Monday, January 31, 2011

Inspiration Time Again

Last night and today I got a few new things cut out that will hopefully make appearances as finished garments soon. However, first up is a pair of hunter green flannel pajama pants for  one of my brothers. I have had the fabric since November and had promised him a pair for Christmas. Since it's pretty much February now I think it might be a good time to get started.  Better late than never, right?

I also cut out a Cynthia Rowley top, a 70s vintage top, and a skirt. As soon as I have time I will post the patterns envelopes.

Since I don't have anything sewn to show ya'll I thought I'd show you all a little jacket that I am in love with.It's Kate Spade, which I adore, but I do not adore the price tag and have no intention of ever buying a piece, ever, not even if I won the lottery. Okay, maybe I would consider it if I won the lottery.

I love it, but I don't 445 dollars love it, which is the current price on Nordstrom's website.  Perhaps I can make myself one one day? I won't be holding my breath to see if that will happen though.

I am also happy to report that my spring clothes arrived today, however, some assembly is required. :]

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Shirt is Finally Done!

I finally finished a top! I used Simplicity 2614 and I made view E, which is a sleeveless top with a tie. I used s slippery polyester fabric that I bought it Joanns. As I stated in another post, I am rendered incapable of making an intelligent decision when I am in the presence of anything polka dotted. This fabric was no exception.  In hindsight perhaps a silky fabric that frays like crazy wasn't the wisest decision for my first top.

When I looked at the sizing on the envelope it indicated that I needed to make a size 16. However, I also compared that measurement to the finished garment measurements and decided on the 14 with a D cup. I think next time I would make a 14 with a C cup or add more gathers under the bust if I used the D again.

This top isn't without it's problems though. First, it's just not quite long enough for my taste. It seems that the bottom part is what needs length as opposed to the bust part.  I enclosed the bottom edge in bias tape instead of hemming it and it''s still a little shorter than I would like. (By the way, I am barely 5'7" so someone taller would definitely need to lengthen it.).  It is long enough to tuck into a skirt but I would just like it to be a little longer to wear un-tucked. If I make it again I will be adding to the length.

Secondly, my gathers under the bust are slightly wonky and it makes them poof out in a slightly strange looking way. The worst part of this top was the facing. It put up a fight, a mean mean fight. The winner of the fight is still undecided but I regret to inform you that I think I am the loser in this fight. I sewed it together the wrong way twice, then proceeded to pin it together the wrong way the third time. Once it was finally sewn on the top I couldn't get it to lay right in the "V" part of the neck. I ended up clipping into it in a way that I am sure could make advanced seamstresses cry. Oh well, I am the only one who is going to see the inside. Even though there were trials and tribulations that went with this top I am just counting them as learning experiences and I fully intend on wearing my slightly wonky top.

Thank ya'll for stopping by my blog!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fabric Oh Glorious Fabric

Fabric, oh yeah I love it! But then again, what kind of a person who sews who doesn't love fabric? However, what I don't love is trying to acquire the stuff. Where I live the choices of brick and mortar fabric stores is almost nonexistent. We do have one Joann, which is in the process of relocating thus leaving it looking like an abandoned home economics wasteland. There are also a small handful of quilt shops and one upholstery shop which sells their remnants by the pound,. For apparel fabric however there is not one single independently owned resource within hours of my house. I do like to visit auctions, estate sales, and thrift stores to look for sewing stuff but it's not a reliable source to find fabric and notions. However, I can attribute my 200 plus piece vintage zipper collection to one single auction.  Also, when there does happen to be fabric at an estate sale or auction you must battle the seemingly sweet little old ladies who want fabric to quilt with. Let me tell you, from past experience, that these very women who look like sweet little ladies lose their charm when there fabric hoarding claws come out. Oddly, the same holds true for men at auctions who want the feedsack fabric that  you woke up at some ungodly hour to attempt to buy.  Let's move on before I show the virtual world how bitter I still am about that dang feedsack fabric.

As many others seemed to have already done I have turned to the internet to buy fabric. However, this solution isn't without it's drawbacks. Since I am still trying to learn the textures and weights and drape of fabrics it would be helpful if I was able to feel them in person, something that I can't really do on the internet. Also, I have noticed that there can be some pretty big differences in the color you see on your screen and what actually shows up at your door. So far I have only purchased fabric from 2 places: and various sellers on Etsy. seems to have a pretty good selection and a box from them should be showing up at my door within the next week. (More on that a little later.). Etsy sellers have lots of cute stuff, but it is almost exclusively quilters cotton. Cupcakes on my apron? Yes! Cupcakes on a dress for a grown woman? No way Jose!

