Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Challenge outfit

Thank you for your support!!!  I am off and running into this spring challenge marathon. Part of my goal here is to make vintage clothing for the everyday, hence what my blogger title suggest. I think what I have made here is very wearable.

 So for the first lap of the race, I bring you a blouse and skirt combo. This powder, blue Ginger I believe works well with this little, pink blouse I made from McCall's 8609. It's been fun making random blouses to go with my standard Gingers. I like the butterfly sleeves from this pattern because they are easy on the arms, although I must tell you that I found them a bit tricky to sew together. The idea for this outfit was inspired by one of my handbags, no big surprise there. It's been part of my collection for a while and it was time for a proper matching outfit.

Although I will be making another sailor blouse out of the same fabric as the skirt to make a suit effect soon. Finally, I pulled the look together with this 50's cuff bracelet that I fell in love with. I love the weight of it, it's really well made.

I really tried to get some pictures today, but the wind was really bad! My indoor lighting wasn't great, so even though I love this outfit, I don't believe the pictures do it justice.

Happy Spring Everyone!!!!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Help! My iron is eating my clothing!

Calling all sewing community experts!! Please help me!!! This is my story in a nutshell. My iron's reliability is really bad! It is leaking for the second time in 6 months right down the electrical cord. The tank has cracked twice now in about a years' time. The first time it broke, I sent the iron back to Rowenta  and they replaced it (for a charge) and told me promptly not to over filling it. So, I have not been filling it to the max line and babying it the best I can. On Saturday, I found a pool of water on my ironing board ( about a 1/2 cup). Bottom line, I love the steam this iron gives, but that's about all. To add insult to injury, this iron has a heat dial that I find very easy to bump and hard to read, because of this I have lost a dozen or so projects due to burning.  It gets very hot at times. Saturday was the last straw for me as I was making shorts and finishing them with a last ironing, I must have bumped the dial because I got the shiny marks on my garment. I do use a pressing cloth, but not for an overall ironing just for darts and such. Thank you for reading this, now this is where I need help.  Does anyone have an iron you would recommend? Cost is not really a big issue for me as I would like to jump to the next level to a professional iron, maybe one with a large water tank. But I am open to any and all suggestions.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Goodbye Perfectionism, Sewing my Complete Spring Wardrobe

Yes, I have decided that I am going to sew all my spring and part of my early summer clothing (undergarments not included). This is a big commitment, but one I want to accomplish once in my lifetime.  Some people do marathons, but this suits me better. It's a personal challenge that I have been thinking about for awhile.  As I have learned more over the last year, thanks to many of you, my garments are looking cleaner and fit better. My goal is NOT to make things fast, no that would just bring disappointment, my goal is to make, with a consistent, steady hand, the best garments to my ability and to wear them all spring and summer, starting right now, today! This is not to replace ME-MadeMay or anything like that, rather it comes from something deep inside me that says, I can live out of the box, be happy in the garments I make, and break any thoughts of perfection.
This is how I want to meet my mistakes, with a smile and a light heart, this picture reminds me that I may forget to do something, but it's still okay! 
  Why am I doing this? Because pretty is good enough, nice is awesome, and perfection is a slow death. I don't want to allow perfection to keep me from living happily with the work from my hands. NO regrets! I think in the past I have been really hard on myself, others who see my garments remark how professional they look( my mom loves my work, but she is my mom hehe) and all I can see are the flaws of this or that. Most of the flaws you wouldn't even notice, but I find myself avoiding wearing some of my sewn wardrobe because of this darn perfectionistic attitude of mine. Which is to me, a character flaw, yes it may seem noble, but it's a harsh reality that really isn't good for me or my family. And it's chasing after the wind in my book. Sorry to get so psychological/spiritual on you all, but I want to be honest about this stuff.

 There are many other reasons I am sewing my complete spring and summer wardrobe.

1.  I desire color! Bright, bold, soft, and muted. I am not afraid of wearing color, it's been hard to find in our khaki and beige world. 

2.  Fit, this is the hardest obstacle, if you were born out of portion, according to those little charts, you know this too well! I am super tired of gaping waistlines and hiphuggers on RTW!

3.  Huge stash of fabric- Yes, as I write this, everything is falling out of the cabinet upstairs. Too much fabric.

4.  Skills- I want to sew like a pro (within reason and my sanity) , so practice, practice, practice and try new things is my motto. 

5.  Time- honestly, it takes me longer to go to the store and try on a 1000 black dresses than to just make one that I like.

6.  Style- I love to marry a bunch of different styles together. Part of this process is trying new silhouettes out. Time to pull out those patterns!

