Monday, December 30, 2013

Late December Giveaway

December's giveaway is four vintage aprons!

Anyone anywhere is eligible and the winner will receive all four of them. Leave a comment to enter by midnight on 12/31.
The green apron is gingham with white rickrack trim. The orange gingham one has hand embroidered roosters on it. The blue gingham has small Xmas trees embroidery and bells that pin on, which you can take off to wash it. The sheer pink hostess apron has a little pocket with flowers on it. It has some tears and some of them have stains, but they are cute and functional! 

Thanks for entering!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

More Wedgwood

These are pieces I received as gifts from my mom and my aunt Sherry in past Christmases. Typically, I overfill my suitcase with clothes I don't wear and them can't bring everything home. This time, we flew Southwest so I had two free checked bags to fill with junk!
The pattern is Florentine in turquoise. I decided to try to collect it years ago in college, maybe 9-10 years ago and luckily I still like it. It is certainly unique for fine china with the griffins.
This is my full collection now and I think I might start watching eBay to add to it now that I have a real job again!
2 dinner plates
4 salad plates
5 bread plates
8 berry dishes
4 teacups and saucers
4 soup cups and saucers
2 espresso cups and saucers
Sugar bowl and creamer

Not exactly a complete set yet and most of this was that one lucky estate sale in New Orleans.

I have the next week off so I am going to sew and post! Yay! Happy New Year!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Singer 66: Cleaning and Sanding

We made some progress cleaning up the Singer 66 the weekend before Thanksgiving. Andrew sanded down all of the wood surfaces, while I began cleaning the machine head. It was somewhat cold then, but not nearly as cold as it is now. The back porch is not insulated, but is warmer than just being outside. Plus, the table weighs about one billion pounds; no one was volunteering to carry it downstairs and then up again! :)
 The finish came off pretty easily since the table is so old and had been sitting in a basement for so long.

 Andrew did a great job evening out the finish. He was able to put on two coats of stain, but we haven't finished that part up yet, so no pictures.
 Meanwhile, I was sitting at the dining room table cleaning the machine with sewing machine oil. I decided to start with the bottom and work my way up. It was pretty grimy, but the machine moves and the parts turn. I just removed screws and cleaned it up with my toothbrush, some cheesecloth and the oil.
Before the scrubbin'

After the scrubbin'
Though it may not look monumentally different, I took off a LOT of black gunk and goop. 

Then, Thanksgiving and being super tired last weekend got in the way, but I hope this weekend we can maybe finish this up! Next Friday we will be in Oregon to visit my parents for Xmas! Yay!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Vogue Coat- Actual Progress?!?

Here is a post where I lamented my lack of progress on my vintage Vogue 775. It chronicles the years that have passed since I bought that beautiful pattern at an estate sale in Oregon. The wool came from Mood in New York later and I managed to do a muslin and cut and underline all of the pieces before we moved to Chicago, ahem, two and a half years ago. 

Finally, a week or so before Thanksgiving, I finally started sewing the coat together. Having made a muslin, it came together quickly and easily. 
 Sorry for the mediocre phone pictures, but I was just taking them to show my mom my progress. I have the shell completed, but I am currently debating the addition of the cuffs and the double collar. I think they may look a tad costumey. That will be for a later post.
 It has that cool button detail where the buttons make an inverted V, but I still need to find 15 buttons to do that. I saw these as Jo-Ann and I might consider them. They are made to look like vintage brass buttons and are metal. I think they would maybe look nice with the blue.
Hopefully I will find some buttons and a lining that I like and maybe finish this coat THIS WINTER!
 Whoo hoo!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

McCalls 6408: Red Sweater with Ties

I bought this pattern quite a while ago, maybe even a year ago, at one of Jo-Ann's 99 cent pattern sales. It is McCall's 6408 and it makes a sweater with or without ties at the waist and an angled hem. I went for view B, the girl in red: waist ties with a flat hem. Perhaps I am overly influenced by the cover photos, but I wanted a red sweater.
I bought some lightweight knit at Jo-Ann in a nice blue-red. Orangey reds look terrible with my skin, but sometimes it is hard to find a blue-red. Since it is fall/winter, there were a lot of knits from which to choose. 

This pattern is easy to make, since it only has five pieces: back, front, sleeve, band and ties. After making it and trying it on, the original length and the ties really made it look like a bathrobe. Plus, even though I cut an XS, it was really baggy. 

