Saturday, May 26, 2012

Giveaway Winner...

Hello lovely readers! I hope that you're having a wonderful and relaxing weekend. I know I am. Before I announce the winner of this week's giveaway, I'd like to touch on a few things first.

I just read a wonderful article over on Va-Voom Vintage about Amelia Earhart. Brittany always writes the most well researched posts in her regular "Friday Fashionista" post and this one was no exception.

Also, thanks to Katherine of We Sew Retro for posting a link to the most amazing blog post full of 1940's lounge fashion photos from Life Magazine. The blog is written by Johanna Öst of Sweden and I highly recommend checking it out.

Also, here in the U.S. it is Memorial Day weekend. This typically means spending time with family, an extra day off work, and lots and lots of grilling and picnicking. I would just like to take a quick moment to remember that this holiday is to memorialize the sacrifices of fallen U.S.soldiers from all wars and conflicts.

And now for the winner of this week's giveaway.Thanks to everyone who participated; I always love reading your comments. Today's winner as chosen by the random number generator is Tina!
Congratulations! You win your choice of any two pdf patterns or booklets from Mrs. Depew Vintage! But wait, there's more! Tina also recently won the Ooh la la Pin-Up Sew-Along Giveaway (What are the odds!?) so I thought I would pick two winners this time! The second winner is Megan, of Megan and the (sewing) machine.
I'll email you both to find out which two patterns you would like to win.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I'm on vacation, but that doesn't mean we can't have a little fun!

Hello from sunny, beautiful Virginia! That's right, I'm in the U.S.! Hurrah! My wonderful in-laws were going to come visit us in Norway this summer and then decided it was just as fun to fly us to them as it was to fly out and see us, so here we are! I have the greatest family! I even got to go to some garage sales today for the first time in 3 years, though the only thing I wanted to take home with me was the box full of free kittens I found. I think I died a little inside when I walked away from that one.

Anyway, I'm currently on an unfamiliar computer and blogging is a bit weird when you have no way to upload photos. So what can I do? Well, I though just to have a bit of extra fun, I would have a giveaway!

Since the only thing I have access to for the next 2 weeks is my portable hard-drive (full of the gold mine that is Mrs. Depew Digital) I'll go with that. How about winning your choice of any two digital patterns or ebooks? It's not a box full of kittens, but it'll do, wont it?

To enter the giveaway you can do one or all of the following, just leave a comment for each entry to get your name in the proverbial hat.

1. Tell me which  Mrs. Depew Vintage Pattern is your favorite. You can find them all here.

2. Become a follower of A Few Threads Loose on Twitter, Google, or Bloglovin'.

3. Like A Few Threads Loose on Facebook.

4. Like Mrs. Depew Vintage on Facebook.

5. Mention this giveaway on your blog.

I'll announce the winner this Saturday the 26th.
Good luck!  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

1930's Evening Gowns

Recently on the Sew Weekly there was a wonderful post with photos of two truly amazing 1930's evening gowns.
Image courtesy of the Sew Weekly.

The post went live just as I was wrapping up the editing of my own 1930's French evening gown patterns and I was so re-inspired that I just had to share.

I have a major case of what I'm starting to call "Side effect salad bar", which is basically little bit of everything from the long list of fun things that go along with the steroids I'm on to treat a chronic pain condition. So I'm not going to write much, just post pretty pictures for us all to enjoy.

Sadly sold, but was available here.

This dress look like it would be worth every penny. Courtesy of Tovas Vintage on Etsy


This amazing gown os for sale on etsy here.

Image courtesy of Decades INC.


I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What the heck is a PDF and why you might like them...

Today I'd like to talk a little about PDF's. With the digital world quickly catching up to the world of print, the term PDF comes up more and more often.

For those of you not familiar, a "PDF" is just a type of file, (like jpeg, tiff, or png ) and stands for "Portable Document Format." It's essentially an image file like any other you might encounter, and usually requires Adobe Reader to open, (which I might add, is on just about every computer these days).
Make do and Mend
My favorite feature of the PDF is that you have the ability, if you know what you're doing, to create a single PDF file that contains multiple pages just like a book. It's how I'm able to make my digital sewing patterns and booklets so easy to send, save, buy and print.

