Sunday, May 1, 2016

Me Made May 2016


Me Made May is here, and I am participating again this year! I have largely stopped wearing my self made clothes in recent months, so this should get me back in the habit of wearing them. I am hoping too, that it will inspire me to start sewing and knitting again. I will be posting my outfits on Flickr , as I typically do.

Monday, November 2, 2015

HSF challenge; Sewing secrets

For this challenge I made a nightgown using one of my vintage patterns; McCall's 5441 from 1942. It is a simple surplice front style but it has decorative arrow shaped pieces to connect the front and back portions at the shoulders.

I used a lovely, but sheer, ivory cotton fabric for this project. This sheerness is why it will only be modeled by Sally Stitch. It was originally a bright green color, but after a soak in bleach it turned a much nicer ivory shade. Unfortunately it had been stapled to it's price tag at the thrift store where I purchased it, and the cashier ripped the fabric when removing it. I managed to patch the holes with extra fabric, of which there was only a bit. I did not have enough leftover to make the bed jacket.

I do plan on making a 1940's style robe so I guess it is not really an issue. I sewed it as directed, and the only alteration I made was to shorten the bust pieces by 1", my pattern is for a 34" bust, but I need a 30" size to fit my ribcage so this was my half way fix.

So what is the secret to this sewing? That I mended a few holes? That it was formerly green? I suppose those are options of course, but it was also a curtain panel originally sold at Target! I picked it up secondhand and barely managed to squeeze out the gown from the panel. I used it all from selvedge to selvedge.

The Challenge: Sewing Secrets

Fabric: 1 cotton curtain panel

Pattern: McCall's 5441

Year: 1942

Notions: Thread

How historically accurate is it? Fairly, the sewing techniques, pattern and fabric content are all accurate, but a nightgown from a curtain? I'm not so sure. Of course it can be said that as a 1940s pattern making do would often necessitate the use of unorthodox fabrics.

Hours to complete: Two

First worn: Later tonight, to sleep in.

Total cost: Only .25!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

HSF challenge; Brown

While I wear brown frequently I usually do not gravitate to it as a colour when choosing materials. In spite in of this I made several projects for this challenge!

My first is another sweater, knitted based on the stitch pattern in the Daffodil sweater from 1939 which I found here on Bex's awesome blog. I made up the pattern as I went along, working my pattern repeats as necessary. Like my last cardigan it is a cropped length with 3/4 length sleeves, this seems to be the best shape for me currently. I used my Blarney Spun yarn in the color oatmeal and some vintage faux wood grain buttons, the button bands are reinforced with beige bias tape. I am quite pleased with how it turned out, and have already worn it tonnes!

I also sewed a blouse using Hollywood pattern 1087 from the 1930s, Liberty of London fabric and vintage Costumaker buttons.

I think of this blouse as being more navy than blue, but every time that I wear it I am struck by it's browness. I made the short sleeved blouse, and I left off the collar because it simply did not work for me, I have very square shoulders and a sloping neck so I often have trouble with small collars. You can't really see much of the blouse in this picture, but it looks just like the picture on the envelope except collarless.

Here is a close up showing just how neat this fabric is.

Finally I sewed a blouse using Vogue pattern 5522 from 1945. I used a very thin mocha and black slubbed jersey fabric from my stash, but it was too thin on it's own. To make the blouse wearable I fully lined it in a black and white slubbed jersey which matched the mocha. As a bonus the blouse is now completely reversible! Since the fabric is jersey I left off the back opening, and bound the neckline with the black fabric, I left long tails to tie the neck opening closed.

I love the way that the blouse turned out, it looks very vintage when worn, and works without shoulder pads on my shoulders. My photos did not turn out though, I am a blur, and on Sally Stitch it looks simply terrible!

The Challenge: Brown

Fabric: 8 skeins of Blarney Spun in Oatmeal

Pattern: Stitch pattern is based on Daffodil by Patons & Baldwin from 1939

Year: 1940s

Notions: Six faux wood grain buttons, one yard of cotton bias tape

How historically accurate is it? Semi? The stitch pattern is good, as is the yarn type.

Hours to complete: 42 tops, it took around three weeks all told, working around an hour or two a night.

First worn: September 8th

Total cost: I think around 15$

The Challenge: Brown

Fabric: Liberty of London lawn

Pattern: Hollywood 1087

Year: 1930s

Notions: Three vintage Costumaker buttons, thread

How historically accurate is it? Very, lawn is the suggested fabric, and I used all vintage sewing techniques.

Hours to complete: Five

First worn: September 24th

Total cost: Around 25$

The Challenge: Brown

Fabric: Two yards of cotton slubbed jersey

Pattern: Vogue 5522

Year: 1945

Notions: Thread

How historically accurate is it? Semi, the fabric is just not accurate!

Hours to complete: Two

First worn: September 29th

Total cost: Free, all from stash!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

HSF challenge Heirlooms & Heritage

I was excited for this challenge, because I have always wanted to recreate a specific dress that my grandmother wore in the mid thirties. It was a fairly simple cotton day dress with a layered or pleated skirt, but when the time came I could not fin the picture! Someday I will find it again and recreate the dress, but for this month I knit a sweater that, I hope, will become an heirloom.

I used my favorite yarn, Bernat's Blarney Spun, which was manufactured from the 1950s through the 1970s. While not a true vintage or heirloom yarn, it does have a lot in common with earlier yarns, it has a high natural lanolin content, making the sweater both water and moth proof. It is an aran weight 8 ply yarn, I used the colour Chestnut which coincidentally matches my hair perfectly.

My goal was to knit a sweater that looked vintage, and luckily when I wear it that is usually what people assume. I knit the sweater to high hip length with a knit three, purl two ribbing band at the hem and cuffs. I notched the collar band and reinforced the button bands with bias binding. For my buttons I used six vintage 1940s plastic buttons. I made the pattern up, using features that I like from several different patterns. My construction methods are modern, as I cannot stand seaming together knit pieces!

The Challenge: Heirlooms & Heritage

Fabric: A bit under 630 yards of Bernat Blarney Spun yarn in Chestnut

Pattern: My own, but I used bits of Hetty, by Andi Satterlund and Beacon Hill, by Jane Richmond.

Year: Mid 1940s

Notions: 1 meter of cotton bias tape in warm brown, six vintage brown buttons

How historically accurate is it? I'm going to say 45%, my materials are not vintage, aside from the buttons, and neither are my construction methods. However, the overall effect is one of a vintage garment so I'm saying that counts.

Hours to complete: 23ish days, around two hours a day of knitting, so 46 hours.

First worn: On the 29th, because it was finished and I could!

Total cost: In the range of 40-50$.

Friday, July 31, 2015

HSF challenge Accessorize

To begin with, accessories are not really my thing. I like them, I use them, but in general I do not make them.
So instead I made accessories for my home, a set of napkins to match my newly painted kitchen.

I used three yards of printed cotton fabric that came hemmed along the selvedges. This made the project a very quick sew indeed! I measured the yardage into even lengths then simply pressed and hemmed the last sides.

They match very well with my mint walls, red microwave and breakfast bar, and white vintage appliances. I made six total napkins, and I have found that they wash up very well.

The Challenge: Accessorize

Fabric: 3 yards of printed cotton

Pattern: none

Year: 1940s

Notions: White thread

How historically accurate is it? Very, cotton fabric and thread, made as vintage books instruct.

Hours to complete: .25 hours total

First worn: Used on July 17th

Total cost: 15$

I also finished knitting a sweater for my sister, to me a good cardigan is the ultimate accessory!

I used Andi Sutterland's Miette pattern, but modified it quite a bit. I lengthened it, removed the lace repeats, used farrow rib on the hems and cuffs and seed stitch on the button bands and collar. I also faced the collar in stockinette stitch, moved the below bust decreases to the sides and reinforced the button bands.

