Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sewing Blogs: Spread the Love 1

Hello and welcome to the first installment of Sewing Blogs: Spread the Love! You can think of this as the sewing communities version of Woodstock. Just like the hippies, we can share our love, albeit a different kind of love. Here, I'll share fun things that I recently found in the blogosphere, as well as link to new blogs. Even if this is the Woodstock of sewing, you must leave all of your green stuff at home lovely readers. Don't say I didn't warn you!

  • Liza Jane Sews made a super cute version of the Lisette Passport dress.
  • Stacie Things She Can made an adorable tunic in navy. ( A color I can't seem to get enough of.)
  • Lisette from What Would Nancy Drew Wear is planning a 7 tops in 7 days challenge for herself. 
  • Molly from Molly Made made an amazing 40s dress
  • Jali from The Equator Collection made a truly gorgeous smocked pillow.
  • Jilly Be Joyful gives some great tips for cleaning up a vintage machine.
  • Forrect Nicole from Presser Foot Propaganda made both a cute dress and skirt.
Other fabulous blogs in the sewing commune:
  • Sarah from EmmylouBeeDoo
  • Blooms and Bugs ( I wasn't sure of your first name, but if you let me know I will update it.)

I intend on writing a Sewing Blogs: Spread the Love post about once a week or so. If you'd like me to share a link to your blog in the sewing commune just let me know in the comments. To keep things from being repetitious I will link your blog to only the following weeks post since I want there to be new blogs in that section each week.

I love discovering new blogs, so don't be shy if you have one, speak up!  What feats of amazingness have you come across this week in the blog world? I love hearing your thoughts readers!

Happy Sewing!

P.S. Even though this is the Woodstock of sewing blogs, please stay clothed at all times, unlike the concert attendees. Come on, we sewed our clothes, we should wear them round the clock!

Monday, May 30, 2011

My Sunshine Dress Failure

Have you ever sewn a project where, if something could go wrong, then it did go wrong? It seems while working on this dress, which I had dubbed the sunshine dress, the universe turned against me. The fabric was a loosely woven vintage linen (it was just 36" wide) and it frayed if you even gave it a mean, sideways glance. The floor under the sewing table looks like I spilled the contents of an industrial size shredder because of all the fray pieces. I zigzagged all of my seams but that didn't even really help the problem. Now, since I do love outlines with bullet points, I think I'll make one to let you see why this dress is the dress of doom.
  • The fabric frayed like mad.
  • I made the armholes a bit too small. 
  • The seam of the yokes and the shoulder seams don't line up. ( I think I may have gotten my front and back pieces mixed up.)
  • One of the darts in the bodices doesn't line up with it's corresponding skirt dart, even though the side seams line up. ( The next point may be the reason for this.)
  • I cut the skirt generously thinking it would be snug, but now it's too loose.
  • It's too long.
  • I missed one piece of the "lap" on the lapped zipper leaving a raw edge flapping about.
  • I stitched in the ditch on the yoke instead of slipstitching and missed about half of the facing.
  • My gathering on the hips is uneven. 
  • And, last but not least, I used a shoddy zipper which doesn't want to unzip without some serious coercing. 
See, I told you the universe turned against me while making this dress!

Even with all the terrible things that happened, and consequently, the loss of precious sewing time, I think I like this pattern. You see, the bodice fits quite well and I think that if I made this in a more stable, tightly woven fabric, then things would turn out just fine. So, the sunshine dress is now the sunshine muslin and I have intentions of making another one in some gray poplin. (The poplin was originally destined to be a pair of Anthro knockoff shorts, but they're going to have to wait.)

The pattern on the right is the one I used.
Please excuse my lack of makeup and the state of my hair.
 So, there you have it, my sunshine dress of doom. Hopefully my next rendition will be better, and actually wearable.

Have you, readers, ever had your own dress, or garment, of doom? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Finished: Sky High Shorts

I finished a pair of shorts for summer! Yippee yippee yay! I used a vintage pattern, Simplicity 9416, which came from my recent pattern haul. This pattern had a unique detail that doesn't seem to be available in modern patterns but I wholeheartedly believe should be. The pattern included both shorts and pants, but each garment had different pieces for short, medium, and tall heights.  This seems like such a good idea to me and I wonder why pattern companies don't continue to offer this in the patterns?

