Saturday, January 30, 2010

Vintage Pattern Surprise

Ah, a sewing post. If you are one of the 5 people that read this blog, you'll know that I recently purchased 3 vintage patterns. If you haven't read this before, click here. Go on, I'll wait until you get back. OK, so I've bought fabric for the mod 60s pattern, but that's it. The 50s dress with the awesome overskirt? I've made a muslin and will report on that in another post. By the way, it is copyrighted 1953.

And now, my surprise. I opened the final pattern, copyrighted in 1952, thinking that THIS really is what I would want to wear to Laura's wedding. In the awesome teal color that my current purchased dress is. It appeared that no one has even used this particular pattern when I pulled out the pieces. I had a moment of confusion when I thought, hmmm, this is all just blank tissue. Maybe the real pattern fell out?

No. Apparently, in 1952, Vogue didn't have a printer, just a puncher. That's right. All the markings that I am familiar with are not printed on the tissue, but are punched through. Was 1953 a breakthrough year for patternmakers? Did Vogue catch up, or did they continue punching their way through the 50s? I can't answer that, but here is what I saw (I've placed some dark fabric behind the pieces so you can really see what I mean.


Well, no big deal, as I had planned on tracing the pieces anyway. But how the heck do you know what the little holes mean? There is, thankfully, a key, printed on the directions where in modern times you might find the list of the pieces and their little numbers. Here is the elaborate key:


Over at the Sewing Fanatic's blog, she had a discussion recently on tracing or cutting. Tracers gave comments on why they traced, and what they used. I used some interfacing-like stuff with a grid printed on it that I bought at Hancock's.

I've already made a couple of alterations. Specifically, the one that enlarges the waist to my thick 21st century size. Any other alterations will have to be made after I make the muslin. This being a lazy Saturday afternoon, though, that's as far as I'm getting today. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Really? You sew?

I'm confessing right up front to another non-sewing post. Well, it's kind of related to sewing, but not. It's about the dreaded mother of the bride dress. I bought one last week at Saks. On sale. If I hadn't bought it, and decided that I had to have it, well, it would have been gone, snapped up by some other bargain hunter.

But I didn't love it. Didn't even take it out of the bag to try on for the father of the bride.

This week was a special trip with my mom and sister to celebrate two of us now having ages ending in a zero. And what do 3 women of a certain age, who need dresses for a very special wedding do? We went shopping. I've tried on more dresses in the last 7 days than I think I did in all of last year. And I bought 2 more. Dress #2 is decidedly not a MOB dress, but rather a sale too good to pass up and it fit great. Just needs a little bling to make it less plain, so I'll conjure up some crafty skill and tackle that later.

Dress #3 is the 2nd MOB dress, and will become #1. I love it way more than the first (which wasn't really "party" enough) especially when mom and sis saw the first one and said, "oooh, take it back!"

It's a little tight, but there's plenty of time. I could zip it, but breathing was a tad difficult. And it's way too long, even with heels. What do you think?


Oh, and it was a GREAT deal!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

National Pie Day

Who knew? Actually it was yesterday, but I'm just getting around to blabbing about it. So far, my resolution of losing weight is a losing battle, so I let the family know about this amazing celebration. The request was for apple or coconut cream. Neither of those are my favorites, though there are very few sweets that I'll completely pass up without a good reason, but I just didn't feel like peeling apples.

That left the coconut cream pie, a kind of pie that I've had mixed results with in baking. Using my mother-in-law's recipe and Betty Crocker for comparison, this time it got rave reviews! Laura made the meringue. Or maybe I should say that she stood there whirring away with the electric whisk attachment that came with the stick blender she gave me for my birthday.

And today... it's all gone. I hope that you all had a wonderful pie day!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Peek at Spring

I saw this collection of Waverly home decorator fabrics while out shopping with a friend recently, and I just couldn't resist! Winter is my least favorite season, and I'm ready to leave behind the dark and dreary for some light and cheery! And springtime in Paris sounds lovely! What do you think?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Product Review -- DIY Fabric Labels

Every now and then, I will want to share with you products that I've recently purchased (most often from Etsy, but there may be some other reviews). This review is of a DIY Fabric Label Tutorial that I purchased from The June Bride. NOTE: You will not get the tutorial here from me! You'll have to go purchase your own from Karen.

