The Blue Gardenia

Meet me again. And let me introduce Jamboree. Jamboree Jones, that is. April 10, 2024 10:30 4 Comments

Hello. Here I am. Again. At last. 

#Makenine2019: Vogue 9239, a Custom Fit pattern January 18, 2019 18:09 2 Comments

I do love a Custom Fit pattern. I do. Yes. I can do an FBA. I can. But isn't it lovely when the pattern company does it for you? I say yes, and I say it loud and insistently. Whenever the majors announce new collections, the first — the very first — patterns I peruse are the ones with different cup sizes. I think all new patterns should have this option. Absolutely. Why not always offer this option? Isn't it in their best interests to make sewing as quick and easy for the sewista as possible? I think so.

And Vogue V9239 is one of my favorite cup-option designs ever. And I plan to make two views: Both B and C. Gorgeous. Totally. 

#Makenine2019: The dress that channels Biba. January 17, 2019 23:14

This exquisite Vogue Basic Design 2395 is one of the first on my list this year. I am drawn to the sleeves of the amber tunic. Oh. So. Much. But I also love the long sleeves of the midi dress. Yeah, the one over the pants. That look is not my style. Too much fabric. Can you say uncomfortable? Because I definitely would if I wore that dress over slacks.

I think this will be my third project this year. The amber version but as a midi dress. Maybe in some luscious kelly green shantung from Mood. Or a fabulous black-and-white cotton sateen from Promenade Fabrics in NOLA. Choices. Love 'em. Yes indeedy.


#makenine2019: True/Bias Salida Skirt January 12, 2019 12:54

Forgive me, dear readers, for the break in posting my #makenine2019 plan. You were breathlessly waiting. Right? (If you weren't, do keep that to yourself. Please. My ego is fragile.)

Next up: The Salida Skirt by True/Bias. It has two versions, one fitted like a snake's skin, the other a gentle and graceful flare. Eventually, I will make both. I think. For now, I want the elegance of the flare.


#Makenine2019: The Etta dress January 8, 2019 18:54

Oh. My. Am I at my sixth item on my #makenine2019 pattern list? I am. That saddens me a bit. It has been fun ruminating on this list. My hat is off to whoever thought of this. Brava! A bow and a resounding clap of the hands. Absolutely.

I have long admired the Etta by Tilly and the Buttons. So. I went to Tilly's site to purchase the pattern. And what did I find? A class. An online workshop with step-by-step instructions on how to make this luscious dress. Was I excited? Yes indeedy. Because I love a good online workshop.

So. Later this year, you, dear reader, will be treated to my opinions about this course. Stay tuned. Promise.


#Makenine2019: Simplicity Designer's 8103 January 7, 2019 18:41

Why, yes, I do love pockets. I do. And Simplicity Designer's 8103 has the pockets to top all pockets. These are the best. Absolutely. Add in a sweetheart neckline and three-quarter sleeves and the sum is a dress I must have in my wardrobe. This beauty, by the way, was originally released in 1949. A very good year indeed.

#Makenine2019: The Sewaholic Granville Shirt January 5, 2019 13:15 2 Comments

Can so many Instagram fans of the Granville Shirt be wrong? This sewista hopes not. This shirt is one I plan to tackle this year in my search for the perfect shirt. Absolutely.

(This brings to mind the lovely Tasia, formerly of Sewaholic. What happened to her? Sure. She sold the company. But did she have to disappear, too? Did she? We adoring fans miss her. We do.)

#Makenine2019: Butterick 9083. The perfect pencil skirt? January 3, 2019 12:09

I have a mission this year. Actually, I have several. But let's focus on one today: The Perfect Skirt. For me, the perfect skirt is slim and sleek.  As skinny as a pencil. Oh, sure. I like flared. I like full. I do. Absolutely. But not everyday. All that fabric gets in the way. Really.

So. One of my blog series this year will highlight my search for the best pencil skirt pattern. Simply acceptable will not suffice. Just pretty will not make the grade. No. Absolutely not. It. Must. Be. Perfect. 

Butterick 9083 is my first contender. It is slim. It is sleek. But its princess seaming takes it over the top. Right over. In the illustration anyway. But will the actual make live up to the drawing? That, dearly beloved readers, is something I will find out. Later. So. Keep reading. Yes. Each and every day. Promise?