I have a similar sweater from Express, so I used that to cut it to a more suitable length. Now it hits just above my hip, and it looks much better.
Tied in the back
 I ended up cutting a bit off of the sleeves and narrowing the sleeves about an inch. It made the sweater look fitted instead of potato-sack-esque.
Unfortunately, my photographer-slave did not tell me it was all bunched up. 
 I did not hem the bottom or the sleeves, since it is a very light knit and I think it will just curl up a tiny bit. That is how my Express sweater-twin was "finished" so why not? My machine does not sew knit hems very professionally, so less is more this time.
Tied in the front.
 I also finally cut my hair right before parent teacher conferences. I saw this girl's haircut on Reddit and decided I liked it a lot. My hair is not as dramatically long, but it's in layers and goes into a point in the center back.

See, I did make something! Andrew and I have been working on the Singer 66, too, and I will post some project updates soon!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Exciting news for me!

Finally my paperwork is done and everything is finalized, so I can finally tell you all that I HAVE A TEACHING JOB! After so long! I am so, so happy.
I now work in Chicago at a regular neighborhood high school teaching French! It's the same place that I substitute taught for about a year and half. The French teacher retired suddenly (which is what I had been waiting for, TBH) and now I am the new permanent teacher. All of the paperwork and things took about a month and I was the "long-term sub" until everything was complete.

I taught World History before in Louisiana, so this will be my first time teaching French! So, Andrew found his new awesome job and then less than a month later I got my long-awaited teaching job. It has been a good autumn for us both!

While having a real job is more time consuming, I do have some projects to show you. It gets dark at like 4:30, so I have been waiting for the weekend to take pictures.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November Giveaway Winner!

Sorry for the late drawing! The winner of the November giveaway of four patterns for a 38 bust is....


She is a mom of three and has made some cute projects like the Squid and the Duck birthday party. So cute. Email me at mollysewsblog (akkkk)

For December, in the spirit of the holidays, I am going to give away some actual things. Still sewing related of course, but more like the stuff I acquire at estate sales claiming I will sell on Etsy and then never do...
If you want to buy a Swirl wrap dress, I do have three listed right now. Probably fits a 34-36 bust, they are too big for me. :( for me, :) for you.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November Pattern Giveaway!!!

Here is November's giveaway. These patterns are from an estate sale a few weeks ago. While they don't fit me, they were too cute to pass up and now to pass them onto a good home!

There are four total and they are all a bust 38. Leave a comment to enter and I will choose a winner on Wednesday November 13! 

Advance 3030 has a circle skirt, vest and blouse with a bow at the neck.
Simplicity 5891 is such a pretty dress!
Butterick 2353 has a simple skirt suit and blouse.
Simplicity 3331 is a slightly weird 40s blouse and jumper outfit. 

I will ship them anywhere! Good luck!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Exciting news and a bit of estate sale loot

Andrew has found a very awesome new job that he loves and is also improving our quality of life in the money department, too! So we took the opportunity to purge his entire wardrobe and get new clothes ( and some for me too, don't worry!)

He hates shopping and I am not really a fan either. We counted back and the last time he got new clothes was two years ago, for his last "new" job, and then two years before that when he started business school, and then... so basically every two years or more. And that wasn't even a lot of clothes. 

So we took huge bags of clothes to the Village Thrift  to donate and now be both look much more adult! He of course gets to immediately wear his new threads and I have been on a super boring pants hemming marathon- only two more pairs to go! Sadly, even the petite pants need to be hemmed with the exception of my Gap petite jeans. A 28 inch inseam will do that, but I want everything to be ideal for flats- I am not teaching all day in heals.

That has been exciting for us the last few weeks, plus we went to visit friends in Nashville. I was sick and lost my voice, but it was so fun to see Steph and Steven!

Oh my gosh, plus his new job meant I got to quit working at the restaurant because if I have no income in the summer it is not a tragedy! That is monumentally awesome and now I get to have weekends again like a real person! So we have just been having great fun!

On to my estate sale loot:

This was from a disgustingly decrepit house in Rogers Park. It was so run down and dusty, it kind of makes me sad that an old person was living like that. In the kitchen, there was a hole in the wall by the floor and you could see into the basement. 

The advertised sewing patterns and there was some stuff left when we arrived. All of this was four dollars.
Two lengths of cotton flower prints and three cards of real pearl buttons. One card of cute, white plastic buttons.
The seven patterns were cheap, so why not? I am going to keep the super cute apron pattern and the ties. The clothes are for a 38 bust and they will be November's giveaway next week. The doll pattern is up in the air. 

So that's my life for about the last month! Hopefully I will sew soon, but now I want to fill actual gaps in my wardrobe and not just make crap to make it. 

Thanks for still reading! :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

An Ew to an Adorable Alma Blouse!

