Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sew in love... with Bruno and Betty.

Today I'm happy to announce a new feature on A Few Threads Loose! When I find something sewing related that I just have to have, or think you would like to know about too, it will be featured in Sew in Love! Today's post is about a shop on Etsy that has the most delicious sewing screen printed t-shirts. I bought one the second that I found the shop and will probably be buying a few more in different colors soon. (I have a huge weakness for clever screen-printed tees. But more on that later.)

Vintage Sewing Machine Tee

Bruno and Betty is a clever amalgamation of retro inspired graphic design and charming humor created by a husband and wife team from Bloomington, Illinois.

Vintage Thread Spool Tee

I was so delighted by Bruno and Betty that I asked Priscilla, a.k.a. Betty if she would tell us a bit more about how they got started. Here's the whole lovely conversation!

Priscilla, how did you and your husband become interested in screen printing?

My husband Andy learned how to screen print in school and showed me the ropes. I was instantly smitten with the process. It's like my version of modern day alchemy!

What led you to opening a shop on Etsy?

I first found out about Etsy from a crafting resource site called Craftster. It seemed like everyone there had a Etsy shop. At the time I was more interested with the community aspect of crafters and hadn't even considered selling anything. Then the bulk of my projects started piling up and I needed a way to find them good homes.

Gnome needs a home...

My husband is amazingly supportive of my business, but I'm not sure he would want to jump in and start drafting patterns with me. What is it like working with your husband at a small business?

Since Andy taught me how to screen print he's always been super supportive and a major player in our business. Not to say it isn't a hard dynamic with us being husband and wife. It took lots of trial and error for us to find our places within the business. We found that I enjoy the printing process more then the shipping process, which is why his major role currently is quality control and shipping guru. I press the majority of orders but we both really enjoy working on the design concepts.

Obviously my favorite things in your shop are the vintage sewing inspired screen printed t-shirts. What are some of your sources of inspiration when you put together a new design?

The sewing machine is one of my favorites too. I based the design from an old sewing machine of my grandmothers, when she passed away I inherited her crafting supplies. She was the entire reason I started making things in the first place. We get inspiration from all sorts of places but it's always something close to our heart. We don't make anything we wouldn't wear or wouldn't have in our home. I think that's why we feel a certain closeness to our customer base.

Bike Tunic Dress

Your shop definitely has a palpable sense of humor going on (and I LOVE it). Is there any kind of line, or comedy barrier, so to speak, that you've drawn to keep thinks kosher, or do you occasionally push the envelope a bit?

We definitely have a odd sense of humor and think there are a lot of things taken waaaay too seriously. Especially when it comes to decorating. We haven't actually set up a comedy barrier for our designs but there is a rather thick notebook filled with odd ball ideas we've had that will most likely never materialize.

Best odd ball idea yet, keep them coming!

In your thinking, what is the best thing about creating as a team?

I'm very focused when it comes to our creations, my process is very streamlined. Whereas Andy likes random slightly controlled chaos. Our creating process always starts out a bit shaky but everyone is usually happy at the end result. This works pretty well for us, some of our best design ideas (like the home sweet gnome design) started out as a whole other concept and then with one swift remark from Andy, is one of our best sellers to date.

What a cool team! It's amazing to find someone that you can happily share your life with, add successfully sharing a business to the mix and you have a formula for a wonderful and rare relationship. Livin' the dream, I tell you :)

Bruno and Betty were nice enough to also make this post into a giveaway! They are celebrating the one year anniversary of the opening of their website starting in July and will have a different promotion every week to mark the occasion. This week, one lucky reader will win a Felt Owl Patch Pack! The prize is a set of 3 felt patches featuring a wide eyed owl hand screen printed in black ink.

To enter the giveaway here on A Few Threads Loose, check out and leave a comment on this post with your favorite item.

For an extra entry, you can do one or both of the following, just leave a comment letting me know about it!
I'll announce the winner of the giveaway on July 2nd.
Good luck to the participants and a huge thank you to Bruno & Betty!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sew Expensive... Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing.

Hello lovely readers. For the last few days I have been watching an Ebay auction, waiting with bated breath (what does that even mean?!) to see how much this lovely little gem would sell for. Last night, a first edition, 1952 copy of Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing sold for an amazing $153.50. And it didn't even come with the original dust jacket (a huge contributing factor to the value of a rare book)!

