Friday, December 30, 2011

Laura Learns to Sew

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season! I've spent the last few days enjoying the company of my daughter, Laura and her husband, Thomas, and their 2 puppies. Chaos! But fun chaos. They left this morning, and my 2 dogs have done nothing but sleep, sleep, sleep all day!

For Christmas, I had purchased Laura a new Babylock sewing machine, so it was time for some sewing lessons! As much as I sew now, I did most of my sewing for kids when they were younger than 6, and then just sewed sporadically, so she wasn't actually exposed to it that much.

Fast forward to this year though, and she had mentioned a few times that "if she had a sewing machine, she could make XXX ". That was enough encouragement for me.

In addition to the machine, I also purchased the Colette Sewing Handbook, which she promptly read cover to cover. She's also an avid blog reader, so she's been reading the sewing blogs too.

And the first thing she made? A pair of clover pants! Really, we're calling these a wearable muslin, but they do fit pretty well. I'll adjust her pattern pieces just a bit, and she says maybe in a year she'll attempt another pair! For her next project, she says perhaps a skirt. The hardest things for her seemed to be keeping her stitching an even 5/8" away from the edge, going around curves, and "seeing" how it was all going to work out in the end. Things seasoned sewists (like myself) take for granted, but it really is just a matter of practice and experience.

Enough about all that though... you just want to see the finished product, right? Right! And I am so proud... they look great!

A fantastic fit in the back! (She is wearing my shoes which are a couple sizes too small... all in the interest of a cute look).

Before you know it, maybe she'll have her own sewing blog.

A final look, with Ella (Sam is the black one... say their names together... yep, you got it right):

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Peace, Love, Joy

and memories...







Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wilma on Wednesday Makes Cookies

Sand Tarts to be specific. These delicious shortbread-type crescent-shaped cookies are a family favorite, and my grandmother could make them like no one else. Mine are not nearly as pretty, but they're still pretty tasty.

If you do a search online, there are lots of variations on this recipe, and lots of traditions and "family rules" about these delightful cookies. Our rules included the one that they had to be rolled in granulated white sugar, always. No colored sugar for us! The sugar was the "sand" part of the cookie!

Anyway, here you go, and there note that there are no eggs, so good for someone with allergies. There are lots of nuts!

Sand Tarts

7/8 cup butter
5 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp water
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

No instructions here from Wilma, but basically mix everything together the way you would make cookies. Bake at 375 deg. F for 15-20 minutes (my oven cooks hot, so 12 minutes was all I needed).

Gently make them into crescent shapes. If the butter gets too warm, chill before baking (that was the problem with mine, so they aren't too crescent-y).

Remove from the oven, immediately roll them in sugar and put on cooling rack.

Note from Wilma: If you use 1 cup butter, use 2-1/4 cups flour, but also add the appropriate amount to each of the other ingredients.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some Random Projects

In my last post, I mentioned that up next would be a skirt, but that's not true. First, I had totally forgotten about the Ruby Slip sew along (see the badge over there with the gorgeous slip?)... I have actually started on it, too. The pattern pieces are traced, and it turns out my lace is too narrow. Sherry will be posting some instructions on dealing with that, so I'm waiting for that. In the meantime, I cut out the skirt, sort of using her instructions.
No fancy pattern weights for me, just some heavy books. Sherry recommends tracing around the pieces, drawn on heavier paper (mine are on regular tracing paper), with chalk. I used *ahem* a fine line sharpie. Whatever works!
Good results!
Next, instead of the skirt (which is temporarily being put on hold until after the new year), I'm working on a 1953 Simplicity blouse, and decided to make a muslin. The blouse pattern:
I want to make the 3/4 length sleeve, and I hope my amount of fabric will cooperate. Bust 36 is my size, but I am not wasp-ish of waist, so a bit of alteration was in order. It has darts and tucks, which I could have just eliminated, but I think it give a nice silhouette, so I just did some slashing and spreading. I'll show you some pictures of the tissue in a future post. I did make a muslin, and I had lowered the bust dart (do you see it in the drawing just under the armpit?), but lowered it too much.
By about an inch. Ugh... so I sort of fixed it in the muslin on the other side, but definitely fixed it on the tissue.
Harder to see in this picture, but trust me, it is better. Finally, I made a sway back adjustment, by "scientifically" sewing a huge tuck across the back (and then translating it to the tissue, adding length back in on the hemline).
Finally, I finished a knitting project... I think I'll show you that on Thursday. I went to the CVS pharmacy Minute Clinic today, and it turns out I have an ear infection, and a sinus infection. Yay for antibiotics. I have to summon up some energy because most of my presents are unwrapped, and the tree still is naked!

