Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sewing Meetup in San Francisco and a Ready to Wear Challenge

Thank you so much to every one who left such wonderful comments on my vintage pattern dress.  Commentor Jeanettec said she was off to find that very pattern.  I highly recommend it and want to remake soon with a modern twist. 

Right now I am working on a few other projects and getting ready for some intensive sewing fun.  I am going to have a sewing student, Karen of Did you make that?  She is traveling to California for a vacation and before she heads off on her journey through the Golden West she will be spending a week, as she puts it “under my tutelage”.  That sounds a bit formal, doesn’t it? Yes, we will get to details of collar construction and organza interfacing, but the thought of hours of sewing talk with a fellow enthusiast is quite exciting.  I have not inquired but I hope she is a Downton Abbey fan so I can hear all about it from the British point of view. I am looking forward to having a student who is miles past beginner level so we can delve into lots of fun yet tricky details.

We will need a break from all that concentration so how about joining us for a drink and a chat in San Francisco on the evening of Wednesday May 9?  Probably around 6 pm and if you have a suggestion of a good spot let me know.  Please leave a comment or e-mail me if you are interested and I will let you know the final details. 

The recent Pattern Review challenges have given me a creative kick lately. I finished the Vintage challenge and jumped right in to the next one, the Ready-To-Wear challenge.  I actually don’t pay that much attention to ready-to-wear, in terms of sewing things for myself as I prefer to find a fabric and then decide what to make in that order. Lately I have been crazy for the clothing line, Milly. Lots of great color, interesting fabric combos and nice details, and perfect for recreation at a tiny fraction of their prices (around $ 400).  And in particular this dress.


So here is my version, in rayon ponte knit.  My dress has multiple darts to give it waist shaping, I think theirs probably has just single darts, but I used an old pattern that I have been wanting to revive which worked very well for a fitted silhouette.  This is definitely a dress that looks better as worn than on the dress form so I will try to get some photos today.
Black color block front full belt
I did take some photos during construction so if you are interested in how I created the color block pattern pieces I will show that in my next post. 

Edit for 4/30/12:  here it is on me,  without belt, which I think looks better in this knit fabric.
Color block dress without belt

Today we have lovely sunshine so it is time for a bit of work outside, those oranges don't pick themselves!
Happy weekend sewing, Beth

Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Vintage Treasure, part 2

Vintage or timeless?  1962 or 2012?  Does anyone else think this style is as current and wearable today as it might have been when the pattern was issued?  I am really happy with this dress, and ready to sew it up again in a modern fabric.  Yesterday's post has the details on this McCalls pattern and the fabric. 

All finished in time to take some outdoor photos, with coordinating blue flowers in the background landscape, a happy coincidence. 

Blue Vintage Dress, sitting down

Full length view, I think if I remake I will shorten the skirt a bit (I was going for the vintage hem length here) and perhaps taper the bottom of the skirt toward the hem.

Blue Vintage dress Front, standing

Now, promise not to laugh.  Full on retro look, vintage purse, pointed-toe shoes, and sunglasses that are about 60 years old.  As I have mentioned before, there are a few of us in my family who are of the "keep that, you may need it sometime" variety, so I have some oddball things tucked away which turn out to be just right for a retro photoshoot. Those sunglasses have been in my dresser drawer for years, and this is the first time they have seen the sunshine in years. The pin belonged to my grandmother, and I really love it however I hardly ever wear it because it is real gems and gold - I am afraid I will pin it on a coat and then lose it, so it stays in the dresser as well.

Blue vintage dress, with vintage sunglasses

Tomorrow I will take some photos of the dress on the form so you can see the bodice seaming, as well as my version of a hand picked zipper - nice for a vintage detail, but I am glad someone invented invisible zips!

4/14/12, some additional photos on dress form.  As mentioned in the comments, now that it is finished and photographed, I think I will shorten a few inches and take in the skirt a bit.  Designed in 1962 and wearable in 2012!  Does that prove there is nothing new in fashion?  

