Thursday, March 31, 2011

cold rainy day eye candy.

Sorry, no skirt photos because it's COLD.  And RAINY. And I'm a wee bit CRABBY.

But I bring treats in the form of Etsy goods.  I recently purchased a few pdf's of vintage sewing booklet scans (I always just scan my vintage finds for you free of charge, so it seems somewhat weird to me to get charged for someone's lucky find.  That's the basics of economics though! C'est la vie!)

This is from a 1940 Dubarry pattern booklet:

I'm sort of in love with playsuits right now, I don't care how much too old I am or how impractical they are.  I can't get enough of them.  And this adorable thing is from a 1939 Dubarry booklet:

Then we have my MOST favorite...

A "Build Your Own Wardrobe" booklet, printed during wartime and rationing.  It has several pages of useful and charming tips for extending the life of garments, and remaking/reusing old or outdated ones.  My favorite section is this one:

and the directions for 3 of the cute blouses from suit... (click for large view on all images!)

Awesome rainy weather reading.  Hope your week has been more productive than mine!  I have THREE garments finished (or nearly) and ready to get a photo up for your reading well as a green plaid dress waiting for sleeves and a zip.  Come on weekend!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Vtg Simplicity 4657: dirndl skirt in progress!

I saw this adorable strawberry print dirndl skirt on Sewing Through the Motions blog

Isn't it the cutest?  Amy is going to do a tutorial for making a dirndl skirt soon.  I happened to be inspired by it and thought the style would be perfect for a "Fresh Picked by Darlene Zimmerman" cotton fruit print I've had in stash for a while.  I'm using this vintage Simplicity 4657 for measurements:

I've used this pattern before, but Amy's right, you don't really need a pattern for this style of skirt.  It's just rectangles!  Or I think there might be instructions for a dirndl skirt in Sew What Skirts (one of my most-loved sewing books!) 

Anywho...Here's a sneak peek:

This is the hem, so you know I'm nearly finished already!  Quick projects are the best.  I have very nearly hemmed it too short.  A bit more of my knee is showing than I would prefer, but I think it will be fine.  I might even see if I have a cute red ruffle-edge slip to peek out.

I had to narrow the waistband due to fabric constraints.  I think I like this narrow waistband better, it's very comfy.  Sometimes accidents are truly happy:

Zip is in, hem is done.  I just need a trouser hook fastening, and I'm undecided on pockets.  I cut 2 large rounded pockets and rickrack, but can't decide if they'll just be lost in all that fruit.  Hmmm.  What do you think?

I'll be sure to snap some pics tomorrow, if the sun comes out!  (Or inside if it doesn't.) I have a knit top and hopefully a pair of PANTS (yes, pants!) nearly finished and ready for photos too.  Spring break is nearly over.  It went by too fast, as it usually does. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

NL 6899: a new "vintage" circle skirt

Circle skirt, finished!

Here's the backstory.  Last week I found myself infatuated with this series of photos via Pinterest:

That dress is TDF!  Yellow, lace, circle skirt?  Bicycle??  It apparently was a photoshoot for Vogue, but don't quote me on that. 

Knockoff wheels started turning.  I had just pulled an icy blue satin from stash (10 years old minimum), thinking I'd use it matte side out because the color was richer (plus, more practical).  And last fall I placed a huge order for assorted colors of nylon tricot and laces from Sew Sassy for some lingerie (um, that's all still on THE LIST).  After I saw the above photos, it took me about 35 seconds to put the two together!

I started with this New Look pattern (not vintage but vintage-esque!) 6899:

I love this pattern because it has both a full circle and a half circle version, in two lengths.  I used the long version, full circle skirt.  I had to fudge just a teeny bit on length due to my yardage on hand but I knew I was adding the lace so that made up most of the difference. 

I cut a straight waistband, planning to do a side lapped zip.  I hate shaped waistbands.  They never sit correctly on my waist.   (And it's easy to cut a straight waistband substitute!  No pattern piece needed!)  That brought the skirt up a little in length, since my waistband was narrower than the shaped on in the pattern.  I love the finished length though.  I think it's perfect (even if that's a fluke):

I'm hoping it's more "slip-like" and less "she's wearing a slip with no skirt!"  Ha. 

My big cheat...I didn't have a zip (story of my life) and rather than sit on this project for several days I just did an elastic waist!

I used the waistband piece I had already cut and sewed it together in a circle, the pressed it in half lengthwise wrong sides together.  I cut a piece of 1" elastic to fit and sewed it together in a circle too.  Then I just tucked the circle of elastic into the waistband and pinned close to the bottome edge of the elastic. Stitch close to the edge with a zipper foot.  You do have to stop about 3/4 of the way around and redistribute the fullness of the waistband because it is longer than the circle of elastic.  I just redistribute, pin again and sew. 

Last step is just pinning the waistband to the skirt and stitching in place.  I serged the raw seams:

Note that I have a double row of stitching.  When I stitched to the skirt, I could see the first line of stitching in a couple of places, so I had to go back over it again. 

