Friday, December 28, 2007
Hi! If anyone ever looks on here, you'll notice that I'm not very faithful about posting here as often as I'd like to be. I have so much to do, just like you. "But I'm always trying to improve (my stack of self-help books keeps getting taller, but I do read them), so I give challenges to myself. Yesterday I decided to make a dress from a pattern I listed for sale on ebay in a 7 day auction. Well, I actually made it into my sewing room, cleared the table again, and got started. I can't tell you how good it felt to me to prep and cut out a pattern. I've always sewn, both for fun and professionally. It's just something that's in my blood, making stuff. I come from a long line of women that have sewn, knit, crocheted, beaded and just generally made stuff. So it felt like coming home to spend time in my favorite room! The dress is a Simplicity "simple-to-sew" pattern from either the late 50s or the early 60s. It reminds me of a dress that the daughter on the Munster's would have worn, so that probably dates it to the early 60s. No matter. I chose a green floral print that was popular in Ship and Shore blouses that I had on hand, and had enough since I needed to shorten the skirt. I'm only 5'4" so most things are too long unless I alter them. I've got to warn you that I'm not a notch cutter, but I cut them off and snip into the seam for the markings. I got the bodice put together last night. Now it confirms what I was thinking... I'm going to go back to Weight Watchers after the first of the year. It's been a very stressful year and I ate my way through it. I'd made my goal weight and loved being skinny for the first time in my life, but have gained back probably 25 pounds. It's gotta go! I highly recommend the Weight Watchers program to anyone. I lost my weight and didn't exercise hardly at all. This time I'll add some exercise and speed it up. Anyway, later today I'll probably finish the dress...there's just a zipper and some straight seams ahead. I'll post the finished picture here. Such fun!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Ok, its been a loooong time since I wrote here. For a while I was good about it and then I fell off the blogwagon. I've got good reasons and good excuses. Still working on organizing the taxes for this past year...almost done. Super yuck! I hate being late with them but it is what it is sometimes. I am doing much better about keeping up with our office work. Another thing that's pretty nifty is the kittens. We rescued 4 babies last month. One is chewing on my arm as I type right now. I'll get her picture if I can. Just a minute...OOPS, timed out. I'll try again later. They are so much fun to play with. We found a home for one with my sister, are keeping two, and still need to find a home for the little gray boy. But it won't hurt my feelings if we can't fine a home and have to keep him. That would put us at five cats, 2 dogs, and 5 chickens. Almost a farm! No room for cows or goats tho. Anyway, I've been busy around here. Just finished my sons Slythern (that doesn't look right and spell check doesn't help with it!) scarf. It's about 6 feet long, with 3" green and gray stripes. Just put the fringe on it last night. It does look good but the darn thing rolled. I blocked it too, but it didn't help. Looks good anyway and he likes it. My younger son wanted a scarf too, so I knitted him one. But I used a thicker yarn, bigger needles, and did a rib stitch for 5 feet. Boy, the Patons Rumor yarn is sweet to work with! Highly recommend it to anyone. Well, its getting late and I'm off to bed. The kitten just settled down so I hate to move. But she can sleep with Pete tonight. Maybe they all will!
PS, the picture loaded this time. That's Sadie the sweet, aka the White Devil!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Well, crap! Found the fabric, pressed it, prepped pattern...what, no skirt pieces??? S**t! I guess it must have been a great skirt and the original owner used it with another pattern. So, that's what I'll do too. But, of course I can't sell the pattern with missing pieces. And didn't I count the pattern before listing it? Sure thought so, but I had a grocery bag of patterns that I was counting pieces of and then scanning, so I guess one got past me. At least I sure hope it was only one. Well, off I go to ebay to end that auction, with apologies to any that were watching it. Can't be helped. And I refuse to be beaten on my sew day, so when I get home from dinner out with friends tonight, I'll get back onto my project du jour! The picture is the fabric that I chose. I thought I could add this to my previous post but it did't work out. Oh well.