After making my failure of a blouse (McCalls 6512), I wanted to salvage the fabric because it was really cute. I got out my Alma and decided to make the short sleeve version, but with the regular round neck. There was just enough fabric to make it work and the floppy bow turned out to be the perfect length for the belt!
 It all came together pretty smoothly. I used a navy invisible zipper on the right side and I sewed it in with a regular foot. I don't have an invisible zipper foot and it's a little visible, but I can live with it. My shoulder was still hurting from my stitches and I didn't feel like doing it by hand.
 The sleeves are a little more flared than my other short-sleeve Alma. I forgot to cut the notches and then decided to just wing it. I used yellow tape on the neck facing and navy blue on the underarms, since I didn't have enough fabric to cut that piece.
Overall, I am pretty happy with my new and improved blouse! The fit and the style are so much more flattering than the McCalls was. I'm glad I was able to save the fabric!

Plus, I just got these jeans at the Gap and they are a 0 Petite and are actually the perfect length! I was so excited. The sales associate said the petite sizes are only online, but someone probably returned them to the store and that's why they were there. It was MEANT TO BE!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Farm Fresh! Apple picking and pumpkins

There is some infomercial about a home soda machine and the people are gasping and going "ohhhh fresh soda!" as if soda can be "fresh." It has become a long running joke for us where anything can sarcastically be called "farm fresh!"

However, all of yesterday's stuff is actually farm fresh. We went to Oriole Springs Orchard just over the border in Wisconsin and they had really great apple picking and pumpkins too!

The last time we went apple picking, the farm was small and had been really picked over (pardon my pun!). This place was a lot bigger and there were still tons of apples. 

 The ones to the right of Andrew were the best, but we couldn't find a sign for them. I think maybe Empire or Jonathan. We also got red and golden delicious and McIntosh. It was fun and a little less than an hour drive once we escaped the traffic near Chicago.
 We also got three pumpkins in preparation for Halloween. We might paint them this year instead of carving them.
 We also got some farm-fresh eggs; they are really cool, some are kind of peach colored and the rest are pale blue!
Not really any sewing here. The dermatologist decided I need more of my shoulder cut up because the margins around the mole they removed "weren't clear" so instead of getting my stitches out last Wednesday, I got chopped up even worse. Having only one good arm does not lead to enthusiastic sewing!

However, it is starting to feel fall-like this week so maybe I will make some autumn attire. While searching for my Alma pattern, I pulled out some previous makes that I might want to reuse. At least I know they fit, right?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Singer 66: Cleaning up the Wood

I finally got around to cleaning the wood on the Singer 66 I bought. You can see the "before" pictures here, when I cleaned up the metal bottom part. It had been in a basement for many, many years and was very grimy. 

These are all "after" shots. I used Murphy's Oil and a ton of painter's towels wiping away the dust and grime. Realistically, it looks worse now without an inch of dust hiding how discolored the wood is. Andrew is going to sand down the top and we will stain and seal it. 

The flash made the wood look a little more vibrant than it really is. The color is faded.

 The table is quite nice: it has four drawers on the sides and a fold out center drawer for thread and things. The machine can of course be folded away when not in use.
See the thread drawer?
 Some of the drawers on the sides have a little of the original finish, which looks like a light cherry color with a glossy varnish. Very little of that is still present, 94 years later. Andrew will help me fix it up and it will look amazing!
 The fold-out surface is really in need of some sanding.
We have been dog sitting a friend's chihuahua and Mia leaves on Wednesday. Then, I will have the back porch back and I can start working on the table out there. She has been penned up on the porch when we're not home because she considers "housebroken" to be a relative term. She is also not fixed and has been hilariously trying to entice T-Rex into some puppy-making. He is fixed, totally does not get it, and thinks they are just playing a dog game. Lol.

Maybe I can make some progress on this machine later this week!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Molly's Ews Blouse: McCalls 6512

Andrew always likes to call my blog "Molly's Ews", since I made the web address "mollysews." All in good fun, of course, as he willing takes my pictures and listens to my sewing updates... I got that mole removed, so I had stitches and it hurt quite a bit, so I couldn't sew. Then, I got an eye infection. So I didn't sew very much for the last two weeks, and from the sewing I did accomplish I made this hideous piece of merde. Pardon my French. 

I thought this pattern would make a super cute blouse. I have two Forever 21 dresses with the droopy bow and they are super cute and get tons of compliments. One is solid burgundy and one is green polka dots. The 3/4 length sleeve version pf this pattern seemed best, as it is slowly starting to feel like fall here in Chicago. Plus, I didn't like the look of all those stupid pockets and tabs. 

