Saturday, December 6, 2014

Primar[il]y Hideous- Simplicity 8133

I made this hideous creature using Simplicity 8133, a pattern from the 60s or 70s. Vintage pattern wiki says 1969.  I thought it would work because it was a somewhat shapeless jumper, with a sort of A-line shape. It is for a 34 bust. 
Horrifically low cut? check. Front panel curling out? check.
 The fabric is some vintage polyester I bought at an estate sale a few months ago. I don't know why I thought large, primary colors (and grey) diagonal swirls would be flattering? Yikes.
Gaping armholes? check.
 I absolutely did not have enough to match the fabric either, so the back looks awful. It was about 2 yards of 60 inch wide fabric, but one third of the way across there was a big snag that ran the ENTIRE length of the fabric. That made cutting difficult. The snag is featured on the front flap that buttons under.
LOL a facing is poking out, but could you even notice because you are blind from the print???
 It's shockingly unflattering. So gross.
This dress makes the babby sad.
Um, so that has never been worn and will be disposed of shortly. It deserves to be burned, but I don't want to smell its polyester fumes!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Simplicity 1360: A Stylish Maternity Dress?

I knew I wanted to get some sewing done over Thanksgiving break, as I had five days off! I used Simplicity 1360, which is a maternity dress pattern with a twist under the boobs, and gathers in the center front for expansion capabilities. I bought the knit at Jo-Ann previously, and the pattern when it was on sale for 1.00, so I was ready to sew.
 Don't worry, I don't actually wear heels! All of my black flats are in a closet in my classroom, because I walk to school in sneakers and then change.
 The only part of the pattern that gave me trouble (which actually made me rage-quit on Wednesday and pick it back up on Friday) was the bodice part that forms the center-bottom part of the twist. All of these girls on the envelope are wearing solid colors, the pattern never says anything different for a print, but the back of my fabric is a whitish grey color. So when you pull it through the holes, it actually flips backwards and the white backing was showing. So I had to take it apart, cut out a second bodice piece to make it reversible, and then re-sew it back together. That solved it, but it was an unnecessary frustration. In part because I had never made any top or dress with a twist like that.
 From the back, I still look the same!
 From the side, not so much!! I am due March 3rd, so exactly three months from today! Exciting!
It's pretty and flattering and I am really happy with this dress! I had originally been looking for Vogue 1027, a mock wrap dress, from Kat's recommendation a few months ago. Of course, my Jo-Ann was sold out, but I thought this pattern was similar and it is!

I have one hideous failure to show you later this week, and I am working on my winter coat, which is about half done! Just in time, as I am on my largest coat right now and it barely closes! While I have had it for three years (?!?) I hardly ever wear it because the fur feels really over-the-top, but now I have no choice!!

Soon, soon....

Monday, December 1, 2014

Maternity Maxi Skirt

I bought the fabric and cut out the pattern right on the heels of making this dress at the beginning of September. The pattern is a "See n Sew" Butterick 5837 and I cut it out in a size 12 like the other one. By not leaving any time in between, I did not get the time to realize how giant that would make the shoulders! 
 Terrible fitting, and the whole bodice is lined and turned through a tiny hole, so it's not like it wanted to re-do the whole thing.
 Gack! In the end, I kept the skirt part to make into a maxi skirt and threw the top portion away.
 I have been wearing this skirt a LOT for the past month or two. It is just a simple rectangle, but I did take the time to match up the stripes at the side seams. I left it unhemmed, as it won't unravel. The waist is two parallel rows of half inch elastic, which was meant to sort of copy some knit pants from Target with a shirred waist (minus how itchy the shirring is).
 I can wear it with a shirt untucked over it, which is how I usually do. The print is from Jo-Ann and is just a somewhat thin knit. I have been wearing leggings or tights underneath as it is already feeling like winter here in Chicago.
 Tucked in also works, but it does make me feel like I am wearing a circus tent a little bit.
 I am for sure looking much more pregnant and there's no disguising it anymore! I am just about 6.5 months in.
 Close-up of the waist: the two rows of elastic are pretty comfortable and they don't twist at all. I used to wear it around my waist, but as that is gone, I just wear it under my boobs. I am all about being comfy!
This was a good make- I have two other maxi skirts as well (from Target and Forever 21) and they are working well for being pregnant in the cold weather.

