Thursday, August 19, 2010

In Which a Fail Becomes a Win and I Attend an Event in Something I've Made

We're still trying to get the house into some kind of order. Most of the painting has been done. We tore up some carpet and put in some flooring. ...and that's about it. I keep wanting to show you stuff but nothing is really completely and totally finished.

The sewing room is painted (bright blue with white trim!) and the green linoleum has been covered with carpet that we re-purposed from the living room. All of my sewing stuff is in there and, let me tell you, it is a positively glorious place to sew...but it's still not a finished room. The pocket door needs to be sanded and painted, all the outlet, switch and vent covers need to be replaced (along with some of the plugs), I've got to deal with some furniture that may or may not be staying, and there's really no art on the walls...

The upstairs bathroom has the same issue. It's been cleaned and painted, the horrific 80s light fixture has been replaced...but it's still not really done. I caulked after I painted (rookie move) so I need to do some touch-ups. All the pink stuff I bought (chalkware fish!) to decorate with is too pink because the tile looks peach under the natural light from the light well. Plus I need new towels and there's a shelf that needs to be put up and... Well, you get the picture.

I decided that making curtains for these spaces would make me feel like I was approaching done-ness. I bought white eyelet for the sewing room. I just did four simple panels with rolled hem edges and a fold at the top for the bar to slide through. Easy peasy. See? Pretty curtains.

In the bathroom, I removed the cabinet doors from the cupboard under the bathroom sink in order to paint them and then decided not to put them back on. The doors were so big and the room is so tiny that they made it difficult to get into cabinet without doing a little dance. (Open door part way, step to the side, open further, step forward, bend and search, step back close the door part way, step to the side, close the door.) Of course now all of the junk under the sink is totally exposed and looks horribly messy.

Taking a cue from the catbox cosy I made at the old house, I thought I'd just slap together an easy curtain. Except it didn't really work.

I bought a yard of extremely pale pink cotton broadcloth and, just in case, a yard of red kona cotton. The pink clashed with the tile so it was a no go. The red matched the accent tile above the sink but after I'd cut out and sewn the panels and put them up, I realized that a curtain was just a terrible idea, even temporarily. It just looked lazy and wrong. So wrong that I'm not even going to show you a photo. The only way to deal with the bathroom cabinet is to put in pebble glass sliding doors and it's going to be a while before we have the dough for that.


But wait! Win!

I had just under a yard of eyelet left over and a full yard of uncut pink cotton. What does that spell? Outfit! I watched Swing Shift last month and was inspired by the super cute and girlie summer clothes in the scene on the pier. So, I decided to make my own 40's hot weather outfit. Fogville weather be damned!!

This 1940s pattern again.

I used the leftover eyelet for this blouse and flat-lined it with white muslin from the stash. I love flat-lining! It is so easy and effective! I wish I'd learned this technique long ago.

In order to cut out the shirt and the sleeves with the limited amount of fabric, I had to shorten the shirt considerably. ... to midriff length. No really! Midriff tops weren't that unusual in the 40s. Maybe they were unusual on matronly married ladies but, since I live in the city of eternal adolescence, I refuse to dress like a grownup just yet. (Mutton/lamb, yeah, I know...blah blah blah.)

I decided to try the lingerie elastic idea for the sleeves. I used the rolled hem foot to finish the outer sleeve edge.

Then I pinned the elastic over the hem and stitched it down. Success! Purchased bias tape finished the underarm sleeve edge and the neckline and I added a satin bow at the center neck. To finish the bottom edge of the blouse, I made a casing by folding the hem up and slipping in an elastic band. It was really ridiculously easy, and despite being a teensy bit shorter than I'd envisioned, I like it.

The pink cotton became an a-line skirt using this one-yard skirt pattern.

I love this pattern. Even though it's '60s I think that it works really well as part of a '40s outfit because of the A-line shape. I bag-lined the skirt with some pinky-beige lining from the stash and did my lazy fold-over waistband.
All in all a very successful and cute outfit, I think. My tripod is MIA after the move, so I had to take snaps of myself in the mirror.
The best part is, I had a chance to actually WEAR this outfit in public! Around people! (Because my city is trapped in a perpetual bubble of Autumn, and I only make lightweight cotton clothes, it seems like this never happens!) My dear friend Brigid and I went to the Keep '45 Alive event at the History Park at Kelley Park. It was a wonderfully warm summer day and a super fun event.

A Big Band played and there was an area for dancing in front of the stage. There were quite a few veterans and also several groups of reenactors who all looked very handsome in uniform. There were female reenactors too which got me thinking about possibly making a women's service uniform, although it's pretty daunting. (Blitzkrieg Baby is a great link for further inspiration, if you are curious.)

The history park itself was just amazing. The city of San Jose has moved a whole bunch of old houses and other buildings to this strip of parkland and has created an old fashioned town complete with a village square, churches, family homes, a hotel and a gas station. Each structure contains a different museum dedicated to the people who settled the San Jose area. It's so cool. I hope that there are more vintage events here in the future!

I am so terrible at taking photos at events. I bring my camera and then I'm too shy to use it. These are the only snaps I got.
Unfortunately, after something like three hours in the car (thanks to stupid Fogville traffic) I was pretty rumpled by the time we arrived. Even so, I got some nice compliments on my outfit. What a fun day!!


  1. Oh, those curtains look nice and I love the outfits. Just bought two vintage patterns today and a vintage hat!

  2. Oh, your dress is super cute!

    How do you do a rolled hem?

  3. Hi Ivy!

    I used a rolled hem foot to make my rolled hems. This link has a good tutorial.

    Here is a tutorial for making a rolled hem by using fusible thread instead of a foot.

    And here is one more "by hand" version from Collete Patterns

    Hope you find those links useful!

  4. Great outfit!

    And thanks for the rolled hem links--they were very helpful for me too :-)

  5. The curtains look great and I do love the idea of leaving the door off the bathroom...our bathroom is tiny too...hmmm....
    The outfit looks great and if the weatherman is right, you will be getting at leaast two more days this week to wear it!