Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wartime Patterns

My work week was short but sucked a lot. And now I'm running a fever. BOO.  So, I thought that I would share some more vintage catalog pages. This time from the patterns section. The best part is they are IN COLOR! I could also see most of these day dresses in flour sack fabric. While we consider that to be more of a depression era practice, it didn't really stop until the 50's.  I think some vintage aprons I was given might have been made from that kind of fabric. Hmmm.  Click the images to embiggen them.

Everyone loves a good shirtwaist.

I love the pussy bow on the green one!

I'm going to steal all the hats in this one.

I love this princess seam ruching, its such an awesome touch. 

I have about three more but the photos were too fuzzy to put up. So more later!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chicken Frosting

I think I may have mentioned I picked up a "Three in One" McCall's catalog at an antique store on our way up to the mountains. Its from 1943, and its the height of war-time frugal advice. I took several photos (cause its too big for the scanner) but I'm going to share just the one for now.

Second pic down it says "Without changing your favorite layer cake recipe at all, you can proceed  full speed ahead, using chicken fat as wartime shortening. Cream it with sugar." Mmm, tasty. 

Now, I will preface this by saying that when I was growing up Mom would save all the drippings from bacon and beef.  I don't remember her ever saving chicken fat, though.  I guess it makes sense cause as fats go,
 un-rendered is fairly flavorless. At least, when you don't have all the additives they put in it now.  I can see all the others they had listed but the frosting just threw me for a loop. REALLY?

Also, I the reason for my lack of posts lately is largely due to my lack of inspired sewing. I've been mulling over a list that's about 30 pieces long trying to figure out what to make for Spring.  I've narrowed it down to 10 now. Three skirts, three blouses, three dresses, and a jacket. Two of the skirts are a TNT pattern. Two dresses and a blouse will all be from the same pattern, so I'll get some assembly line going there. That will leave a lot of time left over for the fitting of the other things.  I think I'm going to start working on my Ralph Lauren inspired duster as well, but I'm hoping to get a bust form made before that. Its gonna involve plaster tape and paper mache'. Messy fun! (well... messy anyway).

What's on your spring sewing list?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Back from the Mountains

The hubby and I had a very quiet cabin stay up in the North GA mountains.  We even drove through the Chattahoochee National Forest scenic highway over to Helen for a day.  Beautiful, if nail biting, experience as those mountain roads mean business. We came back a little early because the beds at the cabin were almost as hard as the floors.  The view was amazing though!


We didn't find any fabric stores but I did score a couple vintage 70's patterns and a 1943 McCall's catalog. War time thriftiness advice abounds! I will be sharing that soon. In the meantime, just know that RC Cola and Moonpies aren't a joke.

Cheers, Ya'll.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Marc Jacobs Is Big Pimpin' in America

Seriously, when I was going through the recent shows I saw this and I my brain just sort of screeched in mid-air. Its like on the other side of Mad Hatter's looking glass was an early 1980's Brooklyn, or Harlem, or... downtown Atlanta. Mix it up with the 1880's and you get.. this. What is this, I don't even?

Excuse me, have you seen my gold chain?

Someone used this poor girl for dart practice.
My husband calls this "Fetish on the Prairie, for a price".
She stole the safety pin out of a giant's diaper bag.

I dunno why I think Marc Jacobs is not suppose to be so off the wall. I'm personally excited to see what Ralph Lauren and Oscar de la Renta have to offer. AND Donna Karan's line was yummy. Give me black and red! I love black and red together.

Not much sewing going on with me right now. I've been doing a lot of planning and my husband is taking me to cabin up in the mountains for a mini getaway. I'm gonna attempt to make little lounge wear, we shall see.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Now added to the list of sewing vocabulary that makes grown men turn into giggling school boys. No, I don't want boning in my gusset, thank you very much.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Art Therapy - Paint and Fabric Scraps

Decorating boxes

My days off this week turned out to be mostly unproductive. While my brain was wanting to go go go, my body felt like it had been hit by a truck. I  know I've mentioned this before, but if you are new-ish it might be worth mentioning I'm a chronic pain patient. I promise I will not whine about it regularly but sometimes its hard for me to escape it.  I'm certain this bought  probably a combination of going dancing, vacuuming, and weather. But anywho, its a thing. I deal. Sometimes with art.

Now, I'm gonna say that I suck at drawing, which is why I took up photography. And scrapbooking. The wonderful thing about scrapbooking is I can stamp, color, play with paper, and play with images. It also gives me supplies for art journaling and altering things like the above box. Its a combination of paints and washi tape. The other one I covered with scrap fabric.  In fact, I was thinking of perfecting this idea and doing a tutorial. Any takers?

