot of things I forgot to do, or just sort of messed up on, because admittedly, I am TERRIBLE at following instructions.

Also, some of the instructions (when I actually tried to read them instead of just interpreting pictures, hah) were confusing and unclear. Like, why would you pin the skirt to the bodice before you install an elastic waistband, huh? WHY?! I never figured out the solution to that, so I just didn’t sew it in, causing the dress to be much looser than intended.

The result, which is still very much a work in progress, is this:

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You can see I’m pulling back the excess fabric.  Um, I think I at least I got the gist of the dress, right?  Here’s the goal dress for comparison (I’m still mad this pattern is only $18 at this site, whereas I paid $30+ at Joann’s!  REALLY?):

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 I’m trying to figure out the waist band situation, and I forgot to sew in a couple darts in the bodice and finish the raw edges, but I think that once I figure out the waist band, I could probably start with the pretty fabric, which is Liberty of London Tana Lawn Josephine’s Garden.

Isn’t it lovely? And it’s soft, too.

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 This is also the first time I’ve sewn pleats. They’re not that bad!  I was freaking out a bit when I first saw the directions, but once I started to crease the fabric, it kind of just fell into place… and then I sewed it down.

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Note to self:  Buy flat-head pins!

I’m going to be avidly searching Google to gain a better understanding of how to install a waistband elastic now…

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Currently obsessed with…

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I couldn’t help but admire how glamorous and well-dressed Audrey Hepburn was in the movie, Paris When It Sizzles.  She looked great in any ensemble.  I particularly adore this white dress.  The silhouette is so feminine, classic, and simple.  This is something I’d like to recreate!  I wonder what material would work best…

I apologize for the low quality, I took cellphone captures of this while watching the movie!

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Here’s another lovely outfit she wears in the movie:

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And I wouldn’t mind it if my eyes looked like this all the time!    The eyelashes are so beautiful.

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Vintage & Antique Discoveries

Today was the first time I ever browsed a real vintage store!  I was lucky to be able to visit two within the same block.

I found so many amazing things!

This was the first thing I saw and picked up.  I think it’s lovely.  Unfortunately, like many of the items in the store, this was deceptively small!  I could only zip it up halfway.  It was a small.

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I also quite liked this vest; it looked adorable on, but I don’t typically wear vests.  Back to the rack it went!

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I’m in love with this black mini dress.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  It’s adorable in real life!  They would go great with a certain pair of black lacy heels I just purchased from the consignment shop.

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I also found this plaid wool skirt.  I’ve never been terribly fond of plaid, but I LOVE this so much! The beige, the brown, and the grey work so well together, and the material is such nice quality.  The fringe detail on the pockets is fun, and speaking of pockets, who doesn’t love a skirt with a pocket or two?! They’re practical!

I would hem this to above the knee, however, since the length is overwhelming on my petite frame.

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There were many lovely vintage pieces, but these are the only ones I thought fit my style best!  The sweetest part was that everything was 30% off.  Great deal!  I also got a pair of boots, which I’ll be sure to wear in a future outfit post!

And plus, isn’t the fitting room so retro and cute?  This is the romper from a previous thrift store shopping expedition.  🙂

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The second vintage shop also had some great things.

This nautical dress isn’t my style, but it’s certainly adorable!

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I thought this maxi dress was adorable, but it was about a foot too long for me!  I didn’t feel like it was particularly worth hemming or fixing up, so I passed this up.

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I also passed up this beautiful green maxi dress.  It comes with a matching shawl, which I wasn’t too fond of. The length was perfect.  The color looks amazing on tan skin tones!  I figured I wouldn’t wear too frequently.  Someone else will love it. 🙂

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I ended up buying these items instead!

I found the shorts first, then I walked around the store and discovered this top, which I felt would look great with the shorts.  So I tried it on… et voila!

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I love the high waisted shorts. It’s very comfortable.  Got to work on those legs more, however!

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Check out this brown bag! It was only $24, great quality, leather, and looks very similar to the J Crew Edie satchel, which I used to pine for.

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The J Crew Edie purse in many colors:

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I also found some amazing things at the antiques shop.  It was a treasure trove for jewelry and mid-century furniture pieces.

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Check out this old Singer sewing machine!  Only $300-ish. 🙂

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Remember when people used to use these?

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I adore this necklace.

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I was trying to be good and not wipe out all their jewelry displays (they had quite the collection from estates), though, so I only bought this. 🙂

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If there’s anything I learned today, it’s that antique and vintage shops are dangerous for my wallet!  But at least I have a nice new [secondhand] bag in which to house that wallet. 🙂

Santa Rosa has so many amazing vintage, thrift, antique, and consignment shops. I wish I could’ve spent the whole day looking through all of them!