20 April 2015

Completed: Retro Lady Archaeologist Culottes? Shorts?

Far from the Agatha Christie novels set in the middle east and Egypt that inspired these, it has been downright cold, rainy and occasionally even snowy here in Jersey the past months, thus preventing me from photographing them even though they were complete ages ago. Today is also the day my 1940s Pattern Inspiration Post for Vintage Pledge goes live over at Kestrel Makes, so it only seemed appropriate.
Apparently culottes are a big thing in fashion right now. Being pretty well sealed off from the world of fashion (I gave up my subscription to Vogue ages ago and the only clothes I look at are the ones on pattern covers and the occasional Duluth Trading Catalog) I was unaware of this. Not that these even come close to the style of culotte that is in, which is fine with me, as I think of culottes as shorts/capris-disguised-as-a-skirt. What they're calling culottes I would call epically wide-leg capris. Despite the fact that this pattern even calls these shorts, I am calling them culottes. So you can stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
 Obviously I was swayed by the pattern illustration when it came to choosing fabric, but this brown linen was already in my stash, calling out to be used.
It has taken a long time to admit that I will never choose skirts over shorts - too fussy to always keep your shirt tucked in as opposed to a dress - and when I do they can't be a pencil style. 1940s silhouette to the rescue! I want to make several versions of this pattern in all sorts of colors - navy, red, olive green...it might even be fun to extend them into pants.

Check out how wide that leg can go. These will be awesome for bike riding.
Even though the back doesn't maintain the illusion of a skirt it is somehow much more flattering and skirt-like than any of those awful "skorts" I wore in the 1990s.
Pattern: Simplicity 4981 (1944)
Size: Size 16, B34
Rating: 5/5  
Fabric, etc.: 1 3/8 yards of warm brown sparkle linen from JoAnn's years ago. STASHBUST! Button is, I think from my Grandma's stash but I had to buy snaps.
Cost: $4 for the snaps  
Needle/Tension/Stitch Length: Size 12 universal/4/3
Time: Don't remember, but they're pretty quick to whip up since there's no need for a lot of hand sewing.
  • I usually prefer snap plackets on side openings, but the snaps are a bit bulkier than expected and tend to show (see above) so I may have to swap out for a zipper someday.
  • I chose the button because it looks like something an archaeologist might have dug up. They don't make buttons like they used to, it has a wonderful patina.
  • Waistband sits about 1.5" higher than the natural waist on me. This may be due to my lack of height, but I find it flattering. It is smaller than my natural waist anyways. The crotch isn't too deep either, the way it can be in styles of this time.
  • My only confusion as far as instructions go was with the placket. They have you adding all sorts of facings that didn't even seem necessary in the end.
  • The waistband is not interface per the instructions and it is very comfortable. The waistband looks much too small at first, but it is eased onto the waist much like a sleeve into and armscye.

25 March 2015

March Muslin Madness

Lovely friends, March is driving me crazy. First it was so warm that I pulled out all my shorts and then it dumped a snowstorm on us. Now it is just rainy and cold. Before my knitter's elbow started acting up again though I managed to get some sewing done, just nothing that is an actual finished garment.

I decided to try something I'd never done before: sew a bunch of muslins and then decide what I really want to sew. Crazy? NOPE. I've found it to be a great way to sew during a month where I can't get decent photos of finished garments anyways, yet still feel accomplished. Really, it was just an excuse to sew fast and recklessly! I lucked out with a huge muslin stash from one of the theatres we worked at - they use it to cover flats and always have odds and ends to give away.

Simplicity 4981 is one I just dove into with the fashion fabric, because now I pretty much know how certain 40s patterns will fit me. It is darling and I can't wait for a warm day to photograph it. All it needs is hemming and a button. As my friend put it, it is very retro lady archaeologist. I can see making several of these in the future.

