The Blue Gardenia

Happy birthday to me! March 26, 2015 20:17

 

denisebd

Enjoying a low-key birthday celebration. Scandal, music, His Bertness is cooking dinner. We will do a bigger fete this weekend. Today, I give you Sly and the Family Stone: https://youtu.be/yTS8E8YATqg


And the winner is . . . March 23, 2015 13:15

... Nanci, who will be getting a package with a Blue Gardenia gift certificate, a copy of Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, a Nars Audacious lipstick, and a Cover Girl nail polish!

 

Gertie's second book!

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual,

This shade flatters all --- or so a Nars makeup artist told me. 

 

I thank all who entered by leaving a comment, following or shopping at The Blue Gardenia. And, if you didn't win, don't despair, you'll get a second chance soon. Because why? I love give-aways. Truly I do.

(Winner was chosen via random number generator. Each entry was given a number in the order it arrived, then total entries were entered into the generator.)

 


A Spadea sheath that sings spring. March 18, 2015 20:30

Fabulous boatneck + waistline details = perfection.
Fabulous boatneck + waistline details = perfection.

You've been searching for the perfect sheath for the spring days that beckon. When you spotted this Bill Blass, Spadea N-1243, you knew it was the one. Absolutely. Yes indeed. Simple, yet the unusual detailing at the waist make it solid gold.

And you the already have a lovely silk doupioni you purchased at Mood. It's a sophisticated dark peach that will showcase this design and send it all the way to the moon.


 

This sings spring!
This sings spring!

 

And, yes, you may purchase this gorgeous pattern at The Blue Gardenia. But you knew that already. I know you did.


The closet of cool chic Claire Underwood: The ladylike white dress March 13, 2015 02:38

One of her many outstanding outfits, this shows her ladylike side.
One of her many outstanding outfits, this shows her ladylike side.

 

I am not alone in thinking House of Cards Claire Underwood, beastly Frank Underwood's calm, clever wife, is one of the best dressed characters on the small screen. She is always sleek. Her clothes always simple. This is a woman who wants to look great, but doesn't want to spend time on a fussy wardrobe. After all, she's busy making her dreams come true.

I love this white dress. It is simple, yes, but doesn't have the androgynous edge Claire's clothes often do. It is feminine, but not frilly. No silly looks for this fashion icon and mover and shaker.

It has the pleats and the silhouette. Claire would approve.
It has the pleats and the silhouette. Claire would approve.

You could get this look with Vogue Couturier Design 2345, designed by Belinda Bellville in the 1960s. Simply lengthen the sleeves, make the midriff a bit more form-fitting, and add a dark belt, like this Kate Spade Leather Bow Belt at 6pm.com.

This is in dark green, but I don't think Claire would frown at the substitution.
This is in dark green, but I don't think Claire would frown at the substitution.

Gorgeous Fabrics has an outstanding white rayon double-knit (and I can vouch for the quality because I bought it in another shade). It's perfect for this look.

And, you guessed it: You may purchase this luscious pattern at The Blue Gardenia, where even the snootiest fashionista will find patterns to her liking. And don't forget to enter our give-away while you are here.

 


Need a weekend project? How about 1950s Simplicity 3208? March 11, 2015 21:33

Lovely Mexican style skirt and sexy top. So flattering.
Lovely Mexican style skirt and sexy top. So flattering.

You are in the mood to sew this weekend. You are. But you need instant gratification, because it has been that kind of week. So many projects you know won't be finished when you leave your office on Friday. Loose ends. You hate them.

So. You want something you can complete this weekend. In its entirety. Simplicity 3208 is perfect. Simple to Make, Simplicity says, and you know they wouldn't fib.

A lightweight robin's egg blue cotton from Mood for the top . . .

Irresistible color and the lightweight cotton will be perfect for summer.
Irresistible color and the lightweight cotton will be perfect for summer.


And a cheerful seersucker from Mood for the skirt.

Such playful colors!
Such playful colors!


You're looking forward to this project. It will be such fun. Absolutely. So much more fun than scrubbing the bathrooms. Ugh . . .

