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!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hair Fail

So... I have gray hair. I used to be a natural redhead long ago, but no more. For a while I went "strawberry blonde" because it was so much easier to hide the gray, but I like being really red so much better. With red-red hair I feel more like myself.

The super red isn't that hard to keep up, now that I have a system. I usually do a root touch up every four weeks and then two weeks after that, I hit it with Manic Panic or some other vegetable based dye to really bump up the color. That means I'm doing some sort of treatment every two weeks. Hopefully my hair won't all fall out! My hair actually feels really healthy but with all this processing I do feel like I'm tempting fate.

Anyway, now that I've got a system it usually works pretty well. Neither process takes that long and I'm even getting better at not dying the whole bathroom red. Of course sometimes I make stupid mistakes. The last time I did my root touch up, I really screwed up.

I did my root touch-up on a Sunday and three days later I set my hair for the first time in ages. (It just been too much to deal with since we've been moving house!) While separating the sections I noticed a little spot of gray. I wasn't too worried at first. I usually miss a spot, but its never too big so I don't worry about it. Then I looked closer.

Somehow I managed to miss a GIANT spot. Basically, the entire right side of my crown is still TOTALLY gray. I can't believe it. Well, I guess I know why there was so much dye left over this time: I was squeezing the bottle, but somehow managed to avoid getting dye on my head!!!!

It's pretty upsetting. This is the best picture I could get. It's blurry, but I think you can see how bad it is. Ick!

Its a pity. I was really liking the way my set came out, too.

Knowing there's all that untamed gray lurking in there kind of ruins it. :(

I hate to do another process just for one (enormous) spot, but I'm really not sure how else to proceed. If I do another root touch-up so soon, then I should probably forgo the color boost and that will leave me looking brassy. Ugh!!! I will probably just do nothing and hope that the gray stays hidden until I touch up my roots next month.

Sigh. Has this ever happened to you? Please share your home hair dye horror stories so I don't feel so bad.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sassy Lassie Giveaway

Sassy, over at Sassy Lassie's Vintage Life is having a giveaway! All you need to do to enter is go to her blog and leave comment on the contest post, saying which of her recent creations is your favorite and why. For bonus points, you can repost her contest on your blog. Follow the link below for complete details.

My favorite is the Betty Draper dress. Isn't it just the Sassiest?

PS: Still trying to get the new house into some kind of order. I am dying to show it to you but while some rooms are close, no room is completely finished yet. However, I had some extra curtain fabric left over and I'm attempting to whip up a little outfit with it. Hopefully, I'll have something of my own to post very soon.