Monday, May 23, 2016

• 1950s Lemon Print Birthday Dress •

Since I missed posting for two(!) weeks in a row, I thought an early post was in order for this week. Between cleaning, having a grand old time and sewing like crazy with my dear friend Sarah, and taking a 1200 mile road trip, it has been a busy couple of weeks!! :) 

Starting next week, I'll be posting about our Civil War dresses in several installments, but since yesterday was my birthday, I thought I'd share my birthday dress with you first. I originally planned on making a polka-dot birthday dress, but for various reasons decided not to, and picked this lemony fabric for this purpose instead. I wanted it to be a different style than any of my other dresses, so I chose to replicate this 1950s pattern: 

I fell in love with the collar design, so decided to give it a whirl. I used Vogue V9000 as a base for the bodice, Butterick 6055 for the skirt, and self-drafted the collar and cuff patterns.

The collar is made of nothing more than angled-edged bias pieces, so it wasn't hard to make at all, once I got the right measurements. It was a definite miracle and answer to prayer that it came out right, however, since I didn't make a mockup. :) Yay!!!

The neckline is cut slightly narrower at the shoulders, flaring out to be a little bit wider at the bottom of the front neckline. The collar lays very well in the front and sides, and curves around the shoulder to the back just as it was supposed to. Phew! I love the style so much, I'm planning a more formal dress in this same design as my next sewing project! Maybe it's because I've been watching the Burns and Allen show recently that I love this dress so much, but in any case, it reminds me very much of something Gracie would have worn!

The green buckle is borrowed from my peppermint dot dress. The yellow dotty ribbon from my navy polka dot dress makes a nice belt as well, if I want a different look. 

One of the gifts my parents got me is this gorgeous vintage yellow beret. I absolutely love it, and it matches so many of my garments! Since I didn't have a hat to wear with this dress, I got to open this particular present early. ;) Berets seemed to be a popular style all the way from the 1930s-50s, so it is very much the ideal hat, and fills a very large color gap in my hat wardrobe.

My mom has a lighter blue version of this fabric that she is planning on sewing up soon! It is going to be so gorgeous, I just can't wait to see it sewn together! The style, though also from the 1950s, is totally different than this dress, and perfectly suited for the fabric.

Perhaps we need to do another photo shoot with this dress, with a glass of lemonade as a prop. ;)

I officially *almost* have my vegetable gardens all in! All that remains to be done is planting green beans, a few pinto beans, and a few green onions. Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers (bell and hot), black beans, onions, carrots and peas are all officially planted. :) 
Lord willing, we'll have a bountiful harvest this year!

Since my Etsy shop just turned a year old on May 16th, and I just celebrated my birthday, there is a sale going on in the shop! Save 20% off with the coupon code BIRTHDAYSALE, through May 31st. 

Thanks for stopping by! :)

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

• Striped 1950s Dresses •

Today's mom-daugher post is rather appropriate since Mother's Day is just around the corner, don't you think? :)
Both of these dresses were made by my mom, other than a few finishing touches on my dress. I really got the good end of this deal on every side; not only did I not have to make my dress, but I didn't have to do any stripe-matching!! ;) We each bought yardage of these coordinating diagonal striped fabrics almost a year ago, with no particular design in mind for them. My mom picked out the blue, and I picked out the brown. She got the itch to make her fabric into a dress when we found this picture of a 1950s dress from Croatia Vintage on Etsy:

A diagonal stripe, in very similar colors, and just about as cute as possible. :) She decided to make it, and painstakingly cut it out, matching up stripes all over the place, only to find that she just didn't like it on her at all. Somehow or other (heehee!) I ended up trying it on and really loved it, so we arranged a bit of a trade. :) It worked out quite well, I must say! 

She used Vogue 8811 for the bodice, and the skirt is just a simple dirndl-type. It's about 90" around, which is just the right size to be big enough for the petticoat, while also keeping it contained, so to speak.  

Strangely enough, although the fabrics appear to be exactly the same, the blue doesn't wrinkle a bit, while the brown does. The pattern hides it quite well though.

