Friday, April 18, 2014

Back to Blogging with a Sew Expensive... Simplicity 2229

It has been a very strange month. Recently I have been able to get back to working a bit and have found it a very welcome distraction from... everything else.
I've been trying to figure out how to ease myself back into blogging next but - this being my first experience with this kind of life-altering grief - I didn't have the foggiest idea of how to do it. When is too soon? Do I have anything worth writing? Can I even sit still at a computer that long without dissolving into a puddle of tears? Do my readers really want to be depressed to death?

As with some things, ripping the band-aid off is, I think, the only way to do it. But I am starting easy. A nice, happy Sew Expensive post should do nicely.

These posts always make me happy. Shopping for patterns is a fantastic coping mechanism and last month, as I was trying to take my mind off of other horrors, I turned to Ebay for all of the lovely distractions offered there.

This one I bookmarked because it was just too pretty not to talk about. Simplicity 2229 recently sold on Ebay for an uncomfortable, yet relatively reasonable $157.64.

Was it worth it? Well, yes and no. There's always the debate of a pattern being worth what one person is willing to pay for it. And sure, if you're more interested in say, making a reproduction of the dress, then why not? But from a pattern collector/ seller standpoint, the sad condition of the envelope has me shaking my head and mouthing a big "Nope."

Yes it's quite rare, obviously this pattern doesn't come up for sale very often, but if you just want to sew a dress, then I think The Vintage Pattern Lending Library or another pattern reproduction company would be your best bet.
I think about the value of gown patterns more in depth about once a year - usually when the date of the next Air Force ball gets announced to all and sundry.
And were I to make a gown, and not use one of my own personal collection, or one of the gown patterns from Mrs. Depew Vintage, then VPLL would be the way to go. And if I had to choose, I would choose this beauty:

McCall 7595 Pattern Reproduction by The Vintage Pattern Lending Library.

At the fantastic price of $17.50, wouldn't you agree?
And if I may ask, what is the most you've ever spent on a sewing pattern, and why?
For me, it was to get my hands on one of my much sought Simplicity S-Series patterns, and I spent $105. Shhh, don't tell my husband!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Wherein I lose my Treasure...

When I wrote to you all months ago that I was going to attempt to post more about my personal life, I had no idea that I would find myself compelled to share with you... this, the most deeply personal and painful thing to ever happen to me.

Ten days ago, my Mama passed away.

And almost as much as I feel the urge to call my sister, or my aunts (whom my mama affectionately referred to as "the treasures"), or my best friend, or my mama herself to find solace in this impossible time, I feel the urge to talk to you, dear readers. I know that my posts can be trite sometimes, really, I blog about stuff, things that no one can take with them in the end, but I feel that regardless, you've all been there for me these last several years. I have come to think of you all as my friends, my circle... my people.

The last month has been the hardest of my life. I feel that I have grown, grown too big, reached my limit, shattered, been pressed down, hardened and remade into another form that better fits the reality that I suddenly find myself in. I arrived in Nebraska 28 years old, wearing sneakers and a t-shirt with a dinosaur on it. I left, so very, very old.
For two weeks after I wrote to you all about leaving to look after my Mama in the hospital, I watched her fade away, withdraw and finally say goodby.

March 9th, our whole family was going to be in Nebraska to celebrate my mother's marriage to her Fiancé, Guy -the man she had waited her whole life for. Instead, she was admitted to the hospital and 9 days after the day she was to become a bride, my family instead came together to lay her to rest. She was only 57.

I find that my brain is incapable of understanding a world in which she is gone. Its seems to want to freeze, like an overburdened computer, when it's asked to process this information that is so counter-intuitive to everything else it knows. So I just give it simple tasks, one thing at a time. I do the dishes, I answer a few emails, I watch Glee in my sweatpants - things that don't ask too much of my poor mind. And then I try again.
I know that this is a process and I'm hoping that by attempting one task at a time that I understand, then someday I'll understand this too. I hope.

Thank you all so much for the warm wishes and prayers that you sent my way after my last post. And thank you for being here for me - you have no idea how dear each of you is to me.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Short blog break.

Hello my lovely readers. Please forgive my blogging silence but I'm going to have to put A Few Threads Loose on the back burner for a week or two. My mother is currently in the hospital fighting liver failure. I'll be with her in Nebraska until she pulls through and there's no knowing how long that might be.
If praying is your thing, we would be very happy for your prayers.



Monday, February 24, 2014

Sew in Love... A Vintage Vanity Does Halter Top Video Tutorials!

Hello lovely readers!
Recently I was delighted to find that the very talented Jennifer of A Vintage Vanity on Youtube has done a full video tutorial series on sewing Depew #1006 - one of my vintage pattern reproductions!

Depew #1006 Halter Top Pattern at

The "So Sew Vintage" series of 5 video posts walks you though printing and taping together the pattern, grading the pattern (if necessary) to another size using the included pattern grading instructions, mocking up a muslin and adjusting the fit, interfacing the final pattern pieces and sewing them together, and adding buttons/ buttonholes to the finished blouse.

Jennifer, a self-proclaimed Geek (geeks unite!) chose to make her halter top out of Dr. Who-themed Tardis fabric, which, in my opinion, is unsurpassed in its epic-ness. 

The posts are very in-depth and so entertainingly presented that a complete beginner would have very little trouble sewing this blouse right up!

