Ahhhhlisalex, AKA Sew Dolly Clackett Dress #2

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Ahhhhlisalex, AKA Sew Dolly Clackett Dress #2

Shall we list the ways that Sew Dolly Clackett has enhanced our lives?

1. A Flickr group to stalk relentlessly
2. Discovering new blogoddesses through said Flickr group
3. An excuse to celebrate–as though we need one
4. Getting past previous hurdles and coming out looking fabulous

So yes, all that and more. Who knew that one sewing event could do so much?

I’ll try to keep the bla bla bla short. I’ve been wanting to make a successful Elisalex by those impossibly well-dressed and well-tressed ladies at By Hand London for over a year now. My first and only Mood trip (so far) was heavily focused on finding the perfect fabric to make that tulip pop. Thing is, I overthought and underthought this dress every step of the way.

I did okay with the muslin, following the impeccably written FBA post by Elisalex herself. Twas looking good

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Then it all went pear-shaped. Literally.

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Don’t ask. I won’t even post a pic of the original muslin, out of this crazy faille (insert fail/faille pun here).

I was so focused on having the fabric be sturdy enough to be a tulip that I didn’t concentrate enough on making the bodice look good. I overlengthened the waist in my crazy bastardization of the FBA, so it never looked right once I attached the skirt. The back was all saggy, etc. etc. I had given up.

Then I started witnessing all of these happy cotton Sew Dolly Clackett creations, and I did a facepalm. Why didn’t I ever just try a cotton version and work it out that way first? If the tulip didn’t ‘bloom’, I could always try the recommendation of using fusible interfacing on the skirt. I chose this crazy print in my stash called Olivia’s Holiday, by Westminster Fibers, and tried out the new theory.

Ta-daaaaaa

Look how happy I was last night when I started having breakthroughs with the fit. And by the way, the skirt was NEVER a problem, in any of my attempts. The pattern design is so good that the shape just happens.

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This morning my actual tulips congratulated me by opening just in time for some Earth Day shots. Thank goodness I bought an iPhone tripod attachment because the man was sound asleep.

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This is just a hands-on-hips kinda dress. I love the whimsy of it. The tulip shape is a riot.

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My only true regret about making a second dress is that I’m wearing the same pink shoes as in my first Dolly Clackett dress. May the shoe gods forgive me for not splashing out for some new ones. I did throw in a little variety later though. Scroll on…

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I promise the back bodice fits, or at least better than in any previous version. I was in a hurry, and mortified imagining my neighbors peeking out their windows at my narcissism. And I know we’re supposed to celebrate our lumps, but back fat doesn’t help in any fitted dress.

Grabbed the now-awake boyfriend for a lunch break photo shoot, and here’s some more frivolity.

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Just had to twirl and scream with glee. Good weather, time with my honey, and a new dress

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Had to celebrate even more by taking Elisalex out to dinner. Look how irritatingly well it matches this jacket.
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From the bottom of my heart, I thank Sarah (Check out her Lilly Laurel) for dreaming up and running this whole thing. I know it’s been a lot of work, but you have created something phenomenal. Thank you Roisin, for being the muse to SO many in the blogging community. Thank you, crazy women in the Flickr pool, for being so beautiful. There are over 430 photos in the group at this moment. How jaw-droppingly wonderful. Have fun judging, Roisin!

Shelley

SO Dolly Clackett

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How many times have we swooned over Roisin‘s dreamy dresses? Luckily, SOMEONE (namely Sarah of Rhinestones and Telephones) decided it’s time for the blogoddesses to channel their inner Dolly Clackett and frockify ourselves accordingly. It’s also a celebration of Roisin’s upcoming nuptials next month, but somehow I think anyone reading this post is aware of that happy fact.

Fortunately, I already had the perfect pattern/fabric marriage of my own picked out. The fabric is a slightly stretchy and substantial cotton from my first trip to Mood last March during a major sewista meetup, and the pattern has been made by our muse once or twice or more.
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As luck and sloth would have it, I never made the thing, so the combo was still waiting for me when Roisin Fest was announced. It was so meant to be.