And, yes, this gorgeous and easy pattern can be yours at The Blue Gardenia. And we do happily ship abroad. We do.

 


From an asymmetrical Cardin to '30s wrap coat, we've got new additions here. November 30, 2014 21:29

Well, dear clients, we've just added tons of patterns, nearly a hundred, and are they luscious? In a word: yes! A few of my favorites:

I love asymmetry in a suit.
I love asymmetry in a suit.

 

Vogue Paris Original 1434, designed by master couturier Pierre Cardin. The buttons! The collar! Slap me before I gush some more.

I am a pushover for clever pockets.

Talk about your pocket details!
Talk about your pocket details!

The attention you'll get if you don this! All eyes, honey, all of them on you.
The attention you'll get if you don this! All eyes, honey, all of them on you.

Pictorial 8818 is very rare, most eye-catching, and how about those buttons?

Ladies Home Journal 79 is just the  coat for when those winter winds blow briskly.

Love the hemline.
Love the hemline.  


And those are just a few. Scurry over and shop, shop, shop. My little canine friends love their treats. They do.

And, yes, we happily ship abroad.


So. What's going on? Advice, please. November 13, 2014 16:34 17 Comments

I am confused. I am in despair. For years, customer after customer complained that I needed to update The Blue Gardenia. Add a search. Add a shopping cart. Et cetera. And guess what? Sales are way down since we implemented the new site, even though I have lowered prices substantially.

For instance, one rare 1940s Vogue Special Design wedding gown was MUCH cheaper at The Blue Gardenia, even though ours was a better size. Two other sites had it, one at Etsy, one an independent site, but both had bust 30. We had the gown for $35. Theirs were $75 and $95. I have seen patterns we have for $200 go for $500 on Ebay.

I've lowered prices because my fiction is gaining attention, so I want to move patterns faster now. All except the rare ones are priced to sell. And these are vintage patterns, folks, not reproductions!

So, friends, what gives? What is it that you don't like about the new site? Sales are down 90% since we installed it. (And it cost a pretty penny for the redesign.) So tell me, what is the problem? We now have not one, but two layers of security.

Please share your thoughts. I beg you. This is far too much work to do to make only a few dollars a month. Because whether we have sales or not, we carefully check patterns and add new ones at least once a month, and sometimes more.

 


Go unto him, Part 2. Will he ask you to his cabana? August 12, 2014 23:55 2 Comments

Butterick-7913 You gaze across the ocean, your eyes following the path the moon has made. The moon that tonight seems as big as Earth, as yellow as a buttercup. You place your sidecar on the waist-high adobe wall that surrounds this rooftop cantina. You lean on your elbows, feel the sea breeze caress your body like a lover.

Will he come tonight? You wonder. You long to see him. Last night did not end as you had hoped. He saw you safely to your cabana door, hand gently on your elbow. He took your keys. He unlocked the door. Opened it. Said good night. Not even a kiss.

You hear the first notes of Bahia Blanca, one of your favorite tangos. A hand cloaks yours. Then picks it up, tenderly pulls you into tango position.

It is Federico. Or Eliseo. Whoever.

He is an expert at the tango. But then he is an expert at everything. Is he not? Especially leaving. You have not danced the tango since he left. Since he disappeared, leaving only that postcard.

La Yumba begins. You do not stop. Your flicks are still sharp. You have lost nothing in technique. You hope he is impressed. You hope he thinks you have been out dancing every night. Of course, you haven't. Not that you've been sitting at home soiling a glass of merlot with your tears.

Your dress, Butterick 7913, View A1 minus the bow, sways seductively as he leads you into the atrapadita. The aubergine silk georgette moves beautifully.

Your eyes are locked together, a spotlight on a film noir chanteuse. You dance. Libertango. El Choclo. La Cumparsita. Continuously. You stay on the dance floor. You do not stop.

Will tonight be the night? The night you embrace completely. Man and woman, bodies joined, closer even than the tango?

You, too, may have this sexy pattern. You, too, can hold his heart in your hand, ensnared by your charms and your beauty in this fabulous late 1930s dress. Will you be careless with his gift? Or treat it like the most fragile piece of Murano glass?

