24 February 2015

Completed: A Whole Lotta Lolas

For Christmas, I set out to what I thought was a reasonable task: making 4 Victory Patterns' Lolas. One for my best friend, one for each of my sisters and one for me. I finished mine, the last, on February 20th. That's okay, though, because there is still plenty of snow around!

This one is mine, in organic teal sweatshirting, size 10, with no hem band.

Here's my best friend's (she's at work in a costume storage facility) in navy organic sweatshirting, size 6.

Here's the one I made for my middle sister, size 10, in black organic sweatshirting, size 10, no hem band with sleeves let out as much as possible. She works out (you know you can't not sing that!)

And last, my little sister's, size 14, also in black organic sweatshirting, with the hem band because she is very tall.

Oh wait, you don't see a photo? That's because my ungrateful little sister never took one. But she had plenty of time to take other selfies for Facebook somehow. I never really expected one from her but if I ever get it I'll put it up.

Pattern: Victory Patterns Lola
Size: Sizes 6, 10 and 14
Rating: 4/5  
Fabric, etc.: 2 yards navy, 6 yards black and 3 yards teal organic sweatshirt from Fabric.com ($9.33/yard on sale = $102.63)
Cost: Approximately $25 per dress  
Needle/Tension/Stitch Length: Size 14 Ballpoint/4/3
Time: 4 hours per dress
  • I know a lot of other people who have made this find the arm bands too tight and my sister had that problem so I had to let the sleeves and bands out. I have chicken arms so this wasn't an issue for me.
  • Even though I made a 10 for myself, I wish I'd made an 8 in the end. The fabric was pooling on my posterior, so I had to shorten it by taking in the waist seam an extra 3/8" for a total seam allowance of 6/8". I also found the back to be too broad (check out the side view) and the shoulders feel a bit too roomy as well.
  • The fabric is absolutely wonderful - so soft inside! It isn't too heavy where it feels bulky but it has substance. And it is organic and affordable (not on sale it is still only $10.98)! There are several other colors available as well as a "natural" colorway that you could dye.

18 February 2015

Completed: Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge Doggy Sweatshirt

I truly had no plans to be a part of the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge, even though I desperately wanted to be. However, I was burnt out from sewing the dogs' union suits (which have been stretched beyond repair after a raucous hour at the dog park) and had no funds set aside to buy dog themed fabric for myself, so I sadly put it out of my head and buckled down to sew all the Lolas I had promised people for Christmas and was late in making.

That is, until it got really, really, really cold here in Jersey. Paisley is double coated so she's just fine, but Honey Bee had reached her cold threshold and was spending her days curled up as tightly as possible on the couch. Every so often she would get up and re-adjust, trying to get just a little warmer. I started putting her in her puffy outdoor coat! In the end my eye was caught by a pattern Rochelle had just picked up for Lucille and well, it was on sale here too so I zipped out and bought it.

After a frenzied afternoon in my sewing room I emerged triumphant! Made from french terry scraps, ironically in my high school team colors, with her nickname applied in iron-on letters too!

Now she's sleeping like this! We did have a little scare though in the night. I was hoping she could also wear it as pajamas, but she scoots forward a lot in her sleep and we woke up to the sound of her gagging because it had pulled back and she was choking herself instead of standing up to relieve the tension. So my advice is don't leave your dog clothed and unattended!
Pattern: Simplicity 1578 $.80
Size: One Size Fits All
Rating: 4/5  
Fabric, etc.: 3/4 yard maroon sweatshirting bought in NYC and grey sweatshirting scraps and iron-on letters from JoAnn's. ALL STASHBUST!!!
Cost: Probably around $7. I think the fabric was originally $10.yd
Needle/Tension/Stitch Length: Size 12 Ballpoint/4/3
Time: 2 hours
  • I'm curious to see how the other views make up because even though the pattern size is "one size fits all" and designated for big dogs, the pattern pieces look like they vary in size. This shirt would be too small for Paisley, I'm pretty sure and she is the size of the dogs illustrated on the pattern cover. For reference Honey Bee is around 50 lbs, but has an unusually lean girth for a pibble and is pretty short. She only has the stout neck and boulder noggin. She's known as a "pocket pittie".
  • The neck band is, not surprisingly, snug on Miss Bee. However, without the band the neckhole fits no problem so next time I will just make a longer band.
  • I chose to topstitch around the bands on the main fabric, tucking the seam allowance in to it to keep it lying flat.
  • I had a lot of fun with this and it was so easy to whip up I'd highly recommend it. Plus it seems like it would be easy to alter.

I'll leave you with a video to show the sweatshirt in action!

17 February 2015

Vintage Plede III: Miscellaneous Matches

My second half of the year I'd like to continue to focus on stashbusting as well as Vintage Pledge, so I took the opportunity to match up some of my fabrics with my patterns.

For example, this lightweight herringbone fabric I've had forever! I made the knickers (my first project blogged at WWNDW?) and they were somehow on the too large side, so I never got around to trying the bra. I'm terribly curious about vintage bras - I've heard the horror stories about having to iron them, but on the other hand they look so comfortable, at least pre-1950s they do. No bullet bras for me!

