Monday, December 14, 2009

Obsession: Mint Truffle kisses

I have only had them for two days, but it has become an obsession!
They are soooo delicious! I bought them for my secret santa at work, but I am going to eat them all myself!!! Awesome!

In progress: a cape

This cape, from the movie Atonement, was my inspiration. I saw it in the theatre, then went and bought a vintage pattern for a cape on ebay. I really love how it looks reversible.

Then, not last October, but the year before, I bought some very nice cream wool and black wool at Mood when I was in New York to make the pattern out of.

Last December I pinned all the pieces on the cream wool and cut them out.

And last week I dug them out of the Mood bag to try to get this rolling. I would love to have a cape. It would be so sassy.

Any thoughts on a cape? Sassy vs. crazy lady?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Simplicity 3712

This is my pattern. I made the red skirt, view 2. The little vest thing is called a weskitt, apparently. Not my style, so to speak. Haha.

The pattern was super simple, but that didn't stop me!! (from ruining the skirt) The hem looks even in the picture, but the stitching puckered the fabric and is terribly obvious.

Look at this monstrosity of a zipper! Ugh. I am not interested in taking it out and fixing it, however. The waistband is nice, and I made the buttonhole by hand, so it looks okay.

The skirt had a flattering shape, and if I make it again it will turn out better. I would not make seams going up and down the center front and back. Especially with this gabardine crap I bought because I liked the color. It falls in the wrong places. I would also make a side zipper. With the length of the zipper and the seam down the back, it is too drapey in the butt/back of legs.

Well, live and learn. Next time, with a different type of fabric, it could be a pretty skirt.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Extra Bonus

I was starting a new project (a skirt) and while unfolding the pieces I found the big front and back pieces for these pants stuffed in the envelope for the skirt.

Extra bonus pattern for a waist 26. Too bad the pants are a little too old lady for my taste.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Advance 8171

I googled this pattern online, but nothing else came up. I guess it hasn't made its way to the internet yet. From what I read here, it probably is from the late 50's. It's Advance American Designer by Mr. John Couturier Boutique (lol) 8171. I made view 2 (center) because I did not like the matronly fan in the back.

The fabric is a black synthetic silk shantung look. I bought it at JoAnn's quite a while ago. I meant to use it for a one sleeve dress that I wanted to copy out of Vogue. Fortunately, I am over that idea, and decided to use the fabric for this.

1. I haven't used an Advance pattern for a while, so I had forgotten how brief the instructions are. I think I ended up reading them several times. They were confusingly short.

2. While I made a 12 (32-25-34), I fit the whole thing on my dummy. This worked perfectly for the last dress, which I only tried on when it was done and it fit perfectly. This was not true this time. I did not anticipate that the back cutouts went so low, so when you put it on, it's impossible to wear even a strapless bra. From the ribs down, it fit like a sausage casing and then at the top it gaped like four inches.

3. If you are petite, I would shorten the bodice somewhere, although there are no lines on the pattern for that.

4. In the end, I took in the bust about 2 inches on each side under the pleats, and folded down the neckline another inch or two and tacked it down. The bodice fits weirdly and looks awkward. Note the lack of close-ups.
While somewhat matronly, it's not a terrible dress. I guess it could be for a party- a cocktail party. The waist is really tight, so I would have to drink liquor and not eat- there's no give!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Simplicity 3914 - Black and White Day Dress

Due to the fake-hurricane Ida, I got a three day weekend- a hurrication (hurricane + vacation, everyone uses it, I can't claim I made it up). I already had gone to Jo-Anns the weekend before, so I was ready to sew.
This is the fabric, a black cotton with wavy lines of tiny circles in white. I thought it would be perfect for the pattern, which is for a striped dress with stripes in 2 directions.
The pattern is Simplicity 3914, for a cute dress with short sleeves and a full skirt. The pattern is undated, but it looks very 50s- early 60s to me. The girls on the front have pig noses and are pretty scary. If you love the pattern and are insane, you can buy it here for $55. Yikes. I made an 11, which is for a 31'' bust. I was afraid it would be too tight, but it has a nice ease. It's perfect for a work dress. The pattern calls for 4 3/4 yards, but I bought 4 and it was fine. Luckily.

