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
(out of some soft chenille…) for her next.
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!
Somehow, some way, I finally finished the 1940s playsuit I’ve been working on for the past three weeks! I think it’s safe to say that the days of knocking out projects quickly are over for me. But in a way, that’s proved useful for me: I’ve had to slow down and become more patient with myself (nothing is more frustrating than to spend a precious hour on sewing, only to have to rip it all out again!) and the process. After tinkering on this set, I am so excited it’s done! Pictures of me modeling the pieces will follow shortly. But until now, the trusty dressform will suffice!
On the topic of 1940s playsuits (also known as sunsuits): I have decided this summer is The Summer of the Playsuit for me. I already have my sailor playsuit, this one, and possibly another in the works! They are just so darn comfortable for the hot days ahead, and I love breaking up the pieces and coming up with new outfits! I thought I’d share some of my favorite vintage playsuit inspiration with y’all!
images: McCall 5650 on Etsy | Ann Rutherford | Simplicity 1710 on VPW | Dorothy Lamour.
images: Simplicity 3380 on VPW | Hollywood 1135 on Etsy | 40s playsuit on Etsy | Ann Sheridan.
images: 40s novelty playsuit on Etsy | Butterick 3756 on VPW | Simplicity 1621 on VPW | Deanna Durbin.
So what is your opinion? Playsuits: yay or nay?
While I was planning on posting the updated Vintage Pattern Primer today, the revamped piece has become a bit of a monster (in a totally good way!), which means I’d like a bit more time to refine things and write up my thoughts. So stay tuned for that next week. Instead I’d like to show you something I made awhile ago. Have I ever shown you the dress variation I made for the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook? I don’t think so!
I was approached by BurdaStyle a couple years ago as the book plan was being hatched, along with many other talented sewers from around the globe. The premise was to create a garment variation based off of one of the “base patterns” in the book. After a submission process, my dress variation was chosen to be included as a full-length tutorial in the book. Which meant I not only had to make the dress, but document all the steps as well as I modified the original pattern to fit my design. Anyone who has ever written sewing instructions may know that it is not an easy task to document a more complicated project and explain it in a way that will be understood when read. The project was a challenge, but one I enjoyed immensely!
Funnily enough, when I sent the dress off to New York to be photographed for the book and go on tour to sewing expos around the country, I didn’t like the dress at all. To me, the red and white looked like a soup can (you know which one!); I was very over the design. A year later when I saw the dress again, having gone to New York to film some videos for the digital version of the book, I wondered why I hadn’t liked the dress! I was completely smitten with it, and had plans to make another version for myself since the original wouldn’t be returned to be for many months.
In the meantime though, life happened and the second version didn’t get made. Eventually the original one was returned and I have been wearing it a lot now that the weather has warmed up! It’s charmingly classic color scheme and button details always make me smile. It’s the perfect summer dress!
- Pattern: Dress Variation (by me!) as seen in the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook.
- Fabric: Lightweight red and white /cotton twill. (And yes, I seem to be smitten with that color scheme!)
- Alterations: The original pattern this was based on was heavily modified and is outlined in the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook.
- Techniques: This is fairly straight up sewing–not a lot of “new” techniques for sewers that have a couple garments under their belt!
- Make Again? Maybe. One is enough for my wardrobe at the moment! I also would probably do a few things differently with another version–two years later and I have modified a few sewing processes to streamline things!
So what do you think? Too much like a soup can? hehe! I always feel so odd about posting so much of me on the blog between yesterday’s outfit post and today’s… But I hope no one minds! They’ll be more serious content next week!
Note: 40s reproduction Rita pump from Remix Vintage Shoes | estate sale belt | Target earrings.
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!