Friday, April 13, 2012

Sew Weekly Challenge: Local Color or "The Michigan Avenue Ensemble"

Friends, this outfit makes me so happy.  I would say that 95% of that happiness comes from the skirt being SO FLUFFY.

Top: Heavy rose pink cotton from stash, Vogue 5542 (Ebay)
Skirt: Heavy cotton/upholstery tulip fabric, via Mama Grand;  Advance 8781 
Crinoline: $25 from Dethrose Vintage at the Randolph Street Market

I know it's Springtime in Chicago when the tulips appear.  Mayor Daley was serious in his attempts to beautify the city and so all of the flower beds on Michigan Avenue are filled to the brim with blooming tulips.  It is simply intoxicating seeing all those colors as you walk down the street!

When Mama Grand passed along this tulip fabric to me, Michigan Avenue sprang to mind.  I knew it would be perfect for this challenge, but I didn't know if I wanted to make a dress or a skirt.  I just wanted to show off the border print as best as possible.  It ended up that I had exactly enough fabric for the Advance skirt, and since I hadn't used this pattern yet, it worked out perfectly.

The pink cotton was also in my stash.  I had originally set it aside to be used as a lining for a Simplicity skirt pattern, but since that pattern had yet to make it to the cutting table, I thought perhaps this challenge was a little more pressing.  It also matched the skirt, which made it all the more difficult to resist.

I love stash busting - it might just be one of my favorite things. 

We were able to take these pictures on the little flowerbed islands in the middle of the street.  Cars were rushing past us the whole time, and one even honked at us.  I forgot my New Year's resolution of no street fighting for a moment and yelled at him.  *Sigh*  I really am trying, I swear.

Looking north on Michigan Avenue.  Hello, Hancock Building!

Facing south on Michigan - you can just see a corner of the Wrigley Building rightthere.  

Rob wanted another photo of me sniffing the flowers, but as I leaned over, a bus drove by and my skirt flew up in the air - thus the awkward pose below.  I hope the passengers on the bus liked my crinoline!

A close up of the skirt.  I love how the pleats turned out in the end, though the side seams are a bit wonky due to trying to fit around the pleats.  I was willing to accept that the pleats wouldn't be perfect on the sides as long as they looked good in the front and the back.  The skirt also started out seven inches longer, but I chopped that off in order to have the skirt hem and crinoline hem be somewhat even.

The top was just a mess.  I was hoping that I could throw it together quickly, but it ended up taking four hours on its own.  I am not good at resizing vintage patterns, I'll just put that out there.  I think this top was originally meant to be loose, so when I added the extra inches to take it from a 34" bust to my 37 1/2", it became even more loose.  It was swimming on my dress form.

I had to tear out the front princess seams three times.  Finally, I decided to bring the front of the bodice in by adding a pleat a la Sorbetto.  This took care of the huge amount of fabric in the front, and then I went back to tackling the princess seams.  I managed to finally line everything up near its necessary location, and though the princess seams are still off, they match and I am happy with that.  Once I had the blouse fit through the front and the sides, I realized that this was supposed to be a loose blouse and I had managed to take away all the wiggle room.  Boom!  Add buttons to the back a la Sencha and we are set to go.  I also used the Coletterie's tips for bias trim for the neckline and armholes.

The buttons are peachy in color and are 1" wide.  I love the look they create!

My photographer wanted a picture of me crossing the street.  Here I am posing in the street.

Apparently, that was not what he wanted - he wanted me to walk normal.  This is me pretending to walk normal but really it looks like I am throwing a tantrum or something.  I might have been running to get out of the way of cars.  Or to yell at that guy.  Or that's just how I walk, which I hope isn't the case because wow, I look silly.

Since it's been a bit chilly lately, I paired the ensemble with my long green cardigan, which matches perfectly with the leaves in the skirt.  Yay for not having closet orphans!

Running around a city in heels is hard.  Few people can do it well, and I am not one of those people.

But alas, no rest for the wicked - someone was DETERMINED to get a picture of me wearing an apron and holding a vacuum cleaner.  He would not let it drop.  At all.  It was getting pretty annoying, but finally, I gave in.  

