From Summer to Autumn: Gabriola Skirt

Summer to Autumn: Gabriola Skirt // Boots & Cats

Ah… the season of pumpkin spice is descending upon us. After a brief jolt of winter early this September, we are now experiencing the seasonal sweet spot. The days are sunny and warm, while the mornings are crisp and refreshing. We can play with interesting layers and combinations; our closets have never felt more alive. Knits and chiffon, skirts and sweaters, summers kiss in an autumn hug. Seriously, this is the best.

Summer to Autumn: Gabriola Skirt // Boots & Cats

Near the end of summer, I went through a major sewing boom, pumping out projects like a factory, one of them was a Gabriola Skirt from Sewaholic patterns. I was so stoked to wear it a few weeks ago, but a spell of SNOW put that dream on hold. Now, more inspired than ever to play with the seasonal crossover, I was elated to dance in the shower of falling leaves in this creation.

Summer to Autumn: Gabriola Skirt // Boots & Cats

I loved sewing this pattern. It was simple, yet the hip yoke detail adds so much OOMPH. I did have a bit of a connundrum on my hands that provided some inertia getting started. I knew from the moment I found it that I wanted to use this blue vintage floral print fabric for this pattern. I had gotten the last of the board with a total of 2.6 meters.

The pattern calls for 4.6 m. Also, being a vintage cotton, it had a width of about 90 cm. It probably wasn’t meant to happen, but I get pretty stubborn sometimes.

Summer to Autumn: Gabriola Skirt // Boots & Cats

I reduced some of my needed yardage by digging out scraps of  ivory lace for the contrast hip yoke (which looks so great with it anyway) and then went to shaving down a TON of the volume from the original pattern. I basically had to remove half the skirt (without sacrificing length). You should have seen how happy I was when I first got all my pieces to fit. Grainlines were a suggestion when it came to these pieces. Luckily the print is forgiving.

So while not as flowy and voluminous as the pattern originally intended, the heavier/stiffer nature of the fabric played well with the a-line silhouette.

Summer to Autumn: Gabriola Skirt // Boots & Cats

On a beautiful +26 degree day, I coerced Rory to capture this skirt in full seasonal transition mode. (He’s becoming quite the photographer and he is super serious about it – he even brought his own knee pads so he could get the best shot). The sun was perfect, the leaves just starting to turn a golden hue – the perfect for the summer side of this transition.

Once the temperature drops I am looking forward to wearing it with chunky sweaters, scarves and layers. PLUS, since it is full length, I can wear as many layers of tights and leggings as I want underneath and no one will know. This is genius I tell you.

Summer to Autumn: Gabriola Skirt // Boots & Cats

Here’s to autumn! Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

Vintage Refashion // #2 Mod Muumuu Redo

Mod Muumuu Re-do // Boots & Cats

As time goes on and my sewing skills improve, I find myself honing in on my personal style. I devour fabrics and patterns from all eras and let them speak to me in a way that lets me know I am on the right track. Settling deep into my heart is late 1960s fashion (re-watching Mad Men probably doesn’t have anything to do with that) and today’s re-fashion project just makes me love it so much more.

Mod Muumuu Re-do // Boots & Cats

Last summer I was gifted a few vintage dresses from Rory’s family which included this beautiful 60’s floral number. Or should I say numbers, since there are actually two separate dresses here. The blue satin layer beneath is a simple a-line tank dress, while the blue floral is sheer with the sleeves and high neckline. While some vintage styles are classics that fit right into modern wardrobe, others don’t quite age as nicely. Plus it is far too short for my stature and that simply would not do.

Vintage preservationists please avert your eyes. There be scissors here.

Mod Muumuu Re-do // Boots & Cats

Since the rest of the dress fit quite well, all I  needed was a good chop off the hemline. I marked the length I wanted the dress to finally sit, added a bit of seam allowance and chops away!

Mod Muumuu Re-do // Boots & Cats

I wanted the overdress to have some of that sheer fabric peek beyond the under-dress, so I used what I had chopped to mark the original length, and added about 5cm plus seam allowance. Chop chop.

I toyed with the idea of removing the original satin bottom hem and adding it onto my new hem, but it brought the look back to a doudy, night-gowny place, so I left it. I am sure I will have plenty of fun things to do with the scraps from this project.

I then whipped up a simple double folded hem to finish of both dresses and they are ready for a summers’ eve.

Mod Muumuu Re-do // Boots & Cats

I love the bold 60’s pattern of the fabric and it is what initially drew me to the dress in the first place. Now that I’m not drowning in print, it shines that much brighter.

Mod Muumuu Re-do // Boots & Cats

I like having the options of playing with modern jewelry and accessories. I can make a statement and go back in time with large flipped hair and bold cat-eyes, or pair with simple touches for a more approachable dinner with friends.

I left the sleeves and high-neckline as-is because these are true indicators of the decade and offer balance to the short length. Gotta keep things appropriate here.

Mod Muumuu Re-do // Boots & Cats

As scared as I was to take scissors to a vintage piece like this, I comfort myself in knowing that I have given it a new lease on life. Never again would it have been worn if left in it’s original state. I am sure there are some of you who never would dare snip vintage, and to be honest, there are some pieces that shouldn’t be messed with, but at some point you have to evaluate clothing’s ultimate purpose: to be worn.

