1940s · Dress · In-Progress · Modern Sewing · Vintage

In Progress: Swing Dress

First off, thank you so much for all of your encouraging comments on my last post! I’m happy to report that I am feeling better, although this was after I finally went to the doctor on Thursday (after 3 straight nights of waking up with coughing attacks) and found out that I have a cold that morphed into a sinus infection. So, I’m on antibiotics and am sleeping *so* much better.

Unfortunately, this means that my Project Runway application is looking like it won’t happen. I had planned on madly sewing up sample garments for my portfolio this past week (and then putting everything together this week), but I ended up spending most of it in bed or coughing, which threw a monkey-wrench into that plan. I do want to show my best work, though, and there are a ton of skills and techniques (like draping and sketching) I still want to perfect before I even enter a sewing competition of that caliber. I’m trying to be zen about this and follow the adage “Everything happens for a reason,” realizing that it is probably for the best to take a year to work on my skills and build up my portfolio, as opposed to doing this in a week. So, look for more artistic pieces and my journey to learn more sewing techniques on the blog here in the coming year. 😉


But, I must keep stitching on, and this brings me to my current project, a reproduction 1940s swing dress! I’m using the Sense and Sensibility pattern, as well as this neat novelty/geometric print silk twill fabric that I picked up at the Sewing Expo a few weeks ago from the Vogue Fabrics Store booth. I’d actually seen the fabric there before at previous expos, but never got it because I didn’t have any reason to use it (not that that has stopped me from buying fabric in the past, he hee), but I just couldn’t pass it up this time, and had the perfect use for it!


Oh, and let’s just take a moment to talk about the amazing shoes I scored, which probably deserve their own blog post. Readers, I found on Etsy a pair of deadstock (i.e. original and never worn) 1940s shoes in a size 7 1/2 for – get this – only $35. It gets better. When I tried them on, they fit like a glove, almost like they were molded around my feet. And they are like perfect, actual shoes from the 40s (not repros) that were never worn. Amazes me. I just want to put them on a shelf and stare at them all day, he hee.

Anyways, back to sewing (LOL). I managed to do a mock-up of the bodice after implementing a few pattern changes, and luckily it fits pretty well!

Yes, I always wear yoga pants and a green tank when mocking up my bodices . . .
Yes, I always wear yoga pants and a green tank when mocking up my bodices . . .

The original goal was to have this done by April 1st for the Sew for Victory challenge. Now, there is still is a chance that that could happen (what, there is!). I plan on spending a very mellow Easter at home tomorrow (after a huge day or errands today) and doing a lot of sewing, and the April 1st deadline might actually be just the push I need to get this dress done, as I have a number of 1940s/vintage/WWII events happening later this month that I would possibly like to wear this dress to. I guess we’ll all know by Monday whether or not that happened, tho. 😉

Alright, that’s it for now, lovelies! Hope everyone has a nice Easter!

1850s · 1850s sewing · 1860s · Dress · In-Progress

Sneak Peak: Ballgown bodice


Just a quick look at my current project – a Civil War ballgown! I’ll be attending my first proper ball this Saturday and I hope to have this done in time, which is proving to be difficult with how crazy things have been lately. Anyways, I still have the skirt to hem and pleat, and most of the bodice to finish, including the pleated bertha (top drapey thing) which is taking way longer to finish than I expected (of course). 😉 Hope everyone is having a nice week!

Commission · Contemporary Pattern · Dress · In-Progress · Modern Sewing · Personal

In-Progress: Going-Away Dress

Readers, my best friend is getting married this summer, and not only do I have the distinct honor of being one of the bridesmaids, but I also will be making her going-away dress! I haven’t done a full dress commission since last year, and I felt that a custom-made dress would be a great gift for her and way more personal than say a toaster. 😉

Anyways, the design we decided on was a bodice with a lace yoke, like my sheer-yoked Macaron (I’m actually using the same pattern), but rather than a pleated skirt, I decided to go with a circle skirt. I finished the mock-up yesterday (using muslin and really cheap Joann’s lace fabric), and she came over today for her fitting.

Here’s the dress pre-fitting:


And afterwards, with her wedding colors (the dress will be blue, with a cream lace yoke):


Not a lot of changes, luckily! The yoke was just a little big, so I pinched out the fullness. I’ll buy the fashion fabric and actual lace fabric this Friday when I go to the Sewing Expo! I’m taking a class on draping, which I’m very excited about.

How about you, readers? Anyone ever make anything for a friend that was going to be a bride? Or anybody taking any fun sewing classes soon?

