Month: January 2016

George Jacket!

A friend of mine has a daughter named George. OK, it’s really Georgette but I doubt she will ever actually be called that by her parents. While browsing one of the vintage fabric groups I frequent I saw a posting for George Washington fabric – I assume in celebration the bicentennial in 1976. It was a small piece, barely 1 1/2 yards but I knew I had to buy it to make something for George.

george fabric

I had a stash pattern that I had planned to use but when I pulled it, I realized it was not the right size range. I planned on whatever I was sewing to be larger as George is growing fast and I wanted to be sure she would be able to wear her special outfit at least a couple of times. I chose Burda Kids 9456. The pattern calls for fleece only but it wasn’t too hard to swap to the lightweight denim. I simplified a bit. The jacket turned out super cute even though that pattern had odd instructions. I still don’t understand what I was supposed to do in step one. Couldn’t have been that important since I skipped it. It must be lost in terse German translation!

george coat

I’m really happy with the placement of the “Georges”. I didn’t have much fabric so there wasn’t a lot of play available in the layout. The sleeve George especially tickles me!

George’s mom loved the jacket and said I totally captured the 70s vibe! I think George will love it too, once she is told it has her name all over it — she just turned two!

 

Vintage Pledge 2016

Since it was so fruitful in 2015, I’m once again joining the Vintage Pledge for 2016.

For 2016 I pledge to do the following:

  • Sew five different vintage (not repro) patterns
  • Make one item from vintage fabric
  • Sew my vintage UFOs from 2015

Additionally, I’m going to try to focus on using stash fabric, although this is not a requirement of my pledge. Repro patterns won’t specifically count towards my pledge goals, but I will, of course, include them in my final tally.

I had a really good time with this last year. I’ve also seriously increased my vintage pattern stash. I guess it’s time to stop blogging and time to get sewing!

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If you are inspired, here’s the link to take the Vintage Pledge 2016.

Pattern Review: Linden Sweatshirt

I love to wear knits but I’m highly uncomfortable sewing with them. When I didn’t have a functional overlocker my reticence to work with knits made more sense. But now, why do knits give me the heebie jeebies? If I can make corsets and bustle dresses, really a knit shift should be within my technical reach. Last year I gave a 70s knit dress a try. It turned out ok, if large. It wasn’t super scary and I didn’t destroy really precious fabric. I decided one of my sewing goals for 2016 would be to experiment more knits and maybe to even get over my fear of them.

So my first big knit experiment of 2016 was with Grainline Studios Linden Sweatshirt. It seems to be a bit of an indie pattern superstar. I liked it because it has raglan sleeves and a short sleeve version that has a bit of a retro vibe. I got really lucky and found a piece of Liberty Linford Fleece at our local weirdo fabric outlet. $4 or 5 bucks for 1.5 yard (or so) of $35 a yard fabric. Yes, please! I had no idea what I would do with it at the time but I couldn’t pass it up. Since I didn’t have that much, I decided to use it to test this pattern. I had to buy some other fabric for the sleeves. After much local searching I finally found some navy sweatshirt fleece. It was crazy hard to find. Everything was polar fleece. Icky!

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The Grainline patterns are nicely put together and packaged. I made View B. The instructions were clear except for one part. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to stretch the neckband to fit or ease it. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to stretch it but that’s not what I did. It left me with a few little gathers but I covered them up with topstitching. It went together really quickly. It probably took me 2.5 hours total including cutting it out.

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While I’m pleased with how the Linden came out, and I wore it running errands today, there are some things I would change on the next make. First, generally, it’s too large. I’m not really sure how much smaller I would want to it or if I would feel differently if I was using a lighter, more drapey knit. The pattern assumes you will be using an overlocker so it only allows for a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Rather than cutting a smaller size, I think I would take a larger seam allowance. If that doesn’t get me the look I want, then I would go down a size. Second, I’d use a different topstitch / hem stitch. The zig zag I used looks a bit too homemade for my taste.

FullSizeRender.jpgOnce again, I was left with a decent sized, yet too small, piece of Liberty fabric. I decided to make a matching sweatshirt for my pup Uno because I’m that kind of goof! I used a free downloadable pattern from Mimi and Tara. They have several downloadable pdfs to cover a myriad of dog sizes. Being a dachshund, Uno is kind of tricky to fit. I opted for the size large which was the right length but too big. (A theme, I guess!) If I decide to make him another I’d probably download the medium and put the two sizes together.

IMG_9542I used my new Gingher appliqué scissors to trim down the hems. They worked great! I’m happy to have them in my arsenal.

IMG_9546Uno isn’t really a clothes pup but he does like a comfy sweater in the winter time. And now we match!

