Month: April 2016

Turned out so nice, I made it twice!


Since that Tiki Blouse from Simplicity Retro turned out so well, I decided to make it again. I quacked it out of another small piece of fabric — polka dotted duck lawn that I bought in Montmartre a couple of years ago. This fabric is lighter weight than the tiki fabric and was very nice to work with. I did some googling looking for other similar fabrics but what little I found was on French websites. I wonder if this is Japanese fabric made specifically for the French market? Hmmm.


I had to do some crazy folding to get the pieces to fit. Good thing the fabric was wider than 44 / 45″. I wonder if it was a metric standard?

I made the adjustments I considered after finishing the Tiki blouse. I cut the neckline and shoulders at a 20 instead of a 22. I also omitted the side zipper since it goes easily over my head. This blouse could look very nice with a peter pan collar instead of the keyhole and pussy bow. Perhaps an idea for the future.


With that complete, I moved on to sewing a mockup of vintage Simplicity 4777 from 1963. I’m a real sucker for raglan sleeves. I was able to buy several 1 to 1 1/2 yard cuts of Michael Miller Atomic fabric. A test of this pattern seemed like a good use for it.


I’m generally pleased with the bodice mockup, small details not withstanding. This is definitely another dress for a pointy bra — not surprising really, being from from 1963. I’m a bit concerned it could end up being a little frumpy. I’ll go ahead and finish this to find out.


A funny thing about that vintage Simplicity pattern

A common complaint about Big 4 repro patterns is that while they use the original pattern illustrations, the patterns themselves are often noticeably altered from their original release. This creates, at the very least, confusion when the finished garment ends up not looking like what was supposedly on offer.

Here’s a little discovery — not just repros that have this problem!

You may remember my last post about my adventures with Simplicity 3010 from 1959.


I pulled this pattern out last year intending to make a dress for Halloween. I found a really fun bat motif lace at Joann. I thought it would be super fun as an overlay. It was too late though. Halloween came and went and the lace went into the stash.

The illustration for View 1 is clearly drawn strapless with a lace overlay. But, as I discovered when I actually made this pattern, there are no pieces or instructions to actually make the dress as illustrated. There is a mention of using net or marquisette (The Dreamstress explains marquisette here) for the facings if you choose to make the dress from lace but that’s it. There is nothing about lining the bodice in the manner illustrated or attaching an overlay skirt. The fact that View 1 is shown without pockets probably has to do with it being impractical for a dress overlay. I suppose perhaps it was assumed that a 1959 sewist would just know how to get this done? I can’t see that a 1959 lady was going to wear a lace dress without a lining. It boggles a bit.

I have my own ideas on how I would recreate that illustration. I’d flatline the lace before putting in the darts. I wouldn’t make it strapless either so I could wear a regular bra. It’s a really cute drawing but it doesn’t make sense. The architecture to support a strapless style bodice isn’t present in the pattern. Tsk tsk Simplicity!

Two dresses from 1959’s Simplicity 3010

Behold, the first official make of the “sew five different vintage (not repro) patterns” part of my Vintage Pledge, an Easter Dress from Simplicity 3010, circa 1959.


I found this amazing Japanese fabric from the Joli Pomme collection for $7 a yard last year. Super score! A dress to wear for Easter dinner seemed like the perfect thing!


I thought the scallops would compliment the round and glitter dots. Also, that the pattern was just a little bit fussy to match the fancy rabbits and friends in all their bonnets.

I have been loving working with vintage half sized patterns. They are scaled for short busty women like me. Sadly though, this pattern is straight sized. On the first mockup, the bodice had all the typical problems that I tend to have with modern patterns — too big / wide at the shoulder, neck and above the bust. I briefly considered trying to adjust the 3010 bodice but then I decided to make my life easier and I frankenpatterned.

My current favorite vintage pattern, Simplicity 1577, also has a kimono sleeve bodice. I have this pattern in a half size and the fit is excellent. I opted to trace 1577 and modify it with the neckline of 3010. I changed the double waist darts of 1577 to the single waist dart of 3010. I also made small changes to the neckline facings to work with the slightly different shoulder of 1577.

I did a second bodice mockup based on “my creation”. Heh. Even though I was planning on the neckline from view 2, I did the mockup with view 1. I figured it would be faster to sew. That logic was a little faulty since I didn’t plan on actually finishing the neckline on the mockup.


Not only did the 2nd mock fit, but the fabric folding gods must have been with me because my motifs were perfectly placed on both the front and back pieces. While I really liked this fabric, I opted to use it for a mockup because I didn’t have a ton of it.

With that mischief managed, it was on with the Easter dress!

Because of the neckline, I was forced to use the dreaded facings. Trimming those scallops so close to get them to turn properly really made me nervous.  Those scallops need more starch!