Butterick 7913 can be yours. Just click through to The Blue Gardenia shop. You'll be glad you did. And so will he.

 


McCall's 6621: Suitable for tinkling the ivories in a 1940s film noir. August 07, 2014 20:10 2 Comments

I love the sleeves. I love the drape.
I love the sleeves. I love the drape.

Such a sexy 1940s design, this McCall 6621. And yet, it isn't so revealing, so in your face, that you couldn't wear it to an office affair or to a party at your significant other's house without feeling exposed.

I think I would stitch it up in a silk crepe. Perhaps a periwinkle blue or maybe even aqua. Either would be smashing. And, yes, this scrumptious pattern is available at The Blue Gardenia, where you'll find patterns for the snootiest fashionista! (And we do happily ship abroad!)


A smart 1930s frock worthy of a movie star. August 05, 2014 22:13 2 Comments

This is a wonderful wardrobe staple.  

You've been quite faithful to your plan to eschew yoga pants except on the mat. One of the secrets, you have found, is to wear dresses: They are easy and comfortable to wear and easily fit into your gym bag. A dress is less bulky than separates.

You adore Hollywood 905 from the 1930s. The right view has that smashing wide collar, your weakness. And it looks as if it will be easy to make — and that's important since you are an advanced beginner.

You'll whip it up out of a pretty paisley rayon challis you found at GorgeousFabrics.com. You love the colors. And the print is reminiscent of the '30s.  

And you can find this marvy vintage pattern at The Blue Gardenia. And you can find it in not one, but two sizes! Doncha love it?


 

This pretty rayon is available at Gorgeous Fabrics.
This pretty rayon is available at Gorgeous Fabrics.


A dress made for sultry nights on the dance floor. August 04, 2014 22:43 2 Comments

Imagine the swish of the skirt when you foxtrot.

Long distance relationships are not for you. It's only Tuesday and you long to see  him, to feel his fingers trail down the brook of your back, his rough palms cupping the curve of your ass. You won't see him until Saturday, separated as you are by an ocean and a nine-hour nonstop flight.

You hide the tail of thread on the hand-picked zipper you just completed on McCall's 9603. You hold the dress up, a vision of french blue silk charmeuse. You are so eager to dance with him, especially to your favorite foxtrot, Dance Me to the End of Love.

You feel the silk caressing your thighs as you do the fall-away, the hover corte, the slide and check. He is such a strong lead you can dance the most difficult dances with your eyes closed. And it's more thrilling than being on the highest, fastest wooden roller coaster.

Let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone, Leonard sings. You get goosebumps each time you hear this song. Show me slowly what I only know the limits of . . .

Why did he move to London? Oh, yes, a better job and more money and the chance to experience life in another land. And now, you have this crazy relationship. He comes to you every two weeks, and you go to him two weeks later. He wants you to move over . . . maybe . . . you're conflicted.

You imagine circling the dance floor in this dress, secure in his arms. He will love the dress. The dance. You.

Touch me with your naked hand, touch me with your glove. You love Leonard, too. Brilliant. Sexy.

You hang the dress on a padded hanger. You will finish the dress tomorrow. You cannot wait to see him running to you, to feel his lips smother yours. The cab ride to his flat. And then  . . . bliss. 

 

 


And now for a non-pattern moment, let's admire a canine pal! July 30, 2014 20:54

His Bertness and Atchison enjoy a lazy Saturday afternoon.
His Bertness and Atchison enjoy a lazy Saturday afternoon.

 

I haven't shown any pictures of Atchison and Emma lately, so let me rectify part of that dilemma. This is Atchison, enjoying some time on His Bertness's lap. Emma, by the way, is not the camera hog that Atchison is — that is why I show fewer pics of her on the blog.

Aren't you feeling more relaxed now? Sort of like you've meditated for 5 minutes?


Frame your face in this exquisite 1950s McCall's day dress. July 23, 2014 08:06

As usual, this woman falls for collar details.
As usual, this woman falls for collar details.

