Monday, February 28, 2011

Vintage Fashion Porn

That's right ladies. Porn. At least, the kind that get's me all twitterpated.

Norman Hartnell's 1938 Spring Collection.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Something New To Me.

I was trolling the internet for patterns today. It's what I do when I'm supposed to be sick in bed. Instead I'm sick at the computer. I know... I have a problem. But I learned something today!
I found this pattern for sale and had never seen it's like before.
Have you ever heard of McCall's Fashion Firsts? I hadn't. So I did a little research. According to the vintage fashion guild (which is brilliant, by the way) it was introduced in 1953 and was a "...pattern line adapted from foreign designer styles. This was a premium line and more expensive to purchase."
They cost $1 as opposed to the usual 25 to 50 cents.
So I did some looking around and there aren't that many of them out there. But the ones that are, oh boy!
McCall's 9677
McCall's 9677 is for sale at Pattern Shop on Etsy.
McCall's 9567
 McCall's 9567 was cataloged on the Vintage Pattern Wiki page. Fan-freaking-tastic.
McCall's 9577
 And if you have $95 laying around you can get McCall's 9577 from So Vintage Patterns. I think it's a steal, look at that dress!
McCall's 9568
 As was McCall's 9568, which had sold recently on etsy and I'm kicking myself that I didn't see it first.

McCall's 9530
And from the Wiki once again, this dream, whose description reads:
"Bouffant, yet fitted, this full length or short evening dress is a dream. The front panel of the long version is separate so it can be interpreted many ways. The brief jacket is in one piece - so easy to make, so effective when worn! The long and short of it ... a flattering style that can be made in many fabrics! For you who need a wedding attendant dress - pretty but practical - wear the dress with the jacket for church. When you remove the jacket you will have a versatile long or short dress." (from printed insert with instructions sheet).

*Sigh* I wish I had all of them... and somewhere to wear them.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not Suitable for Chubby Girls.

Don't look at me, I didn't say it. McCall's did:
McCall's 8995
Now look closer:
This is McCall's 8995, a charming little dress and slip sewing pattern from the 1960's. The envelope blatantly states: "Not for Chubby Girls."
How crazy is that?!  Is this saving masses of chubby toddlers from making a crucial wardrobe mistake or just discriminating against baby fat! You don't walk into a Chanel and see a sign that says, "No fat chicks." Who the hell does McCall's think they are?
That's the end of my rant, sorry.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Spring Cleaning and a Coupon Code

I own too many patterns. I'm an addict. At least that's what my husband will tell me with an indulgent smile on his face. I just can't stop buying them. Maybe I am an addict... oh well. I recently bought a ton of new patterns and to make room in my stash I'm re-opening my old etsy shop to clear out the old to make room for the also old, but new to me.
I spent a ton of time in photoshop putting together the perfect banner graphics and I think the shop came out rather pretty!
So aside from a few really rare patterns that I'll always want in my collection, you'll probably be able to see the patterns for things I've made and blogged about for sale.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wherein I fulfill my purpose.

The whole reason I started this blog was to help and inspire my fellow seamstresses. When I first started sewing I stumbled across some other popular sewing blogs and they inspired me like crazy, and often provided really useful tips that have made me a better seamstress. Since my following is still rather conservative in size I've been unsure that I've met my goal to help or inspire, until today.
I got an email today from Airy:

I found your blog while looking up this pattern. I was thinking of bidding for it on eBay,  but then I saw in your description that it had some strange pieces. One of my projects is trying to make my own patterns for garments for myself (I've succeeded in a basic bra, but I'm having some problems with the panties pattern). I was wondering if I could get a picture of the pattern pieces for this Du Barry pattern (there's usually pictures of the pieces on the back or on the instructions). This is just for me to get a general idea of the shape of the pattern pieces. (I don't want pictures of your panties or anything like that).



Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Slip That Just Won't Die... Finally.

This poor slip has been waiting half done on my dress form for a couple months now. My mom included it in her last sewing loot care package so that I could make a pattern from it. We both considered it too far gone for anything else.

Until an idea just came out of nowhere. I was looking it over and became aware of just how many times this little slip had been patched and mended. Someone had carefully extended the life of the slip long after most people would have tossed it out. Mom lives in rural Nebraska and finds lots of treasures at farm auctions and thrift shops... I have this picture in my mind of a young farmer's wife saving up to buy a lovely cream satin fabric, sewing the slip from the latest mail order pattern, proudly wearing it, and carefully mending it to make it last several years.

