2012 sewing

This week has just been topsy-turvy for lack of a better phrase! So I’m going to save the Christmas decorations post until next week (I may also show y’all what I’m baking this year since all the cookie baking will commence then!), and instead show you a little evidence that I’ve been sewing. I’ve actually been working on a few things, but kitchen curtains and Boppy covers aren’t as cute… lol.


After I announced I was expecting, the lovely Portia sent me a fun package full of adorable vintage patterns (thank you again, Portia!). This particular one stood out to me as something I could make immediately (I’ve been holding off on a lot of clothing items, as I’m waiting to see what size Miss Blueberry is to better grade patterns to fit her as needed). What baby (or mama?!) wouldn’t love a little plush elephant? I used some grey cotton velveteen I thrifted, and managed to whip it up in about two evenings.



I also made a little party hat for the elephant out of felt (every elephant needs one, don’t you know?), which can be easily removed before we give Miss Blueberry the elephant to play with. I forgot how much I love making little plush animals! I think I might make one of these or these (out of some soft chenille…) for her next.

December 14, 2012 · 32 lovely thoughts
posted in baby diary · tags: , ,

Hello, friends! My apologies for lack of posting again this week, but I sliced my hand open the other day and ended up at the doctor’s for half of one day, and it’s just been awkward to work with a “wounded” hand. Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as I had thought initially, but still needs time to mend so computer use has been restricted. Thanks for understanding!

Remember the little pattern swap that Gina and I did about a month ago? We finally finished both the outfits we decided to sew! (Be sure to scroll down to see Gina’s outfit and visit her blog.) I have a rather large backlog of summer sewing to photograph and share with y’all, but I was so excited about how this dress turned out, I couldn’t wait to show it off!

Here’s a refresher of the pattern and fabric. The pattern is a vintage early 1960s design, and I loved the “double breasted” back closure, and the low back neckline. The fabric was a linen that I purchased online several years ago and had been holding on to for just the right project. As the pattern was a bit large for me, I graded down a couple sizes. I had just enough fabric to cut the full skirt view out of my fabric, though in the end I had to cut the waistline piping on the straight of grain instead of bias as the pattern indicated.

Construction was fairly straight forward–sleeveless bodices don’t vary too much in making up. I did sew two bound buttonholes at the back, topstitching around the neckline and armholes, and added piping to the waistline. The latter is a detail I have always adored on many of my vintage dresses from the same era, but don’t use it a lot on my own sewing. It just looks so neat and tidy at the bodice and skirt seam–I need to incorporate this more into my future sewing!

I’ve worn this dress a number of times since I finished it nearly two weeks ago–it’s fast become a favorite! We took pictures when we went on a little day trip recently (Yorktown National Battlefield), so please excuse the wrinkles (though it is linen after all) and slightly sweaty Casey look–it was nearly 100°F that day! I really love the silhouette and the red buttons that I used. Although the print itself doesn’t have the same vivid red, I think the fabric and bright buttons work beautifully together.

  • Pattern: Vintage McCalls #7248 (view B).
  • Fabric: Mid-weight printed linen, purchased online a few years ago (sadly, not available any longer!).
  • Alterations: Graded the pattern down to fit.
  • Techniques: Bound buttonholes, piped waistline, and topstitching (I used a lightweight crochet thread wound onto a bobbin and thread through the top thread of my machine. I used regular weight thread in the bobbin, and the stitch length set to 3.5.).
  • Make Again? I would love to! Perhaps in a solid color–light pique would be my dream fabric.

Here’s a peek at Gina’s lovely creation! She chose a two-piece outfit pattern I sent her, and I just love the fabric she used–so cheery! The style seems perfect for summer too. Be sure to stop by her blog to read about her project and the pattern she used!

July 13, 2012 · 60 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , ,

If you follow me on Facebook, you probably saw my little note about Gina’s post last week. If not, let me give some background on this sewing swap and project we’re working on in tandem. Several weeks ago I emailed Gina about some vintage patterns, and we ended up sending each other a few both to keep and borrow. I love doing these sorts of swaps with my fellow sewing friends; it’s just as neat to put together a package for someone whose blog I read as it is to get one! Gina was kind enough to lend me the cheongsam-inspired blouse pattern I’ve admired for so long (still trying to decide on fabric for this one–but I need to make it!), and send me a couple others in exchange as well. Aren’t they lovely?

