Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Retro Halloween: I Have Some 'Splaining To Do

Okay, I did not fall off the face of the earth. Although I am sure you are wondering how it is possible that I could go 3 months without a single post. I have no good excuses for you. All I can say is that the adjustment to our new routines now that my oldest started preschool has been a little rocky. I have had very little time for creating and even less time for posting about my fun vintage finds. Top it all off with lots of preschool germs and we have been battling non-stop colds cycling through the house since September. But we weren't going to let it stop us from enjoying one of my favorite holidays!

There is nothing I enjoy more than being able to create the costumes of my kids' dreams every year. So you cannot even imagine my delight when my daughter asked to be Lucy this Halloween. Let me repeat that, my 2 year old daughter asked to be Lucy! I was such a proud momma. 

For her costume, I worked with patterns from my favorite book of patterns, "Sew Classic Clothes for Girls" by Lindsay Wilkes. I have utilized this book so many times already and I know I will continue to do so for years to come. If you sew for little girls you have got to check out her patterns over on her blog, The Cottage Mama. For this dress I worked between the Sweet Dress and the Dainty Darling dress with some modifications to the collar. 

I also decided to make the apron snap onto the waist band so that she could also wear the dress around the holidays without it looking like a costume. When you put this much work into a dress it has to be worn more than once! 

For my own dress, I used a great reprint of a vintage pattern from 1952, Butterick's B6018. 

I created view A with one very small change. I traded out the matching collar and cuffs for a contrast fabric (in my case, white). 

First, I have to say, I have had a lot of failed dresses with fit issues and this pattern was an absolute breeze to sew. I was sooo happy with the fit and the ease of sewing. I did some tissue fitting this time around and was so happy I took the time to do so. 

The final step to completing my costume was creating an apron to wear with it. I used a vintage hostess apron that I already had on hand and traced around it to make an apron that would lay wonderfully on top the full skirt of the dress without restricting it at all. 

Once put together I was quite happy with the turn out of our costumes. 

And still so pleased with the dresses. We will definitely be wearing them again without the aprons as a cute mommy and me outfit. 

I will most definitely be sewing this pattern up again in the future! Hope every one had a safe and Happy Halloween! 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Bringing Vintage Style to the Beach Bash

My husband and I have been enjoying dance lessons for the last few months! I absolutely love taking the lessons but I also love their occasional themed dance parties that they host. Not only are they extremely fun but they present me with great sewing challenges. This past week's theme was "beach bash". Rather than grabbing a fun Hawaiian print dress I decided I would infuse a little retro vibe into their party.

I have always loved the vintage playsuits and decided that I would finally make myself one. The only problem was the price of the patterns. Vintage playsuit patterns come at a steep cost. So I had to get a little creative. Luckily, in all my research I stumbled across a blog, Sew Weekly, in which someone else had used a modern romper pattern to create their vintage playsuit. The pattern she used was McCalls 6331. A quick search online led me to an etsy seller who had this pattern at a much lower price than the vintage ones.

However, as much as I love a pin up look, I felt it needed a bit of class for a dance party. So I started sketching up my plans to make this as functional as possible. It would be a playsuit for fun in the sun but it would have a conservative skirt for wearing beyond my backyard.

As you can tell, I mixed up a few of the views from the pattern I was using and added some of my own touches. The bust was the only challenging bit of this to sew, and that was only because it was my first time sewing this type of bodice. 

But once I had done it for the outer layer, it went rather quickly for the lining. I also have to note that I love a nicely lined garment, adds such a beautiful touch that you don't always get when you are out shopping for clothes. 

Once I finished the top, the shorts went very quickly. It wasn't long until I had the finished romper/playsuit. 

The skirt took another couple of hours to complete. Mostly because I decided to attempt piecing a trim to the bottom of the circle skirt and then fully lining that as well. I wanted something pretty to be showing if it was flapping open in the wind. 

The finished piece was exactly as I had hoped it would be. Although it does need a little bit of extra fitting done. Despite numerous try-ons through out the sewing process it still ended up too loose in the bodice. But because I am a procrastinator, this was finished just in time for the party. I will have to make the adjustments later this week. In the meantime, I just paired the romper with a halter top to be sure I was covered just in case. 

I am absolutely thrilled with how this turned out. I am definitely going to be making another playsuit with the other bodice very soon, when I am not too busy soaking up the sun in this one!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sewing Fails and Vintage Finds

It has been a long while since I have taken the time to come and write a blog post. Part of this is due to a bit of frustration in my garment sewing lately. I seem to have more fails than successes lately but I suppose this is all just a part of the journey. I guess sometimes after a few fails you have to walk away for a bit.

