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...