Yes indeedy, I just gained another year. I wish I could say that I'm older but wiser. I'm working on that, though! Anyway, I decided that instead of scanning pictures and listing patterns for my good customers to purchase at my ebay store, I am going to sew a dress. I have the pattern listed already so I'm racing the clock. I think there's two days left, with no bids yet but a few watchers. Since it has already been used, there is no reason not to use it myself first. Also, my darlin' husband is out hunting this weekend and I have some 'un-dibsed' time for the next 24 hours. The pattern is from the 1950s, Simplicity #8447, for a size 38 bust. That should be a pretty close fit and I can alter the dress where I need more or less room. I've been really attracted to dresses with shaped necklines lately. The pattern has a coat to go with the dress but I don't really need one like that right now...last summer I found the most AWE-some vintage swing coat and kept it for myself. It should be perfect with this dress. SO, off I go downstairs now to see if I have a piece of fabric for this dress. I need around 3 yards of 45" wide for this, and the suggestions are cotton, linen, rayon, velvet or wool. Ok, the race is on. Wish me luck! I'll post pictures of the dress Sunday evening.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I'm not doing so well at keeping up this blog. But no-one has read it so it doesn't seem to matter at this time. I spend quite a bit of time working on my ebay store and sales...finding vintage patterns, tending and mending them, preping them for sale and then listing them, managing customers and finally shipping the patterns or whatever to their hopefully happy new owners. I like to think that I'm recycling fashion as well as being environmentally responsible. I really enjoy what I do, although finding sources for the patterns can be a challenge. But when I find a bunch of oldies it is so exciting! What I really like is finding patterns that wilI be used! I love the fashions from the past and like to think that I'm enabling sewers to add unique garments to their wardrobe. A person that can sew for themselves will never need to be a slave to the fashion industry. With imagination and a willingness to actually do something besides shop for ready to wear clothes, you can look exactly as you wish! My sister and I sold vintage clothing on ebay for a while and that was fun but I got tired of measuring things. At least with patterns all I need to do is count pattern pieces to be sure that all are still present and usable. I'm getting pretty good at refolding large pieces of tissue paper to fit back into small paper envelopes. Anyway, I found some pretty good patterns last week and have been working at listing them as I get them counted and scanned in. Scanning them gets a much better picture but takes much longer to do than using the digital camera. I've had a pretty good month sales-wise. My goal is to keep my power seller status now that I have it. That takes selling a lot of patterns! But if I keep my sales up, I can continue to work from home. And not need to find a part time job working for someone else. I've been self-employed for 8 years and am not ready to work for a 'boss'.
The name "RetroMonde" just came to me one day while I was driving, and I liked it. I was struggling with chosing a name for my business that conveyed the idea of vintage fashion. I liked the word 'Retro' so I got out my trusty Websters for some brainstorming. Retro meant backwards, and Monde is French for world of fashion. I liked the word, it made sense to me, and more importantly...no one had already claimed it as a domain name. If you've tried recently to register a domain name, you know exactly what I mean! Anyway, no one will probably ever 'get it' but I like it. Oh yeah, the 'E' is silent. It's pronounced 'Retro-mond'.
Friday, September 7, 2007
I love vintage patterns, that's pretty obvious. Old fabric, embroidery stuff, knitting and crochet books are the greatest! So when I get a chance to do it, I like to take a box of older patterns that have fallen on hard times and see what I can do with them. Yesterday I happened upon just such a box. Honestly, I don't understand how a pattern can get crammed back into an envelope like these were! Wadded is more like it! Yes, they were mostly wadded up, then crammed back into an envelope. No, not always the right envelope. Yipes, it was a mess. So I spent most of an evening watching cartoons with Victor while counting smushed tissue pieces and hopefully matching them up with their correct envelope. It was pretty tedious work. The best thing, tho, was that it was like a trip down memory lane for me...I sewed a lot of these same dresses back when I was first starting to sew. The 70s don't seem like vintage patterns to me. My mom didn't see anything special about 40s patterns either. A few years ago I probably wouldn't have bothered with patterns from this era but now I appreciate the styles again. A Betsy Johnson dress just had something special about it, I think. They were sweet dresses. Anyway, I ended up with quite a few patterns that were not all there. Not just missing a facing, but a lot of pieces were missing. Sadly a Jean Muir was missing several pieces, but I can't bear to toss the pattern yet. The next step is to take a dry iron and press the pieces and envelopes. That way I should be able to get everything together again in the envelope. This picture is my before photo. I won't get to that project for a few days. Busy weekend ahead.