I hope all your holiday preparations are going well! And Happy Hanukkah to any of my Jewish readers!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Hapi Coat

I finished the Polynesian Pattern #116 Hapi Coat today, and it is really an easy pattern, that somehow took me longer than it should have.

I tried to find some more information about this particular pattern company, and only could determine that these patterns were printed in Kaneohe, Hawaii, in the 1950s and 1960s, perhaps even into the 1970s. The pattern numbers listed in the vintage patterns wikia go from 106 to 209, so this appears to be one of the earlier patterns.

These patterns also have a very homemade look about them. The instructions appear to be typed on a typewriter, hand-drawn and the pattern pieces are on the same paper, and not tissue.

And the Hapi Coat? It's origin appears to be Japanese, and is known as a happi coat and is more often made of cotton, and also often has elaborate embroidery.

I made mine out of a cotton/silk/poplin blend that I purchased at, and found it wonderful to sew on. I hand-washed it (and by hand-washed, I mean machine washed on the delicate cycle) because it had some slight shrinking after my 4" square test piece was washed, and I line dried it. I made it with French seams because it does fray quite easily.

Most of the pieces are rectangles, so I only had to trace the front and back piece, and adjusted them slightly for width, just so the 2 pieces fit side by side on the 44" width. A slight miscalculation though, because it now actually doesn't go all the way around me. Hmmmmm. I do know someone who it will fit, so if that someone is reading this... well... surprise!

I also didn't make the belt because I'm stingy with my fabric, and I think I have enough left over to make a blouse. If I have enough from that, I'll make a matching belt. Do you want to see it?

So, there you go. Next up I think will be a skirt that I will do a better job fitting. And those clovers I've teased you with? Well, let's just say there were some lessons learned with the stretch denim, and a bias cut waistband experiment (don't). So fixing is in order.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wilma on Wednesday Makes Orange Peach Salad

Last week, when I made the oven chicken "salad", I also made this little oddly colored jello salad. [by the way, Irene, I think I'm all done with the potato chip recipes, so you're safe now... moving on to jello.]

First, a little history lesson. Did you know that powdered gelatin was invented way back in 1845. In 1902, the advertisements placed in Ladies Home Journal declared jell-o to be "America's Most Famous Dessert." [source] I had no idea that this important ingredient of so many "interesting" concoctions had been around so long.

Looks, delish, no?

How do you make it? It is super easy!

1 3-oz. package of peach jell-o
1 cup of orange juice
1 cup of buttermilk

Heat orange juice to boiling. Dissolve jell-o in hot oj and stir until completely dissolved. Let cool to room temp. Add buttermilk and stir until mixed well. Pour into jell-o mold (I used 4 6-oz pyrex dishes). Refrigerate until comletely set.

And it is actually pretty tasty, in spite of it's salmon-y looks.

Take it away, Mr. Cosby!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hot, Red Silk

Now there's a title! I've been working on something that's, well, germy, all weekend. Going through the symptoms of a cold as it progresses from slightly scratchy throat to today's fun of totally stuffed up head, blocking all sense of hearing, smell and taste alternating with the non-stop faucet of a toddler's runny nose.

That's a pretty picture, no?

