Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sewing along...

I've been a little preoccupied recently. Basically, homeschool started up again, and trying to write a blog got put WAY back on the back burner. You know- after sewing, reading and schooling ;). So I planned a few blogs in my head (in places where there was no laptop of course LOL) and had to settle for that!

Now, suddenly I remembered while I have time, so I shall go ahead and post some fun. Where was I?

Right, last time I posted, it was my shorts. Which I ruined just last week by splashing bleach on them :( I was pretty upset- because every handmade item is a priceless one of a kind. Well, that is not strictly true- because the shorts didn't fit quite the way I wanted, so I wasn't very fond of them, but I certainly didn't want to ruin them either!

There was a brief break after making the shorts- while we laid hardwood floors down in the house. They look awfully pretty, and have the distinct advantage of not having holes in them (unlike the carpet they replaced).

At some point after that, not sure when, I made both this button back blouse and the capris.

The capris are from Gertie's pattern. This pair I actually raised the waist a little on (I have a long torso). I think maybe too much! The first pair I made, are actually a little too low... so maybe a half inch lower. Either that or go down a size as the waist bags a little. Judging from these photos alone, I need to go down a size!

The blouse is a peasant style one from an old mail order pattern. I don't think it has a brand name.

I loved the styling from the moment I saw it, and the button back... yes, that was a must have!

You can't tell from this photo (many of the pictures in this post are taken with my iPad, which conveniently goes with me) but the buttons are cute little flower shaped ones. I've had compliments on the blouse too, one woman actually asking me where I got it! You might recognise my old circle skirt!

Here it is from the front, where you can see the peasant blouse styling. This fabric, a broadcloth, was actually chosen to go with my circle skirt, which has tiny blue flowers in this very colour! (Hey look, you can see those new floors behind me ;) )

Next, I decided to participate in the "Fall For Cotton" sewalong hosted by Tasha at By Gum by Golly and Rochelle at Lucky Lucille. I had originally planned to sew a skirt and top, but school kicked in and sidetracked me!

I started off with Hollywood Pattern 435, which was alarming because I would need to size it up a lot!

Instead, after looking carefully at the pattern, I realised it is a half circle skirt (link goes to a half circle skirt tutorial), all I needed to do after that was to resize the waistband and place the markings. The belt tabs I could use as is.

I chose to use a lovely large polka-dot fabric I discovered at Joann Fabrics some time ago. I picked it because it was so very retro all by itself. And I knew it would one day be a skirt!

It is a fabulous skirt, so sassy! At least that is what the lady at the library told me! I have had many compliments on it- and I think a good amount of the compliments are because of the fabric!

The cut is very flattering for me, I think. In fact I liked it so much, I actually made a second one later (more below).

I got kind of fancy here and used lace hem tape on the hem. I wish I could remember how I did it! However, the website says "Application: To finish hem, position lace 1/4" from edge of fabric (right side). Machine stitch in place. Turn up, press. Hand stitch free edge to garment."
I think it looks very pretty!

After the skirt, and once "Fall for Cotton" was completed, I had an urgent need. My sister was due to get married on October 5th (my birthday) and I decided (very last minute) to make myself a dress. My daughter had been sent a beautiful flower girl dress, and I, virtual bridesmaid extraordinaire, did not have a teal dress like the others! I did, however, have teal fabric and a dress I have been dying to make!

This is a 1950's Anne Adams (my favourite mail order pattern company) pattern- Anne Adams 4705. It is a wrap dress with rick-rack trim and really cool pockets. It took me one and a half days from tracing the pattern to wearing it for the wedding (which I attended via iPad).

The wedding occurred at 1pm BST, which was about 8am here. I was up early to finish my dress and try and curl my hair (I gave up on that, 6:30am is way too early for that LOL especially on a SATURDAY). It was hot here, too. The hottest birthday I have ever had, at a cool 95*F!

The first photo, shows us in the cool morning, where the fog has hardly burnt off. The second is later, after I put my hair up (because it was too hot) and purloined my daughter's flower hair ornament! I apparently never turn around in this dress, because I cannot find a photo of the back! It is a shame, as I have a fancy vintage button for the top closure!

Having finished the dress, I managed to get around to making the blouse I had originally planned for 'Fall for Cotton'. This is an old Butterick pattern, late 30's or early 40's, Butterick 8388. It was lacking a size on the envelope, and I took it out and guessed it was pretty close to mine. After making a muslin/toile, I found it was actually EXACTLY my size! How awesome is that? I chose to make the plain view (A) with the sleeves from B and minus the pocket. I hoped the fabric would provide all the great details I could ever want. I mean... it is a cherry print. Another fabric I picked for its retro appeal!

