Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vtg Dubarry 6043 - pt 1

I know I was just posting about something else a few days ago, but while I was pulling out some batiste (to use for mulsins) I ran across this wonderful vintage cherry print I bought off of etsy last summer:

Isn't it awesome?  The cherries are the perfect coral-ly pink and the stems/leaves are grey.  I tried to ignore it or put in the "queue" and tell myself I'd get to it after the turquoise seersucker, but it kept after me.  So...change of plans!  I have 3 yards and it is 35" wide, so pattern consideration was a bit tricky.

I didn't have quite enough to do a circle skirt (so close though!  About 5" short!!)  I decided on this Dubarry, since I had planned to make it anyway, and the yardage factor is right:

A simple sundress, and I actually bought some red and white small print floral to make it later this spring anyway.   Today I altered the bodice pattern.  I used plain old pivot/slide to add 1.5" to the front & back, and after a tissue fit, went back and had to do another pivot/slide for an additional 1". 

 Well. Technically, the width is perfect and the bust dart is in the correct position, and the bust fullness was perfect too.  That's where perfect ends.  The V was OK, and the point where the straps attach fine, but under the arm it was a hot mess!  I almost needed another side dart to take up about 1.5", and from the strap point to the armsceye, another 1" of fullness could be pinned out.

I pinned away all the extra and carefully wiggled out of my muslin, planning to adjust the pattern piece.  That dart is a new one for me (is it a French dart?)  I think it has promise, but on laying my pinned muslin over my pattern piece I was at a loss as to how to proceed.  I checked it against the first pivot/slide piece too, to see if I just over-graded (which I tend to do), but nope.  It was clearly too narrow through the waist & bust.

To be honest, I was getting tired at that point (with no garment yet started and such a long way to next weekend).  So...I cheated. I traced off my last pattern (the wonderful yellow gingham McCalls 4115) and altered the neckline by overlaying my Dubarry pattern.  Here's the new pattern piece:

I had to guess at how low to make the center V, so another muslin is in my future! To be honest, I don't think (once the garment is constructed) that the finished bodice will look all that different than the original pattern.  Maybe my body just needs the additional darts in this bodice to achieve a good fit.  I'm ok with that, I already know it fits!

Coming soon...a 1940s Pink Cherry Sundress.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

new project time!

I'm ready to start something new, although it will likely be the weekend before I actually get a chance to.  I'm thinking I will probably go with this cute 50s Simplicity:

And I have this really fabulous kelly green checked fabric (that I don't have a photo of) but I also just got this pretty turquoise seersucker:

 Right now, I'm leaning to the seersucker, with a white waffle pique collar.  I love that this pattern has so many different options (but only one fitting required!)  You can have matching collar (the bias is really nice) or contrast collar, or just a square neckline with a pretty sash. 

What are you working on or dreaming of this week?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Vtg McCalls 4115 - finished!

Yay!  And what a different experience...I sewed something I loved from start to finish and it fits.  This must be what those really productive people feel like.  Here's a full body shot, but I cut my head off in every one.  Sorry, my tripod is AWOL, so I was using a chair. :)

In case you're just joining me, here's the pattern photo:

Obviously I'm missing the illustration's wasp waist. ha.  Other than that, I really love it!  Makes me feel like spring is coming!

I did decide to topstitch the tabs and collar.  I'm glad, it really added a finished touch.

I chose a pearly button from my vintage button box.  They were probably ivory originally, but look pale yellow on the gingham.

I used a pale yellow bias to bind the armholes.

I only had 5 of these buttons, so I had to limit myself to 3 down the back tab:

The skirt is very, very full!  It's nearly 180" of skirt!  On a windy day like today, it's a Marilyn moment waiting to happen.

The bodice fits better than anything I own.  I think that might be a testament to the muslin process? 

If I were a bullet bra and girdle kind of girl, I could have made the bodice closer fitting, which would be more period-appropriate.  I kinda prefer to breathe though.

Shoe shot, "pewter" ballerina flats from

I'm even more excited to have this well-fitted bodice because I have several similar patterns that I can check fit on with these pattern pieces (a'la a personal sloper). 

Off to post at We Sew Vintage and the Vintage Sewalong!  Hooray for the first finished project of 2011!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

saturday musings.

Powerful video clip from Species Endangered...

Naturally Critical from Stephanie Ifill on Vimeo

...that I found via the inkblot photography blog, with an even more powerful image in this post.  Note that I did not post the image here because it does feature some nudity.  But the message is big enough to share.

Random inspirational bits to share...

If you find you need more words of wisdom on this beautiful Saturday morning, you can visit my Pinterest Word Play board, here.  Funny, snarky, inspiration, a little bit of everything.  Including a profanity (but just one.  I think.  Wait, maybe two.)

Off to hem my YELLOW GINGHAM DRESS OF AWESOME so I can photograph it for you! Woot!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Ok, Wednesday.  But I had a fun box waiting for me when I got home from 

Love them!  I think they will be the perfect accessory to one of my Chuck-inspired spring outfits.  Like these slim green pants & cute tops:

Or maybe this adorable yellow outfit:

Just in case that's not enough Pushing Daisies for you, I'm still putting together collages of my favorite outfits.  LOVE these too:

Awww Chuck, I miss you & Ned & PD!!!   Good thing we have DVDs and Netflix so you can live on in your quirky pie shop forever.

(If you want to see all the Chuck outfit collages I've made so far, you can check out the whole album in my flickr over on the right!)

More mail...I also had this adorable vintage Simplicity sundress from my favorite Etsy seller:

I love the little bolero. Now that I have a basic bodice just about perfectly fitted, I thought it might be nice to have a princess seam dress fitted too.

No sewing progress...too tired this week!  Darn, those snow days sure do make the regular week harder.  Hmmm.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Vtg McCalls 4115 - in progress #2

My Lu & I went to see this last night:

It was SO MUCH FUN!  And today I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. to take kiddos to a school competition. I'm too pooped for words.  

More yellow gingham vintage dress progress.  Skirt is attached! And...Zipper is IN! (and much easier than before.  I think I just lost track of my brain on that last one that gave me troubles).   I veered from the vintage instructions just for finishing the skirt seam (I serged it.  You can't beat a serged seam to finish that mega-gathering!) 

As soon as I get some better light (and a hem!) I'll snap some shots ON me.  I know that's the most helpful thing.  I didn't plan on the last couple of things being straight dressform shots, I really prefer body pics too.  

Lastly...Happy Valentine's Day! 

I've had a crazy followers list the past few weeks.  I hate to lose the ones who leave, but I hope you find what you're looking for in an interesting blog, and if it's not here I completely understand.  We can't be all things to all people.  Thank you to all of you who do visit and stay!  I appreciate your firendship and your comments, but even if you're a lurker and just reading along, I'm thankful!  I hope you take something away from my sewing adventures.

On that 5th blogiversary is coming up.  I can barely believe I'll be starting my 6th year of blogging in March.  Wow!  I'm preparing a really fun vintage-y giveaway, so be on the lookout!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Vtg McCalls 4115 - in progress

I made a lot of progress the past two days on my yellow gingham dress!  Here is the pattern photo:

I'm making the full skirt version, with the button on tabs from the slim version.  First, here are in-progress photos I just snapped of the bodice for you picture lovers.  Then, I'll list the changes I made for fitting for the detail lovers.  ;)

Bodice front, keep in mind I'm more endowed than my dressform! Note the cute little button-on tabs peeking out from under the collar.

Close up of the cute v-neck.  I'm debating topstitching it.  What do you think?

Bodice back, with the back tab.  I LOVE the tabs!  I can't wait to dig around in my stash for buttons.  White?  Pearl?  Yellow??

Inside shot.  I've been following the vintage directions exactly, and used pinking shears to cut out/finish my interior seams.  This is the shoulder seam with the collar flipped up so you can see the facing.  I used the "turn under and edge stitch" finish for the facing raw edge.

The opposite shoulder seam with a better view of the facing.  Because of my changes to the neck, I had to redraw the facing and it seemed a tad too large.  That was probably a drawing/tracing error on my part.  The facing ever so slightly flares out at the bottom edge.  I've adjusted the pattern piece for next time. 

The inside facing at the v-neck.  I still need to tack the facings down.  I should end up with several tack points to keep the facing in place: the CF, shoulder seams, and under the tabs at front and CB.

I turned under 1/8" and edestitched the facing edge:

I topstitched all of the tabs, although the pattern did not call for it.  I thought they looked better with topstitching!  And that could be one of those things that are "left out" of vintage patterns because it was assumed you knew to do that.

I didn't happen to take pictures of the bodice during the muslin stage.  Because it is a simple, fitted bodice, I was able to use my experience & pattern from Simplicity 3430 to help gauge fit.  My first muslin was near perfect (again the front bodice WAS perfect, needing only a re-angled & shorter waist dart, and a lowered side dart). 