Naturally this delighted me. Not only is this a sensational sum for a sewing book, I was smugly reveling in the fact that I was lucky enough to pick up the exact same book last year in an antique shop for a whopping $7.50. I may have even done a very undignified little dance, spilling my coffee this morning when I saw the ended auction. I may have even terrified the cat and confused my husband by whooping loudly, seemingly for no reason.

And let me tell you, this book is worth every penny ($7.50 or $150, you want a copy). It is by far one of my favorite sewing books.

Many of you familiar with the sewing blogosphere know this book well from reading Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing. It was this book that inspired Gretchen to start what I consider to to be the most well-written, and most popular sewing blog on the internet today.
If you aren't familiar with her story, it's a wonderful tale that makes you want to just curl up on the floor and hug your sewing machine.

For those of you who don't have hundreds of dollars just laying around to buy books with, keep your eyes open at thrift shops and antique stores. Sometimes a copy will briefly show up for $20- $30 on etsy or ABEBooks. So far though, there isn't a copy selling for less than $199 on the internet. The most expensive copy online right now? It's $248 on Etsy.
Good luck with the hunt, ladies.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Fabric Encyclopedia

In my long experience working with vintage sewing books and patterns, I have come across quite a few fabric terms that have been a mystery to me. Many of the terms included below might not often be seen outside of a 1920s hat pattern, or a 1930s dressmaking book.

For this post I have consulted several resources including websites and many of my antique sewing books to help you make sense of some of the fabric terms you might see in your sewing adventures. This includes fibers as well as weaves. To make it a bit more clear, they are color coded as follows: Weaving Processes, Fibers, Fabrics and Finishes.

If you have a mystery fabric in your possession, check out this amazing burn test chart to help you discover which fibers you might be dealing with!

If you have any terms to add, just leave a comment. I'll try to update this post regularly to make it as helpful as possible!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ohhh Lulu Pattern Giveaway Winner

Hello lovely readers. It's the moment we've been eagerly awaiting this week, time to announce the winner of the Ohhh Lulu pattern giveaway!

Drum roll please.........

The winner is Atabanana29. Congratulations! You've won a copy of the Lola Brazilian Panties Pattern by Ohhh Lulu!

For those of you who still want to get your own copy of the pattern, you can find it for sale here. Thanks so much to all of our participants, and to Sarah from Ohhh Lulu!

If you didn't win and you feel sad, here's a kitten to cheer you up.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pattern Patter Team Anniversary Party... With huge pattern discounts!

Hello lovely readers. The movers have finally carted away all of our things. My house is an echoing empty cavern with a few sad pieces of temporary furniture to use until me move into a hotel at the end of the month. I'm hunched over my computer sitting on a wobbling coffee table so that I can write a post about something exciting; an event you might want to mark on your calendar for tomorrow!

Friday, June 7th marks the two year anniversary of The Pattern Patter Team on Etsy. For two years pattern sellers on Etsy have been working together to promote each others shops and keep the vintage sewing pattern revival alive and well. We are celebrating this momentous anniversary with a "Black Tie Gala". You can find amazing ball gowns as well as fabulous every day patterns both vintage and newer right here at this thread on Etsy when the fun starts.

Depew 5712 available at Mrs. Depew Vintage

In celebration, many of your favorite Etsy sellers (and some you might not have heard of yet) are offering coupon codes and having sales.
In my shop I'll be offering a coupon code for 15% off with coupon code "SHINDIG" (the coupon will only be valid from June 7-8).

So many shops are offering discounts that there are too many to list here. However, I have included the codes and links for some of my personal favorite shops below, many of which I have often bought patterns from.

-- Note -- I do not have the individual dates for these coupons so assume that many of them will only work on June 7th.

Floradora Presents 15% discount with coupon code JUNEBLITZ.

DeniseCraft 5% off facebook5percent off.

RetroMonkeys Etsyonsale for 20% OFF.

ViennasGrace for 20% Off with coupon code BLTZ.

PatternAndStitch   20% off w/ code "BLITZ".

GrandmaMadeWithLove   25% off with coupon code Blitz2013.