But this little swap doesn’t end with patterns! We both decided we were going to make up one of the patterns we sent each other as a little joint “sew-along” of sorts. It was a hard decision, but I ended up going with the McCalls #7248 because it reminds me a bit of my wedding dress (which is vintage and dates to around the same time as the pattern). I loved wearing that dress on my wedding day, and have often thought I’d like a daywear version. So here’s my chance! Only instead of white linen as my wedding gown was, I’m opting for a fun, tropical print linen I have in my stash. (Yes, I realize half my summer sewing incorporates tropical prints–I blame living in Florida for three years where they were so plentiful!) I have some gorgeous red buttons that Jen gave me, and I think it’s going to make a fun, summer frock!

I’m hoping to share a few bits and pieces as I go along! So stay tuned for those snippets as well as the big reveal in about a month! In the meantime though, I’ve been finishing up my 1940s playsuit project, and hope to share the results of that with you soon! It’s so nice to spend some quality time with my machine again… hehe!

Thank you again, Gina, for sending me these! If you haven’t already, be sure to drop by her delightful blog!

June 11, 2012 · 20 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , ,

Things have finally settled down a bit ’round here (as much as life can ever truly “settle down”… lol), but enough so that I feel fairly confident about planning out some sewing projects! There are a few gaps in my wardrobe right now, mostly because several garments have seen better days after years of wear (I’m hard on my clothes), so I’m trying to fill those while also sewing a few “fun” pieces. Here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish over the next few months:

Colette Patterns Lily Dress – This is one of the patterns I tested prior to the new line’s release, and it is by far my favorite! The curvy, 1950s bombshell silhouette is one of my favorites, and I love the details like the pockets and princess seams (which make for easy-fitting). While I love the pattern as it’s shown on the envelope, I have a couple ideas for a variation. I’m fairly certain I’d like to swap out the shoulder straps for a halter. The fabric I have earmarked for this pattern is a fun, novelty tropical print I picked up in Florida a couple summers ago. It’s got a tiny bit of stretch, but I think it won’t be a problem (especially since one of the sample dresses was made from a Lycra blend). I think I’d like to make the contrast view, using some black textured fabric I have for the band, halter and pocket flaps.

1940s Sun Top & Shorts – This is definitely a for fun project! I bought this pattern a couple summers ago, and as this year I’m really into the two-piece look (since it’s been stinking hot the past week and the couple 40s/50s midriff tops I’ve made have been in heavy rotation), it’s about time it gets made. The fabric I’m a little iffy about–it’s something I bought last summer on clearance on a whim, thinking it’d work for a 40s tropical look. It just looks a bit boring to me at this point, although since I have three yards of it, I probably should use it. It’s cotton, so at least it’ll be comfortable! I’m thinking it looks a bit like this Tara Starlet two-piece set, so hopefully it’ll work nicely and surprise me. I also *ahem* have a hat that is very similar to the one on the envelope… Instant outfit!

1950s Cigarette Pants – I already started this, but am having some fitting issues. If there is one garment that tends to get to me the quickest with fitting, it’s pants. There is a reason I’ve stuck with 30s and 40s wide leg styles–but I am determined to conquer the more fitted silhouette! It might just take me a bit. lol. I’m using this pattern that Lauren sent me in our swap. It fits relatively well straight out of the envelope, admittedly–but it does need to be tweaked to be perfectly wearable. Time to pull out my copy of Pants for Real People! Not sure what color, but I’m thinking red!!! (Or maybe I’ll be practical and do black…)

Sewaholic Renfrew Top – I have had this pattern sitting in my stash since it was released months ago, which is sad–it needs to be made! Everyone who has made it says it’s quite easy and a great knit top pattern to work with. I ordered a few yards of a cream colored jersey (it has more stretch than the pattern calls for, but I’ve seen others make successful tops with this pattern and jersey knits), which is a bit more tissue-weight than I thought. Does anyone who has worked with knits know if I can do a “double layer” top? (Or is that just a really stupid idea?) I also have a more stable knit polka dot print that I’m planning to make a version inspired by this top. I’m hoping once I’ve made this pattern a couple times, it can be my go-to for knit tops!