Contemporary Pattern · In-Progress · Modern Sewing

Sneak Peak: Halloween dress!

Just a quick little in-progress shot of my Rachel Berry Halloween dress that I’m working on now. I managed to get quite a bit of work on it this afternoon, to the point where I only have the skirt and lining to construct. Ok, so that’s still a lot, but I can be a quick sewer when I need to be. 😉

I also need to make the shoulder straps, although I decided to do that after I sewed the striped fabric along the top of the bodice so that I can match up the stripes. I was a bit worried when the fabric arrived and the stripes seemed to be further apart than in the original, but I think it’ll be ok.

Ok, that’s it for now. Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

1930s · In-Progress · Vintage

Forays into the 1930s

Happy Monday, readers! I thought I would share some inspiration and photos of my latest project – an outfit for a 1938 picnic!

I’m venturing into uncharted territory here when it comes to 1930s stuff, although this era (as well as the 1920s) have become a new obsession for me.I think it probably has something to do with Boardwalk Empire. I just finished the second season, and cannot wait for the 3rd starting next month! The costumes are just to die for:


Anyways, back to the picnic! The Portland vintage community is organizing a 1938 picnic at Fort Vancouver this Friday, and I just happen to have a mutual friend of the fabulous Solanah of Vixen Vintage (seriously this lady is my idol), so I got invited! I’m just tickled pink by the opporotunity to wear vintage with like-minded and fabulous ladies, and getting to meet one of my favorite bloggers!

Luckily, I already have the hat, a brown leather one which I got at the Civil War reenactment last month:

Don’t worry, I won’t be wearing fur in August . . .

As for the dress, I spent lots of time last week searching online for a vintage 1930s dress to wear. Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything due to a) price, b) size and c) time it would take to ship. Ultimately, sewing my own outfit won out. Here’s my inspiration image:

My plan is to do a red linen suspender skirt with a white blouse, combined with my fabulous leather hat.

Luckily, I already have a suspender skirt pattern, and though it’s from the 1940s, the shape is close enough to the one above from the 30s (same with the modern blouse pattern being a similar shape). The skirt pattern is a bit too small (aren’t vintage patterns always!? lol), so I graded it up this afternoon. I’ll have a tutorial on how to do that up tomorrow. 😉

1850s sewing · Dress · In-Progress

Buried beneath a pile of costumes

As normally happens in the lead-up to a weekend-long event, I’m frantically sewing away on lots of different things. Of course, I have way more projects than time to sew them, so I’ve had to scale back a bit from my original plans (whole new set of mid-19th century underthings by Friday afternoon!? Yeah, not gonna happen). Luckily, I was able to get a lot of sewing done this weekend while I house-sat for my mom. In between watching copious amounts of television and sitting in front of the fan, since it was hotter than Hades. I only really ventured outside when it was necessary (like to check the mail or take the dog out). I just don’t do well in the heat, I’m very pale and delicate, as I’m sure you all know. 😉

But, I just thought I’d share a quick shot of my in-progress work dress for this weekend (sorry I don’t have more than this to show you! So many of my projects are in various stages of completion right now).

Yes, internet, this is what annaintechnicolor looks like without any make-up.

The bodice is yoked (meaning the front is 2 pieces – a smooth top and fuller bottom) and because of the motif on the fabric, I was able to play around with the design while I pleated it to get this really neat squiggle effect. I plan to be very “Jane Eyre chic” in it while I haul water and firewood this weekend. 😉


Dress · In-Progress · Pattern · Regency era costuming

Regency dress sneak peak . . .

Just a quick photo of the Regency dress I spent most of today working on (though I started it yesterday)! I’m using Simplicity 4055, which luckily isn’t out of print, and since it’s supposed to be hotter than hades this weekend, I’m using a sheer black and white swiss dot fabric. The photo above is the lining (cotton batiste!) on the inside being whipstitched, which I did this afternoon. I loved how the pins looked.

Ok, off to go finish the eyelets on the short stays. They’re taking so long, but they look so lovely when they’re done, and unfortunately, I can’t finish the dress without finishing the corset first, since the bust of the dress lies wierdly without the stays on.

