Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I DID IT! I finished the bathing suit pattern... and of course, there's a giveaway...

It's done!
(You can't see me, but I'm doing my victory dance, and it's one of those really good, embarrassing victory dances.)
So after weeks of work, lots of swearing, paper cuts, marker stains, headaches, and bottles of wine, I have this to show for it:

Bathing Beauties Sewing Pattern

It's a 1940's style one or two piece bathing suit pattern that I modeled after several of the vintage patterns in my collection. Version 1 is a fully lined one piece bathing suit with pantie underlining. Version 2 is a two piece/ Bikini/ Bra and skirt. The bra is faced, the skirt also has a pantie underlining, and tie belt.

I'm really, really pleased with how this one came out, and I also found a great tool that let me save the file at only 3.7 mb! That's the same size as one of my tiny 5 page pdf patterns. Yay! I won't have to email it in 2 parts!

You want one don't you? I thought so. So of course there's a giveaway in here. 
All you have to do is...

1. Become a follower of A Few Threads Loose... and leave a comment saying you did. If you already follow, you can leave a comment about that too. The more, the merrier!

2. For another entry, you can "like" A Few threads Loose on Facebook... and leave me a comment saying you did.

3. You can also mention A Few Threads Loose or the pattern on your blog for another entry.

4. And lastly, I really want to know what you look for when you are buying or sewing a bathing suit.  I personally think that what you don't show can be just as sexy as what you do show. I want something that covers my bum properly, makes my thighs look smaller or hides them altogether (while I'm dreaming) and I have to have a big floppy sun hat to match.

I'll announce the lucky winner some time in the first week of September (we're moving to a nicer house nearby and I'll make the announcement once my computer is unpacked.)

Good luck!

Bathing beauties...

For your viewing pleasure today is a lovely clip of some bathing beauties from British Pathé news reels. A precursor, if you will, to the upcoming release of my bathing suit pattern.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mail Call!

It's mail call! My favorite part of the day is when my husband comes home. Most of that is because my husband came home... but the rest of it is because he brings our mail with him! Well, my mail 'cause I'm the one that get's most of it.
Today I had a whole pile of packages and here's what I got:

Oh yes, yummy, yummy things in the mail for me. I made out like a bandit, right?

 So we have Hollywood 1478, which I paid $1 for... sometimes you can win on ebay. And we have Hollywood 1809, which I got for more than a dollar, but had to have. It just looks so comfortable!

Then we have McCall 1262, the purse pattern which, to my surprise and delight, turned out to be in the original factory folds, never used! The envelope is still crisp and glossy to the touch! Let's hope I have the nerve to unfold and use it (tracing a copy first, of course. I would never actually use an original.)  And then there's Advance 3012, one of the very rare, hard to find teddy patterns I've been on the hunt for.

After that we have Simplicity 4754 which I'm happy to add to my Working For Victory Collection. I'm in the process of trying to buy every pattern from the era where women had to fill in after their men went off to war. Maybe it's being a military wife that makes them so interesting to me. I've just gotten so accustomed to the military wife culture where women are used to, and ready to take care of business with their men off doing their duty that these patterns seem like a perfect fit in my collection.
And lastly there's the Sew Lovely G 803 Toga Gown which I think would be perfect for silk jersey, if I ever decide to try dealing with that headache of a fabric again.
So that's what I've got, in addition to the two McCall's Style News booklets you saw in  the top picture, which I'll be turning into PDF's soon.
Stay tuned for more as I'm currently working on the most amazing 1940's bathing suit sewing pattern, which will be a downloadable pattern soon!

Monday, August 15, 2011

All about pdf patterns

The new frontier of sewing patterns is digital. Everything seams to turn to digital at some point and sewing patterns are no exception. E patterns are now being offered by the big four (Simplicity, Butterick, McCall's and Vogue) as well as a dozen websites including Etsy.com.

The great thing about digital patterns is that you can buy them and print for a fraction of the cost. There's no waiting for the mail to come, as most are emailed to you within 24 hours, or better, directly downloaded. I highly recommend Burdastyle.com for downloading patterns. Here's my favorite:

That's right,  you click download, and this pattern (which is free, by the way) is on your computer. You hit print, tape the pieces together, and start sewing.