Originator Fashions

I like to think that I and a couple of other people sort of pioneered the PDF vintage pattern and booklet medium and now it has really taken off with more and more people realizing that they can digitize hard to find vintage paper ephemera. This is a great thing as long as we're all abiding by the rules (most of us do) but we won't get into that in this post.

The great thing is, wonderful, beautiful, rare things are being digitized and protected from decay and disappearance, and made available at the click of a button for research, education, or just pure pleasure reading.

Butterick Fashion News

I have stopped buying fashion magazines and have started buying digital vintage magazines and pattern booklets from other sellers. I pull them up on my iPad (super easy) and enjoy them with my morning coffee.

What else are they good for? Say you have a vintage 1930's simplicity pattern in your collection and you're not sure what year exactly it was created. They're not always dated so what can you do? Downloading a copy or two of Simplicity Prevue to see if you can narrow it down is one way to find out.

Simplicity Prevue
Many of you have used PDF patterns by now but I still often get questions like, "how can a sewing pattern be a PDF?"

Most PDF sewing patterns, new or vintage, are just images of parts of a pattern that, when printed and taped together, make a full sized pattern ready to cut out and sew. For example, below is a picture of the French Corset pattern that we used in the Ooh La La Pin-Up Sew-Along. I printed it at home on a normal printer and just taped the pages together.

The quality of the pattern that prints out depends on the skill and experience level of the person creating the pattern, and perhaps how good their design software is. I have downloaded patterns that were simply scans of an original, and some that have been designed with professional pattern drafting software. One is not necessarily better than the other, though the price is usually quite different.

Other digital patterns can be drafting instructions or diagrams that you can print at home and draft your own patterns from. Take for instance this pattern:

Depew 1123

To get a pattern you first print out the measuring band and miniature pattern, then use them to draft a full-sized patterns scaled to your measurements, much like the Lutterloh system.

What do you think of all of this suddenly being available in a digital format. Is it exciting? Or does it annoy the heck out of you? (ebooks annoyed the heck out of me for the longest time, I was very much a paper purist...  have since become a convert and love reading books on my tablet).
I would love to hear your thoughts!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Panties, Panties, Panties!

I have been waiting ages for some lovely stretchy satin to arrive in the mail and finally, right before the weekend, it arrived! It was followed a day later by my elastic (not in the color I thought, but ok) and I was FINALLY able to sew the Betty High Waist Panties I've been so looking forward to.

Image courtesy of Ohhh Lulu...

And then I proceeded to FAIL at said panties twice. Yup, twice.

Allow me to expound. The pattern is perfect. Flawless. I'm an idiot.
Way back in my muslin sewing stage of the pattern, the panties fit perfectly and I though no more of muslins and testing. Well, that was stupid. When the fabric finally arrived I failed to notice that the "stretch satin" that I ordered had almost no stretch to it whatsoever compared to the jersey that I had sewn my muslin with. How did I miss this? I blame the Chardonnay. I got everything but the elastic sewn in before I tried them on and realized that they wouldn't fit over my hips. FAIL.
So I tossed them and started over.

The second time I made them I got everything right up until the FOE, (fold over elastic.)  I had never sewn FOE before but I read Sarah's instructions, everything made sense, and I proceeded to sew the elastic on completely WRONG. So I threw those away too.
Has this every happened to you? Have you completely messed up the simplest thing in the world for no foreseeable reason?

At this point, I was pretty nonplussed. I got online and looked up the side effects of the higher dose steroids the doc has me on to fix some crazy painful nerve damage and sure enough, "Trouble focusing, nervousness, dizziness and complete stupidity" were right there on the side effect list. We're going to just blame the roids, o.k.?

Today after a double latte, a couple of hugs, and some Franck Sinatra, I gave it another try and was able to sew a proper pair of Betty High Waist Panties! Hurrah! The growing pile of misbegotten panties in my trash was really starting to worry me!

I love how they came out and now I can't wait to give Sarah's Signature Ruffle Bloomer pattern a go. But I'm going to have to wait because last night I found out I'll be flying to the U.S. in week and I have a lot to do to get ready!

In the meantime, have any of you finished your bra and corset from the Ooh La La Pin-Up Sew-Along? How about the Betty High Waist Panties? I've seen a little from a few of you but I'm getting ready to do a round up post so you can all show off your work! More on that soon...