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 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.
A fancy silk party dress in fuchsia? I hope so….
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!
A Blue, White and Pink Tunic Top
Perhaps many of you are familiar with this famous quote from Edith Head (American costume designer, 1897-1981): “A dress should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to prove you’re a lady.” When it comes to tunic tops, my very inelegant redo of that quote is: “A tunic should be fitted enough to not be baggy and loose enough to be able to get into it.” I find that combination to be a difficult task. Let’s see how I did with this one:
When I saw this pretty fabric on Emma One Socks’s website, I just knew I needed to purchase a length of it. All cotton, it is finely woven and silky soft. Originally, I thought I would make a dress, but when it arrived, I saw it as a tunic top, trimmed in pink, of course. I have a couple of tunic patterns, but I went back to this one because the front opening is longer than most, making it easier to get on and get off.
The interesting thing about this pattern is that there is no fastener/button indicated for that long opening. I’m not sure how one would keep a degree of modesty – or even keep the tunic properly on one’s body – without a button or at least a hook and eye. More about that later.
There are a couple of features of this pattern I like, besides that long opening in the front. It has shoulder darts in the back, which I always find add just a little necessary fitting finesse.
I also like the way the front facing is constructed, and the width of the stand-up collar. However, the pattern lacks slimming darts in the back. My limited experience with sewing tunics has taught me that without long defining fisheye darts in the back, my tunic is going to be baggy and look like a sack. So, I added them.
I also shortened the sleeves, as I prefer a length just below the elbow, and I took out some of the width of the “trumpet.” Even with a narrower sleeve, I knew turning up a hem on it would result in a less than smooth finish. To get around this, I took the pattern piece for the bottom panel for the long sleeve (shown on the pattern), flipped it, narrowed it, and shortened it to give me a facing which would be a perfect fit into the lower curve of the sleeve.
Back to that front opening: when sewing the facing on, I added a loop to the right side so that I could strategically place a button to keep the gap closed. On this fabric, it seems hardly noticeable, but oh my, is it necessary!
One of the beauties of tunics is there are no rules on how trim is applied or placed or even if it is used. I had purchased two widths of Petersham ribbon for use on this garment, fully intending on using two rows to echo the front opening. However, I determined that would be too much. Instead, I used the narrower ribbon on the collar and as the second row around the hem and the side slits. The sleeves seemed to look better with the wider width of ribbon. The ribbon adds a degree of stability to the hem, especially, which helps the tunic to hang properly.
By the way, sewing all that Petersham ribbon on is helped immensely by the use of Dritz WashAway adhesive tape.
Obviously I have not washed this tunic yet, but in its first laundering the tape securing the ribbon will, indeed, wash away. I expect a softer appearance of the ribbon at that point, which seems to have a few waves in it at present.
Pictures often are the best way to check fit on a garment (even after multiple try-ons to fine-tune it), and I was pleased with the final, slightly fitted, non-baggy appearance of this tunic. In other words, it does not look like a sack! It is easy to slip on, less so getting it off, but still very manageable. (Sometimes a side zipper can be – or needs to be – added to help with this task of dressing and undressing. The abbreviated length of this example precluded that option.)
I’m not sure what Edith Head would have thought about tunics, if anything (!), but I am thinking positively about this one.
Filed under Blouses, Fashion commentary, Loops for buttons, Tunics, Uncategorized, Vogue patterns
Tagged as Emma One Sock Fabrics, fashion sewing, sewing, tunic tops