When I opened the pattern, I was seriously stoked. FOUR PIECES (if you don’t make the bow). That’s music to my lazy sewist ears. There are actually more pieces to cut when you include the lining, but to know you only have to fiddle with four pieces… I was crying with happiness already. I cut somewhere between a 20 and 22, fudged a bit of an FBA, and loved how the muslin turned out. So did David Hasselhoff, as it happens.

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Hasselhoff appearance courtesy of Google+ and their brilliant April Fool’s Day joke of Hoffsome-ing our photos.

Was happy enough with the muslin to go ahead and cut into the Precious, and was a super good girl and pressed when appropriate, was careful sewing the darts, etc. etc. I forgot how much I love a lined bodice. Looks so sharp.

The only thing I don’t absolutely adore about this print is that the Eiffel Towers are upside down in relationship to the rest of the repeat. However, inverted Eiffel bewbs are amusing.

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I had a finished product just in time to go to an event at my friend’s store in Asbury Park, Backward Glances (where I also got the accessories for my shift), which happens to sell retro clothes and accessories. She has petticoats in varying lengths and had a perfect one in pink. LOVE.

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Spring finally happened in New Jersey, so it’s proper photo shoot time.

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It’s been an absolute pleasure to check out everyone’s work in the Sew Dolly Clackett Flickr group. Wowza!! If by chance you haven’t visited lately, go immediately.

Thank you, Sarah, and congratulations to Roisin and Nic!

Yours in twirly girliness,
Shelley

How Could Cuckoo Not Make a Coco. Or Five.

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Anyone know of a Coco intervention group?  Clearly I have a problem.  But you all keep making such incredible versions!!  I had to buy it and try it. 

It started with a sort of wearable muslin, with some previously-uninspiring periwinkle jersey knit.  I opted for the funnel neck, which I adore. Ended up loving it so much that I wore it to work the next day, still only basted at the side seams and defiantly unhemmed.

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Love that fancy neck!!

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I promise I pressed this before the shoot.  The sleeves buckled under the stress of trying to get the tripod set up and find an okay spot on the patio.  Scenic, huh?

I instantly made a second dress, in the open neck version, out of a ponte knit from the wonderful Fabric Mart, and took advantage of a FREEZING but beautiful spring day down the Jersey Shore. 
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I have INSANE eyes in this, but I love how my hair and dress look.  On a day this windy, you take what you can get!!

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Oh yeah, and I ran into Elvis. 

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Somewhere in the middle of this dress-fest, I decided to make a top, out of this fabulous fox fabric from Girl Charlee.  I had already ordered the fabric before discovering this post by the adorable College Seamstress (http://thecollegeseamstress.blogspot.com/2014/03/coco-what-does-fox-say.html), but I blatantly stole the idea of what to do with said fabric from Elizabeth, with her kind permission of course.  I only ordered a yard for some reason, so I had to improvise with red sleeves.  I love the look and how well the red matches, but it does look pajama-y.  Not that that will stop me from wearing it anywhere and everywhere.Image

I also am in the process of making a cute white (yes, WHITE.  Ahhh) Coco top for the summer, but it’s only basted and not photo-worthy, and this post is already picture-heavy enough.  Plus, I still have ONE MORE dress to document.

This awesome psychedelic print from Girl Charlee was so cute I couldn’t decide whether to buy it in black or blue so I bought both.  They’re almost identical.  I mean, truly.  There was no reason to buy both but I did anyway.  I’m calling it my Mad Men spectating dress since I didn’t get anything made in time for Julia Bobbin’s third annual Mad Men extravaganza.  I’m wearing it while drinking martinis and looking at your Mad Men Makes.

Speaking of martinis, here’s me immediately after making this puppy, makin dranks for my honey. 

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Today was decidedly less windy and cruel, so we went a’ridin’ in the new make.  I’m going to pose like this always from now on, because it makes me look thin.

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Green legs rule.

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Ahh, sunshine!!!!

Thanks for indulging me in this Coco photo fest.  I just love being one of the poster children.  And thanks as always for reading, commenting, etc. 

Major sewing hugs
Shelley

Wrap, Mama, Wrap

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I’ve been wanting to make a real DVF-wannabe wrap forEVer, but just never have yet. I’ve made a few fauxs that I quite like, and a crapola one a couple of years ago that I hated (A broadcloth wrap. Really? I was too much of a newbie to know to stop when I realized it wasn’t knit! And had ugly built-in pleats!).

