Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Beaded Top Complete

It has the usual Alabama Chanin pattern fit issues (armscyes gaping, tightness at bust), but I still like it and will surely wear it plenty. 
If you look behind me you will see that our house has been pressure washed and the shingles freshly stained. Nothing like prepping your deck for stain to bring on the daily rain showers! Hopefully we'll get some clear skies soon so we can finish this project up and prepare for some summer chilling and grilling.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Importance of Pattern Placement

I mentioned this a few days ago in my Sorbetto post as something I'd like to work on. It's nice to know that even pattern illustrators struggle with this from time to time....
See it yet? Let's look a little more closely....
"Why are you looking at me like that?" 

Couched & Beaded Bolero from an Alabama Chanin Pattern

This bolero project from Alabama Studio Sewing & Design took me a week or so to complete. It is "stenciled" in green fabric pastel, has couched cords applied, and is beaded over the stenciling. I added heavy sequins and beads to a few leaves. I also beaded the binding only on the front of the bolero. 

These are rewarding projects with a lot of visual impact. If you enjoy hand stitching, I recommend the Alabama Chanin books with one word of caution- I have found the pattern drafting to be iffy. I recommend making a quick muslin to check fit. The original bolero armholes were far too snug for me and would have caused a lot of wrinkling. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Two Summer Sorbettos

This one is a fun make from feedsack fabric and vintage buttons. I piped the pleat in white and layered that with large ric rac. It is finished with self bias. The only tricky but here was that, in order to get the pleated Sorbetto out of a feed sack, I had to piece the pleat, cutting both the two front pieces and the pleat itself with a narrow seam allowance. 

I received this fabric as a birthday gift last year. I didn't notice there was a lady in a red dress perched on my boob until just now. Note to self- pay better attention to pattern placement. 

So, for this Sorbetto, I drafted a button back and collar. I really enjoyed wearing it, however after a few washes it became apparent I had trimmed the collar seam allowances too short. Now the top sits in the mending pile waiting to have the collar removed. Lesson learned!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Work in Progress

I always have a few projects going at once. Recently I have gotten into the habit of keeping a hand sewing project by my bed to stitch at night for relaxation. This is my current hand stitching project- a knit v-neck tee with beading and couched cord details. I have been stitching on this one for a while, but there's no rush, I guess. What are you working on?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.....

Wacky retro knits in a variety of patterns, scored at the auction last weekend, just laundered and fresh from the dryer. 

These are my favorites of the bunch.....
The bug fabric will be used for a dress for the little one. Me Encanta the pink birds, but I don't know what I'll do with them yet, and the best of the bunch, the awesome deco vining flower print, is just enough fabric for a simple top.

B.T.W., these fabrics came from the estate of a local woman, and there were MASS QUANTITIES of craft items including trash cans full of yarn, about 30 boxes of fabric, and needlepoint and leathercraft materials as well as books and patterns galore. I bought two boxes of fabric and a box of patterns myself. As I sorted through the piles trying to decide which to bid on, I couldn't help but remark aloud, "And I thought I had a stash!" The seventy year old lady on my right quickly replied "You and me both!" 

Note to self- you can't take it with you. Sew with the fabric you love! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Home Sewn.....Hair?

Today I was possessed with the urge to put my hair in milkmaid braids and stitch them together with strips of bias fabric. I threaded the bias through a tapestry needle and went to it, attempting to hide the ends. I like it, but I wonder what it will be like to take out later!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Simplicity 8239 Wearable Muslin

Simplicity 8239 Image via the Vintage Pattern Wiki

I have hunted this pattern in my size for a long time, and when I finally got it, it was really for a song! I even drafted my own a few years ago from a tank, but I made the overlap too narrow and I have lived in fear of showing my rear whenever I wear it. So, finally, I got my own copy and sewed it up immediately. 

I made this wearable muslin version from an old bed sheet. The neckline and armholes are bias bound. I made no alterations to the pattern, and it is a bit snug/restrictive through the neck and shoulders. Otherwise, it fits well. Oh, wait! I did shorten it 4". Those pins wanna be free! 

Me and my little model buddy flippin' hair

I think this will make a fun beach cover up for summer.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

.....Even a Man Can Do it

Ad by Unique zipper co. from the February/March 1972 International Vogue Pattern Book.
It begins: "Improbable as it may seem, the Unique Invisible zipper is actually that simple to install."

Goodwill Finds: Fagoted Lace Dress by Dauphine

I found this dress at my local Goodwill last week. It will need a fair amount of work to be wearable again- including a dye job, a hem job, and some of the fagoted seams repaired. It appears that it was originally a sky blue color but was either bleached or somehow faded to what is now washed out white/gray. The thing that struck me about this dress in particular was that the fabric is made up entirely of strips of cotton with lace stitched on top that is joined by fagoted seams. The brand is Dauphine, and I love the simple, gold metallic weave label. If you are interested in learning more about fagoted seams, including how to stitch them by hand, check out the Coletterie post on the subject at Also, I know there is a vintage or antique Singer attachment for making these types of joinings that is a hot (read expensive!) commodity.

Does anyone else ever feel like they need to rescue these castaway garments?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Simplicity 9099 in Floral Denim

My husband's shots are always either come hither, goofy, or with my head cut off. I've opted to share some goofy here today....
This is what I like to refer to as "pressure washer chic."

I really love this fabric. The skirt should have been easy to sew, as it is a Jiffy pattern, but I flubbed it up every step of the way. Inside the waistband is a gnarled nest of threads, but despite that it turned out quite well in the end. Good thing, because I might have cried if I killed this denim.

The fabric itself was a thrift shop find. I think it ran me 50 cents or a buck. Here is the pattern. I widened the side darts at the waist by sewing 1/4 less and tapering in 3" down to match the original darts. I also lengthened the front darts 1", cut the waistband larger, and shortened the skirt 4" for a modern mini.

His pattern is a nice basic and sits at my natural waist so I can actually wear some of the vintage tops I have sewn. I am actually planning on sewing another skirt today...hopefully in a Jiffy and minus the forehead smacking!