Wednesday, September 30, 2015

• A Quick Break •

Just a quick note to let you know that I'll be taking a short break (just for a week or two) from blogging! It's been a strange and hectic couple of weeks, and I need to take a short breather so I can get my bearings and be back in the mood for blogging! 
Thanks for bearing with me, folks!! :) I'll be back soon.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

• Grandma's Wedding Suit....Almost •

Whew! I am alive! I didn't vanish! It just seemed like it! :) We've been ridiculously busy of late, and I got hooked on the Bronte sister's books, so I'm afraid I spent my hours of leisure reading instead of blogging. Whoops. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I already read them all, so I'm back to blogging again. ;)

In any case, I am two-thirds done with Grandma's wedding suit! Yay!! I had started the skirt last month, but it ended catastrophically, so I had to buy more fabric and start over. That experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth, which is probably why I took this long to try again! This time it went very well, I'm glad to say, and both the blouse and skirt were very easy, one-day projects.

(Please pardon the detestable-quality picture! That's what happens when you take pictures in the basement, in the evening, and your subjects are starkly opposite dark and light colors. And you're a bad photographer.)

I LOVE this lace! I used a rayon-poly blend from Field's Fabrics for the main blouse fabric (Simplicity 3688, incidentally), and a gorgeous lace from JoAnn for the overlay on the yoke. I originally thought I could machine-baste the lace onto the yoke using the walking foot, but that ended up being a very bad idea! It skewed, caught up on the foot, and was pretty much a terrible mess. So I ended up hand-basting the two pieces together, and that worked great! The rest of the blouse was a cinch.

As for the skirt, I don't have any decent pictures of the entire garment, so I'll have to leave you in suspicion. I'm quite happy with how it came out, especially that side opening! It seemed to work so much better to have the zipper end at the waist rather than at the top of the waistband.  
The fabric is a lovely brown and tan-striped cotton, which is not only beautiful, but the name of it is "Chocolat," so I really can't help loving it. ;)
I realize that Grandma's suit was without a doubt made of wool, but since I found no appropriate wool, this cotton worked out just fine.

A nice view of her whole suit, and even a glimpse of the skirt!

The suit is what I'm absolutely, positively dreading. The idea of having to fit it just so, and all the upper collars, under collars, over collars, inside collars, outside collars, (okay, maybe there aren't quite that many!) is just not sounding fun at all. But I won't let myself wear the rest of the outfit until the suit is made, so that should provide some incentive! Hopefully it will come together a lot more easily than I am picturing!

Meanwhile, I'm very excitedly preparing for an 1812 reenactment next month. This will be the very first historical reenactment-type event I've ever been to, so it promises to be a very fun day!! I took the opportunity to do a little revamping of my calico regency gown; I took the lace off the hem, remade the sleevebands, made undersleeves, and added some much-needed hooks and eyes at the back. Thanks to Lily's recommendation of making the sleevebands wider and more fitted, they came out great and fit perfectly with the undersleeves. Thanks, Lily!! :)

^ Part of the reason why we've been so busy lately! ^ 
We were blessed with a wonderful tomato crop from our garden, (which isn't even very big!), and were able to can 54 quarts of tomatoes, and 20 quarts of salsa. It is so wonderful to see a full pantry again! :) Praise the Lord for such a wonderful crop!!

Last but not least, thank you all SO much for your lovely, encouraging, sweet comments on every single post. I appreciate you all so very much! You're the best!! :)
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Monday, September 7, 2015

• 1940s Nautical Dress •

I made this dress (affectionately known as "the boat dress") way back in March, anticipating a full season of fishing, starting with coho fishing in the middle of March. As it turns out, this has been one of the worst years for fishing ever, so this dress hasn't had a whole lot of experience yet!

We did manage to catch a few panfish... :)

I used Simplicity 1587 for the bodice, and Simplicity 3688 for the skirt. The main fabric is a cotton I found at our local quilt shop; I admired and agonized over it for months, but didn't decide to get it until there were just 3 teeny little yards left. Thankfully, I was able to squeeeeze this dress out of those three yards, with absolutely no extra fabric left. Not even enough for a back facing. :)

The contrasting fabric is linen from a blouse we had saved for just such a purpose. 

The linen drapes quite nicely in the linen fabric!
This is my fourth rendition of this pattern. See the others here:
Periwinkle 1940s Dress (now for sale in my Etsy shop here)

My first rendition of this pattern was early on in my sewing experience, and made from a polyester crepe, which fought me every step of the way. But ever since then, making it with cottons, I've found it to be one of the easiest patterns out there. It's a great pattern for beginners and experienced seamstresses alike!

My 1840s dress is taking a little longer than planned; I didn't use a strong thread when I made the cartridge pleats, so I already had one of the pleating threads break. Very sad. Needless to say, we invested in several colors of button and craft thread, so now I've got to get the skirt and waistband redone. It shouldn't take long, especially since my pleat markings are still intact.
There's always something new to learn! :)

Happy Labor Day to all of you!
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Monday, August 31, 2015

100 Years Early • HSM #8

This just doesn't look like Grandma's wedding suit, does it? Or maybe she was just a lot older than she liked to admit? ;)
Nope. The truth of the matter is, I just wasn't in a 1940s-suit-making mood. So what happened? On a whim, I pulled out some fabric and started cutting. And just several days later, I have a not-too-far-from-completion 1840s dress. 
I, for one, am excited!! :)

I used a brown cotton floral fabric I had in the stash (only 6 yards!), and managed to get the whole dress out of it, with enough leftover for plenty of piping. I did end up going back and buying a little more of the fabric, though so I can make a matching pelerine.

Yummy! Cartridge pleats!
The bodice is made from Simplicity 1818, with an altered neckline, and a back hook-and-eye opening rather than a button-front. The seams are piped with 1/8" cording, and the lower edge of the bodice will be as well once it is finished.
I have to finish the cuffs, the lower edge of the bodice, sew on hooks and eyes, sew the bodice to the skirt and hem it. But all things considered, that's not a whole left lot to do!

Unfortunately, we don't have any photographs of our ancestors going back as far as the 1840s (the earliest is 1903); but then, I don't picture a whole lot of photographing going on in Norwegian farms in the 1840s, so it's pretty understandable!
In any case, this is still my HSM entry for the month, even though there's no photographic evidence of it being something that one of my ancestors wore. 

The Challenge: Heirlooms and Heritage
Fabric: 6 yards of cotton plus muslin for the lining and hem
Year: 1845
Notions: Hooks and eyes (tons), cording, thread
How historically accurate is it? 85-90%, perhaps? The inner seams are sewn by machine, and the raw edges...gulp...serged (don't throw too many rotten tomatoes!), but all stitching visible from the outside is done by hand. 
 Hours to Complete: 15-18, when it's all said and done.
First Worn: Not yet, unless putting it on Thelma Lou counts! ;)
Total cost: $80+

I just can't wait to finish it and wear it!! Dresses like this are SO much fun to wear. And the bonus is, I get to wear my gorgeous AD Renoirs again! :)
Luckily for me, next months HSM challenge is brown, so Grandma's wedding suit can become a reality and still count for the HSM. Yay!

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