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving, it was so nice to have a five day weekend!!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Knit Pants Fail- Simplicity 1429

I made Simplicity 1429, which is for knit skirts and pants. I am now waaaaayyyy to big for all of my pants to fit and I wanted some comfortable knit pants that I could wear to work as well. I bought some chocolate brown knit at Jo-Ann and got this pattern on sale. 

I usually wear an 8, so I thought that cutting out a 12 would be a good plan that matches up with my belly. Trolololololololol. Wow, so wrong. They turned out ridiculously, freakishly enormous. In fact, after taking these pictures I had Andrew try them on as a joke and they fit my 6'3" husband. Ha.

Please note: these are the least flattering pictures ever taken. Winter no-light, flash and the most unflattering pants in the world combine to make this look like a diet advertisement. 

Hmm, those pants look saggy. 
 Wow, taking these pills I lost 35 lbs!!!
 They do not fit on any point of my body, including the belly.
 I'm now thinking "pregnant belly dancer" is a Halloween costume I should have considered!
Hope you got a laugh, and I gave them to Andrew as house pants!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

T-Rex's Winter Coat

I have made quite a few dog jackets for T-Rex over the years. The first one was red and zebra print and was too small. The second one featured dinosaurs on one side and dog bones on the other and fit better. After moving to Chicago I made one in red, small paw prints and another in plaid, but I guess I never blogged them.

These addressed two problems: the past ones were either too long or too short, and they closed with velcro. In the snow, velcro gets full of snow and stops sticking together. Oh, make that three things: he also wears a harness now so that he doesn't choke himself pulling. The harness hook for his leash is farther back, so the jacket would fall off. 
Looking good, Mr Wiggles
 It closes with snaps, which will stay closed in the snow hopefully. However, I had to get Andrew to help me because they were so frustrating! We always joke that putting together IKEA-style furniture is the "divorce-maker" due to the bickering that comes with....but putting in snaps might be on the same level!! Much bickering was had, in part because I got him to help me right after work under the claim that it would take "only ten minutes." Boy was that a gross underestimate.
Giving me the "why are you so slow" stank eye
 This food stand at the park always reminds me of Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo from Southpark.
 The coat is reversible and the other side has pictures of bacon, hearts and the word bacon. Hee hee.
 And to close, a scandalously naked T-Rex laying on his sheepskin in front of the fire radiator.
I am back to having two classes online and working full-time as a long-term substitute for art, but I do have some good (and awful) things to post! It is just dark after work and there is no good light in my house...or uncluttered surfaces that are not too embarrassing for a background.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pregnant Halloween: Melisandre from Game of Thrones

I helped with the school haunted house this year and that made me excited about making a costume. 

In late September, I googled pregnant Halloween costumes and they were the WORST. No offense to you if you have done any of the following, but they are terrible: painting your stomach like a basketball, watermelon or pumpkin; wearing black and painting a baby skeleton on your stomach; gluing doll arms to your stomach like your baby is a zombie; etc etc etc.

Bleh. So then I was thinking about Game of Thrones/ASOIAF characters and how many Daenerys and Cersei costumes I had already seen online. That made me think of Melisandre, the red witch/priestess of R'hollor. I don't particularly like her character that much, but I thought it would be easy to make and she even is "pregnant" at one point with the Shadow Baby that then goes and kills Renly. Perfect!

I used this vintage pattern, Simplicity 5967. It is for a bust 38 which is still laughably big, so I made it as is and then just made crazy alterations as I went. 
 Pictures of Melisandre from the show: here.

She always has her red jewel necklace on, so I made one out of craft rhinestones and fake gold leather- plus my trusty old hot glue gun, which I accidentally left plugged in OVERNIGHT and it somehow did not burn down the house!
 I bought a long, curly red wig online. It unfortunately had bangs, but what can you do? It was at least closer to burgundy or maroon than Ronald McDonald red. It was surprisingly not itchy or that hot.
Andrew did not think it was funny to call our baby "my shadow baby" LOL
 I made the dress out of dark red, cheap polyester knit from JoAnn that was also on sale. I changed the sleeves to be full length and bell out at the ends. I wore it with my cheap red flats from Target, et voila, my costume!
 I ended up taking in the side seams a ton, the shoulder seams, trimming the sleeve heads and shortening the skirt. It is pretty shoddily made, but it's a Halloween costume!!!
I wore it for the two days of the haunted house at school and it was fun. People liked it and it was both comfortable and warm. Sadly I did not wear it on Halloween itself because Chicago decided to be freezing cold, rainy, snow intermittently (!!!!) and have a high wind advisory. The weather was absolutely miserable and there were hardly any Trick or Treaters! Sad...