Only problem with the fauxs is that if you don’t sew the bodice well, you are forever stuck with a possibly permanent peek-a-boo neckline.

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Whoopsy. Good thing this was vacation and not the office.

So anyway, now you can’t throw a rock without hitting a blogoddess in a wrap dress, especially in light of its 40th anniversary and its prominence in the movie “American Hustle”; but they’re all so beautiful and flattering. And with a tied wrap you can go from mega modest to full Amy Adams. Love it.

I finally paired a REAL knit wrap dress pattern, Vogue 8379, with some appropriate fabric (yet another onion skin knit–I must have hit that fabric.com sale HARD) and realized there were no instructions. I’m sure I lost them since I have a bad habit of taking pattern instructions to bed (which is really stupid because it just makes me excited and I can’t sleep). It was super easy to put together sans instructions, especially when I took a cue from the beautiful Aleah from no time to sew and left off the collar.

When I finished this happy little garment it was of course still mid-winter and required much layering. It was meant to be a second Jungle January garment, but unfortunately I am in New Jersey and not a nice sultry jungle.

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Meh. Wrap with turtleneck not hot.

It took a few months to get to wear it outside, at a lake in Pennsylvania with my new best friend, my tripod. This was March 23 mind you. Looks like January for crying out loud!

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Passes the modesty test:
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I have no idea what this pose is. Just having too much tripod fun I imagine.
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Here’s a little Band for ya, but you can sing Wrap Mama Wrap instead of Rag Mama Rag. Levon would have been fine with that I’m sure.

Peace, love, and much happy spring sewing!! And make a wrap dress. You’ll like it. It’s good for you.
Shelley

Can’t be sad when you’re wearing mad rad plaid

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This winter has been relentless, as we all know, so I really needed more leg coverage, and was dying to cheer myself up with the plaid in my stash. Time for some MORE Colette Clovers, since clearly I’d rather make pants than lose weight and actually fit into the perfectly decent trousers already in my wardrobe. One pair was made out of this brilliantly loud pink on black, shown here during the first fitting after being painstakingly cut and matched

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I have worn these bad boys shamelessly all winter. Here they are in action captured with my new tripod against the snowy Lake Quinn, PA background.

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The other print is more subtle but I love the colors.

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DSC_0975LOVE these paired with my nummy Renfrew top.

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Bum fit is good.

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Warmin’ up by the fire.

After all this fun and frivolity, it’s time for Honesty Corner. I almost wanted to title this post “It’s The Fabric, Stupid”, because realistically these trousers have sort of been nothing but trouble. Both fabrics are super cheap and flimsy, and stick viciously to tights and socks, so they’re always bunched around the calf. Plus they stretch out in the course of the day so only look decent in the morning. I also didn’t finish the edges very well so the pink and black ones are falling apart (I had to Photoshop out one of the rips!) It’s definitely not the pattern because my first two Clovers are a dream and have none of these issues.

Even with these issues, I’m WAY glad I made these. I can always use the experience with Clover construction, and having them in my pant rotation got me through this shitty winter, even with the bagginess and other quirks. Plus, I plaid-matched like a pro, if I do say so myself!

In other plaid heaven, check out these lovelies:

The goddess Goodbye Valentino and her brilliant refashion http://goodbyevalentino.com/2013/11/24/wearing-the-pants/ AND a fab peplum top http://goodbyevalentino.com/2014/03/20/the-plaid-peplum-b-5615/

Scads of plaids and other goodies from Meg http://megthegrand.blogspot.com/2014/02/me-made-2014-rounding-out-january-and.html

Aleksandra’s brilliant Archers http://liveaboardtakesthesuburbs.blogspot.com/2014/02/things-ive-sewn-lately-plaid-on-plaid.html

And this amazing guy I spotted while on vacation in Rouen, France.
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Happy Happy Sewing. Hope for Spring!!
Shelley

Swingin’ in my Shift

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Hey Y’all

Happy almost Super Bowl to us fools in the USA. I have decent numbers in the office football pool so I will be occasionally paying attention between commercials.

