Monday, 30 April 2012

April in Review

1957 Vintage Day-Dress:

Fabric: 3 metres Cotton fabric $16.13
Pattern:  Vogue 9229,  $3.00 
Thread:  donation from Mama R, $0.00
Zipper:  $4.37
Buttons:  $3.36
Total Cost$26.86
Times Worn this Month: Once.
Time investment:  10 hours 
Tools needed:  Sewing machine, serger, fabric shears, ball-point sewing machine needle, hand stitching needles, seam ripper, pins, and tailor's chaulk.
Would I make it again?  I didn't think that I would want to because I made it for the Pattern Review Vintage Contest. Now, I'm thinking that a navy one with white top-stitching and white buttons would be fun for spring. Sew, maybe.

High-waisted Pin-striped Denim Skirt:

Fabric: 1.55 metres denim, $9.30 and interfacing $1.00
Pattern:  Burda Style 7255,  $3.00 
Thread:  left-over thread. I got away with using grey thread and light green bobbin thread, $0.00
Zipper:  $4.37
Total Cost$17.67
Times Worn this Month: Twice.
Time investment: 4 hours. 
Tools needed:  Sewing machine, serger, fabric shears, ball-point sewing machine needle, hand stitching needles, pins, and tailor's chaulk.
Would I make it again?  Yes!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

In sewing news today...

There has been no sewing, as I've been busy fighting a fierce cold. It is a really ugly fight. Let's just say that I've been wearing my pj's all weekend.

The pockets found on Simplicity 2289 are perfect for holding an ample supply of tissues, my Vicks inhaler and Ricola cough candies.

I think I might have to dig this pattern out of the file cabinet and make myself another version of this when I'm feeling better.

Despite my unproductive state at my sewing table, I have managed to read the newspapers today. This article just had me purring, then coughing, and then wanting to purr some more.

I don't know if I mentioned it before but my favourite eyeglass shape are cat-eyed frames. I've been on the hunt for an authentic vintage pair for some time now.  But I think others have caught on how fabulous they are and I'm still hunting.

It was nice to read that this fabulous style is making a come-back and maybe if I don't happen to pounce on a vintage pair, I'll have options to score a retro inspired pair of frames.

And on to more exciting news! There will be a Sewing Fundraiser held here in Winnipeg. The small announcement hidden in the back pages under Philanthropy Briefs jumped out of the page. It is a fundraising event for a sewing program at The West Central Women's Resource Centre. An evening of theatre and music to help a worthy program, love it! May 5 @ the West End Cultural Centre.

Well, that's all in sewing news. I'm off to make a cup of Miso soup and head back to bed.

Happy Sewing!


Friday, 27 April 2012

Oh Betsy!

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal's Market Watch reported that clothing and accessory design company Betsey Johnson LLC filed for bankruptcy protection. The Journal reports that this move will result in the closure of a majority of its stores.

And today the fashion and business sections of newspapers around the world are buzzing with the news.

This news follows the 2009 retirement rumours and Johnson's wish that "her brand live on forever".

Her brand may not live forever with this latest news but her imprint on the fashion scene will undoubtably have a lasting impact.

Johnson emerged as a fashion designer out of the 1960s Youthquake Cultural Movement out of New York. She hit the fashion, music and cultural scene with characters from Andy Warhol's Factory and the Velvet Underground. Edie Sedgwick was her house model and this beginning helped to establish her with a rock 'n roll image despite her love for bright colours, floral prints, and youthful energy.

With such a rich history in the fashion scene, this is certainly sad news indeed.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

In Sewing News Today...

Did you catch the February/March 2012 issue of Vogue Patterns magazine?  They had an article on a "new" fabric, cork. It was an interesting article since cork hasn't really been on the scene for decades and all the sudden it is the new thing. The article included some fabulous photographs and included instructions for a wallet that could be made out of the fabric.
$159 at The Bay

There has been a bit of chatter about cork fabric on Pattern Review. It seems the price has kept many from sewing with the latest crowned "it" fabric.

I can't say I blame them, at $79 for a 20" x 54" sheet I'm on that side of the fence.

Besides, at that price and this economy I had my suspicion that it might be a fad fabric since no manufacturers were pumping out cork wallets and handbags.

And then check out the shoes I stumbled across at the store this afternoon. They are made from cork! Maybe it is not a fad fabric. It would be interesting to see where this fabric pops up next.

