Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ode to "Grandma" Betty

No, I don't have a grandma named Betty. I don't have any grandmas anymore, but if I did I would want them to be just like Betty. I found an estate sale on Craigslist with sewing notions listed, so of course I called Holly and we headed on over there. What we discovered was that Betty has been sewing and collecting all kinds of great stuff since the 60s. Not her 60s, as in the 1960s.

Betty left us so many good things. It was hard to see some of the stuff that was being sold including several hand stitched quilts. They were marked too high for me to save, but I hope they find a good home if they can't stay with her family. Check out what our new Grandma Betty let us have.

This is a cool wheel that helps you choose the proper weight interfacing for your fabric. I don't have that down just yet, so this is an awesome find. My only fear is going to Joann's and asking for a weight they have not used since 1974. Spooky Hotel California stuff there.

Hem tapes, Stitch Witchery, Twill Tape...general notions everyone needs.

I love the belt making kits! The white one is pretty thick and cute looking. The black one deserves a closer look...
Turns out in 1968 Betty was a crazy go-go dancer making her own 'Leather-like Vinyl' belt. I love it!

Check out my tracing paper. I thought it just came in blue or yellow in long skinny strips that have to be repositioned all the time. It turns out it comes in sheets in every color of the rainbow! Notice how inflation works right to left: .25 to .29 to .70.

A lot of vintage zippers, mostly metal.

A giant sack of buttons that span a huge chunk of history. I think Betty left those no-sew Gripper Fasteners just for me. She saw what happened on my Walkaway dress.

Check out what else was in the button sack, a wrist pin cushion with hand sewing needles. I had just misplaced my last one!

Now if you don't know what this is, neither do I. I just know what it does. The little jar there is filled with chalk powder, and the pump at the top blows it out. You set the jar height to the height you want your hem and turn in a circle as you pump a chalk line along the dress. I don't even know if you can get these anymore!

The total haul was $13. I have decided Batty is my patron saint of sewing. She left me this amazing collection of treasures I promise to put to good use. I think she would be happy two new seamstresses appreciated her years of collecting and sewing. Thanks Betty!

This one is for you...and girl, I saw your liquor cabinet. We were such kindred spirits!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Super fun skirt party!

After the beast on Sunday Holly and I went for an easy win. We wanted something quick and fun and we totally rocked Simplicity 2258. We both made version C or the one the girl is wearing. I made mine a bit longer because the picture the skirt was pretty mini. I would up cutting off my excess and it came just over my knees. What does that mean really? I am 5 foot 5, so pattern envelope girl is about 6 foot 11.

It was a totally awesome win!!!! This one is mine...

Here is Holly's...

It was funny Holly liked my material, but hers is super cute. I love both of them. After this skirt we were totally inspired. We went to Joann's to look for more skirt fabric. I think I will make a million of these.

So the skirt is very easy. The waistband is elastic, but once on it isn't noticeable. We had already cut them out, but actual sewing time was about an hour and a half.
First of all it has pockets! Hooray!

The pockets were just one piece each the folded back on itself. Super easy way to make pockets!

Here are a couple of shots of the waist tie. It is hard to see with my pattern, but it makes a great bow. As you can see on the left, the ties are shaped kind of liked paddles and attached to the side seams at the waist. Holly pointed out that piece could be used on anything. Good call!

Within a couple hours of getting back home, Holly sent me this picture:
She made another one out of seersucker she had made a dress out of that she wasn't wearing!

This was such a fun and easy pattern. As you can see every kind of fabric looks cute, I believe we both used quilting cotton for our top ones. Make one now, or two, or six! I have elastic waist skirt fever!

Slaying the beast!

Sunday we finally made mincemeat of the beast! And by making mincemeat I mean Holly and I finally finished the Vogue 1241 we started way, way back when! Behold...

I have to admit I like it more that I thought I would. After the zipper debacle the dress really went together fast. You may be able to see the neckline is a bit weird. I don't know if I should have used stiffer interfacing or what, but it does stand a bit weird. Not bad enough to never wear it, just kind of weird. As for my fit, as I described to Holly, if I were trying this dress on at the store I would ask for the next size up. It zips with a bit of urging. Part of this came from the bodice. My bodice pieces were a bit short, so I had to overlap them. Upon overlapping them I wound up trimming about 4 inches off my loin cloth piece.