So I posed myself a question, "How far gone does something have to be before it's not worth saving?" And thus, the slip that just won't die was born. 
The points where the straps joined at both front and back were all mended with great triangle patches, some times more than once. There were little patches in the front and back at about hip level that had been mended with little art nouveau rose-shaped patches. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Simplicity 2076

I just wanted to share a pattern from my collection. This 1930s pattern reminds me of the safari style that's always flitting back in and out of style. Could I make this contemporary, do you think?
The description reads: Dress and Bolero. The skirt with an inverted pleat at center front joins the blouse at the waistline. The gathered sleeves can be short and linked or full length. The simple bolero is made with long sleeves. Patch pockets trim the dress and bolero.
I'm going through my collection (massive) and I'll be re-opening my etsy shop soon to 'recirculate' some of my stash. Perhaps I'll make this one up and add it to the sale pile.

Soon to come: A very long post on the slip that just won't die, pictures of the shirt that I sewed for Mike (finished, but good luck wrangling a man for pictures) and maybe even another lingerie project.

Some things to check out:
This auction has been a real pleasure to follow. This is the stash of the century of 36 AMAZING  patterns that are (quite rightfully) climbing to a fortune.

And always good for a giggle, Clothed Minds is a short, funny glimpse into what those ladies in the pattern illustrations are really thinking.
Image from Clothed Minds Blog.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My design wall.

Do you have a particular spot in your sewing space for inspiration? Before I made my design wall, that space was my computer, but like I don't already spend enough time online.
Using a bulletin board that I covered in fabric and painted, I strung some ribbon and used some mini clothes pins to line up and display my fabric stash catalog.
The stash catalog was a freebie I got to download long ago from Quilting Arts. Here's the link to the free pdf download for these cute little cards.

Where do you get your design inspiration from? Do you have a fabric story board? What is your sewing room like? Soon I'll be posting pictures of my own space but first I have to clean up the various piles of sewing detritus all over the place.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Wherein I am generally miserable.

Last night I was so proud of myself. I had just put the finishing touches on Mike's shirt. All I needed was to buy some buttons and make button-holes. I even started plotting how to embroider his initials on the cuff. Then he tried it on and said bashfully to me, "Sweetheart, I hate to be an ass because you worked so hard and this shirt is great, but I think the sleeve is backwards."
Burda 7767
Well, it was all I could do not to burst into tears. My perfect top stitching! My hand stitched vent placket! My lovely bias taped seams! Most of this must be undone or thrown away altogether. I'm thanking and cursing my lucky stars that I always order a 1/2 yard extra of my fabric in case I make just such a mistake but this is the first time I've ever had to use it! I was tempted to throw it away and be done with the ridiculous baggage, but here I am, blogging about how I'm going to make the sleeve properly this time.I'm going to have to cut and sew a completely new sleeve, placket and cuff. Blast!
Here are a few tips I have gleamed from this nasty experience:

1. The second that you cut out the sleeves, use chalk to mark right/ left sleeve, which side the vent placket will be sewn, any button holes and pleats of course, and if your fabric has no wrong side, designate one. (Tip courtesy of Mom, who once made the same mistake.)

2. Take a good look at a shirt already made. Note how the sleeve is shaped, where seams rest, placket placement etc and compare it to your pattern. I drew myself a diagram for future reference.
3. Have a nice bottle of wine ready to go to calm yourself but don't drink too much of it or you'll just end up jacking up the project in some way I haven't thought of yet.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I was bad... I bought fabric.

Today I went to a thrift shop and stumbled on a great stash of recently donated fabric. Bad Anna. I think someone was cleaning out their stash, or liquidating the estate of an older relative because these were pieces I would never have gotten rid of willingly. Of course I payed more for it here in Norway than I ever would have in the U.S. because the Norwegian-run Fretex (a.k.a. Red Cross) is corrupt and overpriced.
But never mind that, lookit what I got!

What am I going to do with over 4 1/2 yards of vintage rayon jersey?
What can't I do with 4 1/2 yards of rayon jersey!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wherein I make a hat.

I made this little pillbox hat shortly before leaving for vacation and had no time for posting.

I used the following video tutorial sponsored by the lovely folks at Threadbanger. If you have a bit of felt or thick cotton flannel laying about and want a fun, charming 1 hour project, this is for you!