Monthly Archives: January 2023

LIPSTICK  

Lipstick?  What does that have to do with sewing?  Well, everything, as it turns out, especially with sewing for 2023.  LIPSTICK is the word I have chosen for 2023 to guide my sewing aspirations.  And because sewing is so much a part of my life, the word LIPSTICK will undoubtably become a reminder and guide and focus for so many other aspects of my life as well.

How did I ever decide on such a word to guide me through this brand new year?  First of all, I am not finished with PINK, my focus for 2022.  Truth be told, I’ll never be finished with pink – the color or the joie de vivre it inspires in me – but certainly I wanted a new, expansive word for what I hope will be a year of great optimism and promise and accomplishment.  So, pink led me to think of lipstick, with its many pink and red and coral and orange hues – and all the ways a gorgeous shade of lipstick can enhance the colors we wear, be they black, navy, white, green, yellow, brown, etc.  But lipstick is more than that. 

For me, lipstick is instant confidence.  Lipstick adds power to a smile with a simple swipe of color.  Lipstick tells the world one is ready for something special, even if it is just a simple trip to the grocery store.  Lipstick is feminine and fun and frock-worthy.  

But don’t just take my word for it.  Here is what some notable people have said about lipstick (and pink) over the decades: 

“If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack.”  Coco Chanel

“On a bad day, there’s always lipstick.”  Audrey Hepburn

“Lipstick is the red badge of courage.”  Man Ray

“I believe in manicures.  I believe in overdressing.  I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick.”  Audrey Hepburn

“If there was [sic] no more pink lipstick un the world, I’d be useless.”  Nicki Minaj

“Start each day with your favorite lipstick and a beautiful smile.”  Unknown

“Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.”  Elizabeth Taylor

“I believe in pink.”  Audrey Hepburn

“You can never go wrong with a little pink … a lot works for me.”  Dana Dalgetty

“Just have fun.  Smile.  And keep putting on lipstick.”  Diane Keaton

“She has a way with words, red lipstick and making an entrance.”  Kate Spade.

Making that entrance is where our love of sewing and feeling beautiful in our clothes comes into play.  This year, for me, promises to have a number of occasions where an “entrance” has the potential to be made (parties, events, significant milestones, hopefully lots of entertaining).  So – what do I have planned to wear to those occasions?

I am dreaming of a dress made from this pale pink plaid wool, buttery soft with a little glimmer to it.

This is the pattern I hope to use for the above wool. I love everything about the design of this dress: it has a two-piece look, but the skirt is attached to a camisole under the over bodice. I love the buttoned back and the front seaming detail. I particularly like the long-sleeved version.

This navy blue cotton sateen will either become a mid-calf length full skirt or a long-sleeved sheath dress. Thoughts, anyone?

More blouses are in my sewing queue, one in orange cotton and one in pink and green gingham.

Being carried over from 2022 will be a long-ish skirt made of this glorious silk twill:

My love of coats continues, as I hope to make one wool boucle coat (if I have enough fabric – shown below) with coordinating silk dress – and one pink floral linen coat with coordinating linen dress. 

Two jackets are in my plans, a classic French jacket in black boucle with orange and cream accents (which is currently waiting to be finished), and a black cashmere jacket (at present underway) to wear with this dress and others.

The jacket included in this pattern is the one I am currently working on.

A fancy silk party dress in fuchsia?  I hope so….

I watched this fabric on the website of Britex Fabrics for months several years ago, and I finally decided I had to have it. It is silk charmeuse, very soft with the abstract design woven in. Is this the year it will meet its destiny?

As long as my granddaughters seem to enjoy wearing the dresses I make for them, I will keep sewing for them – 3 each again this year?   I hope I can manage that.

And who knows what else?  I will let my inspiration and time (!) guide me.  No matter what, I’ll be aspiring to enhance every outfit with the perfect lipstick and its promise of living beautifully, day in and day out, in the easy times and over the long haul.

So, dear sewing friends and readers, put on your lipstick and have a sparkling new sewing year! 

