Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In the Queue

Oh, dear! I've bought another vintage pattern, Simplicity 2313, a jumper and blouse from the 1940s. I bought it from New Vintage Lady's Etsy shop. She sells her own vintage-inspired patterns in plus sizes -- very cute, but out of my size range. She also sells vintage patterns in a variety of sizes. This one, a vintage size 14 has a 32 inch bust. (Vintage sizes run smaller than modern ones.) So I'm hoping it will fit without too much alteration.

On her blog, New Vintage Lady is hosting The Plain Pattern Project, a sew-along in which she challenges her readers to make one of the most plain and basic patterns in their collections at least three times by December 31, 2011. "One of the three garments should be made as close to the original designs as possible." The other two will offer more scope for the imagination.

This pattern would qualify, so I'm very tempted. But I'm probably being overly optimistic to even imagine I could make three versions of it by the end of the year.

I also want to try the 1950s Walkaway Dress sew-along hosted by the Eidelweiss Patterns blog. Originally issued in 1952, this Butterick pattern was wildly popular. Now reissued as Butterick 4790, many people have been lured into buying it by the perky and charming cover illo from the original pattern. But people who have actually made the dress give it very mixed reviews. Most complain about the fit. Interestingly, as revealed on the Eidelweiss Patterns blog, the modern version does not exactly reproduce the original pattern. The author of the sew-along shows how she restored the lines of the original bodice here, and is showing a more step-by-step version of the alterations during the sew-along.

I bought the pattern some time ago, but have hesitated to actually cut it out after reading the bad reviews of it and actually seeing a woman wearing this dress last Halloween. (Very sad!) I think I'd really like to have a go at the alterations, especially since I already have some inexpensive fabric in my stash which I could afford to devote to it. (This pattern takes nearly five yards!)

Oh, dear! For a quilting blog I've had way too many garment posts lately. Okay, the next couple of posts will be about quilting.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Finished the Crescent Skirt!

This is just a quickie post to report that I've finished the Crescent Skirt sew-along hosted by Sewaholic. This is not the best picture in the world because it was taken late at night by Fillius who had never used my camera before. In the original I looked like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Thank goodness for iPhoto which also allowed me to cut off my head. (Fillius snapped the shutter while I was trying to give him instructions, so my mouth looked really weird. I mean really weird, as if an alien from outer space had taken over my body.)

While I was sewing it, I referred to this pattern as The Skirt of Doom because I kept making so many stupid mistakes. I hasten to assure you that it was not the fault of the designer. This pattern is very well designed and the instructions are clearly written. And the well-photographed sew-along was amazingly helpful.

I like the way the skirt turned out. The original is a good deal shorter. I lengthened mine because I wanted to wear it to work where I need to be able to squat down modestly to reach the lower bookshelves. The pockets were easy to put in and lie nicely flat. My fabric choice was unfortunate. I like the print, but you can't see the lovely stitching detail on the waistband. And in this photo you probably can't even see that the waistband goes down into a point. I was worried how this would look on me because I have a middle-aged tummy. Surprisingly, the waistband disguises it. And I think this skirt looks good even though I made it from a quilting cotton. It goes nicely with a tucked in T-shirt or blouse. And I've successfully worn it with with blouses designed to be worn untucked. I'm glad about that because I have quite a few of those left from my pants-wearing days.

(Just so you know: I'm not one of those women who refuses to wear pants for religious reasons. I've switched to skirts because I now have to wear support hose, and they're just too hot to wear under trousers -- even with air conditioning!)

I will definitely make this again, but not in such a busy print. I want the curved seams on the waist band to show up. Perhaps a nice, lightweight denim?

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Joy of Buttons (Vintage)

I have an embarrassingly large button stash: five metal cookie tins and a gallon Ziploc bag -- all stuffed with buttons. Most of them were inherited from my mother-in-law who was quite a seamstress in her day. She used to boast that she could come home from work in the evening and sew an entire outfit in time for her sister to wear it the next morning -- all on her trusty little Featherweight. Her button collection continued to grow even after she left off sewing because she was a bit of a pack rat who could never pass up a bargain.

My mother, who sewed a lot of dresses when we girls were young, also had an ample supply of buttons. She gave them to me during her downsizing frenzy, though she reserves the right to drop by any time she needs some.

Since my mother is 80 and my mother-in-law would have been 100, some of my buttons now qualify as vintage. Those which are still attached to their cards have such charming artwork that I doubt I could bear to use them.

My favorites are the baby buttons.

These are so tiny that I can't imagine making buttonholes for them -- at least not by machine. I suppose one might have made hand worked buttonholes that small.

Or would thread loops have been used? (They used make those by working a hand buttonhole stitch over several strands of thread.)

Here's a sultry beauty.

This must be her clean-cut boy friend.

I love the cut-out leaf design on these.

And how about these glass buttons imported from Western Germany? "Guaranteed to wash and iron." The way the color flows from pink to blue is amazing. The photo doesn't do them justice.

And here are a few loose buttons whose shapes or color I found interesting. I don't know if you can see the emblem very well, but the dark green button on the lower left is an official Girl Scout button. It must have survived my brief membership. (All I remember about the meetings was that the dues were ten cents and that we met in a room with a piano where all the other girls played Chopsticks or some other dreary two-fingered tune that went, "Bomp, bomp, bomp! Da-bomp, da-bah, da-bomp!")