AdeleBeeAnnPatterns   20% off with coupon code BLACKTIEB.

RosesPatternTreasury   Blitz15BT with 15% off.

sewbettyanddot  25% off with JUNEBLACKTIE.

DesignRewindFashions   10%. Code: JuneBlitz.

finickypatternshop   coupon BLITZ15 for 15% off.

RetroFlos  15% off with coupon code BLITZ15.

PeoplePackages   coupon code BLITZ for 20% off.

EmSewCrazy   20% off with coupon code BLKTIE20.

allthepreciousthings   10% off with coupon code BLITZ.

GreyDogVintage 20% off with EtsyOnSale.

SelvedgeShop   15% off in my shop with coupon code BLITZ13.

sandritocat   20% off w/ coupon code "BLITZ".

Also, for your viewing pleasure, here are a few patterns from my shop and others participating in the black tie party!

Vogue S4270 available at Floradora Presents

McCall 6688 available at CynicalGirl
Duchess of Windsor 10D Available at Allthepreciousthings
McCall's 9577 available at GreyDogVintage
Depew 7166 available here.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sew Expensive... McCall 852 1940's Hat Pattern

Hello lovely readers. I am currently sitting at my desk, surrounded by a carefully constructed box fort as big, burly Polish men pack our things up for our move from Norway to California. (If you're wondering, why Polish men, many Polish people choose to immigrate to Norway because there's so much work to be had.)

We're currently in one of those lulls where no one needs my help, and since I'm mostly useless today with a bad head cold (ah, the timing of it all)... I thought I would take a moment to share with you this great pattern in another installment of Sew Expensive!

This beautiful original McCall 852 hat pattern recently sold for an amazing $71.87 on Ebay. While this is  quite a bit of money for a pattern, it's actually pretty reasonable for a 1940's hat pattern. The shape of the hat is rather hard to find, as many hat patterns from this era are much less flattering, or much more basic.

To see the most I have ever seen a vintage hat pattern sell for (it's jaw-dropping, I assure you!), check out this Sew Expensive post.

On another note, if you haven't already, be sure to enter the pattern giveaway being sponsored by Ohhh Lulu!

Well, I'm off to pack some more!



Saturday, June 1, 2013

Pattern Giveaway Sponsored by Ohhh Lulu!

Hello lovely readers! I'm very excited to tell you that Sarah of Ohhh Lulu is sponsoring a pattern giveaway here on A Few Threads Loose!

If you haven't been following her shop or blog lately, then you've missed some gorgeous new summer lingerie and amazing pattern releases!

The most incredible lingerie piece by far is this breathtaking custom made heirloom camisole.

Photo courtesy of Ohhh Lulu Lingerie and Apparel.

Seeing this photo makes me want to frolic outdoors in my undies with a glass of Champagne... too bad it's been raining here...for the last 4 years.

The prize that Sarah is so kindly offering to one lucky winner is this fantastic "Lola" Brazilian Panties pattern from her new collection:

And what do they look like all sewn up and prettified?
Well there are pretty panties in lace...

Photo courtesy of Ohhh Lulu Lingerie and Apparel.

And pretty panties in satin...

Photo courtesy of Ohhh Lulu Lingerie and Apparel.

Just think of all the yummy undies you can make... le sigh.

To see all of the lovely lingerie patterns by Ohhh Lulu, click here.

To enter to win a digital copy of this pattern, leave a comment with your favorite tasty lingerie confection by Ohhh Lulu

For an extra entry, you can do one or all of the following.. just be sure to leave a separate comment on this post for each entry!
I'll announce the winner of the giveaway on Friday the 7th.

(By then the movers will have packed all of our things, leaving us a bed and a computer... so I'll have plenty of time for blogging!)

By the way, if you're thinking about buying yourself the panties instead of the pattern, it might interest you to know that I don't just promote Ohhh Lulu lingerie and patterns because Sarah is an awesome friend (though that's a big part). I also do it because the lumberjack panties I bought from her months ago are beautifully made to last, fit perfectly, and are pretty much the best thing I have ever worn. Ever. If I had more cash in my lingerie and liquor budget (yes, that is a thing) I would probably buy everything in her shop and just never get dressed again.
Sigh... a girl can dream... :)