Monday, March 24, 2014

Shirt Tales

Our week long vacation on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin was wonderful. This is our third visit there. Instead of staying at a resort, this time we rented a “villa” (a townhouse) from the owner on the French side of the island, at Baie Orientale. The island has a French and a Dutch side, each with its own language, currency, telephone company (obscene international call rates!), store hours, and laws. There were French language editions of Burda Style magazine in the Grande Marche grocery store. I forgot to check for  Knip Mode  in the Dutch grocery store. I got sidetracked by a guilder to dollars conversion exercise with my sons to make sure we weren’t paying dearly for US soft drinks.   We have rented vacation homes from owners  before, though  mostly in the US.  All good experiences and this one was as well, though I have a few new questions on my “ask the owners” list for foreign countries.  Like how many stations on the TV, what language and are subtitles available?  Is the kitchen really fitted out for cooking?   Is there adequate task lighting for those of us who like to read local magazines, newspapers  and brochures (non electronic) after dark.  Don't get me wrong, I can rough it or live without for a few weeks, but sometimes it helps to be mentally prepared.

Pinel Island Beach

My four handsome traveling companions

So no topless sunbathing for me. Too American inhibited to do it in front of male offspring and their friend.

Lunch main course- Spiny Lobsters
I often fantasize about sewing a vacation wardrobe for our trips,  but in reality I spend most of the day in a bathing suit, maybe putting on a casual outfit for a couple hours to go out in the evening.

Beach - island of  Anguilla
   I did sew a shirt dress for the vacation. New Look 6214  It has princess seams,  attached skirt with waistline darts, shirt collar and front button placket.

I have always liked this version of a shirt dress because it was more fitted and tailored than other styles. I made view B with the shirttail hemline.  The pattern  was published in 2002,  I must have been the only person who bought it.  A Google search did not turn up one web or image link for this pattern.

Long ago I bought a giant bag of scraps from a factory that made men’s ties and shirts.  The shirting  scraps were of high quality, in various  colors and sizes of stripes. Reading about the in color" Radiant Orchid", I remembered one of the shirting stripes was in that color.  Not having enough to make a whole dress in the same stripe, I decided to do a color block mix of the shirting.  Orchid pink and white strip for top, blue and white stripe for skirt, the trim is blue oxford, and armhole facing is another size of blue and white stripe. Warning, these stripes do not photograph well.

 After finishing the dress, I noticed similar shirts/dresses in fashion magazines. I was probably influenced subliminally by the  magazine pictures.

It turns out this shirt dress incorporates several  spring 2014 fashion trends, chambray/oxford, color blocking,  and color orchid pink.

As one fashion blogger said "The cotton shirt has been reinvented for Spring/Summer into mini dresses, shirt dresses, and jumpsuits.  Crisp white poplin, oxford, banker blue, pinstripes, you name it.  Try wearing them with sandals for a relaxed look or with heels for a sexier look.  Keep it sleek and chic!"


The Villa Magellan St Martin

I can't return to my sober colored winter fabrics after the trip and the shirtdress project. On to the wonderful colors of spring!

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Long and Short of It - Burda 7073

The jacket style of Burda pattern 7073 is one of my favorites when I want an easy to fit and sew jacket.  It has princess seams in front and a center back seam that are great for fitting my body differences.   The center fronts meet, but do not overlap (no button holes) adding vertical style lines.  There is no sewn on collar. The neckline edge is raised and lies against the neck. This can be worn with a scoop neck top underneath and still covers a decent amount of upper neck or with a collared blouse.  It is a great style of jacket for a SWAP or mini wardrobe. 

Burda 7073

   I made the shorter jacket some months back  in a black and white silk tweed  and really loved it.

 At the sewing retreat I finished the 2nd,  longer version in a black and red wool tweed. It is only 4.5 inches longer that the short version, but for some reason the longer length felt strange to me when I wore it.   

   In the 80’s/90’s I wore a lot of longer jackets, but they were typically made of the same fabric as the skirt or slacks worn with them.     I started worrying about the proportions of the pieces that make up an outfit. Prompted by memories of proportion diagrams,  I decided to take some pictures of the two different length jackets worn with the same  knee length skirt and pair of  slacks . To see if I looked like a fashion proportion faux pas.

Sorry about the facial expression above. It was starting to sleet. Little, hard, cold icy pellets hitting my face.

My conclusion was that the  longer jacket actually looks nice with the skirt and pants.  I think the cut away front had a lot to do with it.  If the jacket front edge  had been straight across , it would have had a more cropping affect.

Well, the only proportion I will be worrying about next week is the amount of rum in my fruity punch or the length  of lily white legs I want to expose to the sun. Off to a warmer, sunnier climate.