Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thanks to everyone who replied to my last post with suggestions on my hydrangea dress!  I'm still deciding what to do, so I haven't made any progress since. I looked through my closet and my photo albums for inspiration. I also realized that I have a serious habit of wearing sheer blue floral vintage dresses to weddings.

This one is actually a two-piece. I've worn the skirt separately with a plain top. The only "embellishment" is a bow at the neck. The skirt is pleated. 

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 This one has a pretty plain bodice, and it's similar to my Butterick pattern, but the skirt has cascading ruffles and the matching belt has a flower rosette. The back is a very low V.  (And Mike had really long hair for the first few years we were dating!)

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This one has a draped overlapping v-neck bodice (and a crazy matching jacket/shawl thing I have not worn!)  The skirt is softly gathered and there is piping at the waist.

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This dress is the most ornate of the blue floral brigade, with it's ruching all over the place and giant full skirt. I also think it's the least flattering of the bunch.  It does funny things to my boobs and the length is awkward.

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I think I want to stick with the bodice I had originally planned on, but maybe add one of these elements for some interest. Maybe some ruffles on the skirt? Or a matching belt? I am definitely not going to make the Butterick skirt, that's for sure.  I can't even deal with the skirt on my muslin right now.  The thought of trimming and hemming it makes me crazy.  Maybe something more manageable, but still full?  This is still my favorite homemade dress, and I've substituted this skirt on several patterns, and I always like how it turns out.  It's my front-runner right now, along with a matching belt with a rosette.

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My sewing is not at all focused right now.  I got distracted and started a quilt?  I'm blaming Tasia.  I hope to make a lot of progress on both the quilt and this dress this weekend. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

More Estate finds and a wedding dress

Happy Saturday, everyone.

Yesterday during lunch, I went to week 2 of the amazing estate sale. The listing said they unearthed a couple storage units plus cleaned out the basement. There weren't any additional patterns or fabric, but I did pick up a few things. I will never need to buy bias tape again. I paid $15 for this and there are like a hundred packets (there is another row underneath what you see). Some of them are plaid! Striped! Polka dots!

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 More baby clothes.

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And a crinoline (which I didn't take a picture of because well, you all know what a crinoline looks like.) I temporarily moved my sewing room into the guest bedroom, and started on a muslin for a dress for Mike's brother's wedding. It's hard, though. Nothing is where it's supposed to be, there isn't a convenient outlet for the iron, and my cutting table is in another room. I've been missing sewing though, so it will have to do. Mike's brother Bill is getting married in May, and Mike is the best man. I figure I might be in a lot of pictures, so I want to wear something really special, something I really really love. My favorite pattern from the estate sale was this one:

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I plan on making View C, with the cummerbund from View A. The pattern is a 32, and I'm a 36. I didn't want to cut the pattern apart (I still might sell it, we'll see), so I traced it onto tissue. And then I made the bodice, as is, with no alterations, just to see what I was working with. Obviously, it was too small.

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The armholes are too high, and the waist too small. The seam under the bust was right across my boobs.

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The back almost fit, though. It was just a little tight.

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So I took it apart, and then cut the pieces apart to make my new pattern. I cut right through the armhole and added 2 inches of length. Then I added 2 inches in the bust, and 1 in the back. Too big now!!

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So yeah, that was too much. I got tired of looking at the yellow polka dots, so I decided to make a wearable muslin from some pink embroidered fabric I got at the Elkhorn Flea. I had 5 yards and it was barely enough! I wanted to cut around a moth hole, but there was no way I could, so it's in the back. The bodice turned out nice. I added 1.5 inches to the bust, 1 to the back, and 2 in length. This fabric was looser-woven and stretchier than the yellow dots, so I had some trouble with fitting the waistband (which is cut on the bias). I staystiched it and that help.

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The skirt was a soul crushing nightmare. Four GIGANTIC pieces, cut on the bias, and then gathered. First, I sewed the skirt on inside out. After I almost had a little cry, I ripped it out and tried again. Now it's done and hanging before I can hem it.

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Um, but I kind of don't like it. The bodice is kind of boring. The skirt is overwhelming. I am a little "meh" about it. I'm not sure if it's the dress I want to wear now! It might be less boring in my real fabric:

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But I don't know if I want to take the chance of wasting that awesome piece of fabric and not loving it. I might move on and try another pattern. We'll see. I'll put a hem and zipper in my muslin and try it on with heels and my hair done and see how I feel.

