The Year of Magical Sewing

“Just around the corner in every woman’s mind – is a lovely dress, a wonderful suit, or entire costume which will make an enchanting new creature of her.”                                                               —  Wilhela Cushman

For those of us who sew, this statement takes on extra meaning, as it is in our power to create that lovely dress, wonderful suit or entire costume. But have you ever thought about the process of sewing – and how magical it is?   Magical in the sense of being “mysteriously skillful, effective, and enchanting” (as Webster defines one meaning of magic).   I love that I can start with a piece of fabric – or a pattern – or an idea spawned by something I have seen and admired – and, using skills I have learned, proceed to actually make my own interpretation. It’s a remarkable process, when you really take the time to think about it. So I am dubbing this year, 2015, for me, as The Year of Magical Sewing, with emphasis on the transformational qualities and joys inherent in fashion sewing.

So what do I have planned for my year of magical sewing? I am beginning the year with several new vintage patterns in my collection, which are inspiring me no end. Add to that some amazing fabric selections, both vintage and new, and I am already certain I’ll never complete every thing I’d like to!  So – here is a general outline for 2015:

It is always easiest for me to segment the year into its seasons as I think about what I’d like to sew. Starting with Winter, I have two wool projects which will take me into March, I am sure: One is my fringed “blanket” dress, currently underway in my Sewing Room. After that I will be sewing with a piece of navy blue cashmere, from which I hope to squeak out a dress and jacket. (Valentine’s Day will find me interrupting my wool projects to make a sweet treat or two for granddaughter Aida.)

With any luck, I'll soon be wearing my blanket dress.

With any luck, I’ll soon be wearing my blanket dress.

Spring is especially enticing to consider. Somehow I have become obsessed with dress and coat ensembles. Here are two patterns which would make up into “Spring” coats and coordinating dresses. I definitely will be using vintage linen for one of these two-part looks.

I love the knee length coat, although I may substitute another pattern for the coordinating dress.

I love the knee length coat, although I may substitute another pattern for the coordinating dress.

Or I may decide to use this Madame Gres design fopr a coat and dress.  The coat has very unusual darts along the side, which you may be able to see here.

Or I may decide to use this Madame Gres design for a coat and dress. The coat has very unusual darts along the side, which you may be able to see here.

Another Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress is also on my agenda for late Spring/early Summer. Thanks to one of my readers, I was able to purchase some authentic Cohama DvF fabric, so I am excited to contemplate the beginning of this dress.

Circa 1976, this fabric is still soft and lovely.

Circa 1976, this fabric is still soft and lovely.

Summer will find us traveling quite a bit, so I am trying to be realistic about the time I’ll have to sew. If I can get one “fancy/formal” dress made, I’ll consider it a success. I might be using this By Hand London “Flora” pattern with this fabric, unless, of course, I change my mind.

Aspects of this pattern remind me of classic Balenciaga.  I'll have to make the skirt longer, however...

Aspects of this pattern remind me of classic Balenciaga. I’ll have to make the skirt longer, however…

I watched this fabric on the website of Britex Fabrics for months, and finally decided I had to have it.  It is silk charmeuse, very soft with the abstract design woven in.

I watched this fabric on the website of Britex Fabrics for months, and finally decided I had to have it. It is silk charmeuse, very soft, with the abstract design woven in.

Fall will once again find me thinking coats and dresses. One of these two patterns will probably get the nod for a Fall/Winter ensemble:

I love both the coat and the dress (with two variations) featured in this pattern.

I love both the coat and the dress (with two variations) featured in this pattern.

This Jacques Heim design has very unusual seaming in the skirt.  And the short jacket looks like it would be very flattering.  However, this pattern needs just the perfect fabric to showcase the design.

This Jacques Heim design has very clever seaming in the skirt. And the short jacket looks like it would be very flattering. However, this pattern needs just the perfect fabric to showcase the design.

And I am still looking for the perfect fabric with which to make the coordinating coat for this dress which I completed last Fall:

The Year of Magical Sewing

And here is the Mattli pattern showing the coat...

And here is the Mattli pattern showing the coat.

And then there is that baby quilt I want to make for “number 2” grandchild…   And more little dresses to make…

Perhaps the real magic of the year will be in completing even half of all I’d like to sew?  Here’s hoping that what is just around the corner for you, my readers, in 2015, holds its own magic and enchantment!

 

23 Comments

Filed under Coats, Love of sewing, Uncategorized, Vintage fabric, vintage Vogue Designer patterns, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s, Wrap dresses

23 responses to “The Year of Magical Sewing

  1. I’m looking forward to all of those makes! I have a Madame Gres pattern in the hopper as well.

  2. Well if this isn’t the loveliest post I’ve read in ages 🙂
    The transformational qualities of sewing often catch me by surprise and I hope to always be receptive to its magic. Karen, your vintage pattern collection is magical in and of itself! Best wishes for a fantastic year of sewing, and I look forward to following your journey.

  3. Gail B

    Very exciting! I am fascinated by the coat and dress patterns. Looking forward to seeing the magic come to life!

  4. With such fabulous vintage patterns it might be impossible not to have a year of magical sewing!

  5. Those patterns, the fabrics and your sewing skills are all magic in itself. Can’t wait to see these wonderful dresses and coats all sewn up!

  6. Looking forward to those pieces 🙂 Very exciting…

  7. Thank you! New sewing years are definitely exciting!

  8. I also think sewing is magical. . People are always amazed when they find out the piece i am wearing was made by me. I love creating things, and I cannot imagine life without the ability to make things.

  9. Rhonda

    I love that Jacques Heim dress pattern (not sure about the short jacket on me but will probably look terrific on you!) Can’t wait to see your great fabric find for that dress! You are an inspiration in sewing – I just seem so busy these days I am fining myself making only those things that can be done in a very short time 9 1-3 hours). I’ll get back to that more detailed work soon (I hope!)

    • Time is always an issue, isn’t it? I am not a fast sewer, but even knowing that, I am still constantly amazed at how long it takes me to get something finished! Thanks for your comment – I love that Jacques Heim pattern, too!

  10. Whew! that’s a big list! I’m looking forward to seeing your progress!

  11. … and where did you find such lovely vintage patterns!

    • Hi Linda! I hope my list isn’t too big! It may be, but I try to be flexible about these things. I find most of my vintage patterns on eBay or Etsy, and some of the ones from the 1970s are ones I had saved from when I bought them originally. Just wish I had saved all my patterns…

  12. I love the way you described sewing. “Mysteriously skillful, effective, and enchanting.” Absolutely perfect description. If I have fabric left over after a project, I love looking at the raw fabric next to the finished garment. It’s mind-blowing!

  13. Karen Schmid

    I have been collecting vintage pattern of coat and dresses. I have been in love with them since I was young. I think it started with old movies and Doris Day movies she was always dressed impeccable

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