Blue vintage dress front on form

Blue vintage dress back closeupBlue vintage dress side view

My entry in the Pattern Review Vintage contest is here .  

Time to return to current sewing.  I still have to finish my Vogue 1143 outfit, and I am getting close.  I think I did 5 muslins on pants (not my favorite thing to make) and have finally found a version that will work.  Get going Beth, finish that suit so you can wear it!

Friday, April 13, 2012

A new Vintage Treasure

Last year I made a dress which I found at a yard sale, completely cut-out but never sewn up. I wrote a series of popular posts starting with Vintage Treasure where you least expect it. If you like vintage and yard sales, click the link to read the story and maybe you will get the same bug I have.  Which is that I now expect to find something magical at every yard sale and thrift store.  I do try to limit my excursions, as most yard sales are on Sat. morning which is prime time for a zillion other projects.  But a while ago I did find another gem.  Not quite in the treasure category, but a gem nonetheless.  

Blue Vintage fabric sampleWhat I found was a 3.5 yard piece of fabric that I can't identify, but is completely block-fused with color-coordinating tricot interfacing.  Where did it come from and how did it land at the thrift store?           The price was $ 4.00 so it was sold and out the door with me in a flash. I have no idea what the fabric is, but it is a loosely woven, slightly nubby fabric that says 50's style sheath dress to me.  Plus the color is fantastic - vivid enough for my liking.

Due to a phase of late night impulse shopping on Etsy, I have plenty of vintage patterns but this is the one I have been really wanting to make. I have a feeling the with a few tweaks I could re-make this and look totally modern. But for the unidentified fabric of questionable provenance, it is just right. No, before you ask, I am not making the cape.
Really?  The dress I can wear, the cape, I don't think so.  Although it would be great for the final photo.

McCall 6314 sheath dress


So I am jumping into the Vintage contest on Pattern Review. But as of this moment, I am still sewing - so we will see if I can finish by this weekend.

I made a muslin, something I don't do all that often, but I thought all those seams down the bodice may need some alteration, and that the neckline might just be a bit too high.
As it happens, with a few adjustments for size as my normal human waist does not fit into the vintage 26" waist (was Scarlett O'Hara and her corset the target customer for McCalls in 1962? date of this pattern)  Or maybe the control undergarments of the era - or as my grandmother would say, her girdle, had magic powers of compression.  Anyway - sizing on patterns is a discussion for another day :)

What I discovered by making this muslin is that the waist is too low, mostly in the back. Here is a very goofy shot taken via timer, so you can see that the skirt is attaching to the bodice way too low. The belt is at my waist, where I would want the skirt to attach.  So I used my hi-tech, all by myself in the sewing room and ran a pencil around at the bottom edge of the belt, marking where I wanted the skirt to attach.  Also visible is my method of zipping a potentially too tight muslin when along in the sewing room, a ribbon attached to the zipper pull as in a scuba wetsuit. Much better to pull on the ribbon and unzip than having to rip the basting out like the hulk to get the thing back over one's head after a less than successful size experiment.

BLue vintage muslin waist adjustment
Here is the muslin, back on the dress form so you can see the pencil line and now I know where to attach the skirt.

blue vintage muslin waist adjustment2

When I was trying on the muslin it felt a bit roomy across the back, so I did some adjustments on the center back seam to take it in, only across the center back, not across the shoulders. The zipper is just basted on for a fit test.  I think I will do a hand picked zipper so I can wait for that to be one of the last steps. You can see that block fusing in this photo.  I can't believe how fast this is to sew up with no interfacings to do, plus the lining is a mirror image of the dress pieces so that is quick as well.

Blue vintage inside back bodice
That's all for tonight - tomorrow I hope to finish this up and then take some photos - I do have a few vintage handbags so perhaps some actual modelling from me will be seen.

Here is today's SunnyGal garden photo, I bought a bag of tulips last fall at Home Depot, they languished on the workbench in the garage until they were all sending off shoots, I finally put them in the ground in early January and forgot all about them.  But what a show they are putting on with lots of these multi-colored ones.

Happy Weekend sewing, Beth