Monday, May 17, 2010


My next project will be utilizing one of the pieces I bought at Expo, this past Feb. If you recall (scroll down to previous posts, if you don't), I bought a fun linen print, of Paris Cafe scenes in teal, black, lime on natural linen.
Last night I pre-washed it in hot water, and machine-dried it, so as to incur all the shrinking it will do. Then I measured it.
I have 2 yd, 17 in of a 54 in wide fabric.
54 inches wide!?!
Who does that anymore?
Worse, I am hard-pressed to find a pattern in my collection that includes fabric yardages for 54 in fabric. Once, all patterns did.

Why don't pattern companies include yardages for widths of fabrics that mills still use???
And no, David, calculating the total square footage doesn't help. Not all problems in life are solved by a standard geometric principle.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Decades of Style -- hours to sew

I love vintage fashions, and my sweet husband bought this pattern for my most recent Birthday.
It is from the company: Decades of Style. ( This design is adapted from typical, feminine skirts of the 1930's -- this particular one is from 1936. Decades of Style pattern company faithfully recreates American women's fashions from each decade of the 20th Century. They do not, however, dictate vintage sewing techniques. I like that! The construction techniques detailed represent some of the best industry techniques, and tips I have ever seen. A couple of steps looked strange to me, as I read the instructions, but made perfect sense as I performed them. I shall purchase and sew up these patterns again!

The shaped seam is not accomplished with a typical 301 butterfly (right sides together, press open); but rather, the seam allowance on the RF is turned under and pressed, then lapped RS's up, over the LF and topstitiched. I finished the seam edges first with a 3-thread narrow overlock (have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE my Babylock!!!), and topstitched with one of the decorative stitches on Pfaffie (have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE my Pfaff??), using rayon embroidery thread.

I'll make this pattern again, but next time, I'll lengthen it about 4 inches. This time I used a lightweight, loosely woven linen; but I have a lovely warm brown wool tweed that I bought last summer at Pendleton, that will make this up nicely. I didn't line this one, perferring, instead to wear a Swiss batiste slip under it -- the wool will get lined with my usual favorite Bemberg rayon.

Although I didn't need to make any adjustments for fit (some days, you just get lucky), the designer has some wonderful advice about that. Allow me to quote: " This pattern conforms to a fictional standard size." Fictional. That about sums up standardized sizing.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Brody Bear Overalls

For Valentine's Day I made my grandson, Brody a pair of corduroy overalls with a little bear embroidered on the pocket; and coordinating long-sleeved T-shirt, on whose pocket I embroidered a heart, and into whose pocket I tucked a note that read, "Oma liebens Brody". He may not be able to read just yet, but I know he understands. I think they were adorable.

It is, of course, too hot now in South Texas for corduroy, so Brody needed new overalls. I had a great piece of blue chambray that I didn't disburse, so I cut it up into short overalls. I took the embroidery up a notch by combining an image with alphabet. 2 completely different programs on my machine that had intimidated me in February, but I was determined to conquer now. It turned out to be pitifully easy. I had to use the "edit" button. s*i*g*h

The facings are cut from a lovely vintage Battenburg Lace-edged linen table topper that I inherited from somewhere (I've had it a while). I cut off the Battenburg lace and saved it (look for it to grace the edge of a new blouse for me), and I hope to have enough linen left to get Brody a little shirt to go with his new overalls.

Check out the adorable wooden bear paw buttons. There's a little story behind that. I rarely (despite my recent disbursement) get rid of anything, so if a garment is otherwise unusable, but has great buttons, zipper, piece of lace, etc., it is saved. About 30 years ago, when we lived in Germany, I made a little jacket for James, Brody's father. A long, but fun tumble down a snowy, slushy hill resulted in tears and stains in the jacket that could not be remedied. 2 of the 4 wooden bear paw buttons were broken, but I managed to save the other two. Now James' son can wear them. Cute, huh???