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Looking Backward Before Looking Forward

Retrospection is a good thing, I think, when it comes to sewing (or many things, actually!)  When I think back on 2022 and what I accomplished of my sewing goals for the year, I am surprised by how much I actually marked off my list.  I seem to have started the year with a lot of momentum, but by the end of the year, that momentum, both sewing and blogging, fizzled out, for one reason or another.   My theme for the year was so, so easy for me to remember – PINK  – as in my favorite color.  It was so easy, in fact that I almost shied away from any projects which did not keep with the theme. 

Here is what I made, in no particular order:

  • 2 Spring/Summer cotton blouses, one pink and one red (the red one is a sleeveless gingham, no blog post and not even any photos.)  
I think this blouse may have been Readers’ Choice for 2022!
  • 1 deep pink silk blouse, made from one of my favorite vintage patterns.
  • A short cape to match it to match a pair of slacks I made in late 2021.
  • 6 dresses for my granddaughters (three each), none of which are detailed in a blog post.  I have found most of my reading audience isn’t really interested in sewing for children, so when I do post the dresses I make for them, it is on Instagram   (and I could do a better job of documenting them there …) 
  • 1 chicken potholder.  Made as a topper for a bridal shower gift, this cutie pie is one of many I have made over the years.  
Just for fun, here is that chicken potholder…
  • 1 pink silk gingham Spring coat, with a Trench coat vibe to it.  
  • 1 tunic top for easy Summer wearing.
  • 1 lightweight cotton shirtwaist dress, feminine and breezy.
  • 1 wool/silk blend floral printed skirt, no photos, no blog post, no pink, but heavy on the compliments when I wear it.  I took apart a midi-length skirt I purchased once upon a time from the J. Peterman catalog and remade it into a short, straight-skirt style.  
  • 5 aprons, three of which were gifts to friends. 
  • Home decorator sewing (6 seat cushions) for our western (second) home in Wyoming (NOT pink!) 

When doing a retrospective such as this, I like to ask myself, “What would I have done differently with certain items?”   It seems there is frequently something that should have been tweaked a bit, and so it was this year, with three pieces. 

  1. If I make the cape pattern again, I will add about 2 inches onto the length.  I did not pick this up in the muslin, unfortunately. 
  2. I mentioned this in my blog post, but the cuffs of the pink gingham Spring coat should be roomier. I must unbutton them to slip my hands through them, which is a bit of a nuisance.  I neglected checking this measurement/fit in my muslin/toile, which was a good reminder to me for the future: every aspect of a garment matters.
  3. I used my go-to shirtwaist blouse pattern for the sleeveless gingham blouse I made, and I had to redo the cut of the armscye twice to get the fit correct.  It was easily done, but a bit time-consuming.  The result is a comfortable blouse which now fits well.
Here is that blouse pattern I have used over and over. After I adjusted the sleeveless armscye twice to perfect the fit, I finished the edge with a bias strip seamed on the edge, turned in and stitched by hand as discreetly as possible.

PINK was not only my 2022 theme, but it set guidelines for my approach to sewing as well, such as “P“ for perseverance and perspective.  Keeping perspective, especially toward year’s end when life set me up for some turmoil, helped me through a few rough spots and sewing droughts.  

“I” for indulgence and inspiration were easy guidelines.  Indulge in another coat or two? Why, yes, one can never have too many coats.  And “I” for inspiration was everywhere, from ready-to-wear, to fellow bloggers, to sewing friends, to gorgeous fabrics, to vintage buttons.  The list goes on….

“N” for new endeavors, not necessarily sewing related, added new dimensions to my life this year, to be continued in 2023.  “N” was also for Not feeling guilty.  Not once did I feel guilty for all the hours I spent in my sewing room!  

“K” was for keeping focus.  My lists and planning help me with this.  And “K” is always for kindness, a good goal at any time in any aspect of life. 

How perfect is this image to welcome in a New Year? (From a post by Midcentury Fashion on Facebook). And now is the time to look forward with anticipation and hope and a bit of fun.  Happy New Year! To be continued….

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