Now, my very favorite thing about digital patterns is that some enterprising individuals, (yes, including myself) have started taking rare, expensive, hard to find patterns and making them available for download. Most of these are vintage originals whose copyrights have expired. Some are just used as inspiration to create an original pattern that still reflects the style and design so sought after in certain digital patterns.
Mary Anne Bandeau Pattern

Now there are some drawbacks to print at home patterns. They can be bulky and hard to store. There are two ways I store my larger printed patterns. One solution is to store them in a labelled file folder. My favorite way to store them though, is to print the pattern picture out and tape it to an envelope. I use the 6" x 9" manilla envelopes so they fit right in with my other regular patterns.

Marilynn Apron Pattern
Another great thing about pdf patterns is that once you buy them, they are saved on your computer. If you rip a piece, or lose one, or want to make it in a different size, you can just print again.
Some pdf patterns are larger and more complicated to put together. Many buyers are put off by the paper and ink they'll have to use up on their home printer. An easy way to get around this is to save the pattern to a cd or small thumb drive, take it to your local print shop (xerox, staples, they all do it) and have them print it for you.

So just in case you're interested, and so you know I'm not just plugging my shop, here are a few of my favorite pattern pdfs:
Also from LaPrairieLady
From PatternRunway
From BettieMarie
Any questions?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

And the winner is...

It's Sunday. Do you know what Sunday means (besides sleeping late, idling around the sewing studio and re-runs of Grey's Anatomy, I mean) ?
It means we have a giveaway winner!

The winner of the Teddy Combination Undergarment Pattern Giveaway is Molly! Congrats Molly!

I'm attempting to contact you through your blog but if you see this, email me at afewthreadsloose@gmail.com and I'll send you your pattern!

If you didn't win and you would like the pattern, you can find it here in my etsy shop.
Have a lovely rest of the weekend, everyone!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pretty, Pretty pictures...

My latest addition to my vintage WOW collection is a 1950's Spadea patterns catalog. We're talking 54 pages of AMAZING fashion drawings and sketches of the most gorgeous clothing ever.
 Spadea 705-D by designer Ceil Chapman, and Spadea 1096-D by Anne Fogarty.

Spadea 1194 and Spadea 1137 by Ceil Chapman.

Spadea 1159 by designer Jo Copeland.

 Spadea 1126 by designer Mollie Parnis.

And Spadea 1170 by designer Varden Petite.
And about 50 others. I made it into a pdf booklet since I couldn't post them all here. Yummy, right?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Some lovely vintage sewing things...

I just thought I'd show some lovely little things that came from the massive 20 lb box of sewing notions I brought back from my visit to the States. Thanks to Mom, of course!

From Top Left to bottom right:
  • Traum Dressmaker Guide, ruler with different sized scallops, notches, circles and whatnot to make sewing and drafting easier. LOVE IT.
  • Warrens Feratherbone, sew in boning... in a pretty, pretty box.
  • Button hole Guide, self explanitory.
  • Wilsnap Shoulder Strap Loop: sew in loops that can be attached to your shoulder seam allowance to keep bra or slip straps from getting away from you.
  • 5 1/2" plaid silk ribbon, perfect for a belt or sash, and oh so soft.
  • Pretty, shiny red buttons.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A little history of the teddy...

Today I thought I would share a little bit of my inspiration in creating the Teddy - Combination Undergarment pattern:

The teddy, also known as the combination undergarment, envelope chemise, and cami-knickers started out as a nice little piece to wear under dresses as they got shorter and shorter in the 1920's.

1930's reproduction sewing pattern available here.

The teddy gained in popularity in the 1940's when the outbreak of World War 2 meant that women were just as often wearing trousers as skirts.

Oh my God, does anyone know where I can find some slinky charmeuse with little stars on it?!
Reproduction pattern available here.

The teddy worked nicely as underwear and camisole for a more comfortable, versatile underwear.
 In my research I actually found more British patterns for "cami-knickers" than American ones.

Image from http://bigfeetbears.blogspot.com/2010/09/camiknicker.html
 After the war, they seemed to loose popularity and you see less and less of them until they had a mini revival in the 1980's/ 90's in this form:

Ugh. Enough said.
If you haven't entered already, don't for get to check out the Teddy Pattern Giveaway!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Pièce de Résistance... and a giveaway!

This evening I finished something that has been in the works for a month now. I have barely left the sewing room for a couple of weeks, and though I have taken breaks and worked/ blogged about other projects, I have been keeping this one under wraps until it was done. It's done!