You will have to settle for a photo of my husband and me though, as I have not got any good ones of me alone! You can actually see my latest project there too- the skirt. This is the second one made from my half circle skirt pattern- the white dot on the side is where my zip has not been fastened all the way- I did not realise it at the time! I added a small touch of lace to the cuffs on the sleeve, and wore the whole thing to my husband's high school reunion last night!
The skirt is a lovely, heavy cotton twill.  It is almost the texture of denim, and will make a lovely addition to a winter wardrobe because of its nice heavy weight!
The blouse too will make it on my 'to make again' list- and watch this space for more skirts!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Box Pleat Shorts: Simplicity 2017 (c.1947)

I have made the box pleat shorts from Simplicity 2017 several times now.

I first made them about two years ago, which is unfortunate, because I don't remember all the changes I made to the pattern to make them fit so nicely!

This is them about a year after I made them, with a blouse I made from a vintage pattern.  I made view 1, because that was the one I really liked -which was fortunate, as the pack doesn't actually have view 3, which was the other pair I really liked in this pattern!
The second time I made these, I used a red twill instead of the blue broadcloth above.  While I really liked the fabric, somehow I did not make them as well, and they fit rather badly.  Not that this stopped me from wearing them ;)  Somehow they are a little too small, and I had to shift the button to make them fit better.

One day, I had a vision of making these shorts in a print fabric, rather than the two plain fabrics I had used before.  because they look rather skirt like, I had the idea they would look rather cute.

You can see that they are a practical blue and white, and you can see below the print, more detailed, and in a more accurate colour.  And the vintage button I used to make them extra special!  The fabric is a quilting cotton- apparently it is a print I like as I have it in a couple of colours!

And a rather squinty photo of me wearing them today- in the bright morning sun.  When I first made these, I was waiting for a delivery, so no trying them on.  After a nice day of sewing and watching Poirot, I discovered they were too small!  So... I put them aside and sulked for the evening.  The next morning, since I was still waiting on the delivery (somehow it all got mistakenly forgotten), I ripped the waistband off, let out the box pleats a little, and reapplied the waistband.  Despite me trying them on before the waistband, they still ended up a little big, which meant I had to shift my button a little, creating a slight fold at the side.  I did not want to go through all that again (the fold is not terribly noticable).

Changes I made
I graded the pattern up a couple of sizes (I need to do it again, because I did it wrong last time!).
Since I missed having a second pocket EVERY time I wore them, I added one on the right- as you can see above.
I topstitched all the way around the waistband, rather than just along the bottom.  You can see it in the button photo.
I let out the box pleats on the back to get a little more room.
Pattern tips: careful with the pleats, they are best pressed before sewing, after top stitching and before hemming as well as after. If you add a second pocket, be careful to baste it to the front so it sits properly (I forgot first time around and got it backwards). You can let the pleats out a little to gain room if you somehow miscalculate, I did the back ones only. The waistband always catches me out. It needs to be the length of your waist PLUS a large overlap the size of the top of your pocket PLUS seam allowance. If you misalign the pocket on the left, you get drag marks. I always hem these fairly long, the pattern seems to indicate they should be a little shorter.  I did use a bias strip along the bottom of my shorts to neaten the hem, and I overcast all of the seams.
If you use cotton, they will crease, but adjusting them as you get up helps keep them neat.
When attaching the waistband, sew it from the right side NOT the wrong side (as the pattern says to do so). Because sometimes the top-stitching will not catch all layers!  Also stay stitch all the tops of the shorts to prevent ravelling.  Both of these are issues I saw with pair #1.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter- And Goodbye to Sew for Victory!

All this month, I have been sewing for Victory, with Rochelle and the cute Lucille over at Lucky Lucille .


Finally, the month has come to an end, and so has Sew for Victory.  And I am not the only one with a new dress ;)

So, I also made a dress for my 9 year old daughter.  In fact, she was super enthused about having a new dress. I fully remember this excitement- my own mother made me dresses as a girl, and I LOVED it.  I was not one of those children that hated handmade, I thought my own dresses and jumpers/sweaters, were WAY better than those from the store.  I can't say my mind has changed much ;)
So, I got DD to pick out a pattern, and she chose a late 30's pattern:

Simplicity 3112
This is Simplicity 3112, puffy sleeves, a piped bodice- definitely a 'princess' dress ;)  I made the blue version on the top left.  I lengthened the bodice slightly, because it was designed for an 8 year old- and DD is slightly taller than it called for.  She is skinny though, so she still has growing room now I have done so ;)

