Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Palate Clearing Project

The Civil War Dress has been one of the most frustrating sewing experiences for me.  And heavens, it is not even done!
Let's hope there is truth in
advertising and it is Very Easy

I need something quick and hopefully a whole lot easier right now.  Something that I can finish with minimal or no fitting issues.  You know, a project that allows me to reign supreme over fabric and machine.  Yes, something that can be accomplished with no tears!

So I give you my new project.  Yes, a skirt that is labeled “Very Easy.”  This Vogue is from the late 70’s.  I know, this is as big a departure for me as the dreaded Civil War Dress.  However, the pattern has only 3 pieces including the waistband!  This seems very easy indeed.

The plan is to make either View A or B.  The views are the same the only difference being the length of the skirt.  Since I am so short, I fear a View A (the shortest) will be the equivalent to View B ( the next shortest) on me.

Monday, February 21, 2011

First There Were Tears And Then The Rain Came

Tears, yes there were a lot of tears along with a melt down or two.  The bodice of the Civil War dress was the cause.  This bodice is one of the most frustrating I have ever encountered.  I have done 2 muslins and still the fit is not right. 

Get this: after the first muslin I had to do the following
1.  Remove an inch from the back
2.  Remove a 1/2 inch from each seam of the side
3.  Add in 1 inch in the front
4. Remove 3 inches from the sleeve.

After the second muslin I have to do the following:
1. Remove a 1/2 inch from one seam in the side
2. Add another inch on the front.

Hey at least the back and the sleeves were fixed on the first go around. This process was so frustrating!  The event was fast approaching.

So boy was I excited when the prediction was 100% chance of rain for Saturday, the day I needed the outfit.  My tears of frustration became tears of joy!  Not one of my friends wanted to cross the weather man and our attendance was cancelled.

I have not finished this outfit.  I now don’t need it until the fall!  Maybe the third muslin will be right?  I don’t know and I certainly no longer care.  Yes, there is a bit of pride involved.  I do have to finish it ….sometime.  But for now a break is in order so I can regain some feeling of sanity.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Skirt

More quick and easy because I am starting to panic.  My muslin of the bodice was horribly off.  So I put that aside to do a quick and easy skirt. 

Same method as the petticoat with the plans to put on a waistband.

It looks short on the dress form but the skirt nicely skims the ground when I am wearing it ‘cause I am really short!  I love that the skirt only has one seam in it.  I suppose I should have cartridge pleated the top.  I only pleated it and will have to do a bit of stack pleating in the back of the skirt.

I need to finish the
You can see that I have still not added the final ruffle to the petticoat.  Ouch…that hoop is noticeable on the bottom.

The only plus is that it looks like it may rain on Saturday because I am not sure that I will be able to finish a bodice that fits in time.

I think all this rushing is making me not like the outfit one bit.  If it does rain this weekend, I probably will not need this outfit until fall/winter of this year.  Plenty of time to get it done then!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I hope everyone out there is spending their day letting the important people in their lives how much they mean to you!  I plan on doing this and hopefully not having another sewing meltdown.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Easy Petticoat

I have to make an easy petticoat, there is not enough time to do anything else.  My friends told me that all I had to do was measure out a length of fabric just a little bigger than my biggest hoop to make a drawstring petticoat.  This method was referred to as the sausage method – a term I am not in love with.  I mean, do I want to wear a sausage?  No, I do not.  I prefer there be no meat terms in my sewing thank you very much.

With  bottom ruffle
tacked up
With the largest hoop of 110 inches, I measured out a length of white cotton fabric 117 inches.  I sewed it together and then made a casing at the top.  To make the casing, I merely folded over a bit of the top edge of the length and sewed it down.  I then threaded cording through the opening.  Put on, pull tight and you have a quick petticoat which is over a foot too long!

So to correct the length, I made some tucks in the petticoat over where the hoops are.
Missing the bottom ruffle

Note, I had to shorten the hoop by sewing up the ruffle around the bottom.  I was tripping over the silly thing.  This was an easier fix than changing the lengths between the hoop.

Right now, I need to put a final ruffle around the bottom of the petticoat to finish it off.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Hoop

I could make one. 

Sure I could!  It would take days and quite a bit of money to buy all the supplies.

There is no way I am going to do this.  I don’t care if I am not "period correct." When I went downtown to buy fabric, I looked around for a hoop.  the first place I saw with them hanging in the doorway, I stopped, inquired and was told the cost was $22.  Yes!!  Simple, quick and I suspect cheaper than making it myself.   I think it was a fantastic investment. It looks something like this:

Think about the time it would take to make a hoop.  I know I could not buy the supplies for under $22.

The bottom hoop is 110 inches….this is "period correct."  Oh lucky me!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

I Never Thought My Next Outfit Would Be….

A Civil War dress.  

Seriously…this never crossed my mind.  In that brief period I was out of work, a few friends convinced me to attend a Civil War event in February during the long weekend.  At the time, I thought why not, even though this is not a time period I particularly like, the project would keep me busy while looking for work.  Little did I know that a few days after agreeing to this project, I would find a job and have no time to whip together a Civil War era outfit.

So now, here I am less than 2 weeks away and what do I have?

It is really a darker tan than what
shows up in this picture.
Well I bought yards and yards of this fabric for a whopping $10!  I was lucky: the burn test revealed it is all cotton.  Yay!

So what do I now need:
1.  A hoop
2.  Petticoat to cover the hoop
3.  Skirt to cover hoop and petticoat
4.  Bodice

Sure, this is doable….maybe with a few all-nighters.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Oooo Shiny …..Pretty

There I was perusing a local thrift shop which rarely has anything vintage in nature. It really is a thrift shop with used modern clothes.  But there in the back of the handbag section sat this pretty little bag.

I had to have it!  I love the opalescence of the color.  I figure this is from the mid-1960’s though I could be wrong.  Don’t care, it was shiny and pretty and it is now mine!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


So, I found and started a new job.  The simple fact of starting a new job has somehow destroyed even the littlest desire to sew.  How can that be?  Seriously, I am working many less hours a day and I have a much shorter/ less traffic commute.  So why am I so tired?  What I do like is that the outfit I wore to interview is this one!

Enough whining.  The skirt is finished.  I have to say it is not one of my best jobs.  The not having enough fabric did result in a rather odd looking waistband which people will not be seeing.  I encountered many more problems with the pleats.  When I finally tried the skirt on, I did not like where the pleats ended.  Lets face it when you are a shorty (5’1”) this is bound to happen.  So, I had to rip out the pleats and make them shorter so that they worked on my body.  Isnt that a great thing about sewing, tailoring to fit YOUR body.

same as the front

Without further ado…..the rather unexciting photos:

Yes, no glamour shots.  Living alone makes the photos of me hard to happen.  I wonder if I can train the cat to do this?

I set the pleats using a water/ vinegar mix and it has worked amazingly well.  Wish I knew about this trick years ago.  These pleats are NOT falling out…think set in stone.  You just need to lower the amount of vinegar ( I went seriously overboard with the vinegar) or let it air out for a day or two.