Point in case, my back is pulling a little. Also, my zipper is the best I have done yet, but where it ends my seam gets a bit sloppy. Suggestions are welcome!

Now, the ugly!

Remember when I was cutting out the lining and ran out of black and used white? That's where I get the Cruella Deville insides.
Upon closer look, yes. One seam goes in and one seam goes out. I think I was moody at this point in the dress.

So what are my thoughts on this pattern? I like it more than I thought, and it is actually kind of flattering. If I were to make it again I would skip the lining. With all the gathering and pieces I think the pattern would have turned out more true to size had I not had the lining. My dress came out pretty fancy, but Holly used purple sateen on hers and it is a bit more casual. Overall a nice pattern, but with many, many pieces and instructions!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Back to the beast

Tomorrow Holly and I are slaying the beast. There are plans to start in the morning and power through until that Vogue is done. A reminder of the beast to those that are thinking, surely it's not the same dress. She still isn't done?

I also have another skirt cut out. After the beast we decided we needed a quick win. This will be the next project for Holly and I.

Yay! A new project that is not the peplum shirt that is trying to kill me or the beast.

This is Simplicity 2258. I am making the floral skirt in the picture, but have left it a bit longer as I'm not too keen on minis. Also, House of Pinheiro  did a fun series on tulip skirts, so I was kind of inspired.

I love how beautiful this fabric is.  It has a bit of a Mexican flair to it and I am coming up to mine and Mr. Thinks He Can's wedding anniversary, so I hope to wear it in Mexico next month! Perfect opportunity. Gratuitous wedding shot alert! I'll have to find a bigger shot, but I love this picture.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

No one told me life was gonna be this way (clap, clap, clap, clap)!

McCall's has brought it all back. I am looking at the new fall release patterns and I feel like I am looking at the wardrobe from Friends, Season 1-3.

Point in case:

Is that not Rachel's one, two plaid shorts and tights combo or what? That beauty is McCall's 6403.

You may be asking, what is Stacie's problem here? No problem at all. I love fashions of the 90's and am happy to see them coming back. I lived through the 80's revival during which I frequently told my students, "Get your pants unrolled and out of your socks. It wasn't cute when I did it, and it's not cute when you do it. You'll thank me one day." I fully believe in about 15 years I will have cards and calls coming in from grateful former students that I did not let them get caught on camera looking how their kids are now dressing.

Back to McCall's, I also enjoy the Bongo style jeans of McCall's 6405. Not Audrina Patridge for Bongo, good old I have to go to J.C. Penny for some more Bongos when we are done smoking these cloves and before My So-Called Life comes on Bongos.

Even the kids are doing it these days!
This outfit (6389) brings back an awesome flannel shirt thrown over a T, AND includes the ever present hiking boots of the 90s. I am loving it!

I can't wait until flannel shirts come back. No really. I can't.

So there are a couple I really like and will make for the here and now without feeling too grunge yet.

McCalls 6407 is three cute jackets. I like the pink one with the scalloped sleeves and the one on the right without the scallops. Very cute light fall jacket for these non existent Texas winters.

I also especially like this pattern, 6402, and the gray skirt on the bottom right. Is it just me or could I make the one next to it, throw on a couple big safety pins, shorten it and totally go Britney circa Hit Me Baby One More Time?

Bringin' it back yo! I love the 90's!

I can't wait to see what the other guys release. There is a new Simplicity line out, but nothing grabbed me like this McCalls line. Odd, I'm usually totally into Simplicity. They had a cute Kate Middleton ISSA knock off though...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Messy day

I kept on trucking with the floral shirt. I pulled out all the stitching attaching the peplum to the shirt and was ready to go. I dragged all the gear out and got to it. I needed to regather the piece, so I took it over to my sewing machine... and SAT on it. I pulled it out from my apparently aggressive rear end and ripped the fabric!

And it ripped! Note to anyone sewing with Voile, it tears easily and your rear end hates it!

So I cut out a whole new piece because I had extra fabric and after all the stitching I thought I might as well.

Easy fix. I used the rest of the rest of my thread and attached it perfectly. :-)

Beautiful right? Then I decided to zigzag the inner raw edge instead of anything fancy because I am lazy. I got halfway through and my bobbin ran out. I simply refilled the bobbin...