Pinning that lace into place was a job!  I pinned about 1/2 of the skirt and stitched, then pinned the rest in place and stitched  I used a zigzag and followed along the lace header.  Which...was CURVED. I didn't realize that until I went to pin, but the color was so perfect I sucked it up. 

After stitching, I trimmed away the excess fabric from behind, close to the zigzag stitching.  I would have gotten closer, but I'm not convinced this satin won't fray like the devil when it's washed.  This will probably be a handwash item!  Here's the interior where you can see the fabric trimmed away (and the shiny side of the satin is on the inside!)

That's about it!  Pretty new skirt for not a lot of work.  Now let's see if I can get that plaid dress finished today!  I'm already eyeballing a new project. 


I personally think the phrase "movie star" was coined with Elizabeth Taylor in mind.  

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is probably my favorite movie from the 1950s.  And I'm not even a huge Tennessee Williams fan.  But, I've seen it a dozen times and will likely see it a dozen more at least, in large part to the luminescence of its stars.  

 Good grief, can you imagine standing in a room next to these two? 

Although I've been expecting the  news of her passing, it was still very sad.  Such a great beauty.

Really, was there ever anyone as beautiful??  And such a wonderful philanthropist too. 

 A life well lived.  Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

we interrupt this program...

to bring you the cutest baby on the planet.  (I might be biased, I'm his auntie).

He's only 5 days old, and clearly he's already a deep, thoughtful sort. 

Due to an unplanned very stressful morning, and baby snuggling in the afternoon, I have no sewing to report. 

Oh wait, I'm lying.  I did attach pleated skirt to bodice yesterday afternoon on the plaid dress.  Now I need sleeves, zipper, and to line the bodice.  I'm procrastinating on the sleeves if you hadn't noticed.  I also sewed a circle skirt in baby blue satin, dull side out, with a pretty lace hem.  The wind was sweeping cross the plains yesterday, so I deemed it too risky to snag a photo (and stress + baby snuggling took precedence today).

There's always tomorrow right?  And maybe I'll have more than one thing to photograph and share.  Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

two things.

First,  I love Dita von Teese.  (Although google imaging her is somewhat tricky since I'm basically a sheltered country girl at heart.)  She never looks less than perfect.  Wouldn't you love to wander around in her (probably bigger than my entire house) closet??

Wonder if she ever lounges about at home in knit yoga pants and a ratty old tee?  No?  Probably not.

Next...I found the perfect pattern to knock off this Amy Adams dress!!

Look at New Look 6886:

Same bodice, right down to the angle of the neckline (although I think Amy's dress might have set in sleeves?)  Same swishy circle skirt (and I can even add more swish if I want to, with my circle skirt draft).  There was another very similar pattern that had a bodice + midriff piece WITH the tulip sleeves like Amy's.  Alas, I can't get the Simplicity site to load so I can show you a picture.  I decided to go with this pattern because it is the most similar, and because I think I can realistically draft the tulip sleeves if I want them.

Although I'm not sure that I can use the tulip sleeves on this type of raglan bodice.  Hmmm. This one will take some more thought.

First though I have a green plaid dress that needs some finishing up on!   

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shabby Apple Dress Winner!

Woohoo!  Another blogiversary prize! has generated comment number 8 as the lucky girl:

And number 8 is...Gaylen!  (Affectionately known as "gmarie" in the sewing blogosphere!)

Gaylen, you'll be wearing this adorable Shabby Apple dress for spring.  Email me for details, woman. Congratulations!

 And a huge Thank You to Shabby Apple for providing the dress and giveaway to my readers.

Don't forget you can still place an order with Shabby Apple and use the special Quality Time coupon code to receive 10% off!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Vtg McCalls 6328 - pt 1

 I have loads of spring dress fabrics I've been hoarding and limited time to sew during the school year so the Dubarry goes back into the pattern basket and the cute vintage cherry print back into storage for now.  Time to move on!

I've picked this very Chuck-like McCalls:

Isn't it awesome??  I'm making the full, pleated skirt version.  I decided to use my green check shirting from  I was on a roll yesterday after giving up on the Dubarry and threw the bodice together.

I'm not the least bit worried about matching plaids, mind you.  I just flat don't care that much.  I know many do...I'm not one of them.  Not with this small scale anyway!  Isn't the color pretty?

I do have a bit of a booboo though.  This shirting plaid is woven, so it's the same from front or back.  I made the darts on the front bodice on the "wrong side", so the neckline slit & bow will be on my right, rather than my left as shown in the pattern illustration.

I plan on fully-lining the bodice.  I suppose I could correct the darts on the lining pieces (I used self-fabric) and that would technically make this the lining.   That would fix it.  Right?

I also pleated that gigantic skirt.  It's actually not quite as full as my yellow gingham dress.  But almost!  The pleats are so pretty!

A bit wider than I envisioned them per the illustration, but still very pretty and scale-wise I think they'll be just fine.  I'm a bit wider than the illustration too, after all.

I'm a bit nervous that my half-thought out grading process (in other words, my cheat) won't work and the skirt won't fit the bodice a'la the Dubarry.  And that the side zip closure won't work out evenly with the pleats. 