The hand of the Joli Pomme fabric is really lovely. I think it can be over handled however. The bodice ended up being a little big when I was finally done with it. I may have pulled the fabric a bit much when ironing and wrangling the scallops into place. I assume once it is washed that will change or I can take in in a bit. I used all the original skirt and pocket pieces from 3010. The pockets want to collapse a bit but the scallop detail is so cute.


(You might recognize this bathroom from my Tiki Blouse selfie)

Since my vase mockup was so spot on and featured the view 1 neckline, I decided to go ahead and finish it. I used Kona cotton in a kind of a funny gray with an almost green tint. Honestly, it’s kind of a weird color but it was by far the best match to the swatch.


I’m a little wrinkly, but here I am in the completed view 1. I did a 3 inch turn up on the hem. It came out kind of lumpy so I’m going to trim it down and do a standard roll. I fully lined my pockets too.

This dress seemed perfect to wear during the grand re-opening of the Currey & Company showroom in High Point, NC. Currey & Company just completed a 4,400 foot expansion and total remodel of their showroom. It’s gorgeous and has been a huge project. So proud of everyone and glad I was able to be a part of the celebration.


So I’ve been reading…

I’ve been making it a priority to read more books. I’d really let my reading slack off for several years. I was either busy sewing, knitting or noodling around on the internet. Also, the transition from reading physical books to ebooks was happening at my house. I’d often read books that had already been read and were lying around. With less new books lying around, I’ve had less at hand to read.

My goal is just to read more than I was. I don’t care about lofty quality or literary heritage but if some classic struck my fancy, all the better. Comic books and graphic novels also fill the bill. I don’t have the patience to follow something one issue at a time but anthologies are fine by me.

Here’s what I’ve read recently. I’m not going to go into details about the plots. You can look all that up yourself. No spoilers to make you worry either!

The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

I really liked the concept behind this book. It had an intriguing premise and I was genuinely interested in unravelling the book’s mystery, if a little annoyed sometimes at how it was written. Ultimately, it was kind of unfulfilling and the ending was a bit lackluster. I could see the possibility of a sequel as the ending revelation was one of the most interesting parts of book. Mildly diverting.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I really expected to love this book. I really expected to at least like this book. I really didn’t. It reads fast and has its moments. The photographs are a nice touch but as a bunch of prose is spent on describing them, it seems a little pointless. Also, the central romance was kind of gross. I feel like so much of this story is a retread and recast of Harry Potter, Twilight, Divergent, etc. aka any story with a “special” outsider. Also, at times, it’s just badly written. Apparently there are two sequels which I won’t be reading. I know people loved this book soooo much but it didn’t do it for me at all.

Stills and a trailer from the upcoming Tim Burton film adaptation have just surfaced. I might see the film because the art direction and Eva Green as Miss Peregrine look awesome. I hope they improve on the book.


Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

This book had been sitting on my shelf for a really long time. I picked it up from one of those tables at Barnes and Noble or maybe even Borders (RIP). The only other Margaret Atwood I’ve read is The Handmaid’s Tale, which was also excellent even though it scared (and continues to scare, considering the state of the USA) me. Oryx and Crake is great. Atwood is a masterful writer and she captures emotion and sense of place so well. Oryx and Crake also deals with dystopia and the aftermath of worldwide calamity but in a much different way and setting than The Handmaid’s Tale. I liked all the characters and could empathize with each of them in certain ways. I found the ending of the book unsatisfying though. Luckily, as I was looking up links for this post, I discovered that the book is the first of a trilogy. As far as I can tell, I might get my satisfaction by reading the other books, The Year of The Flood and MaddAddamCool with me.

The Sandman Anthologies

I never read Neil Gaiman’s seminal series at the time of publication. Currently, I’m on Volume 6, Fables and Reflections. I’ve been educated about Emperor Norton. I only knew him as a record label. While I am enjoying reading the anthologies, I certainly have enjoyed some more than others. I can’t put my finger on exactly why but finally reading Sandman is simultaneously giving me the impression that it’s both as great as its reputation and that it wasn’t a big deal that I ignored it the first go round. I don’t know??? Planning on finishing the run eventually.

So what’s next, you ask? On a Pale Horse by Piers AnthonyI never read the Incarnations of Immortality as a teen. Instead I read the somewhat terrible but in an awesome way Bio of a Space Tyrant. I’ll have to see how I fare with On a Pale Horse before I decide to read the rest of the series. I was working on re-reading Bio of a Space Tyrant and I just don’t know if I can manage to re-read all of those even for the nostalgic entertainment value. I also have the first volume of SagaFriends with disparate taste have all praised Saga so I figured I’d give it a shot.