The back had some issues that were similar to 3430 with an additional fold of fabric under my neck.   I must be walking around with a hump back there.  Why haven't any of you mentioned that?? haha.)  I added to the sides using the Rasband book, did a swayback adjustment to remove some length at CB, and then removed that little fold/pouch of fabric under my neck by slashing the pattern and overlapping it about 1/2".  I also lowered the back neckline by about 5/8", which I find I have to do on a regular basis. 

None of the fitting books give the slash/overlap as a fix for that fold, by the way.  Pretty much all the fitting info I could find (in books or online) suggested the opposite...ADDING fabric there.  I did try that and it exacerbated the fold.  My instinct was to pin it out and lower the neckline, so I did, and voila.  Perfectly fitted to MY back.  Sometimes you need to go with your instinct! 

Now I'm off to gather the skirt pieces and pray I have a suitable zipper.  This is another side-lapped zipper, and dang it all if this pattern doesn't give any instructions at all!  I'll have to google  or dig through the pattern box I suppose.  I hate the instructions I used last time.

Hope you're all staying warm and toasty!  We still have 19" of snow on the ground (as of 4 pm last night) after a little melting and settling yesterday.  We ended up with over 25" by the time it stopped Wednesday.  That's the most snow we've ever had here. 

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

snowmageddon. and gingham.

I've lived here quite a while (30 years? haha) and I don't think I've ever seen the snow come down this fast or this deep.  This is what I call Crazy Snow. 

When I open the back door, I see this:

When I open the front door, I see this:

And Priscilla jumps in.

So her face looks like this:

My poor little car is stuck in the garage with 21" (and counting) behind her:

But I'm lucky because during last week's snowpocalypse, I muslined this:

And Sunday I cut it out in this:

ps...I think poor Stick Girl got snowed in, in town.  Stick Girl, call me!

Stay warm everyone!!

Friday, February 04, 2011

pushing daisies & a vtg mccalls

Do you know what Netflix is most especially good for? 

Snow Days.   And catching up on tv shows you forgot about or never had the chance to meet.
We've been off all week here what with our little blizzard and all.  (It's snowing again today.)   Lu & I have been watching Pushing Daisies on instant play.

I am SO in love with Chuck's entire closet!  I've been busy compiling screencaps to plan my spring and summer wardrobe.  Some of my favorites...


I love the full, feminine, swishy skirts and fitted bodices.  And the abundance of yellow.  I just bought several shirting and lawn prints from, at least 3 pieces in yellow, so this was pure serendipity. I also have saturated greens and blues, mostly stripes, checks and simple florals.  I was channeling Chuck and I didn't even realize it!

I have plenty of patterns to choose from, including this gorgeous McCalls:

And I'm ready to muslin my square neck sundress (bodice only) one more time after the last few changes. Then I'll be cutting out my first Pushing Daisies dress, I think a bright green check first.  I'm digging through stash but so far I haven't found a cute 50s shirtdress...odd.  That seems like something I should have in stash! Etsy time! 

I am also digging around to find a suitable fabric for this lovely:

It is also very "Chuck-like", don't you think?  I have a size 15, so I had to grade up and do an FBA first.  Here is my first muslin:

Note the snazzy knit pj pants. ;)  The fit was pretty darn good.  The sleeve is a tad too tight, so I did a simple slash and spread on front and back sleeves to add a 1/2" to each.  Up there on my shoulder you might be able to see a "dart" I have pinned out.  With this type of cut-on cap sleeve, that bunchiness is inevitable, but I did attempt a small fisheye dart here to remove some of that.  I had to rotate it into the waist darts. 

I also lowered the waist darts another 2".  Whoops.  Forgot to do that on the traced/graded pattern I guess!  The neckline lies perfectly against me (I keep experiencing this with vintage patterns which makes new patterns less appealing, let me tell you!) in front and back.  There is a tiny bit of pulling at bra level in back, so I did add a bit there, as shown in my last post I think (the Rasband book). 

Lastly...a swayback adjustment.  I really don't have much of a swayback, I have a short waist and usually petite patterns in back.  Sometimes in front too, but I typically need additional length over my bust anyway, so in a weird way, a swayback adjustment works better on some patterns than petiting.  If that makes any sense.  I'm not even muslining again, this one's ready for fashion fabric! 

I leave you with pretty snow and visitors outside my window...