We'll see in a little bit I suppose.  I plan on stitching the side seams on the bodice and pinning the skirt in place.  Then we'll know!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Vtg Dubarry 6043 - pt 2

This is turning into one of "those" projects.  You know the ones?

For reference, here's the pattern, a 1940s Dubarry:

I'm doing the Sewing through the Decades challenge (linky on the left sidebar), and this is my 1940s entry.  Here's a snapshot of where I am right now:

Soo...the front bodice fits wonderful.  I've really got that nailed it would seem.  The back was a hot mess.  I had used my vintage McCalls 4115 back bodice and drafted a new back bodice piece for this Dubarry.  It ended up being about 6 inches too big!!  I have NO idea what happened, nor do I want to think about it too much becuase it makes my head hurt.  It would be SO much easier if I could just fit my back by sight.

Then my iron quit.  Dad to the rescue, who ran my mom's iron over to my house on his way to church!

Next, I went back and redrafted the back bodice, making it the requisite 6 inches smaller and using the pinned-to-fit bodice in progress and the original Dubarry pattern to draft off of.  Restitched the bodice, tried it on and voila.  Looked like a pretty good fit (if slightly snug this time.  sigh.)

That left me with skirt front & back.  I had compared the skirt front & back pieces from the original pattern and they appeared to be nearly an exact match shape-wise to one of my favorite New Look skirt patterns.  Which already fits.  So I subbed out my NL skirt piece (It uses the same piece for front/back) for the Dubarry.

I did trace off a copy and reshape the waistline to match the Dubarry though.  For two, I won't have to dig around for the NL pattern next time I make this sundress and two, I was afraid the slightly different curve of the waistline would make a huge difference in fitting the bodice and skirt together.

That brings us to the next problem.  When I went to stitch the skirt on, I discovered the back skirt was about 4-6" too big for the back bodice, while the front skirt fit the front bodice perfectly. Which  makes sense I guess, since the original back bodice "should" have fit, given I made it to measurements.  And the skirt pattern was cut the same.   See, that's where the headache about this back fit thing comes into play.  HOW can that be possible??

Anyway.  What to do now?  Add darts in back?  Gathering?   It was clearly too much to ease in.  So I just went "easy" and made little pleats:

Which would be fine except now the dang thing is TOO TIGHT through my midsection/high hip!  UGH!!!  If this was a fitted dress, I think it would be fine (not in this fabric though).  Since I was going for a more flowy skirt sundress, and not a fitted midsection/hip, I'm disappointed.

I'm setting this project aside for now until I can come up with a suitable solution (bear in mind I do not have any more of this cute yellow print, so my solution has to be some sort of witchcraftery).

Before I go though, here's a close up of the cute bodice with RED RICKRACK.  I might cry if I can't fix this. Yellow daisy print with red rickrack!

I might have to find a new pattern to use my cheery pink and grey cherry fabric for...maybe a cute flowy skirt?

Don't forget to enter the Shabby Apple Dress giveaway!  Enter to win this cute wrap dress:

One more shout-out to Hell's Belle.  I really want to award this lovely blogiversary package!  If I don't hear from you by midnight Monday night, I'll be redrawing to give my vintage patterns and goodies to the next lucky winner!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

a WINNER & a Shabby Apple giveaway!

This fabulous package of goodies:

will be going to lucky # 79!
  That would be commenter Hell's Belle! Here's her comment:

Hell's Belle, thank you so much for commenting! Now you'll have some beautiful vintage dresses to master.  Vintage techniques are amazingly simple and clear and I think you'll find them much more precise than modern patterns.  Please send your mailing address to jemimabean at gmail dot com so I can pack up your box!

Oh, but WAIT!  We're not done blogiversarizing yet...  The wonderfully vintage and fun has generously offered my readers a real treat!  They have prepared a dress giveaway for one lucky winner!

If you've never been to Shabby Apple, you're missing out!  They have a wide assortment of women's dresses, but they also have accessories, fashionable maternity dresses, and the sweetest little girl's clothes too.

Two of my very favorite (current) lines include...


Such wonderful eye candy, am I right?  It was SO hard to pick just ONE dress to give away here on the blog, but I have chosen one that I think is beautiful, timeless, and flattering to a variety of shapes and sizes.  Not to mention very vintage feeling!   Are you ready for the reveal??

You, fabulous readers, have the chance to win this beauty:

Front & back views:

Just lovely...

To enter to win, here's the "rules":
1.  Visit the Shabby Apple website and then come back and leave a comment telling me what YOUR favorite line is!

2.  For two additional chances to can "Like" Shabby Apple on their Facebook page, AND "Follow" Shabby Apple on their Twitter.  Then come back and leave a comment for each to let me know you've done so.

3.  Limited to 3 comments per entry as noted above please!

4.  This giveaway is only available to US shipping addresses. 
    I'll be accepting comments through TUESDAY at midnight!  Wednesday we'll have the big winner party!  (Party hats required).

    But WAIT...there's more!  Shabby Apple has also provided a 10% coupon code for any reader of my blog.  If you don't happen to be the lucky girl who wins this dress, you can still shop and use this coupon on your order:


    Good Luck Good Luck Good Luck!!!  

    And a big old Thank You Shabby Apple!