Sunday, 29 November 2009

Mc Call 6520, vintage blouse (1946)

I thought I'd sew something quick and easy. This looks quite simple, doesn't it? Well... it was easy enough, but there are eight darts around the waist, and the necktie took some figuring out (although this was one of the apparently rare vintage patterns with good, illustrated instructions). So it took me a week (sewing jersey has spoilt me!).

These are all the pattern-pieces laid out on the material. I never use the pattern layout instruction, it's a puzzle, it's part of the fun! Plus, it's usually possible to save material by laying them out differently to the suggested way (maybe because I always use one of the smallest sizes).

I actually made it without copying the pattern first, which for me feels like cheating. But it was in good condition, so I decided it was ok.

I think it really resembles the picture on the envelope! Although it shouldn't, this pattern (I remebered after cutting the material and sewing all the basic seams) is made for a 30" bust, I'm a 32,5"... I don't get it. It should be too small, and I actually think it's a bit too big! That's normal with modern patterns, but I thought they added a bit less ease before.

Note to self: always, always measure the pattern-pieces before sewing. And make plenty of toiles... (I didn't this time, I SO glad it fit me!).

The front is pleated beneath the yoke, and I've finally understood why you sew two parallell lines of gathering-thread... one should be on either side of the actual seam... you can tell that I put both in the seam-allowance, it looks more creased than gathered. I'll do better next time (I love to learn new things)!
You can also, kind of, see the shoulder pads (a first for me!). I think maybe they should be placed further out on the shoulder, I might try that. They had quite strong shoulders in the 1940's...
I like the cuffs... with vintage buttons from my stash.
And I like the material, a pure cotton remnant. I've bought 10 meters of it, so you'll be sure see more blue creations here in the future!


... I shall:

- Sleep until I wake up
- Photograph my first vintage sewing-creation, a blouse from 1946.
- Begin to make a wearable toile for the dress I intend to make for christmas, based on Butterick 7127. I was inspired to finally take it up by the picture below (from 1936), the sleeves reminded me of it... (I love their shape!).

- Attend this year's first Mulled Wine-party (first for me that is, they've been going on for a few weeks already).
- Go to an advent concert at church (I'm not a regular church visitor... but it'll be nice!).
- Eat some more of the mushrooms I found in the forest today.

I love weekends!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Vouge 1932, now that's a lady!

This is what I would like to look like... in an ideal world where you could ride your bicycle to work in any kind of clothes (I do love my little red 1951-bicycle!).

Maybe it would work for me as a jacket rather than a coat... I think my Marian Martin-pattern might work to create somethin similar, or at least as inspiration.

I would omit the fur on the sleeves, but the fur-collar is a great idea, don't you think?

I also really like the hat. Another hat that totally makes me want to wear hats is minnithemink's Lanvin bonnet. Only I almost always wear a bike-helmet (I wish they looked like hats instead!).

The image above is from 1932, and I found it at My Vintage Vogue.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

I've been cleaning!

I've had this camisole/dress lying around for nearly a year... it's by the Swedish brand Whyred.

I love their designs, the founder of the company used to be a tailor and they always use detailing that make the clothes very special in a discreet way, but when I bought this one at a clearance sale I knew I would have to change it to want to wear it.

It was a good length to wear as a dress in summer, but just to see-through, and too long to wear as a top. And the neckline was oh-so-low.

And then I never got around to it. Until now! I intended to clean my flat a bit today (I hate cleaning, but I love it afterwards...) and found it, so I decided it was a good thing to fix (little steps towards a better organised home is my intention).

All I did was to shorten it, and to raise the neckline a bit by shortening the straps.

Sorry about the tired look in the pictures, I am a bit tired, first I went to a couple of lectures in the morning ( it's SATURDAY) and then I cycled all around the city (a couple of laps) buying flowers for my flat (november is so dark here you just have to brighten it up a bit!), japanese food-things (shiawase!) and researching sergers (why do all male sewing-machine-vendors claim that all machines but the ones they sell are useless crap? I don't get it...).

All in all a good day! With a bit of a too early start... (I will make up for it tomorrow).

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Pledge

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Circle Scarf, with tutorial

So, I've finally made something! I got my invitation to join the wardrobe refashion-project today, so I had to celebrate it with something quick and easy!
This is the simplest thing possible to make, but I think I'll get good use out of it.
I've just got to wash it first, the jersey (that I got from my stash) bleeds black dye (as I discovered the hard way when I woke up the morning after the first time I wore a dress I made from it, only to discover that my once white sheets were a greyish puple hue where I had slept.... oh, such a not-nice awakening!).

I will not make that mistake again...