I can't tell if this is the pattern I want to use or if the stripes are swaying me to it! I wanted to make something with this fabric that felt vintage baseball inspired. Originally I was thinking a playsuit was what I wanted, but this dress is really very cute too. Plus I like the idea of monogramming it and putting Rockford Peaches across the back.

This might get bumped up for my California trip if I can figure out a skirt or bottoms to match. A circle skirt in a bright solid would be fun!

I dream of making this skirt, but until I can afford a lovely piece of lining fabric it is on hold. I've learned the hard way that pleats can stick together something awful without a lining. The blouse is also on my someday list, I just love small ruffle accents.

It is difficult to tell, but the fabric here is a delicious drapey olive wool that looks very army green. I got it for free, hurrah! This is a pajama pattern, but the pattern pieces of pajama pants and pants for daywear is often identical in the 1940s, and my intent is to make casual pants for daywear.

This is one of the first pieces of fabric I ever bought and I was smart and bought 5 whole yards of it. What I wasn't smart about was figuring out what the heck I was going to make with a novelty twill. If it happens to be enough for this appropriately kitschy dress pattern, I'd like to make it with a complimentary solid yoke. If not I suppose it will be turned into a circle skirt. What do you think?

This isn't really something I'm dying to make, but it is the only pattern I have that specifically calls for taffeta. I imagine it would really make that peplum stand right out. Since my taffeta is color-change, the bit of red could peek out of the peplum's ruffle.

What would you choose to sew out of this bunch?

15 February 2015

Vintage Pledge II: Sewing For Wee Ones

My life is being inundated with wee ones lately...it seems the pregnancy epidemic amongst your peers really gets going once you are in your late twenties. Hooray, because that means I will get to use some of my beloved vintage children's patterns! Plus, all my planned fabrics are from my stash. Double points!

Advance 6063 actually looks a lot like the sort of outfits I had growing up in the early 90s, only the frills and ruffles were more ostentatious. I've got this one planned for the daughter of a pair that are really into midcentury style. I like the rattan print - it keeps it from being too cutesy. It is a quilting cotton I bought ages ago.

These two will be for James' new second cousin. I'm hoping to squeeze out the full playsuit and bonnet from the first one. As for the dress, I'd like to make the bloomers and the "bolero" a different fabric than the yellow floral, but I would like a blue that matches better.

Not sure about this one, because I don't like to set a precedent of gifting handmades to acquaintances (I usually reserve them for family and best friends only), plus all those snaps! But it is awfully cute and I need to destash this giant pile of red flannel so if I'm inspired I might make this for a woman in my knitting group with a new boy.

11 February 2015

Vintage Pledge: 1940s Focus For California

Hi all! This post is an exploration of my possible makes and goals for Vintage Pledge 2015. My focus for the first half of the year will be on pieces for my California trip. I'm lacking in sundresses, surprisingly, as well as skirts and shorts to go with tops I already have. Outfit building is key here - making sure I already own accessories to match and can even recycle them between outfits. 

As a costume designer, I enjoy the challenge of creating a capsule wardrobe that fits in my suitcase and did well last year when I went to Chicago, Europe and China. I was afraid to attempt it with vintage looks, though, so I'm stepping up my game. For one thing, I have a hard time even getting enough matching pieces to put together a vintage outfit - I have a hard enough time finding vintage pieces that fit me and I like so composing one outfit can take a long time. Thank goodness for sewing to help fill in the holes! For another, certain vintage garments, like petticoats, take up more room than I can afford to give them. This is where I find the 1940s and even the 1960s to fit my bill.

This DuBarry pattern was a recent acquisition and when I saw it I knew this fabric from my stash was perfect for it. Now I'm glad I saved it all these years, even if it is polyester. The print isn't too busy that it will cause the lines of the dress to disappear, but its silkiness should lend the right drape.

Simplicity 4981 is rather charming and unusual in that it features a pair of pleated shorts that call for more fabric than other styles of this era. I like the pleats because they are flattering on my body type - high waisted, fitted shorts are not suited to me in the least. I realize I am somewhat influenced by the illustration here in my choice of brown linen. I haven't decided yet if I want to attempt the blouse too. I prefer a wider scoop neck than the early to mid 40s styles had.

Simplicity 1554 is what I hope to make the match the brown shorts. I already made it once in a plaid lawn that I suspect may be a bit too bright for the rich brown. The wide armholes are very comfortable in hot weather, and this lawn from Mood is nice and light.

My favorite of the bunch! Simplicity 1259 was what I had in mind when I bought this Hawaiian shirting, especially if I can find a solid color fabric to match for the bolero. The bows pull through buttonhole slits in the bolero!

I'm torn between Simplicity 7136 and 6912 for this awesome whale print cotton. My sister made 7136 ages ago and I remember it being very tiny. On the other hand, 6912 is a "Teen" size pattern, so I imagine I will be choosing based on the fit of the muslin. I'm pretty sure I'm set on adding some of that bobble trim!

If I do try to squeeze in a full skirted 60s number, this is the one for me! I got the pattern in a giveaway and bought the lovely cabbage rose print with it in mind. A jacket to match in that olive leaf color would be scrummy.

All in all, my goal is to make up 5 vintage patterns this year! What about you guys? Are any of you participating? I know some people have already sewn several items!

Folks Serv