Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Taking the Plunge!

I finished my top - last week!

But I've not taken pictures yet. I've been extremely distracted by the construction of our swimming pool. DH and I toyed with the decision to build a pool for years. I grew up with a pool and have great memories of summers in the pool. Morning til night, I was in that pool most days. My girlfriend and I made up synchronized routines to music. Hence, my love for Esther Williams! I could say that the pool is "for the kids" but I don't think I'd be fooling anybody: I love summer and I love to swim.

So after moving last June and settling in, we decided to take the plunge this year - literally. Last week, the excavator rolled in. It dug the hole... then the skid steer moved all of the soil into the trucks that took it away.

There was lots of activity, lots of construction workers and temps were in the 90's. (I think they got sick of me running outside offering soda, drinks, snacks and freeze pops in order to keep away dehydration.) Then a nasty thunderstorm rolled through on Saturday night and promptly dumped water into our beautifully dug hole! (All the workers kept commenting on what a beautiful hole we had.) Pumping out the water only worked to a point, then it became sludge which is now being bucketed up by hand.

So not much sewing has been accomplished since finishing my top. I did, however, have my sewing friends around yesterday for a sewing day. We had a great day catching up, working on projects and planning future ones. I always have so much fun! I'm lucky to have these great ladies in which to share my hobby.

Here are a few pictures of "the kid's swimming pool". And I PROMISE to have pictures of my top tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mad Housewife

When Mad Men meets Desperate Housewifes, you get....


That's right! On Sunday we stopped at a local wine shop to get some special beverages for DH to celebrate Father's Day.

DH found exactly what he wanted for himself. Then, I heard him say to me "Hey, this is perfect for you!"

I turned to look at what he was talking about. There on the shelf was a label of wine I'd not seen before! I thought it was hilarous and at $7 a bottle, I thought "What the heck? I'll give it a try."

I've not tried it yet and don't care if it turns out to be bad. I've consumed plenty of plonk in my day and don't expect a lot for the price. But the illustration on the label is good for a chuckle and has plenty of appeal for us vintage loving ladies.

As for sewing, I finished my top this afternoon. I got sidetracked with the construction that is going on with our pool. I'll be sure to get pictures of it tomorrow!
In the meantime: Cheers!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fitting the Top

This little number is requiring a fair amount of fiddling around to get the fit right. It would just be wrong if the fit is botched.

After a quick measurement prior to cutting, I realized that this top would be too small at the sides. I added extra that would be needed by placing the front and back pattern pieces 1/4" away from the fold (both pieces are placed on the fold and the top has a side zip). Generally, this worked well except for gaping at the top front. To rectify this, I moved over the front side seam by about 1/2", tapering to the top bust dart (I left the back alone since the fit there was good)...

...did you notice how cute this top is with two, parallel bust darts? I LOVE the shaping on this top. You can see how it nearly stands on its own simply by sewing in all of the darts!

Anyway, back to the fitting. (Detailing excites me!) Taking in the front side seam above the darts worked. But the straps were SERIOUSLY long. I'm used to shortening straps on most everything I make with straps. These were longer than usual, though... especially for something with a 32B. Am I that short over my shoulders? I adjusted the strap by 1/2" in the back, where the straps meet in a "V". It needed a lot more however, so I adjusted the remaining 1 1/2" or so in the front! I also shifted the straps towards the center front by about 1/2", to accommodate the changes made at the side seam.
The top is lined with a "short" lining. This is fine for my fabric, since it is quite thick. But if you were using a lightweight fabric, I'd recommend a full lining.

I had a white, 55/45% linen/cotton blend in my stash which I'm using for the lining. It's nice and lightweight and will breath on those hot summer days. It's cut from the same front and back pieces, only shorter.

The same adjustment were made to the side seam. Now that fitting is sorted out and the straps are adjusted, I can put it all together. Hopefully, this will be finished tomorrow or Thursday!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tutti Fruity Cutie Top

The May 25 Auction that DH attended included a haul of fabric. I've posted pictures of some of this fabric. Much of it is in 2-4 yards length, uncut.

Other pieces are leftovers that the lady apparently deemed too big to throw away. I'm really glad about that!

