Thursday, January 27, 2011

Photobooths are Fun

Aren't they?

Now if I could only stop talking long enough to pose properly...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pattern Crazy

For some reason, the last time we went to the thrift store it was full of cute patterns. This is what I got...

Simplicity 5556

I love this dress. I think that, made in something other than polyester, it could be super cute and sort of Joan-esque.

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Simplicity 5215

I had to buy this one, even though I don't make doll clothes, and the instructions and most of the pattern are missing. I think I will frame it and hang it in the sewing room.

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Simplicity 4539

At some point, I will get over my terror of sewing lightweight stretchy fabrics and make some knit tops. Really! I love the one with the tie neck, though its probably way beyond my skill level.

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McCalls 7356

I don't usually make loose fitting clothes clothes because they don't work that well with all my curves, but I love this dress. I really do. Its way more late 70s/early 80s than I go for, but its also sort of "McCalls knocks off Halston doing Grecian Fabulous." Gotta love that!

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McCalls 4897

Yes, the pattern illustration is hideous, but peasant tops always rock. I love the midriff version, though I would not wear it unless I was also wearing very high-waist trousers or shorts. Nor would I wear it (or any of the others) off the shoulder. I like the rick-rack version lots. It would be super cute and Western-y with a tiered (broomstick) skirt or a circle skirt with matching rick-rack trim.

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Butterick 5774

See? Terrible drawings, but cute peasant tops. Irresistible.

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Butterick 6124

I bought a dress just like the short version in an awesome Hawaiian print at Hilo Hattie while on my honeymoon. Unfortunately, I have since (cough) grown out of it. Its super comfy on hot days, except for being too small. Grr. But now I can remake it in a size that will mostly fit! Yay!

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Butterick 5939

I honestly don't know why I bought this one except that I love wedding dresses and I lost my mind a little bit. I see a little Regency influence, and maybe a little Edwardian...but it mostly looks like a nightgown.

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NewLook 6340

This one had to come home with me because the bottom view is just SO 1990s swing scene. (That's retro, now, right?) It reminds me of learning to dance and meeting all my wonderful girlfriends and going to swing dance camp and Viva Las Vegas. Such good times!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fish and Wine

My intention, when I got my first paycheck, was to get my machine tuned up, buy a bunch of nice wool suiting, and make a bunch of work clothes. Well, I got the machine tuned up... but I just couldn't fall in love with any of the suiting at my usual fabric store. has some that looks very pretty but I really shouldn't buy any more fabric online. Its too addictive and I need to sew up some of the fabric I have. So that's what I did.

I used this fabric.

This is probably the most mid-century looking fabric in my stash so I wanted to be sure that I used exactly the right pattern.

After digging around in the stash a few times I finally decided on this one. Its from the early 60s and definitely the right era for the fabric's mid/mod print.

It doesn't look like much on the pattern envelope, but it looks good sewn up.

I flat lined the skirt and bodice with a deep burgundy poly. I didn't line the sleeves because I wanted to take advantage of the fabric's stretchiness. My arms are a little, ahem, big and I usually have problem squeezing them into vintage sleeves.

In the past I've avoided dirndle skirts because I thought they added too much bulk around my waist. I think the key is making sure that the bodice fits the waist properly. When you create a smooth and snug waistline the gathered fabric should accentuate it, rather than add bulk. Well, that's my theory, anyway.

I followed the pattern exactly and it really was simple to make! I usually make some grave error that has to be torn out and re-sewn or end up with some kind of weird fit issue. Not this time. I can say with complete confidence that I love this dress!

This is the first full skirted dress that I've completely lined and I love it! It is absolutely luxuriant! The slippery lining slides over my skin and underpinnings beautifully. The extra weight of the lining adds to the way the dress hangs and moves.

There is a v-back under all that hair...
I think we can call this one a success! Not only is it my first fully-lined full-skirted dress but it is the first garment that I feel really truly 100% proud of. I almost feel like I know what I'm doing, for once. I'm sure that feeling will be shattered by the next project but until then I'm going to revel in my completion of a perfect dress.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thank You Santa!

Happy New Year everyone. I'm still clearly missing some of my blogging mojo. It took me forever to get this post together. Yikes!

The Hubs and I had a wonderful holiday. It was nice to see family and my in-laws are always full of the holiday spirit. We went to visit them on Xmas Eve and I wore the apron my ma-in-law made me last year. I put a zipper up the back and made it into a holiday skirt.

Santa was VERY good to me this year! I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the awesome stuff I got. Yay stuff!

I got...

A rotary wall phone for the kitchen!

We thought that, rather than remove the old wall phone mount, it would be much better to hang a vintage phone there. I looked and looked for just the right one and then gave up. Its very hard to find a yellow phone that isn't either orangey or greeney. But, leave it to the Hubs to make it happen! He was able to find just the right one in just the right shade.

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A Mason Pearson hairbrush.

I put this on my Amazon wish list at the very last moment, and my brother in law did the rest. Thanks J! I love it so much. It makes my hair so smooth. I can't wait to use it to brush out a set!

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A vintage Sunset magazine cookbook.

The thing that's so cool about this book is that its full of home recipes that people would send in to be published in Sunset's Chefs of the West column. Because it was published in the 50s, some of these recipes date back to the turn of the century and first world war. ...and also the pasta recipes are written as if pasta is some kind of exotic food, which always cracks me up. What on earth did people eat before pasta? Potatoes, I guess?

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Vintage Art Glass (very hard to photograph, for some reason)

From the Mom-in-law. Isn't it gorgeous? She said that she got it at a yard sale from someone who's uncle (?) was a glass blower. I love how its a very simple shape, but when you look close you see all these little details (like the inverted bubbles at the ends) which must have been super hard to do.

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Hubs got me this gorgeous coffee table book with photos of the people and places in our neighborhood in the 1970s.

I know it's supposed to be all journalistic and important, but I can't get past the clothes! Oh and the hair! I am absolutely in love with the fashion. The knitwear and jumpsuits and 30s/40s inspired looks, that were so popular in the 70s, are enough to blow my mind but then there are leisure suits and hot pants and biker-wear. Wow! Plus its super cool to see local landmarks that I recognize. This book is amazing. I just can't stop looking at it.

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A tiki dress from Lady Luck Brand clothing.

The Hubs bought this for me from a local designer/seamstress in the hopes of inspiring me to do my own designing and selling. I don't think I'm quite ready for that, yet, but I do love this dress! It fits like a glove and the fabric is just gorgeous!

...and the best gift this year?

Oh man oh man oh man!


Its a vintage Pfaff sewing machine with all of the feet and the carrying case and users booklet. Squee!! I could die. It is completely gorgeous and the engine is so quiet! It's much more complicated than my every day machine (my trusty 70s Husquvarna portable) and I'm a little intimidated by it.

Fortunately, whoever owned it before put color coded stickers on each of the feet to coincide with sections of the users manual. If I go through the manual one step at a time I should be able to teach myself to use it, right? Also, Morgan discovered that by turning the three cams to different positions, it can do something like 80 different embroidery stitches. It's completely mad and a bit beyond my skill level and wonderful!

I'm going to finish up the many projects I've started on the Husquvarna and the next new thing I start will be on the Pfaff. Hopefully, it wont be too scary and difficult to figure out.

I hope that Santa brought you everything you wanted and that you all had a wonderful holiday and an excellent New Year celebration! I've got one completed project photographed and another project finished so I should be back soon...