Here's how to make it:

Cut a piece of jersey about 60cm's wide and about 140cm's long, with the greatest direction of stretch across it (the little lines of the knit should run along its length).

I'm a size xs, if you're bigger than me you probably want to make it both a bit longer and a bit wider.

It should look something like this (but I forgot to photograph it before sewing, this is a smaller piece of fabric).

Now fold it in half like in the picture, align the two short ends - right sides facing - and sew along the edge(s) using a stitch for stretch, like a zig-zag, or an ovelock-stitch.

I still use my regular sewing machine (it has a couple of simple over-lock stitches) for knits, but ideally I would have used a serger for this. It's on my wishlist!

You usually don't need to finish the edges of jersey (I LOVE that!), but if you have a serger it might make a nice effect.

You end up with a circular scarf, like a big tube, that can be worn in a variety of ways, for inspiration look here.

For another tutorial on how to make the circle-scarf take a look here.

 I will probably wear it with black clothes most of the time, I like the effect it makes, where you can't really tell if it's a part of the dress/top or a separate piece of clothing...

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Vintage patterns: New York 1044 and Simplicity 1741

I finally had the time to go to the post-office and pick up a letter containing a vintage pattern (although strictly speaking, post-offices don't exist in Sweden anymore. They are now hidden away as service-centres, usually located in supermarkets...), and as a bonus another letter with a pattern in it waited for me when I got home!

This, Simplicity 1741, is the pattern that I actually had to outbid other bidders to get, that I mentioned before (I usually don't bid on the more expensive patterns...). I love the collar on the dress, and the wide, gathered sleeves on the shirt. I think these clothes look increadibly modern to be more than 80 years old (isn't that amazing, that it's more than 80 years old...!).

I'd like to make both of them soon, but at the moment I'm buzy constructing the Pattern Magic wrap-top that I wrote about earlier (ok, I've now called it draped top, twisted top and wrap-top... talk about confusing! Anyway, it's all the same one... sorry!), and I'd really like to make a jacket from another vintage pattern that I've bought.

So I guess this will have to wait a little (it's a good, good thing that the christmas holidays are coming up!).

This is the back of the pattern envelope. I still can't believe it's so old... it looks more modern to me than many modern prints. But I'm a bit weird that way I guess.

 This second one, New York 1044, is one of those patterns that nobody else bid on, isn't it strange? Some patterns from the 1930's sell for well over $100, and other for just a few dollars. The more expensive ones are usually more complicated and unusual, but still.

Well, I'm glad it's possible to get patterns as nice as this one without being ruined! And I really like the sleeves, not quite sure I will use the collar and the jabot, but then again I may since the jabot seems to be removable... (be brave!).

And now I've got fifteen minutes to draft the new wrap-top before I must, must go to bed. Good night all!

Books on their their way!

I ordered some books (I feel a bit guilty since I had decided to try to shop less for a while, but maybe it's ok to shop if I shop wisely?), all sewing-books as it happens... three for me and one for my nieces.

I have two nieces (thank you brother!). One is just a month old and the other 3,5 years, and I miss them terribly since they live in Bergen (Norway), so we only meet about twice a year... I will have to be the good auntie and send them little gifts once in a while so they don't forget about me (I've actually never met the new baby, but thank god for internet when you have family far away!). She's named after me btw (not only me, but me too), we have the same two first names; she's Ella Kari and I'm Ella Karin, but are called Ella and Karin, so I'm proud like a cock about it. My other niece is Julia, my favourite child!

I will post reviews of the books later, but here's a quick preview. First the one for my nieces (or for me actually, but they will be the ones that benefit from it the most!).

Carefree Clothes for Girls, by Junko Okawa. The white dress in the bottom picture is what got me, plus the fact that the author is Japanese. I've spent a total of 9 months in Japan, and I loved it, especially the culture/art so I kind of have this thing for japanese books... and I'd love to make Julia a dress with lace-ribbon-details....

As I googled the book (after ordering it) I found the book-publishing-company's website, and there are free downloads of all (I think) patterns in the book. Check out the page about this particular book, there's a list of links to the patterns at the bottom of the page. There are also patterns from some of their other books avilable for download. I wouldn't have had to buy the book to access the patterns...

Oh, well, I prefer not to have to cut and paste as much as you must with downloaded patterns and the book looks very inspiring, so it might be worth it!

With this book I'm still a bit in a state of chock, until a couple of months ago I had never thought I would buy a book about sewing childrens-wear (since I don't have any kids). Well, it's nice to be surprised by yourself once in a while!