 

You want something cool to wear to help you get through August. Something that carries some weight for the office; something cool enough for walking down those steaming city blocks to reach a cafe at lunch. McCall 4912: Perfection. You'll make it in a lovely cotton sateen. Navy. With a cotton sateen collar in the whitest white. You will be smashing. Absolutely.

And, this 1950s style is available at The Blue Gardenia. But you knew that, didn't you?

 

 


Learning to sew: Try this sexy Betsey Johnson. July 22, 2014 18:38

And it's quick and easy!
And it's quick and easy!

   

If you're learning to sew, or you're an accomplished seamstress in a hurry, you would be hard-pressed to come up with a cuter pattern than Butterick 3511The sexy halter, the v-yoke on the skirt, the well-cut pants. This could go day. This could go dusk. This could go late into the evening. And then, if you like, it could come off . . . in many different scenarios.

So, saunter over to The Blue Gardenia. Johnson's Alley Cat patterns are hard to find, especially in a great size.


A cool vintage dress for the dry or humid heat. July 17, 2014 13:28

Fresh in any heat.
Fresh in any heat.    

Here in the high desert, where I currently reside, the locals say on searing days, of which there are many: At least, it's a dry heat. It is, I suppose, their way of showing gratitude. But let me inform you: heat is heat. And at least it often rains in the South.

 

But this is a dress perfect for the humid or the arid heat. It is as fresh as Washington cherries, as cool as an ice cream sundae. You can't go wrong with Butterick 3134.

 

And, yes, this can be purchased at The Blue Gardenia. And I speak for all the gardenias when I say we'd love to see your finished garment.


Am I blogging just for me and the Gucci outlet? July 15, 2014 14:20 4 Comments

I ask because since I moved my blog I am getting mostly spam comments from bots selling fakes. Come on, real readers, leave a comment. Let me know you're out there. Let me know you still care. Because this takes time, darn it.

OK. Fit over. Feeling better already.

But leave a comment on my pattern post earlier today. Got it?


Vintage pattern shopping therapy, anyone? Avoid pills and docs. July 15, 2014 14:00 7 Comments

Is there anything about this dress that I do not adore? In a word, no.
Is there anything about this dress that I do not adore? In a word, no.

I am a twisted rag today, a Twizzler stick tied in knots. Something very good happened to me, something that may well lead to something better. I have learned something new about myself in this process: I have superstitious tendencies. In another life, I might be a baseball pitcher, always wearing the same socks that I wore when pitching a no-hitter. And those tendencies are why I am not sharing any details.

 

So. How to calm myself, how to untie the Twizzlers and put them in the pantry? A fantasy Blue Gardenia shopping trip, natch, where my favorite patterns are available in my size. (And, no, don't tell me I can resize patterns, because that ain't me, babe. My size, or you have the blessed opportunity to buy the pattern. A woman must have boundaries, and as a purveyor of patterns, that is one of mine.)

     

Vogue Couturier Design 536, from the 1950s, has long been a favorite. In fact, this was my own pattern, and I paid a mint to get it years ago, thinking it was my size. Than I started sewing, and learned that it was too big for me. My loss, your etc.

The sleeves. The collar. Need I say more?
The sleeves. The collar. Need I say more?

Butterick 3751 from the 1960s is luscious. I love the blouse, and, yes, I would wear it alone, as well as with the jumper. And the jumper I would also wear alone. What a sexy and cool summer dress it would make. I'm a sucker for the multipurpose pattern.


 

 

Total sucker I am for sleeve detail.
Total sucker I am for sleeve detail.

My momma made this for me when I was 12. (Yeah, I was definitely considered  a fashion iconoclast back in small town Louisiana. And that's putting it nicely. In a world of jeans and tees, there I tripped in my red YSL wedgies.) And this is the actual pattern she used. Now, I need a Bust 34 in Vogue 8690. 1970s era, this style. Long for it. I do.


 

 

I love the dipping back neckline, the cowl front, the hint of fullness in the skirt.
I love the dipping back neckline, the cowl front, the hint of fullness in the skirt.

And McCall's 4265dream dress. And I do mean a dream, not the thriller nightmare I had last night. (Yes, in case you care, I escaped unscathed and victorious, but not until after much subterfuge and many car chases and betrayal by a trusted friend.)