I’d also like to make another pair of the Wearing History Smooth Sailing trousers (which I’ve made in the past and tweaked for my 40s jeans). I have some green fabric I bought, but it’s a little more bright than I anticipated (darn computer screen), and I’m going to try over dying it to tone it down a bit. But I really, really want green trousers for this summer. hehe!

Finally, I have another plan up my sleeve, but am holding off showing you until next week. Another blogger and I did a pattern swap and we’re each making one of the patterns we sent each other. Let’s just say the one I’m hoping to make is evocative of my wedding dress–just more suitable to day wear!

There are a few more things I’d like to sew, but this is what I’ve definitely worked out for now. These will keep me busy through July, I’m sure! What are your sewing aspirations for this summer?

May 30, 2012 · 35 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: ,

Right after I finished the gown for the Titanic dinner (thank you bunches for all your lovely comments!!!), I had to turn around and start working on my sister in law’s junior prom dress. It was the sort of project I originally thought I had a bit more time for, but found out a month ago that the prom was the end of April–not in May. That of course meant I had to work on it a bit more furiously than I anticipated! I got a few snapshots before I dropped it off at FedEx to ship it to her, so I thought I’d share those!

04.17.12 | belle of the prom

Firstly, apologies that the dress is a bit wrinkly; I didn’t do a final press since it was about to get shoved in a box to be shipped! She picked out a gorgeous royal blue, heavy weight satin for the gown and Simplicity #2253 (view B), which I think was quite a sophisticated choice for a 17-year-old. In fact, I quite like the dress and would be tempted to make it for myself! We did an initial fitting at the end of March, and I’ve been having to have a lot of faith in my fitting skills (and more than a few prayers!) that this dress would fit her like a glove in the end (which I won’t find out about until later today). I’ve never done a long-distance project like this, although I’ve sewn for others before–I’ve just had them closer by for in-person fittings! Fingers crossed, because I’m a bit like a cat on a hot tin roof right now.

04.17.12 | belle of the prom

The pattern was deceptively easy. It looks fiddly from the envelope–all that piecing on the bodice! But it’s actually quite easy once I got started. What did take the longest was cutting all the pieces out any applying interfacing. I think I spent as much time doing that as I did actively sewing! But no matter, because I think it turned out fantastic for a one-week project! Oh, and that pleated trim on the shoulder is EVIL. I just chucked the pattern markings and directions and I did what I thought made more sense at the end. But aside from that, I was rather surprised how well done the Simplicity instructions were. I think the company must be taking cues from the sewing community online, because I honestly felt like I was reading instructions from Sewaholic or Colette Patterns–not one of the Big Four.

04.17.12 | belle of the prom

Just for a fun touch and to make it “official”, I sewed in one of the tags I had made up a good 4 years ago. (Sorry, the Etsy seller no longer has a shop that I got these from, so I can’t point anyone in the right direction!)

Now that I am finished with both the Deadline Projects for this month, I’m starting to itch to sew something fun that I can actually wear in day-to-day life. I’ve been living in my blue Wearing History Smooth Sailing trousers, and have been thinking I really need to make at least one more. This green twill at Gorgeous Fabrics seems like a possible candidate (or at least offering color inspiration). I’ve been craving more green in my wardrobe of late!

Now to just dig the spare room out after 2 1/2 weeks of marathon sewing!

Pattern: Simplicity #2253 (view B).

Fabric: Synthetic duchess satin, non-static lining, woven (fusible) interfacing.

Alterations: Only minor fitting alterations; she was pretty much a perfect pattern size 10! The only major thing I did was shorten the skirt.

Techniques: Not a whole lot that I felt varied from normal sewing–most of the stitching was done on the machine.

Make Again? Probably not! This was just a one-time project for my sister in law.

April 18, 2012 · 61 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , , , ,