Saturday, October 19, 2013

A little something for myself

I know that much of what I've posted lately has been baby related, and most of what I do get to work on is for the little mister, but I've been trying to squeeze in some time for my own projects when I can. Trying to make time for myself in the midst of the baby/husband/house/work maelstrom is difficult, but crucial to my sanity. I've actually managed to get a fair amount done the last few weeks, from working on the cardigan I'm making for the wee one, to making his Halloween costume, to beginning the assembly of my grey pencil skirt. I did manage to finish a little something for myself as well! I had so much left of the print I cut my vest lining from I decided to make myself a new apron. I have been lusting after the various retro inspired aprons that have become so prevalent recently for ages and thought it was about time I made one. I needed a new full apron anyway, and what better way to do a little scrap/stash busting! I cut a half circle skirt and a wide, shaped waistband which I attached to a fairly simple bib. The halter and waist ties were cut separately and sewn on afterwards. I kept the shape of the patch pockets pretty simple as well, since the print itself is relatively busy.

In addition to the apron, today I whipped up a quick pencil skirt to help bulk up the "cake" portion of my closet. As many of you are aware, I have A LOT of dresses, and while most of them are practical garments (or were pre-baby), I also tend to go more for the unique and interesting as far as prints and details go, that make it a little more difficult to pair things with other pieces in my wardrobe. Most of my separates are super casual knit pieces that make up in some ways a second wardrobe for me. I have my collection of dresses and slightly more formal pieces that all of my friends and acquaintances associate with my "style", but then there is also the much more casual, simple wardrobe of solid camisoles, t-shirts and knit mini-skirts that sometimes get combined with my jeans or linen pants. Inspired my Mimi, I decided to make myself a couple of knit pencil skirts that will do a little better job of meshing my two "styles". A while ago I ordered myself a very comfy, easy, wash-and-wear double knit in a chocolate brown to make the first one. Because there was not as much stretch to this knit as necessary for following Mimi's simple one-seam design, I ended up cutting the skirt in two pieces with a bit of shaping at the hips. I'm really happy with how it turned out and I know it's going to get tons of wear in the coming weeks, now that the weather has cooled off a bit. It hangs a bit funny on Tabitha since she has no legs, but you get the idea.

And finally, here's a little peak of slight progress I made on the grey skirt/vest project. I've got the pleats for the back basted in and the buttons for the skirt and vest covered. I also put the zipper in last night, so next up I will be attaching the waistband and setting the pleated insert into the skirt.

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Project Progress

I've made it beyond planning on this one already! The last two days I have been working on cutting out the pieces for my pencil skirt and vest ensemble. The patterns I decided to use were two in my stash from the 1950s and 1960s. The vest pattern I'm using is one I have used in the past (Butterick 9474 View B), but this time I'll be making View A. The skirt pattern (which I have altered slightly and will explain further in a moment) is from Butterick 6052. (Both images courtesy of Vintage Patterns Wiki)

Of all the 1950s skirt patterns I have in my possession, I finally decided on this one because it was the simplest and therefore would be the easiest to use as a base for alterations. It has no front darts, only one back dart on each side, and no vent or pleat. One of my favorite things about working with vintage patterns is seeing the alterations that the former owners made, giving me a little insight into their lives in a way. This lady (who labeled all her pieces with her name: M. Anderson), was taller than most of the previous owners of my patterns. She didn't have to adjust the skirt length at all (or at least didn't do so before cutting). She did, however, have a little bit of a belly apparently :) She had slashed and spread to give herself a bit more room in the front. It's so fascinating what you can learn about people by looking at their old patterns. 

When using '50s skirt patterns I generally shorten them by a few inches (since I'm slightly shorter than average and also like a bit higher hem than was fashionable in the '50s). For this skirt, though, I chose to leave it a bit longer. The existing skirt length (after hemming) was about 30 inches, and I'm just too short for that length of skirt. I did want to maintain a little more traditional length with this one, nonetheless, so I only shortened it by two inches. I also pegged the skirt slightly, since I like a bit closer fit (more akin to a tight fitting "wiggle" dress). The pleated inset in back will give me enough extra room to move freely even with the pegged hem.