My next muslin was not so successful. Remember this from my Vintage Pledge post? Well that bodice was so awful I couldn't even photograph it. The darts are all off in every way, the zipper opening needs to come all the way to the top of the side seam and worst of all, it is mysteriously giant in width at the top. So my bust was squished beyond belief, and it seems this pattern was drafted for the bust to be well above the armpit! I'm better off drafting my own bodice for this one, but I don't think it'll be anytime soon.

Thank goodness my Simplicity 6912 (1960s) muslin was a home run (no adjustments, what!?) or I might have gotten discouraged. I think this will be my Spring For Cotton project. I adore the bell sleeves!

Somewhere in the middle of all this I took a break to re-organize my fabric in boxes. I came across this dress I made in 2009, which now fits. It was too small at the time, so I tossed it aside and stupidly later cut a piece out of the back to make an apron. I'm hoping to patch it with the yardage that I also found, re-do my awful bias binding and have a cute housedress! Make do and mend, folks!

Bored with such conservative offerings, I busted out Simplicity 1365, a reprint of a 1970s halter top. It wasn't a loss but there was some fitting to contend with. I need to take out some length in the waist but make the peplum longer. There's also a lot of gappage in the side under the arm that I need to work out. I need to figure out then if I want to keep the tie back version or switch to the buttoned panel. The tie is sort of cute, but because it is lower than the bust line it doesn't keep the waistband tight under the bust - resulting in breasts slipping into the waistband, ack!

Last but not least I started a wearable muslin of Sew Caroline's newest pattern, the Downtown Tunic. I was drawn to it because it reminded me of something I might pick up at PacSun, one of my favorite stores. Basically no pattern companies cater to the beach/surfer/skater chic crowd, which is a big part of my wardrobe. I would have had it done by now, but the "skirt" that you attach to the bottom didn't line up so I need to take it in before re-attaching it. However, I'm almost more in love with the t-shirt itself, all I need to do is even out the hem to get a t-shirt that is perfect for me.

05 March 2015

The Four Month Hat

Back in October of 2014 I began a hat for a penpal that I met through swaps in the Tiny Owl Knits group on Ravelry. I finished it in mid-February. Now I would say that I am truly the world's slowest knitter, but this was not an easy hat.
The pattern is Gloriole Slouch by Becoming Art and I used some Naturally Caron Country, an acrylic merino worsted weight that they discontinued years ago. I bought it on clearance for mere cents a skein, if I remember correctly, which is surprising because I find it to be a very nice yarn for an acrylic. This was a great way to destash it, and the remaining skeins I sent in a box of goodies to Meg the Grand.

Now, this is a pattern not for the mindless knitter. All the asymmetrical cables show any error you make. Even those bits between the big cables are made using cable stitches. That didn't stop me from knitting it everywhere I could, including during the annual New Year's winter camping trip.

I would recommend the pattern for sure, but make sure you use a yarn with more drape than me! If not for the weight of the needles in the below photo, that "slouchy" bit stuck pretty straight out!
What are you all knitting? Do you put away your needles come spring? I'm tackling (for the third time) a tank top in cotton bamboo.

28 February 2015

WIP: 1960's Simplicity 8788

What I've been working on since the New Year, to get a break from sewing constant Lolas, is a project that is a home run in several of my sewing goals this year. It was a long standing WIP, a stashbust and it counts for Vintage Pledge.
Simplicity 8788 is a pattern I'd made up twice before. Once in a flamingo print flannel and again in a beige sparkle linen with pink accents (actually, the same linen I'm making my 1940s shorts in, just a different colorway). At some point I acquired a smaller size version of this pattern, I'm not sure which I used to cut this newest one.
I'm glad I cut the collared version out way back when, because I don't think I would have picked it later, but I am pleasantly surprised by how much I like it. So far I've been shortening the sleeves and hem to be more like the illustration. All that's left is a hook and eye set in the collar but I forgot to buy them when I went shopping. I briefly thought about putting the suggested daisy trim on but everyone I asked nixed it. I do, however, think I want to make pants to go with it. What do you think? White pants? Light blue pants? Sadly I have no more of this crazy sheeting to make properly matching trousers.

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.

Folks Serv