Happy New Sewing Year

“Dresses for breakfasts, and dinners, and balls;

Dresses to sit in, and stand in, and walk in;

Dresses to dance in, and flirt in, and talk in;

Dresses in which to do nothing at all;

Dresses for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall”

William Allen Butler (1825-1902) may have thought “Nothing to Wear”, from which these lines are taken, was a satirical poem, but he obviously did not know 21st century fashion sewers.  Isn’t January just the perfect time to plan for the creation of “dresses for Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall”?  Yes, thank you for agreeing with me.

Last year I took a rather theoretical approach to the new sewing year, but this year I am focusing on more specific plans.  Let me start with Winter.

I have three things that I want to complete while the snow is still flying (which gives me until the end of March, more or less):

1)  My Chanel-inspired classic French jacket is my current project, and I am happy to report that I am making slow but steady progress on it.

2) I won’t consider the jacket really complete until I have made the bow blouse that will match its lining.

3) I am excited to say that I am going to be joining one of Susan Khalje’s Couture Sewing Classes in February, and my intended project is — ta-daa — this jacket which I have wanted to make ever since Vogue Patterns first issued it in the 1970s!

I will definitely be doing the color blocked version when I make this coat.

I will definitely be doing the color blocked version when I make this coat.

With any luck (or maybe lots of it will be needed), it may still be Winter when I start this project intended for an event in late April event:

I have an authentic Pucci silk from which to make the dress and line the jacket.

I have an authentic Pucci silk from which to make the dress and line the jacket.

In addition, Spring will not be complete for me until I make a dress for my granddaughter who will be 1-year-old in March.  I purchased this fabric last Fall when I was at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts.  You can imagine my excitement when I saw that the gift shop included yardage of soft, quality cotton featuring designs from his books.  I envision these little ducks embellished with yellow rick-rack.

Happy New Sewing Year - carle fabric Before Spring bids us adieu, I may divert from dresses to make another pair of slim pants in this vintage 1950s’ linen:

I only have 1 5/8 yards of this 35" wide fabric, so it remains to be seen if i can squeeze pants out of it.

I only have one and 5/8 yards of this 35″ wide fabric, so it remains to be seen if I can squeeze pants out of it.

If Summer of 2014 is as hot as last Summer (or even if it is not), I’ll be making at least two more cool, linen dresses, one sheath-style and one belted.  More on these linen fabric finds in a future post…

And a bathrobe!!  I am dying to make a swishy bathrobe!

Ah, and then comes Fall (already??), probably my favorite season of all.  I have two projects envisioned:

1) I found this stretch silk charmeuse at Mendel Goldberg Fabrics on a quick day trip to NYC in early Fall.

Another gorgeous Italian silk!

Another gorgeous Italian silk!

I bought it thinking I may use it for the lining for my No. 2 French jacket, but shortly after that I found this pattern on eBay and promptly decided it would be perfect made up in this dress (which requires a stretch fabric.  Well, it says “ knit fabrics only” but I say stretch fabric will do just fine).

This os one of the few patterns from the 1980s which I really like.  However, i will not be duplicating the hairstyle.

This is one of the few patterns from the 1980s which I really like. However, I will not be duplicating the hairstyle.

2) I’ve had this buttery soft cashmere wool for a couple of years now.  I originally thought I’d make a suit, but now I’m thinking long-sleeved dress instead.  I’m still sorting this one out in my head so I’m very glad I have until next Fall.

A subtle windowpane check in navy with deep red and ivory intersecting lines.

A subtle windowpane check in navy with deep red and ivory intersecting lines.

Sprinkled among these plans for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall will surely be more little dresses for granddaughter Aida.  I fully intend for her to have some of the cutest frocks in all of New England.

Finally, if 2013 taught me anything, it is that the unexpected is waiting around every corner.

Lots of corners lurking in this Liberty cotton!

Lots of corners lurking in this Liberty cotton!

Life can take sudden turns and twists that are not always sewing-friendly, so I plan to be kind to myself if that happens.  But wouldn’t it be nice for all of us to have the kind of year when we have the extra time to make a dress in which to do “nothing at all”?


Filed under 1980's dress patterns, Boucle for French style jackets, Chanel-type jackets, Coats, Liberty cotton, Linen, Polka dots, Uncategorized, vintage Vogue Designer patterns, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1970s, Vogue patterns, woolens

14 responses to “Happy New Sewing Year

  1. It is always so much fun to see what you’re planning, Karen! I love those vintage designer patterns — the styles and the instructions! Far superior to today’s. I’m with you on the 80’s. I dread seeing pictures of myself from that forgettable decade. But I do like your pattern so much — and with cashmere and MG silk, how can it miss! I too adore Eric Carle but didn’t know there were fabrics with his illustrations! Great find.

    Good luck getting a pair of pants out of 5/8 of a yard!! Capri pants, anyone???

    Now I’m sorry that you’re going to Susan in February. I’ll be back in late March so once again we will miss each other. Maybe one of these days . . .

    • I got a good laugh thinking about getting pants out of 5/8 of a yard of 35″ wide fabric. Actually, I have all of one and 5/8 yard – so I think it may be possible! (I edited my blog using “one” spelled out so no one else would think I was completely daffy!)

      As to Susan’s class – I am taking one of her sessions in California, even though Baltimore is less than 100 miles from my home. This was too good of an opportunity to miss, as I will stay with my son – and he seems excited to have me there!

      I fully expect to get back to one of her classes in Baltimore at some point, so I hope we’ll cross paths then!

  2. so many fabulous plans, and I love that sweet little duck fabric, your granddaughter is going to love it!

  3. Those first two Vogue patterns are gorgeous. I love those simple (yet nowhere near basic) styles. I can’t wait to see the completed project!

  4. You are so ambitious!

    That Eric Carle fabric is adorable. I can see why you were excited to find it. And I love the Liberty print too.

  5. I just found your blog. I was looking through the reviews for the Couture Dress on Craftsy and your FiftyDresses name piqued my curiosity, could it be 50 dresses in a year, 50 different dresses? So, I googled the name and came to your site. No, 1950’s dresses. I also Loved the book by Isabel Wolfe and was inspired by her writing. Anyway. I have loved looking through your blog and seeing what you have sewn. I too quit shopping for clothes a few years ago because nothing fit, and things that came close to fitting were way out of my price range, so sewing it was. I try to sew a few pieces a year, but I also weave tapestries and knit, in between trying to take care of my two children. Anyway, love the blog and will follow you.

    • Hi Susan – it’s just wonderful to “meet” you! I chose the name Fifty Dresses for my blog because of all the different ways it could be read, just as you stated. It helps that I was born in the ’50s, too! I am just delighted that you like my blog!

  6. Kat

    This is SO exciting! I too have a French cardi jacket on the horizon – just waiting for my sample pack from Linton! I never thought of making the matching blouse but will consider it now…I think Vogue 8772 is a good contender! So happy for you that you’re doing classes with Susan! That’s my dream, mostly because the USA is a bit of a trip from Aussieland! But it’s on the list! Love your blog BTW 🙂

  7. Hah I love that poem and am tempted to put it up on my sewing room wall. I also really like your pattern and fabric plans – what a stylish collection it will be as you put it together. Welcome to 2014 (a little belatedly!).

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