Now, let's get to the good stuff. I know that everyone out there is perched on the edge of their seat wondering what delicious textiles are going to be arriving at my door in the near future? Allow me to show you. I'll take a snapshot when I get them to see if there are distinct color differences. Also, let me say that the thought of buying fabric without a specific purpose in mind terrifies me. She who dies with the most fabric wins? I don't think so! She who dies with the most Tupperware wins? That sounds more like it. Now, let's get to the goodies.

This little lovely is a cotton and polyester blend that I intend to make into a summer sundress. I intend on using a vintage pattern for this, which happens to be the wrong size for me. While I am sure that 99.9% of you will think I am crazy, I intend of learning how to "grade" the pattern. However, I use the term grade very very loosely as what I truly intend to do it slash it in half, spread it out some, and then add a bit to the side seams. Now, before any vintage purists out there freak out, I do intend on tracing around the pattern first in case I make a boo-boo. Since I don't have any tracing paper I have decided that I am going to use the back (white) side of wrapping paper to just trace around the already cut out pattern. This will also help ensure that I don't end up on hoarders one day buried under my extensive wrapping paper collection.

Next, I ordered, drum roll please, navy blue and white fabric to attempt to recreate the lovely Mod Cloth dress that I showed ya'll the other day. Since these are both plain I'll just show you a picture once I get them.

This class navy and white gingham is also on its way to my doorstep. I have a love affair with all things gingham, even if it does have a bit of a "down on the farm" feel if not done properly. I also have a specific pattern already picked out for this, to make yet another sundress. The lucky pattern for this fabric is going to be Butterick 5209. I intend on making the dress on the left.
 Next, I bought this oh so fabulous sateen to turn into another version of my navy pencil skirt. 

Next, I bought some lovely striped fabric that will hopefully become a knockoff of a skirt that I have saved on Polyvore,which I will show ya'll tomorrow. I also have a vintage pattern in mind but it has to be dug out of the closet. Thankfully it is already the right size.

Once it all arrives I will post a picture of me rolling around in nicely displaying all my new fabric lovelies. That's all for tonight but I promise there will be a post showing my vintage patterns very soon, granted that I get my estate planning homework done in a timely manner.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Current Project

I actually have been sewing, even if I have been working at a snail's pace. Hopefully, I will have a wonderful finished garment to show ya'll tomorrow but for now I thought that I'd babble a little about what it is exactly that I'm working on. Since pictures are the best part of a blog post lets start with that. Here's that pattern that I'm using.

I am making view E, which is the shirt in the bottom right hand corner. The fabric I am using is a very cute dark gray fabric with white polka dots. The fabric is indeed cute but it's also 100% polyester and oh so slippery. Now, most of you were probably wondering what in the world I was thinking in picking out a slippery fabric when I can barely sew two pieces of cotton together? Well, there are two answers to that. The first answer is polka dots, when I see polka dots I am immediately rendered incapable of making an educated decision and lose all willpower that I preciously possessed. Secondly, I am simply not a perfectionist and I don't really mind if my shirt comes out slightly wonky due to my poor fabric choice. I would probably wear the thing even is I sewed the wrong sides together and every single one of my seams were visible.

That's all for tonight as I am off to do some virtual window shopping!

Some More Inspiration

ModCloth has some of the cutest clothes I have ever seen. The downside however is that they're a bit pricey for my cheaptastic ways. (Though the dress I am about to show you is made in the USA.) However, at $98 it won't be on it's way to my mailbox anytime soon. But I am still in love with this dress. So, what's a girl to do? Sew one for herself of course! Now, before I ramble on with some more details lets take a look at the dress.

I love all things that have a nautical flair and this dress is no exception. Now, for some more sewing talk. I actually already have a pattern in mind to create this dress. I plan on using McCalls 4444, which luckily I already have. The pattern is similar enough that I think I can create a reasonable recreation of the dress. I think that I can simply sew on a piece of white ribbon to make the bottom white stripe. Also, when I look at the up close picture on the website the knot on the front of the dress is simply tied through a little loopy thing. As for the belt, I might attempt to locate a similar one or pick up a belt at the Goodwill, hack off the buckle, paint it white, and make a belt from some interfaced white fabric. The second idea may seem psycho to some people but I have probably done far worse before. Now, have a look at the pattern I intend on using.

I think that the dress in the top middle would work perfectly since it is already has the top pieces to be made from a contrasting fabric.( If you click on my lin above you can see a better picture of the pattern.) So, what don't I have yet? Fabric. However, since this dress is just made from plain navy and white I don't think I should have too much of a problem locating some. Hopefully I can find a navy cotton that isn't the weight of quilters cotton but we'll see. Now, there is about 50/50 chance that this dress will never be anything more than a figment of my imagination so don't get your hopes up that there will be a finished dress anytime soon. That's all for tonight as I'm off to look for some suitable fabric that will hopefully make it's way to my doorstep in the near future. Also, I need all the tips and tidbits of advice I can get on recreating dresses you have seen in retail!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Vintage Inspiration

I don't have any new finished garments to show off today, though I have been sewing. I finished an apron, another version of McCalls 6825, which brings my tally of aprons created from that pattern to five. Over the weekend I also cut out a few things that I hope to make in the coming weeks, including a sleeveless top, a retro half-apron, and a loose fitting short sleeve jacket. Hopefully, they will appear here in finished form very soon.

