Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stashoholism Confessional: It Doesn't Count if It's a Gift, Right?

Gifts from Cidell 1-2011

I love visiting Cidell. She takes pictures that make me feel pretty *and* I didn't leave empty-handed. She gave me the silk print I have been coveting since she showed it off after coming home from China. The turquoise of the coral is exactly my color. She also passed along the cool striped piece from Africa, collected by a friend of hers.

Ports 1961 Draped Washed Silk Charmeuse Dress | Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Silk Charmeuse Dress As soon as new fabric comes into the stash, I must daydream about what it should become. I went looking for silk charmeuse inspiration. For the most part, I make dresses that are not tailored, but do have some fitting somewhere, often a separate midriff or a fitted waistline seam. This silk charmeuse is very lightweight and drapey, and wouldn't want to be a fitted piece. I adore the draping on the Ports 1961 dress, especially that tummy-disguising waist drape. The Vivienne Westwood seems very understated for her, but so beautiful! You just can't go wrong with a wrap dress of any shape or style.

However, the current front runner is Burda 03-2009-116 for the silk. It is somewhat fitted at the bodice, but in small enough pieces that the silk should hold up to it. I like that the skirt is princess seams because the coral motif is huge and I think will be best broken up into pieces to avoid large white spaces. I love my Butterick 5243 dress in knit with a similar yoke/sleeve combination so I think this dress would be flattering for me as well.

The African piece, from Niger and dyed with indigo, is a really interesting textile: the lighter colored striped piece is tie-dyed in stripes (LOVE LOVE LOVE that the stitching line used to fold the fabric for dying remained undyed and visible), and the darker stripes were dyed separately. Then the strips were seamed together with a narrow seam allowance, the seam allowances pressed toward the lighter stripes. The fabric was already fraying along those long seams so before the pre-wash I serged all the edges. It was a little tedious. But I enjoyed experiencing the project the way the original seamstress (I assume it was a woman) did. For the pre-wash, I tossed in a couple pairs of jeans that needed their color refreshed as dye catchers.

Banana Republic Striped Dress I sew with stripes very rarely. For some reason, I just don't picture myself in them, although I had a classic black-and-white striped tee that I wore for years (we're talking at least a decade) and still haven't been able to get rid of, even though it is now too small. So I really needed some help here. I love this Banana Republic dress, with its simple shape and directional yoke. It looks like it would be flattering to a wide variety of figure types. I have no idea when this dress was sold or if it's still in stores, I found it on a style blog.

Striped Dress,

For more directional stripe fun, I love this piece from Etsy! Alas, I don't know the seller because it showed up in a google image search and when I went to Etsy it said the page didn't exist. I found a pattern in one of my Japanese books that has a similar horizontal insert in the skirt, without the waist seam. It was my front runner until I actually held the fabric up to me. The stripes are so bold that when placed vertically they look like the archetypal prison uniform.

Michael Kors Striped Sheath I suppose I could just reverse the direction of the stripes, but I think the winner is this simple Michael Kors sheath. In draping the fabric over my body, I could see that it is a great match for the Kors. The simple pattern and unfitted shape will be best for the somewhat stiff stripes.

I was so tickled to find these two different images to sell the same dress. It appears that Michael Kors and Dillards have very different customers, considering they are buying the same item. Kors is selling sophisticated ice queen glam, and Dillard's is selling the soccer mom next door. I guess I'm somewhere in between, but let's face it, probably closer to the soccer mom (even though I don't have kids).

Burda published two fairly unshaped shifts last year, 1-2010-130 and 03-2010-104, each just a front and back with horizontal bust darts. I think either of them will work, with a little tweaking at the neckline. The big question is going to be whether I can wear a dress without a center back swayback-adjusted seam. I seriously doubt it. I see plenty of stripe matching in my future!

You can check out all my inspiration photos for these two fabrics here (scroll down to the bottom)


Uptown Poly Lycra 2-2011 Even in my time of self-imposed austerity (alleged), I did buy some fabric. But I exercised mindfulness--this is a hole in my fabric collection and something for which I will have a fairly immediate need--and, alas, it wasn't fun to buy.

I am uncontainedly excited about the bike trip Cidell and I are doing in The Netherlands in May. We have been warned to expect a lot of rain. For sun, I plan to bike in a skirt with leggings, but in rain I will want yoga pants with rain pants over. I have only one pair of yoga pants so I need to make more. I love the yoga pants I have, they are perfectly shaped and the fabric is so nice. Cidell suggested I check the fiber content and then search for that content online. So smart. I found this 90% polyester/10% lycra for $6.99/yd from Uptown Fabric, an eBay retailer located in Georgia (US, not former Soviet Union). They offer free shipping, which is awesome, and shipped promptly by USPS priority mail. They allow returns. This was my first time to buy fabric on eBay.

The fabric is, unfortunately, not as heavy nor quite as nice as my yoga pants. But it has about the same opacity and will do, as I don't think I'll get a chance to go to NYC between now and the trip(!!!) to look for my yoga pant fabric. Now to get started on those yoga pants. And the rain pants. And the rain cape. And... You'll be seeing a lot of bike sewing!


