Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Liberated dressing ...

I have used this pattern before to make a bicycling suit , and decided to see if it wouldn't make up into a unlined warmer weather blouse for me as well .

I have a great paisley printed jacquard weave in perfect colors for a late teens garment , a 50/50 silk cotton lawn type fabric for the sleevea , cream cotton organdy and dainty all cotton laces for the trim .


So here I go , trying to capture the spirit of those wonderful old fashion illustrations ...
I have about a yard and a half of this old black cotton net to use as an overlay on the vestee front

I think it will look right with the cotton laces & cotton ogandy foundation

Now for the sleeves , semi sheer black cotton silk blend , I had originally followed the pattern and cut sleeves flounces from the cream organdy . No way I am using them , they look just like a cone collar from the vet after your pet has some medical procedure done !
So I drafted my own less extreme flared cuff from the paisley ...
and am much happier with this look and function
I wanted a faux vest look , so I opted to use a length of elastic to define the waistline across the back
Having an ample rear required I slash & face the center back to accomidate that feature
It looks pretty good & greatly improved how the back fit
And here it is with the collars I decided to make seperate and optional , since this requires the hair to be up and secured to wear , and anyone who knows me also knows how horrible I am at hair & make up tasks ! Ask anyone that was in the Dicken's show LOL

Just add a narrow Edwardian skirt and jaunty hat : )

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Under the Cover of Darkness ...

A few months back , toward the later part of 2012 , I agreed to help out with a Dicken's fest near by . I made grand promises of a new silk crape dress copied from an original , and to wear it in a vintage fashions show . Well ... guess how THAT worked out . Family hoopla & drama crowded out all the creative energy and any other energy I had in me , and no dress has been made . I ended up scrambling to let out - waaaay out - an older well worn dress of mine instead , but as guilt crept in , I resolved to at least stitch up a new parasol cover for one of the antique frames found about the house .
I picked the original cover and lining off , saving the best section to use as a pattern . I then decided to use silk crape backed with a 50% silk 50% cotton lining fabric , since the crape is so wonky & stretchy .
I also wanted to replicate the scalloped pinked edge , so I used a rotary pinker to cut the edges of the sections after they were backed .
The original edge cut next to one done on the new pinker below -
 The hand crank rotary pinker in use , still made exactly like they were over 100 years ago ! Sold by taxidermy supply stores , believe it or not .
Every antique parasol I have ever looked at closely , has been sewn with a chain stitch . I assume this is due to the flexible nature of that stitch being able to survive the stretching of the seams when the frame is opened . Being lazy still , I used my electric rather than treadle version of the Singer model 24 chainstitcher . It is a copy in mechanics of the Willcox & Gibbs machine , but takes a needle that is still readily available , unlike the W&G.
Unfortunately , the tiny gathering foot attachment is missing from my model 24 set , so I switch over to my little WWII era Singer blackside Featherweight , since the whole mourning thing seems to go with the blackside finish .
then back to the model 24 to stitch on the trim ...
and then sitting and hand sewing it to the frame in a gazillion different places ...
only to realize that I have cut the sections with too much curve on the sides and it is "baggy" . UGH !
Oh well .... it is still super cute all folded up & will do in a pinch to keep the sun out of my face since my toque style hat will do me no good for sure !
Now to scramble and make a petticoat since I left mine in AZ. last month , 3 days & counting ...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday Bustle ...

3 of the 6 grandkids along with 2 of the 3 sewing machines in the room ...
With so many victorian themed events popping up during Christmas & New Years , I thought I would share my bustle I make up for myself & others . It is based on antique hip-form bustle pads I have seen , and resembles in no way the couch-bolster pillows with ties that are seen being sold as bustle pads everywhere .
I start by cutting each one with the shape ( or lack there of ) of the person that will be wearing it . I free hand cut 3 elongated crescent shapes out of two layes of a fine cotton twill weave .
I make each layer by sandwiching high loft batting between fabric & serging the edge . Then I run a row of stitching aprox 1/2 inch from that edge to secure the batting.
I then pleat & secure the upper edge of each pad to get the contour I am needing for the dress & person wearing it .
 This lady is quite tall & thin with little curve at the hip or behind , so I bulked up the undermost layer :
I only attach the points to the waist tape , this makes for a cooler garment & less bulk where there tends to be layers of closings already .
Then I attach the 2nd layer in the same manner ;
and then the 3rd:
It is shown above on the front of my dress form to illustrate how the extra bulk underneith will help build up the rear .
Of course using one of the vintage machines makes for a better time sewing & is good for them to run & feel needed ; )
Plus the top-of-the-line Husqvarna Diamond beeps & stops & sends me hate mail on it's screen if I sew over pleated layers of tighly woven twill . "Main motor overload" , really ? Computers ...
Have a great time sewing this holiday season & ask for a vintage machine from Santa !

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vintage ( sort of ) Restyle for the front room ...

this is sort of sewing room and sort of repurposing vintage fabric , so what the heck here it is !

I had to relocate temporarily my sewing room to accomidate one of our son's growing family , so I had made these portieres for the doorway between the once formal dining - now sewing room & the living room . I lined the bold plaid silk with a crazy brilliant green embroidered taffeta so I could have something fun on my side of the curtains , so there is a decent amount of time & work in the darn things , too good to rip up . I am no longer use them as the kid's families have all settled in their own homes now ( knock on wood ) so I got the idea to use them to cover that awful futon you also see in the pic .