#Makenine2019: Butterick 3803, Circa 1970s January 2, 2019 23:45 1 Comment

Is this the perfect blouse? I think maybe. I had a dressmaker make two. I wore out both. To rags. That is how much I liked them. 

So. Now that I sew, now that I am my own dressmaker, I want to make this blouse. This year. I plan to make quite a few shirts this year. My search for the perfect shirt. And if this proves to be it, well, I'll know I was right. Absolutely.

#Makenine2019: Anna Allen's Persephone Pants January 1, 2019 20:51

New year. New day. New resolution to blog again? Scratch that. Just scratch it. I detest New Year's resolutions. I do. 

So with that admission, I am joining #makenine2019. (Which, for some reason, I think of as #makeminenine2019. Go figure.)


I shall call my #makenine2019 a plan. And we all know what happens with even the best laid plans. We do. Don't we? Indeed.

So, without further ado. Without further word diarrhea, here goes. Each day, I will list one pattern on my list. One. The order: alphanumeric. This is not necessarily the order I plan to make the garments.



Ahhh. You thought I only sew vintage. No. Most of the patterns on my list are indeed vintage. I love vintage. I adore vintage. I do. But I also love contemporary patterns. I don't want to be too predictable. In fact, I don't want to be predictable at all.

So. Today's pattern is the Persephone Pants pattern, design courtesy of Anna Allen. And I understand from Instagram she is brilliant. I can't wait to join the excited chorus singing her praises on IG.

There ya go. Today's blog post, the first — in, well, let's not go there, just no — done. I am back in the game. Tomorrow, a vintage pattern, a blouse designed by Daniel Hechter. An absolute favorite. Absolutely. Are you panting in anticipation to see it? I hope so. Check back. Tomorrow.

And leave a comment. Do. I beseech you. About the Persephone Pant. About #makenine2019. About your sewing plans. About how happy you are that I am blogging. Especially about that.

Happy birthday to me! March 26, 2015 22:17 1 Comment



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:

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

... 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.)


What would Claire wear? Emulate the strapless silver bombshell dress. March 21, 2015 19:53

Claire Underwood in her irresistible silver armor.

Claire Underwood in her irresistible silver armor.

Did you fall in love with Claire's stunning strapless silver dress? I did. Definitely clothing as armor. If you want this dress at a fraction of the cost, consider Donna Karan's Vogue 2470 from 1990. View B, of course. (Although A is gorgeous, and it would make a perfect LBD. Double the style. Double your money. I love it when that happens!)



Pattern perfection, if I do say so myself.



Pattern perfection, if I do say so myself.

The line drawing. The line drawing.

I would choose this silver linen lame from Mood. They have many other silver lame choices if this is not to your liking.

$21.99 a yard. It is, alas, polyester. $21.99 a yard. It is, alas, polyester.

Do check Monday when I will post The Blue Gardenia give-away winner.

And if you want this marvelous pattern, look no further than The Blue Gardenia!

A Spadea sheath that sings spring. March 18, 2015 22:30

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.

A sewing goal almost achieved. March 17, 2015 00:19

Guess what I did today? I nearly achieved my goal of making a dress in one day. Or, to be specific, in four hours. Because, that, dear readers, is my sewing budget. My project — 1970s Vogue 8371. It is dreamy. Absolutely. Easy to make. Flattering. Smart. Can you ask for more, other than being a best-selling novelist and holding a winning lottery jackpot ticket? I think not.

Love, love, love this.
Love, love, love this.



Luscious! A wonderful wool challis from Fabric Mart.
Luscious! A wonderful wool challis from Fabric Mart.

The fabric — a  gorgeous wool challis from Fabric Mart. I added a lining of black Ambience. I installed an invisible zipper, my second. I nearly burst with fear as I stitch one in, and then I am shocked when I look at it and see that I have sewn it in correctly. I find them so much more frightening than a lapped zipper, yet the process is so much faster. Mmmmm. What is that all about, I wonder? Perhaps there is a sewing psych I can call?

If you like this pattern, The Blue Gardenia has it in bust 36. And, yes, we happily ship abroad. We do.

And don't forget to enter our give-away. It is splendiferous. Click here for the details. Hurry. It closes March 17 at midnight PDT.

My 1950s-style circular skirt: dots! March 16, 2015 00:00

In front of one of Albuquerque's many public art works.
In front of one of Albuquerque's many public art works.


