Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Anne Adams Dress - "Easy, Interesting"

Anne Adams 4713 Mail Order Postmarked 1959... I've had this pattern for two years; it was part of an auction haul. What is fun is that the original owner, Marcie, included the newspaper clipping from which she saw and ordered it! (This is what makes vintage collectiing fun.) The ad states the pattern is "Easy, Interesting".

Good thing because I want to make it for PR Weekend and have less than two weeks! For the life of me, I cannot make up my mind on fabric. Marcie indicated in pencil that she was going to use green crepe...

I'm using a linen/rayon blend. It has a pretty brown/beige/cream hibiscus floral pattern with splashes of sky blue. Stay tuned for progress pics!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Finished Dress - Weird Pictures!

The "good" camera was used for the pics I took of the finished dress!!!! BUT, it created a very distinct and distracting shadow on each and every pic!!! Gah!

I will re-take pics again, but for now, here is a pic - try to look past the shadow on the wall!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Back to the Business of Dresses (Capris are now a UFO)

I made good progress on my capris, then I lost interest and they officially transcended into UFO status.

THEN, I picked up a different UFO that was cut over a year ago, a 1940's house dress in a vintage floral fabric. I tried so hard to love this project. It was one of those projects that seemed like a good idea at the time, but didn't work when it came down to the sewing part. I tried to not give up on it, giving it "one more step" before declaring it a wadder. I finally reached that point when a friend pointed out that the fabric looked like an old sheet!!! I had that "OMG" moment, because did (even though the fabric was not a recycled sheet).

At this point, the time was ripe for a project in which I'd hit my zone again. I'm happy to report I FOUND IT! I've had this fantastic pattern, McCall's 4417 from 1957, for a couple of years and have had the urge to get it out of my system. With warmer weather around the corner (I hope), a sun dress called. My world is happy when I'm sewing a vintage sun dress. I'm using a lovely tissue weight 100% linen, a taupe with dark brown pinstripes on it. This fabric was used two years ago on a different dress that didn't quite work out (not because of fabric, but not a good style on me). I had just the right amount to do the slim version. I used a medium weight linen blend in solid brown for the neck band and belt.

The pattern calls for an optional lining. It's a vintage lining, which is not the full length of the skirt. I found a tissue weight linen/cotton blend to use for the lining and decided to underline the bodice since the linen fabric is semi transparent (like when the light is behind you and you can see through). These two fabrics have been a dream to sew. And I love how linen shapes. Yes, it wrinkles, but it's linen! And the lining/underlining should alleviate the wrinkling a teeny bit. These are the back bodice pieces after the underlining was basted and darts sewn: The neckline on this appears fiddly and difficult at first glance. BUT, once you start working it and doing the pleats, step by step it really makes sense! Just mark well and you won't be disappointed. In this pic, you can see where the neckband is pinned and then sewn about an inch and a half (orange arrow shows the other side prior to pinning). This picture shows pleats formed AFTER the neck band is sewn as just stated. It's a bit "floppy", but after the pleats are made, it lines up perfectly. Baste across top edge of neckband after pleats are stitched. This pic shows the neck band facing in place. It is sewn across the top edge of the neck band (after the back neck band is seamed at shoulders), then hand slip stitched down on the inside. I cracked away at this project last week, had my cousin's son for the weekend so work stopped for a couple of days.... and just attached the bodice to skirt this evening. All that is left now is inserting the zipper and hemming! Hopefully I'll have finished pics tomorrow or Tuesday at latest!

Of course, no project of mine would be complete without a token mishap. This project's involved the iron and my box of threads... I ran out of a spool and while pulling out various other spools from my plastic box, placing upon the fabric and contemplating/comparing to get the best match, I suddenly smelled something odd, like burning plastic! To my horror, I looked up and it WAS plastic!!! I'd flipped the lid of the box open and it was leaning against the plate on my iron. The whole corner and latch melted and was dripping/stuck to the iron. The good news is after completely cooling, I was able to pull off the plastic in about three pieces. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

First Fitting of the Capris

I basted the inner, outer and crotch seams for the first fitting. Overall, it's better than I anticipated. I expected them to be "tighter" rather than "looser".

The waistband is not on nor are the gathered insets, so I'm kind of holding them in place while taking pics in the mirror!!! Good think I'm a mom and used to tackling tasks requiring eight arms instead of two.

It seems good through the waist and the sides, but baggy at the back, just below my seat. The pattern is described as "semi-fitted". Now, I admit that when I wear pants, it's usually "skinny" styled jeans so I'm not certain how much room these are supposed to have back there. Based on the illustration, it doesn't look like a "loose" style. However, I don't want these to fit like skinny jeans.

I don't think they're too far off. Time to consult my fitting books and sewing friends. Comments and suggestions about anything are most welcome!! i.e. style, fit, etc.
Yay, I'm on my way!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Expanding My Horizons

For a long time, I've wanted to make pants but I've been chicken. There, I said it. One of the reasons I've loved dresses and skirts so much is that they are easier to fit and camoflage BTS: Big Thigh Syndrome. Making your own is the obvious solution to having good fitting and flattering pants.

However, herein lies the oxymoron with BTS and good fitting pants you make yourself: you have to figure out how to actually get them to fit. It's likely more than just "adding a little extra" to the outside seam...

So hop aboard and join me on my journey of my first pair of pants. They are not from a vintage pattern, but I hope you agree that they are cute. I really wanted to do View B with the ruffle but I don't have the right fabric on hand (how this can be with a stash to exceed life expectancy is beyond me). So I'm doing View C with the gathering. I think it's a great detail that adds some punch to a simple (and hopefully easy) design.

