Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memborial Day

Have you been sewing this Memorial Day Weekend? I have, just a little but the MInt Chip Dress is coming along. Alas, no pictures because I left the camera tether thing at home.

Thank goodness that my sewing machine is so portable, I can take it with me should I feel I want to.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Curses ...Foiled

This morning I cut out the Mint Chip Dress. I knew that fabric would be tight. I did a lot of maneuvering with the fabric, staying on grain, to place the pattern pieces. I was so concerned, that I cut out the pieces in an order so that if I had to piece, it would be on the pieces that would not be so obvious. I also shortened the skirt length a lot as well. The skirt out of the package was floor length. Even to get it ankle length like on the pattern drawing, at least 3 inches needed to come off. I think I took about 6 inches off and could have gone shorter. Given the paucity of fabric, perhaps I should have done this.

Alas, when I came to the ties on the dress, there was not enough fabric to even cut one out with out many many pieces making up the tie.

So…..some quick thinking occurred. I had already planced to make the collar out of black. So what about the ties out of black as well. I liked the idea but I do not like the black fabric I have on hand for the ties. The collar it is ok for but not the ties. Instead, I tried some white swiss dot that I had on hand and really, that did not make me happy either. The fabric was the correct weigh but ugh not a great color combination. The black just looks better to my eye.

I scrounged around for a while and the only other black I have is a black pique left over from the Halloween costume. That isn’t the best fabric choice either and I do not like the pique with the swiss dot.

A decision had to be made and I am going with the linen type black fabric.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mint Chip Dress

I have started a new dress while waiting for pictures of the 1918 dress that I originally talked about here.  I decided the green swiss dot with the black spots reminds me of mint chip ice cream so this 1934 pattern is hereby dubbed the mint chip dress.

The pattern is traced and I will cut it out tomorrow night.
But to leave you with an idea of how the 1918 dress waistband was finished:  

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

1918 Dress Wrap Up

So many things have been going on in RL but most of all, I finished the 1918 dress and to be honest I feel a little let down. I finished 2 projects in one week….the 1931 dress and the 1918 dress. My motivation is gone out the door and I am not sure why. Has this happened to anyone else?

I wanted to get pictures of me in the 1918 dress over the weekend. Alas, it was not to be.

So…..I am not yet sharing the completed dress…..well maybe a peek at an almost complete stage.

Some info: I couldn’t decide how to attach the “waist” to the skirt. My 1917 dressmaking book came in handy and gave me a couple of ideas. I went with a double waistband knowing that I would be covering the waist band with a sash. I also discovered that the skirt was a tad too long. So I hacked off a couple of inches from the top of the skirt….couldnt take it from the bottom! I then used these pieces as the waistband. It worked out fine. I am glad I did not go with the casing for elastic: I really do not like elastic waistbands.

A snafu arose when it came time to do the button holes. I have never made button holes on my machine before and to say I was underwhelmed by the results would not be exaggerating. The automatic buttonhole foot made ½ of a great button hole. One side was fine, the other was spotty, no real thread coverage if that makes sense.

So….what to do? I tried the machine in a variety of ways but could not find my manual buttonhole foot…so that was out. I tried a corded buttonhole with the automatic foot….not great. I could do the buttonholes by hand, but after approximately 28 hours of hand sewing on this dress….not going to happen!

Finally, I gave in and used the automatic foot. To fill in the blank spaces, I did a hand satin stitch on the side with the holes. It was quick, down and dirty but will fine results. All in all, it took less than an hour with the handsewing. The buttons then went on with no problem. The top 2 buttons are fakes though…I didn’t want to make a button hole through the trim so I used a snap beneath the button. I like it!

The sash uses snaps to keep it closed. Again, really simple to construct.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pictures of the 1931 Dress

I think I have talked this one to death.  I went with the rolled hem on the bottom which I quite like and do not care if it is not period correct.  It is a little wonky but the fabric is so slippery, hemming was a challenge.  I pressed the bejebbers out of the curves and finally got them to lay flat.  The placket…I still have issues with but will consider the dress done even if I do go back and fiddle with the placket .

It's Not Over Until There Are Pictures

Well the 1931 dress is done, finished, complete….over. But no pictures until tonight. I left my camera at work because I was photographing possible office space. If you are interested in the final photos, tune in tonight!

