30 April 2007

Pucci Mama

Lookie what I just got:

If I have never professed my love for eBay before, let me take a moment to do it now:

eBay, I love you

29 April 2007

SWAP Finale

The winners of the SWAP contest will be announced on SG tomorrow. With that in mind, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that has followed along with my SWAP progress over the last few months. I truly appreciate all the visitors and all the kind comments - it still amazes me that anyone is actually interested in my sewing. I started this blog as a journal for myself - as a way of keeping track of my sewing. I like having a record of my projects and my progress.

Over the next few months, I will be changing gears. I will be venturing away from formal wear and diving into spring/summer work and casual clothes. I have been making plans for the tons (literally) of lighter fabrics in my stash. I am still quite smitten with all my vintage patterns (and my modern patterns with vintage flavour), so much of what I sew will have a 50s/60s flair. So, stick around if you're interested.

As a goodbye to SWAP, I wanted to post a few last photos that didn't make the cut for the Timmel SWAP page:

24 April 2007


The SWAP collections are up for perusal. It is a record year - 31 SWAPs in total. Go check it out at Timmel Fabrics. The number of fabulous garments is awe-inspiring. Choosing just three favourites is going to be tough. I am very honoured to be included among so many talented women.

17 April 2007

SWAP Collage

Here is a collage of all my SWAP garments, 4 dresses, 2 jackets, 3 tops and 2 skirts:

I am pleased with how the whole thing came out. Now I just need some formal events to attend. Actually, Prom is on May 11th, so I will have a chance to test drive a new outfit then. I am still deciding on what to wear. I already wore the black eyelet dress to a formal school dance in February, so I won't repeat it for Prom. Any opinions?

15 April 2007

What Goes Around, Comes Around

I have been asked where I purchase my vintage patterns, so I thought I would provide a list of online sources. I also stalk antique stores and thrift stores (Salvation Army, Good Will, Value Village). As well, many of the large pattern companies (Vogue, Butterick and Simplicity) are re-releasing some of their retro patterns).

Each of these links takes you directly to the vendor's website, so if you want to came back here, either use the back button or open the link in a new window.
  1. eBay
  2. Lanetz Living
  3. Mom's Patterns
  4. Cemetarian
  5. Rusty Zipper
  6. The Cupid and the Swan
  7. Vintage Martini
  8. Paper Pursuits
  9. Patterns from the Past
  10. Grandma's House
  11. Decades of Style
  12. Fuzzy Lizzie
  13. Northbreeze
  14. Blue Gardenia
  15. Out of the Ashes
  16. So Vintage Patterns
  17. Eva Dress
  18. Mystique Vintage
  19. Woodland Farms Antiques
  20. Heavens to Betsy Vintage
These are the first places I look when I want a "new" old pattern. If anyone knows of any others, please leave a comment, I would love to add them to my list.

12 April 2007

Bead There, Done That - Part Three

Skirt: The skirt is a full circle skirt, cut in three sections - one large piece for the front and two pieces for the back, which allows for a back zipper. The skirt was lined/underlined using silk organza and my TNT method (see Construction section).

Since so much of the skirt has a hem on the bias, it was allowed to hang overnight. Although the dupioni remained stable, the organza underlining did droop a bit. The organza was then trimmed to match the length of the dupioni. To hem the skirt, I attached rayon seam binding around the entire bottom perimeter. With a skirt this full it is difficult to turn up a nice smooth hem because so much fabric must be eased in. One way to remedy this is through the application of the seam binding (or actual hem tape). Apply the binding along the hem edge (on the right side of the fabric) and be sure to pull it taut as you sew, leaving the fashion fabric relaxed. Place the fashion fabric against the feed dogs. The combination of the taut binding and the natural easing ability of the feed dogs against the fashion fabric will slightly gather the bottom edge of the hem. Thus, when the hem is turned up (1" in my case), the excess fabric has already been dealt with and a nice smooth, perfectly eased hem results. I also choose to trim away the excess fashion fabric from beneath the seam binding to reduce bulk and produce a clean edge (see photo at right).

As an afterthought, just before I began to hem, I decided to jazz up the bottom of the skirt a bit. The hem is sewn to the organza underlining to create an invisible hem. However, every 1.5", a small seed bead was tacked to the front of the hem (see photo at left). I like how it provides another subtle embellished element to this dress.

Project Photos:
Conclusion: With the completion of this dress, I am officially done my SWAP. Hallelujah! Now, I just need pictures and a write up to send to Julie by April 16th. Hopefully, the weather in my part of the world will cooperate. It seems like it has been rainy and cold forever and I want to take photos outside, as there are no good places inside to do them.

9 April 2007

SWAP 2007 - Tout Finis!

I am done! Finally. There were times I didn't think I'd make it. But, I did. Woo Hoo!!
For your viewing pleasure: my storyboard. This is where I collected my inspiration pictures, fabric swatches and patterns. This storyboard kept me inspired and on track.

I will post the last installment of the beaded dress as soon as I write up the entry and take some photos, so stay tuned.