7.  My grandmother dressed way better than I ever will, and I would like to give her a run for her money.

8.  I just feel like I am living in someone else clothes! You all have encouraged me so much as you step out in the clothing you love.

I will be including a mix of handbags and jewelry to complete the looks. Are you hard and too readily critical on your sewing projects or are you more relaxed feeling good about the process of sewing? Do you ever avoid wearing your sewn wardrobe, what is holding you back? I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for cheering me on, and dropping by. 

Happy and peaceful sewing to you all!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Vintage finds

What a great weekend! Sunny, good food, and a happy family. A little vintage shopping was the order of the day on Saturday. Lately,  I've been on the search for accessories. I told myself no more purses, but this one reminded me of Lucy, so I had to take it home. I am cutting down, I promise. I love the black and white color combo.
 I also scored with some great shoe clips, I haven't seen them around much, so I thought they would be fun to add to my otherwise boring shoe collection. Yes, I am working on finding shoes.
 Also among the vintage finds, pins and brooches have been on my radar. I bought a cherry pin too that I am working on, more on that later.

 And last, but not least a vintage, yellow sweater. It really is a bright yellow, but the camera didn't pick up the true color. I already worn it yesterday, paired with my green, Ginger skirt while out for some pizza.  I have been wanting to dive into the deep end of the vintage pool.  I am finding that so many people know how to accessorize, it's kinda a art in some ways. It also reminds me that the devil is in the details, and those details make such a difference.  Adding jewelry, a handbag or a sweater can transform  a nice vintage outfit to a great one, I find. What is your favorite accessory to add to your vintage outfits?


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mail order blouse and Ginger

What can I say about this outfit? It's a bit of a surprise to me, as I didn't expect this project to fall into place, but I love it.  The blouse came from an unmarked, mail order, dress pattern. Last year I started making the dress, but the skirt didn't seem to fit or line up with the bodice. I thought of grading it (truing) and did, but there were other issues. So after many attempts at making the dress, it was thrown into the UFO pile.  I finally got back to it and decided to draft a new bodice using parts of the pattern. I am not a fan of the edge stitched pleats included on the original bodice, although edge stitched pleat look pretty on the ironing board, they did nothing for my waistline. Anyway, after a year of sitting in a basket this UFO is solved! I really like the added trim for fun. And of course I paired it with yet another ginger skirt in  cherry red. The ginger has become a staple in my wardrobe. I have to say, I enjoy them plain, out of the box, but I think I am ready for some pockets or piping next time.

Pattern:  Blouse- it's a Sew-Rite 8251 and Ginger by Colette Patterns for the skirt

Fabric:  Blouse- Cotton, vintage buttons, skirt-gabardine

Make Again?  Yes, I would like the blouse in many colors mostly because I can move in it very well, no tight arms, hooray!

Alterations:  Of course.  The blouse is a 32 bust, which is perfect for my shoulders, but my hip line needs added inches. With the Ginger I have decided that I need to make them a bit smaller in the waistline. I have been cutting the size 8 and it's about two inches too big. So I'll be working on that for the next time.

Have a wonderful vintage day,


Friday, March 9, 2012

Repairing The Vintage Handbag

I just made a outfit to match this bag, it's coming up soon!
We all have them, that favorite handbag that needs some TLC.  Typical problems occur as time passes, but don't worry you can fix a lot of them. Here are some tips, tricks, and great products that you can use for home repairs.  If in doubt, please contact a professional. Most shoe repairs businesses offer handbag repairs as well.  In this post, we will discuss how to repair color fading on leather bindings,  dents and creases in patent purses, stains,  handle replacement options and linings.

Patent bags:
These bags get dents and scratches easily. The good news is most dents come out pretty well with a steam iron. To remove a dent, take your steam iron holding it two inches away from the dent and steam the spot for 3-5 minutes, alternating 30 seconds of steam  and then rubbing with your fingers or a soft cloth across the warm patent. Continue working with the patent until the dent comes out for the full 3-5 minutes. The dent should be faded and smooth out. If not on the first try, wait a few  hours giving the patent time to reshaped itself, then have another go at it.  I had a major dent in my black bag and this technique worked really well, again be careful with the steam avoiding getting too much water near the stitching and hardware. It's great having the soft cloth ready to wipe away extra steam droplets as you go. You will find this process is great for scratches too.  For scuffs use a Magic Eraser. Your bag will look new again!

