Now that I'm finished with the costume...

I'm getting ready to plan my sewing projects for Early Summer (aka April/May in Florida). I've got some loose ideas of what I want to accomplish, so this is totally in it's infancy.

I've got some great fabric that I want to work with that's driving my "spring" sewing.

1. Awesome robin's egg and grey plaid suiting to be made up using Vogue 8701, View B (dress)

2. Robin's egg/black/ivory striped suiting to be made up using Vintage Vogue 2885 Reissue

3. Silky blouse fabric to be made up using Vintage Butterick 3052 (my nemesis pattern) to go with #2 above.

4. "Project Runway" button fabric to be made up using Vintage Simplicity 2844

5. Awesome manga inspired fabric that is OOP to be made up using Wearing History's Sew Chic's "Clara Bow" apron.

6. Amazing (polyesther) voile in turquoise, ivory and green for a blouse. Most likely to be made with my nemesis pattern. The fabric SCREAMS for pintucks.

That's an AWFUL lot of sewing for 8 weeks, really. Especially considering my obligations as PTA President at my kids' school. If I were to prioritize, I'd do #4 & 5 and then get to the rest in July/August in time for "fall" (aka Late Summer).

I've also got a boat load of patterns I need to log into my spreadsheet. Whoops! I thought I had them all...

Strictly Ballroom - FINISHED!

One of my all time favorite movies!

NDCA has some rules regarding preteen costuming. They're not long and they're not onerous. See?
(1) Skirt with top or simple dress with attached under garment or leotard top with full skirt

(2) Skirts
(a) Plain or pleated with minimum 1 to maximum 3 half circles. One plain simple underskirt allowed which is no larger or longer than top layer, and is the same or similar color as the outer skirt
(b) No uneven hem lines, use of boning, frills, splits, openings, fishing line, "lettuce edging", etc
(c) Length of skirt must not be shorter than 3 inches above the knee cap and no longer than 1 inch below the knee cap

(3) Necklines
(a) Boat, high neck, v-neck, sweetheart, 'peter pan' collar, and regular collar are allowed

(4) Sleeves
(a) Long, short, elbow length, cap, puff. or sleeveless styles are allowed
(b) Cannot be replaced by trimmings, frills, or edging on the shoulder line
(c) No "finger loops" allowed

(5) Materials
(a) Fabrics MUST be only one color throughout
(b) No glitter, metallic thread, or fabric creating 'light or pattern effects'
(c) No use of feathers, fringes, bows, belts, frills or sequins
(d) No flesh color fabric
(e) Any use of color coordinated 'see through' fabric must be lined from waist to shoulder; for use on arms no lining is needed

(6) Shoes
(a) Heel height not to exceed 1.5 inches, and must be block heel style if a dance shoe

(7) Other
(a) No use of arm bands, chokers or headbands
(b) No decoration is allowed on dress or in hair
(c) No jewelry is allowed
(d) No makeup allowed
(e) Use of fake eyelashes, fake fingernails, colored or glitter hairspray is forbidden
(f) Socks: White ankle socks or flesh colored pantyhose must be worn
(g) No fishnet tights
(h) Gathering or shirring on the bodice is not allowed.

The finished product:


I can't BELIEVE that I found it! The One That Got Away! It was in the garage in a box of miscellaneous "stuff". Here's what my copy looks like after 9+ years in the garage:
And the B-side of it is Ladies' Home Journal 1073, an unprinted pattern from the 30s:

These were two of the first vintage patterns I purchased after getting married in 2000. That would explain why they were in the box they were in. You can't imagine just HOW thrilled I am. You really can't. It's like finding your long lost love.

The playsuit I wore on Easter 2002 to our family gathering. I was 6 months pregnant at the time. I snagged the only pic I have of me wearing it from my cousin's facebook album:

You can't really see it's awesomeness in this tiny slice o' pic. One of these days, I'll manage to iron it and slap it on Hildegarde so you can see it in full. #WINNING

Incidentally, there's only ONE copy of that pattern available out in internet land that I can find and it's a whopping $58. It's Bust 34 and available at Heavens to Betsy Vintage. Not that I was frantically searching the interwebz for it to rebuy it or anything...

