Showing posts with label vintage sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vintage sewing. Show all posts

Monday, July 8, 2013

What the Art Teacher Wore #69

On the Fourth: When I heard Anthropologie was having their 20%-Off-Everything-Still-Overpriced-But-We-Call-It-a-Sale-to-Soften-the-Blow Sale, I knew I had to get over there and see if they had this dress in my size. And they did! AND I managed to use a gift card, making the dress, like, free-ish. I mean, they practically paid me to take it. So I was actually doin' them a favor. Because I'm a giver. belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; shoes: DIY here
 Hiya, kids. I don't know if you missed me or not (the correct answer here is: YES! We did! We've been worried sick, crying every night, checking your blog religiously, where have you been young lady?!) but I've been on a little bit of a laz-cation. We didn't make plans for the holiday weekend and then it rained for five days straight during which we started building an ark and then remembered we had kayaks and then remembered we'd never get all those stinkin' animals in our kayaks so we had some ice cream and took a nap. Seriously. That was our fourth of July. Oh! And we bought cat food. Because, in all seriousness, if we could only save one kind of animal, it'd have to be kitties. And camels because they spit at people and I think that's hilarious. Mostly because I often have the same urge.
So this super sweet vintage fabric has been in my stash for ages. I love it so much that every now and then, I just take it out and look at it adoringly. I finally came upon what I think is the perfect dress pattern for this fabric and I'm excited to share it with you as soon as the beast is complete. Because, in a moment of insanity, I decided to use another Butterick pattern. Keep me in your thoughts, would ya?
 So, yeah, the holiday weekend was pretty lax. We actually didn't even venture out to see fireworks, mostly because it was raining and the other mostly because we are Firework Connoisseurs. Some people might even refer to us as snobs but I say, "Until you've watched your husband spend $280 in an Alabama Fireworks/Flea Market/Grocery Store type place and then watched him set them off at a local elementary school but only after using them to blow up the gingerbread houses your family lovingly crafted, you don't know the Power of Fireworks." Which is probably why no one talks to me because I have a tendency to go off on random rants. AND because I spit at people. But only when annoyed.
Rainy Day Estate Salin': Turns out the day after the fourth of July isn't the best day to go estate salin'. Even still, my buddies and I managed to score a coupla goodies. On the cheap too as my bartering skillz are jammin'. Mostly cuz the folks running the estate sales will do just about anything to get rid of me. dress: vintage, thrifted; belt: LOST! I busted out of the thing getting in and out of the car and, sadly, lost my wee bow belt, sigh; sweater: Betsy Johnson, Buffalo Exchange; boots: Hunter
 I did manage to venture out to a couple of estate sales this week so I thought I'd share my scores with you. Which is what the "When I Scored" part of the post title is all about. Lest you think I was referring to something else. You naughty reader.
Lefty pinking shears, a super old button holer AND that wee container of hem marking powder. Which I convinced the estate sale dude to give me for free because, "Look at it, it's gross. You'll just end up throwing it away, so it's like I'm taking the trash out for you!" (See, this is why they hate me).
There's still white powder in it. Which could be vintage cocaine because that woulda been the ultimate place to hide one's coke, dontcha think?! I can just imagine the scene now: "Why, what do we have here, Betty?!" // "Oh, you silly husband! It's my hem marking powder aka How-Do-You-Think-I-Manage-to-Keep-the-House-so-Clean-Make-Three-Square-Meals-AND-Put-Up-with-You-with-a-Smile-on-my-Face powder. Whichever you'd prefer to call it, dear."
Let's Go Barbecuin': A buddy of ours had us over for a cookout which was a lot of fun. I have this bad habit of getting stuck in homebody/sewing room mode and I sometimes have to be forced to leave the house. This was one of those times and it was totally worth changing out of my 3pm-in-the-afternoon pajamas for. dress: vintage; sandals: Target, old
At one sale, I scored two large vintage scrapbooks for a dollar each. On the first page of this scrapbook, there were tons of these sweet get-well cards.
Complete with hand-written notes! I love letters, especially vintage ones. Their handwriting and choice of wording is always so elegant to me.
The other scrapbook was a total trip. It was completely full of page after page of wedding and shower announcements, invitations, and newspaper clippings. It had the Always-the-Bridesmaid-Never-the-Bride feel to it.
Most of the announcements were from the 1940s with many grooms in their military garb. It was like a book full of Baby Boomin' Baby Mamas and Papas.
Some pages of the book were simply cutouts from a bridal pinterest board from the 1950's, dontcha think?
 And that's all I've got to show for myself from this past week. And I'm not promising much more this week as my baby bro (he's 10 years my junior) and maw are coming in for a visit. Again, be thinking of me, would ya? I have no idea what we'll be up to, but I'll be certain to pop back in and say hello. I'd hate for you to get all worried about me again, geesh.