8 April 2007

Bead There, Done That - Part 2

Bodice: The bodice has princess seams, on which I did a princess SBA (I will get a tutorial up about this SBA soon). The princess bodice has a twist - the front, side front piece and front sleeve pieces intersect each other to form a point, which is an interesting feature. This feature does require some very precise sewing however, to ensure that the point forms properly and lies on the chest nicely. Thank goodness for the muslin I made - I really helped to work out the kinks, so sewing of the bodice of this SWAP dress was a breeze.

Recall that the bodice fabric is a beaded and embroidered paisley printed silk. Silk...good, embroidery...good, paisley...good - beading...PITA! Anyone that has worked with beaded fabric knows that it can be a bit persnickety. Beaded fabric requires that all the beads be removed from the seamline, so that the needle will not hit them. It took me close to 1.5 hours simply to remove these beads, yet I still managed to break five needles on this project. I swear the beads grew back into place when I wasn't looking.

When the bodice was finally constructed and attached to the skirt, I realized that it wasn't quite right. The sewing looked great, but the bodice and the skirt fabrics were not as compatible colour-wise as they seemed in flat fabric form. The problem was that the skirt fabric is a dark, rich orange and most of the orange in the bodice was lighter in colour. The bodice, although covered in beads and embroidery seemed to fade into the background compared to the skirt. I mulled over what to do and finally, after rooting around in my notions stash, I found some lustrous dark orange embroidery yarn. I embroidered running stitches of this yarn around each of the paisley designs, which provided the dark orange accent the bodice needed.

The before and after shots of the bodice fabric can be seen above, with a close up of "extra embellished" fabric below.

After the invisible zipper was inserted, the bodice was lined with cotton batiste. I really like the batiste as lining for silk - it provides body to the silk, but keeps the garment cool and breathable.

Up Next: Skirt Construction and Project Photos

6 April 2007

Bead There, Done That

Pattern: Vogue 4209 (copyright date 1961)

Size: size 10 (bust 31", waist 24.5", hip 33")

Fabric: For the bodice - beaded and embroidered silk from Emma One Sock and for the skirt - orange silk dupioni from Fabric.com (this picture makes the dupioni look far more red than it is in real life - it actually perfectly matches some of the embroidery on the EOS silk).

As soon as I saw this dress at Vintageous, I knew I had to do a "knock-off" of it for my SWAP. I love the full skirt, the nipped-in, belted waist and the fitted bodice with small cap sleeves. I like the difference in texture and lustre between the bodice and skirt fabrics.

However, I knew I would look washed out in head to toe creamy white. When I saw the paisley beaded silk at EOS, I decided to make a dress based on the orange in this fabric.

Although the Vogue pattern I choose is not exactly shaped like the inspiration dress (although it is pretty darn close), I really liked the interesting lines. The points at the top of the front bodice intersecting the sleeves is such a nifty detail, rather more unique than the typical set in sleeve.

Up Next: Preparation and Construction of the Bodice

2 April 2007

Vogue 4209

Pattern: Vogue 4209 (copyright date 1961)

Size: size 10 (bust 31", waist 24.5", hip 33")

Fabric: Michael Miller Cocoa Funky Flowers from Wal Mart (I paid $1.97/metre for this - what a deal!!)

Project Photo
Comments: I bought some absolutely amazing ( and expensive fabric) from Emma One Sock for one of the dresses in my SWAP and I immediately thought of this Vogue pattern. To avoid disaster, I figured had I better make a muslin of this dress before cutting into the good EOS stuff. I'm glad I did. The pattern did not need alot of tweaking, but enough that I would not have been happy if I had just dived in with the good fabric. In the end, I found that I needed to remove some width across the chest and back, but everything alse fit nicely right out of the package.

The sleeve/bodice region was also a bit tricky to figure out at first, but after a bit of playing and testing, I finally worked the construction out. I am now quite content to cut into the SWAP fabric.

Conclusion: This is such a feminine dress with interesting lines. It is quite flattering on and I can't wait to get the SWAP version of this dress completed (I began construction yesterday). I hope to have the dress completed by mid to end of week.

1 April 2007

Spring - When A Young Woman's Fancy Turns to Thoughts of Flippy Skirts

This always happens to me this time of year. When the crocus and daffodil begin to bloom, my desire to sew spring and summer clothes blossoms right along with them. I am driven to purchase floaty cottons and airy linens in scrumptious colours and prints. I am compelled to daydream of kicky little skirts with matching tops, adorable sundresses, comfortable capris and city shorts. This year, of course, is no exception.

While at Fabricland the other day, I spotted these woven cotton fabrics - most of them are voile, which I love for warm weather - it is so light and it breathes so nicely. The prints will become skirts and the solids will become coordinating tops.

While browsing Wazoodle a few days later, I spotted these beautiful quilting cottons, also slated to become skirts.

I also need to make T-shirts and I just happen to have knits, that coordinate with the fabrics above, in my stash (imagine that - I guess having close to 650 m of fabric pays off sometimes **rolls eyes**). These fabrics are next on the docket after I finish SWAP sewing. I only have one more dress to complete and then I am done. Wish me luck!