 

Two from the Weekend

When I was out for dinner over the weekend, a friend with highly developed taste and style commented that I need to document my costuming and sewing. I strive to do that, but I’m not always the best about posting it here.

I don’t know if my daily looks should be part of this documentation. As I had two, quite different, good looks over the weekend, I figured, why not add them to the archive?

While I like them both one outfit got a lot more compliments than the other. Can you guess which one?

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Left:

Dress – eShakti

Boots – Clarks

Earrings – thrifted

Right:

Dress – Sewn by me from a vintage pattern

Boots – Clarks / thrifted

Belt – Target

Scarf – Vintage

Glasses – Vintage from Brooklyn Flea Market (yes, they are prescription)

Cried so much his face was wet, then I knew he was not lying

I was reading Facebook in the bath, on my phone (yes I know), in the wee hours of January 11th.

January 10 2016 – David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief. —from David Bowie’s official Facebook page.

Just a few days earlier, David Bowie turned 69 and on the same day his new album Blackstar had dropped. My feed was full of praise from friends who had the album in hand on the day of release.

Several people were commenting that news of Bowie’s death was a terrible hoax. His page had been hacked. No reputable news source had confirmed his death. Some page even stated that it was confirmed a hoax.

It didn’t seem like it could be real, but about 30 minutes later, confirmation from the BBC, New York Times, etc. was online.

Previously, only two celebrity deaths had really affected me in any way: MCA from the Beastie Boys and somewhat coincidently (David Bowie changed his name to avoid confusion with), Davy Jones of The Monkees. I remember, on the some anniversary of MCA’s death, saying something along the lines of “MCA makes me very sad, but when David Bowie dies I will cry big, fat tears.” I didn’t realize those tears would come so soon.

I don’t know exactly when I discovered David Bowie. Certainly I was a fan of Let’s Dance, but  I know he was in my consciousness previous to that. I remember Duran Duran being guest VJs on MTV and playing the video for Ashes to Ashes. Duran Duran also covered Fame as a B-Side. While it was the right era, I somehow missed Labyrinth. I only saw that film last year! It was Changesbowie that really made me dive in. And Ziggy Stardust immediately after that. I remember how excited I was to see the Sound & Vision tour, especially because at the time Bowie was claiming he would never play all his old songs live ever again. While I don’t remember the show that well, I was far back in the pavilion at a large outdoor venue, I remember being transfixed and loving every second of it. I still have the shirt. I need to start wearing it again.

The music of David Bowie has always stayed with me. Some years I didn’t listen to him so much. Other years I would discover or rediscover one of his albums. When I finally got a record player again, I started acquiring Bowie albums on vinyl and hearing them anew. For the past few years I have probably listened to at least one Bowie song almost everyday and if I haven’t actually listened to him, the odds that his songs will just pop into my head are super strong.

David Bowie has been a huge influence on me visually. His powers as a performer, image maker and innovator make up as much of his iconography as his music. I’ve consciously referenced him in my Rococopunk and Wizardpunk. I’ve also considered doing some sort of David Bowie cosplay, recreating one of his iconic outfits.

It’s difficult for me to quantify how much David Bowie means to me or even what exactly he means. He just is and always will be. Even though it is the David Bowie of the fairly distant past that I most resonant with, the knowledge that he was still on the planet with us gave me comforting and happy making feelings.

After crying myself to sleep in the wee hours, I woke up in terrible pain. It turned out that I was having a particularly brutal kidney stone attack. Consequently, I spent the majority of the day in the emergency room vacillating between suffering tremendous pain and the heady, soothing yet unpleasant opioid effects of morphine and dilauid. In my haze my thoughts turned to David Bowie. He had, most likely, been in a similar state only a few day previous, knowing that it was his end, versus, what for me, was an episode that would pass. I hope he wasn’t looking up at a hospital ceiling like I was. I was waiting until my pain was soothed enough that I could go with my husband to my home, my bed and my dog. I don’t know what David Bowie would have been waiting for. I hope when it arrived it was what he hoped for and that he found it, painlessly and peacefully.

David Bowie, the man who fell to earth. A wizardpunk if there ever was one. 1947-2016.

 

 

First make of 2016

New year, new energy. Or maybe I was just getting itchy to make something. I had to put my sewing and machine away in preparation for Christmas. Man, did that make me antsy! Really, I’m still finishing things up from 2015 as my first sewing project of 2016 is a belated 2015 Christmas present.

After I had put everything away until after Christmas, Facebook reminded me that I made my uncle a hawaiian shirt as his gift for Christmas 2009.

hawaiian 2010

As I hadn’t actually yet managed to get Uncle Ronnie a 2015 present, I thought that maybe, after six years, it was time that I make him another shirt! Of course, Facebook reminded me this when it was basically impossible to do before the holiday. But Uncle Ronnie won’t mind too much, I think. Also, he’s not a social media guy, so I can still post this before I mail it off.