Style // Sixties Autumn

autumn-style-shoot

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love Autumn! Though the days are shorter and the cold breezes are creeping in, there is honestly NO season better for fashion than this one. We can layer, play with textures, accessorize like mad…it’s the best.

coats-and-leaves

This is my first style post, so I guess I’ll have to mention that I love vintage and retro inspiration. You’ll notice it a lot in future posts. I’ve been really grooving on the mod sixties look as of late (Mad Men and Mod Club aren’t helping) so I decided to channel the era in my walk amongst the leaves. I was very pleased that my hair cooperated with all the teasing.

waiting-on-a-picnic

I was never sure if I wanted to do style posts on the blog. I definitely don’t shop enough to create varied looks every single day (nor would I want to), and I wondered if it would be interesting and engaging enough for people. I decided to go out on a limb, give it a try and have some fun. It was a learning experience for both me and Rory (my camera man). I am not sure if you’ve noticed, but for the most part, I tend to be the one behind the camera on here. It was an exercise in trust to hope he would get the image I envisioned in my head. It was an adventure for him learning the ins and outs of my camera.

leaves!

The dress I bought at the 104th street farmers market a few weeks back from an Edmonton designer,  Janna of Cinder + Smoke. I was absolutely taken with the graphic fabric, warm and cozy tones and of course the vintage cut and style. To me, it immediately evokes feelings of apple picking, warm pumpkin pie and peppermint tea. (Although I may just be hungry…)

boots-and-socks

My favorite accessory and sartorial discovery this season has to be the woolen socks with my ankle boots. I purchased the boots a few years back at a fundraiser with my student group. I loved the look but barely wore them, as I was paranoid about the elements as well as my heel would slip if I wore certain tights. Then I discovered in the back of my drawer these knit socks that my grandfather made me even longer ago. Put the two together and boom, you have something I’ve worn about 4 times in the last week. I think I am wearing them as much as I can because I know soon enough I won’t be able to.

whom-to-throw-the-leaves-at

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving long weekend. Wishing everyone good company, copious laughter and many delicious pies.

The Yellow Skirt Project

yellowskirtheader

Last year, as a part of my University program, I had the opportunity to take a 2 month internship at Télio Fashion Fabrics in Montreal, Quebec. I can safely say that it was one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences I have ever had.  It was amazing to be living in such an artistic and cultural place, especially on my own, and learning how to be independent and exploratory. The internship itself was also amazingly wonderful. The environment, the people and of course…the fabrics!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am crazy about textiles. Colours, patterns and textures. It is all amazing. And those people who know me won’t go near a fabric store with me. I take hours deciding what I want and usually end up leaving with everything anyways. I have more fabric than I have projects, but its always better to have fabric when inspiration strikes than to have to go and get it afterwards. Right?

Anyways. I could not possibly imagine leaving Télio with a few more meters of fabric to add to my collection. (I may or may not have had to ship it home in boxes since my suitcases were jam packed too full…oops). One of the such fabrics was this vibrant and joyful Florence Lace #32930 (colour 08). I knew I could use it to make something bright, beautiful and definitely unique.

whirrrrs

After making the huge decision of what fabrics to choose, comes the bigger decision of deciding what to make with it. This fabric had endless potential, plus, the stakes got so much higher! If I made something that didn’t turn out, I couldn’t get more of this fabric very easily. It took a long time to decide on a project, and even then to get going making it. There was a lot of hesitation and worry. But no risk, no reward. Besides, in the grand scheme of things, it’s only fabric.

I decided that a statement swing skirt was the way to go. This fabric needed to be center stage, but a full dress would probably be too much sunshine. I chose a relatively simple pattern, Butterick 5285.

layers

Since the skirt needed to be lined (obviously), many questions were opened up that complicated the process. I wanted the lace to be a seperate overlay from the lining. But the pattern includes pockets! I love pockets! But would I have to sew the lace into them? And the zipper? Would that have to be tucked in too?! And then there was this problem:

skirtpattern

I wanted the pretty scallop on the fabric to be my hemline. But the pattern is curved! OH WHAT TO DO!?

Luckily I was able to call upon my friend Courtney, who happens to be a pattern drafting guru. (Check out her cute little Etsy shop in the making here). She helped me figure out how to compensate for the curved fabric at the bottom by taking it in at the waistline. I would post a tutorial, but even after I cut the fabric I noticed I hadn’t measured correctly and  the sides were too long and droopy. From there I improvised and just pulled the extra fabric into the waistband. It worked for me, but it definitely was a hacked method. I may try to repeat this pattern alteration (correctly) and document it for you all in the future.

whirrr

Even the most best laid plans do go awry. When I went to Courtney’s for pattern advice I had left my pattern instructions at home where I was reading them the night before. I thought I had intended to go with view A, with pleats. I didn’t have enough fabric to create a full circle, so I had to have side seams. When I got home, I realized I had initially measured to use view D, that was just ruched at the waist so it would be using less fabric. It also had a lesser curve on the hem. At this time the fabric was already cut so I just kept on truckin’ with the pleated version. And since I now had incorporated side seams, I went right ahead and added pockets. I sewed them into the lining and used a roll hem on the pocket openings on the lace to keep it flowing but able to get my hands in.

tada1

All in all the construction part wasn’t incredibly hard, once I got past the stressful decision making. I followed the pattern directions for the skirt, having the lace laid on top of the lining pieces and constructed them together (except at the side seams). It took about 3 days of solid motivation to get it all done. and I am super pleased with the result.

twirls

It is one heck of a statement piece, but I am glad I took the risks in not only actually cutting and using the fabric, but in finding solutions to having pockets and zipper in the multiple layers and having the fabric hem aligned in the skirt. It was stressful and frustrating and I am sure I took the scenic route on some things, but it was a learning experience and I always get compliments on the result.