Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Sew Weekly Reunion: My Slytherin Bolero

As I mentioned in my last post, I was in a bit of a sewing rut because of my long break from my machine, so I was ever so grateful for TSWR's guidelines and deadline pushing me to get my act together. I do best when I have some loose parameters (and a semi-firm deadline) -- I know, so INTJ of me -- so I hied me over to the stash to locate a suitably colored fabric. I actually had a length of bottomweight twill in emerald that would've been perfect, but I had had it pegged for a pencil skirt. So? What's wrong with that, you ask? Well, to ease myself back into sewing, I wanted to make something less intensive than a garment that needed to be perfectly fitted to my butt, you know? Even though I already have a pretty good pattern, I decide I wasn't mentally ready yet (have you noticed that lack of mental readiness has been a theme for me lately?), so I decided to make...




...a fitted cropped jacket-y thing in a difficult fabric, with lots of little fiddly details. Tell me how this is supposed to be easier than a simple skirt again? In my defense, I wasn't in love with this "Deep Lichen Green" corduroy fabric, so I figured I'd just quickly slap something together and not care too much if it didn't turn out perfectly. I had just barely a yard of this fabric, and it was a weirdly-shaped piece to boot, so a bolero (or pencil skirt...but let's not go there) was the only pattern I could think of that would fit. It was an untested pattern, too, so I ended up making lots of changes on the fly; I figured it would be a wearable muslin of sorts.

Only problem was, once I sewed up the shell and attempts at a matching lining from stash fabrics pretty much relegated me to black, I realized that this would be perfect for a Slytherin House look if I also used silver buttons. Suddenly I found myself caring quite a bit about making it as perfect as possible. It was too late to interface the front (especially since I don't know which box the nice interfacing is in, plus corduroy has a plush surface anyway) or put in shoulder epaulettes, and I neglected to grade the very bulky seam allowances, but ahh, such is life?


In the spirit of honesty, allow me to say that the design was totally stolen from inspired by this bolero from Black Mirror Design. I didn't have enough fabric to make the neck ruffle into box pleats, nor go all the way around; I settled for knife pleats and made it go as far as I could. I think I like it better that way, since it looks less busy. I also opted not to do the back tab since I got lazy don't want a button bothering me every time I lean back.






Summary:
Fabric: About one yard of mystery-content corduroy, not too heavy...gifted, and therefore free, from the stash of a friend who was moving out of the country. It was pretty wrinkled from being packed and moved up the state, but I was scared of ironing the fabric and crushing the pile, so I ended up steaming the whole thing for half an hour before I started cutting it out. The lining is leftover black sheet from this dress.
Notions: Four metal buttons with a very tiny rampant lion in the middle of the coat of arms...so even though it's Slytherin colors, it's very subtly showing support for Gryffindor? Maybe it's femme-Snape's bolero, since, you know, he was all about his house, but ultimately supported Harry in his fight against Voldemort.  



Pantone Challenge colors: Deep Lichen Green. Okay, maybe it's a bit lighter than that, but just turn down the brightness of your monitor and it'll be fine! I didn't want to buy new fabric for this challenge, so sue me. Actually, these pictures make it look more Emerald than it really is.
Pattern: Simplicity 9091 

Year: 1999...yikes!
Time to complete: Something like fifteen hours? The actual sewing was very easy; the majority of the time was taken up with trying to fit the shoulder/neck area (I ended up cutting off that weird extension that the pattern called for and subbing in the ruffle instead) and trying to figure out how to bag the lining. I sewed the sleeve ends together wrong several times before figuring it out.
First worn: Just for pictures...it's too warm for outerwear still, even if this is fairly light-weight corduroy.
Wear again? Presumably?
Will you make it again? Probably not, since I don't need many boleros in my life. They've always struck me as a fairly impractical garment, since they leave your torso all cold.
Total cost: Only $3 for the buttons! Since both fabrics were stash/free, it was a very economical make. Especially when you consider that the bolero I was knocking off costs over $180!
Final thoughts: I love that my favorite makes usually start out on whims, usually as wearable muslins that snowball into something more. Even though you can't really tell from my expression in the photos (it was the end of a long day, and I wasn't even sure I'd make it back home in time to catch the last bit of sunlight), I really like this bolero, since it hits that perfect sweet spot of not-your-everyday-garment-but-not-too-costumey-to-wear-when-it's-not-Halloween. Mr. Cation's reaction: "What era is it from? It looks French." Before I could protest that French is not an era, and that this was supposed to be a modern pattern, he pronounced it way more wearable than any of my superhero dresses, so I'll take that.



I know this isn't a refashion or a UFO, but this is the only thing I think I can manage for the month of August. I've got a wedding coming up this weekend, and I need to decide fairly quickly if I want to whip up something new, or just go with an old dress. Andrea has already expressed the sentiments that I'm sure many of us feel, so you understand my desire for new and shiny, but at the same time I've already got lots of special occasion dresses that don't get half as many outings as they deserve. #firstworldsewingproblems, am I right or am I right?