On to dresses...

The voting closed today at the Pattern Review Vintage Contest. My dress received eleven votes. Woohoo! Thank you to those that voted for my dress. I'm sew not worthy.

There were so many amazing entries in this contest. There is this beautiful blouse with neckline tucks that I thought was absolutely lovely. And check out the pockets on this skirt and this one too. And check out this cotton and silk afternoon dress, the fabric is beautiful and her sewing is flawless! I can go on and on in admiration of all the entries, I hope you'll check them out if you have the time.

I just have to agree with Karen's comment in her review, "[g]ood designs are timeless." Sew true!

Me-Made May '12 is around the corner. Can you believe it?

I've been prepping and pressing some of my spring/summer makes that have been in storage over the winter. I think I'm set, but I will tell you that I'm going to miss some of my RTW items in my closet. What was I thinking?

I believe I have nine skirts, eight tops, seven dresses, one coat dress and one jacket that qualify as "Me-made" items.  

One thing it did make me realize is that I haven't sewn a pair of pants in ages, decades actually. Hmm, even though I am more comfortable in dresses and skirts that might be a future challenge to consider, make a pair of well-fitting pants.      

Anyway, that's all in sewing news today.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Happy Happy Day!

Have you heard? The new Vogue patterns were released and they are on sale RIGHT NOW!

Ohhh, and they are lovely! I can't wait until they get here.

Vogue 1297

Vogue 1306

Vogue 1309

Vintage Vogue 8811

Vogue 8813

Vogue 8821

My Bad!

I'll admit it, I walked into a fabric store without any will power. I know, I banned myself from adding to my fabric stash. Yes, this is the second time that I fell off the wagon. Okay, where is that Fabric Addicts Anonymous book:
I admitted that I am powerless over fabulously wonderful fabric--that my life has become unmanageable.
I can't go that far, I'm still in denial perhaps. Seriously, I didn't have any intention of going out to the fabric store.

It was Sunday afternoon and my plan were to catch the 1:00 showing of Breakfast at Tiffany's. It was showing at the theatre and can you believe I haven't seen it? Well, Mama R wanted to go out and well how can one say "no" to their Mom. Seriously, that's just cruel. So Mama R and I got in the car and well we just ended up at the fabric store. And then I saw this print. How could I resist this print?

I found this 100% cotton print in the quilting section of the fabric store reduced down to $5/metre. I thought it would be lovely for a dress. And a shirt. Yup, I bought six metres. My bad.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Copy Cat

I've been busy copying the Rachel Roy top that I picked up on the weekend. It is not a complicated design to copy. Basically the back and the front are the same size when laid out on the table.  I just have to re-draft the front piece. There is a seam down the centre front and one underlay piece.

The inside view, left side front underlay piece.  It is only attached to the side seam just below the armhole opening for one inch. The rest of the piece drapes off to the side close to the side seam

 The inside of the other front piece. Notice the armhole opening, simple.

The exposed seam finish around the hem, arm and neckline openings. It is pretty, I don't know if I'll be able to achieve the same effect with my Janome.

 The front overlay/drape.

I think I may make a slight change: raise that front neckline a bit.

Now to pick the fabric: graphic stripes or pokla-dots?

Monday, 23 April 2012

New Skirt!

This is my new skirt. 

It is Burda Style 7215 and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.  

I did play around with the pattern when I was cutting it out. I repositioned the front and back pattern pieces so that I eliminated the back slit and added some width to the hemline. It was based on my fear that it would be too fitted but my fear was silly. This pattern is wonderful!  

The pattern is for a semi-fitted skirt and I really did not need to tweak it. 

I really like how the gathers fall below the waist line on this high waisted skirt. The yoke is perfect to showcase a belt. The skirt pattern has pieces for belt loops and and tie belt which I didn't make.  

I made it in a light-weight striped denim and it is a perfect summer skirt.   

And I already have plans for the next one that I want to make.  I'm thinking about using a striped silk that I've been holding on for some time now.

I think I'll make the waistband a size smaller though.   

Sunday, 22 April 2012

A big ol' pile of Jeans

I've come into possession of a big ol' pile of blue jeans. Any refashion suggestions? I guess I could cut them up and add them to the quilt pieces?

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Pastel Colours and Bold Prints

On the books this weekend:

Cut out the beautiful silky polyester fabric that will be my niece's dress.  

