Friday, December 31, 2010

Red New Year's Eve Dress

This dress in a former life was one of a strapless design. Oh, how I remember the potential disaster of my youth in a strapless dress for prom. While dancing with my boyfriend at the time, the dress started falling down. He grabbed the sides and put it back into place. For the rest of the night I barley exhaled for fear of dropping my dress to the floor. LOL Great memories for sure! Well, tonight is New Year's Eve. My family started a tradition of staying in, dancing all night, watching movies while eating really yummy shrimp and stuffed mushrooms. This year I wanted to dress for the occasion.Who says you can't dress up for the people you love? Well, after looking in my closet, I realized I didn't have one formal dress. So, I found this red little number at the thrift and loved the color but it was strapless and too long for me. So, I got out my scissors and chopped off the length to a length I can dance to with my honey and my boys. Then I used that material to make these cap sleeves. Although I didn't use a pattern, it wasn't too hard and now I am not going to worry about the strapless thing! Now let the party Begin!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Goodbye 2010 Sewing it Up in 2011!

As I sit looking out at our pond, this is what I see. It's peaceful but as I think and reflect over this past year, 2010 didn't start off the best for me but the good news is that it has ended very well. I think that I am finding that putting my hands to sewing has been a great outlet. This year I did something I have wanted to do for 20 years, sew a dress for myself. Sounds simple, right? What took me so long? Really, if I look at it, there were a number of things. First, owning a very poor working  machine, the tension on my old sewing machine would never adjust right, so everything I sewed would fall apart after a few washings! I thought this was normal for a noncommercial machine until I went to a sewing store and saw a demo of a good working machine. Second, not having the knowledge of reading sewing patterns and understanding what to do with them. Where I live sewing lessons are not readily available.  Third, I just got by with finding clothes at the thrift rather than sewing them. I do love the thrift for clothing but I really love making clothing that fits my body! And last, I guess there was some fear that I couldn't do it well, or I would spend too much time and money on something that looked homemade rather than handmade. Somehow all these things kept me from sewing. I feel like everything that stopped me before and kept me captive from creating something wonderful with my hands has gone away. No more roadblocks! No more excuses!  And I can say it has been wonderful, really wonderful sewing vintage patterns on a new machine. It was worth every penny to have a machine that sews!  And yes, I have done the work of teaching myself how to read a pattern and to sew with the help of books, the Internet and mostly just being patient with the process! In this next year I would like to encourage you to do something  that you have always wanted to do but have been afraid or felt you couldn't. Look at what's blocking you and move passed it! I am so glad I sewed this year. It sounds kinda crazy but it has been  rewarding  for sure.

So here's to the goals for next year. I am writing them down.  If you haven't made a list of your goals, I want to encourage you to think about what you want to do, sew, learn this year and write it down. Be daring!!

Here's only my sewing list. The first one may not seem like it belongs but it is necessary because I want everything I sew to fit for many years to come!

1. Reach my weight goal and then keep my weight within 3 pounds of that goal.

2. Sew a summer wardrobe, a few dresses maybe some shorts and a bathing suit!

3. Learn to adjust a pattern better, especially in the hip-line area.

4. Sew something from the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, and 60's, then decide what I like best and what suits my body.

5. Get my sewing area organized. One thing I am doing is washing all my fabric as soon as I get it so it's ready to go!

6. Be choosy about the fabric I pick and learn more about fabric, drape & weight.

7. Learn more about refashioning clothes. Sometimes  I really love the fabric of a piece but the style is lacking!

8. Put a zipper in without ripping it out at least once!

9. Sew a really advanced dress from the 40's!

10. Wear and enjoy my sewing project dresses for everyday!    

Well, that's about all, I think it's going to be a fulfilling year! I am getting ready! I hope you are getting ready for 2011, make your list and sew something pretty this coming year! This is your year, make it a good one.

Happy New Year! And happy sewing to you all!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Taking a break! Gearing up for next year!

