Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mad Men Challenge 2: I'm In!


It's time once again for Julia Bobbin's Mad Men challenge! Technically, it's only her second year hosting, but hopefully it becomes a tradition.

Last year, I participated, and I made this dress inspired by Betty Draper, and it turned out... okay. It was the second thing I had ever made and I didn't use a pattern, so it fit a little strangely. Also it fit strangely because I used an invisible zipper, and I hadn't quite mastered them yet. I suppose I should go back and re-do it so I can actually wear it out, but I'm sure that will come in time.

This year, I feel like there are so many options, and I'm not quite sure what to make. Off the top of my head, these are the outfits that might be fun to make:

LOVE this jacket.


Hmm, so many great choices! I'm going to have to go through my stash and my patterns to see what the best options for me would be. Of course, I think rewatching the series for inspiration might also be a good use of my time! ;-)

Are you making anything for the challenge?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sewing Updates and Inspirations from 1950s Segregated South

You guys, big things have been happening. And by big things, I mean I've actually been sewing instead of focusing on other things like I've been doing for the past few months. Remember when I mentioned a dress I was making back in September and gave up on in October? I finally finished it. It's hanging on my dress form (that I got for Christmas!), and just waiting to be photographed... when I get a proper camera. Camera phones just don't cut it.

I'm also taking a break from designing dresses. I've designed two so far and generally I love them a lot, but it's such a headache when something goes wrong. My next few dresses will definitely be from a pattern. Plus, I've got so many amazing vintage patterns, why wouldn't I use them?

Also, because I've got so many vintage patterns and because I owe so much to the blogging community, I'm participating in Sew Grateful and doing a giveaway, so check back in the first week of February to enter!

But now I want to share with you some amazing photographs I discovered on Messy Nessy Chic, an amazing blog that finds the most amazing, random news out there. I grew up in the south, and while it's certainly not segregated anymore, most places, especially Memphis, the city I was raised in, are hyper aware of racism and are still struggling with the aftermath.

Most pictures of the white community in the 1950s show smiling faces, happy housewives and families, and most people agree that the fashion from the time was outstanding.

Most pictures that I've seen featuring the black community from this time are in black and white and usually show the struggle blacks faced against whites. While that's very, very important and something that should never be forgotten, I was blown away by the pictures below for a few reasons.

First, they're in color. Second, the dresses and hairstyles of these women and children and gorgeous. Third, I felt awful noticing the dresses and hairstyles as the "Coloreds Only" signs were also glaringly prominent, but that was exactly the point photographer Gordon Parks was trying to make: by photographing this family in this way, he created empathy and challenged racism by demonstrating that "the aspirations, responsibilities, vocations, and rituals of the Thornton family were no different than those of white Americans." (via NYT)

Check them out, and hopefully you'll feel as inspired as I do.

Check out the New York Times story, with more pictures, by clicking here!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Attempt #1 of the Macaron Coin Purse

Have you guys seen those macaron purses? The tutorial is floating around on the internet and can be found at  Craft Passion.

Aren't they adorable?

I had the lofty idea of making these for people this Christmas, and putting something cute and clever inside for the lucky recipient.

I bought supplies to make several, but I kept putting it off. I was terrified of hand sewing, you see, so I changed my mind and bought/made gifts for everyone, except for this one macaroon purse for my sister.

Of course I put it off until the night before I was supposed to fly home.

And... it's okay. It shows my lack of hand sewing skills, I think.

I changed a few things from the original tutorial. Mostly, I made it plushy inside and out, rather than hard. It increases the storage potential of the pouch and makes it soft and nice.

Of course, plushy also makes it lopsided.
My sister likes the concept, but not my colors so I'm bought some nice purple fabric with birds and hearts on it and I'm going to try again. Hopefully it will be better!

And perhaps not so much like a strange monster.