My latest failure was an attempt at a Butterick skirt that had a 40's feel to it. I have been on an Agent Carter kick, so I was trying to channel my inner Peggy Carter. The clothes in this show give me major wardrobe envy! In any case, I had this Butterick 4859 in my collection of patterns that I have thrifted.

I chose some peach skin fabric from Joann Fabrics in her signature red and blue and grabbed some seam binding to try a new finishing technique I had seen online. My contrasting fabric seams were basted together and then backed with the white seam binding. 

I was so excited as the skirt came together. The flares at the bottom back are so pretty and the contrast is a fun twist. I put it on my dress form and it was looking lovely.

On myself, it is a whole other story. When will I learn to always make a muslin first. Apparently, I will need to a full butt adjustment on some of my patterns from now on (which is weird though, beacause my capris never needed that).

It is pretty to look at but I am worried I will never be able to get this adjusted now to fit me quite right. 

I also have been chugging away at Mccall's 7154, the 1930's gown. But I am going to wait to share progress until it is completely finished. I am not holding my breath on this one either. Technically it is my muslin as I am using some fabric that I scored for $5. 

After the failed skirt, I kind of shelved my sewing machine for bit. But doing so gave me a little time to get out and hunt for vintage finds. And I had two very good weekends doing so. The first resulted in plenty of good sewing material. 

And this past weekend surprised me with many beautiful vintage clothing finds. Some of my favorites include this Pomare Tahiti dress, I am assuming from the late 60s or 70s.

Okay, I know the front is kind of plain jane but check out these awesome sleeves! I just couldn't leave it to be passed up at the thrift store.

Another very cute polyester number:

And my two favorites that I have to keep for myself:

Who wouldn't feel like an old hollywood star in this number. 

The details are just stunning. Of course, I pick wounded items to save so there are some stains and some holes to be fixed up before I can rock this one around the house!

And this number which I am thinking is just early 90s but I just couldn't get over the ruching on the waist and the full circle skirt. I love anything that will swish and spin! 

Next time I will have to share the beautiful vintage dresses that my grandmother just passed down to me. I am in the process of restoring them all and can't wait to share them in all their glory! 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Red Rockabilly Dress

I am actually keeping up with my sewing 2 garments a month so far. I cannot believe it. And it has been a great boost to the sewing confidence. I have had a few mishaps . . . like this poor jumpsuit.

Don't get me wrong, everything sewed up beautifully. It looks just plain gorgeous. If only I could get it on. I somehow cut or sewed the legs wrong. What a devastating experience that was. For that weekend I put my sewing machine on the shelf and said, I was done. But after a great Monday night (can you believe that, a good Monday?) I was feeling like myself again and decided to get right back to work. 

So I began a little red rockabilly dress using Simplicity's 8051. 

Yeah, I did not get too creative with the fabric choice. What can I say . . . I absolutely loved the pattern cover's dress and I already had enough of the red and white polka dot fabric on hand! It's like it was meant to be.

This was a surprisingly quick sew. I find working with cotton usually helps . . . slippery fabrics always require a lot more pinning. And I think I am in love with the finished dress. I ended up purchasing a crinoline/petticoat on ebay to help boost the 50's flare on this dress. 

I just love a dress with a full circle skirt!

But the back of this dress is what thrills me the most. I love unexpected touches and I think the peek-a-boo back is not what you would expect to see when this dress is walking away from you!

Oh, and those buttons . . . of course from my vintage button stash . . . along with the zipper which was appropriately titled as atomic red! 

This dress gave me my sew-jo back. In fact, the very next day I took a store bought convertible dress and re-created it using some knit fabric from my stash.

It ended up being a great week for sewing over here. Let's hope I can keep up this pace! 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Some Retro Inspire Sewing

I swear I am still around . . . still thrifting for vintage treasures and still trying to sew myself a vintage inspired wardrobe. I just took a nice long break for a much needed family vacation. Coming back rejuvenated and happier than a clam gave me the push I needed to tackle one of my biggest fears . . . sewing pants! I don't know why but I avoid sewing pants the way my children avoid eating peas! So I pulled out a super cute pattern by Gretchen Hirsch (Butterick 5895) and I got to work. And then I realized it. Sewing pants isn't scary at all! GASP! Dare I say they may have even been easier than the top? I do!

I used a stretch denim (found at the thrift store for a whopping $1.99), and added a pop of color in the pockets by using the same cotton from the blouse.

Don't mind the winkled look on the back . . . I had worn these out for the day before I got the chance to photograph them. What can I say, busy mom was just lucky enough to be dressed in time for our appointment that day.

And the back zipper on these totally reminds me of Sandy's pants in Grease. Yeah . . . I may have to make another pair of these in black, though I think I will pass on the ultra tight leather. 