The Challenge: Accessorize

Fabric: 4 skeins Malabrigo sock yarn in Ochre and scraps of quilting cotton.

Pattern: A heavily modified Miette, by Andi Sutterland

Year: I'm not sure, it came out quite classic, I'll say between the 1930s and 1940s.

Notions: Six vintage buttons.

How historically accurate is it? Maybe 50%, the pattern is modern, but I used vintage finishing techniques.

Hours to complete: Far too many...

First worn: Soon, it just reached her in Vermont!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

HSF challenge Out of your comfort zone

For this challenge I sewed two and a half dresses, tiny dresses. I sewed children's clothes. While I have done so before the tiny pattern pieces and seam allowances has always made me uncomfortable. This time however I found it much easier than previously. I expect this is because I've done quite a bit of lingerie sewing of late and they also have small pattern pieces and tiny seam allowances.

When hunting through my stash I found McCall's 5415, a vintage pattern that I have had for years.

I have sew it once before, but the results were less than spectacular. For my fabric I used three matching prints designed by April Rhodes for Art Gallery Fabric, and just had enough to eak out the matching bloomers in the orange colorway.

I liked that the prints matched and were a small all-over print, which was common in fabrics of the period. I used vintage buttons that I got for my birthday on the dresses, white with yellow and white with orange (Thank you Zoe!), I will use plain white buttons on the teal dress.

As you can probably tell, the dresses are quite appreciated, the bloomers look quite silly when worn and are thus unphotographed.

Here is a shot of the almost finished (but not in this picture) teal dress.

The Challenge: Out of your comfort zone

Fabric: A bit over 6 yards of April Rhodes for Art Gallery Fabric cottons in (2) Mustard, (1.3) Clementine and (3) Teal.

Pattern: McCall's 5415

Year: 1943

Notions: 24 vintage buttons

How historically accurate is it? Quite! The pattern is vintage as are the buttons ans sewing techniques.

Hours to complete: Hmm... around two days worth of work for the finished dresses.

First worn: Saturday

Total cost: $50

By the way, if anyone is interested in an in depth review of Sew Vera Venus' bra pattern let me know, it is a great pattern and I have made seven so far, yes, seven!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

HSF challenge Practicality

My wardrobe is in general practical, I do not not tend to sew fancy items. Instead I opt for simple and easy to wear and mix pieces, because of this, I found this challenge rather difficult. I did not want to sew another blouse or skirt, at this point everyone has seen enough of those. I will still sew them of course, but hopefully not for all of the challenges! I finally decided upon an apron, while I do have several aprons I have ever made one before.

I was inspired by this one from my 1943 The New Encyclopedia of Modern Sewing. I love this book, it has lots of neat draft it yourself pieces to sew, and the illustrations are beautiful. I did not have any batting, so I left off the button-on pot holder pockets, though I will probably sew one with those in the near future.

Instead I added a pocket made from scraps of vintage seersucker fabric in a butter yellow. I trimmed the pocket and waistband with vintage yellow bias tape and some white rick-rack.

I folded the top edge over and covered the seam with the bias, which also functions as my ties. Though my fabric is lighter on one side, it is hard to tell due to the bias tape breaking up the pattern.

Overall I am quite pleased with my apron!

The Challenge: Practicality

Fabric: 1 yard of vintage cotton gingham fabric in yellow, scraps of vintage butter yellow seersucker.

Pattern: Pot Holder Apron

Year: 1943

Notions: 1 yard vintage yellow bias tape, 1 yard white rick-rack.

How historically accurate is it? Quite, the pattern is accurate and the fabrics and notions were all from an aunt's stash from the 1950s and earlier.

Hours to complete: Less than one.

First worn: Yesterday to make dinner, it works perfectly!

Total cost: All from stash!