I don’t know about you, but when I complete a dress, I oftentimes am so sick of it, I need to put it away for a little while. I have to say that this was a tough dress. The silk chiffon was a pain to sew. I am still not 100% happy with the placket and may work on that sometime later. I will need to make a slip to go underneath. I have some brown china silk set aside for this…oh YAY….more slippery silk! So not looking forward to that. I think I will give the magic bias slip a go for the slip since it is a 30’s slip pattern.

In response to the comment from Cinquefoil…both hats are black. Cannot wait for them to arrive.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Feeling Better............

Ran out an purchased the snaps.  I am feeling better about them.  I think the hooks and eyes were a) defective - they were not clicking into place and b) with defective hooks and eyes coupled with very lightweight gauzy (read flimsy) fabric, the placket was floating apart.

The snaps should reign in the fabric and keep everything closed up.

Spinning My Wheels

I just do not seem to be getting anywhere fast and it is frustrating. The hooks and eyes I bought for the 1931 dress just do not seem to be doing the trick. They are not staying closed. So off to buy some teeny tiny snaps. I think the snaps will work better. I am just tired of fiddling with these hooks and eyes.

Seriously, I fail. It just shouldn’t be this hard or this frustrating. I am so tempted to call in sick just so that I can finish these two dresses.

Soooo with no further ado, some eye candy of the two vintage hats purchased yesterday:
They are  I love them and cannot wait for them to arrive. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Welcome Distraction

Over the weekend, I came into possession of the a book published by the Pictorial Review Pattern Company in 1917 entitled “American Dressmaking Step By Step.”

It is so fascinating to read.  It provides some details missing from other sewing books I have had the opportunity to read.  There is an in depth discussion of the various plackets available and how to make and sew each placket. There is also an in depth discussion on how to make a variety of facings.  Fascinating stuff.

A couple of excerpts from the book:

“No part of a garment shows inexperienced or careless work to more disadvantage than the Placket.” 

“The Fall Ruffle is the ruffle our great-great-grandmothers displayed on most of the ferments, an, to-day, their up-to-date daughters, their children’s children, are using them in accordance with the present ideas of art, beauty, and practicability.”

I could not have received this at a better time.  It is really helpful in putting together the final stages of the 1918 dress.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Now Its a Dress

It should have been easy but it wasn’t.  It should not have taken much time to accomplish, but it did.

The 1931 is now officially a dress.  The bodice is now attached to the skirt and it only took 3 tries.  I needed to sew them together close enough to the edge so the bodice was caught and so that there was no gaping by the skirt.  The first try was too far away.  The second try was too wavy…nothing straight going on there.  The third try was acceptable.  I might have gone for a fourth try if the time had not gotten away from me. 

That’s ok, I couldn’t have gone farther since I need some hooks and eyes as closures.  If only I had the right hook and eye tape, I would use that.  But I only have black and grey hook and eye tape. 

No I haven’t forgotten about the 1918 dress.  I just want to be able to spend some significant time with it so the weekend looks good.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

All Bound Up

After a couple of hours of procrastination, I decided to work on the 1931 dress for a change.  It has been in the same state for a month.  Next up is the neckline.  Bias binding required.

Now, I have a love/hate relationship with bias binding.  I love it when it is done.  I hate it when I have to make the strips and sew them together.  Why you ask?  Well because I have to go back to my sewing books each time to figure out how to sew the strips together.  This time was no exception.

The pattern instructions make the binding of the neckline sound so very easy but really it was a foreign language I don’t speak.  The first bit was fine:  Hold binging toward you and stretch binding around curve.”  Ok, will do but my binding is not stretching.  I know it should but its not!
Second bit is in another language:  “Roll binding to inside, miter at point, turn in raw edge and fell to position.”  Hmmm think I get what the intent it, but fell to position?  What in the world does that mean?  I tried to miter at point and failed miserably.

The bias binding is pinned in even though I don’t know how to finish it off.

Then the sewing commenced.  First seam in after pinning it twice.  Ironing, check.  Folded it over to make a teeny tiny facing.  But now because my bias binding seems to be of different sizes and because I fail miserably at bias binding creation, I am not going to be able to finish it off on the machine.  What you will see is a seam with its passport in hand traveling all over the bodice.  To say it would look wonky would be an exaggeration.

Thus, more hand sewing commenced.  It was quick this time and really does the trick.   My failure at the miter means I have more of a scoop neck now rather than a “v’ neck but hey I can definitely live with that adjustment.  Overall, I do like how it turned out particularly given the flimsy nature of the fabric.

