WIW: Home couture and styling an orphan

In the post that prompted the epic thread about personal style versus fashion, Suz talks about "the type of person who sews all your own clothes from old patterns".... Well, hello YLF! That would be me.

OK, so it's not all my clothes and I most definitely look at fashion. But neither  of these models are new by any stretch of the imagination. I've also updated patterns from the 1940's and could bore you rigid about the classic tailoring from that era. But I digress.

The first is adapted from a pattern from around 1992. It's a very simple model with some rather subtle tailoring. The original was a hip-length tunic with long sleeves. I lengthened it, shortened the sleeves and added a separable zipper in the back. I like it a lot, it's really warm and great for the winter, but there are some issues with the lining ease in the hem so it's bagging a bit. Firecracker, Diane G, should I satisfice or pick it apart? Also not sure about the polka dot base layer, which was the thing that came to hand that morning. 

The second is from the late aughts. It is a different animal altogether, a challenging piece of couture sewing by Ralph Rucci that is as much about the making as the wearing. There's a piece about it on my other blog. This is why I sew. 

And I have to ask about the boots. These are a wild card turned orphan, Italian bench made and super comfortable. They look lovely benched on my shoe rack but they aren't getting the love they so richly deserve. I've worn them quite a bit with tapered pants but that's not working for me this year. How do they look with a dress? I'm thinking of trying them with more A-line styles in the spring.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • lyn67 replied 6 years ago

    Wow, you are definitelly very very skilled!  (I also loved to sew myself and DD until a decade or so ago, but then found my clothes in stores and called it having no more time for sewing...or I just became much more lazier:-((().,

    I see the problem with the lining down  the left hem-and it depends on your time and willingness to repair it, or not, it's not that obvious for a not so trained eye, but if it bothers you then will pretty worth to do it, in the end-it's a great dress:-).

    Oh, my-for the second dress....It's beautifull! (Hats of for the Alexander McQueen kimono  blazer, too:-))

  • jackiec replied 6 years ago

    My word, both outfits are fantastic! That second dress looks like it must have been a ton of work. I love those boots and hope you bring them out more often.

  • shevia replied 6 years ago

    Both dresses are fantastic but the second one really set my heart aflutter! Amazing! The boots are excellent - I love the ombre toes - and I like them with the dress, if that helps!

  • replied 6 years ago

    Oh, I think I remember the Ralph Rucci pattern from my old Vogue catalogues from way back (God I wish I'd kept those catalogues).

    The tunic/dress looks pretty perfect to me. Only a minor bit of bulge/pucker as Lyn mentioned. But barely anything to worry about too much. I know, though that you are perhaps like me and quite particular, so if you feel you should unpick and re-stitch, perhaps you will feel happier? I love how you styled it and I rather like the polka dot top for subtle pattern mixing.

    Going back to the Ralph Rucci, I think it looks awesome! I really, really like the boots with it too. They sound divine too. Oh, I just noticed the hem detail, how fab!

    I'm going to read your article on your other blog about the sewing too :)

  • replied 6 years ago

    Holy cow - these are dresses after my own heart.  I learned to tailor and sew couture level patterns while in university and I just loved the challenge too as much as the finished product. You are making me want to dust off the machines again. Anyways, those are fantastic boots, and I think they are perfect the way you are wearing them. Dress or pants - these are lifetime achievement boots :)  

  • celia replied 6 years ago

    I would wear any of those dresses in a heartbeat. 
    Ditto for the boots.

  • Sara L. replied 6 years ago

    What great dresses you made!  I think the boots look good with the dress because they are very fitted at the ankle.

  • tulle replied 6 years ago

    My goodness, you're an adventurous seamstress!  That Rucci dress is amazing.  I love your Italian boots, but can see how they might be too much for tapered pants. Have you tried them with bootcuts?

  • approprio replied 6 years ago

    Thanks ladies as ever for the feedback.

    lyn67, Diane G: I think might have to pick it apart and see what I can do with it. It's been bothering me since I noticed it, but it's a frequent problem with stitching linings into the hem, even with ease. And Lyn, I haven't tried the kimono yet, but I've enlarged the pattern print and I'd like to make it a project for later in the year (if I don't get distracted by something else)

    lisap: sewing's always been an important creative outlet for me, but I really have to make the time for it. I sometimes go for months without doing anything, then have a massive binge. And you're right, these boots are too good to be benched. I'm going to have to find the exact pants shape for them. Probably some species of bootcut, as tulle suggests. And maybe a three-quarter length tailored coat, another thing I don't have right now.

    And jackiec, celia, shevia, Sara L: thanks for the boost! 

  • Vicki replied 6 years ago

    Gorgeous in every respect and I love the boots, too!  While I know nothing about sewing, it seems you sew with the eye of a designer.  

  • rachylou replied 6 years ago

    Wow. You are a master seamstress. Fantastic. The boots are INCREDIBLE and beautiful with the dress.

    Too good. Like some spoiled princess brat may lock you up and make you sew, like they did poor Rumpelstiltskin to spin straw into gold ;)

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