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Well, I counted pattern pieces last night until my eyes crossed. It's tedious work but worth it to be sure that the patterns are complete. It's heart breaking when one I like is missing pieces. Some aren't bad to replace like facings. If the instructions are gone I can often figure it out anyway. I wonder where all the parts do go? And why don't things get put away better? I like to imagine a lady finishing her project and having to rush off to the USO or some other worthwhile thing...not just saying "screw it, I don't feel like rounding up the facing and cuff pieces! I'll just throw those away next time I see them." I mean really! I'm not a neat freak but it's not that hard to gather up the parts and jam them into the envelope. And it's interesting to see what's in the envelopes sometimes. Usually it's stuff like newspaper clippings and receipts for the pattern and fabric . Sometimes there's fabric swatches, zippers and seam binding. It would be payback for all of the patterns with missing pieces, to someday find that a lady stashed money in the patterns. I guess I'm just a dreamer...that doesn't seem likely.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Yesterday I didn't post here. I went to sales, sorted embroidery transfers and just generally puttered around the house. Today the family went out boating up the Clackamas River. We took the dogs and our son in our little aluminum row boat, packed a picnic lunch and just had a great day. Spent several hours on the water while both my husband and son took turns rowing. (We have a motor but they both like to row!) I felt like a queen in her royal barge, with my dog in my lap. The osprey were flying overhead, little bitty fish were jumping and dragonflys were buzzing around. The river can be a heavenly peaceful place. We all needed the mini getaway. Now I'm home sitting drinking a fresh pot of decaf, the cat is on my lap and I think I'll count pattern pieces. I found some really nifty ones yesterday and am refreshed and ready to get back to work.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Today was shopping Friday. I love shopping for goodies. The problem is finding just what you need and leaving the grot behind. Thats a great word, grot. It's from a British tv show in the 70s, 'the fall and rise of reginald perrin'. Great show that no one has ever heard of. Anyway, this was a so-so day for shopping. But I spent part of it with my older son and went to a farm sale with my husband, so it was pretty good anyway. I found a few vintage transfer patterns which I don't need, but I almost never leave one behind. Paid too much, though. One is an awesome Anne Orr cutwork embroidery transfer that I'd never seen before. Another was a hodge-podge of mismatched transfer sheets in a Walker envelope. Walker or Betty Burton maybe. Great stuff! Also picked up a 1933 Monarch yarn book for womens fashions, including hats. I'm a sucker for hat patterns, too. I feel a hat binge coming on again. I also got an 1888 book, in terrible condition, with embroidery patterns and fashion plates. Pretty cool embroidery patterns. I'm planning to do a website where I sell reproductions of these super hard to find embroidery and fashion patterns. As an avid vintage pattern and transfer collector and user, I have some ideas of what I'd like to see as an embroiderer. We'll see if it will work. Anyway, I may head out and shop again tomorrow, or I may stay home and can. My cucumbers are on and the pears are falling like crazy so I'd better get on it.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I actually worked on a sewing project today for awhile. We had some mini quilts that were finished except for the tying off so that's what I did this afternoon. Sure felt good to have a sewing needle and thread in my hands again. Have you noticed that some needles just feel good? I like working with vintage steel. Does that sound funny? Almost sounds like swordsmanship! Anyway, I don't think that they make needles as good today as the vintage ones I find while out and about looking for the stuff that I collect, sell and use. I found an old wooden cigar box that was full of needles, snaps, hook and eyes and the rest of the assorted flotsam and jetsom that gets put into boxes at estate sales by non-sewers. This nifty box-full even had a plastic Fuller Brush letter opener. I can vaguely remember my mom mentioning that the Fuller Brush guy had come by when I was very little. Anyway, there were a ton of packages of old needles in the box. There were a couple of cool paper needle packages that I'll sell, and an old wool handmade needlecase with an assortment of different size and shaped needles. Some were big honkers. There was a triangular industrial-size needle that my son thought was cool, and some fabulous 2" long ones that were perfect for dragging pearl cotton through the quilt batting and fabric that I was working with. I guess I'm a notions geek. But the right tools sure make the job go better. And you just don't find them sitting on the shelves at Walmart or even Joannes Fabric. Don't get me started about fabric stores! The state of most fabric stores makes me angry and sad at the same time! But that's a rant for a different day. Today all's good with me since the quilts are mostly done. Here's a picture of my cat "helping". Not!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
