Monday, March 29, 2010

Filigree Buttons

Too much work, no sewing.  So here are the buttons I got for the 1918 dress.  I think they are pretty even though the picture is nothing to write home about. 

As for the color of the dress, it is the bright blue.  The flash was off in the last photos and the house is rather dark.  It really is a great yet different blue color.
Must sleep now…….will finish the tucks in the skirt tomorrow.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Successful Saturday

After a long day of shopping, socializing and my fair share of sipping wine, 2 types of trim were purchased for the 1918 dress.  Which is a lot better than the sewing update:  or that should be what sewing update!  No sewing took place, after the aforesaid socializing, shopping and sipping, some much needed sleeping ensued.

The trim selection for the 1918 dress will be as follows:

Selection #1

Selection #2

I might be using the trims in combination or alone.  I have no idea yet exactly how they will be incorporated.  Please feel free to weigh in on this topic!  Any idea is welcome.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Bodice with Sparse Instructions

Having no instructions is really quite an interesting prospect.  Actually there are a few instructions, such as match notches and sew together.  That is for all the pieces apparently.  I did struggle at first reading what little instructions existed.  The first sentence puzzled me for about an hour until I remembered in this time period a “waist” is a bodice and is not referring to a person’s waist.  After that a-ha moment I was able to get sewing.

There was also a bit of freedom in not having detailed instructions to follow.  I allowed my own common sense to take over.  I think it will help develop my sewing skills to tackle projects like this one which are not too hard but leave most every step in my hands.

Here we are:

The tucks were harder than I thought they would be but boy do I love them.  I am not sure how I will finish the neckline.  Some sort of bias binding will be a must but I have never finished a square neckline before.
I set in the sleeves.  The first one….well not great.  Second one much better and I can live with it even though a gather or 2 is apparent.  The one with all the gathers will be redone.

Now on to the skirt!  And to buy trim for the dress!!  Shopping my favorite pasttime.

On another note:  Thank you to everyone who stopped by an especially to those who commented:

Caroline, thanks.  I love that dress too and cannot wait to wear it in April.  I will have a picture of me in it then.

Kelli: I do feel very lucky to have “acquired” these dressforms and the family who wants my help selling them may have to pry them from my hands first!  So great to be able to have multiple projects happening.

Jo: The maroon and gold corset, should I ever finish it, will be from the same Laughing Moon pattern.  It fits so well and pattern drafting is not my forte so I thought I would stick with what works for now.

Jill:  Thank you.  I am lucky to be able to get some really nice fabric cheap which actually makes diving in with a muslin a little bit more fun because if it works why I have a dress.  Good connections!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Is This Love?

Work on the 1918 dress is moving at a snail's pace.  It took me way too long ...think 2 get the fabric ironed.  When the lightbulb did finally go off on how best to iron this 6 yard piece of fabric, it still took about an hour to accomplish it.

So, I was about to give up for the night and return to watching skating when a thought occurred to me: Why not try those rotary cutter things ( yes, that is a term of art) that I got for Christmas.  Here's a picture of the baby one:

My nicely ironed, yeah right, fabric went onto the self healing brite green mat that accompanied the rotary cutter things and off I went.  I broke out the small one from its package because to be honest the big one scares the bejebbers out of me! and away I went.

Wow...let me say it again...WOW was cutting fast and precise.  That little bugger zoomed around curves and accelerated on the straightaways.  I love fast.  Though, I was concerned about my fingers.  I can see me losing one to this dangerous little implement; but is that going to stop me from using it in the way!

The bodice pieces and the sleeves were cut out in no time and then I gave up to go to bed.  I need to mark the pattern and the thought of sewing in the tailor tacks just left me feeling tired.  Can I get the bodice sewn up tonight so I can shop for trim tomorrow?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Starting on the 1918 Dress or You Call These Instructions?

Ok, so I traced out the pattern for the 1918 dress last nite.  The positive is that there are only 6 pieces for the dress, one of which is just a huge rectangle with no markings on it.  Needless to say I did NOT trace out the rectangle.  So it was a quick and easy tracing session.  I popped the fabric in the washing machine.  However, with Figure Skating Worlds on this week, I don't know how much I will be able to finish.

But just look at the instructions.........

Or should I say "What instructions?"

I know you can't read them....but just look the there on the right side, 2 paragraphs.  The left side are the cutting instructions.  This ought to be fun.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ah.......Sweet Completion

Both View A and B of McCall’s 5357 have been completed!  A miracle I know.  

The pesky bodice of View A I finally manipulated to work so that I could insert the zipper.  Oh look how that waistline matches up.  There is a funky bit at the top of the zipper, but hey its under my arm so if anyone is looking that closely and DARES make a comment they had better watch out for my swinging elbow.  No telling what I might accidentally hit.

I am just so happy I have completed this project.  It will be better once I get the pouffy petticoat under View B.

So whats on the agenda now you might well ask….Ask away, a decision has been made.  A 1918 dress, a hopefully wearable muslin before I tackle it in silk made out of this wonderful 1 $ a yard cotton which is actually a much richer color:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

McCall's 5357: View B

 A reminder, since it’s been forever since I posted about this project: completing  McCall’s 5337 both View A and B.  

Struggled with View A….well make that still struggling.  When we left our heroine, she finally gave up on inserting that zipper in View A due to what we can unfortunately only call human error somewhere along the line. 

Moving right along to View B and that wonderful silk taffeta which cost significantly more than the cotton used for View A. 

I did make some changes…..The bodice on View B is a little big even though I am quite busty.  However, not wanting to do a FBA cause quite frankly they scare me, I just subtracted about an inch from the bodice and that seemed to work.  I actually took some time to try and line up the pattern.  I was somewhat successful.  With the gingham, it is difficult to match completely with these raglan sleeves. 