Sewing up the pattern was fast and easy. I am proud that I set the sleeves in perfectly, since that is the second time i have ever done set-in sleeves.

My only caution: I thought the darts looked overly long, and I was right. I had to pick them out and shorten them. It created a 80s Madonna cone-boob look, which was very ugly. So if you make it, shorten the darts.

I wish it had pockets, but since it is a three piece dirndl skirt, I don't know how that would work. Oh, also I made the sash from view 1 and 3. It looks nice.

(The dog trying to ruin my picture)

All in all, a cute dress! Plus, I probably made the whole thing in 3-5 hours, including cutting. it was really easy. And that includes an hour sewing the hem by hand inf ront of the tv.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Social Studies Dress- Butterick 8128

This is my most recent vintage sewing project- I probably started it a month ago. (I took this out of my drafts folder dated 7/29, so i started it beginning of july). I finished almost all of it, then went to Oregon, then came home and began the apartment search, found an apartment, moved, started my first year teaching, and 10 weeks into the school year finally have a chance to start sewing again. WOW!

I made view A, with the 3/4 sleeves and the scarf neck. B shows the back, which looks very similar. The pattern is undated, but I think it's late 40s or early 50s. The wikia estimates 54-56.

The is my fabric, again, a quilter's cotton. From far away it looks beige and bland, but up close, you can see the tiny pattern of world maps. Since I teach Social Studies, I though "How appropriate!" Now however, I think it is way too beige-tastic. It's not like my skin isn't pasty beige as well. I look like a chameleon on a beige wall. Bleh. Look how cute the buttons are!

Now, I have decided I love the instructions on Butterick patterns. It has boxes, each with one step, like the back of the skirt. And a diagram, with arrows to give you the actual instructions. It was so clear and easy, wonderful!

I only screwed up one time on this one! I decided to top stich the neckline instead of doing the facing because I am lazy. Of course I was punished for my laziness. It looked ridiculous, and of course I had set it on a super tiny stich. I was very close to cutting the whole thing out, but I took it with me to Oregon and my mom picked out the stiches on the drive to the beach. Thanks!

My two changes:

1. If you look at the girl in green, the back bodice is darted but loose. I stiched down all of the darts, so they make a fan over my back. It looks cool, and has the bonus of snugging up the bodice for a better fit.

2. Drastic shortening of the skirt. I didn't shorten the front piece for some reason, and it went to my ankles!!! hahahha. I probably cut off 5-6 inches and made a 2 inch hem.

This is after parent-teacher conferences, standing by my cart ( I move from room to room each period)

Overall, I like it a lot. It has pockets, nice details, I did a good job sewing it, the side zipper is flat! In the end, I was even sold on the kimono sleeves. It got quite a few compliments for only having worn it one time.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Chairs!!!

I picked these up at an estate sale last weekend. They are AMAZING! I love them.

They have claw feet, which is cool.
This is the orange one; the styles match, but they're different colors. I love the scalloped top.
This is the green one, which is my boyfriend's favorite.
Here's both of them together. One chair was relocated, and the old orange chair (the dog's chair) was sent to the curb. Now T-Rex is not allowed on the chairs, since he is a Destructor.

Probably the most money I ever paid for something at a garage sale, but I knew I would be sad if I missed that chance. And I tell myself, if i went and bought two crappy chairs at a furniture store, they still would have cost more than these... :)

The woman said they were her mother's, part of a Duncan Phyfe living room set she got before her daughter was born. So maybe 1950s? The daughter looked 50-ish. At some point her mom had them reupholstered, so they upholstery is pristine. I love the colors, even. In love...with chairs...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thinking ahead to Halloween

Wow, I can't believe September is almost over! I promised myself I would finish the beige dress and refinish one of my many furniture projects this month. So, I guess I will be busy tomorrow, between grading papers and doing lesson plans. But it will be satisfying to finish some of these projects!