This is a nifty length of heavy cotton border print fabric. I think it's from the 50s, but have no proof. One of the edges has been cut off, and someone began to make it into a pleated or gathered waist skirt...there's a metal zipper and a seam. I love the colors and the garden scene. Who doesn't like scarecrows? But I have such a problem using border prints. I don't have the waistline for a gathered waist skirt. And you only need a few pillowcases. So how do you use a print like this? I guess I just hate to waste the part that doesn't have the print. My frugal side says to find the perfect solution first, so pieces like this just sit in the box. I have 6 yards of a red 36" wide length with horses, 3 yards of a juvenile dancing bear print, a square dance print (just over a yard), and more probably lurking in the cabinet. I'll probably sell this piece on ebay soon so it's someone elses project, not mine anymore!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
It's been a busy summer so I have done little sewing...I'm still complaining about how much I work with fabric and patterns and how little I get to sew. But I've got bills to pay and creditors to calm so work before pleasure. Don't get me wrong. I love what I do. Working with vintage fabric, patterns, knitting and sewing books and all makes me feel connected to my grandmother, aunts and mom that all were excellent sewers. My mom made us school clothes, toys and even upholstered furniture. I bet that she'd have got a kick out of the internet and ebay. Anyway, I still feel like sewing something to wear. Maybe tomorrow I'll set aside an hour and get started on a project for fun, not work. No picture today.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Went shopping at the mall today with my sis. We had lunch at a mexi-mall restaurant. Good soup but what's up with no chips while we were waiting? Any good Mexican restaurant fills you up with chips and salsa while you kill time sipping the jumbo margarita. I think I just misspelled that but who cares?! I'd like one right now but am out of tequila. Anyway, we were on a quest...a cotton (not knit) nightgown and a simple black cardigan sweater. Seems simple but of course we left empty handed. When I go shopping I see dresses and tops and want to sew them for myself. Especially when I don't like what I do find and it is so damn expensive. 60 bucks for a nightgown? Out of cotton? I'm sure! So now I'm needing to make my own. I'm pretty sure I have something that will be perfect in my basement. Now I'm starting to stack projects. Better get to it. But the cardigan? I get bored working on a large project like that. By the time I'm to the second side of the front I'm planning how to do the cute little hat I have in mind and bye bye sweater. So my sis had better get her own needles out. Summer is almost here. Plenty of time for a project like that. I figured out the dress picture thing on my new laptop and here it is. Not on its side anymore. Just need some good sandals to go with it. Time for a trip to the mall.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
I finally did it. Figured out that I won't ever have time to sew, so I made time to sew today. So simple, huh? I'm pretty dedicated to the idea of seeing how long I can go without wearing jeans for a while, and I just don't have anything right now but a few jeans skirts. And I mean jeans skirts...remade a pair of jeans into a skirt. Went on rather a binge last year doing that for my shop. They are comfortable to wear but I don't think I'm exactly making a fashion statement in them. Actually, I got a pair of denim overalls at my favorite thrift store and intend to make a jumper using them for a work dress/skirt for gardening and tending the chickens. Anyway, I used the red bandana skull fabric and cut out and completed my first dress in ages. Ran into a sobering problem. Since closing my retail store under less than wonderful circumstances, I've managed to gain 10 pounds! I'm definitely a stress eater. So most of my patterns that I plan to use are for a 34" bust and a much smaller waist than I now have. I broke the rules because I'm a sort of lazy sewer, and did not do a muslin for this dress. I crossed my fingers, took smaller waist darts, did smaller side seams, and basicly got lucky that it fits! That was fun and encouraging. I know I won't have time to sew tomorrow but while the iron was hot I pressed the housedress fabric and pattern pieces. I'll get them cut out and ready for the next time I get an hour to work. It was really wonderful feeling being back in my sewing room. It is truely a mess, though. For the last several years I've pretty much stood at the door and thrown things inside. I've cleaned and rearranged a few times but not enough to make a difference. I'll post before pictures. That way maybe I'll be motivated to start working in one corner and work through the room. But if I'm cleaning I'm not sewing. That's why I'm not worrying about the mess. Focus on sewing...thats right. Well I got a good picture of the finished dress but it is rotated the wrong way and I can't fix it, so I'll use the picture of the pattern I used. It's a McCall's pattern dated 1964. I was 9 years old when this pattern was new! Cute pattern I'll use again. Found some fabric with black and white photos of the Three Stooges. Awesome! Nyk, nyk!
