Summer of Love, Part Four

Why hellllooo, here’s the fourth entry in my self-declared Summer of Love series! This outfit is sort of a round-up of my greatest hits: slouchy linen-ish outerwear, short shorts, and a wrap top that needs a safety pin so my bra doesn’t fall out. And guess what? I LOVE IT!

Yes babies, ignore the stink-face (why do I always have such a stink-face? I promise I’m very smiley in real life), I finally worked out a dressy(ish) outfit I feel comfortable and happy in! First, the creative brief: I needed something to wear to a rehearsal dinner with the equivalent fanciness of an average wedding, but since it was immediately followed by, you know, the actual wedding, my Kielo had to keep. Also, it was in a country club! First and only time I’ve been in a country club. Country club tip: forge an alliance with the man who holds the crab cakes. Yesss. Now you are ready.

Also, I was being romantically haunted (think Phantom of the Opera, Patrick Swayze as Ghost, basically those but with boundaries) by the idea of a Summer Suit. And I figured what the hecko! If not now, when! And because I love ongoing usefulness I decided to sew another Victoria blazer. I made all the changes listed in this blog post, and also I swapped in pockets purloined from the Lupin jacket (mine here).

Here is a picture of a pocket for anyone who is recently born or very forgetful. You’re welcome.

Another Patented Poundcake tip (I’m sure that crab cake thing is already paying dividends): make sure your shorts are at least a little longer than your jacket, so you don’t look like a flasher from behind.

So that’s the outermost layer of my onion! Next is a sleeveless Anderson blouse, and I made the adjustments listed in my post here, except for the armscye because this was my first draft in fact and I hadn’t noticed that issue yet.  Simple pimple.

Finally, the third piece of the ensemble – pants. I imagined cropped, pleated trousers with a tapered leg. “But Lia,” I hear you say, “Surely that’s your knees I see before us?”

PATIENCE.

Exactly at the equator, these are MN Flints. I used its (dare I say iconic?!) waistband and pocket construction.

There’s a hook and bar fastener inside, and the ties outside. Also, for once, my waistband isn’t crumpled horizontally by my mighty middle. I used BanRol! I’d bought some in a hazy panic when a local fabric store was closing, with the vague sense you put it in bag straps, but it’s for waistbands. It really stays flat! I only realized its use because of the magically impressive Shauni (she’s so cool).

So I had my waistband figured, but I wanted tapered pants and the Flints, well, aren’t. So I used the leg (sans pockets) of the Turia dungarees! I darted the back to fit, and pleated the front. It was actually pretty straightforward to get these patterns to mesh.

Then, an eagle-eyed observer might be able to spot, I just went ahead and cut the legs off anyway.

Frankly the pattern mash-up made for a nice pair of dressy slacks, but when paired with the blazer, I was getting major zoot suit vibes! So chop chop, now they’re shorts. The finished inseam is 2.75”.

This isn’t my finest sewing (those pleats are not centered on the front crotch seam, for one) and there’s some practical issues (the shorts wrinkle like crazy where they’re crushed by my butt, the blouse is a little too short to tuck in *really* securely), but for once, I don’t care. Because I feel like myself in this outfit and that makes me happy.

You may also notice, despite my claims, that I have HEELS ON! These were grandfathered in because I bought them for my sister’s wedding in 2012. Even just taking these pictures reminded me why I only wear them once every 20 months. They gave me that lift to spot my crab cakes friend from a distance though. Plus who can resist a classic grey…beige…combo? LISTEN I’m good at wearing normal clothes, okay!

My embroidered pin is from Coral & Tusk, by the way.

And my face, as apparently always, is right out of stink-ville!

See you soon!

Previous Summer of Love found here (part one), here (part two), and here (part three).

Pattern:  BHL Victoria blazer

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 10/14

Supplies: 2 yards of Brussels Washer linen/rayon blend in grey, $20.78, fabric.com; 1.5 yards of Cambridge Solids cotton lawn in Grey, $13.20, Gather Here; thread, $1.79, Michael’s

Total time: 7 hours

Total cost: $35.68

Pattern: SOI Anderson blouse

Pattern cost: NA

Size: XS (!!!)

