Sunday, February 28, 2016

Homenaje a Byron Lars – OOP Vogue 1846

It’s the second to the last day of Black History Month, and I thought I would honor one of my favorite designers, Byron Lars.  Byron was born in California, studied fashion design at the Brooks Fashion Institute and New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology then launched his own line in 1991.

In the 90’s Vogue produced a series of Byron Lars “Vogue Attitudes” patterns of which I am lucky to own two, Vogue 1846 and Vogue 1621.  A very long time ago I made Vogue 1846, View A; and I still wear it frequently.

It’s such a fun blouse, and I’m so glad that over the years I never let it go.  This blouse is not my best sew, but it’s not too bad either.  I feel so special when I’m wearing because it is really unique.  This is one of the garments that, for me, epitomizes my reasons for sewing.  You can create a garment that’s unique, fits well and doesn’t break the bank. 

From what I remember, it wasn’t a bad sewing experience and came together fairly quickly.  I do remember choosing these square, bone buttons with a little fish carved into them, thinking these would add just a little extra something special to the make.

I’m also very fortunate to own a Byron Lars RTW blouse that a friend gifted to me in one of her massive closet cleanouts.  Putting this on is like creating an origami.  This gets folded into that, a strap crosses in front, there are buttonholes for buttons in unexpected places, etc.  I always have to think through how to get into this blouse when I wear it.

There’s a great blog post from Pattern Vault that was written earlier this year in honor of Byron’s birthday that details his career and the series of Byron Lars Vogue sewing patterns.  It's a fun but quick read.

Byron’s designs have evolved over the years, and his current line, Beauty Mark features some lovely pieces – body con dresses mingled in with some fit and flares with some pieces an obvious and beautiful nod to his earlier designs.

Michelle Obama, our lovely first lady, is even a fan of Byron.  In 2011 she wore a dress from his Beauty Mark line for two events, one of which was the "First Family Official Portrait."

Today, I raise a glass to Byron Lars, thanking him for pursuing his dream (I’m sure there were many sacrifices along the way) and for sharing his vision with all of us.

Viva Byron Lars!

Hasta pronto! 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Tova Chica - Wiksten Tova Dress

I have a Tova!  The Wiksten Tova, to be exact.  I made this up quite quickly a few weeks ago.  Like everyone else who made this has stated, it’s a pretty fun and quick sew.  I used the downloaded version, and it was even quicker to cut and tape together since I enlisted the help of a little chica I was babysitting on MLK day. 

Do any of you use your children to help with taping together downloaded patterns?  I think I might have to babysit again sometime soon since I have a Burda dress and coat project in my queue, and I’m sure that will be a huge pattern to tape together.  An extra pair of hands might just help speed putting the pattern together.

The Tova is a very straightforward make and an easy sew.  I noticed just two minor cons: one is the 3/8” seam allowance.  I serged the edges of the pieces before I sewed them, since I felt there would hardly be a way to serge them after sewing.  The second gripe is one I have with many other independent patterns – they don’t include figure points (bust apex, waistline and hip line).  Since I use a custom basic blouse pattern on tag board (I made it years ago in an in-person Suzy Furrer pattern drafting class) to aid with fitting, I just have to guess where the bust, waist and hip are located on a pattern that doesn't indicate figure points.

However, these are just small cons in the grand scheme of things.  This is a fun and quick make.  It also doesn’t need as much fabric for the dress as indicated.  I think I used about 2 1/2 yards, and I have some scraps leftover.  That pattern instructions state you need 3 - 31/2 yards, so you might need just a yard less, if your fabric is 60" wide.  I did a test layout before I started cutting just to be sure and was super excited when I realized I had enough of this fabric for my Tova.

I purchased the fabric at my old haunt, Fabrix, in San Francisco on a trip home a few years ago.  I was mad for this fabric but only bought about 2 yards of it.  Not sure why I did that, since I really liked it, but oh, well.  For about 2 years in a row, I've pulled it out each winter, but couldn’t find the perfect pattern for it.  I wasn’t sure that the Tova would work either, since it states that 3 - 31/2  yards is required.  However, I made it work with some to spare.  To add some interest I cut the front yoke and sleeve and collar bands on the bias.  I like this look with the plaid.

I need to wear something underneath, since the wool is just a touch itchy, but
the end result is a fun stylish dress that gives you tummy room without making you look pregnant, at least I hope this is the case. 

Hasta pronto!

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