Nevertheless, I think the extra care in cutting paid off.  I am pretty pleased with the pattern match up.  Of course the skirt was the ultimate in forgiving since it is a gathered skirt. 

I was able to insert the invisible zipper with no problem thanks to basting it in prior to sewing!!  I love this method it saves on so much heartache.  Look, the waistline matches even if the pattern is a tad off.  Gotta look for that silver lining.

Here is the completed dress, well minus the hem and with just a little petticoat underneath. Hand sewing can be a bit boring so the hem will have to wait for the weekend and a new CD.  I do this this fabulous dress with the crispy taffeta deserves a big pouffy petticoat.....maybe I should get cracking on one of those!

So back to inserting that zipper in View A…..arghhh.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Wondering where the sewing posts have gone.  Well wonder no more.  Last Sunday I received boxes of vintage sewing paraphernalia from a friend’s grandmother’s basement.  This grandmother was a professional seamstress and no one in the family sews.  The boxes were basically just dumped in my living room along with 3…count them…3 vintage dress forms.  There are 4 more dressforms to be delivered at a later date.  Obviously, some of these forms will need to be sold, I just don’t have room for a jungle of dress forms.  But they are fun!  Look at them:  

A vintage Wolf form! One is made to meet the measurements of a certain woman and shows all her of her curves.  They are awesome.

The boxes were dusty and filled with stuff.  From old pattern book from the 40’s and 50’s to loads of vintage buttons!  Alas,  not a pattern to behold.  It is taking more time than anticipated to go through everything!!  Not to mention the dust!   So much dust!!  None of this stuff has been cared for.  Not to worry, it is now in a loving house!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring has Sprung

At least it has for me.  Saturday was so nice, sunny and warm that I just had to go fabric shopping.  I went off with the thoughts of getting some cheap black cotton for a muslin of a 1918 dress.  Well, as you can see, black I did not get. All ideas of black went promptly right out the window once I started looking at fabrics.   Instead, all sorts of wonderfully springy type fabrics.  2 colours of swiss dot..white and turquoise.  

Also a mint swiss dot with a pattern which may be for a 1930’s dress.  The green is a heavy stretch silk. The second turquoise is an eyelet:

I don’t know if it was because of the sun or my mood but I kept choosing spring fabrics.  So unlike me.

All this fabric for the low price of ….wait for it…..all in all 29 yards of fabric….for….$28.  Yooowza.  I truly lucked out this time.  Oh yes!!  Now I just need to actually do some sewing.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why Does McCall's Hate Me?

So back to actual sewing… has occurred. 

The next step was attaching the bodice to the skirt.  Should be easy peasy right?  Wrong!  The bodice front is much to big for the skirt front.  So what I do is match the pleats to the darts which is really the common sense thing to do.  Where the zipper needs to be inserted onto the front bodice, the bodice bit is 2 inches wider than the skirt bit.

Yes…..I know this is probably human error.  Ok, I admit it is human error something went terribly wrong in cutting out this side of the bodice (even when I say it it doesn’t make much sense) but by now I hate McCall’s and we have already determined that they lie.  So why not just place all of the blame on the pattern.  See:
So what do I do?  Easing it in didn't work.

Then I do what anyone would do (kidding) pop the whole thing in the washer to see if washing it will make it magically spring back into place.  Big surprise, it doesn’t!   Now it is wrinkled and I am frustrated.  Again, big surprise.

The question is now how do I get the zipper in?

Should I cut the darn thing to make it work?  I like it too much to make it a wadder (yes that is my wonky dressform from Goodwill).  Let the zipper games begin!

Here is a tease about View B:
Look at the gorgeous silk taffeta!  This picture just doesn’t do the silver portion justice.  It is rich and makes that lovely crisp taffeta sound.  Yum!

Dressforms....who wants a dress form?

A friend has just informed me that I will be getting some "vintage" dressforms.  His grandmother was seamstres and ages ago I asked about any patterns or fabrics she may have left.  I was told, no there is nothing..........until last week.

Last week I got a call saying do I want the dressforms in his grandmother's basement?  Hell yes!!!!!!!!

Apparently in cleaning out the basement 6-8 dressforms have come to light in addition to pattern books and other sewing paraphanalia. 

Here you can see one of the dressforms taken out of the brown paper wrapping but look can see at least 3 others just in this picture.

He brought 3 dressforms and some pattern books home with him and the others will appear on different trips.

Can you tell how excited I am about this!  I have a funky dressform I got at goodwill which falls over a lot!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Some Underpinnings

So, I thought I would share some of my previous sewing experiences.  Starting off with these corsets which are more historical reproductions than necessarily vintage sewing.  Oh well, my site so I can define vintage anyway I like....muwahhaahh

Not over the top using the Laughing Moon pattern which I have found to be very easy to use.  They are fairly basic; no flossing.  I really enjoyed sewing these.

The gold one came first:

The white and blue came second.  I kinda fee as if I went backwards.

I have another gold and maroon wool one sittig in my UFO pile...which grows daily. Yikes

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Vintage Find

So over the weekend I had the opportunity to go to a couple of estate sales.  Yes, the real deal; not a garage sale with a sign that says estate sale.  But an estate sale wherein you walk through the house looking at the leftover bits of someone’s life.

One of the sales I attended was chock full of amazing vintage jewelry.  Alas, there was nothing I could afford….we are talking some top end pieces.

But….back by the jewelry, almost hidden away, I found a lovely bronze and rhinestone purse.  Isn't great?

I had to have it and at $15 it was a steal.  Now, I just need to make a dress that will work with the purse.  I have a pair on brown pumps with rhinestones, so the only missing piece is the dress.