DD tries to mimic the pattern pose.
I made her pose like the pattern ;)  Jessica will be impressed to see that I wasn't kidding when I told her the colours of DD's dress match her own outfit :)

Back of dress.
Here is the back.  She has been sitting in it, so it is not quite as neat as it was!  The sleeves are banded with a contrast of dark purple, and there is another band of contrast at the hem there.  It is actually placed slightly UNDER the skirt, so it looks like an underskirt, but is really just another fabric.
embroidered eggs.
And I got to play with my new embroidery feature.  DD chose this Easter egg design, and the machine just embroidered it on.  It kind of hides under the bow a bit, but that is probably due to the bow being SLIGHTLY different from the pattern.  I had to double the fabric, since I couldn't just hem it- no matching thread ;)

So, what about me?

 Would I honestly leave myself out? :)

Of course not!  You'll see my lovely cord skirt, which has actually seen a number of outings since I made it.  And a new top.

This one is from another reproduction pattern, Simplicity 1692.  I chose to do View B, which actually comes out WAY nicer than the view on the envelope.  Typical ;)

The fabric was a fantastic quilting cotton, that I just could not pass up.  I looked it over several times, but then bought it in the coupon commotion sale at Joann Fabrics.

I shine in the mirror ;)
It took a while to make.  Mostly because I ran out of thread halfway through AND because I was making DD's dress at the same time.  But it is not a complicated sewing project, and would be much quicker to make if you read the instructions and put the zipper in correctly.

A fun shot ;)
I did add the bows.  You can't really see them, but they are there.  And I LOVE this blouse, it will definitely be seen out and about again!

Happy Easter!
I even did my hair and put on some lipstick this time ;)  Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it!  I hope you have a lovely day!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sew for Victory... A Wartime Style Pinny

The BBC has always been a great production company.  Many of the British shows that are loved here in America, are produced by the BBC.  And it was the BBC who produced Wartime Farm.  It is a peek into the life of farmworkers during World War II, and well worth watching if you can find it where you are.
Anyway, one of the things I loved on Wartime Farm, was Ruth Goodman's apron.  She actually had several, but I loved the practicality and the bound edge.
What *I* really wanted though, was one I saw on 1940's house.
You can just about see it here:
Source here
and the side here:
Source here.
So I set to work.  Initially, I looked for a period pattern.  Ideally the pattern would feature a wrap around apron or coverall.  Well, that is a lot easier said than done!

First I found this one.

It seemed perfect.  Only I could not find it anywhere!
Then I found this one:
Right era, but it is only a PDF of the instructions for making your own from scraps.  Well, I can figure out that much.
Then I remembered.  Many women from that time would use old aprons or make their own patterns to make new aprons.  And so, my wrap apron was born.

It is shorter than I planned.  Primarily because I only realised later that I really need to make the front in two pieces rather than one.  Apron 2 will also have the ties a little higher.  You can just about see my pocket, with its bias edge.

Back.  You can see my ties.

The pinny was really quick to put together (this had 4 seams, the change will add two more).  The bias binding edge, on the other hand, took FOREVER to do.  I placed a gap in each side seam so the tie can come through, whichever way I wrap my pinny.

Side.  You can just see the tie...

The fabric, was $1.50 a yard from Walmart.  It is a polycotton blend, as far as I can tell.  They said undetermined.  But I'd guess 80-20 Poly-cotton.  That aside, it looks a lot like the kinds of fabric I remember seeing such aprons in.  I got three yards, which was plenty, and would probably be more than enough with my newest adjustments.  I'll let you know later.

I should also add something else I made recently: Kitchen Curtains.

 Here you can see the view from my window now :)  Cheery red curtains.


I made the sash to hold it back, and added some decorative stitching from my new sewing machine.

And I matched the base of the curtain to the sash, with a couple of rows of the decorative stitches.  Pretty huh? :) (You don't have to answer that!).

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sew for Victory... and more

And it is back to sewing again. As our cooler season comes to an end here, I decided to give myself one more cold weather outfit, because I figured I couldn't go wrong with a slightly heavier weight skirt than most I have.
This time I picked a stretch cord.  I didn't TRY to pick stretch corduroy, it just kind of happened.  I totally forgot about reading the label and picked a fabric I have been wanting for ages.  It is a pretty French Grey corduroy, which I thought would suit a winter wardrobe admirably.  And I was right.