I will never use this pattern again because it was so big, so I think it will be part of the next giveaway!

Monday, November 3, 2014

New Look 6391: A maternity dress!

I made this dress well over a month ago and then it took forever to find three minutes to take pictures of it. I just finished two online classes and I forgot how incredibly time consuming they are! Right now I get a break between these ending and the next two starting, so I plan on sewing a TON!

This is a New Look pattern (6391)I bought at Jo-Ann fabrics because it was cheap. When I made it about six weeks ago, I was just on the point where most of my old clothes did not fit anymore. I wanted to find some patterns with room to expand, so this mock wrap dress seemed like a good candidate. 

 The fabric is a black knit from Jo-Ann that has very thin neon stripes. It is in fact reversible, which is two very thin knits that are somehow magically fused together. The other side is mostly black with tiny pinpoint dots, so I didn't use that. The two layers makes it nicely heavy and have a good drape.
 I left the skirt a little longer than I normally do, so that as my stomach gets bigger and the front rises a little, it won't be too short.
 My expanding baby! We found a few weeks ago that we are having a boy! I am so excited!
 It has ties set in the side seams that you can tie in the front or the back. I've got enough going on in front, so I tie it in the back.
I usually wear an 8, but I made this in a 12 to account for my new boobs and stomach. However, that made the shoulders way too big. I wore it a few times like that, but I had to wear a tank top under it because it was too low-cut and it would slide off my collarbones and looked sloppy.

I decided to take a V shaped pinch out of the shoulder seams towards the neckline. That really tightened up the gaping neckline, but the it made the sleeves have weird points on the top. Then I rounded out the sleeve heads and trimmed it and it is SO MUCH better! Now I can wear it comfortably, without gaping open or slipping around, and without a tank top underneath!

It is a super easy pattern and cheap, so if you want a mock wrap dress, I would consider picking it up.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Estate Sale Loot- Sewing and Baby!

I went to one estate sale two weekends ago and then to the Walmart next to it. Walmart is so far away it is like an adventure, precipitated by the fact the all of my underwear was getting sausage-like. Andrew stayed home so I got to browse the socks/tights/underwear department without his complaints. I bought slips in nude and black in two lengths for this winter, and some nylons and lots of underwear and some sports bras. It was delightful!

The estate sale was fairly good. I was  going to get more patterns, but the lady wanted two dollars each, which is a tad ridiculous. It's not like any of them were older than the 60s or particularly interesting designs. 

This pattern could make a maternity dress, and I am going to use this crazy piece of polyester I found. 
 Another dress that could go maternity a blouse, a cute apron pattern and a kid pattern.
 This metal purse thing. I put it in my purse, maybe I will keep lipsticks in it or something.
 A vintage nightgown that is a little bit frou-frou.
 I also got this vintage toy box. I think it is really cute with the circus animals! It needs to be cleaned up a little bit and I am going to repaint the inside and trim back to a solid white. That should be really easy!
 It's pretty lightweight and shouldn't take up too much space. So that was officially the first baby item I bought... at an estate sale...not so surprising!
Andrew was sick last weekend and then I got sick, so the whole of last week was wasted. I am kind of behind for this week's stuff for my online classes, but I do have a finished project from a few weeks ago that I still need to take pictures of!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Giveaway Winners

The winner for August's brown piece of vintage fabric is:


The winner for September's pink fabric is:


Winners, please email me at mollsewsblog[at] with your mailing address, thanks!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Singer 66: Bobbin Winding Problems

These are from when we got the Singer, before cleaning it up at all. Just to the left of the hand wheel is the built in bobbin winder. I took it off completely when cleaning the machine, and it was definitely the rustiest part that I just could not get clean. The rubber wheel was cracked, so I bought a new one on ebay and it didn't fit.
 It was also impossible to get the black piece that guards the belt off of the rusty bobbin, so I set the whole thing to the side when I reassembled the machine. This was because I thought I would just wind bobbins on my awesome 15-91 and then use them on the 66.
That was a good thought until I went and tried it today. The Singer uses class 66 bobbins and the the 15-91 uses class 15 bobbins. I didn't think that would be a problem, since they sit on a peg while being wound, and it's not a particular shape. Unfortunately, the 15s have a little, rectangular opening that locks onto a tab, which holds the bobbin in place.