This tutorial is everything Karen says it is. Make sure that you carefully read her description, where she mentions that an inkjet printer is needed. I skipped reading that part. I have an old one, and it wasn't hooked up to any computers, and hadn't been for awhile. I managed to install it on my new computer with Windows 7, and it still works! Yay! Just needed new ink. It's possible that the old ink had simply dried up.

But I digress. If you need fabric labels, and don't want to order commercial ones, this is your answer. She gives you options for 3 different styles, and says that it takes her 15 to 20 minutes to crank them out. It took me longer, but then I had some technical printer difficulties unrelated to the tutorial.

My labels, soon to be in fabulous clutches

 As you can see, I haven't cut my labels yet, but I chose the long folded style. Just need to replace the blade in my rotary cutter, and I'm good to go! No more waiting for labels in the mail! I give this tutorial an A+!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

First Skirt is Finished

The skirt that is my first garment for myself other than a Halloween costume, is finished. Some observations:

If it's Saturday, and you don't put any product in your straight, fine hair, and hold the bangs back with a bobby pin because they're bothering you, your hair will look like this.

If you've worn socks all day, and then take them off for your fashion photo shoot, you will have sock lines around your ankles.

If you try on your skirt over jeans while you're making it, and it fits, when you take off the jeans when it's finished, it will be too big. And, this time, you won't really care. It will just sit a little lower on your hips and be kind of comfy in that, my skirt can spin all the way around my body easily, kind of way.

If you aren't careful when cutting the skirt out, and your scissors are kind of dull anyway, some things will end up a little weird. Like the yoke that turned out to be a little wider in the center.

If you've never put in an invisible zipper in, you might not leave enough room at the top for a hook and eye, and then the invisible zipper will be not quite invisible.

I don't love this skirt, but I do like it, and I'll wear it. Especially since I just got this sweater on sale at Talbots, and it looks so good with it.

For the record, it's Simplicity 2564. The fabric has a herringbone weave, and is some kind of moderately stretchy polyester thing that I purchased at the warehouse sale a couple of years ago. The kind of fabric sale, where you stuff everything you want in a bag, and you pay by the pound. Not quite sure of its washability, but does it matter? Oh, and I lined it.

And for you fashionistas that care about this sort of thing, the shoes are Tahari.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What to Wear in your Hair, Wedding Edition

I've got weddings on the mind these days, what with the planning of daughter Laura's June wedding. In the interest of full disclosure, she is really doing all the planning, and I'm just the back up, go-fer, and companion for various activities if there are no bridesmaids around.

I wanted to share some wedding related items that some of my friends on Etsy make, though. Brides and their bridal parties need a lot of stuff, so this will be kind of a series, and I'm starting at the top, with hair accessories. (Clicking on the shop name under the picture will take you directly to the shop.)

Walking the Peacock Flower and Feather Headband Fascinator

Holly Anne, Pretty Betty Designs, makes vintage inspired jewelry and hair art. You will always find something beautiful and unique in her shop.

French Fantasy Beaded Hair Clip

Fen, Bead Flora Jewels beadmaster, has a wonderful way with beads. She beads flowers in the French technique. For a bride and her entire bridal party, you will find a wide array of hair clips in many different colors.

Jolie Headband, great for a bride or bridesmaid

Kim, of Chloe & Maddie, has so many wonderful headbands, bobbies, clips and hair fascinators, and she will make custom designs as well. Just one more from Kim:

Genevieve Organza Bobby Pins, perfect for bridesmaids, or a flower girl

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A New Sewing Skill

I have been sewing for a long time, and I hinted a couple of posts back about a new skill that I wanted to try. A reader guessed right... it's learning how to put in an invisible zipper (IZ). I don't know why I hadn't done it before, but I haven't made many adult garments since my daughter was born 22 years ago. Lots of kids clothes, quilts and curtains, but nothing for me.

So, I'm starting with Simplicity 2564, an easy skirt pattern that I chose because I love the straight line, the yoke and the back vent. Many people have zipper fear. Not me, but I just needed to learn a very easy technique. Of course, you can't follow the pattern instructions because with the IZ you don't sew the seam first. If you're a pattern follower and this makes you nervous, trust me, it will be ok.

I did have to remember to sew the back yoke pieces to the back skirt pieces. I didn't serge the yoke edges because they will be completely enclosed in the yoke facings.