Now, let's move onto the really fun stuff! I love vintage fashion and spend far more of my free time than I care to admit looking at said fashion on the internet, in vintage magazines, and by dumping out my containers full of vintage patterns. Hopefully after making a few more modern patterns I will dive into the world of vintage patterns. I have made two aprons from a vintage pattern, which resulted in tie ends so short they would barely tie around my waist.

Now, let's take a look at this beautiful little piece of fashion history.
The dress on the right is fantastic! I love the color combination and anything with a bow has my automatic seal of approval. Well, with the exception of horrendous eighties bridesmaids dresses with huge satin bows positioned in the most unflattering way on your backside that seem to overpopulate thrift stores from coast to coast. Now let's get back to the dress at hand. While I love the dress I have no need for a formal dress like that anytime soon nor do I have the skills needed to make a formal dress yet. However, I think that I can definitely use the dress for some inspiration. I'm thinking a knee length dress done in the same color combination with a pink belt or sash? Another option could be a white skirt paired with a top that in the same color as the bodice of the dress in the picture, again with a pink belt or sash tied around my waist? Given the length of my attention span there is a pretty good chance that none of the above scenarios will ever come to fruition though.

That's all for tonight ,but hopefully I will have a finished top to show ya'll soon.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Long Awaited Pencil Skirt

I finally finished my pencil skirt! If I could write done in fifteen languages I would, sadly though I have no multilingual skills. As I write this I am sitting at my computer wearing the skirt because I am so excited about having finally finished it I can't bear to take it off and return to my previous attire of jeans. The skirt is not without it's problems, the zipper is slightly wonky and the darts are just a bit uneven, but I am counting it a success. Finally seeing a finished, wearable ( I am wearing it regardless of it's problems) garment is definitely exciting and makes me want to sew, sew, and then sew so more. It was a lot of fun seeing it go from this...


to this


The pattern was McCalls 6038 and it was very easy to put together, even for a wannabe beginner like myself. Also, if you're wondering I made a size 16, obviously with no alterations because I  don't have any skills like that, yet. I know in the picture that the front appears all wrinkly but it really isn't, I just didn't have it pulled up as high in the front as in the back. ( I have no idea as to why I had it so uneven,.) The whole time I was cutting it out I kept looking at the pieces thinking, a 16? Really, I have to cut out a size 16?  Instead of a case of sticker shock I had a case of size shock. I just have to keep reminding myself that patterns and off the rack clothing have very different sizing and remind myself not to take a number quite so personally. Well, I am off to twirl around in my new skirt, despite the fact that it isn't twirly whatsoever.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Brief Update

Yes, I have been working on my navy pencil skirt, albeit very slowly. I have reinforced the back slit using my vintage seam binding, made all six darts (four front and two on the back), and I have sewn the two back pieces of the skirt together. However, I have reached that step in the directions which instructs you to put in the zipper. The directions are written so casually, so nonchalantly, as if it were as easy as brushing your teeth or pouring water from a cup. Perhaps it is as easy as the aforementioned tasks, if I could figure out how to properly snap the zipper foot onto my sewing machine. On a side note, I did manage to attach the buttonhole foot and promptly use up half of my navy bobbin testing out the one step buttonhole function. After seeing my machine make those beautiful buttonholes in 30 seconds I can now say I am a believer in love at first sight. Tonight, I will hopefully snap my zipper foot on properly and show that zipper who's boss!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pencil Skirt Progress

Yesterday, I decided that I was going to work on my skirt, and I did, for all of about 30 minutes. However, I have plans to devote much more time too it today and hopefully get a few steps completed. Yesterday I marked the darts using a pencil, but it is really hard to see on my navy blue fabric. Chalk is most certainly something that I need to acquire asap. I have yet to put a single stitch of thread into the skirt though. Since my goal is to master the basics I want to make sure that I read my reference books and do any online research that I may need to do before I put the (sewing machine) pedal to the metal. Doing this, however, is a complete 180 from my usual method of throwing caution, and the directions, to the wind. Today I hope to get at least a few steps completed. The first step instructs you to reinforce the back slit using seam binding,but the only seam binding I own is about triple my age so I have to make sure it isn't dry rotted before I sew it onto my skirt. 