The one that got away...

I used to have this pattern. I made an awesome playsuit with it. But I didn't care for it properly and now it's gone. Can't find it anywhere. And I'd LOVE to make it again.
If anyone has a copy they'd like to part with, I'd be ever so grateful. I'd even just copy it and give it right back!


Not Barry, Robin & Maurice, although their hair and swagger are epic...

No, I'm talking about Willcox & Gibbs. I recently scanned the manual for my treadle machine and uploaded them to my website. If you want to see them, feel free to click the link to view or right click and save as... to have them forever.

Front & Back Covers
Inside Front Cover & Page 1
Pages 2 & 3
Pages 4 & 5
Pages 6 & 7
Pages 8 & 10
Pages 10 & 11
Pages 12 & 13
Pages 14 & 15
Pages 16 & 17
Pages 18 & 19
Pages 20 & 21
Pages 22 & 23
Pages 24 & 25
Pages 26 & 27
Pages 28 & 29
Pages 30 & 31
Pages 32 & 33
Pages 34 & 35
Page 36 & Inside Back Cover

Wash On Monday - A Day in the {Vintage} Life

Taking a page from the post over at Glamour Daze, I thought I'd compare/contrast my day in 2011 with Mrs. McWeeney's day in 1946. Bear in mind that my children are all school-aged, there are no nurselings in our house and no one comes home for lunch so there are going to be some fundamental differences from the get-go. That said, on with the show!
click image to embiggen
As you can see, her day is pretty full while mine is... not. Yet I always feel like I'm behind, behind, behind.

One thing Mrs. John McWeeney didn't have that I have is the internet and all the new-fangled things like fully automatic washing machines and dryers and dishwasher and so on. Or the internet! But she had an infant and those take a TON of work. Notice that "change the baby" was not listed on her side of the list. And she got a NAP!? I know for certain we don't do anywhere near as many dishes per week as she did.

Mondays around here are pretty hectic in the morning because I have to listen to the litany of "I HATE SCHOOL!11!" from the peanut gallery and they have to practically be dressed/shoved out the door. I usually make my kids' lunches and send them to school and my husband takes his lunch to work most days as well, so there's no "make lunch" for anybody but me. And that's usually a microwaveable something or other. If I remember to eat anything.

Today my husband is home sick, so the "routine" will change a little bit. I had to chuckle at the notion that Mrs. McWeeney makes beds. FIVE of them. We've got four beds and we're lucky if ANY of them get made regularly. Of my three children, my middle child is the one who makes her bed. The youngest doesn't have a top sheet, just a "fuzzy blankie", so his bed is generally pretty neat. And our bed isn't getting made because it's occupied.

Question of the day: Do YOU make your bed EVERY day? Do you have a truckload of toss pillows and other stuff on your bed? Or is it pretty plain?

A Day in the {Vintage} Life

Sometimes you get inspired in the strangest places. This musing was inspired while having a rare treat - a bubble bath. As the scent of Lemongrass and Green Tea soothed my frazzled nerves, I began to wonder... What was the housewife of days gone by's life *really* like. Not what we see on RetroTV or in black and white films. But REALLY.

How does her life intersect with ours in the 21st century? Did she have more or less spare time than we do? Was there a concept of "me time"? And if so, how did she spend that time?

Dear readers, this is a topic I've wanted to explore for quite some time. If you have any insights, please, please share them with me in the comments! I'm thinking of making this into somewhat of a regular feature.

My great grandmother had handtowels made of flour sacking that had the following embroidered on them accompanied by an illustration:

Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Market on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday

I find this blog to be very interesting as our home was built in 1921. It's a little window into what life might have been like in our little town during the same time period. Too bad the last entry is from July of last year. I'd like to have more to read.

This blog entry sums up a day in the life in 1946. I find it particularly interesting because we are a household of 5 also.

I dreamed a dream...

I have a dream...

Of one day owning a quaint little shoppe in our quaint little downtown area. I've even got a location all picked out. The pictures are courtesy of the Sanford Historic Trust.