The fabric I'll be using as my vest lining is left from a dress I made a couple of years ago and passed along to a friend since it fit her better. I really didn't want to have to buy anything to line this with, so I went digging through my scrap bin and discovered I had more than enough of this print left to cut the vest lining. It works beautifully with the medium grey of the suiting, and it has plenty of personality to jazz up the garment a bit as well. I'm a big fan of a statement lining, and this one definitely makes a statement, I think. 

grey suiting 1950s skirt and vest pattern

1950s 1960s vest pattern grey suiting green and grey lining

The pleated skirt inset will be 8 inches high and 10 inches wide when finished, with a center box pleat and three pleats to either side of that. The top will be trimmed with a fairly narrow band, pointed at both ends and finished with a decorative button at either end. I'm toying with the idea of making covered buttons for the vest and skirt inset, but haven't decided yet. I love the look of covered buttons, very clean and tailored, but I'm not sure if I want to go that route or use something that will contrast (very slightly) with the fabric. I'll have to see how I feel when I get to that stage. 

        Happy sewing!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Out of hibernation, just in time for fall.

First post in two months. Sheesh! I figured once we got through the boy's three month birthday things would start to get a tad easier and I would have more time to keep up with this blog, but it seems like for me month four has been the hardest so far (for a number of possible reasons). I've managed to get a little bit of knitting done, but it's been tough enough just trying to keep up with things like laundry and dishes. It's been really frustrating for me at times, and I feel like I waste a lot of my time sitting on the couch so I want to make a concerted effort to try and get myself feeling a little more normal and productive. Particularly after reading Brittany's post on how she balances life as a wife/mother and a dedicated blogger, I have taken a few things to heart and the last few days have really made an attempt to change my everyday M.O. To a certain extent, what I'm capable of getting done is still dictated by my son (four months old last week), but I have been able to get a lot of stuff cleaned up and better organized, which makes me feel much more human/sane. I've got major knitting plans for the next few months and would like to squeeze in some time for sewing in the near future, so I can have a couple of new things to wear during the colder months. 

About a week or so ago I finished the pants that go with the little eyelet outfit I've been making for the wee one. They look so big next to him now, but he's growing so fast he'll be too big for them before we know it. 

Knitted eyelet baby pants drops design

I've got the trim on the bottom edge of the cardigan finished, and will be plugging away at that bit by bit when I have a moment. Perhaps my biggest accomplishment in the past few weeks has been phase one of a major organizational project. I've got about 200 patterns (a large percentage of them vintage originals) that have been previously stored in what was an all out embarrassing manner. For some time I've wanted to get them better organized and more safely stored, but until now haven't had the motivation or focus to get around to it. So, I now have two huge binders that function as my pattern "index", with all of the pattern envelopes (or instruction sheets in some cases) organized by decade in acid free sleeves. The patterns themselves are now in uniform envelopes labeled with the company and number and organized in the drawers and bin next to my treadle machine.

The second phase is to alphabetize the envelopes by company and number. I have no clue when I will get around to that, though.

Up next in my knitting docket is this sweater for my husband. I've got a lovely charcoal-heather, recycled wool yarn for it. It's knit in bulky weight yarn, and the pattern is simple, so it should work up pretty quickly. The yarn I have is about this color, but he wants a funnel neck instead of the rolled collar.

Image courtesy of Skytender
What I'd really like to get done before the weather turns too cool, however, is a new pencil skirt and vest for myself. I've got several different 50s and 60s vest patterns I may use, and I want to do some fun detailing on the skirt, perhaps at the back vent. Maybe something like the pleating on this skirt from Stop Staring. I've just replaced my favorite white, button-down blouses and I really love the super tailored look of 50s women's suiting (not to mention the fact that pencil skirts and button-downs are a stylish, but totally practically alternative to my other nursing friendly clothing).

Image Source
I've got a light to medium grey suiting in the stash that would be perfect for this ensemble. I still have yet to decide exactly what style of vest I want, but now that my patterns are so much easier to browse I shouldn't have too much trouble making a decision! Today has been pretty productive, including getting the dining room table (ie my cutting table) cleared off, so hopefully the little one will let me get started cutting things out in the next few days. It's back to work for me now, but to round out this relatively picture laden post with a photo of something I actually made myself....

Have a good week everyone!

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