Here's my catch up from the weekend, Debbie Cook style (apologies, Debbie, but my brain has been stuffed with cotton and bullet points are really the best I can do, plus I kinda love this kind of wrap up, and I feel compelled to copy):

  1. I finished my denim clovers Friday.
  2. Picture tomorrow.
  3. They zip in the front instead of the side.
  4. Inspired by sallieoh.
  5. Mine won't really look like hers do though.
  6. I can't really keep up with 2 sewing blogs.
  7. SewVintageToday will be moving back on over here.
  8. Wordpress is harder to figure out than blogger.
  9. Sewing is sewing whether I'm using a new pattern or a vintage one.
  10. And even if I'm trying to sell the vintage patterns.
  11. Shameless reminder, vintage patterns for sale here.
  12. I'm not sewing any Christmas gifts.
  13. I've hardly even bought any and Christmas is less than 2 weeks away.
  14. I am knitting one Christmas gift.
  15. I should be knitting right now.
  16. I cut out a cotton/silk/poplin blend Hapi Coat today.
  17. What the heck is a Hapi coat?

And it's even going to be red.

And a silk (a blend, but still). The jury is out on the hot.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wilma on Wednesday, ummm Thursday

Wilma makes a Hot Chicken Salad

This particular dish is a bit confusing to me. Is it a salad? Is it a casserole? What's the difference? I'll give you the details, and you can decide.

2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken I roasted 2 bone-in chicken breasts.
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup of chopped celery
2 t minced onions I used more
1/2 cup chopped or slivered almonds I used a pre-slivered package that claimed to have about 1/3 cup
1 t lemon juice
1 cup crushed potato chips
3/4 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together (except potato chips) and top with crushed potato chips. Bake at 350 deg. F for 45-60 minutes.

Serves 4-6

So, there it is in the picture with a crescent roll and a jello salad that Wilma will be sharing with you next week. The general consensus of the family is casserole, and the whole thing looks a lot like a "ladies who lunch" menu. Not my favorite, but not bad either.

In other news, I've asked my mom for some more pictures of Wilma, preferably pre-1960. She's a little confused about the whole blog thing in the first place, but we'll see what she comes up with.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wilma on Wednesday Made a Shirt

... or is it a jacket? A shirt/jacket? I actually have a recipe ready so I'll post it tomorrow, but tonight I wanted to show you "the shirt". Vogue 1246. I'll even do a proper review.

Pattern Description: Very loose fitting shirt.

Pattern Sizing: 8-14. I made an 8 at the top, and a 10 along the sides.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?Mostly.

Were the instructions easy to follow?Yes, for the most part, with some exceptions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?I love the artsy look. And I liked that the basic construction of the shirt is easy. I disliked how the instructions made some easy parts way harder than they needed to be. Basically, the mitering of corners is not that hard, but you wouldn't know that from the instructions. And the buttons on the sleeves. The instructions are unclear, the markings are in the wrong place on the tissue, and the picture doesn't match any of the words. After making 2 of the worst buttonholes I've ever made, probably in my history of sewing, I glanced at the line drawing on the back, and got the idea of how they were supposed to work. Well, it was too late. Mine look like the picture on the front.

Speaking of buttons... the large center button was in an ancient tin of buttons that originally belonged to my grandmother, and was what I designed the shirt around. For the sleeves, I ordered buttons from an extremely helpful Etsy seller, Sunny Buttons.

Fabric Used:An Italian iridescent cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics. This fabric is amazing to sew. And I interfaced the collar and facings which is not called for in the instructions.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:This pattern runs huge! I am normally a 14+. But I'm short, and I was worried that I would be swamped, so after reading reviews, and the measurements on the tissue, I did a tissue fitting, and ended up cutting an 8 at the top and sleeves, and a 10 along the sides. And I shortened the sleeves an inch, and the shirt 1-3/4".

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?I will probably not make it again because it's kind of a one of a kind kind of shirt.

Conclusion: It looks best with skinny pants. Like my clovers.
On the cutting table... a denim pair of clovers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bought Some Fabric

I was really hoping to reveal Vogue 1246 today, but alas, the buttons I ordered last week have not arrived. Keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow. That should also give me time to figure out how to make a 2" buttonhole. Confession... I've always had some kind of buttonhole attachment thingy. But how hard can it be? 2 rows of narrow satin stitch zig zagging with some bar tacks on each end.

So, no finished top to show you. How about the fabric I bought at an estate sale last Friday?
The red is a lightweight cotton-ish fabric, about a yard or so, maybe a little more. The plaid, just about a yard, but it's wide. I'm thinking pencil skirt for me or Laura. Gray #1 is lots of tricot that will be good for linings or a slip or nightgown or 2. There's is a lot of the gray wool on the bottom, too. Destined to be a circle skirt or a cape. Grand total... $3 for all 4.