To be honest, the other reason for doing this was I am wrestling with how best to make the alterations to the New Look bolero.  I didn't have it in me to take pictures of the first run and I needed something to do while I mulled over the possibilities as well as take my mind off of pain.  I'm going to dig up Sherry's RTW tailoring tutorials as a guide for the pattern once fitting is done.  I have a feeling I will be making several of these as they are the perfect accompaniment to sleeveless dresses.

Erm, so that's all really.  Anyone else do some non-sewing creativity?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Jewel Tones

Hello again. I don't really have much in the way of progress to report right now.  I did trace and cut out the New Look bolero pattern. I even thread traced the seam allowance and all that.  As it stands, even after adding two inches to the sleeves I need to add at least one more.  And four inches to the front bust.  This will be my first time doing an armhole princess seam (or any princess seam) FBA. Any advice? I'll be documenting along the way, as I plan to turn this into a tried and true pattern.

Today's fabric haul.
Aside from that, I've decided to take a page of out of Gertie's playbook and make several ponte knit dresses from a super easy pattern.  I snagged myself a bunch of jewel tone fabric for just that reason. I also bought some stuff for valentines day, but um, I'm probably not going to show much of that. And on a side note, apparently my last post lost me a follower or two? I'm not sure why, but there it is.

Also in my "easy" book is several knit wrap dresses and a top.  A Simplicity pattern that I will turn into a tried and true go-to pattern.  I just feel like I need to add more care-free to my closet before I start working on the intense stuff.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Dancing Dress

My husband's favorite picture

Or "My Impersonation of Lady Gaga but Still Managed To Cover My Backside" dress. So this dress was a .99 pattern sale impulse buy while at JoAnn's for thread.  I don't buy fabric at JoAnn's anymore unless its for home dec. I've turned into a fabric snob. But the pattern I used, Simplicity 2190, which looks kinda horrible if you go by the cover. But I loved the shoulder cut outs and thought it would be perfect at dress length without the pockets and an edgy belt for dancing.  And it was perfect for dancing.

Silly pose to show off the shoulders. 
The dress came together quite easily. I didn't have to make any changes to the size as it had a huge amount of ease anyway. This is another 1.99 knit from Fabric Mart. Rayon blend and super easy to work with.  I used clear elastic to stabilize the sleeves.

This one is mostly to show off the shoes.

The Back

My friends P&L were the ones that decided I needed to get out of the house. L, having once been an promoter, knows the owners of several of the well established clubs. So being able to walk past the huge line of people and get waved in with neither a search or an ID check was pretty freakin' awesome. It offset the fact that I looked completely out of place otherwise. This is what happens when Goth's try to do non-goth club wear. I styled it differently in  that I wore red tights and my dancing shoes, and hair up. Here I'm just wearing my black tights and the shoes are the ones Felicity calls my "supermodel shoes".  Also, its time to make a hair appointment. The light red/grey is starting to show.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rotating a FBA Dart on Cowl Necks

I am by no means claiming that I'm an expert here. However,  when working on this pattern I did have an AHA! moment. The design ease through the bust was 1.5 inches. This meant that I needed to add 4 inches in total width to give myself 45.5 inches (converter to metric here).  

This pattern, the cowl tank from Simplicity 2345, has a self facing on the cowl.  Its basically the front pattern flipped up and mirrored that you just fold over.  It comes down below the bust and solves the problem of having to finish the front neck seam. Kinda awesome, actually.  So, I cut the self facing off and started with a y-bust dart. 

Y-Bust Dart, Yellow Like important later
 So here you see the three lines for cutting the  the darts,  arrows in the directions you cut.  The yellow one we don't cut yet, but you want to mark it now.  Remember to cut to the seam allowance, then snip from the seam allowance in.  That way you have a tiny hinge.

Fun with arrows.
 Ok, now we tape it to our wax paper, or whatever you have underneath.  I use wax paper cause I always put tape in the wrong place.  This is where we cut the yellow line, including the wax paper.

Here we rotate the side dart closed, opening the dart in the cowl.
 So, I kinda wasn't thinking in this spot here. I should have had some more wax paper underneath to tape and stabilize.  I ended up doing this afterwards and it was fine.  You now want to straighten your shoulder seam.  Your arm-scythe will have changed shape, but as long as the length hasn't changed you're still good.  I think in most cases I would have rounded from the shoulder  seam to the middle, giving me sort of an arch.  Since I needed a straight line across in to re-draft the self-lining, I used the part that I had cut off as my starting point.  Now I have the entire thing on my graphed quilt interfacing I use for the final pattern copy.


At this point, what I did was cut it off at the red line. Then I put the facing on top, lining the under part of the arm-scythe up and marked where the facing would end, drawing my line across there.  I then flipped it over after tracing the rest of the pattern and traced the new self facing as one continuous piece.  

I'm sure this could work for knits and non-knits. In fact, you could even split the difference in darts if you wanted.  In wovens and more stable knits I have no qualms with adding a side bust dart. Shaping is always a good thing!

And that's it.  Let me know if you have any questions!