Monday, December 26, 2011

Finally a finished sweater

I finally finished this lace sweater I've been working on for so long. It's taken me forever to get it finished up, but I was determined to have it out of the way before the next semester starts back up. This is one project I can cross off the list at least.

It's a pattern from the 1930s that I found on Ravelry, although I can no longer find the link to the pdf. For those of you with Ravelry accounts it's called the 5 O'clock Surplice. I used a lace weight alpaca/silk blend yarn that I found at (one of our very few remaining) local yarn shops. It's incredibly soft yarn, as one might expect from silk and alpaca. I used one 875 yd skein (and a few extra feet) for this sweater, and I still have one skein left. I'm going to dig around and see if I can find another pattern to use the other skein for, since it feels so nice. It's alright to have two sweaters in the same yarn, right?? I just have to make sure that they look different enough that it's slightly less odd to have two sweaters in the same yarn. It's a teensy bit shorter than I was expecting, but think it will look really cute with my super-high waisted, 1930s lounge pants (especially my black ones).

While I have spent a great deal of time knitting in the last week, I managed to fit in a bit of baking (and lots of celebrating for my friend's wedding, my 24th birthday, and Christmas). I made a couple of batches of scones for my boyfriend's roommates: peppermint scones and chocolate-almond-butterscotch scones. They both turned out pretty well, but the latter was definitely the crowd favorite. The guys left me a nice note the next morning.

The wedding I went to was for a swing-dancing friend of mine, and as such there was lots of fun, vintage fashion that showed up to help them celebrate.

This lovely lady, in a stunning 1930s, burgundy velvet dress, is responsible for the beautiful suit the groom wore. She did an absolutely incredible job, making sure there was a perfectly tailored groom on the big day. The lining of the jacket and the back of the vest were really vibrant, bright coral, and the vest back was a giant polka-dot print. I would also like to commend her on her amazing welt pockets. She was very proud of them, as well she should be. They were perfect. She also altered the shorter 1940s dress that the bride changed into later, for ease of dancing of course.
Some of my favorite ladies. 

Her aunt (my mom's best friend) altered this 1930s wedding gown for her.
Finally, for my birthday I gifted myself with a pair of remix shoes. I've been lusting after these for months and now they are mine.

They are a bit darker than this in real life, a bit more mahogany, but they're absolutely lovely and I really want another pair. I'll take a picture of mine sometime soon. I'll be wearing them frequently. We all went out for sushi on my birthday, stuffing our faces with deliciousness, and then all walked down to have a look at the restaurant that my guy and his brother are getting ready to open. He got an urge to go see a movie, so the two of us went to go see The Adventures of Tintin. I hadn't been to the movies in months and months, and this movie was a lot of fun. The animation was pretty impressive as well. Overall, 24 was a pretty fun birthday. Now it's back to work on the next few projects on the list....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I finally have time to work on some things!

Hello all,

I've been MIA for quite some time now, as graduate school this semester has taken a serious toll on my time for sewing, etcetera. I turned in my last paper for my sociolinguistics class on Tuesday night, however, and I am officially finished until the second week of January. Despite the fact that the holiday season is always a busy one (with parties and family events and the like) I finally have a bit more time to finish up some projects and start new ones. I did some repair work on the boyfriend's favorite tie and smoking jacket last night, have to fix a dress that had too much Christmas party last weekend before I take it to the cleaners, and have gotten to work on the final sleeve for my merlot colored sweater. Just to remind you all what it looks like...

I'm much, much farther than that now, but I have yet to take another in progress picture. I can hopefully get it put together in the next two days and will take photos then.

Once I get this out of the way it's back to work on this suit...

I'd like to be able to wear it at some point next semester, while it's still cold. I'm not keeping my fingers crossed, but here's hoping. I've also got a pair of short-stays in the line up for break. They're for a friend of mine. The project list is much longer than this obviously, but these three are top priority. Casey is making me really want to start another sweater, but we'll see how that works out. That would require buying yarn, and I have so many fabric projects to get through I should really do those first. It's just such a cute sweater!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I haven't died, I promise!

