Monday, May 25, 2015

• 1940s Home Front Frock •

Also entitled, "The Birthday Dress."
That's right! I made this dress for my birthday! I loved the pink fabric so much, and the pattern that I used for it so much, that I decided it was definitely what I wanted to make to wear on my birthday. 

We found this pattern at an antique store in La Crosse, Wisconsin. (It's called Antique Corner, just in case you were wondering. Yes. Go there. It's like antique heaven, and there's three floors(!). We didn't even make it to the first and third floors; we were too busy getting lost in the second floor which is all vintage dresses, hats, patterns and sewing stuff.) 
The design of the dress is so lovely with the asymmetrical front closure and those adorable scalloped pockets. I couldn't resist!

"Put on a bright front on the home front."

I decided to use red ric-rac with matching red fabric-covered buttons. The color of them really brings out the red in the fabric.

I am so happy to finally have a "princess line" dress pattern! We have one very similar to this that my mom has made, but it just isn't flattering on me. I'm glad to have a suitable alternative!

This hat. It's my absolute favorite hat ever. It had been staring at us for months, every time we went to the antique store, so we finally decided to buy it. It fits like a glove, and the style is just so cute! If I could just find about 12 other colors of the same exact hat, that would be amazing! ;)

The way these pockets were formed is quite ingenious; the side front pieces of the dress only extend down to the hip, and there is a separate skirt piece with a scalloped top. The skirt is sewed to the side bodice piece, wrong-side-to-right-side a little ways down, forming a pocket. The edges are then sewed into the remaining seams. Clever!!

All in all, this was a very fun dress to sew, and I can't wait to make more renditions of it! There is another illustration of it inside the pattern instruction sheet, showing it in a solid color with long sleeves and no neck-and-pocket trim. It would definitely be the perfect wool fall and winter dress. 
But for now, I think I had better keep my mind on summer sewing projects, don't you think? ;)

• Photos by my mom •

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Friday, May 22, 2015

• Baby Gifts, Volume II •

Whew! It's been a busy week! Between getting back from a short trip to see my grandparents in Minnesota, gardening, sewing, Etsy-shop-opening, and other such goodies, it's been quite hectic!
It's good to be back into the swing of things, however, and today I'm finally sharing the sewn part (part two) of our baby gifts!
(See part one here)

I found a pattern for this adorable stuffed bear in an old sewing book of ours. It is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen, and so easy to make! I can't wait to make bunches of them; the possibilities are endless - plaids, stripes, florals! 

I used some scraps of fleece from a blanket that I made a while back. He's the fuzziest, softest, cutest bear ever.

Technically, you're supposed to make the eyes and nose before stuffing the bear, but I did it once he was finished with a curved needle. I used yarn rather than embroidery floss. 
A pretty orange ribbon complimented him quite nicely.
Oh, and did I mention he's really cute? ;)

My mom made several adorable burp cloths to send along. Aren't the fabrics just darling? 

They seem to be the perfect size and thickness, with two layers of flannel. The nice part is, you can make one out of a fat quarter! The topstitching adds a very nice touch.

Just look at that. Did you ever see anything cuter??!!
Mom was going to make a couple of bibs to go with the burp cloths, but she decided instead to make an adorable little baby robe! 

She used a vintage pattern we have which is actually for a little jacket with an open tie-front, lengthening it into a robe-length, and making slightly longer sleeves.

Impressive seaming! :)

She had just enough of the polka-dot fabric left to make sleeve bands and a belt. It's so cute.

We topped it off with a little duckie tag. Cute? Yep.

I'll be back Monday with a fresh-off-the-sewing-machine 1940s dress that I'm very excited about.
Meanwhile today I am celebrating my birthday! :) Antiquing, lasagna and cake-eating, and present-opening are the plans for the day so far.

And to all of my new followers, welcome! I'm thrilled to have you following along! :)
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

• I'm Being Interviewed! •

Just a quick post to let you know that sweet Jessica of Chronically Vintage is interviewing me today! Hop over to her blog to read all about it!