Incidentally, I have recently become a convert to deep hems. I used to do nothing but narrow (1/2-5/8") hems, but ever since doing a deep one (3", I think?) for the first time on this dress, I'm addicted! They are nice for so many reasons, the best ones being added weight to keep the skirt in place as well as less chances to snag the slip-stitching on various things. I'm definitely hooked! :)

I didn't really want a tie belt (although I'm starting to think I might just like one!), so I made a standard belt with a buckle. Ironically enough, since the fabric is a diagonal stripe, the belt is cut on the bias in order to get a straight stripe! :)

Someday I hope to be as good at pattern-matching as my mom. Although that's not likely to happen since I typically tend to avoid sewing fabrics that require matching like the plague! :|

Now for the good stuff! :) This dress is just adorable; I love it so much!! Mom wanted a completely different design for her dress this time, so she decided to replicate this 1950s pattern:

(Pure eye candy, don't you agree? I've got my eye on some pink and black ric-rac fabric that I'm dying to make into the same dress!)

She used Butterick 6055 for the bodice, and the front panels of  Butterick 5813 for both the skirt front and back.

In order to get the chevron effect, she had to cut one half of each front and back bodice (and skirt) straight-grain and the other half crosswise. 
Need I mention it again? She's a pattern-matching magician. :)

These buttons were part of the contents of a jar that she purchased a while back, and they were THE perfect touch for the front of her dress, along with the ricrac accents on the collar and sleeves.


I discovered, ironically enough, on April 30th, that there was such a thing as "Me-Made-May," and so was able to sneak in at the last minute! The challenge is to wear something handmade each day of the month, but since I already do that, I decided to put my own personal twist on it, which is to wear a different (handmade) outfit each day of the month! So far it has been fun, and I've got it all scheduled out, so we'll see how it goes! :) I'll post a roundup of the outfits each week. 

Also, if you haven't done so already, hop over to Emily's Vintage Visions blog and check out my guest post about vintage footwear!


Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful rest of your week, and Happy Mother's Day!
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tutorial • Kimono Sleeves

Today I am sharing a tutorial that I have been wanting to post for quite a while! The dress in these photos is almost completed and will be photographed soon, but for now I wanted to share part of the construction of this dress; our method for finishing kimono sleeves. 

I have seen several different ways of finishing them; in the past I have simply serged the edge after stitching it. and then clipped it (which just resulted in the serging coming apart), or clipped the edge and then topstitched on each side of the seam afterwards. The method I'm showing you today seems to work the best for us, however, and keeps the raw edges doing what they are supposed to; staying put! ;)

First of all, you want to sew your underarm seams on each side, leaving a left side opening for a zipper, if applicable. My seam allowances were 5/8". It is hard to see the stitching since the thread happens to match so well! Should have used red thread! ;)

After you stitch the seam, clip the seam in the underarm area around the curve.  

I made about 6-7 clips, clipping from the sleeve end around the curve to the straight side seam ege. Clip to within 1/8" of the seam. 

Now you are going to serge the underarm seams!

Starting with the zipper side (assuming you have one; if not, you're getting off easy!), open up the seam so that you are serging only one layer of fabric at a time. When you start on the sleeve edge, serge very closely to the seam, as shown in the left picture. When you get to the underarm curve, "pull" your seam out straight so that the clipped area is spread apart. Serge very close to the seam so that even the clipped areas are contained within the serging. Serge around the curve, and as soon as you are past the clipped areas, angle back out to the edge of the fabric so that you still have your full 5/8" seam allowances for the side zipper.

Repeat for the other (left side) seam allowance, starting at the waistline edge, and angling inward as soon as you get past the zipper opening.

For the right side seam, serge both layers of fabric at once, serging very close to the stitching line as with the other seam, pulling the underarm curve out straight, just as before.

And....voila! You have a beautifully (and easily!) finished underarm seam!

Close-up view.

View of the zipper side.

Then you will press your seams from the outside. 

Perfect curves, and a nice finished edge inside. :)

Credit for this method goes to my mom; she first discovered it  when she was making this vintage baby bathrobe. Since then we've used it on every single kimono sleeve seam, and it works like a charm!

(Please forgive my selvedges....they got trimmed off, don't worry!) ;)

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial, and that it made sense! Please let me know if you have any questions! 