Sew the Burda Style Skirt sitting on my sewing table.  

Copy the silky polyester baby blue Rachel Roy top that I picked up this weekend. 

Yes, I did. The Rachel Roy top is such a simple top that has a beautiful simple drape in the front. I think it is lovely.

It cost $89 before taxes, just over a hundred after taxes.

"Yikes!", my inner voice said while I was examining it, realizing that I could make this for a fraction of the cost.

Don't get me wrong, I do admire Rachel Roy's work and I realize that I'm also paying for her creativity and styling.

And I will admit that I do have a fun piece with fun twists and turns in a bright orange colour hanging out in my closet and it I feel great when I wear it.

But I can make this one! Besides, it is in baby blue, not my colour. Sew, I figure if Pattern Review can host a RTW Contest where you find a ready-to-wear garment that you adore and make one just like it, why not? Sorry Rachel Roy, I hope you take it as a compliment. I promise just this one. Besides, Pattern Review inspired me to do it.

I found the Rachel Roy top when was out shopping yesterday because I was in need of some retail therapy. It was not a great week. I didn't want to shop, I just wanted to get out and walk and try to clear my head.

So, I found myself at Polo Park to check out if the stores are carrying any bold prints that I had read about in the paper. The buyers at The Bay were not very bold when picking out spring fashions, same with Melanie Lyn. There were some nice clothes to be found but I guess this trend hasn't caught on in Winnipeg just yet. It was all about soft pastel colours and orange tangerine tango. Nothing felt new. Hmmm, I wonder if everyone will jump on the orange lipstick bandwagon this summer? But I digress...

While shopping in Melanie Lyn and on my way to exit the store I was stopped by one of the salesladies standing at the sales desk.

"Where did you get your top?" she asked.

Surprised by her question I replied, "I made it."

"Really?, it's beautiful," she said as she leaned towards me to touch the fabric. I'll admit that I was a bit taken back by her level on comfort and compliment. And why would you say really?, I thought to myself.

"Do you sell your stuff?" she asked.

"No, I work a full-time job," recalling all the times I was ripped off and taken advantaged of sewing for others.

"In other words, it is a hobby," the other saleslady directed to her co-worker.

I just smiled and thanked the first saleslady.

"You picked a beautiful fabric," she added.

"Thank you," I replied as I continued on my way.

That compliment was the best retail therapy experience ever. I was wearing the Marcy Tilton shirt/jacket, Vogue 8709. And I didn't realize at the time but I was wearing a bold print.

I've made two versions of this top. This picture shown here is of the first one I made. It is a 100% cotton print that I picked up at the Fabric Centre. They used to carry beautiful fabrics, but sadly they closed down last year. The second top is my least favourite of the two because it hasn't held up as well.  I made it in a stretch sateen fabric.  If you plan to make this Marcy Tilton top I would recommend a cotton that has some body.

And I realized that the best option to find bold prints is not in a shopping mall, it is in the home decor department of the fabric stores. Duh, that's where I've found my favourite bold fabrics! What was I thinking? I really did need to clear my head.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Call me crazy

You can call me crazy but I'm trying out Burda Style 7215. Don't get me wrong, I adore this skirt pattern. It is just that it is a pattern for a semi-fitted skirt and fitted skirts and I don't always work well.  So sew I have my fingers crossed that it will work on me.

I am using a light-weight striped denim that I found in the sale bin for dirt cheap. If it doesn't work I can live with that [fingers still crossed].

I did some adjusting when cutting out the pattern though.

I was worried how it tapered towards the hemline sew I added some additional width at the bottom of the skirt and eliminated the back slit.

Next, I played around with the length because I'm looking for a skirt that is below the knee.

I have this put aside as an afternoon sewing project for this weekend. If it works as well as I hope [fingers still crossed] I have some striped silk for another version.    

Sunday, 15 April 2012

In sewing news today...

Not much sewing since I finished the vintage dress, but there was shopping. I'll get to that later.

Did you hear about Saskatchewan Stitches Conference? I stopped in at Fabricland yesterday and they had posters up at the store entrance. It looks like fun but there is no way that I can take time off work. Why are there no conferences when I'm laid-off during the summer for two months?

There are some interesting workshops being offered at the conference. Beverly Johnson from Hamilton, Ontario will be offering various Bra, Corset and Swimsuit workshops.

