Project Wardrobe, 1.2

My “1958-vintage-Mad Men-inspired” Easter dress was finished during the eleventh hour of Holy Saturday (actually around 11:30 p.m.)…

Me on Easter Sunday morning

After measuring the pattern pieces, I adjusted the bodice a little bigger (primarily because I was worried about the waist being too snug for me), as it turns out, The bodice was about two sizes too big when first assembled, so I took it apart (twice) to make it smaller and more fitted, and eventually added a small pleat at the center neckline in front (NOT part of the pattern) that mimics the soft pleats at the center of the skirt front and back to make it fit correctly. It’s a perfect fit now, but a workout for the seam ripper (and the delicate rayon challis fabric!). I also fought with the zipper. After destroying the zipper I stopped to buy on my way home from work on Friday, (I trimmed it, forgot to sew over the zip to create a new “stop”, sewed into the dress perfectly on the first try, and then unzipped it right apart!) I “made do” with a zipper I had at home, and I must have put that zipper in at least three times. Major frustration.

A cool Sunday morning; I wore it with a 3/4 sleeve cardigan

The skirt at the hem has a circumference of 99″ (251.46 cm) and I don’t own a crinoline to wear with it like the gals on the pattern cover have, so we were attempting to get a photo of me twirling in the skirt:

Trying to get a "swirling skirt" photo

Mostly I just got dizzy and a bunch of out-of-focus silly photos of myself.

Have you ever sewn with a vintage clothing pattern? How did it turn out for you?


Project Wardrobe, 1.0

When I visited Treadle Yard Goods in St. Paul, MN last week, I picked up four yards of this Rayon fashion fabric at 50% off:It a soft, lush rayon, in gorgeous Amy Butler colors, and the print is Twilight Peony (that just happens to be my favorite flower!) from her Saffron colorway. It’s 56″ wide, and I happened to have this vintage 1958 Simplicity pattern at home that seemed a perfect fit:Can’t you just see Betty Draper on Mad Men wearing that blue dress to a cocktail party? If you’ve ever sewn with vintage clothing patterns, you know the sizing is much smaller than today. As in, that pattern cover says it is a size 16 Misses (I wear a few sizes smaller than that, so I thought “great, it should be just the right size for me!” Nope.). That size 16 Misses from 1958 is closer to a size 8 by today’s standards, If our sizes today were based on the same measurements as those from 1958, I would wear a 20 or 22! (If I put on a Size 20 ready made dress, it would probably fall off of me!). So, tip for using vintage patterns: MEASURE everything, more than once, and make adjustments to your pattern before cutting into your fabric.

So, I need a dress for Easter Mass. On Wednesday (yes, THIS Wednesday) I pulled out the fabric and the pattern and started cutting out a dress to make for Easter Sunday (yes, THIS Sunday). I made some good progress last night with the sewing, and I have a nearly complete bodice:and an already hemmed (love my Janome blind hem foot G!!!), ready-to-join-to-the-bodice-this-evening, skirt. The final step is putting in the zipper.
I made this my weekly goal here.Wish me luck. I did say I wanted to sew more for myself this year… This is officially the beginning of Project Wardrobe 2012.

Go, Diego, Go!

Hi reader, happy December!  I can’t believe we are almost to the end of another calendar year.  That means another round of holiday gatherings, and in our family, more birthday celebrations.  You might recall the post I did about my nephews Curious George birthday party last year, and the shirts I made for them.  Well, this year, it is all Diego, all the time.  Big Brother was even Diego for Halloween this year…Baby jaguar, magic backpack, and flashlight included:
My sister, their talented mommy, made this awesome Diego and Dora cake for them:

 And Aunt Doris made them “magic Diego birthday shirts”:

 I’ll let you in on a little secret…  there is no licensed Diego fabric on the market, so I bought a package of Diego underwear (called “unders” in Big Brother’s world) at Target, used Heat-n-Bond Lite to stabilize the fabric before cutting the numbers out of them, and satin-stitched around the edges after heat-setting them to the shirts:

Not bad, huh?   I can only imagine what next year’s pop culture obsession will be.  Here’s Little Brother in his shirt, lest anyone be left out….