Back skirt pieces ready for the zipper

Did you notice the zipper foot in the picture? I had purchased the IZ foot for my machine a while ago. So how did I learn the skill? First I watched the video on the Bernina USA website, and searched for tutorials, and there is no shortage. Honestly, the video was the most helpful. While many of the tutorials advise ironing the zipper teeth flat, with the Bernina foot, according the video you don't need to do that step, so I didn't.

Left side done, right side in action
Once you sew each side as far as you can, you're almost done. From there, you pin the back seam from the end of the zipper sewing to the bottom. In this case, there was the vent to consider. I basically followed the instructions for the vent and sewed the back seam together.

I'm not thrilled about the way the yoke seams match up, but it's nothing I can't live with, and I do love the way the seam looks with an invisible zipper. And they are so easy to put in! Now I just need to finish the rest!


Friday, January 8, 2010

For Your Sewing Machine...

Recently, I've been making several items for Jenna Belle Designs from some handwoven scraps that I purchased at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. And you all saw the Pony Pouch, made from the softest of minkee fabric. How are these two things related? Fuzz. And fuzz is so bad for your sewing machine.

To combat the fuzz, that little plastic brush thingy that comes with your machine just doesn't cut it. You could try that canned air stuff, but I like this so much better:

It attaches to your regular vacuum cleaner, and works like a charm.

Ta Da! No more fuzz. My machine is now completely cleaned and oiled. By the way, after oiling, sew with a paper towel and no thread to catch any extra oil.

And don't laugh, but Atlanta got snow! The city shut down today... no school, people working from home (if at all). It IS really, really cold. Take a look at all the snow:

This is not from shoveling. Apparently our driveway is incapable of completely getting covered in snow.

The backyard looks a little more even.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Etsy's Front Page

I was featured on Etsy's front page today! Never mind that it was at 4 a.m. and I was sound asleep!

Here's what all the American night owls saw, plus others around the world that might have actually been awake!

Lots of beautiful things here that my blue plaid clutch is nestled up with!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Grown Up Pursuits

After yesterday's post you may think I'm just a little nuts. Well, I just might be, but I really do like to sew for grown ups, too! So, in December I stumbled on a couple of wonderful sewing blogs, that had lists of more wonderful sewing blogs, and ... well, you get the picture. That led to a "slap the forehead" moment for me. I mean, I sew, and make lots of stuff for my Etsy shop, but why don't I sew for myself.

Oops, this is sounding like my welcome post, but here's the point I'm getting to now. Have you ever shopped for a Mother of the Bride dress? It's not pretty out there, and since I'm an up and coming MOB (what they call the mother of the bride on the zillions of wedding blogs my To Be Wed in June daughter reads) I started looking around. And the thought came to me, that while I was offering to make bridesmaids dresses (won't have to do that one, whew!), and the flower girl dress (I've bought the fabric and the pattern), I totally forgot (forgot?) that I could make myself a dress.

Keep reading... it gets better... pictures of vintage patterns coming up!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I HAD to Have It!

Has that happened to you? You see something so cute, adorable, beautiful, or wonderful that it just has to go home with you? When my mom and I were in Houston last October, attending the International Quilt Festival, wandering up and down the rows and rows of vendors with fabulous stuff, I saw it. The Pony Pouch. So cute, soft and cuddly, and SO impractical! Really! I don't have anyone to make this cute little thing for, and I'm way to old, really!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Those Pesky Resolutions

Can you believe another year is over and a new one is beginning?! Have you made any resolutions? I don't usually put too much stock in my resolutions, but I also can't seem to not make any. What am I hoping to accomplish this year? Let's see ...

* I resolve to lose 13 pounds by the end of March. (I know. Not very original.)
* I resolve to put my Etsy shops on the front burner, and work more diligently to make them successful.
* I resolve to be relaxed about Laura's wedding plans (this could be hard).
* I resolve to increase my garment sewing (that won't be hard since I haven't made any garments other than Halloween costumes in YEARS).

That seems like enough. I have a few other thoughts about what I'd like to accomplish, but I'll just let those unfold as the days go by. As for that 4th resolution, I've got my first project ready to go.

The picture is kind of blurry (sorry 'bout that), but I think you can tell that it's a simple straight skirt. I was going to make a muslin, just for, but I never have before, and I think I'll be ok with the fit for this pattern. And besides, the fabric is a cheap, um, inexpensive one I picked up at's warehouse sale a couple of years ago. There is one skill that I have never tried before that I'm going to attempt when making this skirt, but I think I'll keep y'all in suspense about that for now.

Have a great year!


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