Thursday, May 24, 2007
I went shopping at Joanne Fabrics yesterday. Now, anyone who knows me will think that that was a ridiculous thing to do as my basement workroom is bursting at the seams with fabric. I've rarely said no to anyone that wanted to give me fabric, I shop for fabric online and anywhere else it is rumored to be lurking. Fabric shopping is my idea of a good time, anytime! And I love to sew but have not been doing much of that in the recent past. Back in the day, I sewed garments for a consignment store as well as did custom sewing. But lately I've been hankering to get down into my sewing room for some serious sew-time. I've been buying and selling patterns and fabric on ebay so much that it made me sad that I wasn't having any of the fun! All of those thoughts coincided with another line of thought I had. I've been doing guy stuff for so long, since I owned a skateboard shop, that I've got used to just throwing on jeans and tee shirts. That's okay but boring. Now that I work at home I got to thinking..."how long could I go without wearing pants?" Funny thought but intriguing. How will I work in the garden...clean the chicken pen...what about in the winter? All good questions, but as recently as 50 years ago women managed just fine without pants. Now don't get me wrong...there's nothing wrong with pants. It's just an oddball challenge I think I'm going to put myself through to see what it's like. So as I said, I went fabric shopping yesterday. All my fabric and nothing to sew. Ludicrous! But I wanted a carrot for motivation. And I don't like to waste my vintage goodies on experimenting. So I found fabric for two of my vintage dress patterns, both with pockets. You see, I use my jeans pockets alot and I can't go cold turkey, can I? The apron dress has huge pockets and the shift has pockets that will suffice for a cell phone and car keys. Both pieces were prewashed and hung outside to dry today. Tomorrow I'll cut out one. I'll have to sleep on which one goes first.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Well, anyway, I haven't done much sewing. We donated 2 packages of pet accessories to charity auctions last month so I got to design a pair of dog blankets to go with the collars we make for our web store. If I figure out linking, I'll do that soon.
I've been working on my ebay store a lot. Filling it up with the vintage sewing patterns that I have collected for years and am still finding weekly. It is still being worked on (in my spare time) but of course is open for business. Ditto for linking to it, too.
I've got to leave and get dog food for my hungry babys. Bye!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
OK, its been a month since my last post. That will never do. I can do this. God knows I sit at this computer enough. But maybe thats the problem You see, the computer is no where NEAR where I sew. I'm lucky enough to have a dedicated sewing room. Actually, I'm converting the entire basement to a studio to work in. But the closest I get to sewing is counting pieces of vintage patterns to make sure that they are complete before I list them on my ebay site. I opened a store there to make better use of my time. But now I spend my time stocking it. I've collected vintage sewing, knitting and crochet patterns for years, ok, decades, now. I have enough so selling some will not leave me wanting for patterns. Be sure to check it out if you can, but that's not what I'm writting about. How do you all find time or make time to live a busy life and manage to make time to treat yourself to what you really want to do? Maybe it's a matter of organization. I'm not organized. One article I read once said that messy people are often organized but not in a traditional way. I'm a stacker. Yes, I probably could find just what you are looking for in a stack of what-have-you. Usually. I'm still looking for the bathroom window curtain fabric in a stack in my sewing room. Anyway, maybe it's because I try to do too much. I have projects in many stages of completion. I do finish them. Usually, eventually. Anyway, I'm overwhelmed with what I have to do, need to do and want to do. If I find a solution I'll let you know what it is. In the mean time, here is one of my patterns I want to make. Soon. I like the short version shown in the upper left. If I get enough work done around the office this afternoon, I'll find a piece of fabric from my collection and cut it out tonight. Well, have a wonderful day.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Today I was trying to concentrate on creating a piece of jewelry for a pet. That's one of my businesses. I'm part-owner of XYZA, with a website named myxyza.com. I think I mentioned that in my previous post. Well, I went to work, which meant I had to clean and straighten up my work desk. Then when I had space to work I took out beads for what I was planning. Of course, you can never have too many beads and you never have the color you need on hand to do what you visualize. So I ended up online at my favorite bead store shopping. At least I started a shopping cart. But then I felt guilty for not doing any work-type work, so I decided that while I was online I'd do blog entries. As soon as I ease my guilty conscience I'll get back to work shopping. What a rough life I lead! Then after I shop I'll go back and see if I can complete a different necklace with the beads that I have. I'll have to start planning to take pictues as I complete things. It's more fun to see finished projects, isn't it? Off I go.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
So now I'm working at home in my husbands office while also selling on ebay and creating. Creating what
you may ask? Well, I'm not a purist, so I pretty much do what I want to do. Knitting, sewing garments
with vintage patterns, embroidery, beading (yeah, I'm an avid beader too). If it involves fabric or some form of thread, I'm there!
Last weekend I picked up a cute 50s blouse pattern. But it is a size too small and missing one piece.
Well, I sell patterns online, so I thought "big deal, its just one piece missing. Lets see which one it is". Took it out and noticed that the pieces aren't numbered. No, the pieces are printed; McCalls didn't see fit to number the pieces on this gem. Never noticed that before. I still haven't figured out what piece is gone, but I think I'm going to challenge myself to make it up. I'll post the pattern here, and when I'm done show the finished blouse.
Ok, I'll admit this is not a new idea. But it is a way to keep myself on track and not just drift off into an endless sea of old movies and cartoons while working at home. (I'm not a Springer or soaps person, right?) It's late...gotta go pet the cat and bead some more.