Kikus and Hexies

I spent last night fussy cutting hexagons, not for English Paper Piecing, but for the Candied Hexagons Quilt I’m finally starting!  No doubt Janet (my inspiration) and Lorraine (my benefactor) have both given up on me!  Never fear, I always get around to my projects, eventually!  I’m cutting these with templates lent to me by another generous quilting friend, Linda.  Much slicker than my paper templates I was planning to use!

Monday night I started yet another project, sewing a new Summer dress for myself:

It feels good to sew clothing again, I need to find more time to devote to it!
And I finally have finished pics to share with you of the Chrysanthemum Quilt.  Made for my best friend’s birthday, as the Chrysanthemum is a traditional symbol of friendship.  In Japan chrysanthemums, called “kikus”, are exchanged between friends as a symbol of the virtue and incomparable value of their friendship.  The quilt is of my own design, in Michael Miller’s Espresso brown solid, Kona Stone, Meadowsweet green scroll and greens from my stash:

My photos are not great, next time I’m at her home I will need to retake!  This one shows the truest colors:

My meander/stipple quilting continues to improve:
Who knows, maybe one day I’ll even master feathers! A girl can dream, can’t she?!
What are you working on this week?  

Done? Check!

I’ve crossed a few biggies off of my Spring to Finish to-do list:

1) Quilt & Bind B&W quilt
2) Quilt and bind dress-form mini quilt
3) Finish Valentine runner
4) Finish six Nearly Insane blocks that are cut
5) Bind Girlish Charm quilt
6) Finish
Chrysanthemum quilt
7) Finish Birthday quilt top
8) Bind the Shining Star quilt
9) Finish Flying Geese runner
10) Finish Lisa’s medallion border
11) Finish Studio canvases
12) Finish vintage sewing machine table
13) C’s baby quilt
14) Finish new shower curtain
15) Make 10.5″ 30s Block for Karen
16) Clean out closets 1, 2, and 3 (Decided to do my LEAST favorite, first!)
17) Store Sample-batik jacket

That’s 8 finishes, and only 9 to go! I realize my time is limited, the end of May is fast approaching, but some of those that are crossed off were my biggest hurdles!

Excuse the cruddy-taken-by-myself-in-the-mirror-of-a-windowless-bathroom photo, but this is the jacket I made for a sample for the shop (#17 on my list)…
This is a more true-to-color photo of the batik I used:I finished this completely with french seams… and lots of hand sewing. See that pretty french seam?My Chrysanthemum quilt, #6 on the list, is coming along, I finished the top this weekend, but I can’t cross it off until I quilt and bind it…
I love how it’s turning out!
Hoping to tackle this and #1 on the list yet this week…

On Friday, I’m off to market. Yes, that market.

Two little monkeys…

I showed you my Curious George birthday shirts on Friday, and thought you might like to see a few shots of the party…the gift table (I should have gotten a much better shot of this as there was much more to it):

My sister (the Momma) and I decorated monkey cupcakes and yellow hat cookies the night before the party (and sampled WAY too much icing)…

Don’t you just love those Apple Jacks for ears?!? My sister had a Ziploc bag she brought out full of cereal, on it in Sharpie was written “Do Not Eat: Monkey Ears”; that really tickled my funny bone. The cupcakes didn’t turn out as well as our prototype, and the black icing ran on the hats by morning…but did anyone care? Of course not…

Least of all these two little monkeys…

It’s hard to photograph these two together, what with them being 13 and 24 months old, every shot is an action shot! The biggest hits in the gift pile were two wooden puzzles and a hammer and peg set from my brother and his family (way to go, Lesley!) who gave the big brother there directions not to use the hammer on his brother…

I just love that chubby little paw holding the peg!

And I LOVE you, my sweet little monkeys! Happy first and second birthdays!