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!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Sew for Victory: Simplicity 3688 (1941 repro)

The second part of my Sew For Victory project, was a pair of trousers.  Although it IS possible to find vintage patterns for trousers, they are a pain in the backside because they tend to be the smaller sizes and I end up having to re-size them.  I do own a couple though, but this is my favourite trouser pattern.


I'm not the only one to make them.  Tasha has made them and so has Frances and yes, so has Debi.  And there are several participants in the Sew For Victory challenge who have made them too :)

My 1941 trousers and 1943 blouse.

Here are my completed trousers, with the already finished blouse.  So... I cropped the pictures.  I am pulling the most awful faces in them ALL (except the back view LOL) and I am not sure why. 
I have the slightest suspicion I have not quite gotten the lining quite right at the bottom of the legs.  Try as I might, I can't quite get them to sit right there.  I don't care though, because they are THE most comfortable trousers I have ever owned. 

Back view.

This silk blend tweed is a beautiful fabric I found in the Joann Fabrics' red tag 1/2 price sale, some time before Christmas.  There was just enough to make these trousers, with a very little left over.  I fell in love with it, and bought the last of the bolt.  But, being a woven pattern, it has the tendency to fray.

Nubby silk-blend, herringbone tweed.
So I used my new sewing machine to overcast the edges.  Oh my goodness, did that take forever or what?!  But, overcasting is one of the new things I can now do!

My new embroidery machine.  Expect to see more about that soon.

It is a very cool machine.  I can use it to embroider and more, and actually used it earlier today to make some curtains for the kitchen- with some special decorative elements.  More on those in another post though!

Please excuse this night-time photo.  You can see the lovely lining though.           

I fully lined the trousers, because the tweed is a little scratchy.  I can't remember if the blend had wool in it or not, I forgot to re-read the bolt tags before it was thrown out.  I lined it with a soft and silky Bemberg rayon.  They are the most comfortable trousers EVER!

Another night-time photo.  Because I cannot photograph these while wearing them.

The buttons are rather lovely aren't they?  I found those, yesterday, in an antique shop.  Four of them for 59 cents.

Side view.

There is a lot of back story to these.  First I had to redo my side opening- because I put it on the wrong side initially.  I was originally going to leave it there, but I knew it would really bother me.  The fastening on these trousers is a point that really bothers me.  For some reason, every time I make these, the zip does not come up far enough.  Which means there is a slight gap between the zip top and the button flap.  The other pair I made was the same way.  Which means I need to remember to ignore the notch on the side and sew a little higher!  The issue for me, has been that it tells you to sew the zip to the trousers an inch below the waistband.  Next time, I shall ignore this!
Adjustments:  I am just tall enough I need to make several adjustments to these.  1.  I added an inch to the leg length.  I have real problems with leg length- my legs are long enough that regular length never is quite long enough for me, but the tall sizes are always TOO long!
2.  I also added an inch to the upper area of the trousers- above the crotch.  I apparently also have a long torso compared to the ladies of the 40s.
3.  I lined them.  I also had to French seam the lining, which made the zipper opening even more trouble- but that is my own fault for not planning ahead!

The pattern is a great pattern though, with the exception of the zipper area, I have found it to be a trouble free pattern- highly recommended for anyone wanting to start out with trousers!

Anyway, there are my Sew For Victory clothes, completed.  I might have a few more things made by the end of the month (my sewing queue is getting long) but we'll see!