There you go. Shopping therapy. I am feeling so much less anxious now. In fact, I feel downright peaceful.

In case you lust for these styles, too, you can buy them at The Blue Gardenia, and we do indeed happily ship abroad. And purchases keep the dogs in treats. Can I overestimate how much they love their treats? Impossible!

 


The hostess gown: Perhaps it could bring peace and prosperity for all? July 14, 2014 22:30 1 Comment

This is the hostess gown dreams are made of.
    This is the hostess gown dreams are made of.

 

Ahhh, the hostess gown. It brings back all those vices we've given up. Like cigarettes. And sidecars.

But this patternista thinks there's still a place in this world for the hostess gown. Small intimate dinner parties. Receiving close friends in the parlor. Or perhaps donning it to open the door to your favorite gentleman caller.

And Butterick 4133, from the 1940s, is perhaps the most glamorous hostess gown ever. And I do not exaggerate. Imagine crossing one svelte leg over the other, swaying it ever so enticingly. He'll turn into a pile of whip cream in your hand. Then. It's up to you what you do with him. Naturally, I have an idea or two. I suspect you do, too . . .

And, yes, this hard-to-find pattern is available at The Blue Gardenia. We added nearly one hundred patterns this weekend. Take a look. And may I suggest that you fill your shopping basket to the brim?


Channeling Catherine: The simple, square neckline June 23, 2014 22:30

That hair! That neckline!
That hair! That neckline!
 

That face: God-given.

The simple, country look: Misleading.

Square neckline: Flattering.


Simplicity Designer's 8250: Precisely.

 
You can always ditch the pockets if they aren't your style.
You can always ditch the pockets if they aren't your style.

A new job, a new salary and a smashing new ensemble. June 19, 2014 22:53

Such a smart frock.
Such a smart frock.

You aced the interview. You got the job. You got the salary you sought. And, now, it is time to report to work. You have first day jitters. A little bit. You feel a suit might give the impression you are trying too hard. But 1940s Butterick 3571, a two piece ensemble, is a winning ticket: Businesslike, elegant, sophisticated . And yet it allows your personality to show through. You're so glad you didn't give in to that lazy urge to sit in front of the TV this weekend watching Liam Neeson movies and munching on caramel corn, so happy that you stitched this up instead.

And, you know it, you smarties. You can get this pattern at The Blue Gardenia, and we merrily ship abroad.


Go unto him (or her) in this sexy Vogue. June 19, 2014 00:05 2 Comments

The view second from the left is my favorite.
    The view second from the left is my favorite.

 

I'll be there for you. That's what he said. You believed him. You thought he was true. You did. You believed every word. I will be there for you. He was. He was. And then, and then he wasn't. Disappeared. Gone. With nothing but a Pantone Sunshine postcard with one word: "Sorry."

And here you are, in this club, with the sky and the stars for a roof, cool breezes from the ocean for air-conditioning. On an island far from home, far from where you spent those heavenly two years with him. He cooked breakfast every day. Placed it before you like you were his queen. Eggs. Biscuits. Grits. He always knew exactly what you wanted. Your skin melded every night, his the color of toffee, yours the color of a creamy elephant tusk. And each Friday and Saturday night, you danced. Skin glistening. Sweat mingling. You were one.

Until that day. And that word. Sorry.

And now. Now, he is here, in this foreign land, staring at you across the sparsely-filled room. Raul Malo and the Mavericks croon from the speakers, just as they did on those many nights, both those nights of fulfillment when you were enclosed in his arms and those nights of  fruitless, endless longing, wondering what you did, was it something you said, yearning for him, even if he was a cruel cad.

He walks to you. Graceful as a leopard. He bows. He asks for this dance as Raul sings "if your world has only done you wrong and all you find yourself is all alone."

Yes. Despite the past, despite the hurt, you will come unto him. You are mesmerized. He says nothing, not a word, during "Come Unto Me." You are so close. You know he feels the goosebumps on your arms. You wonder if the feel of your skin underneath the cherry-print silk charmeuse arouses him as much as the feel of his skin underneath his starched white cotton shirt excites you. You are mush. A bowl of risotto.