Sometimes I need to take a break from sewing! You got to know when to back away from the machine! Do you ever feel that way? One night I got the giggles after sewing a dress. I knew I either needed to cry or laugh, I chose to laugh, put my hair in pigtails and have a dance party right in my sewing room. Here are a couple of pictures of me goofing around, letting off stream. As a new sewer, I would like to say that it's not fun if you are feeling frustrated and uptight! Sometimes a little break is what's good for the heart! I also want to say I will see you after Christmas, so have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New.  Join me next year as I have many projects in the works, including a sew along with Casey, 1940's and 50's dresses and maybe some new purse inserts to keep me organized in the new year. I found this little bright green vintage purse that I'll be making a insert for. I also couldn't resist showing you this Christmas tree pin I made at a homeschool party for my kids, it looks a bit off in this picture but hangs nice on clothing.

In this new year  I hope to bring you the ups and downs of sewing from a semi-beginner's viewpoint. Also, I'll be posting about some interesting vintage finds along the way. Until then, thanks so much for reading this blog , please feel free to leave a comment, drop a line, or offer some advice with sewing!

From my house to yours,

Happy Holidays!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

The seam ripper dress!

I love this collar. This pattern was too cute for me not to make. I think it's from the early 60's or late 50's ( no date on the pattern). I was thinking of my sister when picking out the fabric for this dress, when she goes shopping she only buys what the mannequin is wearing.  I guess I am following her lead because, I like what the model on the cover is wearing. He he, and I had some black fabric and couldn't resist making the dress look like the pattern cover. All in all,  this dress came out okay. It's my fourth dress, we are learning! I did make a muslin up first. The collar was tricky because it's sewn in a way that you are not  really sure if you are going to get the center facings pulled in enough for the collar to lay flat. It was a walk of faith that it would work. Well, it didn't at first, because I couldn't get it lined up and set in the seam correctly. I had to take it out twice! Also this dress was really hard on my seam ripper! I am calling this dress the seam ripper dress because every seam had to be taken out. It was SLOW going with this one. Also the original skirt had soft pleats and I am trying to lose weight so the pleats and the shape of the skirt was a little much for my curvy hips. So I am going to draft a A line skirt and go with the A shape instead. Which means this skirt has to come off!  In the end, I think I will be happy with it.  I am looking forward to wearing this dress when warmer weather hits. Still deciding on the hemline, been thinking knee length! I will post when I get this done! The side zipper is not even in yet! Right now I need a break from this dress and so does my seam ripper!!! LOL!

Pin me!

Don't you just love pins? They come in so many different shapes, sizes and colors! Brooches seem to add that final finish to a coat or vintage dress like nothing else. You can wear them on hats, purses, belts, shoes, skirts and of course shirts. They can be found at any thrift or flee market in abundance. I think they really help tip the scale towards the vintage look when an outfit looks kinda vintage but "needs" something.  And of course they go great with  a vintage dresses. I love how Casey from Elegant Musings wore this pin on her dress, right in the center. It's just perfect! Over the weekend while out shopping I collected a few more pins to add to my collection. Here are a few of my favorites.

Casey from

Thursday, December 9, 2010

1948 pattern for smartness

YouTube - Pattern for Smartness 1948 - dress-making & fashion show (1)


These are two of my favorite sewing videos, they were  for me the jump start I needed for going into vintage sewing. Some of the dresses are just so pretty and ladylike. Someday I hope to sew some of these beautiful thing. Have a happy, beautiful vintage day! Enjoy!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sloper Dress

This project was a bit of drafting and a bit pattern. Years ago, I tried my hand at drafting a sloper pattern for a bodice. After many tries I finally came up with a good fit.  Then, I made a skirt sloper. Well, it's been great having  slopers but I couldn't figure out how to make a sloper pattern for SLEEVES, one that didn't include 4 inches of ease. The ease is what causes so many puckers in sewing. I worked and fiddled around, and knew I needed help, so I got some advice from a girl we all know who sews really WELL and because of the advice, I got pretty close to making a good sleeve sloper. I was in the middle of making this dress and decided to use the sleeve sloper. I am pleased with the outcome, the armholes were already cut but I did adjust the sleeves and got rid of most of the puckers!! No more sleeve nightmares! I feel like the dream of wearing vintage handmade clothing is getting closer into view. If you haven't tried making a sloper, they are a great tool to have around, a little time and in the end a better fit!