Ron Collins from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is a designer and "Canada's best-known sewing personality" (okay, my bad, but I've never heard of the guy). He is hosting The Ultimate Sewing Retreat that looks like fun.

Jan Bones from Winnipeg, Manitoba, a teacher and contributor to various sewing magazines, will be teaching a variety of workshops, Fitting Facts (I so could use some pointers in this area), The Nice Nightie and Dress Form.

There are many other workshops covering areas of knitting, crocheting and rug-making. I've only touched on a few of them that had me sighing over the fact that I'll be missing. Will you be going?

OMG! You'll never guess what someone entered for the Vintage Contest over at Pattern Review. Did you give up? 

Someone entered one of the first commercial patterns that I sewed back in the seventies. I couldn't believe it when I saw it. Okay, now I feel slightly old. I made it back when I has taking a high school home economics class. I loved the pattern for the same reasons that she did, and I totally agree with her review.  

Oh the pattern, Simplicity 7927, back in the day I thought it was the cat's meow because of the hood. This gal needs to win just for making me smile and besides she did a great job.  

Summer will soon be here. This morning I woke up and noticed that the apricot tree has pink blooms on its branches. I love it when this tree blooms, it is so pretty. It has me thinking about what summer clothes still fit and what needs to be refashioned or repaired. And while doing that I've been considering this Me-Made-May '12 pledge that I made. I really need to make a couple of tee-shirts or tops before the end of the month if I'm going to pull this off. I have Butterick 5679 in cue and the fabric has been picked out and ready to go.

And I did pick up two new patterns. First, this Burda Style top pattern, Burda 7220. I like the neckline drape in version B and the off-centred pleat in the back.

I'm not sure when I'll get to it, since I'm in the need of tops this might become a May sewing project.

McCall's dress pattern, McCall's 6554, I couldn't resist this one. I know it is not a top but I like the square neckline and empire waist. I think it will be a cute summer dress. I have a yellow and blue floral print cotton fabric in mind for this.  I hope there is enough fabric for the full skirt.

This Me-Made-May '12 might be the kick-in-the-pants that I need to add those tops to my wardrobe. The dress will have to wait.

With all these grand plans, the next project in cue to be laid out and cut is the graduation dress for my niece. Yes, I'm finally getting to it! I think I can manage a big cutting job now, I'm going to give it a try anyhow. If I've miss calculated my recovery I have an appointment with the chiropractor and massage therapist coming up this week. I'll take it slow and it might take a few days to get it done, we'll see. I'm worried about the slippery-ness factor of the fabric so I'm going to lay it out on the floor to cut.

That said, I should get busy.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

I pledge...

I, Graca from Sew Essentially Sew, am signing up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavour to wear something, anything, can't promise it will be an entire outfit but I'll try, even if it is pajamas, each day for the duration of May 2012. 

I can't promise that I will post everyday, but I can promise that I will try my best. Are weekly Me-Made-May '12 posts okay?  

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

In sewing news today...

The best part of spring has to be when new patterns start to appear. McCall's released a few new patterns earlier this month as part of the Fashion Star line.  And Colette Patterns came out with a few of their own, Iris, Lily, and Hazel. They really are lovely, Hazel has a really nice cut along with the squared neckline making it my favourite of the three.

There is something quite special about these new additions on the pattern scene, it's the format. You can pick up these three new Colette patterns as a printed or digital version.

I thought about how I was comparing Vogue 9229 that I just finished up and how the vintage pattern compared to a contemporary pattern. I didn't even think about PDF files and digital copies of patterns in my critique which kind of makes me feel vintage myself.

Sew I'm curious, if you were given the choice on purchasing a pattern would you prefer a digital or printed copy?

I still haven't cut out the pile of fabric that is suppose to be my niece's graduation party dress.

I'm waiting until I'm more flexible and able to lay out the fabric on the floor. It is a wee bit slippery and I'm too scared to cut it on the small fold-out table. Stupid ribs are taking their sweet time to heal and I don't want to touch the fabric until they're healed.

I haven't been told when her graduation fete will be, the seamstress is always the last to know. I suspect that I have ten to eleven weeks to get it done, lots of time. I just wish someone would lay it out and cut it for me. A gal could dream, can't she? Once it is cut it will come together quickly.

 Have you seen my new dress, Vogue 8577? Okay, it is not really new, but it feels new to me.

I cut it shorter.

I cut it six inches shorter!