With ALL my thread. It is not Sencha bad, it is just little things I am messing up not paying attention. I decided this was a nice place to stop, and maybe have a glass of wine!

I tell you what, I am going to wear the heck out of this shirt as much time as I am putting into it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Clean is hard!

As I mentioned earlier I have my condo in the Houston Heights on the market (contact me if you are in the market!). I love it, but we need more room. The sad part is in trying to keep it clean for people viewing it, I have had to stash my goods. Being that this is a small condo I have a 6 foot plastic table I unfold out in the living room with my machine on the dining room table and my iron set up in the hall. It may not be ideal but it works.

Before the great cleaning when I had a project I was working on I could leave it all mostly set up (probably not the iron) and sit down with it whenever I had a few minutes. Now I want at least a two hour block to work on things because it is about 15 minutes of set up and clean up to sew.

Please stick with me while things are slow for me. I will be working on projects, it will just be a bit harder to get to. I am also a special ed administrator for summer school and working on some educational diagnostician courses at Sam Houston State University. Trust me, come July 1 when school gets out, all I am going to do is sew!!!!

I still have my chiffon Anna Sui to get to.

I may be doing a mini wardrobe if we plan a vacation. I also have just discovered the joy of a well fitted pencil skirt, so their may be more of those to come. I also fell in love with a chiffon maxi Hannah was wearing on Secret Diary of a Call Girl this season I may want to replicate. I can't wait! Until then, I will have to live vicariously through your blogs and be jealous of all your fabulous projects.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I am an unstoppable force of floral peplum shirt fashion

Don't you love that feeling you get? You love the fabric. The directions are reading as easily as a children's books. You never thought it would come together this fast. You have a beautiful new shirt to wear to work tomorrow. Sweet success!

Then you turn it inside out an admire your own fancy handy work and feel you are becoming a true seamstress and unstoppable force of floral peplum shirt fashion!

Then you think, huh. That's weird. And flip it outside in... then think "huh" some more. You hang it up to get your mind around it.

The top of the midriff is perfect. It is right side out. Huh.

Nice. The top of the midriff is sewed on correctly and the bottom of the midriff is on inside out!

Here is the clincher. I accidentally basted the lower midriff first, then realized my mistake and straight stitched it in a perfect, tight row. I have now put away my sewing gear and spending a very careful and intimate night in a lave-hate relationship with Mr. Seam Ripper.

Moral of the story: I need to slow my force of fashion role and use my brain to concentrate, not daydream about my own awesomeness!

This is the previously mentioned Simplicity 3601.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Simplicity 2601, it's truly, truly, truly outrageous!

I have high expectations for this shirt. I have gotten it cut out and marked, which to me is the boring part. I'm hoping I have it sewn tomorrow as I have the day off.
This is an older pattern, Simplicity 2601, that was highly rated on pattern review and Patty has made a couple fantastic versions. Because it is no longer in print I ordered it from Art Fire, but I don't think it was very much at all. I am making the sleeveless version with the ruffle (b), but adding the cap sleeves from view E.

I love the fabric. As I was cutting it I realized it would make a beautiful table cloth, curtains, dresses, skirts, more shirts...I love when I feel that way about my fabric. It is the Lola print Viole from, but last I checked they had sold out!

As I was cutting I did find one interesting thing. It was Saturday morning, and of course as a very mature 30 something I wanted some cartoons on in the background. Why did I not get the memo Jem and The Holograms are back on Hub!

I caught the first one of the series, but it was sheer luck. I still have all these dolls, the car, and yes Rio and Jem's musical water bed still at my parent's garage. I was a huge fan and was amazed how many words I still remembered. Perhaps one day I will find a picture of the time I dressed as Jem for Halloween to share with you all. It consisted of bedazzled pink satin pajamas, and of course my Sally Jesse glasses but only because I was blind without them! What's up with Pizzaz anyway? Why does she hate the orphans so much? And why was Jerrica OK with Rio being into both her AND Jem, yes it was her alter ego, but he didn't know that. I have a lot more questions about this situation as an adult...

Enough on that! Hopefully I will have an update tomorrow on the shirt (not the moral dilemmas Jem imposes).