Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Countdown

It's going to be close this year... but isn't it every year?

Got this blocked and ready to wrap yesterday. It's a cowl for my mom that can also be pulled up and worn as a hood. Because my mother, like most children, won't wear a freaking hat in winter.

It's cold here, people! I'm hoping this will convince her to bundle up a bit more.

Still to go? Two and a half hats, some pyjamas and a bookbinding project. Then all the stuff I'm planning to give people late. MUST CRAFT FASTER.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Why I'm Not Naked Today

I found this skirt on my last thrifting trek, and even though it was too small, fatigued around the yoke seam and overpriced, I fell in love with the print. I recently picked up a book on 80s textile prints and I think it's influencing my fashion decisions...

So I hacked off the yoke with my trusty seam ripper, folded over the top towards the front and attached it to a wide elastic with two rows of stretch stitch while stretching the elastic to the length of the fabric. That last part was HARD. I finally figured out how to keep tension on the top fabric using my elbow, but I'm not in a rush to try it again.

In the end I got a cute skirt that fits and that I'll actually wear. Success! Just don't look at my stitching too closely...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Smaller Project on the Go

So, as you've probably noticed, I really like making things for my little second cousin. She is totally adorable and awesome, but also managed to come along at the right time in my crafting career for me to actually finish projects.

A while ago I came across a giant collection of children's patterns from the early 60s. Even though I don't usually do kids' patterns, these were completely irresistible. Some of the 8-12 year old stuff is just amazing. I want it in my size! There were only a couple patterns for the 2 year old set (the bean's only 1, but growing FAST), including the slips, nighties and bloomers above. Who makes a slip for a 2 year old? Apparently mom's in the 60s.

I thought, given the right fabric, View 3 would be super cute as a jumper in winter and a sundress in summer. Looks pretty cute already, right?

I had this floral cotton print in my stash. I have no idea where or when it's from, but I think it used to be my mom's? She doesn't remember it either though, so it really could be anything. The print reminds me of the 70s children's picture books I had growing up (I'm from the second batch of cousins, lots of hand-me-downs). I fell in love with the print, but before I prewashed it had this weird stiff, shiny surface. After a run through the washing machine it's so much softer and looks like normal dress weight cotton. I was surprised to find I had enough fabric to also cut out the little bloomers! No ruffles though... Those strike me as a tad impractical if there isn't a party dress needing some serious pouffing.

I was all set to start sewing Monday night after getting my Sew-Along stuff finished for the day, but I found I need some elastic, green thread and seam binding. I haven't had to buy any notions for a specific project in ages, they're usually just lying around. Maybe I'll actually bother getting the piping for Brian's pyjamas while I'm at it? I'd really like to have those finished for Christmas eve.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Working on a Sew-A-Long...

...And actually getting somewhere on it thanks to my awesome friend Natalie!

We decided last month, while in the end-of-term trenches, to give Gertie's Crepe Sewalong a try. Last week we met up to search for fabric, and Natalie got some great purple check. I found a 5 yard section of a crazy atomic nautical print in my stash before heading out, so I ended up only shopping for Brian's Christmas pyjama fabric (which needs its own post!). I have no idea when the yardage is from, but it was only $7.99 from the local thrift shop. A huge savings on buying new for this dress. I still need to get something for the sash though, maybe a shiny navy fabric? I was thinking red or green but it might be a bit much.

Today we met up to sew our muslins and work out fit issues. The bodice on this dress is a little short, which is great for me and my high waist. The only things I had to change were the depth and position of the front darts. The grey lines are the original dart placement, and the red ones are my adjusted darts. The side dart was still too high so I lowered it about 3 cm. Now I have to trace the new darts back onto my traced pattern and shore up the angles of the side.

This is my first time sewing a bodice muslin before jumping into a project. It was a lot of work, but I'm thinking it's worth it for the better fit. I've never had the bust darts on a garment be in anywhere near the right place, so this will probably be the best fitting dress I own!

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Long Overdue Finished Project

I finally took some pictures of a dress a made waaaay back at the beginning of summer. Those of you who know me in real life see it pretty frequently, since it's probably my favourite project ever. For everyone else, this is my bedsheet dress!