I'll be back next week with photos of this dress. Stay tuned! :)
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

• 1940s Tropical Print Rayon Dress •

It's about time I posted a vacation dress, don't you think? ;)

Ironically enough, even though we got back from vacation almost 2 months ago, all I have been posting is (very) new projects! I think the reason was all the cold weather; I didn't want to cover up all of my warm-weather vacation dresses with sweaters! In any case, here is the first vacation dress installment of many. ;)

I posted a preview picture of this dress back in January, but at that point it was not even sewn together! Between then and the completion of it was a period of deep displeasure with it! I had it nearly completed and tried it on for waist length, only to discover that I really, really hated it. The reason was, I was trying it on without a belt, and it was also about 2-3" too long in the waist. So you can imagine how grand it looked....2010s goes 1920s long-waisted, hangy peplum dress. Blech!

It was hurled onto the UFO pile, but about a week later, I decided to try it on for laughs, just to prove how horrible it truly was. I tried it on with a belt that time, hiked the waist up a bit for looks, and I actually loved it! It was finished very soon after, and all ready to wear on vacation. The bonus is that during the time of displeasure with it, I got an extra dress made for vacation. ;)

I used Simplicity 1692 for the bodice, adding darts in place of the tucks, adding a sweetheart neckline from a vintage pattern, and changing the armholes a bit. So basically, 1692 was just used as a basic bodice sloper. 

The skirt (oh, that skirt!!) is from Butterick 6266. It is one of my new favorite skirt patterns! Admittedly, the rayon fabric makes it hang beautifully, but really, anything with a peplum like that is *so* perfectly 1940s. I would love to make that pattern sometime with the pleated-neck bodice that it comes with!

I purchased this fabric almost 2 years ago from Denver Fabrics; it was a 3-1/2 yard remnant that was on sale for a very good price! I won't mention that I bought it just because it matched my Miss L Fire shoes....even though I did. ;)

I had a bit of a hard time with the washing and sewing process, however! It is rayon challis, which stretches when it's wet, and even as you iron it, none of which information I knew at the time. So when I washed it, I hung it out on the clothesline to dry, and inadvertently stretched it as I clothes-pinned it. The result? Very contorted, stretched-in-some-areas-and-not-in-others fabric. Grr. Fast forward probably a year to this January when I finally decided to make it, I washed it once again, but this time oh-so-carefully draped it over a clothes rack, being careful not to stretch it in the least. That worked, thankfully! It ended up stretching a bit as I made it, which caused quite the scare when it looked noticeably smaller after washing! It wasn't a problem though, thank goodness. :)

This belt buckle was from one of our antique forays earlier this year. I love the color as well as the width; wider belts are fast becoming my favorite kind!

Ironically enough, even though I bought this fabric to wear with my orange Miss L Fire shoes, I don't think I've worn them with it once as of yet! ;) I wore my Two Old Beans '40s oxfords while on vacation, and my Remix Vintage sandals with it this time. The weather was simply too glorious not to do so! 

I had to topstitch the neckline in order to keep it from rolling outward, since it refused to lay right even after pressing it.

Incidentally, I wore this dress when we toured the USS Alabama! We *just happened* to be there on the day of their Living History reenactment, which made it all the more fun! It was very amazing to watch the battle reenactment! 

Cleaning the guns and prepping them for the battle....


The commander fired a few (imaginary) shots.....

Got him!!!!!

There's only one word for that battleship; MASSIVE. It's so huge!!! It was so much fun to tour it again; we were there 7 years ago, but there was a lot that we missed last time. I also got a totally new perspective of it since I have a so much greater appreciation for WWII history than I formerly did! 


It was *so* wonderful to be able to take pictures of a light, summery dress without freezing to death! The weather has been simply glorious, and has invoked even the sewing-addicted (aka: ME) to get out and garden! I planted the "early" vegetables; potatoes, onions, carrots and peas, and now just need to work on cleaning out the many weed and dead-vegetation-infested gardens! :) It's actually fun though when the weather is this beautiful! 

There is and has been a lot of sewing happening around here as well. The current sewing itinerary includes (amongst others); a gingham 1930s dress, a Civil War dress for an upcoming reenactment next month (squee!!), a 1950s teal dotty birthday dress, and a dressy peach-hued 1940s or '50s dress for an upcoming wedding in June. Lots of sewing to do!!!

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, thank you so much for your kind and sweet comments! I appreciate each and every one of you! :)
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