I'm using a cotton/linen blend with a chevron stripe design that's woven in. I envision the completed and PERFECTLY fitted capris matched with a simple tshirt and these cute Eric Micheal slings that are dupioni silk.

Cutting the fabric begins now!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Jacket is Finished

I finished the jacket!

I'm sorry that I've not blogged as I've gone along. I managed to catch a bug (I think a mild case of flu) while on the cruise and was under the weather for three weeks, and subsequently run down going into Christmas.

Nevertheless, I've thrown myself into sewing. Overall, I'm very pleased with the jacket. I love the wool, from Emma One Stock and the construction was pretty straightforward.

There are a couple of things worth mentioning about the pattern. First, the collar/shoulder sections match really well. Just be sure to take your time cutting and marking accurately and you WILL be rewarded. Do NOT mistake the front facing "stitch-and-slash" for a dart!!! Ask me how I know that you should NOT make this error... I spent over an hour scratching my head wondering why the collar facing didn't match up to the facing.

Also, the lining is short and the top of the jacket hem shows. This irks me because I was very careful cutting. My advice is to cut the lining longer; you can always trim excess rather than being left short.

I love everything else about this jacket. It's not hard-core winter wear but perfect for autumn, mild winter and early spring days!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

White Christmas - Yes, the Bing Crosby Classic!

I've been sick with a nasty cold for nearly two weeks; sewing has been slow... so I thought I'd write about my Love-Hate relationship with the movie "White Christmas" after watching it last night!

I can hear the gasps: "What? Blasphemy! How can tanybody hate even a little bit that movie!!!" Trust me, it's not all hate; I promise there really is a lot of love! Every year I am compelled to watch it for all the reasons it makes people feel warm and fuzzy. So stick with me and here it goes!! (I am not a movie critic, just a middle aged, vintage loving person!)

This movie is loaded with schmaltz and iconic imagery of Christmas. There is no movie in Hollywood history with more schmaltz and nostalgia than White Christmas! From the opening scene with the soldiers listening to Bing Crosby sing with tears in their eyes, to the look on General Waverly's face when he walks into the converted barn with everybody there to honor him and save the inn (of course Bing Crosby's uniform still fits HIM perfectly), one cannot help but me moved. And that's the core of what the movie, good ole General Waverly!

I love and adore Vera-Ellen. She was an enormous talent and glides elegantly and effortlessly in every scene in which she appears. You simply cannot take your eyes off of her with her angelic face, 21" waist and legs that I would ransom my children for! In real life this poor woman struggled with anorexia, ill health and her only child died from SIDS. She deserved so much more fame and recognition... In particular, and this is just speculation on my part... BUT has anybody else ever thought that Barbie Millicent Roberts (yes, the Barbie Doll) was modelled specifically after Vera-Ellen???

And here we go, but Rosemary Clooney bugs me. I apologize to all of the Rosemary Clooney fans who read this. Apart from her role in the scene on the train to Vermont singing "Snow" and the nightclub scene sitting at the table with Bing Crosby in that FANTASTIC blue dress, I think there are scores of others actresses who could have played her role better... like Doris Day. (Disclaimer: I love Doris Day and my dressform, Doris, is named after her).

Thank goodness Mary Wicke was cast as The General's housekeeper to off-set Clooney's boring role. Nobody does wisecracking like she does it! She is another Hollywood classic who appeared regularly throughout her career! And while we're at General Waverly's inn, does anybody else wonder where the rest of his family is besides the granddaughter? It can be assumed that perhaps his wife passed... but Waverly had at least a daughter or son who produced said granddaughter... did I miss the part that establishes who the granddaughter's parents are? Does this even really matter?

I cringe watching the two women perform the number "Sisters". Give me Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe donning top hats and red dresses any day: THAT's how you bring down the house with a dynamic female duo!... The rendition of "Sisters" was far more entertaining when performed by Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby than the two ladies.

Which of course brings me to Danny Kaye. It's hard to imagine this film WITHOUT him, yet he was not first choice!!! Word has it that this was intended to be a Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire reunion, which yes, would have been lovely! But Danny Kaye's comedic expertise is just perfect for that role and is pivitol in establishing the relationship between Wallace and Davis that began as war buddies... poignant from Kaye saving Crosby's life in the war, but adding a lighthearted punch and sense of loyalty. I only wish they didn't include that horrid number of Kaye's where he looks like a mime and the girls have the ponytails! It's so out of sync with the rest of the movie!

Danny Kaye was such a household name, he was involved in so much on the big screen, tv and behind the scenes. He was one of the classic stars born in the era where an entertainer was all encompassing: sing, dance, act and be comedic (shameless plug again for Doris Day)...

And as much as I love Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen, I really DO NOT want to hear them all sing White Christmas together at the end of the movie! Leave that to Bing Crosby and his wonderfully smooth voice that melts my heart. NOBODY should mess with that!!!

So if you can get past the bad cuts, the mime number (sorry, to call it that but it's what springs to mind for me), Rosemary Clooney (sorry again), some voids in plot and the fact that all those people in the final scene were able to just get themselves ready for a formal dress event on Christmas Eve at the drop of a hat (well, it was for General Waverly), you have a real, heart-warming classic that I JUST HAVE TO WATCH every year!!!

Hmmm.... I suddenly feel like a glass of mulled wine while listening to Bing sing White Christmas!