The blouse was another Gretchen Hirsch pattern (Butterick B6217). Again, please excuse the worn in look. But let's just be honest . . . I wear my clothes! This top was actually fun to make as I got to play with some trim to change up the look. I love the retro vibe that ric rac instantly adds. I am still improving my skills and had a little trouble with the armhole facings not fitting right. So I actually swapped them out for the simpler finish with seam binding. The ric rac was an estate sale find and the fabric was thrifted for $1.99! And the buttons were vintage goodies that were found in the drawers of my treadle sewing machine. They were just perfect for the project.

I absolutely love the darting on the back of the shirt . . .such a nice fit! My only adjustment to the pattern itself was adding 2 inches to the length. As much as I love vintage, I just cannot do short shirts. Lifting the kids and running after them leaves me needing as much extra length as possible. Considering this was my first non-costume garment, I am soooo pleased with the result. I wore it out the entire day! It's also not too shabby for about $7 in supplies. 

I am already dreaming up the next outfit I will sew. Hoping to find some time at some point during this long weekend! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hitting the Jackpot

I had an unbelievably lucky weekend when it came to scoring some great vintage finds. It was almost one of those weekends where I had to believe that I kept ending up in just the right places at just the right time. After all, I would take amazing vintage finds at these prices over winning a lottery jackpot any day! I only had time to stop at 3 estate sales and a Goodwill, but it was more than enough time to find some forgotten treasures.

The first estate sale was actually fairly picked over as it was their last day and items were an extra 50% off. But I was absolutely thrilled as I dug through a closet of mostly 80s sweaters and discovered these two hidden treasures.

An original 1950's petticoat by Hoops My Dear! It is a beautiful pale blue with white lace in the middle. 

It has definitely seen a lot of wear and tear in it's over 60 years. There is some sticker residue on one hip and torn binding on the crinoline. I will have to get creative in repairing the torn areas. But I hope to focus my attention on repairing these once I catch up on a few projects in progress.

The stitching also shows signs of it's age. 

Next is a luxuriously soft petticoat in a pale pink by Charmode.

This one was also needing some special attention with tears in the seams, as well as some runs in the fabric itself. Hopefully I will be able to find a creative way to fix up the fabric.

I cannot wait to fix these up so I can use them as foundation pieces under the dresses I hope to actually make this year. 

Finding these 2 almost made me regret purchasing one a month ago at the vintage shop for over 4 times the price of these 2 combined.

Though this unique slip will be absolutely wonderful under a wiggle dress or pencil skirt! 

The estate sale also had just a few hats left that hadn't been scooped up. I absolutely had to get this pill box hat!

It was made by Junia Hats for Carson Pirie Scott. I am guessing it was made late 50's/early 60's. 

The body was made in Italy and there is a gold label in the hat that says Brigitte. Could this be named after the beautiful Brigitte Bardot?! 

Another hat that I will definitely be using come fall/winter!

From this estate sale we headed to the same estate sale from before. Apparently this woman had had storage lockers full of goodies (in fact, there will be one more estate sale at the same house again this month with even more things added)! But this visit had them offering everything at 75% off to make room for the next batch. I am so kicking myself for not picking up a few more things. 

My questionable find from there was a simple white dress, still brand new from Loehman's in 1981. 

So what is so questionable about it? Horrible age spots (I hope). The belt was very yellowed and upon trying to clean it up it began developing some immediate rust. So that has already been tossed. Let's hope the dress fares much better.

And of course, you need some summer gloves for with a summer dress! Just look at these drool worthy pleats!!!!

But, my absolute favorite find from this house was a housecoat! My mother was quite surprised at my attachment to this find but I just couldn't leave it there. 

There was something wonderful about the deep reds and the cute ruffles around the sleeves and collar.

And of course, it was brand new! I am not sure the date but I can say that it was $14.95 and the price tags were sewn in.

This will just be so cozy on those super chilly winter nights. 

Between the 3 estate sales I also managed to pick up quite a few miscellaneous vintage sewing goodies. 

I have not had the luck of finding any vintage patterns as those seem to be scooped up by re-sellers almost immediately. So I was pretty pleased to find some I could sew up. 

A Merry Hull Pattern

Simplicity 1366

And how do you like the disclaimer?!

Simplicity 3777

Butterick 4262

Simplicity 4520

Not vintage but a beautiful Victoria Jones Collection Pattern - 309

A Modern Miss - missing it's cover but just as fun to look through!

A McCall's Easy Sewing Book from 1958 

A nice collection of vintage trims and notions! 

But my favorite of the sewing finds, two things I have actually been looking to buy new. A chalk skirt marker and a tailor board! I will be one very happy sewer now! 

Well that was a lot to share. It is rare that I have such great finds all in one trip out but I sure do love the times that this happens! Now to make some time to repair those petticoats and sew up some of these wonderful patterns . . .