Hope your week is grand!

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

DIY: A 1960s Diner Dress or Why I Think Butterick 5708 is the Devil

 I'm just gonna go out on a limb here and say that if there ever was a contest titled "Best Waitress Outfit for Trashy 1960s Roadside Diner", I'm sorry, but I would totally win. Like, don't even bother submittin' your entries cuz just look at this thing. It's like Bob Evans and Kentucky Fried Chicken got together and had a 1960s love child that actually turned out not to be a child at all but a dress (which is weird, I know, but that's just the kind of scientific anomaly this dress is. Seriously.)

 Where was I again? Oh yes, First Place Winner. Thank you very much.
 Ermkay, so hubs says I can't wear this dress to school because one of the bottles says "Hot as Hell" on it. I say nonsense. Learning that hell is one hot place just might improve the discipline in my art room, doncha think? You might remember me showing off this fabric here, along with my other Michael Miller retro barbeque themed fabric

I decided to pair the fabric with mustard yellow and red gingham. Because it just says Class, don't you think? That red gingham gives me flashbacks to my short-lived-because-I-was-super-sucky days as a waitress at Pizza Hut. Dude, not a single shift would go by when I didn't forget to put in someone's pizza order (I think I was secretly trying to do them a favor, but did they see it as such? Nooooo. Some people are just so ungrateful). Next thing you know, it's an hour later, their kids are screaming and they are barking at me all "Where's our pizza?!" and I'm all "It'll be right out!" as I stick my hand in my apron pocket to find the order ticket I forget to turn in. I convinced whoever was on shift with me that I was sick and needed to spend approximately 20 minutes in the bathroom and could they take care of table 23 for me, please?! Needless to say, I was the only waitress to ever get pennies.

All the different ways you can wear the bodice of Butterick 5708. 

You wanna know what sucks more than my waitressing skills? Butterick 5708. That's what. 

Look, I don't know who Mrs. Butterick is but I can tell you this, she's one ambiguous b-- oh crap, are there under 12-ers reading? Fine: butthead. Granted, I'm still a very green sewer so I'm used to my sweet Simplicity patterns holding my hand, telling me which direction to iron my seams, how to understitch, making sure I brush my teeth before bed. Meanwhile, ole Butterick is all, "Oh, you know. Just make the bodice...if you can."
I think I'll stick to wearing my dress either tied at the shoulders (top photo) or pulled over the shoulders and tied at the chest as seen on the left. I love the idea of wearing the dress one shouldered, but to do so you gotta tie the fabric under your arm which made me feel like I had a giant underarm tumor growth. Not a great feeling.

 Confession: When I sew, I have conversations with whatever I'm working on. Most of these convos take place in my head so it's all good and hubs doesn't know what a crazy person I am (yes he does). However, this time around, it got a little loud.
Since the dress wasn't enough craziness, I decided to create my own shoes to match.
  I was working away on this dress when I thought to myself, you know, this dress isn't so bad. I'll just finish off this bodice, add the gathered skirt and--

Butterick: Ahem. Gurl, you got a lot left to do. You better slow your roll.

Me: Um, excuse me? I don't know if I'm more confused by your talking or the fact that you just said "slow your roll". Who says that?

Butterick: Paris Hilton.

Me: What?! That doesn't even make sense! She says stuff like, "that's hawt" and "ohmygurd" and other pre-rehab nonsense. You are full of lies, Butterick!

Butterick: What. Ever.

...and these are types of conversations I have WITH A DRESS PATTERN.