Unfortunately, it looks so very awful that I didn't even bother finishing it. Somehow, I missed the fact that the sleeves are not set-in and are more like kimono sleeves. This creates a droopy, bat-wing armpit look. The sleeves themselves are blousy, as is the tie; when you add in the droopy pits it looks so sloppy. 
The flower print is very cute, but  I don't think it really goes with this style of blouse. It is "too much" in combination. It's supposed to have buttons down the front. I cut that piece on the fold to see if I could skip them, but I didn't even hem the bottom because I'm over it.
Look at the back, so shapeless and unflattering.
See the webbed armpits?
Granted, these pictures are terrible and I made no attempt to look cute. The blouse is poop. I really like the fabric though, and I want to salvage it into something I CAN wear. I wear my red Alma blouse a LOT and I think I might be able to cut it out of this monstrosity. Then, I would have a cute, flattering, fitted blouse and be able to save this fabric that I really like!

Does that seem possible? Any other ideas on how to save the fabric?


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Estate Sale Loot: The Singer 66

Andrew and I went to two estate sales nearby on Saturday. One was just some random stuff, doors for sale and a basement. We went downstairs and I was like"ohhhh!" Andrew said "the sewing machine?" I had not even noticed the machine, as I was staring at the exact same bouncy horse that I had as a kid. Obviously, I do not need a bouncy horse, so I turned my attention to the machine. 

It was a Singer and the table was cool and it is a treadle. After making sure everything moved and turned, and it did, I asked how much. The guy said 40 but he was willing to negotiate. He accepted 30 bucks and helped Andrew carry it upstairs. That was really nice, since they don't have to help and usually don't, I assume for liability. (I have stitches in my shoulder from getting a mole cut out and can't lift things). 

Then, we tried to jam it into our Mazda 3, which let me tell you is no Oldsmobile 88. It did not fit in the trunk or in the backseat. Andrew ended up going back inside and the guy was nice enough to drive it to our house in his minivan for ten bucks! So, in the end, it was $40. 

I found a good website with info on cleaning up old treadle machines and bought some cleaning things on Sunday, but didn't get started until this afternoon. 

Today, I only worked on cleaning up the cast iron base. I used warm water and white vinegar with a painter's towel and then dried it with a rag. 
before washing

Super dusty gross gross

After about an hour of wiping and using an old toothbrush for the details:
I did not even realize the Singer part was in gold paint!
 The base is still partly rusty from sitting in a basement for so long. Andrew said he would help me sand and refinish the table and repaint the base. I expect it will look amazing!
Much nicer. 

I haven't even attempted to clean up the top yet, but the wheel turns, the needle moves, it has the bobbin and bobbin plate and just needs to be cleaned and oiled I think. Also, it needs a new leather belt, but those are only about $9 online.
Singer 66
 Nearly all of the decals are still in good shape. The chalky white stuff came off when I licked my finger and rubbed it, but the website I found said to clean the entire head with sewing machine oil. I haven't gotten that far, yet.
 "Red Eye" is the 66's nickname due to the design.
 I googled the serial number and it is from 1919. It will be fun to clean it up and get it working. Learning how to use a treadle will be interesting as well. I promise at some point I will start going forward in time, instead of backwards, and get a machine that does some modern functions... like a zig-zag! :)
Regardless, both the table and the machine are beautiful and I'm excited for this project!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Estate Sale Loot: Halloween Ideas?

This is my loot from last weekend and the weekend before. I bought about 20 1960s National Geographic to add to my collection on the back porch for my imaginary future classroom. Andrew tried to argue that I don't need them, but that was a lie. I bought them all for like ten dollars. Totally worth it. 
 At a different sale, I bought the gold pitcher that has a thing for making iced tea. This is my new obsession- brewing my own iced tea. That is also why I bought the orange, skinny pitcher the week before. Then I can add just a little sugar and it is a semi healthy drink. I am almost thirty and have been feeling squishy and out of shape lately. I know I need to start running, but I hate running. Instead, I have been drinking less calories: water, fizzy waters like La Croix, and my iced teas. I am going to take yoga starting in October.
 Over here, I bought a white feather wig. I really want to create a costume around it. Any ideas?

They called my sweater "the Jewish Cowboy," which is funny, although I'm guessing they are meant to be sheriff badges, right?
 I also bought the children's book called Moving Picture Circus from 1917 or something. The book is cute because the zig-zag cut pages flip, changing the animals into funny mutants. The story is weirdly written and very odd.
Chicken wig party time!
I decided T-Rex is going to be a dragon, probably Game of Thrones style. Maybe a little red and black Drogon or Balerion the Black Dread, since he is black. That should be fun!