Saturday, June 11, 2011

More Vintage Patterns

Once again I've succumbed to the lure of vintage patterns. I've bought not one, but two of them -- which just goes to show that a woman with a credit card should not be browsing the Internet late at night.

The first is Advance 4158 from the 1940s. I fell in love with it after seeing View 1 on Vintage Girl's blog. I love the details on this pattern, those little slits on the top of the sleeve, those cute buttoned pockets, the bound button holes. (Vintage Girl added piping to her version which looks darling.) The dress has a side zipper, but I wonder if you could do without it since there are also buttons down the front.

This is an unprinted pattern, something I've never worked with before. Unlike modern patterns, the unprinted ones came precut. And they had perforations to mark the darts, seam allowances, etc. rather than printed lines and dots.

The second pattern is Simplicity 1668 from 1946. The scallops in View 1 captured my heart.

This pattern seems to be a hybrid. It's printed, but like its unprinted brethren from this period, has perforations to mark construction details.

I read the pattern sheet today and discovered that it's supposed to have triangular shoulder pads. (Boo!) But at least it also includes rudimentary instructions on how to construct them. However, I think I'll wait to see how the dress looks without them. View 1 has a side zipper, something I've never attempted. View 2 has a back zipper which should be relatively easy to insert.

Both of these will need size adjustments which will be another new challenge. In the meantime, off they go to my pattern drawer to until I've finished my current projects. If only I didn't have to work! Think how much more time I'd have for sewing. But then, how little money I'd have for supplies. Oh, well.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Crescent Skirt 1 (And Agonized Shopping)

Things have been busy this month. We lost one of our library aides, so the rest of us have been working increased hours until she can be replaced. Summer is our busiest season, thanks to our summer reading program, and I often come home too exhausted to do much of anything except vegging out with a book or a DVD. Nevertheless, I've been trying to progress at least a little each day on my new Crescent Skirt.

Sewaholic's patterns are well designed and have very clearly written instructions. In addition, she has recently hosted a sew-along for the Crescent Skirt which walks you through the entire process from choosing your fabric and notions, to sewing and fitting a muslin, and then constructing the finished skirt out of fashion fabric which includes an amazing new technique for inserting the zipper. Each step is well illustrated with photos and almost any question you can think of has already been answered in the com box.

I began tracing the pattern on May 30th. The only difficulty I had was trying to keep track of which line I was tracing. There are so many sizes included in the pattern that in certain spots the lines seem to smudge together into an indecipherable haze of dots. I did the best I could while trying to reassure myself that with a 5/8 inch seam allowance (which appears simply huge to a quilter) there is less need to worry about a possible 16th of an inch variance. Still, I couldn't help worrying just a little because the waistband has so many curved seams.

Sometimes I have a tendency to overthink my projects and become a little obsessive-compulsive about accuracy. So I forced myself to just finish the tracing and then began pinning the pattern to the muslin. That's when I remembered that I'd planned to buy new glass headed pins with a 20% off coupon valid for any one item at the local quilt store during the month of May. Since the next day was already completely booked, today would be my last chance. So I jumped into the car, zoomed down to the shop, and bought my pins. Then I remembered that I was also eligible for a 15% discount because May is my birthday month. So I decided to also buy some extra-fine patchwork pins.

I love to use these for piecing because they are so thin -- only 0.4 mm -- and super sharp so they won't distort your 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Then, just as I took them to the counter, I noticed a sample quilt that I madly fell in love with. It was a dinosaur quilt, beautifully designed, and perfect for a little grandson. I loved the colors, the pattern, and clever use it made of a color co-ordinated border print. The shop had been selling kits for this quilt and there was only one left. I grabbed it, thinking of my 15% discount and my two year old grandson, and then stood there and agonized for about 20 minutes.

I loved the quilt. I wanted to make it for my grandson. But it was a kit! I never make things from kits. But the colors were perfect! I couldn't have chosen better myself. But, I told myself, you already have dinosaur fabric in your stash, albeit in a very different style. And you've been planning to make the grandson a quilt from it for ages. And at this point in your life you need to use your stash not add to it. And if you're not designing the quilt yourself, or choosing the colors yourself, then there won't be much creativity involved in this project. And you will be bored, bored, bored by this project and you Will Not Finish It.

But I want this quilt, I protested. I did not dignify that argument with a reply. (I hate it when I give myself the silent treatment.)

Finally, reluctantly, I put the kit back down onto the display, and another woman, who had been hovering nearby, snatched it up. With a sigh for what might have been, I paid for my second packet of pins and hurried home.

Then I pinned and cut my muslin. My only mistake so far: I traced a second copy of pattern piece #10 and forgot to trace piece #9. Luckily, I noticed before I finished cutting.

And you know what? I haven't felt a moment's regret about not having bought that kit. Funny how important it seemed at the time.