Here it is in all it's loveliness . Since I didn't want to tear up the original door curtains , I left them intact & then sewed them like a giant pillow case , using the antique chainstitch treadle you can see in the photo . That way I still have the option of taking it apart & still having the door curtains if we have need for a makeshift bedroom etc... downstairs . The chainstitch is such a great thing to have , just pick out the last stitch made & zzzziiiiiiippp - out the entire seam comes with one pull ! I had to use some scraps pieced together to get it big enough to fit the cushion , but I was able to get just enough .

here it is , needs more accessories than dog toys & the grandkid's toy pile though ...

yes that works , futons are so akward to sit in to me , too deep & at an angle , so pillows are a must .

So there it is , today's sewing project , as green as anyone could be . Reused the curtains & even stitched on a people powered machine !

Friday, June 22, 2012

The joy of vintage sewing machines ...

                                                                            * love *

Do you own one or have a collection of vintage and/or antique sewing machines ? Most people that sew frequently seem to attract interesting sewing machines magneticly , like this W&W that sews left to right rather than front to back & has a cabinet dated 1855 .

         Sometimes not so interesting or attractive ones too , like sad stray unwanted pets they come home with us . This nasty looking Featherweight was bought to use for parts but ended up being a project .

Here it is after an insane amount of time & effort , like sewing clothes , saving sewing machines is a labor of love & not the most practical way to get a machine !

                                                                             BUT - there are many jobs that an oldie can perform sooooo much better than even my Viking top of line machine can ,  like this 1915 Singer treadle powered chainstitch machine I use all the time . It is fantastic for any seam you may need to do more than once , like in a fitting , test muslin , first time using a pattern or piecing difficult fabrics like velvet . Just pick out the last stitch & zzzzzzzzzziiiip - just pull the seam out with no strain at all on your eyes , nerves or fabric ! Also makes a virtually impossible to break stretch stitch . Also not affected by power outages : )
                                                                 Sewing folds of high thread count weave goods like silk taffeta ? My new machine goes waaaaah I don't want to & beeps & says "motor overload" on it's snazzy touch screen                      
                                                                                    Grab a can of spinach & heft this 40 lb chunk of glorious turquoise iron up on the table & pound thread through anything that won't break the needle ! Plus the bonus of feeling like you are behind the wheel of a 57' Chevy while you sit in front of it .
speaking of aesthetics , could a machine get much better than this 1926 White SMCo ornate casting in antique bronze finish ?!    No wonder they couldn't keep up with Singer , the time it took to cast this much detail & create this finish *sigh* . Makes Singer's black tipped -over-eggtimer design look like the push-them-out-as-fast-as-you-can cost saver it was . I also have this casting in a fine crinkled black finish .                                            
      But wait - There is also a whole 'nuther bunch of goodies to go with these old forgotten beauties - tons of gadget attachments !  Oh the fun of it ! My oldest obscure one is my arrasene embroidery attachment , an embroidery technique that was popular in the 1880's and used mostly chenille type yarns .        I have a little collection of some of the old goods made in silk and dyed the most vivid colors , some were in the original wrappers
                                                                              here is a link to some info on this subject : http://www.victorian-embroidery-and-crafts.com/arrasene.html
Another was the chainstitch attachments that were used on rotary sewing machines like the White & Standard brands . There were single & two thread embroidery attachments that ratcheded a second thread around the needle thread to form interesting little loops
                                  but this is a whole posting unto itself !                                                          
 another great thing is that sometimes you find cute little ones in fun colors ,                                     cute + fun = appealing to young people !  a great thing to get them to sit down & learn a bit about sewing !                             
                                    and those crazy dials & levers !  get them hooked early !
                                                                                   Do you ever use a vintage machine over using your modern high tech one(s) ?   An old straight stitcher for perfect edge stitching , old ruffler attachment for trim ? A tiny free arm Featherweight 222k for sleeves or millinery ? If so post below !  Let's get these oldies out of the garage & back in use : )         

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Early Edwardian Style Dress for Summer

well I finally got around to finishing a dress I started last Fall ... well almost . I thought a lightweight sheer 1902-ish dress for October in AZ.  would be nice to have , but , well you know how sewing goes . So here it is now , just in time for Wyatt Earp Days in Tombstone over Memorial Day wekend .

Here are a couple inspiration pics :

OK , great dress with the big lace yoke & ruffles galore , cute on that young thing but not so much on this grandmother of six , so we need to tone down the fluff ....

OK , better , I think with a more mature palette and less lace this can work .
Now for a pattern . Being horribly cheap I like to make do with what is on hand , and this seemed close ...

Not my best idea , but too late now .

I had ordered a large amount of tiny cotton net edging lace , here I am attempting to use the narrow rolled hem foot while edge stitching the lace on in one operation . Miles of it . On bias cut ruffles . This is why the dress was abandoned for a while I think .

Then there was that yoke & collar ... pin tucked with rows of the edging lace applied with hemstitching ...

Only to try it on & hate the fit . Ugh .

So 3 more times through the machine altering the shoulder seams to get it acceptable .

BUT - now I don't like the front , the lower edge of the yoke looks too straight across & not as round as I had wanted . Double UGH .

   So ... I hand stitched a sparse old lace collar over the yoke to try & give it a more rounded line .....

Horrible photo , but you get the idea .

Someday I will make the ruched , pointed girdle for it out of cream silk , but for now , an antique ebroidered silk sash works fine .

Now , if someone can just help me do something with that HAIR !  I can't do anything but grow the stuff ...

Any help or suggestions will be appreciated !
Feel free to comment ...