I used the same pattern for both shirts, Simplicity 3852. It’s not a particular difficult pattern although I always feel like the collar assembly is kind of wonky.

hawaiian 2016

The fabric is disco (I assume) Michael Miller. It’s actually a really lovely cotton. I’m tempted to see if the shop has more to stash away for a future dress.

I used some of my many sewing Christmas gifts including my Gingher spring loaded shears from my inlaws. And this tower of badassery, courtesy of Mom, provided me with the perfect shade of purplish-brown thread. thread

That’s 80 spools! Now I’ll always have some color close to whatever I’m sewing — even if I have to get more later. I love just giving it a spin. So decadent, yet useful!

Beyond the burst of sewing, I’ve been enjoying a stretch of quiet time with the dog and the husband. I get that a lot with the dog, with the husband not so much. We’ve kind of just been chilling like this…

bear head

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2015 Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge – Final Results

We’re just a mere 24 hours or so into 2016 so it’s time to do all the wrap ups from activities in 2015. I suppose a lot of people get on the ball and have this ready to go before the calendar turns but I actually tried to sneak one more pattern in under the 2015 wire by making a New Year’s Eve dress. I did the mock up and as it had issues and I had a great, never yet worn dress in the closet, that will be conquered in 2016.

My personal goal for the 2015 Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge was to sew five vintage patterns (for me personally, repros did not count, although I sewed those as well). Additionally, one of the patterns had to be made with vintage fabric. I’m proud to say that I ended up with completed projects from eight different vintage patterns and two repro patterns! While I didn’t exactly sew with vintage fabric quite as I had envisioned, I did use some fabric and trims of unknown age. I also made a skirt with vintage Christmas fabric, but I didn’t use a pattern to make it. I figure I came close enough though with this requirement to consider it fulfilled.

It was really fun to take this pledge and play with vintage patterns. I must say I’m quite obsessed with them now and regularly search etsy and eBay for more to add to my collection. I’m not particularly interested in doing serious grading work so I tend to look only for patterns that come close to my actual measurements. That makes things tougher but I’ve found that the size 22 1/2 from the 50s-60s seems to work quite well for me. I wish they still made the half size patterns “for a woman who is 5’2″ to 5’3″” I think it would make a lot of sewers’ lives much easier!

Take a look at my makes below. I’m quite happy with them. I even tried sewing with knits! I’m far from having that mastered but it’s on my list of things to keep exploring for 2016. I also plan on doing the pledge again!

1. Tentacular Robe. Vintage Simplicity 8510 from 1969

2. Jiffy Knit Tunic. Vintage Simplicity 5556 from 1973

3. Derpy Mouse Toy. Vintage Butterick 3419 from the 70s

4. Groovy Flannel Tunic (modeled by my mom, made from what was originally her pattern. I gave her this shirt. It fit her much better than it fit me). Vintage Simplicity 7446 from 1976

5. Zip Front Step-in Dress. Vintage Simplicity 6499 from 1966. I used a goodwill sheet for this.

6. Batman Fabric Dress. Vintage McCalls 3191 from ?. I believe this Batman fabric is “vintage” of some variety. My friend Megan bought it quite a while ago at a fabric store in Florida that was going out of business. Based on the color and the style of the Batman design it has to be at least as old as the 80s. This pattern was a real pain for me. I ended up putting a dirndl skirt on the bodice versus the one from the pattern. I wore the dress successfully at Dragoncon but the fit was really problematic.

7. Rockabilly Day Dress x2. Vintage Simplicity 1577 from 1956. I made this one twice. The first dress was the test and it came out basically perfect. No adjustments! That never happens. The 2nd version was my Christmas dress. I used vintage red scallop trim on the collar and pockets. This is my current favorite vintage pattern.

8. Pencil Skirt. Vintage Simplicity 4491 from 1953. I used this skirt for my Rockabilly Boy Wonder costume for DragonCon. The top is Simplicity Retro 1460.

I wore a variation of this outfit to a Halloween party. I think I look cuter in this photo also!

My other reprint makes were both Butterick Retro 5748 from 1960. I’ve sewn this dress three times now, twice in 2015. I made a version with “steamderp” cotton I found in the NYC garment district and vintage tan eyelet trim. I also made this dress for the Nancy Drew tea at Costume College in a blood splatter print. I don’t have a good image of that one but I do have a photo of the matching Clue game fascinator I made.

Finally, I made a skirt from vintage Christmas fabric. No pattern used and executed about 90 minutes before I wore it to see Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the Puppetry Arts Center. I only had two yards of the 36 wide border print so it’s not as full as I would prefer, but what can you do? Not bad considering.