Leather bags:
Fiebings Black Leather Dye, 4 Ounce
Leather bags wear the most at the seams, these areas are called bindings. Over time bindings can turn a whitish color, they look faded and worn.  The edges can be fix with some leather dye.  I can't tell you how many bags I have saved by dyeing their binding with this great leather dye product. The trick is to find a matching color of dye. It's also important to test. To start, make sure you have cleaned your bag with some leather cleaner and allow to dry. Prepare your work area, placing your bag on an old towel, wearing plastic gloves is helpful too. The dye comes with it's own applicator, which I do not use because putting the dye directly onto the leather can lay down too much color. I have found that using a soft cloth and removing some of the color on the towel first, makes it easier to be consistent. If you apply small bits at a time the color be more even. Once you have the bindings looking good, allow them to dry and enjoy!  One thing to keep in mind is that the color dye can come off slightly when you clean your purse. This is normal. Also this process is not going to restore cracking leather. In this case, you may want to have a leather restorer replace your bindings. If you have a Coach bag, you may be able to send it back to the company for new binding. I had a vintage, coach bag that needed new bindings, so I sent it back and they put brand new bindings on and the purse looked great.

Beaded Bags:
We have talked about the beaded bag and sewing on a bead. This can be easy done with the right bead. Here is an article with more information on using beads. I found it so useful. I only have one beaded bag, so I haven't had to put on any beads, but I didn't want to leave this information out for you gals who love beaded purses!

Misshapen bags:
Bags get stored in so many ways that can wreak havoc on the structure of a purse. Sometimes a bag's shape can be repaired, and sometimes not.  If the structure of the bag is pliable. You may be able to mold it into shape with some steam, siting in a sunny place, or using a hairdryer. Heating up your bag will make it softer. You want to keep your handbag stuffed slightly, a t-shirt is great for this. Remember it took sometime for your handbag to get out of shape, it may take some time for it to remold itself. Be patient and persistent. Keeping your bag full will help it to maintain it's shape. I have been able to change the shape of one bag in my collection. It's not perfect, but much better and sits less sideways.

I made a video on how to make your own linings for you vintage purse, check it out here. I make a lot of linings for my bags and enjoy the functionality of them. If making linings are not your thing and you want to clean the existing lining, try some Oops cleaner to remove stains. Lipstick is the worst offender, if you have a lipstick stain, dab the stain, very lightly with denatured alcohol and then use some dish washing soap on the spot. Rinse with a wet cloth. For ink stains use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball. Gently rub stain, if it doesn't budge, try using a little fingernail polish remover. Careful with these products! They can take color out along with the stains.

Handle replacement:
I have a beautiful, black bag with a broken handle. I am going to replace the handle with the help of my shoe repair guy. If you have a handbag with less than perfect handles, there are a couple of options that you may want to think about. Firstly, you can buy new handles at any crafting store. I found some at Joann or you can buy a vintage bag for it's parts. Because I am a handbag nut!  I always lean towards finding a vintage item to replace a vintage item. I was able to find a beat up black, patent bag that I am going to use it's handles for a bag that I truly love.  If you have a sewing machine that will sew through anything this may be a DYI project if not, a good shoe repair place may be the option for you. They can sew the new handles on for you pretty quick.

Well, I am wrapping up these posts on the vintage handbag.  I hope they were helpful to you. Above all, enjoy your bags, use them, love them, show them off!

Have a wonderful vintage day!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Scallop Collar Blouse

I finally did it,  made a scallop blouse. If you sew and like scallops at all, eventually they will find their way to your sewing table. Last week , while in the process of experimenting with blouse patterns, I found this 80's top. At first, I didn't like the idea that it was an 80's pattern and was wishing for a 40's instead, but curiosity got the better of me. Some 80's tops have tons of garment ease and can look frumpy.  How do you feel about the 80's styles? In the end, I am happy with this blouse. Being a sucker for polka dot fabric, I couldn't see this blouse any other way. The top stitching on the scallops adds a nice detail even though it's not part of the pattern's instructions. Also, this top is comfortable, no pulling at the arms or back, so I recommend this pattern if you have problems in these areas.

Pattern: McCall's 4248

Make again: Yes! I would like to see how the pattern hangs with linen.

Skill level: I am going to say, easy to moderate. The scallop were easy, if you follow directions.

Fabrics: Dotted Swiss and cotton

Alterations: Yes, I added cuffs! Also took out some ease and drafted a new line at the shoulder to omit the shoulder pads, although I could still slip them in if so desired. After seeing the pictures I might take a little more ease out next time around.

What's on your sewing table for spring?

Have a wonderful Vintage Day,