Then I had a Groupon burning a hole in my purse (well, it expired at the end of December) for Intown Quilters. $20 for $40 worth of merchandise. So I got all these:
Um, yes. I had to pull out the credit card anyway. So, starting with the green in the upper left corner... that's a cotton/silk blend, Michael Miller I think. Next an Anna Maria Horner voile, then a Michael Miller knit. The bottom row is the Colette beignet (am I the only one who hasn't made it), a Liberty style lawn, and a fine wale cord which I'm going to use for the beignet.

Definitely some fun fabrics added to my stash!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wilma on Wednesday: Chicken Tortilla Rolls

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, if you're reading here in the U.S. If not, I do hope you had a lovely day last Thursday while we were all dining on turkey, watching football, and giving thanks (not necessarily in that order).

We celebrated a small feast at a restaurant on Thursday, and then Laura, Thomas and Thomas' dad came down from Tennessee, and we had more fun Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday was definitely all about the college football for us...
Laura, UGA Redcoat Marching Band, 2007

The University of Georgia played their rivals Georgia Tech (and won!!), and with a kickoff at noon, we needed a basement friendly menu, so chili, guacamole, chips and chicken tortilla rollups made the cut. I don't really know the origin of the rollup recipe, but it's in Wilma's cookbook, and true to form, it's a little vague... I've listed in red what I actually used or did.

Chicken Tortilla Rollups

5 cans Swanson or Underwood Chicken spread (I only used 3 4.25 oz cans)
3 pkgs cream cheese (8 oz pkgs. I used 2 regular and 1 1/3 fat)
1 medium jar Pace picante sauce (I used 6-8 oz.)
1 small can chopped green chilis
Finely chopped onions
Chili powder
Garlic salt
10 flour tortillas

Mix chicken spread and cream cheese together. Add picante sauce to make mixture spreadable. Add the green chilis and onions and add seasonings to taste. (I didn't this time, but I think I've added chopped green olives with pimentos in the past, as well.)

Spread on flour tortillas and roll-up. If you spread it on about 3/4 of the tortilla and tightly roll up, it squishes to the edges and makes it slightly less messy. Chill overnight (well-wrapped). Slice and serve.

The plate above shows about 5 of the tortillas, sliced. You can use any size really, but if you use the smaller ones, you'll need more than 10. This is super fast to mix up, and very popular. The chicken spread is a little weird, but mixed with everything else, it makes a very tasty appetizer!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vogue 1246 is Next!

Greetings! I'm back from the holiday, and trying to get back on track with my sewing. I actually have been sewing, and finished a slip made from a vintage Butterick that I have in the shop. For details and a review, I'm sending you over to the other blog. (Whew! So much blog juggling!)

My next definite project is a new, artsy top that I've mentioned being in the queue before, but now the tissue is out of the envelope and I'm really, really going to make it. Really.

I've even done some preemptive fitting research over at Pattern Review, and found some excellent advice from ClaireOKC which will be useful because this pattern runs big enormous! There's loose fitting, and there's "I'm wearing a tent".

Don't miss tomorrow's Wilma on Wednesday recipe... a particularly yummy and easy appetizer!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vogue 7903: A Refashion

I finally turned on my sewing machine this weekend, and came up with a quick refashion of one of my husband's dress shirts, into a blouse for me. Months ago, I bought this Sandra Betzina "Today's Fit" blouse pattern, and kept flip-flopping on what fabric to make it up in.
Vogue 7903

Then, Roland ripped a shirt. And it became a great source of fabric. (He ripped the sleeve, and not along a seam, but just in a random place by the shoulder.) And this:
Became this:
The only changes I made were to grade out at the hips and narrow 2 of the front darts for a bit of room for the fluff, and I narrowed the shoulders by 1". I'm thinking the shoulder narrowing resulted in a sleeve that is a tad too tight, and that lowering the armhole a bit should relieve that. I had meant for the cuffs to not be contrasting, but an error in sewing made that not happen. I used the contrasting color because I didn't have enough fabric, and I'm happy with the "mistake". I was able to cut the collar out of the yoke. And there is very little left. BTW, wearing my Clover pants!