And does the 66 have that?

Yes, but it's a different shape (round) and in a different spot.


So I went to the back porch and looked for the bobbin winder, which I was sure was sitting on the ground next to where the machine sat for nearly a year.

And was it there?

No, and I have no freakin clue where it is!

In conclusion, I went on ebay and bought a nice, non rusty one that still has all the gold decals on the black part for less than 20 bucks. Hopefully it works!

The end.

PS- Is being too stupid to type part of being pregnant? I swear, every second word is wrong and writing this took an absurdly long time.

Monday, September 22, 2014

August/September Giveaway- Vintage Fabric

Both giveaways are for one piece of vintage fabric each. They were purchased at an estate sale and have been laundered, but may still have that old house stink. Leave a comment stating which month (or both) you would like to try to win. I will ship these within the US! Enter by Thursday, September 25!

August Giveaway:

This is vintage polyester with a brown background and a slightly raised white/cream dot design. It measures 60" wide and 2 yards long. It has stretch in both directions, but more in one way than the other. 
Quarter and 1 Euro coins for scale
 September Giveaway:

This is a polyester chiffon. It has a white background and is covered with small pink circles and black dots. It is magenta pink and somewhat sheer, mainly on the white parts. It is 40" wide and 5 yards long.
Leave a comment by Thursday if you would like to enter one or both of the giveaways! Happy September!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Singer 66 Treadle: Cleaning the machine head

We are finally finishing up the table this weekend, and I realized that I never posted about cleaning up the actual machine. To recap: I bought the table last September, and Andrew sanded the wood and metal base down in the fall, over weekends in October and November. We almost go to the staining and painting part, but then last (brutal) winter caught up with us. The back porch is uninsulated and unheated, so we gave up for the winter...and then some!

I was able to take this into the dining room and clean it, however. Excuse the crappy pictures that were taken in the dark, early evenings in November- January. 

The machine was cleaned with an old toothbrush, Q-tips, cheesecloth, copper wool, screwdrivers and sewing machine oil. It took a LOT of elbow grease, but not everything is perfectly shiny and new. That's okay as it's almost 100 years old. I got out all the old grease and lint and greasy, old lint. Everything moves smoothly and functions!
Base before cleaning. 

Not perfect, but way better and missing a ton of old grease.
Base after cleaning.

I forgot to take a before of the head. Machine oil is best for cleaning because it doesn't take off the decals. You still don't want to rub very hard. The N and G are missing because the owner had a piece of fabric wrapped there to use as pincushion. I have seen that on many old machines at estate sales.
Decals after cleaning.
 Cleaning the bobbin area was very time consuming and gross. What looks like poop in the picture is actually a hard mix of old lint, dirt and lubricant that had to soak in machine oil until it loosened up. This took me several evenings to finish. I do know how to take apart the whole thing and put it back together!

 After, with the bobbin out. Not all of the silver would come back to "shiny", but it at least clean and it spins smoothly.

After, put all back together.
I was on a roll here and forgot to take a before picture. It looks gross, but the shiny black is just the cast iron. This part (the tensions?) was completely full of dust/lint. This one made the biggest impact after cleaning it; the whole machine starting turning really easily and smoothly!
With flash

Without flash. 

 After cleaning the turning parts in here. It was black with old grease.
 The round plate on the back and this plate on the left have that raised texture and I really had trouble cleaning them. In the end, they are not completely clean and shiny, but they look better. It looks much worse with the flash on than in real life.
 In real (winter), daylight.
 This was just a day's amount of cleaning stuff. I used a million Q-tips on the bobbin case and to get into all those little areas. I think the toothbrush was the perfect tool for most of the scrubbing; it can fit into a small area, but still is abrasive enough to take off most of the grime.
It looks a million times better and is ready to be used, as soon as the table is done. I'm excited to see it all refurbished and put back together!