I have to admit that these shorts are significantly more high-waisted than any I have worn in the past. However, as someone who is not sold on the idea of "Snooki-esque"  short shorts, I think I just might embrace the style. Since these shorts require under a yard of 60" fabric I might just whip up a few more pairs.

  • Simplicity 9416 circa 1971
  • Size 18/Waist 31/Hip 42 ( The pattern was a bit bigger than my measurements so I just took really large seam allowances on the sides.)
  • Fabric: I believe it was a stretch cotton twill from Joann
  • Notions: One regular zipper from an estate auction
What I did differently than the pattern instructed:
  • Even though I have hundreds of zippers I didn't have one zipper that matched. The pattern instructions are for a regular zip, but with the predicament of no matching zipper, I decided to learn how to do a lapped zipper. (I used this lapped zipper tutorial from Youtube which was extremely helpful.)
  • I made the short height size even though my height fell into the medium category. 
  • I used a stretch woven.

  • My pattern grade: A-
Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What I've Been Doing

What have I been doing? To be honest, I have had loads of free time lately since school is out, my summer classes haven't started, and I have yet to procure a summer job. Given all of that free time you would think that I would have a new finished object to show the blog world daily, right? Sadly, that is not the case, but I have been doing some sewing related things and quite a few non-sewey things.

First, Monday was my birthday. To mark the occasion I had lunch on Sunday at Applebee's with my family where I received some awesome kitchen goodies, some vintage hand sewing needles in picture perfect sleeves, a gift card to Joann's, and some birthday money. Since gift cards seem to erupt into spontaneous combustion in my pocket, thus burning a hole in it, I set out to Joann's on Monday. I walked around the store no less than fifty seven times deciding what I was going to spend my precious gift card on. Then, like a predator spotting it's prey, I spied the scissor section. "Hmm, my scissors are really dull and I could use a new pair" I thought to myself as I punted little old ladies out of way to get to the scissors. So, to wrap the story up, I bought myself my first real pair of "grownup" Gingher dressmakers shears!

I came home with my scissors and then this happened.
I may have went a little overboard cutting things out, but I make no apologies. Cutting out fabric isn't my favorite part of sewing, so it's nice to know I have lots of options of things that are ready to go when I want to sew them. But, let me say, my new scissors are fantastic!!!! They cut through fabric like butter. If Ii happen to catch one of my teenage brothers cutting paper with them can I count on you, dear readers, to post my bail?

Here are the patterns that I am making.
Vintage patterns ( I can't get it to rotate.)

Modern Patterns

Now, on the estate sales/thrifting front, I have a few newly acquired items to show you.I will spare you a picture of yet more zippers, which are drying on a bath towel after I gave them a bath. (They stank of musty basement, but now smell mountain fresh.)

Thrifted fabric $1.50. I think there is about 3 yards.

Estate Sale Fabric

Thrifted curtain which will be an apron. (I have two of them.) $2.50

Estate sale curtains which also will become aprons.

Stay tuned for my first ever post of others inspiring blog posts and for the above items to slowly start becoming finished objects.
Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blogs: Whose do you love?

Oh, the wonderful world of sewing blogs! I have to admit, I love reading blogs, admiring the work of other seamstresses, and finding inspiration from their work. I don't comment as often as I should on all the blogs I read, but I am working on getting better at that.

We all know, and most likely read, the "big names" of the sewing blog world. Everyone who reads sewing blogs has came across Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing, Male Pattern Boldness, Amanda's Adventures in Sewing, and Casey's Elegant Musings. Of course, that is just to name a few well known blogs as there are so many others. Not all blogs have hundreds of followers, but that doesn't mean that they aren't filled with wonderful posts and fantastic inspirations.

As I said, I read lots of sewing blogs. ( I would get so much more sewing done if I spent less time reading.) Of course, I do read blogs that are larger and have a substantial amount of followers, but I also read blogs that have fewer followers that I still  love. I don't really believe that the number of followers a blog has is the only reflection on the quality of it's content. Many smaller blogs have very interesting posts and are filled with wonderful pictures and a plethora of sewing inspiration.

With that being said, I have decided that once a week I am going to write a post sharing interesting things that I have found on various sewing blogs throughout the week as well as new blogs that I may have discovered.   ( No, this is not my original idea as I have seen many other bloggers do this.) I also want to make this post a time where others can share their blogs in the comment section, and I will post a link to their blog the following week. If it weren't for other bloggers being so kind as to comment on my blog and add me to their blog roll I would probably be writing posts that only I would be reading.