Also, with all this hand-sewing, I’m running out of costume dramas to watch! This week alone I’ve already rewatched some of my favorites, including Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, The Hours, and Becoming Jane, and last week I watched Hemingway & Gellhorn, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and Birdsong. Suffice it to say, I totally have a thing for Eddie Redmayne now and I definitely need to see My Week with Marilyn. 😉

Anybody have any good suggestions of costume dramas to watch? Or good films in general?

corset · In-Progress · Musings · Pattern · Puget Sound Ladies Costume Society · Regency era costuming · Underpinnings

Regency short stays are totally the sports bra of the 19th century

I’m buried beneath a pile of costume sewing here at Chez Anna. This Sunday is the Puget Sound Ladies Costume Society Bastille Day Picnic, the weekend after that is my first Civil War reenactment (hard to believe, but I really haven’t been to one of these before), and then 3 weeks after that is the weekend extravaganza known as Brigade Encampment.

So, Bastille Day Picnic. Originally, I had grand plans of making a whole 18th century wardrobe and wearing a Chemise a la Reine (for those interested, you can read more about this garment here), but I realized this past weekend that I only had a week to put an outfit together, and a Chemise a la Reine was just not gonna happen. I mean, I’m a crazy costumer, but I’m not *that* much of a crazy costumer. 😉 Instead, I decided to go with a Regency outfit, since a) the clothes are incredibly simple, b) I already have all of the materials needed for an outfit, so this would be a great stash-busting project and c) I’ve been watching a lot of Jane Austen costume dramas lately.

Anyways, yesterday I went over to Nona‘s and we did a ton of sewing on our Regency costumes, since both of us are new to this era. I started the short stays this past weekend, and almost finished them yesterday, except for the eyelets (which will be done by hand). I’m using the now out-of-print Simplicity 4052. I read a lot of reviews about this pattern before I started sewing and heard that because it’s a Simplicity version of this pattern from Sense and Sensibility, it runs big and to cut out a smaller size. Well, I cut out my regular size 12 (after doing a quick tissue-fitting) and it fits totally fine. I didn’t have any issues at all with the dreaded 4″ of ease that everybody claimed it would have.

The eyelets will go between the binding, and the bone (which is actually just a cable tie I used in a pinch).

 So, the short stays are made from 3 layers: the outer fabric is cotton sateen, the interlining is cottom duck, and the lining is pima cotton. The trickiest (actually, it wasn’t tricky, just tedious) part was sewing in the gussets. that, and sewing so many layers of fabric together (especially the cotton duck, which, if you’ve ever worked with it, it’s like tent fabric). I’m used to my machine being pretty loud when sewing, but it was especially loud when working on these yesterday, and Nona asked me if my machine always made that noise when I use it, so I’ve decided to nickname my sewing machine “the clunker.” 😉

Luckily, there wasn’t too much machine sewing, as I spent most of my time hand-sewing the binding to the inside of the lining, using a whipstitch:

I tried these on today, and the fit is so interesting – they’re like a sports bra with the comfy shape (no belly constricting!) AND a push-up bra, since and they push the bust up to give the fashionable Regency “shelf” look where your boobs are basically under your chin. An added benefit is that since there’s so many layers and they’re so stiff, I’m pretty sure they have bullet-proof functions, as well. Pretty important if you’re in a duel with Aaron Burr.

Yeah, I totally just made an Alexander Hamilton duel joke. 😉

1960s · Dress · In-Progress · Pattern · Vintage

Toile-ing away on a frock for my graduation party

In terms of graduation parties, I realize that I’m having mine a bit late in the game (the party is this Saturday and I graduated, oh, 2 weeks ago?). That being said, having mine later means that I get to channel my inner Bree Van de Kamp and make sure that everything will be perfect (and I actually will be baking a pineapple upside-down cake). The theme that I’ve picked is “1960s Garden Party” based on the photo “Summer Pleasures” taken in 1960 for Life magazine:

Anyways, I’ve already planned the food and decorations, and now I’m working on the most important part (he hee): the dress!

I’m using a shot silk synthetic blend fabric that I got from the fabulous Kendra of Demode during her last blog sale, coupled with Butterick 5748 (a modernized reprint of an original pattern from 1960).

I’m really glad I made a toile/muslin mock-up of the bodice before I cut into the fabric, as there was a ton of ease added in to the pattern! This was my first time using a reprint pattern, so for those of you with more experience: is this a common issue with pattern reprints? I didn’t have to do too many alterations, except take extra fullness out of the center front (I just made a 5/8″ tuck) and take in the shoulder seam 1/2″.

Sorry for the shoddy quality on this one . . .

And in related graduation news, I just wanted to congratulate my little sister again for graduating from high school last week! We’re so proud of her, and she’ll be going to my alma mater in the fall. 😉

Alright, back to sewing!