Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Bachelor Girl's Studio... and perhaps some lingerie.

In this day and age I'm so used to popping on down to Ikea to pick up bits and pieces of furniture and organizing boxes (perfect for patterns) that it's hard to think about what it would be like without the modern affordable furniture store. Today I looked at this sweet little article by "Daré - the Record's Own Style Expert" and just thought you might all be as intrigued as I was.
Here's how a single lady made her own furniture in 1931:

The original photo, which is much larger, can be found on Flickr here.

The original photo, which is much larger, can be found on Flickr here.

What am I up to, you might ask, since I'm not spending today writing in depth and rousing blog posts? I'm working on sorting and photographing the dozen incredibly gorgeous old new stock 1930's - 1950's bras that just arrived from France...
Want a peek?

Ooh la la!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Found! A New Simplicity S-Series Pattern.

Hello lovely readers. Many of you are already aware of my on-going hunt for patterns from the 1930's S-Series of patterns by Simplicity. You can read more about the saga here. These patterns rarely surface so imagine my surprise when I discovered one on Ebay, and my delight when it was one I had never seen before!

I immediately made a sickeningly-high max bid and got it for a reasonable price.

This is my new pattern, Simplicity S620. It's a Misses' and Women's Bra and Bloomer and it's lovely! I've never really been a big fan of the bloomer from this era. For some reason, the bloomer kept cropping up in some form or another until the 1960's and it's always seemed a bit frumpy and matronly. But the fabrics used in the illustrations, the optional yoke, gives the whole look charm and some potential.

How about you? Could you see yourself in bloomers?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Perfect Christmas Party Dress

It's now that time of year. The time of year when I start thinking about Christmas (I like to get an early start) and what I'll sew to wear at the annual Christmas party. I have a tradition of always either wearing something vintage or something that I've sewn.

I like this tradition. I'm always dressed a bit more uniquely than the other ladies (who also look quite lovely themselves) and it presents the challenge of balance.

As a vintage lover and seamstress, the balance between unique and flat out DIFFERENT is always a fun line for me to walk. As much as I love vintage, I never try to replicate an era completely. I always look for that subtle blend of vintage and timeless, mixing eras, accessories and hairstyles.

Take last Christmas, for example. I wore an amazing 1950's lace dress with a pink petticoat underneath, but paired it with a modern red belt and current hairstyle:

This year I think my sewing plans will lean more towards the cocktail dress, both vintage AND handmade.
I give you, dear readers, my Christmas party cocktail dress:

I just recently finished digitizing, translating and generally improving the vintage original so that the average English-speaking seamstress could enjoy it too. I put the finishing touches on the graphics for this gem and thought... I have to wear this!
How convenient that it was Christmas inspired over 50 years ago, just so that I could rock vintage at the next party?

French Cocktail Dress Digital Pattern for Instant Download.

The pattern calls for velvet, but let's face it, the sky is the limit! What fabric do you think I should choose?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sew Expensive... Butterick 3402

For today's Sew Expensive I present to you the lovely Butterick 3402, which recently sold for a meager $126.56.

This amazing little gem has a beautiful asymmetrical panel hem option (swoon) with fur cuffs and collar. It is, in a word, show-stopping.

Is it just me or does the price seem a bit low? Perhaps I've been blogging about too many high-priced evening gowns lately. Even with sewing patterns, I suppose everything is relative.

Also, on a silly side note, Butterick is apparently not in the dictionary that this post editor uses. It kept auto-correcting it to Buttermilk. Buttermilk 3402... such an expensive, tasty beverage...

On another note, the very clever and talented Debi of My Happy Sewing Place has written a blog post detailing most of her favorite places to buy vintage patterns online. Many of my favorites are on this list and if you haven't seen it yet, it's well worth a read.

How about you? Do you have a favorite place to look for vintage patterns?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The French Riviera, pretty things, and the Giveaway winner.

A very interesting antique shop that was composed entirely of chandeliers.
The sting of shell-fish poisoning (Damn you, moules marinières!) has finally worn off and I can now look at pictures of our trip to France and not think of being sick. I thought I would share a few pretties with you before announcing the winner of the Apron Pattern Giveaway.

The first day that I was able to leave the hotel without wanting to fall down was also the last day that I had to explore the antiques Nice (pronounced Neeeeece) had to offer. We had to stop often on our way there so that I could rest, but when we did there was delicious coffee, tea, and croissants to fortify me.

The walk was lovely and we explored the old city on our way to what had been described as a great antiques market being held that very day. We arrived at said market and found an unwavering throng of tourists with the same goal. Apparently no one had bothered to tell them that this was the off-season and that they weren't welcome to crash my adventure. I hate crowds. My husband hates crowds even more and promptly proceeded to stalk behind me like the murderous looking giant that he was rapidly devolving into. I shared his feelings and barreled my way along to the other end, only stopping to notice that everything was incredibly, painfully overpriced... and also very pretty.

This rack of 1920's through 1950's silk (yes, silk) slips caught my attention and I proceeded to bemoan two facts. 1. They were each very expensive (at least $100 each) and 2. I would not fit into any of them, even being 3 pounds lighter post food-poisoning.

But oh, the sewing inspiration to be had from these beauties! The lovely harpy asking so much for them graciously allowed me to take pictures as she perched nearby to caw prices at unsuspecting tourists.

I soon found another sewing gem a few yards away. Despite a great amount of persuading, I could neither convince my husband of its beauty and appeal, nor myself of the likelihood of getting it on a plane. But who doesn't dream of a 350 Euro positively ancient papier maché dress form?

Thoroughly demoralized by the crowd, the prices, and my stomach, Mike gently led me away from the horde and consoled me with a pat on the head, coffee, a macaroon, and a bag of very expensive, heavenly loose-leaf tea that smelled like a bake sale in a garden.

Coffee is of great consolation to me in trying moments.

And now, after looking at the pretty picture of a cafe, I'll be you're ready to learn the winner of the giveaway, aren't you?

The lucky winner, who will receive a copy of my new apron pattern reproduction, was chosen at random and is...... drumroll....... Jamie of Raspberry Lemonade!

Depew 1027 Aprons.
Jamie, you can email me at and I'll send you your pattern. A big thanks to everyone else who participated. I always love reading your comments! Stay tuned for more this week including more Sew Expensive posts!

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Pattern Release and a Giveaway!

 Not too long ago (though it feels like forever) I wrote a post about sewing this apron from a 1930's Pictorial pattern. So many of you left comments asking me to make it into a digital reproduction that I simply couldn't refuse!

So after a very long time, and a lot of work, I have created my masterpiece. I have really come a long way in what I have learned to do with digital design. Each new pattern or booklet for Mrs. Depew Vintage just get's prettier and prettier and this one is no exception.

Depew # 1027 has all of the bells and whistles including a map to the pattern pieces and just about the prettiest instructions I have ever made.

 And to celebrate (this really took a lot of work and I'm so excited to be finished!) I'll be giving away one copy to one lucky winner!

To enter to win, comment which is your favorite pattern from my Craftsy shop.
For an added entry, you can do any of the following.  Just leave me  comment to let me know which you've done:

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

2. Like A Few Threads Loose on Facebook.

3. Like Mrs. Depew Vintage on Facebook.

4. Mention this giveaway on your blog or share it on Facebook.

This is a quick giveaway so I'll announce the winner this Tuesday the 6th.