This pattern has been in my collection for a while.  I made the skirt once before, some time ago, and loved the way it fit BUT I forgot to make certain adjustments, and although the fit of the skirt is okay, the closure is a little too snug.  It gapes.  So this time I sized my skirt up a small amount.  And promptly took it all out again, because the cord I chose was stretchy and did not need the upsize!  I also chose to insert a zipper instead of having the placket seam with hook and eye or snap closures.  Luckily, my upsize had included the waist, and it had just enough extra to make a hook and bar closure above the zipper.

I wasn't really sure about sewing with cord.  I mean, the SEWING part is ok, but the seam treatment... does it fray a lot?  I did know it pilled as I cut it!  Luckily, my upsizing meant my seams had to be taken in, which gave all but one of them lots of extra fabric so I could make a very neat, turned seam.  You can see it above- I have just folded the edge over, sewn it down and pressed it open.  I really like the way it looks!  The one exception was the zipper seam, where I cut it instead of ripping out the first seam.  Since the zipper had to be installed there, I was not too upset- I didn't need extra thickness there.  Instead I hand overcast the edge.  And no, I don't have a photo!

Here is the skirt.  It has been through a long car trip, plus a couple of hours walking around the Jamestown Military Through the Ages event.  I teamed it up with my Sew for Victory blouse and the crocheted gloves I made last year.  And kind of did my hair (it was a humid day, I didn't even try for curls ;)).  And shoes, well... walking + mud = comfortable shoes necessary.  So that's my take on it anyway ;)  I event forgot to get a photo of the back and side views, and ended up with just this front view.  Well, at least the view tells me I need to add thicker shoulder pads to the blouse (I thought I might ;)).
If you want authenticity, just read on :)
Two lumberjills (British landgirl Army) talk to a lady dressed beautifully in what I think is a World War I outfit.  Yes, the eras mesh at the event, and last year, my photos consisted mostly of anachronistic pairings LOL
Military through the ages (which I should have blogged before, since we only do it yearly- as visitors, never re-enactors - though I'd love to!) is a yearly event held at Jamestown Settlement in Jamestown, Virginia.  The Settlement is located not far from the historical site of Historic Jamestowne, where the original settlers of English America landed in 1607.  The Settlement has a reconstructed fort with wattle and daub houses, where re-enactors help you to envision colonial life.  Now, Military Through the Ages is an event where people re-enact military from all eras.  I didn't take many photos this year, I kept forgetting, but you can see a set from 2010 here on my Flickr pages.

One landgirl teaches my daughter to milk "Bessie" the "cow" :)  DD now wants goats.  She'll even milk them, she tells me!
I love the event.  It brings history alive, and many encampments have battle re-enactments, or crafts for the kids to try out.  We went through a bit hurriedly at points because the weather was supposed to turn wet later.  Not that we need have worried, although a mudpit at points, it was quite some time later before the rain started.

The landgirl encampment.  The lumberjills are eating on the left, while another landgirl on the right talks to another Brit... who might have been old enough to remember the landgirls ;)  I thought these images might interest a number of our Sew For Victory participants!

I made sure to get the landgirl encampment photographed for the Sew For Victory ladies.  I forgot, however, to photograph many of the wonderful re-enactors who sat and talked to us though!

Not all of the re-enactors were women.  Actually I have been overjoyed to see so many women appearing with their home-front and camp following acts, because most of the show features the military.  Above is another British group, this time a group of soldiers.  They and the landgirls bracketed a German camp!

A Native American Indian woman prepares a stew with foraged foods and venison.
Not all the re-enactors are obviously military.  This lady, above, was in the Native American village.

Very posh!
While these two gentlemen strolled the settlement from their camp.  I am pretty sure they are from the Middle Ages, probably one of the German mercenary camps.  I have seen their group at the event on numerous occasions, and they are very good!


This is a Viking Mercenary, and not Hulk Hogan ;)  He was very informative- his tent can be picked up and carried around easily.  Opposite him were the Romans and another Medieval camp.

The Irish terrorists.  Their term.
The event can be loud.  These Irish terrorists (their term, not mine) are fighting some patrolling British in early 20th Century Ireland.  They used VERY loud props- the guns being filled with what my husband tells me is a full load.  I think that means a blank with the same amount of powder as a real bullet.
They also fire cannons at the event, and were going to fire a howitzer until they spotted a Bald Eagle.
I could go on and on, but won't.  If you ever want to attend the event, it is always in March and goes over a whole weekend for the visitor but the re-enactors actually come a little earlier.

I hope you enjoyed this quick trip to the past, hopefully I will be back later this week with some more stuff to show you!