Anyway, thanks to the setting sun, we got some artsy-ish photos, you know, like the kind they have in Vogue or Harper's Bazaar. Those photos always do such an awful job of actually showing the garments they're purportedly advertising; models are inevitably hunched up or standing behind distressed furniture or what have you...so maybe these are too normal.

The cat hair on my tank top kind of ruins the whole look. 

Also, my hair is at that weird not-short-not-long stage that I hate. 


And then there are the outtake photos, where I don't know what I was trying to do at the time...

Derp-face while contemplating my wrist tabs and buttons. Maybe I'm wondering if the buttons are too obvious about my support of Harry Potter? Does He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named stoop to examining his Death Eaters' outfits for clues about where their true loyalties lie? 

69 comments:

  1. Oh, I love your little bolero! The ruffle around the neck and the button flap cuffs are such great details. Glad you were able to unpack your sewing machine and finish it. And, I have cat hair on Everything. In fact, right now Kitty is curled up asleep on a half finished wool blend cape I'm working on. Ever had to get cat hair out of a thick plush wool blend? Burn it. It doesn't come off.

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    1. It's a good thing I saw the Black Mirror one, or I never would have thought to include those details!

      Kitty knows what the good stuff is, and wants to claim it for himself!

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  2. It's wonderful, I'm so glad you've decided you like it because it really suits you. I'm struggling with the concept that your superhero dresses aren't wearable - what does your husband mean? ;)

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    1. Hahaha *I* think they're plenty wearable, but Mr. C is not used to such...loud clothing?

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  3. I love your creation much better than the original. I agree with you that boleros are not very practical, I also have my belly and back cold very often. All in all, I love the design, and as I've said, you improved the original design. A. LOT.

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    1. I'm trying to rack my brains for anything that could take up the slack in the back and belly area, but there's really no garment for *just* that area! I'm glad you think mine is better than the original :)

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  4. I love how it has an old-fashioned and steampunk edge to it but is nonetheless casual and contemporary. The button tabs on the front are a wonderful little detail.

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    1. That's exactly the vibe I was going for, so I'm glad it came across!

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  5. I love this, especially paired with jeans! I haven't touched my machine in at least a month and I'm having trouble getting back to it. You made an awesome first-project-back. :)

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    1. The sad thing is, now that I've finished the bolero, I'm stuck again! Here's to both of us finding a new project soon!

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  6. This is so freaking cute! I love it. It really shows your that tiny waist of yours too - very flattering and super cute. Awesome!

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  7. That bolero is seriously HAWT! I'm torn between showing this to my sister, who would want one, or just admiring it myself.

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    1. Heh...it's too late for me...my sister already wants one!

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  8. What a cool jacket! I kind of want one exactly like it, even though my friends have dubbed me a Ravenclaw.

    And I wouldn't say it's impractical--after all, it's extending wear on all of those short-sleeved and sleeveless things that would definitely be too cold for the change in seasons.

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    1. You could totally make it up in a dark blue corduroy with brass buttons! I think I'm more of a Ravenclaw myself, but I love me a conflicted antihero, hence the Slytherin love.

      That's an excellent point about the short-sleeved tops!

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  9. I like your version better than the one from Black Mirror. Really cute and very flattering!

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  10. I love this! It kind of marries your historical sewing with a modern edginess.

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  11. It looks sort of like a spencer, which is a Directoire & Empire fashion, which is French. Maybe that's what Mr Cation meant?

    It's lovely, it's corduroy (which I love), it's nice colours (Slytherin or not, they're nice), the neck ruffle is far prettier than the all-around-ruffle of the inspiration piece (because it's more like a collar), it's got that historical-to-modern subversion going on that I love; overall, I'm adding myself to the ranks of people who WANT this! :D

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    1. Mr. Cation: YES, that's what I meant.

      I did originally want to make a spencer with this fabric, but 1) I didn't have enough fabric, and 2) I didn't feel like doing the research to find a historically accurate pattern. Oh well, some other time!

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  12. P.S. And I believe I have a late 90s bolero pattern that I may be able to turn into something like this. Is it OK to rip off a garment that's sort of a rip-off in itself?

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    1. I think you totally should! Those of us HSFers with late 90s bolero patterns hanging around have got to stick together!

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  13. LOVE this!! Beautiful as always... my only complaint is, I can't copy you cause there's no pattern LOL ^__^

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    1. I think the Simplicity 1819 pattern is pretty much exactly the same, so you can totally do it!

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  14. This is super duper cute on you!!! I too love projects that morph into awesomeness as you sew. I think this will be a really fun piece for you to add to your wardrobe. Such great details!

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    1. Mighty Morphin' Power Projects...go go power sewing!!

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  15. It's beautiful! I love the pleats, the tabs, everything! I can never think of any occasion to wear boleros either, but I really like them anyway.

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    1. The pattern envelope shows it going over a formal dress, so I guess that's the intent!

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  16. I love this! The color looks great on you, and I'm sure it'll be awesome for fall nights.