It has been a hectic couple of weeks, but I'll be back to my regular posting schedule tomorrow. See you then! :)
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Monday, May 18, 2015

• I've Opened an Etsy Shop! •

I did it!! I finally opened an Etsy shop! I've been pondering the idea for quite a while now, but it has finally come into fruition! 

The garments that are for sale are ones that either don't fit or just aren't my style. Rather than having them sit around in my closet, I want to pass them on to someone who appreciates them! 

     SOLD                SOLD                                                                                    

There are several other items for sale in the shop also, including a dress! I'll be adding a number of sewing patterns later in the week as well. Stop by the shop and check it out! Save 10% off everything through the end of the month with the coupon code, WELCOME1.
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Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day • 1950s Blouses

Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms! We had a lovely day yesterday celebrating my mom, with lots of lemon-butter chicken, (chocolate) pie, and (vintage-sewing-related) presents.

A few weeks back when we were shopping for May-Day basket fillers, we happened to see a little bundle of fabric marked "remnants" for sale for $5. We opened it up to discover that these "remnants" were actually four pieces of fabric, two 1-yard pieces, one 1/3 yard piece and one 2/3 yard piece. 
Yes. We bought it. Of course!
The fabrics are two different color variations of the same pattern, perfect for my mom and I to make "matching" blouses! We decided that Mother's Day was the ideal day to wear said matching blouses, so we got them made up last week.

My mom chose the blue-flowered fabric, and I chose the teal. They're so, so pretty and although the material is lightweight, it's very good quality.

I had never made this pattern before now, and I must say I am quite impressed with it. It's very well-made, and the design is gorgeous!

Since the blouse can be worn tucked or untucked, I can wear it with my doesn't-fit skirt! I love the style of it; the pleats are so 1930s-40s.

This blouse marks a very momentous occasion: my first time matching up a pattern! I'm quite happy with how it came out. It's so satisfying that I actually don't despise the idea of pattern-matching any more! Yay!

Hmm. Notice a difference? My mom made her blouse the right way, and I made mine the wrong an alternative way. Genius that I am, I laid out the left front and right front pieces upside down on the right side of the fabric, which resulted in making my left front the right front, and vice versa. Thankfully it wasn't an issue, and I actually rather like having two ways to style the neckline. Just being creative, right? ;)

I just love that hemline detail!
We used the sleeve from Butterick 5920, rather than the pattern sleeve to allow for a little bit of gathering at the sleeve cap.

Last week, Lily of Mode de Lis had a post full of lovely hats for sale! We purchased three of them, one of which is this lovely brown velvet style with a gorgeous braided trim. It's a great addition to our hat wardrobe (there is such a thing, I assure you!).
Thanks for the gorgeous hats, Lily!!

I don't usually wear tulips on my hat, but this is no ordinary tulip. It is called an "Esther" tulip.

They are a beautiful shade of pink, with slightly orange edges, and the inside has highlights of blue! It's really a very aptly named tulip since pink, orange and blue are my favorite colors! :)

I hope you all have a lovely week! The summery, warm weather and green foliage is so gorgeous! 

• I'll be back Friday with part two of the baby gift post! •
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Friday, May 8, 2015

• Of Baby Socks and Knitted Blocks •

Well, actually, there is more to this post than just socks and blocks, but I couldn't help giving the post that name. I've been plotting it for some time. ;)

I'm going to be an aunt again! (for the 9th time!) My brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first baby in October, so my mom and I couldn't help but whip up a few gifts to send to them.
It was hard finding fabrics and colors that could go either way (boy or girl); everything seems to be starkly pink or blue! The gifts came out pretty cute though, so I'm not complaining. :)

This post addresses the knitted parts of the gifts; next week I'll post about the sewn parts. First off is: the socks!

A few weeks ago I had mentioned the fact that I had been doing some machine knitting. This is what I was up to! My mom decided to make a sweater, so I caught the knitting bug from her for a little while. I found this pattern for machine-knit baby socks, and thought I'd give it a whirl! They came out really cute, and they are in fact very easy to knit! The only hard part is sewing up the side seam, which can be very tricky depending on what kind of yarn and cuff you use.

