Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Simplicity 5030, Version 2

Have you ever thought up a project, and you couldn't make anything else until you've seen if that project can work? Yep, this is one of those projects. Here's how it came about:

Step 1: Daughter Laura cleans out her drawers when she graduates, and presents me with 2 large shopping bags full of t-shirts, and wants a quilt.

Step 2: I make a quilt.
Step 3: There's still a overflowing bag of t-shirts left. What else am I going to do with them?

Step 4: Get inspired by a girl I see at a folk art festival who is wearing a pillowcase-style sundress, clearly made of t-shirts she (or someone) has sewn together to make a new "fabric".

Step 5: Decide Laura wouldn't wear that kind of dress in public, but she might wear a nightgown.

Step 6: Make Simplicity 5030 for myself, and decide it would be a great pattern to use for this project.

OK, enough with the steps... this is a project that just took on a life of it's own, and words just can't do it justice. So, I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

Sam (the dog) is just mesmerized with the awesomeness!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mad Men Week 4

Week 4! How is that possible? Well, I do actually have a bit of sewing to share. So... let's remind you of the pattern I've chosen for my black pencil skirt.
As one of my astute readers, lsaspacey, pointed out, view 2 is not actually a true pencil skirt. I knew that, but was hoping, since it's so darn long, that by lopping off the 9" from the bottom, that it just wasn't too much of an a-line.

Well, I wasn't that lucky, but my plan of starting with the lining has paid off. I put the lining together, using a long basting stitch for the side seams and the back seam. The waist fit well, so it was just a matter of tapering the side seam. I'm not sure it's still "officially" a pencil skirt, but it works for me.

Keep in mind that while I'm making this for the Mad Men Challenge, I'm also making this to wear "in real life". Like to work, where I've got to be able to move and bend, and pick up stuff off the floor, etc. In fact, I may be changing my Mad Men Challenge plan, but I'll let you know about that next week.

There you go. It only took 2 tries to get the side seam I liked. I saved the cut off pieces and traced them onto my traced tissue. I went ahead and hemmed the lining after removing the seam in the back center, which will be sewn later.

Finally, what did the best grandma in the world wear in the early 60s taking her adorable granddaughter on a walk around the block? Why this of course:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mad Men Monday Week 3

Progress! Sort of. You know the story... 2 steps forward, 1 step back. I had this weekend off, so took full advantage for this project. Of course, I had a previously started project that had to be finished, and I'll tell you about it in a post later this week. And, yes, it did take longer than expected.

Back to the Mad Men challenge. I traced the skirt, and made no changes except to lop off 9". As drafted, it would hit lower than mid-calf after hemming. Not a good look on me in any decade. The skirt will still be black, with a colorful lining. The lining is also an addition, and a construction change will be to move the zipper around to center back and to make that zipper invisible. I don't plan to make a muslin, so this is ready to be cut out.

But what to wear on top. This pattern:
says full on Joan at the office to me. And the blouse is my size. So I traced the blouse and the vest, which could be useful at my workplace (that's a post all by itself). I have some gorgeous silk, but the reality is that it wouldn't be so practical for my real life. And it just doesn't seem like me. But THIS:
I love! The short sleeve version. So, now it's been traced... just the bodice, because I want it to be a blouse. The downside is that I will have to grade it up to a bust 36, and it has a unique construction with the yoke and sleeve cut in one with a center back seam. I've got some ideas, so I'll be working on that this week in my "free" time. I WILL be making a muslin of this! Fabric choice for this TBD, but there are options in my stash.

Our blast from the past photo is one from 1960. It's quite possible that my grandmother (on the left) made both her suit and my mom's shirtwaist dress. But look at their hats!! Fabulous! The occasion was my Christening.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mad Men Monday Week 2

Progress has been made! Well, not tangible progress anyway, as so far scissors have not been taken to pattern or fabric. But it's that kind of intangible progress that involves making a decision.

First, from the 1960s archives of my family photo albums:
I guess the focus of this picture is my adorable baby self, but look at the fabulous suit my mom has on, complete with slim skirt, jacket with bracelet length sleeves, possibly bound buttonholes (the picture is a bit too fuzzy to tell), and real fur collar... that I have in my possession now. Back to the decision making.

Decision 1: garments that I make should be useful to my daily life, and not just "frosting" as they say around the sewing blogosphere.

Decision 2: I'm going to attempt to make 3 (and maybe 4) garments for the Mad Men Challenge. (If Project Runway contestants can make a couture gown in one, surely I can accomplish this in 10-11 weeks!)

Decision 3: Garment #1 is going to be a black pencil skirt, inspired by Joan and the other secretarys at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Advertising. Boring, yes, but oh, so useful.

The Pattern:
 This was purchased last year from The Blue Gardenia. True, it's probably late 50's, but it works for me, and it's my size. I'm making view 2, though I really do like view 1, too. First change to make the skirt more late 60s (and frankly, more 2013) will be to shorten it.

