Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Secondhand Showcase

Sad to say, after my first Secondhand Showcase post last week, I had a slow thrifting week this week. I got a play kitchen for the baby on the cheap, a few vintage patterns, and a special sewing machine foot for sewing on sequins and elastic. Also, we had an incident where a clothing rack collapsed as we were looking through it! Thrifting can be dangerous biz!

So, I'll show some recent acquisitions that go right along with the holiday weekend. A couple of weeks ago I scored a great floral 70s bathing suit as well as a good condition electric blue 60s Jantzen bikini.

Cute, huh? As neither suit was my size (I have a middle school bust :), I listed both in my Etsy shop. The floral tankini has since sold. 

Oh, and the vintage bathing suit talk reminds me, I got a photo of the vintage style suit I made for myself. Here it is modeled in front of our vintage 60's Shasta camper. As the hubby is just about finished with work for the school year, I was cleaning it up a bit in the hopes we'll be camping out again soon.  

The baby was having a pool party. She has all the fun!!!! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Krazy Kitchen Gift Embroidery

I have been working on this trio of kitchen hand towels for-ev-er. I did a lot of embroidery when I was pregnant, but now I usually embroider only at times when I can't sew. Like in the car. Eeeek. They are a wedding present and long overdue (although well within the acceptable one year.) Still, I really like how they are coming along.

I used a very nice quality, sturdy vintage flat sheet to make the towels, which I narrowly hemmed on the featherweight. I downloaded the Krazy Kitchen embroidery pattern pdf from Sublime Stitching, and I traced the motifs I wanted on my towels with iron on transfer pencil in my desired placement. I pressed the patterns on the fabric, chose my colors, and here's what I came up with.

 The silly patterns are based on the known fact that the bride does not like to cook. In her last house, there was a small window in the kitchen, and she joked that they had their own delivery window for take out.
I forgot the handle on the blender. Doh! I'll go back and fix that. 

The flaming pan was fun to make! I used a stem stitch for licking flame texture that the back stitch could not provide.  
In progress. I have a pistachio mixer that I love! The cupcake will be frosted in pink. 
I just love Sublime Stitching. The patterns are soooooo cute. I actually got totally distracted by browsing patterns while I was getting the links for this post. Next I want to stitch some cute little camper accessories with Camp Out.

So, do you embroider? Have you ever used any Sublime Stitching patterns?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Secondhand Showcase

On many of the blogs I read, people regularly show stuff they have thrifted over the course of the last week or so. I like to see what others have found, and from time to time, I do gush over what I've found here too. The thing is, I go thrifting, to the flea market, and antiquing pretty much constantly, and a lot of neat stuff I find never does get mentioned. So, I'm going to try to regularly share the things that I am most excited about. Some things go to my Etsy shop or eBay, and some things never ever leave my dirty old mitts.... 

Like these zippers. Whoever dies with the most zippers wins. 
I found this basket at a local rummage sale yesterday. 40 vintage zippers, two covered button kits, one dollar. For ALL OF THEM. So now, I have like 100 zippers, because I was already sick with this bug.  

I bought this fabric at a thrift store a ways from my house a couple of weeks ago. I am trying to go on a fabric diet, because I have over 200 yards of fabric in my stash (help me!!!!)  but this was so pretty, I pulled all of the quarters out of my change cup to buy it. I emailed photos to the fabrically (and otherwise) brilliant Lizzie of The Vintage Traveler blog, and she told me she believes it to be high end home decor fabric from the 50s or possibly early 60s. She told me to scrunch it in my hand, and if it sprung back without wrinkling all up, which it did indeed, it was rayon. Thanks Lizzie!

 This little buddy I found last week at Goodwill. Now, I haven't purchased a vintage machine in months, right? Right? At least two. But how could I pass up a PURPLE Kenmore with all metal gears at a total steal? That's right! I couldn't. It has a 1.2 amp motor, and that is some serious home sewing power. I spent the good part of a night taking it apart, cleaning various pieces, and putting it back together. That's my kind of Friday night par-tay!!!