Today I released my greatest masterpiece! How did this come about? I had been collecting vintage lingerie for years and had a special fondness for 1930's and 1940's teddies in particular. In my collection, I also had a couple of incredibly rare sewing patterns from the same era. So I studied them, and studied them, and sewed muslins, and drafted, and sewed some more and now I have the perfect lingerie pattern.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Teddy - Combination Undergarment Pattern!

Granted it's in my somewhat modest measurements but it's super easy to size up. Just a bit extra at the side seams and voila!

And of course to celebrate finishing such an undertaking, of course I'm giving one away to one lucky reader.
To enter the giveaway:
1. Become a follower of A Few Threads Loose... and leave a comment saying you did. If you already follow, you can leave a comment about that too. The more, the merrier!

2. For another entry, you can "like" A Few threads Loose on Facebook... and leave me a comment saying you did.

3. You can also mention A Few Threads Loose or the pattern on your blog for another entry.

4. And lastly, I would love to hear your thoughts on pdf patterns. Do you like them? Do they seem convenient or a hassle to you? Have you used them before? And of course, as usual, what would you like me to release as my next pattern?

I'll announce the lucky winner next Sunday, the 14th, and best of luck!

Here's a nice article on printing a pdf pattern from burda if anyone is interested.

Gearing up for mayhem...

I am shortly to start job hunting again... which is litterally my least prefered past time.
Things I would rather do than job hunting:
  •  Have a visit to the gynecologist
  • eat mayonaise that's been left in the sun for hours
  • spend 48 non-stop hours walking in 4" heels
  • run a marathon in the nude
  • wear a dress made entirely of live snakes
I think you get the idea.
So to compensate for this horrid thing that I have to do again, I'm going to have to sew some super fabulous outfits to do it in. Hence my latest sewing pattern purchases. I thought you might like a look at how I'm going to survive it all in style:

McCall's 5262:

I just bought this lovely business this morning over my morning cup of tea. I plan on making version A on the left... in cobalt blue if I can find the fabric...

McCall's 5637:

I think I'm going to have to make this one in just about every color. I don't normally go for bolero jackets but this one is really making me change my mind. I may just have to make the whole outfit up.

McCall 8220:

I bought this one about a week ago and I'm expecting it in the mail any day now. What I really love is the sleeve detail; it's all one piece, bodice and sleeve and it creates this really gorgeous line. Can you tell that I'm going to be looking for some sort of office work? My Norwegian has gotten a lot stronger and I'm hoping that I don't end up as a barista again... if I do, well, there will be a whole new post on fantastic cute 1950's party dresses and separates (my go -to barista garb).

On another note, I found my white whale. I really did! I have been hunting online just about every day for this pattern for two years!

I got it just days before I left for the states and I'm getting ready to make it up next in a fantastic 1950's rose print.

There's more to come soon on several new pdfs I have added to my etsy shop so stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Adventures in Sewing... Part 4

Today I have for you another edition of Adventures in Sewing By Marian Corey!

This time the lesson comes to us from McCall Style News November 1946 flyer.

The topic is saddle stitching which we see so much of in vintage sewing patterns. Here's the blown up text.

And here's another lovely image from the 24 page flyer, the drop-dead gorgeous McCall 6686.

Also something you might be interested in is Short Cuts to Sewing Success - 1944 -  By DuBarry Patterns.

I have a copy and it's fantastic, and there's one for sale on etsy right now for a good price.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book of Patterns

Today for you, I have a few images from a mail order Book of Patterns Catalog, from the summer of 1949. The whole thing is a lot of pages, and I've made it into a pdf.

Enjoy some eye candy, why don't you.

If you haven't already, you might also want to check out the giveaway on Casey's Elegant Musings...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pattern of the Day

Simplicity 4732; 1940s; Misses' and Women's House Dress and Quilted Pot Holder Mitt: The practical wrap-around house dress has a comfortable dropped shoulder. The inset belt releases soft fulness in the skirt front. A large patch pocket finishes the skirt. Rick-rack braid trims the armhole seam and side and the pocket of Style I. Style II is trimmed with narrow ruffling. A convenient pot-holder mitt fastens to the belt with a string.

Isn't this just darling... and a brilliant idea?!
There's one for sale on etsy for $5!