I fell in love with such a piece of cotton. It's white with large, quarter sized colorful dots! If you look closely, some of the dots are purple. It's actually much more vibrant that the picture turned out. The cotton is a good weight with ribs in it. However, it is NOT a knit. This fabric has a vintage feel to me. Maybe it's wishful thinking! I'd really like to get other's opinions on dating it since I'm not an expert on that. What do you think?

I have an awkward shape to work with: It's 38 inches, selvage to selvage. There is a full selvage to selvage section that is a mere 21 inches long... then there's a long (attached) strip (where it was cut) that runs over 30 inches and is about 17 inches wide (along one selvage edge).

I immediately had this fabric in mind for a vintage, summer top. The white was a bit yellowed, but it washed up beautifully. While not "pristine" white, the yellowish tinge definitely is gone. In the same auction where this fabric came from, was a great haul of patterns. Many of them are 50's summer tops.

So I pulled out a couple of them hoping that I could squeeze something out. Butterick 8207 looked like it would work. I particularly like View A - with the criss-cross back. After playing around a bit with some creative folding of the fabric for layout, I discovered that I will indeed be able to make this!!! The only thing is that I will have to cut the bow in a different fabric. That piece is cut on the bias and there is not enough. But that's OK - I think the bow will look great and will pop in a bright, contrast fabric!

I can't wait to start this top!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More Auctions!

DH and I both love auctions! Probably a bit too much for our own good!

There are lots of reasons we like to go to them: to look for treasures, to recycle rather than buy new, to people watch... Perhaps for some people sitting through hours of "junk" being auctioned off doesn't make for an exciting day. But for us, we love watching people and seeing what items they are after.

On May 25, DH went to an auction on his own and he came back with four bags of fabric and over 500 vintage patterns! The patterns range in age from the 50's through the 70's. I've kept the ones that interest me and have started selling off others.

Patterns - Some of the Keepers:

Polished Cotton:Cotton:

The rest of the patterns/fabric that I'm keeping can be seen here: http://s108.photobucket.com/albums/n16/TheOldSchool_2006/Vintage%20Patterns%20Fabric%20May23%20Auction/

On Saturday, May 30, we attended one together. The poor boys got dragged along, but they came away with items for themselves so it wasn't all bad!

The people watching was good. There were the Dealer Guys who were social butterflies, talking to everybody while waiting for whatever items they were after to come up. I suppose they see lots of the same folks who all frequent the auctions as they were all chummy. There was Stamp Collector Guy who snapped up four lots of stamps. There were two Quilt Ladies who bid against each other over five or six quilts. Jewelery Woman knew exactly what she was looking for as she big ferociously on some lots and turned her nose up at others.

There was a nice couple sitting behind us who brought books and needlework to pass the time. I thought that they must have been waiting to bid on something in particular. However, after sitting by each other for a few hours, we started talking. They just attend the auctions as a day's activity because they enjoy watching everything and everyone. So I'm not alone!

We picked up oil lamps, a stop watch, a desk lamp, an egg-in-a-nest salt & pepper shaker, a 1968 model 915 Fisher Price Little People Play Barn (I had one as a kid), a thermometer, a lot of 35 ladies' glove and....

...the item for which we attended. My prize: a 1951/52 Singer Featherweight with Centennial Medallion!!! It is complete with carrying case, accessories, original oil can, instruction manual and a Singer buttonholer attachment! There were four other people bidding on it. It was all very exciting! Two were definitely dealers but I'm not sure about the other person. I outbid them all! muah hahahaha!!!! For the wonderful price of $240 !!!

So I wonder who I am to everybody else? Vintage Sewing Machine Lady?

The machine is just beautiful to look at. It's in very good condition and needs some of the dust and crud on the exterior to be cleaned. The platform shows some wear and abrasion but the gold decals are in good shape with very little rubbing off. It runs, although I've not yet threaded it to see if it has any issues. It runs so quietly!

It's been a crazy week with school ending and baseball starting. My little guy's first game got rained out on Monday (so we went out for a consolitory ice cream). But I'm hoping that I'll be able to start cleaning it this weekend so that I can give it a test run!

If you've ever thought about attending an auction, I highly recommend it!