His direction: "look like you just won a unicorn made of puppies."

"We are so fresh and so clean clean."

Feminism: 1960

Feminism: Present Day

Yep.  He got his picture, but I got mine too, AND I got a martini.  So there.

He did get me back, though...

The ceiling, from my point of view, for the rest of the day.  That martini was a whopper.

Thanks for reading all, and I hope you are having some sunshine and flowers where you are!


  1. Love the photo shoot! And, of course, the outfit :)

  2. Ha ! You made me laugh so much. And yes the skirt is lovely, such pretty fabric.

  3. You. are. adorable. And I love the skirt!

  4. I don't know which is better--that FREAKIN' AWESOME SKIRT or these AMAZING photos!!!! I love posing in the street and the past and present feminism photos. you rule my world.

    1. ...David says 'and she looks like she just won a unicorn made out of puppies!'

  5. Meg, your posts always bring sunshine to my day.. What gorgeous outfit.. The shirt makes all of us very envious.. I love the volume and the underskirt .

    Totally fab...

  6. That is hilarious. Love it all, especially the petticoat!

  7. I think you win the prize for Best Thing on the Internets Ever. I actually spit my tea a little bit when I saw the Feminism 2012 photo. Your man is awesome and deserves honorary membership in the Sew Weekly because he knows how important a good photo is!!!

  8. This is all just adorable! The outfit, the photos, everything! Love it!

  9. the martini photo is the best. and the skirt is just lovely!

  10. holy cow i love you. your photographer rocks too.

  11. Gorgeous outfit! Love the crinoline! I want one now!

  12. OMG, love it! That totally made my day.

  13. Sooooooooooooo cute! Love the outfit-- way to figure out a fix for the blouse issues! Chicago is so beautiful in the springtime-- it almost makes the long winters worth it!

  14. lovely! and now, I miss Chicago. too long since I've been there.

  15. Girl, you always crack me up! :-)

    Love the outfit - great matching, and it's stunning on you. (I'm also very jealous of your new crinoline, it's super!)

  16. What a wonderful array of photos. What fun! I love your fluffy skirt and blouse. They look so great together.

  17. laughing out loud -- that was an amazing series of pictures

  18. Oh I so enjoyed laughing with you in that post. Your skirt and top are beautiful, your skirt fabric is gorgeous and you pleats look perfect. I think you should consider entering them in the Pattern Review Vintage contest.

  19. OMGah! You are awesome and your wonderful post what just the think I needed today! I adore the outfit and that crinoline is wowza!!!

    Did you know my great-grandfather worked for Mr. Wrigley at that same building? Yup. He started working for Mr. Wrigley in 1920 and carried on for over 40 years. Amazing, no?

  20. Meg your first sentence sums up exactly how I feel about swishy/fluffy skirts and dresses! :)

    I am soooooo in love with your ensemble that I will be on the look out for a similar floral border print so I can have one of my own.
    (Hope you don't mind).

    Your photos and post have really made me smile. Thanks!

  21. That skirt and crinoline are KILLER!

    I also love those last few pictures, hilarious.

  22. Really entertaining! The picture of you with the vacuum and apron reminded me of this 80s advert: Great skirt as well!

  23. Hehe, that's the most entertaining photo story, ever! :) The outfit is very pretty, I love the springy look of the border print flowers - but can I say that I'm in love with that deep blue, full, swishy crinoline! :)

  24. Thanks for making me happy with a) your hilarious shoot and b) sights of Chicago!

  25. I don't have adequate words for the epic awesomeness of this outfit and the series of photos in this post!!! :-D

  26. I'm pretty sure this is my favorite blog post of yours, ever. The skirt, the buttons on the blouse, the fabulously blue crinoline, your pumps, and the ridiculous photos at home...

  27. just adding to the love. the whole thing is amazing, from the outfit (the actual point of the post) to the martini, to the view of the ceiling.


  28. You are just the funniest< Love the skirt!! You rock Meg.
    I love the Feminism: Present Day photo.

  29. This is a fantastic post your funny as with the pictures I love it. Looking forward to seeing what else you create!!