Whew, it's been a long time! The last month has been pretty crazy, flying back to the west coast for another family wedding and then getting back into the swing of things at school, all while trying to finish a few projects. I am working on a few dresses for one of my cousins, altered a few dresses I didn't wear for her and also made myself a sari blouse and skirt to wear to another cousin's wedding. I haven't gotten any more work done on my suit, but I'll get there eventually. Once I get back  into the rhythm of school I'll hopefully be able to squeeze in a bit of sewing time here and there.

As you may have surmised, it was a Hindu wedding, as my cousin's new husband is from a South Indian family. They actually had two ceremonies (one Catholic and one Hindu), and more occasions for eating copious amounts of delicious Indian food than I could count (okay so really it was only four I think, but that's a lot of events surrounding one marriage. Not that I disapprove of taking full advantage of an opportunity to eat Indian food).
Mom, my cousin Mary and me at the wedding reception.

My little brother and me at the reception dinner (he hates this picture since he's making a totally goony face, but oh well).

And my big brother, who has always had a hard time not looking stressed in photos.
My cousin looked absolutely beautiful (as did my aunt, and my uncle was really enjoying his suit).
I made the dresses that both my cousin and me wore to the rehearsal dinner.

Incindentally, she's the lovely Target Pharmacist who's featured in their new add campaign. You may have seen posters of her at your local Target. 
I also made the teal dress she wore to the Catholic ceremony (in the center) along with my blue version of the same DKNY Vogue pattern.

I just finished a version of Vogue 2267 in a dark pink floral print, and am working on a purple version of the dress I wore to the rehearsal dinner. I'm also going to make her the green dress I finished several weeks ago.

School is definitely demanding most of my time, what with all the grading and things I have to do on top of my own homework, but I'm enjoying teaching so far. I don't think any of my students hate me, and we had a little impromptu salsa lesson yesterday in my second class, which not only helped wake everyone up, but I think they all enjoyed it. Tengo un breve descanso este finde por Labor Day que voy a disfrutar mucho, y espero que todos ustedes tengan buen fin de semana también!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A bit of '50s tailoring

I've got two more projects that I've been working on in the last week or so. The first is a dress from Butterick 5556, in cotton. I still have to make a belt to go with it. The one I used for the photos is from another dress and doesn't match, but it was the closest in dimension to what I'd like to make. I'm thinking about using a medium grey to define the waist a bit more and help break up the crazy, bright print.

I didn't have the dress hemmed yet when I took this, but it's two inches shorter. The colors are a bit off because of the lighting in this picture, but the fabric is medium grey, with yellow and lime circles. I really liked this pattern, but the fabric that I used had a bit of stretch from selvedge to selvedge and I had to take it in a bit more than I anticipated. With most of Butterick's reprints I cut out a size or two smaller than my measurements because of the massive amount of ease allowed in them. I didn't line the dress since it didn't really need it, and the whole thing went together really easily. I love the collar and the pockets in the side-front seams. This is definitely one I think I may use again, at least to make a blouse if not a whole dress. 

The second project is a wool suit. I figured that since I've been working on summery projects it might be nice to make something I can wear this winter when I want new clothes but don't have time to sew. The pattern I'm using is McCall's 3395 (View B but with self-fabric bands instead of grosgrain). 

Image courtesy Vintage Patterns Wiki.
I shortened the skirt my usual two inches, but ended up taking about three more inches out of it once I made it through fittings. It is definitely one of those oddly proportioned, very long, 1950s suit skirts. I also ended up taking the jacket in about one inch on either side above the waist, and taking the back darts up about 3/4 inches at the waist (tapering out from there). I converted the back-shoulder darts to ease in order to create a smoother line, and did the same with the front darts in the skirt (taking out any excess width at the side seams). I also fully lined the skirt and will be lining the jacket. I still have lots of work to do, but it's going pretty quickly so far, and hopefully I can have the whole thing finished before school starts back up. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Three finished dresses

I finally got all the zippers and hems done in the last three dresses I've been working on, so here they all are. The first two are from Butterick retro patterns, both of which are now unavailable from the manufacturer. The first is Butterick 4792. I used a vintage cotton that mom gave me for my birthday this year, and some leftover fabric from my red 1930s pants.