This book, High Fashion Sewing Secrets by Claire B. Schaeffer, well, my mum has another one of her books, and it is such an inspiration to look in! I thought it was a bit of a waste to buy the same book (or am I just curious about Ms Schaeffer's other books? My mother lives 600k's away from here so it's not like I can easily borrow it...), so I got this one instead. My mum and I will have to share sewing secrets this christmas (when I visit my parents)!

Both books are sewing-technique-bibles with a bit of that extra, for example how to change patterns to make them fit better (and we're not talking taking in-letting out here but to add/remove extra ease or shape the pattern in just the right places).

The third one, Couture - the Art of Fine Sewing by Roberta Carr, is a book I found on as I was checking out Ms Schaeffer's books (don't you just love that function "people who bought this book also got....", aaah, seducing!).

The reviews for this book are just too good not to buy it, people call it a must in your sewing-book-library. And it looks promising from the preview-peak inside it. I think it may be quite similar to High Fashion Sewing Secrets though, so I hope they are not too similar but rather compliment each other.

And finally, a book that looks dead boring judging from the cover. Make Your Own Dress Patterns by Adele P. Margolis.

In my understanding it's a re-print of a book first published in 1959 about altering/constructing patterns, with just about everything you need to know about that subject in it. I love pattern-construction. It makes me all excited to think about it (ok, I'm a bit of a nerd, in so many areas... but I'd rather be an excited nerd than bored and blasé).

Gertie at Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing calls another reprint of this book, from 1971, "the best pattern book ever", she's made a review of it if you're interested in reding more about it. That's where I found out about it.

I have big hopes for this one, I've seem images of elaborately constructed puffy sleeves from the 1971 edition, and I expect the same level of this one.

And although I'd much rather get the original version it's both much easier and much cheaper to buy the reprint with an ugly cover, it was only 150skr (=US$ 21 or about £11.5).

As I write that I realise that books are quite expensive in Sweden, it was US$13.57 at Amazon... oh well...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

A weekend in the archipelago - inspiration!

I just had to show you what I did last weekend... I spent it on Landsort, an island by the sea, in the company of 7 nice girls, all friends or friends of my friends.

I love going to the archipelago. The air is easier to breathe there, the sound of the sea makes me like a temple of harmony. Every time I go there I want to simply shift lives and stay there. I hope some day I will!

When I look at the pictures it really hits me how subdued the colour-scale is, it's all grey, brown, green and ochre, with accents of red. Quite beautiful! It's amazing how such a small selection of colours can be that rich, and not boring at all.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

I found myself on the internet...

It's funny how things you make can get their own life! My Tea-top pattern that I uploaded on Burdastyle (and in this blog) is now apparently beginning to appear in lists of free sewing-patterns on the internet.

I just found it here.

There's a picture of Lizzie225 wearing her version of it (the notion says it's me, but nope) and a link to Burdastyle.

 I wonder where else it might be...

Monday, 9 November 2009

Pattern Magic vol 1, draped top p.59 + 60

So I decided to begin with the pattern-magic project, not a vintage pattern. And I chose this twisted top.

It's simple enough to appeal to me I guess! Many of them (like the bow ones I posted about earlier) make me dribble when I look at them in the book, but I'm not sure I'd like to actually wear them. So: simplicity first!

After working on the pattern for a while I realised that there are two methods described in the book, the first is a drape without a twist and the second is a drape with a twist (I could read half of the names of the projects in the book, guessed and later asked my japanese colleague if I was right, and I was, shiawase!).

Since the basic pattern is the same for both of the versions I decided to make both to see which one I liked better.

First I copied my basic blouse-pattern. I was lucky, all I had to do was to move one of the darts from the shoulder to the sleeve-opening. A simple cut and close-excersize (look at my Burdastyle-profile if you don't know how to change darts, I've made a how-to for changing darts to princess-seams there, that will explain it).

I decided I wanted the wrap (in both cases, with and without the twist) a bit further down than in the book. I put the top of the wrap-circle 5.5cm's below the chest-line of my basic pattern instead of just below it.

Then I followed the pictures, drew all the lines as well as I could. I rushed it a bit (eager to finish in time to make a toile!) so I had to add some paper I had accidently cut off by mistake a couple of times, but with a roll of stickytape you can always repair the damage!

I turned the pattern to position it the same way as in the book before drawing the lines, since my basic pattern is mirrored compared to the one they use in the book.

With all the lines done it was time to start cutting the pattern.

And to open it up.

Then I cut the original darts, removed the paper in the darts and taped them closed. I think it would be easier to do this before cutting along the lines if you're not used to working with patterns/darts. It wouldn't matter that the patterns wouldn't be flat before cutting along the lines.