Good Intentions

Life is full of good intentions, the key is trying to act on them.  I guess I need to go back to my 30 minutes of sewing a night so that my good intentions become actions.

All day yesterday while at work, I kept contemplating what I was going to work on in the sewing room. I was antsy to get home so of course I had to stay a little late which meant a lot of traffic. I got home to a stopped up drain and a tv that was not working. So time is spent trying to unstop the drain and then clean up the shower. Too much time spent on the phone with the cable company. To top it off was a mini allergy attack and a cat who ran amuck in the bedroom.

By the time I had everything in working order again, there was still time to sew but I just could not motivate myself to move. I feel like it is rinse, repeat and lather today. I am sitting at my desk making plans on the progress I will make tonight. I can finish the 1931 dress if I put my mind to it!

Pictures of what I accomplished….tonight…..

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day

To all the mothers out there, I hope you had a great day!

In other news….the sleeves are finished which means there is no more trim to sew on!!  Watch me do a happy dance!  I did run out of silver trim on the last bit of the sleeve, wouldn’t you know it!  So I had to run to the trim store today which turned out to be a bad idea.  Everyone and their closest relatives were out and about.  There was no parking.  I had to stop in a loading zone and run into get my measly 1 yard of trim of which I only needed a portion.  However, it was better to brave the crowds rather than wait until next weekend to be able to finish the last bit of sleeve.

It should be easy here on out…just a waistband, sash, buttons and buttonholes.  Whew that looks like more that it really is depending on how hard the buttonholes are to put in which may be very hard indeed since I have yet to be successful with buttonholes.

Baby steps.  Attaching bodice and skirt to a waistband is up next.

Saturday, May 08, 2010


The trim for the skirt of the 1918 dress is all sewn on!

I am very excited

I dont know whether to share a picture now.........or wait until it is all completed since we are nearing the end!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Countdown is on

For the 1918 dress.  I feel as if with every stitch now I am calculating the time it will take to finish the dress.

Famous last words but I think I can finish it by Sunday night.  It will depend on how late I have to work tomorrow night and how distracted I am during the weekend.  Though I do tend to believe that I can finish things faster than I am actually able to.

I really am at that point in the project where I want to wave my magic wand and find it done.

I would like to respond to some of the lovely comments I have received:

Debbi:  Thanks for your kind comment!

Miss Emmi:  You made my day!  I really thought I was the only one who experienced this problem.  I really cannnot tell you how much better you made me feel and I completely understand how facings can make you cry.

Aimee Marieee: It is nice to know that you relate to my process since I seem to always be a little puzzled by the pattern instructions.

Nancy: Thanks!  But it is only the trim and unfortunately no other way to get it on.  Next time I use trim it will be something I can sew on with the machine you can be sure of that.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Ignore the wrinkles

The hand sewing continues and continues and continues.

Here is where I am now - skirt almost finished.  Ahhhh....can I see the light at the end of the tunnel......maybe.

Happy Cinco de Mayo

I hope everyone is having some chips and guacamole with a margarita or 2. I know a plate of something yummy is part of my evening plans.

My internet access has been sporadic. However, after 2 men spent 2+ hours rewiring my house, it seems to be working ok. However, my TV is now experiencing some issues. Sigh……….

So let me reply to some comments!!

Suffragette: I am in your camp; I would let a project languish forever with the problems I encountered with this one. However, a friend of mine kept pushing me to finish it. It is only because of her the dress was not tossed! LOL ….the wiggling. That’s why I made the full skirted version. Wiggle dresses kind of scare me.

Mischief: It is a pretty dress. Are you making the full skirted dress version or the wiggle dress version? I don’t think you will have problems with the pattern, I have not heard of any others who did. However, if I can be any help, just let me know!

Atomic Mum: Hi and welcome!

So…..what have I been sewing I bet you are wondering. Wonder no more. I am trekking along on the trim for the 1918. I think the trim will be finished by this weekend....woo hoo! Other than that, I have been doing some late spring cleaning. Sewing had to take a back seat. Pictures maybe

Monday, May 03, 2010

Pictures of the Butterick Dress

I was finally update the pictures of the Butterick Dress but in case no one wants to go backwards to find they are:

2 up close pictures of the bodice with the dreaded facings