 I haven't lined the skirt, and am not sure if I'll go back and add one later or not. It could use a little extra pouf, but I don't really think it's necessary. I have another belt planned for this dress also, so I can use a fab red buckle that mom found at a shop here in town. I felt an urge for a big bow, though, so I went ahead and threw this sash together.

The next dress is from Butterick 4512, with an improvised belt (and yet another bow). (I had the scarf on with what I was wearing the day I finished this, and it clearly does not go with this dress).

I also discovered that the dress goes really well with my high-school graduation shoes, a pair of shoes I hardly ever wear but haven't been able to bring myself to get rid of in the last six years. I guess this was why.

The final dress is the one I made up, using a self drafted pattern and pieces-and-parts of other patterns. I'm absolutely in love with this dress and I'd like to make a few more.

I'm really happy with all three of these dresses, although the last two are definitely my favorites. I actually wore the halter dress last night, but with the red bow from the first dress and my red and blue wedges. I did not manage to take a picture of the ensemble though. Maybe next time. I hope that everyone is having a good week, and that you all have a fun and relaxing weekend!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Works in Progress

I've got three dresses currently under construction. At this point they are all waiting for finishing work, as I have to let the hems hang before I can finish them. Then they just need a few hooks and eyes, snaps and so forth. Two of them also get belts, but I haven't gotten around to that yet. Here's a sneak peak at a couple of them. I don't actually have pictures of the first one yet, but this is the pattern I used for it.

Apparently it's no longer available from Butterick, even as an OOP, but there do seem to be a few copies floating around on Etsy and other places. I'm using some vintage fabric that mom gave me for my birthday this past year. It's a very light, white cotton with almost flocked looking red dots and a very light check pattern.

The one on the left, obviously.
The second two I have a few "in progress" pictures of, although both are more complete than when I took the photos.

The first is from Butterick 4512, also unavailable now.

I used a white cotton with light blue, irregular polka-dots. I really love the way it's turning out. I really love the pattern much more than I was anticipating. The only thing that would make it better would be some pockets! Maybe next time...

The last dress is one that I drafted myself (more or less). The bodice is from a basic block pattern that I drafted a few years ago and use frequently, and the skirt is an amalgamation of bits from two other dress patterns that I've used in the past. It's a rayon challis print that I bought with the intention of making a 1940s bathing suit from and Evadress pattern, but after I finished my maxi-dress I decided it was so comfortable I wanted another challis dress to wear. I'm super happy with how it turned out. The neckline and armholes are finished now, and all I have to do is put snaps in the side and hem it once it's hung for a few days.

The armholes took a bit of tweaking because of how the fabric stretched (This may also have been an issue that I had with the pattern before and just don't remember). However, now everything is laying nicely and sits pretty evenly. It's feels great and I really love the fit. This is definitely one that I'd love to make again. Maybe a solid black, something a little more formal, with some extra-special detailing? Hmmm....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cigarette Pants

After that last post, I decided that the best way to get pictures taken of these pants was just to go ahead and wear them. We're going to dinner for my little brother's birthday and I figured I might as well take them for a trial run. I made them using an original pattern that I found on ebay a few years ago. It doesn't have the envelope anymore, and I'll have to dig back through my patterns to find out what company, etc it is, but I'll get that information for you all later. I had to do A LOT Of tweaking to get these pants to fit. I took about three inches out of the inseam and shortened the crotch length, while increasing the crotch depth in order to raise the waistline to where I wanted. I also had to take the outseams in a bit too. This was all from a size 12 pattern (normally I'm closer to a 14 in 1950s/60s patterns (but since I like things to fit snugly a 12 usually fits pretty well), and I was kind of socked at how much I had to take out to keep them from bagging. I'd been lusting after these pants from Bernie Dexter for quite a while and finally decided to just try and make some for myself. How hard could it be, right? Well, after all the fitting issues I had with the original pattern, I ended up with something that I'm generally pretty pleased with. They're not perfect, but I'll know what to do the next time around if I make another pair.