I want my blog to be a place where others feel they can openly comment and share their thoughts, even if they may differ from my opinions that I have posted. So, readers, hopefully in the coming days I will have my first post sharing my finds and allowing others to share their blogs.

For today, however, I'd love if you'd share the names of the blogs that you all love to read; whether they be sewing focused, quilting, crafting, or cooking, or any other domestic art. (Well, if the domestic art happens to be knitting I will admire the creations but I don't have any idea how to knit.) Also, do you write a blog? Should I be following your blog? Please share them with me, and if they're sewing related I will post a link to your blog in my next post.

Here's to happy sewing and a fun filled, encouraging blog community!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

1957 Florida Fashions Catalog Pt. 3

It's been a while since I posted any pictures from my vintage catalog, so I thought what better time to show the other pictures than today?

First, before we get to the important business, I have a confession to make. I bought more zippers today. Yes, more zippers to add to my already exploding collection. Here is my defense: new zippers are expensive, and vintage, secondhand zippers are cheap, and metal. I plead not guilty to zipper hoarding. I also bought two pieces of fabric and two curtains to cut up for fabric. If someone were to ask me my favorite place to shop, is estate sales an acceptable answer?

On the sewing front, I have cut out two pairs of shorts and have started on one pair. When reviewing the envelope I failed to realize that the first pair I am working on have an actual fly front zipper. Gulp. Hopefully, I will figure it out without too much headache, and only minimal time with my archenemy, Mr. Seamripper.

Now, I am trying not to post any pictures from the catalog that I've posted before, but please forgive me if there is a duplicate.

I love all of those skirts!

A nine yard skirt? Wow.

I adore that fitted white dress.

Those blue polka dots are simply marvelous.

The blue fitted dress is so chic.

Why yes, I would wear all of those dresses today.

So, readers, which styles are your favorites? Would you were these today? Anything you wouldn't be caught dead in? Chime on in, I love to hear everyone's thoughts.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Past of our Vintage Patterns

After my large pattern haul last weekend I have been thinking a lot about patterns, but more specifically the history of those patterns and their previous owners. I didn't know the lady who was the previous owner of all of those patterns I bought, not do I know who was the owner of any of the other vintage patterns I have bought. Still, I wonder about the women, well presumably women, who owned and used those patterns.

First, on the most lighthearted note, I wonder why in the world someone would buy some of those, shall we say, unique 70s patterns. Did women really have a desire to make flowered, bell bottomed,  polyester pants? When at the pattern counter, was she dreaming of recreating Carol Brady's outfits that she had seen on that week's Brady Bunch episode. Did she have a preteen son who was begging for mom to recreate Greg Brady's outfit? Was she selecting a pattern to make pillows to coordinate with her avocado green and harvest gold sofa? So many questions, no way to get answers.

When I see patterns from the 70's I wonder about humorous, lighthearted questions. However, when I see patterns from earlier decades, specifically the 30s and 40s, I have a completely different set of wonders. The 30s were obviously plagued by the Great Depression. When I see a pattern from the 30s I wonder what hardships the woman who owned the pattern was facing. Was the purchase of a pattern and fabric a very special, rare treat for this women? Did this woman enjoy sewing for herself and her family, or was it just another chore that must be completed?

When I move onto the 40's I have other questions that I wonder, though some are similar to the previous questions. When I see a pattern dated between the years of WWII I wonder if the young lady sewing the pattern was at home, waiting on her solider to come back from a far away land? When I see patterns for children, I wonder if she enjoyed sewing for them or longed for the funds to purchase her children's clothes? Could I own a pattern that a woman stitched up to meet her long lost love upon his return home from war? I will never know, but I will always wonder.

When I see patterns from the 50s and 60s, you guessed it, I have questions. When I see fancy party dresses, I wonder what the occasion was? Did this lady want to sew her party dress or did financial restrictions force her to make it?  Was the lady sewing those patterns a housewife, longing to have a job in a "mans world" or was she content in her domestic role? If she enjoyed sewing, was she looked down upon by more feminism inded friends for enjoying such a domestic activity? In the 50s did she try to recreate dresses worn on I Love Lucy? In the 60s did she find inspiration for those lovely little suits on Bewitched?