I made it out of a great throw-sheet-thing I found at Goodwill on half off day. I think it was $2? It's a very open weave cotton, but not sheer, with a block print dye design, and some white paint highlights on top.

This is also the project that got me interested in matching seams. All of the matching on this dress was entirely by chance, since all I tried to do was keep the flowers at an even height for the hem. This proved difficult since all the flowers were a slightly different height from the edge of the fabric.

All in all I'm really happy with the way the fabric worked out for this dress. I especially like the pocket hidden in the bottom flower in the picture above. The pattern is Anna-Maria Horner's Socialite Dress, which I've used once before. I highly recommend this pattern for beginners, since it's a simple. pull on dress that's really easy to wear. And it has pockets, which is a total deal sealer for me.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Boardwalk Empire

We started watching Boardwalk Empire when it first came out, but I had to take a break once it got heavier on the violence. It was a little too high stress during end of term, and in the midst of a family disaster. That said, now that I'm done for the term (as of today!), I think I may have to take it back up again if for nothing else than the clothes.

The lingerie shop in particular had me sighing, and caused me to seriously consider having a go at this little gem from my collection. I'm choosing to ignore that it's a couple sizes too small...

As is this wonderful duBarry, but the lines on it are just breathtaking.

I can't wait until I get a little better at this whole sewing thing, and feel up to trying my hand at resizing. Being a curvy gal is not always the easiest with vintage patterns.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mourning Cabinet

The final week of school is not doing me any favours right now, so you'll have to excuse my spotty posting. This is my final project from my digital print class, made with various transfer and print techniques and assorted vintage finds, including a cabinet made by disabled war veterans (possibly from the 50s?) and a Crown jar from 1957. That and lots of images from vintage patterns and sewing books. It's based around expectations of mourning placed on women.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ikea for Fabric?

Our couch died a few days ago. It's no longer is so much a couch as a pile of rubble with a cushion on top and some arm rests. So we started our new couch quest with a look at the Ikea website, which is apparently full of interesting fabric. I know I've gotten some very nice fabric there in the past for sewing bags and the like, but the new stuff they have up on the website is just fabulous. Best of all, a lot of it looks to be quilting weight instead of upholstery, and way less expensive than a lot of quilting fabric with quirky prints.
I think this bird print is the one Zoe used for her lovely Bird Blouse. At $2.99 a yard, some of this may follow me home next time I'm there.
This citrus floral from the same line would be great for a dress for my little second cousin, or a spring apron for me. Mind you, I use my aprons more for printmaking than baking... A blouse maybe? It would also be a great base for a spring quilt.
Some of the other fabrics I just like because they're so different. I'm not sure what I'd make out of them, but the thought of being able to redo my couch covered in song birds is pretty great. Mostly I like the idea that great fabric pops up where it's unexpected. It has the potential to make the already dangerous trip to Ikea that much more tempting.
None of the fabrics are available online, but you can click any of the images to check if they're in stock at your local(ish) store. Or just keep the textile section in mind next time you need a new fold out futon.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Anatomy of a Dress

I posted this pattern in the shop a couple days ago. If it had been anything even approaching my size, this would have stayed in my collection...

It's the details in vintage patterns that really call to me. Look at the way the jacket seam and skirt darts line up. Is this actually feasible, or just wishful illustration?

I love the little bow at the neckline of the dress, and the way the bodice curves under the bust. The first option highlights this so well with the two tone dress. Sadly, the jacket blocks the transition in the illustration.

Even the line drawings on this dress have allure.

I'll definitely be keeping scans of this one in my inspiration file. With some planning, I'm sure I can use details from this pattern in a way that would suit me.

What about you? Do you take details from patterns to use on other ones later? Do you ever add vintage details to modern patterns to save on fit changes?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Buttons Buttons Everywhere...

I have a bit of a vintage button hoarding issue. A lot of a bit. I'm currently sitting next to no less than 200 cards of vintage buttons, minus the six lovelies you see above. Those cards are in my store box and just made it up on etsy. That's right, I am... destashing!