And while you digest that bit of craziness, let's talk about how I made these shoes, shall we? I started with this rather dull pair of wedges I snagged on the cheap. Armed with some gingham, an Exacto knife and good ole Aleene, I followed my own DIY shoe tutorial here.
 I wasn't in love with just the raw fabric edge on the shoe so I decided to add some rickrack. Using a hot glue gun, I drew a super small bead of glue around the tip and bottom of the shoe before attaching the rickrack. That patent leather top of the shoe looked a little too Golden Girls Grandma to me so I decided to bedazzle it with some bows.
 Making these bows is a snap. After deciding on the height of the bow, I doubled that measurement and added 1/4" for the seam. After sewing it right sides together, I flipped the tube of fabric inside out (using one of those wire-tube-turning-thingies that make you want to kill yourself. Just use a safety pin and watch a youtube tutorial for the love of those around you). I trimmed the edges with a curve and folded them inward creating the desired width. I then sewed a seam down the middle where I placed the pin in the photo above.
 For the tie around the bow, I used a small folded piece of fabric. I pinned that in place behind the bow. Because I didn't want to do any hand sewing (ewwww, hand sewing, me no likey!), I switched to a zipper foot on my machine and stitched as close to the back of the bow as possible.

 And then your bow is finished! I decided to add shoe clips to the back of mine so I could take them on and off. That's what you see me  hand sewing in the photo on the left.
 Yay, shoes! I'm thinking they'll go pretty nicely with this dress too.

In the end, I finished the dress. Actually, I believe the last words I said were, "BUTTERICK, I WILL FINISH YOU." To which she replied, "Oh yeah? You mean how you "finished" ole Simplicity 3877?" with a head tilt toward the heap of half sewn dress mess on the floor. I was just about to spit out some ugly grown up words when I heard from the next room:

Hubs: Cass? Are you talking to me?

Me: Well, yeah. Who else would I be talking to -- a dress pattern?!
It turns out I was right. I did finish it. But it wasn't until I was tying my shoulder straps that I realized Butterick got the last laugh: 

I sewed a pin inside one of the ties.

That's right. Now I have a permanent pin-pokey reminder of ole Butterick and her devilish ways. Thankfully I have this super swanky Pizza Hut/KFC/Bob Evans dress to show for my efforts. Sweet.
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Friday, September 21, 2012

DIY: Room to Breathe

Vintage dress found at the Goodwill Outlet for pocket change. Don't hate.
 This past week has been such a busy one that I've felt a little suffocated. Like I didn't even have time to catch my breath or come up for air. And it was all my fault. Poor time management. Piling too many things onto my crowded plate. Procrastination. You know what that's like. Thankfully, the craziness has died down a pinch and I finally have room to breathe. Inhale. Hold it. And exhale. I feel like I could exhale for days. 

All of that breathing wouldn't have ever been possible in this dear vintage dress. Uprooted from a crowded bin of thifted cast-offs, this amazing vintage dress, with it's scalloped sleeves, too-many buttons and sweet floral fabric, was meant to be mine. Despite the fact that the waist was 20". And mine is not.
Is it just me or are all of my Vintage 911 posts about me trying to eek into too-small-vintage? I mean first there was The Armpit Blowout and then the Zipper Blowout. At least I was able to shrink one vintage dress. Perhaps it's time to cut back on my thrice-weekly pizza habit. Or not.
 So after giving this dress a good hand washing, I hung it up to dry for a day. Which became a week. And that turned into a month. I just didn't know how in the world I was gonna alter that dress to get it to fit. Then, when going through my fabric stash, I found some lovely lacy fabric. And the idea hit me: create a lacy back panel. I know, sometimes, I'm a regular Einstein. I read books and stuff. Makes me smart and whatnot.
 Now for all of you oh-my-gersh-I-can't-believe-you-cut-into-vintage peeps out there, I ask you: who in the world has a 20" waist? And do I really want to know them? I think I'd rather just punch them in the face. Who are they to be skinny enough to fit into my Goodwill find? But I digress. Lemme just tell you how I made this lil number work for my not-20"-waist, erm-kay?:

I began by seam ripping the collar from the back panel and the back panel from the waist. I added a panel of lace that was approximately 8" across and 2" beyond the length of the back. Before putting it in at the neck, I gathered the top with a basting stitch and then stitched it onto the collar. From there, I sewed the lace to the turned under sides of the dress. And finally I gathered what was left of the lace and reattached that to the waist. This part wasn't nearly as pretty as the top as there wasn't as much lace to gather. So I covered it with one of my belts.
My only beef with this sweet little number? The 5000 buttons up the front. Pretty to look at. Not so much fun to deal with.
And it was really as simple as that. Plenty of room to breathe. Which, thankfully, I'll have a little bit of time to do. That is before my poor-time-management/procrastination/piled-up-plate catches up with me again. Until then, just breathe...