One of the many garments I've made while I've been away from blogging is this ikat skirt. The fabric was designed locally, and it is yummy. The pattern, Simplicity 2758, is a Threads pattern. So easy! Even though it makes me look like I've had one Twinkie too many, I made another. Of course, I made it before I saw myself in this picture!  I'll share the other later.

If you haven't already, do enter The Blue Gardenia give-away. If I do say so myself, it's really wonderful. Click here to see.

And feel free to shop. It makes my little canine friends so happy. More treats. Better treats. Yes indeed.


I think I'll try the shirt next.
I think I'll try the shirt next.

The closet of cool chic Claire Underwood: The ladylike white dress March 13, 2015 04:38

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

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 23:33

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.


What is on your sewing table? March 10, 2015 14:27

Last fall, I cut out By Hand London's Flora dress. Out of a luscious coral linen. I loved the bodice with the straps, but the mullet hem is not my style. Absolutely not. I will occasionally wear an uneven hem, but this one — no. 

I evened the hemline.
I evened the hemline.


I adore this color. Yes indeed.
I adore this color. Yes indeed.

Since winter weather arrived soon after it was cut out, I set the project aside. Now that sunny, if cool, days are here again, I plan to complete it. Soon. Very soon. As soon as I finish what I am working on, which I hope to share next week.

So. Do share. What is on your sewing table?

A give-away! Gift certificate, Gertie's book, Nars lipstick and more! March 9, 2015 00:16 38 Comments

The Blue Gardenia is having a give-away! This, to atone for my lazy blogging habits of late (and I use late very loosely!).

Smart 1940s Butterick frock! It could be yours!
Smart 1940s Butterick frock! It could be yours!

First, the prize:

A $50 gift certificate for The Blue Gardenia.

This treasure is $21.88 at Amazon. 

Second, Gertie Sews Vintage Casual: A Modern Guide to Sewing Sportswear Styles of the 1940s and 1950s by Gretchen Hirsch, of Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing.

Third, Nars Audacious lipstick in Jane, a terracotta rose, valued at $32.

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


And last, a luscious coral shade for your fingertips, Covergirl Outlast in #250, a $5.49 value.

And what, you may be pondering, must you do to win? First, leave a comment below. For a second chance, follow me on Twitter; for a third, follow The Blue Gardenia on Facebook; for a fourth; follow on Pinterest, and for more,  make a purchase: you'll get one entry for each $10 you spend at The Blue Gardenia. Is that the cat's meow or what?

So, don't delay. Enter right this minute! Deadline is Tuesday, March 17, midnight PST. (Yes, St. Patrick's day!)

In the mood for mod? Drop by and see our additions! December 8, 2014 00:32 1 Comment


Ahh, how hard we have worked this weekend to bring new lovelies to you, dear readers and clients. One of my favorite patterns, especially for those just learning to sew, is Burda 3881. Such a stylish way to brave the winter chill.

A super easy pattern for those in a hurry or new sewistas!
A super easy pattern for those in a hurry or new sewistas!




Another favorite – one in my own collection as well – is Vogue Attitudes 1258 by Todd Oldham. A delicious jacket. Totally. The collar, the big buttonholes. And a choice of palazzo pants or cigarette slacks. Can't beat that with a baton.

Smashing ensemble, no?
Smashing ensemble, no?


The sections you'll find additions in today are 1960s-on Vogue and Other. Take a gander.

And in case you were wondering  – and of course you were – we happily ship abroad. Enjoy, patternistas. Do.

From an asymmetrical Cardin to '30s wrap coat, we've got new additions here. November 30, 2014 23:29

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 18:34 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.


Celluloid style: Bette Davis's terrific top in "Now, Voyager." October 7, 2014 17:24

Almost the spitting image of the fabulous white blouse in "Now, Voyager."
Almost the spitting image of the fabulous white blouse in "Now, Voyager."

If you love old Bette Davis movies as much as I do, then you doubtless love this simple, yet sensational top from Now, Voyager, one of my favorite Bette Davis films. Who can resist the reincarnation of the plain duck into a beautiful swan? To emulate the look, use McCall 3637, copyright 1940. It's a steal and such a popular bust size, too.

The original. The original.

And, yes, this pattern can be yours for a mere $39 at The Blue Gardenia, where we offer patterns suitable for the snootiest fashionista. In case you care, we happily ship abroad.