These are all great buttons, but it was finally time to face up that I wasn't going to use them any time soon. As my stash begins to take over my life, I'm trying to be more honest with myself about what I will and won't make. What about you? Do you find yourself collecting wonderful things, but not always using them?

I'm going to be listing more buttons over the next few weeks. They're too special to be sitting in a box, they need to be part of someone's hand-crafted project!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Slouchy Sparkle Hat

I fell in love with this yarn last year, but the gold sold out before I had a chance to get some. When it went on sale in the spring I jumped at the chance to get some for my best friend's Christmas hat. This was a super fast knit and the yarn is a dream to work with. If you like your hats to fully cover your ears you may want to knit the longer version. This one is the first option and it's maybe a smidge short.

Materials: 1.5 balls Lang Lanalux, 5mm dpns & 16" circulars, place marker, darning needle

Gauge: 5sts/inch

Finished size: Women's average

Cast on 94 sts

Place marker

Join and knit 7 rounds k1, p1 rib in the round

Row 8: *K2, M1* repeat to end of round. 141sts total.

Knit in the round until piece measures 5" from cast on edge. For a slouchier hat or a larger head, knit for 5.5" or 6" instead.

Next round: *K4, K2tog* repeat until 3sts from end of round, K3

Knit 5 rounds plain

Next round: *K3, K2tog* repeat until 3sts from end of round, K3

Knit 4 rounds plain

Next row: *K2, K2tog* repeat until 3sts from the end, K1, K2tog

Knit 2 rows plain

Next round: *K1, K2tog* repeat until 2sts from end of round, K2tog

Next round: *K2tog* repeat to end of round

Next row: *K2tog* repeat to end of round

Break yarn and pull through remaining stitches. Weave in ends.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Very Tiny FO

It was my second cousin's first birthday about a week ago, and also the start of cold weather here in Toronto. I figured a hat was in order!

It's a very simple crocheted tam with a little pink flower sewn on. I used a ball of not-scratchy brown wool I had in my stash (35 grams and I used every inch) and a bit of pink alpaca I had left over from knitting my Scroll Lace Scarf. I will eventually weave in the ends and block that scarf, then you can see it in all its pale pink glory. Coincidentally, the pattern's on sale this week on Ysolda's blog.

It seemed plenty big when I was making it, but it was almost too small for the bean when I gave it to her! Luckily, all the decreasing is in the pink section, so all I had to do was give it a good tug to stretch it out. Every so often alpaca's tendency to grow can be a good thing!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Itchy Fingers

You may remember I started on this dress way back in April:

Well, I'm still working on it. I have almost all the pieces cut out of some fantastic red and black flower print rayon, and I've almost gotten all the pleating finished. I had a little meltdown when I realized I have to do the sleeves twice, and that's part of why this is still sitting on my sewing/dinner table. I'm thinking of trying for a big push this week and getting the last of the sleeves cut and pleated. I'm running out of clothes here, and being a student in November... Let's just say I either get stitching or start showing up to class wearing pinned together dishtowels.

To try and urge myself along I've been checking out my options for my next project.

I love the collar and pockets on this dress. I picked up the pattern back in February from Historically Inspired Patterns, which has a huge selection. This is a half-size pattern, which gave me pause at first. After taking some more in depth measurements, I'm pretty sure I should be using half-size patterns more often. I have a very high waist, so the shortened bodice might be just the thing. I've never fitted a dress like this though, and after all these pleats I think I need something a little simpler.

Like this dress, a super simple mail order pattern from the 70s. I picked up this copy from Zip Zap Kap back in January, but I know I have another copy in a smaller size kicking around from a lot I won... A 36 bust I think? I'll have to post that one in the shop one of these days.
The only problem with this dress is that it's sleeveless and too much of a summer dress.

So I went through my pattern stash looking for a simple dress with sleeves, and came up with Simplicity 5960.

This is a more recent addition to my stash, and I picked it up because of it's close resemblance to my favourite dress of all time, a fitted at the top a-line shift. The kimono sleeves on this pattern are very appealing, since they're all sewn in one piece with the dress. They'll aid in my quest for several dresses all in a, well, jiffy. I have some fantastic vintage heavy weight rayon and a floral wool-blend, which will really help dress up the shape. I'll also be going for in seam pockets instead of all this patch business. Too casual, yes? Though the gal in the brown stripes seems to be doing ok, with her heels, snazzy beads and white gloves!