For these socks, I did the mock rib cuff, and it came out really cute! I made a couple of other pairs using a fairisle cuff and a lace cuff, but they are still waiting to be sewed up.

In any case, I really like the pattern, and will definitely be using it again soon!

These blocks are SO fun and easy to make! I made them on the knitting machine, once again, but I have done them by hand before as well. I used a single strand of bulky yarn or two strands of thinner yarn on our bulky machine. 
CO 6-0-6. K 18 rows in main tension (I did T3). Change tension to 10, K 1 row. Latch off.
Make 6 squares and sew them together, alternating the knit and purl sides if desired.

I stuffed them with poly-fill. These little blocks are so much fun! They are just round enough to roll, but still square enough to look like a block.

I inadvertently ended up making one of the blocks match the afghan really well!

Ahh. The afghan. I wanted to make one that didn't look too boyish or girly, so I decided on this pretty herringbone pattern in a beautiful mint-y green yarn.
Unfortunately, about 1/4 of the way through knitting it, one of the needles on my machine randomly decided to stop working. What that translated into was me having to hand-manipulate that stitch every 4-6 rows. And I knitted 754 rows. Grr. And that wasn't the only bad part - it made a bit of a flaw on that particular stripe of the blanket. Oh well. At least it was the machine's fault and not mine!

I used Baby Bramwell yarn, approximately 13-14 oz.
CO 100-0-100. T2-2. I used punchcard 6G on my knitting machine, a herringbone-type pattern.
K 754 rows, total.

For the edging, start in the 3rd stitch from corner. ch 2, 2dc, skip 2 st, sc in next st. *3 dc, skip 2 st, sc in next st. Repeat from *. This edging has enough "give" to it to go around 90 degree corners.

I like the effect - it's small but noticeable, easy, and it doesn't detract from the pattern of the blanket.

I hope they enjoy the gifts, and I can't wait to see that new little one!

I'll be back Monday with a Mother's Day-related outfit post. See you then! :)
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Monday, May 4, 2015

• Ricrac 1940s Dresses •

I have been under the weather with a cold the last several days, so I haven't been up to a photo shoot! Luckily, last week we did two of them, so I still have something to post today! :)
I made this dress about a month and a half ago out of some cotton purchased at Hancock Fabrics. I intended it (as the story always seems to go) for something else; namely, an 1860s gown, but I decided that with the wrinkliness of the fabric and the amount of fabric that I had, it wasn't going to work out for that. So, what's the answer? When in doubt, make a 1940s dress!

I used Vogue 9052 (like my wool dress) for the bodice, but used the neckline from a vintage pattern we have, Simplicity 4641, available here. I cut the neckline narrower than the pattern and made a band to go on it. I was inspired by Lily's polka dot dress, which has that adorable ricrac-edged neck band and pockets. So cute!!

I added patch pockets with ricrac. I would have sewn them into the seam, but they were somewhat of a last-minute addition, so they had to be applied topically. 
They are so handy! I used to be an absolute pocket-hater, but I am starting to think they are a necessity! ;)

One of the neatest things about Vogue 9052 is that I don't have to lengthen the skirt! It's positively shocking! I'm pretty sure I have lengthened every other skirt I have ever made. So 
when I don't have to, it's quite the refreshing change!

You might recognize my mom's purple dress from the belt tutorial.

I have always loved this fabric; it's so cheery, springy and beautiful! My mom ended up buying it, and decided at long last to make a dress out of it! I think the design is simply splendid!

She not only added a neckband, but also a faux front placket with beautiful pink vintage buttons. She matched it all up *so* precisely. She's so good at that.

Instead of the Vogue 9052 sleeve, she used a sleeve from a vintage Anne Adams pattern that we have. I love that puffed sleeve cap! 

And just look at that center front seam. It's just so perfect. And she even matched up her pockets with the pattern too! I have quite a long way to go before I'm to this stage of pattern-matching-expertise.

And, of course her beautiful belt! It's quite impressive, in my opinion! She made a fabric-covered belt with eyelets and a belt loop! It's so professional-looking!

(Yes, her belt says "RS." Sometimes we forget to iron out markings....)

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