Now I need to start planning ahead to Halloween. The dog will wear his banana costume from last year- I just saw a cheap rip-off at target! Idea thieves! Lol.

I have this hat, which I bought at an estate sale. I know I will never wear it seriously, but it is beautiful. It's velvet, fits perfectly and the feathers are intact. It had the original tag when I bought it (for 6$!!!).

The color is off in the picture. It is an emerald green, and the feather are a rich brown.

Point being, I want my costume to be based on this hat. It makes me think 20s flapper, so I will probably head in that direction....

Any suggestions or patterns to recommend? I love comments!!! and right now I don't feel very inspired....

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mending and Organizing

Yay! I finally got my sewing stuff organized after moving!

My pile of unfinished projects is enormous, so today I only worked on quick fixes.

I thought this was cute- he snuggled his blanket into a big starburst.
This was just stitching the bodice back onto the skirt- it came undone at the drycleaners, since it is forever 21 "quality"

I faked a loop where the plastic broke off.

This dress is really cute- I bought it at an estate sale and its old cotton, so when i was wearing it i tore one of the straps in the back, so i fixed that, too.

I also busted off a button, so I sewed on a new one. Granted, it doesn't match, and neither does the thread, but it's DONE!

Yay! Once I reduce the pile a little, I can move on to new and exciting projects- like dresses and my cape!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

ID Woes

I just got carded at the grocery store, and I didn't have my id. So I did not get my beer, even though sometimes they'll let you slide. It is New Orleans... Although now I kind of like it, since I'm 25.

Now I can't find it anywhere and I can't even remember the last time I saw it or used it. The DMV isn't open Saturdays, so the soonest I could get a new one would be the week of Thanks giving, since I'm not missing work to go to the DMV. Lol.

I hope I find it!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Goodbye Files!

Well, I just had to rewrite the hard drive of my computer. So, on the plus side, it works again and isn't full of viruses and spyware. On the down side, everything is gone. Wahhh!

I am very happy that I bought an external hard drive last spring, so at least I have most of my pictures and files.....

I did just organize my desk and put my sewing table back together, so if I finish grading papers and entering grades, maybe I can go to Jo-Ann!

Monday, August 17, 2009

School's In!

School has started and I finally have a second to breathe. I still have an unfinished dress, but we still aren't totally unpacked so i'm lucky if I can find clothes to wear to work.

This weekend we went to a mexican restaurant and I had a melon margarita. It was very good, and I was insprired to try to make them myself.


This is my recipe, found on the internet, and adjusted for taste.

1. Fill glass with ice, and cubes of melon in the bottom. The amount is up to you. I used cantaloupe.

1 part tequila
1 part sweet and sour
splash Midori
splash Rose's Sweet Lime Juice

It's really good, and we got to spend a nice relaxing afternoon on the balcony having some drinks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I finally found a place! It's beautiful and I am so happy that we will be living like ADULTS! (not jammed into a dumpy, too-small apartment due to broke-osity)

Not only did I negotiate the guy down 200$ a month, but it really is lovely. It has windows! That aren't painted shut! Fresh air!

They had no problem with the dog! Well, I mean, there was still a pet deposit...

It has wood floors! and a balcony! The weather is so nice here for so much of the year, and now I can enjoy it, and T-Rex can lay in the sun!

It's a second floor unit, so it's super safe, which unfortunately is always something to consider in New Orleans. And it has a back staircase, so now my mom can stop imagining we will die in a fire. Just for comparison's sake, my current dump is a third-floor attic, probably forty feet up, with one exit, windows that are five feet off the ground, and neighbors who do things like try to light fires in the old/unworking/just-for-show fireplaces downstairs. So there's reason to be relieved.

