Friday, October 25, 2013

More Simplicity S-Series Patterns!

Hello lovely readers. Before I get started on some serious homework this weekend, I wanted to show you what I have in my sewing room right now!

As most of you know, I collect a particular line of vintage sewing patterns created by Simplicity in the 1930's, which I call the S-Series. There were maybe 23 different patterns made in this line (I'm still trying to place the exact year and number) and as of today, I now have 20 of them, including the two loveliest that I've been looking for the longest!
Below are Simplicity S605 and S612, two of the most beautiful sewing patterns I have ever seen.

Sadly both are missing a couple of pieces so I'm still hunting for complete copies...

I want to extend a very warm thank you to those of you who have emailed me to let me know about patterns up for sale that I might not have seen yet. I owe most of my success in finding these patterns to you, my dear readers!

I owe my particular success in finding the above to two different Etsy pattern sellers who were kind enough to contact me and offer me incredibly fair prices for their patterns. It's pretty common knowledge how badly I wanted these patterns and neither of them took advantage of my weekness so thank you!
These pattern sellers are Amy of Vienna's Grace and Mary Beth of Retro Monkeys. Both of these ladies have incredibly beautiful vintage patterns in very reasonable prices so I recommend checking them out if you're in a pattern buying mood.

I also added two others to my collection, Simplicity S619: a darling baby romper pattern, and S609; a beautiful nightgown pattern with pretty gathering details at the bodice.

So what's the plan? What am I going to do with these lovely patterns once I have them all? Why, sew them, of course! Granted I'll have to find some small children to dress in the few children's patterns included with this line... but I'll worry about that later...

For now, I have homework which involves me drafting half a dozen bodice patterns in various princess seam variations and since it's going to take for bloody ever, I must get to it.

Happy weekend!

Update: Repoductions of the following S-series patterns are now available in print and download at!
Just click on the links...
S605 Camiknickers
S612 Lingerie Set
S617 Pajamas

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Introducing a new Depew and a Sponsor Shout-out!

Hello lovely readers!
I wanted to tell you why it's been quiet the last few days on A Few Threads  Loose. After recovering from the flu last week, my husband and I were reading the morning paper over coffee when we noticed an ad for German Shepherd puppies. Puppies! We've been wanting one for quite a while now and we've finally settled enough into our new home to seriously consider it. Minutes later we were in the car (enthusiastic much?) and on our way to nearby Salinas where we met and fell in love with a great little pup!
My dear readers, I present Butters "Spaghetti Pants" Depew!

Please pardon the pile of boxes. Some things are just safer in boxes than they are laying around my yet-to-be organized studio.
Butters is 2 months old and runs around my house like a fully grown shark (mouth wide open, teeth at the ready) with floppy legs and too-big paws.

Within hours of bringing him home he was playing very enthusiastically with Vinny-the-cat, and within 2 days they became best buds, practically inseparable. When Butters goes to bed in his kennel, we have to pry the cat out so he's not stuck in there all night!

Best buds, playing 'bop the puppy'.
So naturally anyone who has brought home a new puppy or new baby knows that I haven't been sleeping that much, or getting much homework done, or even been working on any new projects... My days have mostly been composed of giving Butters constant attention when he's awake, either feeding him, making sure he's chewing on previously approved items, or letting him out every hour for potty breaks. When he sleeps, I either sleep with him (I'm pretty run down), catch up on cleaning, or work on the homework that's been piling up. But we're getting better this week, sleeping a bit longer and almost set in the potty training department (thank goodness!).

But enough about the giant bags under my eyes and the chew marks in my slippers, I also wanted to introduce you to a new sponsor!

Meet Phonograph Fashions! Kate, the talented proprietress of this great little custom made clothing shop, finds her inspiration in the styles of the early 20th century to create a wonderful 1920's-esque line of clothing.
In her about page, Kate says:

"Some of my designs are taken from the pages of antique sewing books, and some are based on illustrations or old photographs. Every garment is created entirely by me and is usually one-of-a-kind."
So what has Kate been inspired to make lately? How about lovely blouses in gorgeous colors that practically channel Daisy Buchanan...

1920's Inspired Blouse - Image courtesy of Phonograph fashions.
Or better yet, a dress that could be worn to the next Gatsby party, make the perfect 1920's flapper costume, or be worn to the office...

1920's Inspired Lace Dress - Image courtesy of Phonograph fashions.
Sigh... most of you know I have a soft spot for the 1920's so I congratulate Kate on making some gorgeous garments for those of us who either cant sew, or are much too busy chasing after puppies to try...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Make your Own... Rachel McAdams' Notebook Bathing Suit

Every once in a while, I get emails asking if I have any sewing patterns that would make a bathing suit like the one worn by Rachel McAdams in The Notebook. For those of you not familiar with the movie, it is cinematic perfection, and so are the clothes!

I always have the same answer  (YES!) and I finally decided that I would put together a post to share with you as well, in case you decide you'd like to look this 1940's beach chic too!

The bathing suit in question is this lovely but modest two-piece number below in rich red with a basket weave print at the top:

And her fella isn't too bad either...

And yes, I do have the perfect bathing suit pattern for it. It was so close that I went ahead and re-did the graphics to match!

Depew #1002 Bathing Suit Pattern

The bathing suit comes in both one and two piece versions with a shorts lining underneath.
Right now the pattern is only available in a 36" bust, but it also comes with a free copy of my pattern grading e-book so that you can easily re-size it if you need to.

But what about fabrics? Many 1940's bathing suits called for rayon jersey (Lycra not being around yet) and has a pretty good selection to get a close copy, including their stretch rayon jersey knit in red.

But what about the print? You might have better luck shopping for fabric on Etsy. Here are a few great prints:

Vintage polyester print.
Dahlia cotton print.
Chevron Moda Print.
And last but not least, if you want to be decked out from head to toe, there's even a turban pattern that you can make from leftover scraps!

Depew #1014 Turban Pattern
Now if only I could get my husband to dress like Ryan Gosling did in the movie...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Adventures in Sewing... Part 5

Some of you might remember that I have a rather large collection of vintage sewing pattern flyers from companies like Butterick, Simplicity, McCall's and Vogue. They are great sources of information, good for researching patterns and styles from all sorts of eras.
Among my collection are several McCall Style News Booklets, some of which I have digitized in my Etsy shop. My favorite part about these is that in the late 1940's, many of them included little snippet articles with great sewing tips.

These little articles were usually a one page feature called "Adventures in Sewing" by Marian Corey, author of the 1951 "McCall's Complete Book of Dressmaking".

When I first started A Few Threads Loose, I shared a few of these in a series of posts and today I have finally found another to share!

 Today's Adventures in Dressmaking lesson comes from McCall Style News from June, 1948.

The lesson in question shows you how to face and stabilize scallops. This is a handy thing to know how to do and can be used for scallop hems, scallop trim closures, and other uniquely shaped facings.
Here is a close-up:

The dress being mentioned is McCall 7294, worn by the lovely lady in the middle of the picture below. Should you ever be lucky enough to find this pattern, you'll have a hand tutorial for the hardest part!