I suppose I will never find answers to all of the questions filling my head, but it is still fun to wonder. I hope that it doesn't seem that I am romanticizing the past as that is certainly not my intention. I understand that life in the past had its pluses, but it was certainly plagued with hardships that I will never know. I believe that it is pretty safe to say that modern women and men, at least those in the developed world, only sew if they have a desire to. do so. As clothing has become cheaper to manufacture there is no need to sew clothing to make one's family budget stretch farther. Since cheap, mass produced clothing wasn't the norm decades ago, I will always wonder if the person who sewed that pattern when it was new truly enjoyed the process or if she just wished to get the task over with and get on with her life? On a happier not, I also wonder what her finished garment looked like? Would she approve of my fabric choice for "her" pattern?

So, readers, what do you think? Do you ever wonder about the past of the vintage patterns you own? Do you ever daydream of the first person to use the pattern that you're getting ready so stitch up? Do you wonder what their version of the pattern looked like and whether or not they wore it? I love hearing your opinions, so chime right in!

Happy Sewing!

P.S. Don't even get me started on my list of questions when I see a wedding dress pattern.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Finished: Periwinkle Skies Skirt

I am impersonating the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The front is a teeny bit longer than the back, but I can account for that when I hem it.

Actually, the title of this post should read Almost Finished: Periwinkle Skies Skirt. I have yet to hem this skirt for two reasons. One, I want to hand hem it and wasn't really in the hand sewing mood today. Secondly, I haven't decided on the amount of hem I want to take yet.

Since all clothes need a name, I dubbed this skirt the periwinkle skies skirt. I have yet to decide if periwinkle skies sounds like the name of a child's song or a place you'd visit while on LSD.

Now, for the wonderful little details:
  • Pattern: Butterick 4686 View C minus the recommended embellishment
  • Fabric: A vintage bed sheet from an estate sale last year $2
  • Notions: A standard white zipper from an estate auction last year ~$0.05
  • Make again: Probably not this version, but I may make the pleated version
  • My Personal Pattern Grade: B+ 
My pattern likes and dislikes:
  • I love how flowy the skirt is.
  • I like the wide yoke/waistband.
  • I wish the directions were a bit more clear on how to deal with the yoke/yoke facing and the zipper. Getting the zipper to go in smoothly was a bit tricky.
Things I changed:
  • I left off the suggested trim embellishment. 
  • Instead of slipstitching the yoke facing, I stitched in the ditch and hand sewed the edge of the yoke facing to the zipper tape. 
  • I didn't use a hook and eye simply because I put the zipper up a bit too high and didn't have room for one.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Other Estate Sale Goodies

I love estate sales! Seriously, I adore them. Every week I search Craigslist and Estatesales.net looking for any close to home, and in the case of a few I have visited, not so close to home. I suppose some people feel odd digging through the possessions of the deceased, but I like to think that I am giving the items that they loved and cherished a second chance on life. Owning an item from an estate sale makes me feel as if I am owning a bit of history, even if the previous owner was just a regular, ordinary person. So, if you've never been to an estate sale I encourage you to check one out, unless, of course, you want to visit the same ones I am and attempt to buy "my" sewing stuff or "my" vintage Tupperware. 

So, on the topic of estate sales, I thought that I'd share the other sewing related goodies that I bought at the sale this past weekend.

Some bias tape, ric-rac, and lots of hem tape

A few zips, most of which are metal

A few more zips. Some are invisible, which I despise

An awl. I haven't had a need for one of the yet, but maybe someday

Sewing book, Copyright 1963

Some random buttons

Vintage Buttons

More Buttons

Even more buttons

The red ones in the corner are spherical, not sure what to use them on

These are some of my favorite. The flower parts of made of fabric
In sewing related news, I am almost done with a skirt from a modern Butterick fabric. I should finish it tomorrow, and weather permitting have pictures. It would have been done today,except I had a bit of difficulty inserting the zipper into the side seam of the skirt and the side seam of the yoke. I also have decided that I am going to make some shorts as my next project. I intend on making two pairs from two separate modern McCalls patterns, and one pair from a vintage pattern that I bought at the estate sale.

So, readers, I'd love to hear your thoughts. What type of project would you use those spherical buttons on? A coat or jacket? Also, do you all like to go to estate sales?
 Happy Sewing!