What do you think? 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Magical Estate Sale

Still no sewing around these parts, but the wood has been delivered and will hopefully be installed this weekend.  In the absence of sewing, I've been organizing my patterns and fabric.  I bought 4 big storage boxes from IKEA, put all my patterns in Ziploc bags, and organized them by era.  I have a box for 40's + 50's, a box for 60's (that decade definitely makes up the bulk of all my patterns!), a box for 70's + 80's, and the last box is modern and reissue patterns (like Butterick Retro, for example).  Luckily most patterns had a copyright date, but for those that didn't, the Vintage Pattern Wiki was a HUGE help.

Last week I hit up an estate sale.  The description said there was hundreds of patterns and (literally) TONS of fabric.  It sounded like a dream.  I went on the first day, but the line was really long, it was snowing, and I was on my lunch break. Most of the people I talked to in line were there for jewelry and knickknacks, so I figured there was a low chance of all the patterns being bought. I came back Friday. Sometimes an estate sale doesn't really have much to look at, and you find yourself just walking around and snooping. Not this one. For one, the house was HUGE. Two stories plus a basement, attic, and garage just FILLED with stuff. I only had about a half hour to look and it was not enough. I managed to grab 17 patterns and some fabric, and vowed to come back the next day. There was literally an attic full of fabric. It was like a dream. Here's what I grabbed, all for $3/piece.

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The top three are quilting weight cottons and I'm not sure what I'll use them for, but I loved the prints.  The strawberry is a cotton lawn and I already have a dress in mind for it.  The two cotton eyelets will become pretty summery dresses, the blue and white print is silk and will be a dress or blouse, the hydrangea print is sheer and there are 5 yards, so I'm totally envisioning a Betty Draper dress.  The pink and white cotton lawn will also be used to make some sort of frothy summer dress.

On Saturday, I was able to look through the clothes.  There was so much and it was really overwhelming.  Most of the things were really small sizes so there wasn't much I could grab.  The shoes were size 6 and the clothes were all for a very slim, petite woman. 

There was an entire closet (!) full of these Mexican embroidered blouses. I grabbed my favorite, and it was $5.

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I also found this homemade smocked sundress, which thanks to the smocking, fits a variety of sizes. Also $5.

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And lastly, this black beaded cardigan, which I have worn at least 5 times since. It was well worth the $5 I paid for it.

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And of course, I had to pick up a couple aprons. I have an apron problem.

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In the attic, I found a barrel (?) full of homemade baby clothes. I'm not expecting, but maybe I will be in the future? If not, I have lots of friends who are either pregnant or currently trying. For $7 TOTAL, how could I resist?

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Okay, now for the patterns.  They were $1 apiece and I got 28.  The first day there were a ton of really great vintage patterns and I wish I had grabbed more.  I think I got 17 that day.  When I went back on Saturday, they were a little picked over but I still managed to find some good ones.  They were hiding all over the place.  Weirdly, barely any of them were used.  She had so many patterns and so much fabric, but didn't seem to ever do anything with them!

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My favorites

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Pretty things for Summer

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Cute children's outfits

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70's

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Great basic dresses

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40's blouses and costumey dresses

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All for sale on Etsy

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The best of the bunch, currently for sale on Etsy



Saturday, February 9, 2013

The New & Improved Blue Coat

So, my beloved blue coat?

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That I re-made?

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Well, I re-re-made it.

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I love my aqua coat, but I was still really missing my beloved blue coat. The aqua one is great and I will still wear it, but I decided I wanted to make a true replica. After two fabric ordering mishaps - one the wrong color, and one the perfect color, but the moire pattern PRINTED ON (the horror), I found the right stuff. My aqua coat feels rather thin - I interfaced per the directions, but it's just not very warm or substantial. I took apart Original Blue, and to my surprise, every piece is interfaced with weft, and there's a separate cotton yoke across the back and chest for stability.

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They used horsehair interfacing on the jacket front.

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And a strip of cotton in the hem. I'm guessing for weight?

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So, I followed suit. I found weft interfacing, which was not an easy task. One Joann's had a bolt with a little left but not enough, and the other Joann's had none and didn't even know what it was. I drove an hour and a half to Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL to pick up the rest. I also made the cotton yoke, and sewed a strip of bias tape inside the hem. I used a plain blue heavy satin for the lining. My husband kept telling me to pick a prettier lining fabric, like polka dots or a print, but I was really dead-set on everything being exactly like the original. The fabric was really slippery and I had trouble doing the sleeves. You can see some bunches, but it's totally not visible with the coat on, so I don't care.

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I made 7 bound buttonholes. I would say 5 are great, 1 could be better, and 1 sucks. I can live with that. The top one is the sucky one - the lips overlap each other so it's sort of not functional. I'll never button that one, anyway.

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I used Julia Bobbin's tutorial for finishing the buttonhole and it turned out great.

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So how do I feel about the new coat?

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I love it! When I wear it, it feels exactly like the original. I am extremely happy with it. I've worn it nearly every day since I finished it.

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