How about you? Do you love thrifting? Do you post about thrifting? Do you do it for sport, money, or your private collection?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Melaina Buller Top- Sewing from Film Inspiration

Did anyone else love the movie Shag? My sisters and I used to watch it over and over when we were young teens. I have always loved the music, the dancing, and the clothing, which was all represented very well (the film is set in the 60s, but was released in '89). Don't put it on in expecting a great plot and well written dialogue, though. Well, a couple of weeks ago I was browsing vintage sewing patterns, as I have been known to do every day for an hour, and I came across this summer top pattern that looks just like a top Melaina (Bridget Fonda) wears in the movie.
Courtesy of the Vintage Pattern Wiki
Of course at first I wanted to buy the pattern- any excuse, you know? But then I got to thinking and realized I could make this without that pattern. My current vintage pattern collection is nothing to scoff at, and I knew I had to have something I could use as a foundation for this simple top. Enter Simplicity 6500, a simple, button back, darted bikini top. 
Love that Vintage Pattern Wiki
Once I rustled up my pattern, I traced it out (I use soil separator paper for pattern tracing) leaving plenty of extra room to extend the bottom. The I estimated how much length I would need to add for the desired, midriff length and drew in the added length (about 3"). I extended the bottom darts and made the waist larger by adding fabric in at the side seams and making the waist darts smaller. Then I cut, using what little fabric I had left from this piece to make ruffles and bias tape. 

From there, it all came together without much ado, the hardest part being getting the ruffles pinned across the bodice evenly and distributed somewhat evenly. When I make the next version of this in check, I will draw guide lines before I stitch, pinning the darts shut first. And, I will remember to interface the button placket. You would think that I would remember this sort of thing by now. All in all, the wearable muslin is kinda cute though....

In order for this blouse to be 60s and something that I would be comfortable wearing, it has to go with appropriately high waisted shorts. These are the bottoms from the bathing suit I finished up a couple of weeks ago, and I have plans to make a few more pairs of shorts in varying lengths. What is that thing about "the best laid plans of mice and men" again?

I also need to make the neckline a little higher in front and more of a bateau shape. Still, overall I'm pleased. It wasn't that long ago I wouldn't have dreamed I could sew anything up without a real pattern. Heck, it wasn't that long ago I couldn't sew at all. Look at me now, ma! Top o' tha worlddddddd........

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Tennis Dress and Sewing "in the Flat"

Yesterday for Mother's Day, my sweetie pie husband gave me the day off. He cooked all of our meals and cleaned up too, and I was free to get some good sewing time in. I made a dress for the baby in a cute little retro print synthetic knit I found thrifting for a quarter.

For the second time now, I sewed an entire garment "in the flat." Does anyone else do this? What the heck do I mean? Well, the instructions for the pattern I used, Butterick 5976, would have you sew the side, back and shoulder seams, then attach the collar and facing, insert the zipper next, and then ease in the sleeves and hem them (those tiny little sleeves!) before hemming the dress bottom.

Here is what I did:

  1. Serged the shoulder seams together and pressed them backward
  2. Eased in the sleeve cap and serged into place
  3. Serged sleeve hem and hemmed/stitched the opening of the sleeve while flat 
  4. Sewed the collar as usual. Serged bottom of facing and attached facing and collar to dress
  5. Understitched facing and instead of tacking stitched facing to shoulder it in the ditch through the top of the shoulder seam
  6. Serged both sides of back seam separately then sewed to zipper bottom position. Inserted zipper, and hand slip-stitched facing edge at top of zipper
  7. Serged side seams and sleeve seams all at once. Pressed seams toward back. Alternately (to allow for small adjustments later) you could serge front and back individually and sew
  8. Serged hem and hemmed it
I don't know if there is any reason not to sew this way, but I have been finding many aspects of construction easier when garments are sewn in the flat- especially kids stuff. Um, and zippers! If you are machine sewing a zipper, it is way, way easier to sew it flat without all of that extra fabric in the way. And why fuss to fold and hem a tiny sleeve when you can just sew it flat? Yes, this does make a seam that ends at the armscye, but isn't that seam hidden by the child's arm anyway? 

I'd really be interested to know if anyone else sews this way or has tried it, or if anyone knows of reasons why it might be a bad idea. 

Now that I've rambled on, here are some pics of my little munchkin in her new dress.
Courtesy of the Vintage Pattern Wiki

It is great how she is so excited to wear a dress I have made her. Sometimes she comes to me with a shirt or scarf and says, "Mommy, I made this for you!" It won't be long before we'll have a little sweatshop going!