I've heard that hemlines are suppose to be falling but I think it looks better in the shorter length.

It looks like a completely different dress on.

 I also shortened another dress, Vogue 1234. This is a favourite dress of mine and the most comfortable dress in my closet.

But I will admit that the hem has been a major pain in the pin-cushion!

I cut the pattern pieces without any adjustment but when it came time to try it on I realized that it had to be shortened. The dress is suppose to have a back slit and hem facing but those features were cut off in the hem adjustment. Well, I discovered how difficult it is to adjust a knit fabric hem and ended up with the back and front uneven. Sew, I tried to even it out. Now it doesn't even look like the original design.

It is still not straight, but I refuse to cut anymore off.

The next one I'll have to adjust the length before I cut out the fabric. Yes, even though this hem has been a big pain in the pin-cushion, I still wouldn't mind another. Maybe in a mint green?  

Until then, I'm taking a break from starting any new projects and trying to catch up on my mending and alterations.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Vintage Dress Update: Finished!

The Vintage, Vogue 9229, dress is finished! Okay, not quite if you count pressing. I guess I should drag the steamer out.

Vintage Dress Update: Almost Finished!

But I'm really excited to show you.

I have to say, that I really like how the dress looked on the pattern illustration, very chic I thought.

As you likely read, I've made this dress as an entry for the Pattern Review Vintage Contest. I'm not expecting to win, not all the entries are in yet but have you seen them? Wow! There are some beautiful entries. But I didn't enter to win anything I really did want to discover the differences between vintage and current patterns. And there were many! I've even discovered some new-to me techniques. And that is what this contest is all about.

Here are some details about my pattern:

  • Vogue 9229, dated 1957 on the lower left corner of the pattern front.  
  • Not found anywhere on the web when I went searching for it. I was wondering if anyone else made it because I was worried it would be too slim for me to make (mental note: purchase spanx). I couldn't even find it on Vintage Patterns Wikia. So, I nervously went to work hoping that it would fit.  
  • The pattern envelope is very fragile and I think that I'm going to frame it in hopes to preserve it.  
  • The pattern pieces inside the envelope were in excellent condition.  
  • First perforated pattern that I ever worked with, love it.  
  • Pattern review warned that most vintage patterns "run smaller than modern patterns".  I found this to be true. The pattern I used is a size 16, I would never fit into a size 16 in a contemporary pattern. I feared that the blouse would be too tight after examining the bust measurements on the pattern envelope but it worked out fine.  
  • "Minor design changes are allowed" in this contest. I did have to shorten the dress. I don't know if seven inches off the hem length count but I'm five-one, I'm hoping that it won't be considered major.  
Fabric and Techniques:
  • Cotton is one of the fabric choices listed on the envelope. I did make my dress out of a cotton sateen. Where it strayed from the 1957 selection is that its a stretch cotton sateen. Thank goodness because it is a fitted skirt.  
  • The colour of my fabric was based on researched into fashion trends in 1957. Brown and black were hot colours back in the day. Since black does not photograph as well as brown, that greatly influenced my choice. 
  • This pattern stated that interfacing was optional, and I opted out of interfacing the dress. 
  • Techniques that I learned about while making this dress include the hem, transfer markings, and belt making. I did not make a belt to go with the dress. But I did follow the technique for inner belting. I used gross-grain ribbon and sewed the snaps but I found it uncomfortable and difficult to close from the side zipper placement. And out came the seam ripper.  
  • I did use one of the techniques described on the instructions, tailor's chaulk, for transferring stitching lines through the perforated pattern. 
  • And I used seam tape for my hem.  Did you notice that it is vintage too? You can tell by the packaging, now-a-days it is not packaged in cardboard that includes instructions inside the packaging.  
The dress:  

Described as an one-piece dress with a slim skirt with a released pleat at the front and a blouse that joins at the waist-line with strategic gathers.  

I made Version B, the sleeveless dress with the oval neck-line, decorative button trimming at the front and one inch topstitching around the armholes, neckline and centre front.  

I don't usually go for sparkly things but I thought these buttons were the cat's meow. The buttons are purely decorative but I really think they make the dress special.  

I mentioned in the other post that I was considering using pinking shears on the seams but I'm glad I didn't. I don't know how I would have cut through all those layers of fabric where the pleat met with the blouse at the waistline.  

Sew glad I used the serger.   

And that is the story of my adventures in Vintage sewing.  

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