...sorry, I just couldn't help myself. These guys were my all time fave sappy band in the late '80's. Enjoy!

By the way, if you voted on the last Vintage 911, thank you so much. I believe I'll be leaving the sleeves on the dress. I appreciate your input!
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

DIY: The Scarf Blouse

In my newly completed Scarf Blouse. Or slouse. Maybe blarf. Whichever you prefer.
So I have this new habit. Whenever I experience a craft failure/disappointment/disaster-of-epic-proportions, my new thing is to step away, calmly, and leave the scene of the crime. From there I usually wallow around with a bar of dark chocolate, a cup of tea and maybe a cookie or three and find another craft to attempt. I find this really helps me get over the frustration of time lost and effort spent. And, sometimes, helps me come back to the mess with fresh eyes and new ideas. Even if that idea is, "craft project, meet trash can." 
I snagged this sweet little scarf-to-blouse pamphlet during a recent thrifting adventure. I quickly learned that the 20-30 minute bit was just false advertisement.
Which is how this Slouse was born. This little pamphlet had been sitting on my sewing table for ages. So, after a recent craftastrophe, I decided to give it a shot. One of the first things I began collecting in high school were vintage scarves. I loved the patterns, the texture of the silk and the fact that they were cheap. In college I went through a period where I wore them 1950's style around my neck. These days my collection just sits on my sewing room shelf.
Just a few of my favorites. I don't think I'll be able to cut into some of my scarves, I love them too much. I mean, look at that puppy pattern, swoon!
So I chose a scarf from my stash that I didn't think I'd miss if I messed up. It had a small tear and some discoloration but I loved the color and pattern. After deciding on my scarf, the first thing I had to do was add more fabric to make it large enough.
If you decide to create your own Blarf, and I believe you should, keep in mind that these measurements are from the 1940's. People were so much smaller back then. I used the measurements as suggestions.
I happened to have some green striped taffeta (er, I think that's what this fabric is) in my collection that once was a curtain. Adding that fabric to the scarf turned out to be the biggest chore as I had to hem it, attach it to the scarf and then figure out a way to miter the corners. Super fun times. But once complete, I was finally ready to follow the pattern.
While I love this shirt, it's not my usual style. I was hoping for a 1940's look...but I'm afraid I may be a little closer to Mrs. Roper.
I began with creating an opening for the neck. I did have to expand the measurement for the opening by an inch or two as my head is kind of large. Especially when you take into consideration that there is usually a bumpit making it even larger.
When following this pattern, I pinned, tried it on, repinned and tried again. I made many alterations to the pattern but this gave me a great starting point.
Really, creating the opening was not the hard part. It's this sewing silk business that drove me mad. It's so stinking slippery that it's like maneuvering a snake through your machine. And I found it difficult to measure accurately. But my sewing skills are extremely limited, so I'm winging it most of the time. For you sewing smarties, it would be a snap.
The back. Duh. I was concerned about how the backside looked, but if you look at the illustration, the bottom of the shirt is a little more tight fitting.
After the opening was complete, I was tempted to just leave the thing as a poncho. But, after taking one of those aforementioned breaks, I came back and set to work on the side seams.
Follow these measurements with caution and lots of fittings.
 What I found helpful was getting one side seam sized correctly and making a tissue pattern. That way I could use the same measurement on the other side. After creating that tissue pattern, the rest was just a zip through the sewing machine, ironing and done!
While snapping these pictures, I found it kind of funny that I have the very same pallet of colors in my house. Must be what I'm drawn to. The skirt, by the way, came from Target.
I do hope you'll give a Scarf Blouse Shirt Top a try. And if so, please send me a photo. I'd love to see what you create. I'm thinking of making a couple more myself. Enjoy your week!
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