NancyDaQ said...

Gifts don't count as stash--enjoy!

Anonymous said...

It doesn't count as stash unless you paid for it. Besides what are you going to say, "no thanks, I don't want that gorgeous coral print, my stash is too big already". Besides as a fellow redhead I understand that if you find fabric in colors that look good on you you have to take advantage. I love the inspiration dresses, they would both look great.

Anonymous said...

I love both those gift fabrics! Sherry at Pattern, Scissors, Cloth did a great post on swayback alterations, including those without CB or waist seams, though you might want to muslin first as that African fabric is amazing.

Good luck wi the cycling sewing!

Maryissewfast said...

Gifts don't count because you didn't spend $ on them! Awesome fabrics, BTW! Thanks for the tip on Uptown Fabrics...I'm sure they'll see an upturn in sales from your shout out!

SewSister said...

I spent 4 months in the Netherlands when I was in my early 20's, I had a blast!! The people are very, very sweet but beware of the beer, it's very potent, some evenings were just a blur.

I'd move to Germany, Austria or Switzerland in a second!

Marie-Christine said...

If the African fabric is as I think, it may need to be a rather more fitted style, as it won't drape at all. But we can't tell that from the picture, only that it's beautiful :-).

For bike pants, I highly recommend Malden Mill's Power Stretch It's totally breathable stretchy and lightweight so you won't pass out from heat exhaustion if glorious sunshine breaks out as you go by tulip fields (as it may well do in May). But it'll keep you warm even if Siberian gales are blowing through, as could also happen, I've been fine in mine skiiing in 10o blizzards. Unfortunately real technical fabric is one area in which there are no bargains, no substitutes, and brand very much matters. However functions as a fine outlet for Malden Mills and will allow you to buy the most perfect of otherwise painfully expensive stuff. Think of it this way too: the cheapest wind pants on top of this will take you down to 0oF, and that comes out to a bargain.

Lucy said...

Do it!!!!

Natasja said...

Hello, great that you are visiting the Netherlands in may. I am from the Netherlands (not where you are visiting, I live in Groningen in the north) and have been reading your blog for a while, but never commented. I am very inspired by your sewing and your stash.
About the weather here in may; it can be very rainy and windy and 10-15 degrees celsius, but it can also be dry and 25 degrees, so be prepared for everything.

Anonymous said...

So nice of Cidell to part with a silk. That piece is stunning.

Beangirl said...

I didn't even read past the title before I saidm, "No. No it doesn't." Whatever it is. Now I see it, it definitely doesn't count! Nice!

I love that M. Kors inspiration dress (er... probably the Ice Queen version, because hey, if you get to pick between the two why not go all the way, right?)

Trip sounds wonderful too. You get to do some great travelling!

Uta said...

The coral print silk is simply beautiful. I think the Burda pattern would be great for it. The Ports dress might be difficult for a "real" body to wear - that's a whole lot of fabric there in the middle!

Rosie said...

The turquoise coral print is delightful. As I mentioned on Cidell's blog, you will have a lot of fun in the Netherlands. You couldn't ask for a more hospital group of people. Have a great time!

Clio said...

What else could a well-mannered person have done when offered such beautiful fabric??

As for the tech fabric, is it really stash when it is bought for immediate use? I think not.

Melissa said...

Yep, gifts aren't stash at all! :-)

hilde said...

Nope, doesn't count. Really nice fabrics! I think it's so cool you're coming to the Netherlands, just a pity you won't come through Utrecht, my home town (with a very nice fabric market each Saturday morning..).

Lauriana said...

Another girl from the Netherlands replying here! Going by bicycle is definately the way to explore the Netherlands. Just take care in the cities. Cyclists on their home-to-work-or-school commute can be impatient of groups of slow moving tourists. Fortunately, it won't be your first time on a bicycle ;)
If you get any time to look around in the center of Rotterdam, you may want to check out its fabric store:
I'm afraid the website is Dutch-only but the adress, Coolsingel 79 is right in the city center. I used to live in Rotterdam and don't live far from it now and I always enjoyed this store.

McVal said...

LOL! It does NOT count if it's a gift!!!
I love that golden washed silk dress! Wow!

AllisonC said...

Both fabrics are gorgeous and it looks like the inspiration pieces you've found will do them justice!

kbenco said...

Gift fabric definitely does not count.
With the cycling, if you will stay warm enough with your cycling, it is easier to dry legs than it is to dry long trousers - or are the cycling pants waterproof?

Kitty Couture said...

You and Cidell are going biking in the Netherlands? That is just fabulous!

BrusselsSprout_Katharine said...

Although you are the legal expert, stash additions via gifts should be judged inadvertant and accidental. (LOL) They are beautiful gifts from loving friends and will warm your heart every time you see them. Enjoy.

MushyWear said...

Sounds like you have a really fun trip to look forward to and nice fabrics to work with!