If you're looking for nice shirting fabric, thrifting an extra large men's shirt is a great source. And it made it quick because I used the original buttons/buttonholes. You'll just have to get used to the buttons on the "wrong" side. Why is that anyway?

Notice the patio? Remember this?
The patio is almost finished! Yay! In other news, in my other sewing blog, I'm doing a feature every Monday on fantasy sewing, choosing a pattern for sale in my Etsy shop, and then picking 3 or so different fabrics on how I would make it up. Come on over and take a look. Click here for today's installment!

Finally, a close up of the blouse:
Roland said that it looks better on me than it did on him! I was a little worried about it looking too masculine, so the sparkly necklace (doesn't look so sparkly here) is a nice touch.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The "Wedding Dress" In Action

Last Friday (11-11-11) I attended the wedding of my niece, and wore the Vogue 1252 Tracy Reese animal print dress. I opted for sheer hose, "caged" platform pumps from Talbots, and bracelets and earrings from 2 of my Etsy friends.

I'll let the pictures do the talking.
with husband, Roland

shoes from Talbots

Leather bangles from Amy Fine Design
Earrings from Kristria Designs

with daughter, Laura, in a Ralph Lauren sequined dress, and Michael Kors leather jacket (all scored with great deals at a Virginia Macy's per Laura)

Laura, me and Channing Brauer, girlfriend of my nephew

my mother-in-law, Carol; sister-in-law, Kim; me; Channing; Laura; Laura's husband, Thomas

Of course, my arms look strange in most of these pictures, but all in all, the dress was really comfortable. I didn't end up tacking any of the gathers, as recommended by the pattern. It just wasn't necessary. Quite an exciting and fun evening!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wilma on Wednesday: Apple Crisp

It's just not fall without dozens of apple crisp recipes turning up on the interwebs. So through me, I'll share Wilma's with you. This is one of her more vague recipes, so the red text is how I interpreted the instructions. It's short, but very sweet!

Apple Crisp

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
Pour over apples, then sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice.
I used 4 honeycrisp apples (which tasted amazing alone), peeled, sliced fairly thin, and placed in a 9 x 9 square pyrex. I squeezed a bit of lemon juice over the apples before the sugar/flour mixture, and then sprinkled on the spices. I could have been a bit more generous with the spices.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (I used about 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup flour

Bake for 50 minutes at 350 deg. F.

So yummy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dog Sweaters

Hang tight... I'll have pictures of the "wedding dress" at the event itself in a couple of days, but these little sweaters have been waiting in the wings. A little back story... earlier this year I knitted sweaters for Laura and Thomas' 2 little puppies that were not going to get much bigger. Haha. Like any good rescue puppies, they turned out to be something a little different. And bigger. So now their adorable little sweaters looked like they were shrunk in the wash.

Fast forward to a freak snowstorm in October, and reports that the puppies hate cold weather, and I had to get busy. Too late for that storm, but they're ready now.

Basically, Laura sent me new measurements, and having traced a dog coat that my mom had for her little dog, I only had to "grade up" in length. It's a flat style with tabs that go around the neck and belly and velcro shut. I used a sweater knit scrap, interlock knit scraps and batting, giving them 3 layers of warmth. I basted the batting to the interlock, treating it as one piece, put right sides together of the interlock and the sweater knit, left a hole for turning, and stitched around the edge. Then I turned, topstitched to close the hole, and put a buttonhole near the neck for their leashes since they use harnesses. Like this:

I did sew the collar on separately, and I think it is upside down from the original tracing, but it works. You know, they're lots cuter ON the dogs. Hit it!
Sam modeling the sweater side, collar popped, and leash attached.

A good view of how the tabs go around the belly and neck.

Reversible. Looks like a little jailbird (jaildog?).

Ella with her collar popped, leash attached.

Close up of the buttonhole.

The reverse side of Ella's. She's thinking "do these stripes make me look fat?"

"Nah. I'd like a treat now, please. All this modeling has made me hungry."


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