    The pleats are totally Slytherin-femme. I'm sure Pansy Parkinson would have loved it. I'm also pretty sure Voldemort doesn't look at the buttons on death eater's jackets. I think he's kind of preoccupied by the whole killing Harry thing, to be honest. Stupid of him, really. Finishing details on boleros are clearly much more important...

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    1. Oh phew, I wouldn't want to give away Snape's loyalties! Although I guess if I were really trying to be true to his character, it would be a doe on the buttons instead!

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  17. This is fabulous, I love it! And I totally understand about the cat hair. Mine has taken to sleeping on whatever project I am working on. All the comfy beds and sofas in the house and he would rather sleep on something with pins in. Cats are weird.

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    1. Right?! Who can understand the mind of a cat?

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  18. i love this little bolero! the neck ruffle is just perfect.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! At first I was concerned that it wasn't long enough, but now that it's done I like it better than an all-around ruffle.

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  19. Love it! Great little details! The ruffles and buttons really make it. Awesome use of the green corduroy.

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    1. When I first looked at the strangely-shaped piece of corduroy, I was pretty flummoxed, but I think this is the best I could've hoped for!

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  20. I love this! I never really 'got' boleros before, but now I get it. I'm also really inspired to dig through my stash of 90s formalwear/costume patterns from high school and see if there's anything like this in there. I pretty much ignored anything except the corsets and big floofy skirts during that phase of my sewing life. The green works really well here too.

    Boleros seem like a great way to play around with jacket/outerwear detailing without having to deal with as much bust fitting as a proper jacket. Plus I've been finding it hard to wear real jackets for much of the year (since I grew up on the east coast and still maintain that it never really gets cold in San Francisco/East Bay) so maybe boleros or otherwise cropped jacket things are a way to get that style without overheating? Certainly worth experimenting...

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    1. That's exactly how I feel about boleros now that I've made one -- they're like Jackets Lite. I bet you think it's funny how Californians bundle up when it's 60 degrees out!

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  21. Looks fantastic! I love your little bolero, and it suits you so well!

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  22. This is the first bolero I've seen that I can actually imagine wearing myself! I'm usually scared of boleros because I have broad shoulders, but I think you said that you do, too, and this doesn't emphasize them in a bad way. I think the shorter ruffle is the perfect amount of ruffliness. Well done!

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    1. I do have broad shoulders, so yes, I think boleros can work! I think the tricky thing is getting just the right level of fit vs. ease in the shoulders so that it doesn't look overwhelming.

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  23. Wow, this is so great and looks fabulous on you!

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  24. Ok, this is one of my favourite things EVER! Love every little detail (and I like yours better than the inspiration. :) ) may have to steal your idea, though..,

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    1. Please do! This is a very you sort of garment, isn't it?

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  25. This is so freaking awesome! I totally want to rip this off, err, be inspired by it. I'm not entirely sure that I like how those cutaway bolero fronts look on me though, so I might just have to plagiarise, err, be inspired by the neck ruffles and the button details. This is totally amazing!

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    1. I wasn't sure about the cutaway look either, but I think it works out okay, even if it is a little impractical! But yes, the ruffle and button tabs are more important!

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  26. It looks so good on your wide shoulders!!! I really want one of my own now, in like...wine color. Awesome job.

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    1. You can try mine on when you come over! It was pretty easy to make, so I would just need to find the right fabric.

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  27. Replies
    1. The International Bolero Group should pay me a commission ;)

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  28. Oh my goodness, I love this so much! It's just gorgeous! And there is nothing that is too obvious about support of Harry Potter ;)

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    1. I should've embroidered "Always" or "Until the very end" somewhere hidden!!

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  29. This is totally awesome and I'm going to copy you.

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  30. I like your bolero better than the source you copied! Yours has just the right amount of pleated ruffle. The details of it are great and exactly what would make me look at it twice. =)

    Just curious, did you not try washing & drying it to get the wrinkles out? (Plus, it's always safe to preshrink corduroy.)

    ~ Brooke

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  31. I love this so much! Everything about it is just fabulous, I even love the colour and I don't usually go for greens.
    I might have a search through my pattern stash to see if I have a jacket pattern I can alter to try and have a go :)

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  32. I can't believe you favour Slytherin over Gryffindor! Other than that, the bolero is lush.

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  33. Love all of the HP comments. Have so many wonderful things to say about your bolero, but I must leave now to Google fan art of "Femme Snape"...Really, though, it's BEAUTIFUL!

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  34. This is gorgeous. I love the knife pleats so much better than ruffles. I think it looks better without epaulettes for everyday wear, but if you wanted to add some for Hallowe'en, perhaps you could try something like this? http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/05aV0jQaLM6YS/610x.jpg. They would only require about 400 or so jump rings.

    I think cat hair adds to a garment's design. I have to.

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  35. Dudette, if you weren't a tiny asian lady I'd steal this from you. FOR SERIOUS. I WANTZ IT, MY PRECIOUS!!

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  36. This is amazing! I totally like the knife pleats better than the box pleats, too!

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