More pencil skirt options from my own shop:
McCall's 5460
Don't you love the ribbon detail on the green skirt? I might do that on mine to give it a bit more interest.
Simplicity 6636
Closer to the vintage of the newer seasons of Mad Men, this Simplicity from 1966 has it all... shorter skirt, blazer, shell and slacks.

McCall's 9505
Finally, from 1968, this McCall's suit pattern has the short pencil skirt, Nehru jacket AND a cape. Three great pieces!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What Do You Sleep In?

Me? My favorite thing to sleep in is a short, cotton nightgown. I've been sleeping in some version of this as long as I can remember. Sure, pjs come and go, and the long, flannel nightgown has had it's day, but night in and night out, this is what I grab. I'll add some comfy pj pants if it's cold out.

And one other thing... I'll sleep in the same gown until it's almost threadbare.

Why am I confessing this? Because my current go-to gown was purchased probably about 10 years ago. It's time for a new one. And I decided to make one after making an impulsive purchase at a fabric sale right before Christmas. A children's design, Monsterz by Cloud 9 Organic Fabrics, no less... what else am I going to make with it, I ask you?

The Pattern (still available in my shop):

I made view 3, with only one pocket. And one change. I added 4" of width to both the front and the back. If I make it again, I'll eliminate the opening in the back, as the neckline is plenty wide enough to just pull on over my head. I didn't change the length, but it hits just about mid-thigh on me. I used contrasting orange thread for all the decorative top-stitching.

A quick and easy way to add extra width to a pattern when you're tracing:

This may or may not be an ongoing thing, but I decided to "grade" my project, in a Home-Ec kind of way, so here you go:
   Sewing Skills: B
   Creativity: A

And the final result, details first, (which I slept in last night... giving it a big thumbs up for comfort... no twisting at all):
Back closure: snaps for baby clothes I had in my stash.
Pocket, with rick-rack and decorative stitching. Hem with also with a decorative stitch.

Yoke, with rick-rack and decorative stitch around neckline.
The end result!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mad Men Monday

Welcome to my new series. I figured if I'm going to do the latest Mad Men challenge (click on badge in the sidebar for more info), I might as well attempt to keep myself on track, hence a Monday report on how it's going.

Today's topic... INSPIRATION ... aka WHAT DO I MAKE?!!

I went to my favorite source for Mad Men Style info (Tom and Lorenzo), and pinned photos from last season. If you're a Mad Men fan, you know that they're now firmly in the late 60s. This leaves me with a dilemma, because the early 60s are really better style-wise for me. I just relate more to those more formal and fitted styles, and find the wearability easier than the mini, hippier looks of the late 60s.

[As an aside, I lived through the entire 1960s, minus the first 5 days of 1960 when I was still in the womb. I'm a child of the 60s and wore many of the late 60s styles, at least in a child-version. This doesn't make me like them any better.]
Me, December 1960...I'll try to find a better picture.
My initial feeling is that I'm going to make the shirtdress I was considering making for the challenge last year. I have fabric, and a pattern for this, and it will be a great and timeless summer style for the heat of the southeast US.

But Joan's (or even Megan's) work look would also be great, and a useful addition to my own work wardrobe. OK, the boring part would be that it would have to be in black. I'll probably still make a Joan or Megan-inspired pencil skirt and blouse with a ruffle, or a great wiggle dress, but maybe just not for the challenge.

Finally, I need a dress to wear to a summer wedding, so something dressier could also be a possibility. Hmmm, do you see any favorites in these pictures?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tiramisu, the Paisley Edition

Tiramisu #2 is finished, and I'm calling this the Paisley Edition because, well, there are paisleys all over it. Are paisleys a thing? Singular? Plural? Nevermind.

This is a full length dress (as opposed to my original tira #1 which should be called the Peplum Edition). I took the changes I made after finishing #1 and essentially ended up with a size 30 vertically, and a 35 horizontally. Yep, short and wide...that's me. Forget about the cup size... don't even know where that ended up.

And you will notice the sleeves. 3/4 length, which is my favorite length. Basically made by making the underarm seam slightly more dolman-like. I did add the binding for a neat finish, and used only 1/4" seam allowance for the underarm to midriff because it seemed like they would be a smidge tight. They are perfect now. I actually made the piece for the sleeve separate from the bodice, but cut it all in one. Now it will be easy to choose the sleeve length, cut and go.

Oh, and I didn't gather the underbust seam, but made 3 little pleats. It's kinda hard to tell from the pictures, but I really love the end result of the pleating.

I also didn't hem it, which makes me a little twitchy, but I also don't think I want it any shorter. So the pictures... you would not believe the static electricity. Even after rubbing the inside of the skirt and my legs with a dryer sheet. Some spinning:


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