Monday, September 23, 2013

Continuing Education... and changing everything I knew about darts!

Hello lovely readers. Things are starting to settle down here a bit. We're 2/3 unpacked and my studio has a semblance of order (it's all an illusion) and so with a few quiet moments to spare, I thought I'd share what I've been up to.

With our return to the U.S. from Norway, all sorts of possibilities opened up. Should I look for a job now or continue with Mrs. Depew Vintage? Should I go back to school? Take a yoga class or learn Kung fu? Should I dye my hair pink? All of these ideas have been rolling around in my head for the last 6 months, even before we started packing. Some were put on the back burner for now... the Monterey area is nearly as expensive as Norway was and maintaining pink hair would be pricey... but I did settle on a few important things.

I love my job. I love running Mrs. Depew Vintage more than anything else I've ever tried, so it follows that I should continue to do what I love! But what next? I'm a huge fan of continuing one's education, in any way one can afford or find time for. I decided to take 2 days each week off from work and take some classes at my local college in the Fashion Design department. Right now I'm taking Fashion Illustration (very useful so far, as I can't draw to save my life) and Pattern Design. Granted, I know how to draft a pretty good pattern already, but I never studied it formally and would like to add some industry expertise to my skill set. So far, it's challenging and so much fun.

My professor has a great range of experience and so far has been a fount of useful sewing tips. One of which I simply had to share with you all the second I tried it!

My whole sewing career I have been sewing darts the wrong way! I followed my sewing books and blog tutorials when I first learned darts, and as everyone knows (or seems to) you sew a bust dart from the outside to a perfect point. And it always bothered my that there was a slight point at the bust apex. Whose boobs are that pointy?
Certainly not mine! So to fix this and get an incredibly smooth finish to your dart, simply change your stitching angle, just at the very tip of the dart, and slightly curve away from the dart tip as you sew.

Just a dart sewn into a scrap of muslin... notice the slight curve away from the dart tip. Pardon my battle scarred cutting mat.

The dart pressed open to reveal a very smooth bust dart, curving instead of pointing.
 Remember, this should only be done for bust darts. Any darts, say on your bodice back, won't need this.
I know it's a bit geeky, but hell, I'm a sewing blogger so I can totally be excited about learning a new way to sew darts better!

How about you? Have you ever taken any courses that you consider continuing your education (but not necessarily working towards a degree)? Have you enjoyed taking Italian for no reason, or perhaps a bread-making class?

Happy sewing,

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sew Expensive... Butterick 5758 Bathing Suit Pattern

A while back, I was watching a great bathing suit pattern on Ebay. And of course, it sold for an amazing sum so I set the info aside for a rainy day... it's not exactly raining but my studio is still wall to wall with boxes so this is a good time to blog about some patterns!

Are you ready for it?
This lovely original Butterick 5758 from 1951 sold for an amazing $145.98.

Take a look at those lovely details! This is no simple skirted bathing suit. Notice the lovely gathers at the princess seam over the bust and the clever turned back collar formed, it appears, straight out of the criss-cross straps! It's tiny little details like this that set this pattern a head above your average vintage skirted bathing suit pattern. On a side note, I should also mention that Butterick bathing suit/ playsuit patterns always seem to be a bit more scarce, and in my opinion, this drives the price up a bit.
(You can see pictures of the Butterick Pattern flyer advertising this, and other great patterns courtesy of Cemetarian here.)

For those of you waiting for a great bathing suit pattern that don't have that kind of bank laying around, here are a few options that might work more in your favor.

Depew 1001, available in multiple sizes.
Depew 1002.
Available in a size 16 on Etsy at FancyWork, $55.
Bathing Suit Reproduction By New Vintage Lady on Etsy, $25.
Available in a size 14 at Glass of Fashion on Etsy, $59.99.

I know, many of you are thinking that summer is just about over for you. Summer has apparently just begun in Monterey (what fun! different seasons to learn!) and I can't get trips to the beach off my mind!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pretty, pretty vintage table...

I am very excited! Tomorrow our household goods (i.e. everything I couldn't fit in two suitcases) will finally arrive! We've been without most of our household comforts for over 3 months now and I'm more than ready to be settled again!
Interesting moments in camping in our own house have included using lawn furniture in the living room, working at Mrs. Depew Vintage for hours at a time sitting on the floor in front of my computer (also on the floor), and making delicious meals with a simple frying pan and plastic cutlery. Right about now I would kill to get my hands on a vegetable peeler!

One thing I do have now is a kitchen table/ dining set! Our very own Duncan Phyfe 1940's table and chairs arrived a few days ago and looks wonderful in our butter-cream (that I'm not allowed to paint) dining room.

Though the picture doesn't show much, the table legs are two sets of what I like to call upside-down lily petals with claw feet. And the chairs are my favorite part. They have the most beautiful, curved lines.

And of course I'll be recovering the chair cushions. The antique dealer we bought them from said the greatest thing, "When I had it refinished, I knew that anything I covered the chairs with, the next owner would just hate. So I covered them with bed sheet fabric."
Which leads me to my question... with black wood and butter-cream walls, what kind of fabric should I choose? A solid, a print, a stripe? Since I can't paint I'm hoping that I can use colorful fabrics to cheer up the room a bit.

I'm sort of toying with these... which do you like?

P.S. On another note, Mrs. Depew Vintage just reached 6,000 sales on Etsy. It has been a couple of years but I'm so proud! To celebrate, here's a coupon code for 15% off any order, good until September 5th! Use code "SIXTHOUSAND" at checkout.