Most importantly:

Dishwasher and a washer and dryer!! Heart be still! So that means no more fighting over who has to wash silverware and no more laundromat. How I will miss being leered at by creepy men as I load and unload the dryer, in 100 degree humid heat, while the crazy lady who pees her pants pushes around the shared cart full of her stinky clothes.....

Count your blessings if you have never had to use a laundromat! Actually, I lied. Awhile ago I made a deal with my bf that I would do all other housework if he would do the laundry. He agreed. Then I reneged and made that not include dishes. Hee hee.

Plus teacher training starts on Thursday!! I am so excited!I can't wait to meet my students in two weeks!

All in all I am super happy right now, in case you can't tell! I am almost finished with a dress, which has been in the works for about a month now. I have to finish it before I pack my sewing stuff for the move, so maybe tomorrow...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Quilt

This was probably my first big sewing project. I made myself a quilt the summer before I went to college, so in 2002. It has held up pretty well, since I use it most of the time.

It's a double Irish chain, I think. Full or twin, I can't remember. Probably twin, since it was a dorm bed. It was one of those awesome slice and dice quilts, so I really slapped it together pretty quickly.

That's a view of the whole thing, with the corner flipped up to see the
purple backing. It's tied, not quilted for real.

Here's a close-up of the fabric. The white has a faint leaf pattern. The dots are black and white. The flowers are in bright colors: blue, pink, purple and green.

Seven years and many washings later, it has held up very well. The seams have come apart in a few tiny places, but that is to be expected with the way I slap sewing projects together.

Oregon Estate Sale Loot!

Mom and I went garage sale-ing while I was home, which is one of my most favorite things. Five estate sales, who hoo! I got a lot of loot, and would have bought more if the airlines hadn't started charging for checked bags. Don't get me started on that, though.

I saw three nice vintage sewing machines, two table top, and one in a table. All in working condition and reasonably priced. I should have snuck pictures...

One lady obviously had been into sewing. I got a giant box of zippers, some white gloves, and three awesome vintage patterns! And the lady working threw in the patterns for free!!


Simplicity 7424 from 1948. Goofy slippers. I told my bf I was going to make him the red and blue elf ones. He looked sad.

This is McCall's 1713 from 1952. Cute aprons. I don't have much use for aprons, but they could be cute gifts. I like how the blond girl in red coordinated her apron with her dress. What a good housewife!

This is McCall's 1087 from 1943. To make your own fabric covered boxes, yay. I don't know why I would need one, but I find the idea intriguing. I'm definitely going to try to make each pattern at least once.
Here's my 3$ worth of zippers. Cool colors and sizes, some in their boxes. All metal.

This is loot for my classroom. I got some desks of cards, some maps for the walls, and these four things to laminate and put on the walls. The three small ones are on silk and show some Indian men riding elephants and hunting and stuff. The big one is on homemade paper and shows a village scene from Latin America. I teach US and World History, so I like them.
What a great haul, and mom and I had a fun day!

Mom's Christmas Present

Last Christmas I made my mom a jacket. I used this pattern, Butterick 4610. I of course procrastinated while making it, so I didn't finish it by Christmas, when I went home to Oregon. Therefore, I had to mail it, and only got to see it modeled for me last week, when I surprise visited my parents (which was hilarious).

Making this was a screw-up festival, since I had never made a fully lined jacket before. I was aiming for B (teal), but shortened the sleeves too much and ended up with A (blond in center).

"Where are the pockets?" you ask. Ha. They looked as if a 5 year old did them, so they were left off.

The fabric was from Jo-Ann, but is actually really nice. (In case you can't tell, the Jo-Ann is the only fabric store in my area, and it's selection is weak and tacky, for the most part) It was lightweight wool suiting in a choclate brown with camel and brown swirls. The lining is in the same camel color, which looks nice.