The song fades. Janiva Magness now sings "there's a long line of fools and we're all waiting to get to you."

You sigh. Ugly. But the ubiquitous they says the truth often is. You continue dancing. He whispers in your ear. "Pretend you have never seen me." As you lean back to peer into his eyes, he says "Don't react. This is the first time we have met. My name is Eliseo."'

"Sorry. Sorry. That is all you said. On a postcard." You hiss.

He pulls you closer, pressing your mouth against his chest. He whispers again his mouth teasing your ear: "Please, be quiet. Someone could be reading your lips. You don't know me, we just met."

You wonder, what is this? A James Bond movie? Please. But you will go along. You have no pride where he is concerned.  You want to feel his hands as he removes the lovely dress that caresses your legs so enticingly as you cha cha. The dress you made  with your own hands. Vogue 8567. You are glad you packed so many beautiful garments for your island vacation. At the time you didn't know why you were doing so. But your heart knew. And your body knows, whether he is Federico or Eliseo, you are his.

This beautiful pattern can be yours. At The Blue Gardenia. And yes, we happily ship abroad.


My first printed short story! So exciting. June 11, 2014 21:41 1 Comment

My story, "She Says", is included.
  My story, "She Says", is included.
 

I know. It is uncool to be excited over your first print publication. I should be yawning. I should. But I'm not.  I was excited when the lovely and talented editor of Black Heart Magazine, Laura Roberts,  published my story "In a City White with Haze". And when she published "One Hep Kitten". And when Rose Red Review published "The Dalmatian Print Chair".

But Fourteen Hills actually invited me to read in San Francisco. A first.

All the views are groovy. But I favor the red one.
All the views are groovy. But I favor the red one.

I did not go. Transportation was out of my budget and theirs.

If I had read, though, I think I would have whipped up McCall's 3461 from 1951. The view with the long sleeves. I have long adored this pattern. I'm a pushover for great necklines, as you know.

And this gorgeous pattern can be yours. The Blue Gardenia has it in two sizes! Isn't that peachy?

 


When the weather outside is frightfully hot, don this short set. June 09, 2014 20:48 2 Comments

Show off those hours at the gym in this 1940s playsuit.
Show off those hours at the gym in this 1940s playsuit.

You paw through your dresser drawers, looking for something cool. Surely you didn't donate all your denim cutoffs to the Salvation Army last fall when you were attacked by that rare closet cleaning bug. But, apparently you did. Darn. And it's been so hot. Last week, 103 degrees two days. And when it's that hot, it doesn't really matter if it's a dry heat. Six percent humidity or 40, 103 is unbearable.

So. Cute shorts are a closet must. Hollywood 1354 is scrumptious. Truly. It's from the Forties, too. Your favorite decade. And you could make the skirt a couple of inches longer for those modest moments that strike on occassion.


 

This captivating cotton is available at fabricsandtrimmings, an Etsy shop.
        This captivating cotton is available at fabricsandtrimmings, an Etsy shop.

That pretty, yet wild, rose print you saw on Etsy would be spectacular.

And yes, you can indeed find this sassy pattern at The Blue Gardenia. But you know that? Didn't you?


Emulate Sutton Foster's impeccable 1950s-style Tony evening gown. June 08, 2014 22:35 2 Comments

I only watched half of the Tony Awards this year, so it seems unfair to do my usual award show best dressed list. So. I am doing something different. Sutton Foster's gown was my favorite, the one I'd most like to wear while accepting an award myself. Absolutely. (Do they dress for the Pulitzers? Do they even have a presentation? Mmmmm . . . something for me to check out. Later. And, yes, I do think big!)

So lovely and so 1950s, Sutton Foster glans up the awards.
So lovely and so 1950s, Sutton Foster glams up the awards.


 

One could get a similar look – and, frankly, in my opinion – an even more beautiful one with Vogue Couturier Design 824. It has a more structured and detailed bodice. And that bolero with its framing collar – wow! I think I'd stick with that luscious fuchsia satin, though. Irrestible.

I am so in love with this pattern!
I am so in love with this pattern!