Now, onto some non-monotonous things. Since deciding that a pencil skirt would be my first real project I have been perusing various clothing sites and looking at what types, and the price, of pencil skirts they offer.. As soon as I figure out exactly how to insert click-able pictures into blogger I will share them with you. I am thinking that I might be able to create sets on Polyvore and then show you the pieces that way? My generation is supposed to be born with knowledge of all things technology, but for some reason I am have serious troubles with this. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sew it Begins

Last night I cut out what is hopefully going to be my first real garment. I chose McCalls 6038, which is a straight skirt with darts, a back zipper, and a back slit. I chose view B which is the third skirt from the left, though they are all very similar.

 Now, I know that you are just on the edge of your seat wondering what kind of fabric I am going to use? Is it lime green with hot pink stars? How about black, shiny and see through? No, no wait, it must be black with glittery little skulls with cutesy hearts as eyes? Now, get ready, hang onto your seat and wait for fabric is (drum roll please) plain navy blue with no glitter, hearts, or skulls anywhere to be found. Yes, I am making a plain, navy blue pencil skirt. I have a few reasons for picking plain navy. Reason one is that I don't own a navy skirt and think it would be a good addition to my wardrobe. (I plan on wearing this skirt no matter how it turns out.) Secondly, I am an accounting major and I have to dress in business attire for all classes that are in the school of business. Because of this I need clothing that is dressier than your typical everyday jeans and a sweater attire. Thirdly, I want to sew things that aren't reminiscent of things I might have worn on a Friday night a few years ago in high school. I want to make "grown up" clothes that look more like they came from Ann Taylor Loft rather than Charlotte Russe.

Now, back to the skirt. As I stated I have cut the skirt out already, but I have yet to make any markings on it other than clipping notches. I have read the directions for marking darts in both my modern and vintage sewing books, but I am undecided on which method I want to use. I don't have any carbon paper or a tracing wheel so that option is out, as is chalk because I have yet to acquire any of that. I think that I am going to use tailors tacks, but first I must learn how to make tailor's tacks. (When I made all of the aprons I didn't take marking very seriously.) I am going to do a few searches on the internet for ways to mark darts and then make my final decision on how to mark them soon. Hopefully, I will have a completed skirt to show the world soon!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Christmas Apron

As I promised in my first post, I am going to show the army of aprons that I have stitched thus far. First up is the apron I made specifically for Christmas baking. The fabric is a Christmas fabric from Michael Miller that I picked up on Etsy. I used McCalls 5825 for my pattern and it was super quick and easy to put together. So quick and easy in fact that I made three more to give to my grandmother,mother, and aunt as Christmas gifts. They were very well received, even if I did finish the last one 30 minutes before I was to be at Christmas Eve dinner. Without further adieu I present to you the Christmas apron of twenty ten...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Vintage or Modern?

Vintage or Modern? I think that I will choose both vintage and modern, books that is. I have two sewing books that I plan on using as my main references for mastering the basics. First, let us look at the modern book. For Christmas I requested and received a copy of The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing, which will be my main modern reference book, This book is sleek and modern and chock full of wonderful colorful photographs, over 1200 according to the cover. I plan on pouring over the section on inserting zippers, ah zippers, later tonight. You see, zippers are 2/3 of the wannabe problem. I have hundreds of them. I have invisible ones, short ones, long ones, and a ton of vintage ones with metal teeth. Where in the world did I acquire so many zippers? Well, the majority, about 250 or so,  "mysteriously" followed me home after an auction that I visited. All of these zippers that I own wannabe in clothes, just like I wannabe a seamstress.

Now, for the vintage book. I picked up a copy of Better Homes and Gardens Sewing book a few months ago at an estate sale. While I can't find a date listed on the book I assume it's from the late 1960s. I do want to make vintage patterns as well as modern ones so I believe this book will be very helpful. I also want to incorporate a few vintage techniques into my arsenal of sewing "weapons". This book is completely different from the Singer photo sewing book as it is comprised of line drawings as opposed to photographs. As a bonus this book includes a short section on planning your wardrobe, where it is suggested that you pair gloves with your dress, oh how times have changed. BH&G will be my go-to book for all things vintage sewing.

Hopefully these two books will help morph me from a wannabe to a "be"!

Welcome to my blog!

Hello everyone!
I'm Rebecca,, and I am just what this blog title suggests, a wannabe seamstress. I spend far too much of my free time reading sewing blogs and dreaming of being able to sew well. So far all I have sewn is aprons, and more aprons, and then, just for the heck of it, a few more aprons. Well, it's a new year and I have decided that it is time to make some things that have a purpose other than keeping air-born spaghetti sauce off of my clothes. So, I hope that you will follow me as I attempt to master all the basics of sewing!

P.S. Don't despair, I will post pictures of my army of aprons.