I guess this could work as an outfit post as well, since I do have an entire outfit put together. The shirt I don't wear very often, but I really love the neckline. I bought it at Corte Inglés in Barcelona when I was there a few years ago. The pants look cute with my solid pumps (the ones that I have in four different colors) but they don't really go with this shirt, and they're not very summery anyway, so I put on my favorite cork wedges. The bracelet came from the market in Segovia, the necklace came from a friend of mine, and the earrings I bought the other day when I found my new, giant silver hoops. I've got my new dress hanging up right now, to let the hem hang out, but I'll try and get pictures taken of it in the next few days. I've also got to make the belt to go with it, and I still need to line the skirt since the fabric is so sheer (and the skirt just needs a little more pouf to it).

Yet another pair of 1940s shorts

I've actually had these finished for a while, but had been waiting to take pictures of another project or two that I finished about the same time and haven't gotten around to it yet. These shorts were actually kind of a side project, made from the denim I had leftover after making a pair of 1960s inspired cigarette pants. I used the same 1949 shorts pattern that I've used for all my other shorts, adapting it slightly to eliminate the waistband and adjust the fit for the heavier/stiffer denim. These pictures are super great, but the weather was not conducive to getting decent ones outside. You get the idea at least.

The back darts don't lay perfectly, because this stretch denim just didn't want to press nicely at the points, but a lot of the bunching, etc is a function of the weird position I'm standing in to take this picture. 

Just for fun, this is what happened when I went outside to try and pictures...

This is the foggiest weather I've seen since the rainforest hike we took on Ancon Hill in Panamá. 
I'll hopefully get pictures taken of the pants soon, and I'm also just about finished with another dress project. It's a Butterick reprint from 1957 and I'm really loving how it's turning out so far!

P.S. - These are also some new earrings. I found them the other day, super cheap and SUPER HUGE (my favorite!!).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A quick outfit post

The sun was so bright I couldn't get a good picture without squinting, but this is what I wore on Thursday; my black linen shorts (from the 1949 McCall's pattern) and the wrap top that I just made recently. I had to run a couple of errands so I threw on my gold hoops and my favorite cork wedges. The strap on the back is starting to get a bit worn, and I've managed to wear the heels down a bit at the very back, but they're so comfortable. I really kind of wish I had another pair of them.

I hope that everyone is having a good weekend, and that everyone's July 4th festivities are fun, relaxing and safe!

Some more summer staples

I've got three more projects finished up now, two blouses and a pair of shorts. The first blouse I adapted from a Butterick reprint from 1952. I used the bodice, extending it to top-length using another vintage pattern that I've used in the past. The buttons and buckle on the matching belt are vintage also, and came from Dot who gifted me with so many of her old dresses. The top has a center-back zipper.

The next blouse I made from an original 1951 pattern that I've had for a few years.

image courtesy Vintage Patterns Wiki
My pattern is actually a size 12, but I don't have a picture of the envelope. The pattern itself is a bit funky, the facings don't seem to really fit properly, resulting in some awkward pulling that I had to re-engineer, and the sleeve is supposed to be eased into the armscye, but there was just no way to make that work, so I ended up gathering the top of the sleeves, which I like so it all worked out. I used a tomato print cotton that I found several months ago for cheap. I opted to make matching, attached cuffs and collar instead of the contrasting, detachable ones. I couldn't quite get the top two buttons fastened over Tabitha's chest and I didn't want to force them, but you get the idea.

The final project I've got to share with you all today is a pair of 1940s inspired sailor shorts. I used the same 1949 pattern I used for my linen shorts, adapting the front pieces to make the drop-front. I also extended the waistline up an inch and faced it instead of making a waistband. The buttons were some that I found in our stash, and the fabric (a lightweight wool herringbone) was some that mom bought for a project and turned out not to be suitable. The shorts pattern is actually a bathing suit pattern, and I've got enough of the fabric left to potentially make the bikini top that goes with them. I can't decide whether or not I actually want to wear a wool bikini top with these shorts. I think it would be cute, but not necessarily practical.

The shoes are also new. I just bought them a few days ago. I just got rid of about seven or eight pairs and was having kind of a blah day, something that new shoes almost always cures. After wearing my favorite cork wedges all the time when I was in Panamá (and they're definitely looking a bit worse for the wear) I decided I really wanted another pair of wedges anyway, so I can rotate them a little more. The black ones and the green espadrille wedges that I bought in Barcelona four years ago could use a little respite now and then. Not only were these very tall, but they had bows on the toes and shiny red bits, all of which are things I find hard to resist.

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