Of course, this may all just be idle dreaming since there`s two weeks left of the semester and I`d really like to finish my undergrad one of these days...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vintage Finds

It's been a great few weeks for vintage shopping. These are a couple of my favourite finds, but I've also been having great luck with fabric. I'll update some of those soon. I also really need to update the shop because I'm starting to drown in patterns. I keep finding wonderful ones in sizes not at all near mine.

Scored a new pattern for myself at one of the cute new shops in my area. I'm totally blanking on the name right now, but it's across the street from Mrs. Huizenga's Keele Street location.

Cute, right? I was super tickled to find the only 40 bust pattern in the lot, and it's for such a great dress. You can't really tell on the envelope, but it has a huge full circle skirt... So deliciously drapey! I'm thinking of cropping it to knee length and making it out of some fabulous black rayon in my stash. I need a new dancing dress!

This pattern came in a lot of older patterns I won on eBay a while ago. As the weather gets colder, I'm realizing I need something a bit nicer/warmer than my current coat. I'm tempted by the elegant shape on this gem, buuuuut... The size is completely missing. There's what looks like the beginning of a red "1" in the top corner, so I'm guessing it's not a size 20. When I measured the back lining under the armpit, subtracted the seam allowances and multiplied by 4 I got 48". Does anyone know what the ease would be on a garment like this? I was thinking 10", but that would make this a 38" bust and a size 20, so probably not if I'm to believe the "1" on the front. It's Butterick 4317 if you were wondering, all the pieces intact, and I think it's from the late 1940s.

And here's a sneak peak of my favourite find this month. Click to see larger images. I'll be adding some more scans of the fashion pages and some of the full colour pages later this week...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Anda Dress Update and a Giveaway on Grosgrain

I'm getting really into giveaways this week... Might be time to have a couple of my own in the upcoming month! In the meantime, you should totally check out the Magpie Patterns Guest Giveaway on Grosgrain.

Speaking of Grosgrain, I haven't given up on the Anda dress, it will just have to be done by a different Friday... I finally found the perfect ribbon to use as a hem facing turned to the front.

Now I just have to wait for it to get here...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Frock by Friday™: The Anda Frock

I decided to go for the Frock by Friday™: The Anda Frock, mostly because I've owed Emma one for a couple of months now... I'm kind of bad at finishing things for other people. You may already know this about me.

Anyway, she wants one based on a letter (the mail kind). She sent a photo along of a dress someone else had made, which I promptly lost by saving it somewhere I will never be able to find again. The big thing I remember about that one was that it was all done in paint, and I wanted to do something a bit different. So I've been trying to work out interesting ways to do things like stamps and addresses so intently that I've neglected to work on actually making the dress. I think I'm just going to suck it up and embroider the thing. Maybe some quilting?

I've been really interested in the Airmail dress by Hussein Chalayan, which I found while looking for inspiration for this dress. It would definitely be great to mail the dress off to Emma wrapped up in itself.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

New Idea, and I'm in a Show!

I have an idea for a curatorial art/writing/web piece. Working out the details right now, but I think I can get it going soon. If you know my work, or read my project blog from 2009, Significant Objects, you know I'm somewhat obsessed with memory keeping and the objects we choose to carry with us. The project I have in mind would take the form of a fictional family archive, documenting a quest to find meaning in the present through the objects of the past, and the past's reaction to this attempt at organization. Should be fun.

For now, you can come see my bookwork A1 at Love Me Two Times Vintage during August as part of the printmaking group show RePrint, put on by the InPrint Collective. You are so very invited to the opening if you're in the Toronto area. Here's a sneak peek of the piece, which is much more alive in person:

The title comes from the number on this vintage laundry tag I used on the cover.

Each of the three pages of the book is a different child's dress, which has been taken apart, printed onto kozo then sewn back together. I was inspired by baby memory books and the tendency of mothers to keep their children's tiny first clothes. Each dress is removable from the book and can hang as a separate sculpture.