I want the corner space on the right, bottom floor. It's got GREAT street visibility and is right next door to the Sanford Visitor's Center/Historic Trust. When I first moved to Sanford over a decade ago, this building caught my eye and it spoke to me. That's how these things normally start, right?

So more about my dream.

One thing this town needs desperately and doesn't have is a children's boutique. I remember going to "Nana's Kiddie Shoppe" or something similar when I was a little girl. It had fluffy dresses, pretty underthings, fancy shoes and hair dos and some toys, but not many. They sold suits for boys, too. The thing about Nana's was the QUALITY. Quality that you just don't find very often these days. And I can promise you that there isn't a store like that in our area unless you're willing to DRIVE. FAR.

So I want to fill that need. I think I became most aware of the "lack of" in this area when my oldest was a baby. I had to drive 40 minutes just to get a decent christening gown. And we won't even SPEAK of what passes for children's "fashion" over the last almost a decade. I have contented myself with shopping for my kids in three places: Target, The Children's Place and Justice with an occasional side trip to the Disney Store. And even then, I like the stuff I make best. So do my kids.

Which brings me full circle.

Imagine a working studio...

The front windows would have displays of things I've made in the past for us while an lcd monitor on the wall shows images of things I've made for others in a slideshow while gentle music wafts from the speakers mounted near the ceiling. In the front fourth of the space there will be a rack of some children's clothing I've made to sell. There will also be super comfy seating and a play area. To separate the work space from the "retail" space, there will be a wall that is only 4' high allowing a clear view through the work space to the front windows.

The remaining three fourths of the space would have all my machines, adequate work areas and a private consultation area. The walls would have shelves with racks of fabric and patterns and all manner of sewing stuff. It would be inspirational and functional. And MINE. ALL MINE.

A girl can dream can't she?

PS: I've already got a label name for my designs, but if I told you what it was I'd have to kill you...

Strictly Ballroom - The Dirt!

I made a few minor alterations to the muslin - how I love my Goodwill sheets for this! - before cutting into the "fashion" fabric. I can't say "fashion" with a straight face since seeing this:

Sexy mama, fashion girl...
OK, back on topic...

For some reason, the pattern for a 6 year old girl had bust darts. Which looked RIDONKULOUS. I mean, REALLY? SRSLY? Bust darts? for a little girl? So I had to ease the darts out. Miss Thing has a really defined waist and a narrow back, so I had to make basically turn the back into a princess seamed shape so it would fit properly. The shoulders were also a wee bit big, so those got moved a bit as well.

Other than that, it was a pretty straightforward process. I wanted sheer sleeves, but you try to match a 12 year old bolt of neon pink jersey knit to anything made nowadays. Right now, I've got some nylon chiffon on the line with some neon pink fabric paint that I sprayed on. Fingers are crossed that this works the way I want it to. It's a shot in the dark, but hey, I'm easy to please. If it looks close, I'm a happy lady. If not, no harm no foul.

Blast from the past!

Thanks to Peter over at Male Pattern Boldness (have I ever mentioned how much I ADORE that blog name???), I took the plunge and bought a new belt for my Willcox & Gibbs treadle machine from 'Aught Seven (1907ish).

Thanks to an online friend who is also a W&G owner, I joined the TreadleOn mailing list.

Here's the Facebook album. And a sneak peek:

Strictly Ballroom!

My middle child will be competing in her very first ballroom competition this summer. I couldn't be more thrilled and our mutual coach thinks she has a lot of promise. Add that promise to her determination to "go on So You Think You Can Dance, win and then go be a professional on Dancing With The Stars" and well... It was inevitable. Miss Thing just turned 7 a month ago yesterday and has been giving us that speech for the last two years at least.

In the past, children's costuming has been... a little over the top? But now the rules are extremely restrictive. So goes the pendulum, I guess. Here's a pictorial example of what's allowed:
Image from NDCA website
Since there are limits on what could be worn and how, I decided that going vintage was going to be our best bet for a costume. I'd be sure to get a decent amount of skirt width for sure! So I gave my middle child a choice of three vintage patterns and her choice was Simplicity 3243 from 1939. I haven't done a ton of 1930s sewing, so this will be fun to work with and will go towards the "Sewing Through The Decades" challenge as well.