Supplies: 2 yards of ivory rayon, $15.00, Gather Here; thread from stash

Total time: 3 hours

Total cost: $15.00

Pattern: MN Flints/Turia dungarees

Pattern cost: NA

Size: L (Flints)/44 (Turias)

Supplies: 2 yards of Brussels Washer linen/rayon blend in grey, $20.78, fabric.com; thread, hook and bar from stash

Total time: 6.25 hours

Total cost: $20.78

In The Navy

IMG_3717

This is how I power dress! I want my foes to be discomfited by the almost-but-not-quite-identical shades of navy blue. Just kidding, I don’t have any foes. I think?! #nofoes

This is my show-up-to-show-out look, though. The me-mades from top to bottom, outside to inside, are: By Hand London Victoria blazer, Melilot shirt, and Ginger jeans. It’s a good bet that any time I don’t specifically say otherwise, I’m wearing Gingers! Closet Case has been covering my tuchus for years now.

IMG_3795

But actually we’re here to talk mainly about the Victoria blazer!

IMG_3704

The fabric for this blazer cost me $0.00. I was given a stack of fabric (Parisian attic fabric!!) third-hand that included completely unused wools and coordinating linings. Occasionally the woman who bought these fabrics would note which pattern she intended to use them for – as these purchases were made in the early eighties by a petite Frenchwoman, you can imagine how pertinent those suggestions were to me. Non. But it was very exciting to get my grubby paws on these beautiful fabrics/pieces of a stranger’s personal history!

IMG_3708

The shell is a lightweight wool (I think) and the lining is Bemberg rayon. Anyway, the wool (?) loved a press, and was a peach to sew. I had once previously made the Victoria blazer – cropped silver pleather, don’t ask – so I knew going in I was happy with the sleeve fit and collar width. I discovered with the full-length view, though, that the inseam pockets are a fun comedy bit, and not useful pockets. You know that book Things Fall Apart? A book about this blazer’s pockets would be called Things Fall Out.

IMG_3812

I added a facing according to a blog post that…um…I can’t find anymore! It wasn’t this one by Marilla Walker; that one looks helpful but a little more complicated. The post I lost showed a great Victoria jacket (black velvet with a satin lapel, if I remember correctly) and I did what I remember her doing – tracing off the front pattern piece, dividing it roughly in half vertically on a slight curve (the dart belongs on the facing piece) and adding seam allowances. When I first read the directions for that dart, by the way, they really did my head in, but sewing it was a snap! If you’re new to jackets as I was, I recommend it for ease and wearability! The sleeves went in beautifully, too. They must have been drafted really well because I’m usually crummy at setting in sleeves.

IMG_3788

I added about 1.5” total extra width to the center fold of the back lining. I pleated it for wearing ease, as intended, at the hem, but ended up using all the excess at the neck edge to match the shell neckline. Strange, hmm? A lucky break for sure though!

IMG_3842

The collar and lapel are separate pieces from the body of the blazer. I used every scrap of this wool! Thank goodness these pieces were rectangles I could nestle up against each other!

This is a super beginner-friendly outerwear sewing project. I want to get into the hard stuff, now – roll lines, tailoring, shoulder pads. When I was shopping I loved coats; now that I’m sewing my aesthetic is more menswear-inspired than Edwardian-military (again, don’t ask), but I think I might love sewing them.

IMG_3745

I would not be ashamed to shake Sue Perkin’s hand in this blazer. Speaking of which, where can an obsessed American watch the rest of Giles and Sue Live the Good Life? The first episode is freely available but I can’t find the rest of the series!

IMG_3738

Let me know your favorite coat patterns, and for the love of Pete where I can watch Sue Perkins milk a goat!

Pattern: By Hand London Victoria blazer

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 10/14

Supplies: navy wool (?), Bemberg rayon, $0.00, vintage stash; thread from stash

Total time: 6.25 hours

Total cost: $0.00