Friday, June 29, 2012

Dusting off my embroidery attachment...

Hello lovely readers. I hope that everyone has had a nice week. I have been staying really busy in order to better distract myself from diet induced hunger, and some of that busy work has turned out quite nicely!

A few days ago I was at Ikea looking for fabric for an apron project (more on that later) and I stumbled across these lovely kitchen towels.

I have long put off embroidering kitchen towels, something I have deemed a home decor essential... to be done some rainy day when I run out of things to do (as if I could) but these appealed to me enough to jump their way to the top of the to-do list.

So I pulled out my trusty embroidery attachment and plugged it into my machine. Here is how it went down. There were two towels and I wanted to do each of them exactly the same, so that involved some measuring. In order to get both the same, I started by embroidering a practice piece first so that I could know exactly where in the embroidery frame the embroidery would end up.

I was aiming for the bottom right corner, which is where the lovely checked towel border forms a corner. I positioned the machine as far lower right as it would go, and then did my practice run.

 Once the embroidery was finished, I measured exactly how far from each frame edge the top left of the "D" in Depew ended up and made a note of it. And just in case I lost that note (happens more often than you would think) I made a quick basting stitch along the border of my practice run. I can save this for later and maybe it will work with another project.

I decided that I wanted the embroidery on my towels to be 2" from the border on each edge so I did some measuring and marked in a blue basting stitch where I needed the "D" to start.

Getting the towel exactly in the right spot in the embroidery frame was ridiculous and frustrating but I eventually got it in place.

Once I hit "start" on my machine, the needle automatically repositioned itself to the starting point, and hovered quite obediently right over my little blue basting stitch. Needless to say, I was quite pleased with myself.

 Once finished I clipped my threads I repeated the entire process with the second towel. Naturally it went much more smoothly the second time around.

After several ironing's I still couldn't quite get rid of the embroidery frame crease on the towel, but I'm sure that a good washing will do the trick.

Voila, my lovely custom kitchen towels that are so white and crisp I can't bring myself to actually wipe my hands on them, thus completely defeating the purpose.

My husband had a great laugh about this and after two days of me walking about the kitchen with wet hands, both towels ended up looking too fancy to touch in my nice black and white guest bathroom. We'll let our friends deal with the towels that scream "don't touch me!" and make a game of seeing how many people leave the guest bath with wet hands.

It's a Depew thing.

P.S. I have been curious for a while now. How does the blog width and picture size work for you? Is it too wide or just right? Do you have to scroll over to read content? Are the pictures too big? I have a very wide screen monitor so it looks normal to me but I know that's not the case everywhere. I just want to make sure that the blog is as easy to read as possible. I would really appreciate your feedback!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Beach Bustier Adventures

Happy weekend to you all, my dear readers! This has been a really busy month for me and I apologise for not posting more often. We had a lot of important events recently in our local military community that kept me busy, as well as pretty much a weekend-long birthday celebration for myself. Not to mention the super fun steroid withdrawals I've been having (Yay! I'm just thrilled to be off the horrid things!) keeping me sickish and therefor lazy. But on the bright side, my chronic pain is better enough that I have a sewing project to share with you!

I had a blast sewing this beach bustier top. It was one of those projects where I got to see my sewing practice start to pay off; you know, when you can finally see that you're a better seamstress than you realized? My top stitching came out straight, my seams all matched perfectly, and this little baby is clean from the inside out!

I made this beauty using my 1950's Style Beach Bustier Digital Pattern with the intention of adding a skirt to make it into a dress. I had originally planned on making it strapless so I boned the side seams for more support. Then after a fitting, realized that if I waned strapless I needed to have used a size smaller. So in went the original halter strap which I really liked better in the long run.

I hadn't added any buttons at this point, waiting for the skirt to be attached so I could work out a smooth button/ zipper combo in the back.

Well, I added the skirt, and in a hurry to get it finished in time for an event, completely botched my closure plans. I kid you not, the whole thing has been sitting in a crumpled pile on my guest-bed now for a month. All I need to do is rip the zipper out and sew it in again with a bit of the dress taken in, but have I gotten around to it yet? No. (hangs head in shame).

Well, there you have it. I'm not perfect, but I sure can make a pretty half-done mess, now can't I?

Are there any UFO's (UN-finished objects) laying around your sewing space, shaming and guilting you as you ignore their cries for closure?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lingerie in Profile: A Beautiful Lace Bra

Today my lovely readers I would like to show you a wonderful piece of vintage lingerie from my personal collection. This 1930's lace bra has so many beautiful little details that I just had to share it with you.

This bra has many hand made details but has a size 34 label so it was most likely made for resale at a very nice shop. The straps, rosette and binding are all silk ribbon, and the lace is incredibly soft.

Notice the lovely tricolor petals on the silk rosette and these little center pleats to give fullness to the bust... a lovely but futile attempt with a bra that reveals nearly everything.

One cup has a silk flower applique... something that looks a bit like a signature to me. At first I thought it was to mend a tear in the lace, but underneath the lace is flawless. Also, looking at the label, I don't know that this bra has ever been worn or laundered before.

Strap tails finished on the outside of the bra as an ornamental detail... the first I have ever seen.

Whoever made this bra, they, like me, just couldn't quite seem to get their closure to match up perfectly either ( A miscalculation I make time and time again).

 Sigh, oh for the old days. As lovely as this bra is, and it's in my very tiny size, I'm terrified to wear it and risk harming it.

To recreate this bra myself I think I think I would use DuBarry 2587B. This pattern is beautiful and I'm tempted to make a reproduction of it.

How about you? Do you have any vintage lingerie that's just too pretty to wear?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sew French: 6 November 1949

I'm back from vacation with epic jet lag and a head cold, but I've hit the ground running anyways. With my first post back from vacation I'd like to start with a new segment I'll be doing here on A Few Threads Loose called "Sew French".

I have an amazing collection of vintage French sewing magazines and patterns and since I get so much enjoyment from them, I thought I would share bits of pieces of them with you.

Today I would like to share some lovely images and sewing patterns from "Le Petit Echo de la Mode." This edition was printed November 6, 1949.

It has lovely fall fashions and focuses mostly on really beautiful coats (and dresses) like these:

Sewing patterns for all of these fashions were available to order by mail. They are harder to find but I just love French patterns from this era; the styles are so timeless.

My favorite image from this edition is below, showing the latest style of accessories in suede.

Translation: "Suede in your adornment."
And of course, I have for you the two patterns included in the issue which I have given a "digital bath" as I like to call it.

 The first below is "Paniers et Corbeilles" or "Baskets and Trays." The measurements given for these are in centimeters.  If you don't read French and need the instructions, you can use Google Translate to make some sense of it.

This second pattern translates as "The baby area" and includes a "sleeping sack," "bags for hot water bottle and bottle" "a mat" and most interesting of all, a "walking belt" to keep the wee one from wandering too far on your daily promenade. Essentially it's a toddler leash.

Are these as fascinating to you as they are to me? Would you make any of these things? I would love to know! I have so much fun digging these things up.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.