She chose the middle one on the bottom row since the dress must be knee length. The only modification we're making is to not use any decorations at all. Another rule is that the costume must be made of ONE color. That's OK! Because I've got a bolt of neon/dayglow/electric pink/salmon knit jersey that looks a little like this:
It's Electric!
The monitor of course doesn't do it justice. It's a bit more peachy and when light hits it, it GLOWS. Which is always a good thing.

What it won't look like? The "Her Name Was Lola" look from Strictly Ballroom:

It's a piece of cake to make a pretty cake

If by "piece of cake" one means "takes three days AND some creativity to make sure that the pudding filling isn't too runny because you subbed coconut milk for moo juice."

I'm hoping that Lorenzo the Magnificent's 5th birthday cake doesn't end up looking like one of Jen's Cake Wrecks...

The plan is to make a rainbow half circle cake with a pot of gold at the end. Sound familiar? It might because Lorenzo is a St. Patrick's Day (and yes I spell it out because I'm like that) Baby.

Right now, the cake has been baked and one side has pudding on it waiting in the fridge for it to set (please please please!). I made the cake itself a rainbow by using just 3 colors of tint. Can you guess? That's right, kiddies, Red, Yellow & Blue. I took my handy dandy bamboo skewer thingies and made a circle in the batter with each color and then I blended the colors between the primary colors to make the whole rainbow. And guess what? It baked up FABulous.

After Mass tonight, I'm coming home and finishing up so that I can just enjoy tomorrow's party time. Yes, we delayed it... Don't ask. It involves a birthday dinner out and copious amounts of liquids and a bucket.

Housecleaning Haiku: Sewing

One project too many
Sew much to do, too little
Time, is ticking by

Beware The Ide(a)s of March!

Tomorrow is the Ides of March. Today is the first day after that ridiculous invention "Daylight Savings Time".

Let me just say that having it happen on a Sunday really blows. Do the Powers That Be have ANY idea how hard it is to get one's children up and out the door for school the day after the time change? UGH. I'd rather see it happen at 2AM on SATURDAY so that you've got an extra day or so to get used to it.

I'm appropriately jetlagged after the time change *and* the oak pollen infestation. And a marathon of "24" episodes. Whoever decided that shooting it with the jumpy camera style is on my hit list. Thank you for a migraine that WOULDN'T stop despite heavy doses of meds and caffeine. I'll find you. Just you wait. And you will pay. Only 16 episodes into Season 8 and I can safely say... Get a different plot line. Please. It's the 8th time Jack Bauer saves the world from terrorists. It's the 8th time there's a mole at CTU. It's the 8th time something BAD happens inside CTU. It's the 8th time there's a director of CTU that needs to grow a pair. Are we sensing a trend here folks? For Season 9 I want to see Jack Bauer blown to smithereens in a nuclear - that's NUKE-LEE-ER, Jack, not NUKE-YOU-LER - blast where there's no chance of him coming back, for Tartarus' sake. Even Herculers and Xena gave up the ghost after 6 seasons. Buy a clue. Quit while you're ahead.

Back to our regularly scheduled posting...

I participated in the Vintage Sewalong of 2011, and I've not finished my dress yet. I've got reasons, but no excuse. It's cut and pinned but not finished. Hopefully it will be finished by the end of Lent.

I participated in the MPB Men's Shirt Sewalong and finished 3 shirts(!) which is probably WHY I didn't finish my dress....... Who me? Obsess much?

I'm taking part in Sewing Through the Decades and I'm still up in the air on some of my projects. I'm hoping to get a grip on myself here pretty soon.

Is there any word on Project Runway? Any word at all? The blogosphere is strangely silent...

In other news, we repainted our bedroom and bought a new armoire for me. Will make a more thorough post on that, pinkie swear! It's totally cool. I need to sew new curtains - oh the agony of straight seams - before I can post the pix.

In the midst of the repaint/renov. of our room, a lot of stuff fell by the wayside... So I'm off to rectify that! See you later, folks!