In the version with a twist, you cut the pattern in two by cutting along the center ot the circle (where the strips are the most narrow) and then turn the bottom half the other way before drawing the finished pattern. See the picture of the finished pattern below.

There's an indication in the diagram/picture in the that the middle of the pattern should be 18cm's wide, so I drew an 18cm's long line and taped the pattern-pieces flat so that the opening in the middle was 18cm's and the pattern-pieces looked as much as possible as they do in the pictures.

In the picture above you can see the closed dart as a line next to my finger-tips. Notice that I made them fit like a puzzle rather than line up the pieces of paper as I taped them closed, that's how it's done in the book.

These are the finished front-pieces of both versions.
I've marked them as they are marked in the book (but I don't have access to japanese kana-letters so I used the western ones instead).
I've also marked the side-seams and sleeve-openings to make the difference between them more clear.

This is the front-piece for the version without twist. The other one would be folded in the center front. I forgot to photograph it, but I intend to make a new one and include later, it's interesting to see the difference between them. The straight grain is quite different depending on which version you choose. This material is striped along the straight grain (I bought this material only because it was cheap, but I've realised the stripes makes it excellent for toiles, I was lucky!).

So, here are my finished toiles!

They both have their pluses and minuses. I like that the one without the twis is cut on the bias below the waist. It also seems to fit a bit better.

The one with the twist, however, has a more even distribution of the creases in the wrap-front, and it generally just looks a bit better around the wrap.

They are both too tight around the bust, and they are both a bit too loose below the bust. I will have to adjust that before making the final version.

I think that the one without the twist may work better for thinner materials and the one with a twist better for more thick materails.

I will try to evaluate them better before the final version!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Treasures: a box full of buttons

This box is one of my oldest treasures. I loved it the moment I saw it, and even more when I opened it ('s full of mother of pearl-buttons with a few sparkly rhinestone-buttons scattered like diamonds among them) and that was long ago enough to not remember if I bought it or if my mum bought it and gave it to me. I must ask her.

The other day I was looking through my drawers and boxes, I had a little inventory of my stash, and found it. And realised that it must be from the 1930's, I'm such a sucker for 1930's art, architecture (I live in a house built in 1932, it's a functionalist building...) and design, and apparently I have been since I was a little kid. I had never thought of when this box may be from, i've just considered it old and pretty.

Some things grip you, get a hold of you and change the way you look at other things, and for me, I think this box was one of them. Simple as it is. I think it made me more interested in both crafts and design, and that my love for things that look old and real has something to do with the... realness of the metal box and its contents. Quality.

I love Norway too. Not sure it has to do with the fact that Glott's Mild Mixture was from Oslo though...!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Grey Cowl-neckline dress

I am addicted to fast sewing projects. They get in the way of the more slow ones, for good and bad...

This dress was a fast project that became a bit more slow than expected... first the sleeve openings became almost ruffled since the material (an organic cotton) is too loosely knitted for the seam (an ordinary twin-needle-seam).

That was such a sad sight that I didn't even think of bringing the camera out... so I ripped the seam (only made one of them) and gave the whole thing a rest for a couple of days.

After deciding to put elastic in the seam I took it up again, only to really really struggle with the seam, twin needles are an excellent tool when they work, but this time it was a nightmare... I had to begin sewing one of the seams over again three times, it kept looking like in the picture, and even broke a twin needle in the process. Not fun! But the sleeve-openings came out ok in the end.

Then I decided that I'll have to dye the dress, as much as I like the colour it is now, the material gets very dark marks if it gets wet. And I'm very good at splashing water on myself by mistake, not good. So it's not quite finished yet.

But other than that, I'm happy with it!

Next on the list is to decide if I want to make something from pattern magic or use one of my vintage patterns... hm...

Anne Adams 2335

Friday night and coming home was almost like christmas eve (that's when we give our christmas-presents, we're a bit impatient here up north!).

Two yellow envelopes and one little parcel - all with much treasured patterns - were waiting for me, bliss!

This first one is an Anne Adams mail-order-pattern, and I guess it's from the 1930's. It's an unprinted pattern, and it seems like it's never been used.

I particularily like the styling of the envelope, the printed text and two light blue borders are printed on the envelope itself, it's see-through, and the picture of the dress is printed on the instruction-sheet inside the envelope. Very sophisticated if you ask me!

I also like the collar, and the slim lines of the skirt. If I make it (I hope I will!) I'm going to make the skirt a whole lot shorter though.

I have this thing about skirts, I always try to make them a bit longer than usual, but I always chop off bit after bit, I think I look boring in long (in other words those that are not very short!) skirts.

I'll keep trying... maybe, maybe I'll finally be a lady one day?
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