Thursday, July 16, 2009

Finally back to work!

No, not in a job-job. But in my own work at home job... I'm still selling vintage sewing patterns on eBay and Specialist Auctions. And I'm back at work on my website. I'm building a business website for people that want to learn how to work for themselves from home. When I have a little more to show, I'll link to it from here.

This blog is still about sewing and creating things. I've been playing with beads and wire again... & trying my hand a chainmaille. Boy, it's a lot harder than it looks! After an hour, I had a complete jumble of jump rings sitting in a clump on the table. Nothing "noble knight" looking to be sure. That's probably because I had the wrong gauge wire wrapped around the wrong size mandrel. Yeah, I talk technical now, don't I?

According to my book, I need to learn to use pi. What? Math? Me? We'll see about that. At least I can use a calculator. Wish me luck!

Anyway, it's hot today here in Portland, Oregon. To stay out of the heat I went into my studio in the basement. My work table was under a layer of stuff so I stirred it around a bit and found all kinds of things that I'd lost.

After that, I decided to take a stab at sewing a sleeveless shirt with an Asian-vibe. Since I gained weight my favorite vintage things don't fit, dammit! Now I have to lose weight again, but that takes time and I need something decent to wear.

So I decided to try a Palmer & Plesch (sorry if I miss-spelled a name) pattern. I'd never used one before. The instructions were like a mini-sewing & fitting class. Excellent but dense, and of course I didn't take time to follow them. Oh no. The top wasn't very fitted so why bother, I thought.

Well, you guessed it... it doesn't fit right. Or is it that I don't look like I pictured in it? Either/or... whatever, I'm not wild about it. I might try it again but maybe had better try to fit it to my measurements. And lose weight.

All I want it to fit a vintage 38" bust at this point. I'm a size beyond it, but have some wonderful patterns in a vintage size 18 that I've set aside for myself. When I get a chance I'll post a few pictures here. Maybe that will keep me motivated to eat less and exercise more.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Too-Dotty Apron?

Lately I've been wanting a new apron with good pockets to carry stuff in. What I want is someplace to keep my cell phone in when I'm at home. We got rid of our land-line last month and I'm not used to hauling my phone from room to room all day long... I set it down and forget to take it with me when I go somewhere else. I have an iphone and it's just a little too big to fit in my jeans pockets comfortably. (And it looks like I'm carrying a small book around in my pocket.) Since I sew, I'm on a personal quest to find the perfect apron pattern. Last summer I bought two old 60s or 70s Merimeko apron patterns, and have been wanting to give one a try. When I found a few yards of navy and white polka dot sailcloth at an estate sale a month ago, I knew I had to use it for an apron. I think polka dots are so cheerful, and lately I can use all the cheer I can get! Now in hind-sight, I think I over-did the polka dots! The apron almost makes my eyes water when I see myself in a mirror...oops! But the pocket works just great for my phone, like I wanted. I wore when working in the yard today, before I took this picture with my camera using the timer.

The pattern was printed on an absolutely jumbo piece of heavy paper, and was meant to be traced onto some other paper before using. That's the sort of tedious stuff I don't like to do. I taped a bunch of tissue paper sheets together and copied the pattern onto them. The pattern is a size s-m, but there's no measurements given. Just to be safe, I added an inch at the center front fold when I cut the fabric out. Really, the tracing was the hardest part of making this pattern. The instructions were very vague, but it was really easy to sew. I'm lazy (or smart?) and cheated a little bit. Instead of using bias tape to finish the edges, I used my serger to finish the edges, and then turned them under and top stitched them. That worked great. There's a single big pocket in front. I'll find out tomorrow if it's a good pocket for my phone or if I need to add another pocket somewhere else. I think this pattern is a keeper, but next time I'll make it shorter. The biggest problem with this pattern is that it's all cut in one piece, so my 36" wide vintage fabric will need to be pieced together if I want to use it. I'll probably stick with modern fabric that's at least 45" wide for this one.

This past weekend I went shopping at an antique mall in Lincoln City, and found a cute vintage Advance apron pattern in a large size. It's from the 1940s, and has several styles, including one with a heart-shaped bodice... it's too cute! But the pattern is unprinted and I'm intimidated by patterns without writing or markings on the tissues. I'll give it a try anyway, but that's a sewing story for a different day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today was a good day. I finally made time to get to work on that dress I had planned since the first of the year. I had brought the fabric upstairs after I pre-washed it, and set it on the piano so I looked at it at every meal. Today I decided "Why not start that dress?" Whenever I get a chance to sew, I remember just how much I enjoy doing it. Yes, it's sort of tedious too, but in a good way. Maybe painstaking is a better word than tedious. It seems to take longer to do things than I remember them taking, but I haven't done bindings and darts in ages. My serger is not working the way it should... the poor old girl wants a new foot pedal. I'll be sewing an epic seam or hem, and it just starts to slow down, then stops completely. It will start again after it sits for a while but by then my sewing time has gone away again. Anyway, I decided to just sew the side seams and use the old pinking shears on the edge. That felt like cheating. I'm sort of obsessive about seams, so that was a huge concession for me. I decided that no one else will ever see the messy seam, and if someone does see my thread-balls, too bad. It's not a contest, after all. All that's left to do now is the cuffs, the hand sewing (unless I just do it by machine) the hem and buttons and button holes. Unless I get lucky, the buttons will probably require a trip out to the store. Why is it that with all the boxes, tins, and cards of buttons I have in my sewing room, I'll probably not have the 6 matching buttons I need for the dress? That mystery is probably related to the missing sock mystery but I'm not sure how.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year Again!!

Well, 2009 is off to a great start! I've made 2 pattern sales on a site other than ebay, and I went to a sale today, and found dress patterns in the size I wear. Both of those things make me happy, happy, happy because I really love vintage patterns. I love to hunt for and find them, especially in my size, because I love to sew with them. And to top it off, I found the shirtdress pattern that I've been looking for, in the right size. I also found some fabric that I'll use to make the dress. Lately I've been so into the color orange. But it's not a color that I can wear well. The fabric I found was black cotton with orange, yellow and white squiggly lines that has a sort-of mid-century vibe. That's just what I was looking for! I'm going to give the dress a try this week. It looks easy... a simple pullover shirt-dress with 3/4 length or short sleeves. I hope it's ok in this size. Vintage sizes are different, as is the ease/fit. The last dress I made I still haven't been able to wear but it was a wiggle-style dress. Shame on me for not losing the little bit of weight that I said I'd lose. Oh well. Wish me sewing and fitting luck!