Wednesday, February 16, 2011

1947 blouse plans

 After the skirt project. I've decided to tackle this blouse pattern from 1947.

I spent yesterday ironing and tracing the pattern pieces. I want to make the tie collar but the question is which sleeves? I think I want to make the three quarters sleeves - view 4. The blouse has release tucks in the front and "dart tucks" in the back. As you can see the pattern was in kind of rough shape so ironing and tracing was kind of a project.
The previous sewer had made some adjustments to the pattern and they were still pinned in place
Some of the pieces were ripped and had been taped many years ago and that tape is now yellowed and wrinkly.
hmmm... what fabric to use? I want to use something from the stash. I have this red and white striped shirting....
The sleeves are cut on the bias so the diagonal stripes might be cool?

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Pencil Skirt and Hat

Last night I went to see The Crucible at Trinity Rep. I got all dressed up in my new black pencil skirt I mentioned I wanted to make here.

I made it from view A of Burda 8155. I like how flattering it is but I don't know about the waistband. It's higher in the front and I don't really like how it sits away from the body in the front.

I also made a matching hat to go with the outfit. I love it and definitely want to make more! I made this kind of on a whim about an hour before I had to leave and I didn't have any heavy buckram on hand so I used some heavy sew-in interfacing I had. It worked okay, but  I am anxious to make one with the correct materials.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Harper's Bazaar Posters

I really need some new art for my walls. I've been wanting to do something myself but haven't found the time. I just love the Harper's Bazaar covers that are available as posters from

Unfortunately at $50 for the smallest print size they are out of my price range. But a girl can dream...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Meet my Sewing Machines, I Want a New One

Right now I have three sewing machines all of which frustrate me for various reasons. Allow me to introduce you.
My first sewing machine was a Singer 57825C. My mom gave it to me for christmas when I was about 14. It was my first, so I have a fond place in my heart for it. However, it does this extremely frustrating thing where I'm sewing along and everthing looks fine and I'm done with the seam and I turn the fabric over and the thread on the underside is a tangled knotty mess. It's so annoying. I know why this happens, too. You know that U-shaped slot that you put the thread down and then back up and through the take-up lever when threading a sewing machine? Well there is a little hook in there, as in inside where you can't see your get to without taking the machine apart. It's right at the bottom of the 'U" shape in the slot. Anyway, the thread goes through the hook and back up and through the take-up lever but on this machine the thread comes out of the little hook while sewing thus causing the tangled mess. If I remember correctly, this has always been a problem from the first time I ever sewed with it back when I was 14. I was a beginner however and didn't know what the problem was and just assumed it was my fault somehow or I didn't thread it right or something. As I became more advanced I realized it was the machine and finally figured out about that little hook. Very annoying.
Some one gave me this Sears Kenmore 158.14100 also known as model 1410. It's one of those old sewing machine in a table. The kind you can flip the sewing machine down and use the desk for something else.
I was thinking about the whole sewing machine hidden in a table thing recently actually so allow me a tangent. the elderly person who gave this to me I can tell you most certainly was not a sewer, but still had the machine. I remember my grandmother also had one of these table sewing machines and she also was not a sewer. I have had one of these given to me once before by an older person (which I no longer have) who was also definitely not a sewer. Having a sewing machine used to be like having an oven, even if your not a skilled baker of chef, you still need one to heat stuff up at least. These people had the sewing machines around just in case they needed to mend something, even if they didn't neccessarily make garments from scratch. That's why they all had the flip table type of sewing machine - so they could put it away and use it as a regular table until something needed mending. Everyone used to, at the very least, be able to thread it and operate it enough to fix or patch garments instead of just tossing them. It just strikes me how wasteful people are now. The vast majority of people don't own a sewing machine and couldn't thread and operate one if they tried. If a garment rips it either the trash or one of those stick-on adhesive patches. It blows my mind.
So anyway, don't get me wrong this is a fine machine, but it does not have a free arm. I am so used to the free arm that I was not able to get acclimated to not having one. I realize that you can get around needing one with flat construction techniques, and I'm sure I could get used to that if I absolutely had to, but I want to be able to just make things the way I am used to making them. I actually got so frustrated with the lack of a free arm when in the middle of making a project one night at about 9pm that I just drove to Target in a fit of rage and with my last $80 bought the fabulous and super cheap...
Brother VX-1435.
Now I never expected for what I paid for it to last long or do too many things, but I must say this machine is fabulous for what it is. I have has it for just over a year and have used it as my primary machine for that time. I ave sewn many a costume on this. The one thing I really like is that it has a fast maximum speed - 900 stitches per minute. When I sew on my other machines they just seem so slow when I am used to this one. I really want to be able to sew fast when I am just sewing a straight seam. I used to sew on an industrial machine when I was working in the costume shop in college and I actually miss that speed. This machine comes closest. There are a few problems though.

a) It has recently started skipping stitches when zig-zagging, unless I drive really really   slow.  Every few zig zags it throws in a straight stitch or two. As stated, I don't like driving slow.
b) The buttonholes it makes look TERRIBLE. and I have a hard time making them all look exactly the same.
c) I don't have much control over stitch length and width. I can pick between five options for stitch length and four zig zags.

So I want a new one.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Swing Dress Fabric

It finally stopped snowing long enough for me to go get fabric for my swing dress!
I am channeling sprin here. The floral is going to be the dress with the green contrast midriff. Can you believe these fabrics were only $1.99/yd in the bargain loft at Lorraine's?! I seriously love that place. The only thing I am nervous about is ... if I make the dress long, and the main color is white, that it will get seriously dirty at the hem and won't come out in the wash. I have had white shirts that got that general gray/black dirtyness around the cuff that would NOT come out no matter what I tried. Oh well, who's going to be looking that closely at my hem, right? I wouldn't care if this was a store bought dress, its just that if I spend all that time making it I want it to be perfect ...
I've been working on the black pencil skirts and will try to take pictures very soon.