I finished my Shift Dress Sewalong creation in a timely manner, I’m happy to say, thanks to Lauren’s amazing tutorials every step of the way, particularly her dart tute. It seems simple, but was impossible for me to visualize. Goodness knows what would have been going on in my midsection without her guidance. I cut a 22-ish, and fudged my own FBA, which seems to have worked out decently. Was happy with my Swedish tracing paper muslin, so I went for it. The fabric is a baby pink and white double knit polyester that I found on the eBay a while back. This was PERFECT for the dress. A little knit give, which is always appreciated, a little bit warm for this wretched never-relenting winter, and a lot easy to work with.

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I’m actually getting ready to start a new project (Renfrew dress, anyone?) out of a — I can’t even say it — solid brown jersey, so I’m going to try to keep the writing portion of this post short and sweet. By the way, I literally can’t make a dress out of a non-print (even this dress had two colors). Everyone send your support, please. I’m telling myself I can accessorize the crap out of it and it’ll all be alright. Plus it’s extra soft and scrumptious. ANYWAY, no more blathering on about construction, just pics, coz let’s be real, that’s what we’re here for…

My honey posed me next to our Block Island sticker. He’s funny that way. We can only dream of the Block right now, but if you ever have the chance, definitely go there. It’s off of Point Judith, Rhode Island, and you can get there from Montauk, Long Island as well.
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It was ALMOST warm enough for a top-down ride today. Yeah, my Miata is kind of special-looking. We hit a huge deer going about 75mph a few years ago. Can’t believe this thing is still going strong.
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Scenic shot of my parking lot. Time to talk about accessories. I definitely felt like white, especially in the hosiery department. Luckily I was going to visit my friend’s really cool store in Asbury Park, Backward Glances, all kitschy coolness, and she had exactly what I pictured and more. These are white fishnets, y’all! Also, white go-go earrings, which I will wear constantly, and this perfect necklace. Okay, commerical over. :)
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I tried to tweak this pic to make it less washed-out, but this is the best I could do. I still like the shot so I’m keeping it anyway.
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I hope some more of you gals crank out some shifts soon. It was a tremendously fun sewalong, and I can definitely see myself making more in different fabrics and for all seasons. Stay tuned to the Flickr group.

Take care and happy groovy sewing!!
Shelley

Sew Bossying Myself In Jungle January

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Hooray for our fearless leader and jungle guide, Anne, who not only runs Wearable Wednesday flawlessly every week, is on her second year as the ultimate Jungle goddess, but was also a fabulous Sew Bossy employee. How does she do it all so well?

When I ordered this Butterick 5815 for Ms. Jungle, I guess I liked it so much that I ordered one for me too, plus mayyyybe a few extra yards of this bright and shiny wonderfulness to keep for myself as well. I think it was labeled as crepe de chine, which goes to show you I still don’t know my fabrics, coz to me it’s all slippery and crazy like a charmeuse.

So there’s really not much to say about the construction. It’s an easy pattern, but of course my shoulders are way too poofy, and I’m afraid to mess with them too much because I don’t want to pick the fabric more than I need to. I’m just going to go with my usual I Meant To Do That attitude, and hide the poofiness with my hair. The sleeves on this thing are to die for, all flowy and feminine. I highly recommend this pattern for its ease and loveliness. It can be a top, a tunic, or a dress. Yay versatility.

Okay… pics, coz that’s what Jungle January is allll about! I could whine about it being winter and being stuck with shitty indoor photos, but–oh, I just did. A thousand pardons for the dodgy photo quality. Maybe by some miracle it’ll get above freezing and I’ll get some outdoor shots.

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Of course my beautiful jungle cat/accessory Teddy had to get involved.

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And I had to go out on a mini date at Fruity Yogurt so I could actually wear it somewhere

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In its fully jungle-y accessorized state:

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Have a wonderful remainder of Jungle January, and definitely check out Anne’s version of this pattern. Her pics are a zillion times better than mine, and her shoulders infinitely less poofy.

Hugs to all you wild thangs out there!!
Shelley

Bonus, semi-professional jungle-at-work photo. Wish you could see the purple tights better:
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