Two minute modeling session in the front yard, since it was 90 out.

Overall it looks nice, but it turned out a little big. That was before I figured out the ridiculous ease on modern patterns. I probably could have made it two sizes smaller, and it would have fit perfectly.

Mom claims she likes it, and hopefully that's true!! and is not just trying to prop up my self esteem. It's far from perfect, and the little asian lady at the dry cleaners scoffed at my sewing (particularly the lapels) when i took it in to get the buttonholes done, but I think it turned out okay. For a first attempt at a lined jacket, with no chances to fit it on the person it was for.

Is that enough of a disclaimer? Ha ha!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

T-Rex's Throne: the Dog Bed

About a year ago, I decided the dog needed his own bed. This was to encourage him to jump onto and off of the furniture less frequently, so I don't end up with a wiener dog in a wheel chair.

I had some leftover jersey I had bought for another project I never finished. He likes to hide food and things in cushions and corners, so there is a nice fold between the base and the sides for him to do that.

The side are stuffed with leftover quilt batting sliced into strips. The base is two old pillows stuffed inside. The back has an overlapping slit to take out the pillows for washing.

He loves his bed, and it was worth the hour I spent making it. My only regret is using such a light fabric- needless to say, the green is no longer so crisp and clean...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Modern Fashion- circa 2008

This dress was my inspiration. I cut it out of a magazine in the spring or summer or 2008. I know this was from a Nordstrom ad, but I never cut out the "where you can buy it" info, since I will never be spending hundreds of dollars on a jersey dress. I particularly liked the neckline.

Since the ad was in grey, it was easy to see all the detail, like where I needed to make darts. I drafted my own pattern out of muslin, and then tried it on 100 times while sewing to get the fit right. I made it out of medium weight jersey from Jo-Ann in a mint green color.

Don't look at the filthy room, please.

Of course I had to screw some things up- obviously, since it was my first time drafting a pattern. The points could have used a stiffer interfacing, since they try to droop sometimes; also, the white zipper.
For future reference, if Jo-Ann doesn't have a zipper that matches, that does not mean buy a hideous white one. I wish I had bought a big metal one, like for a jacket. Then it would look industrial and intentional, rather than home-made.
Also, my old machine does not do zig-zag or stretch stitch, so the hem is falling out as I continue to snap threads.
Overall, I was very proud of myself, and I think it is very flattering.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Zebra Time: McCall's 5926

I am on a sewing rampage!

This is a 1961 pattern of a simple sheath dress. I like the shape of the dress, although if I make it again, I will slim the skirt down to a more pencil-like shape. I was worried I would look like a sausage, since this one is a size 10. I made it for work though, and I rarely sit down while teaching, so if it turned out snug at the waist, that's fine. However it fits, and if anything, the shoulders and hips are a little big.

From my freecycle loot!

The fabric is really cool- a zebra look, but in beige and dark grey, so it's neutral.

Overall, I like it and I would make this pattern again. I guess it has about 2" of ease, which is reasonable. I like the look- to me, it looks like I could have bought it at Banana Republic for 200 bucks. Ha! I would say it took 3-4 hours to make, including cutting. Super fast!

The droop in the back is the little tuck for walking comfortably. I just need to press it after hemming, so the pleat will return.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Even the sewing machine is vintage!

Like most of the patterns I have been making lately, even my sewing machine came from freecycle! I love freecycle!

In 2006, I was looking for a sewing machine to make curtains, and I posted on freecycle. This awesome woman gave me this beautiful sewing machine because she had two and didn't need it. She even had her husband drive it to my house because it didn't fit in my tiny car. Amazing!

As you can see, it is an old Singer set into its own table. It is beautiful, works perfectly, and it even came with all the original attachments, the owner's manual, the motor oil- everything you could ever need, except the foot for buttonholes, which I refuse to learn anyways.

(Look! The Pile of Shame!!!)

I looked up the serial number online, I think it was a 1956 or 57...