If you're not interested in sewing this blouse for yourself, you might want to check out the "A Vintage Vanity" Youtube channel anyways for amazing vintage fashion, DIY, makeup and hair tutorials and vlogging!
You can also follow A Vintage Vanity on Facebook.

If you are interested in giving this pattern a try, below is the complete tutorial set!

Happy sewing!

Part 1: Printing and taping together your pattern.

Tip: every printer is different and occasionally marins might be a hair off. If you find while taping the pattern pages together that the lines aren't matching up perfectly, give the perimiter of the pattern piece itself a little snip to free it from the paper around it. This can make it much easier to line up the pattern lines as necessary.

Part 2: Grading the pattern pieces.

Part 3: Mocking up the sewing pattern for a test fit.

Part 4: Interfacing and sewing the pieces together.

Part 5: Adding buttons and buttonholes - and the big reveal!

A huge thanks to Jennifer for taking the time to put together such a fantastic tutorial series! I can't wait to see the next sewing project you take on!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Favorite 1920's Teddies... and a free sewing pattern!

 The 1920's brought us some truly wonderful fashion revelations, my favorite being the looser fitting dress and less constricting undergarments to accompany them. Lingerie also got so much easier to sew with little to no boning, fewer seams, and simpler designs!

The best part of this, in my opinion, was the advent of the teddy or camiknickers. It could often be sewn from two squares of fabric and was a great way to re-use fabric to make dainty things.

Original 1920's lingerie patterns are nearly impossible to find. In fact, they're practically the holy grail to lingerie pattern collectors like myself. Teddy patterns from the 1920's are the rarest of all. If you do a Google search you'll find hardly any at all. Sad Face.

The Vintage Pattern Wiki has a few though that I thought I would share.

McCall 5124
McCall 3778

McCall 4311
McCall 3741
These beauties are so lovely and when they do rarely crop up, they are often quite expensive (and rightly so!). This makes getting your hands on that 1920's look rather hard and one must often turn to reproduction lines like mine to find something to substitute for an original.

But today, I thought I would skip all that and just give you a free pattern!

This is a digital copy of an insanely easy sewing method for a lovely set of step-in combination teddies from 1926. The pattern for two different versions was originally published for the newspaper column of a "Fashion Expert". This pattern would also make an amazing little neglige for when you need one in a hurry.

I have digitally enhanced the images but the instructions are the exact wordings used by the original designer. The grammar and writing style tells me that the "Fashion Expert" was most likely a French woman writing in English and the way she expresses herself is so charming!

It is not necessary to print this pattern. The "Pattern" given is a very easy to follow set of instructions for cutting and draping a certain measurement of fabric with several drawings and diagrams.
This is a great way to use up some of those vintage scarves hiding in your closet, or a nice length of silk you haven't found a purpose for yet.

Happy Sewing, mes cheris!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Weekend Eye Candy: Pictorial Review from March of 1927.

Hello lovely readers! I have a busy Sunday ahead of me which includes cleaning my house like a mad woman in anticipation of company, and cheering on my favorite football team during the Super Bowl.
But before I do any of those things, I thought I'd share some awfully pretty things with you.

For your weekend viewing pleasure, I have pictures of Pictorial Review's Printed Patterns booklet, advertising all of the yummy patterns one could acquire in March of 1927.

So without further ado (since I have to go paint my nails blue and orange to show some team spirit) here they are!

I would wear all four of the dresses above in a heartbeat, wouldn't you?

I love the monogrammed blouse up in the right corner above. What a great idea!

And swoon, you know I'm all about the lingerie... but especially, THAT ROBE!

Sigh... a girl just can't have too many 1920's patterns, can she?

Happy weekend,

P.S. If you get a moment, check out our new sponsor Floradora Presents!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sew in Love... McCall 6021

Hello lovely readers! I'm sorry for my blogging absence this month! In Norway a few years ago, I was diagnosed with a permanent and very painful nerve condition... which I recently found out was a misdiagnosis! The real culprit was a childhood injury that had left my ribs completely misaligned for nearly 20 years. The treatment is a weekly excruciating rib adjustment that leaves me tender, tired and completely useless for days. The upside is, I'll only need about 6 months of treatment, as opposed to a lifetime of medication and pain.
So that's my recent crazy...
Today though, I surfaced from my useless stupor to get the mail and to my delight, I found that a much anticipated pattern had arrived for my collection and I just had to share!

McCall 6021 Ladies' and Misses' Set of Underwear from 1929.

I had no idea when I bought it on Ebay if it was even complete. I was thrilled to open the envelope and find that the pattern was still in its factory folds! (a jackpot for us pattern collectors - it means the pattern has never been used, never even been unfolded in the last 90 years!).

But even better than that, nestled inside one of the folds was this!

One of my absolute favorites is the little found objects in patterns and books. Valentines, drawings, pressed flowers and four leaf clovers, and pretty, pretty advertisement cards always make my day!

When I do find things like this, all I can think is, I wish these never expired, and you could go back in time, get your subscription at that stellar price.

But back to the pattern, what do you think of it? I bought it for the bra mostly. The tap pants from that era, while beautiful, are so long they're practically skirts, and not super sexy. However, for costumers and anyone who wants her lingerie for that Gatsby even to be spot on, this is perfect. Should I make a reproduction of it, do you think?