I am literally sewing through my stash of unfinished projects right now. Last night I picked up something I'd cut out for Mia. I'd originally done it in another fabric, but that just didn't work. The previous fabric had been a rayon challis -- this fabric is a lightweight crepe du chine. I didn't hold out much hope that it would fit or be wanted by any of the girls. Mia had turned up her nose at the previous rayon version and said it didn't fit quite right. Fail.
So I finished this one up regardless and brought it out to Makaela. I couldn't believe it. She loved it! It looks great on her, too! Pleasant surprises all around -- so here's the pattern and the finished dress on her. Yet another reason to finish a project.
I actually made this pattern for myself to wear to a wedding in 1978.
But I am quite certain I never looked this good in it --
After a quick look through Google images, I was surprised to see just how popular this dress is! Makaela saw the pattern and immediately loved it. She and I thought initially it would be a good first project for her -- but that went by the wayside pretty quickly.
So I finished it for her. I will say this -- the closures are a pain to get lined up properly and hand sewn. I used 3 oversized snaps and 3 hooks & eyes in the front, and another hook & eye in the back. But the rest is a breeze. I lined the whole thing, and bound the hem in bias tape as well as the sides (which the pattern calls for). We also flared the skirt of the sheath, and were pleasantly surprised when it gave the skirt some oomph without having to have a petticoat.
It turned out beautifully. She is much happier about it than she appears in these photos!
I ran across this video from 1948. Very entertaining! I have to say, though, my home-ec class was never this detailed -- I mean, I learned to sew, but it was more like the peasant top she's wearing! Thank God for modern patterns and new techniques!
I'm currently working on a Vogue Vintage pattern. Almost done -- except that I want covered buttons and I only have 3 (need 6). There's some hand sewing with this, and I do hate hand sewing! But I think it will be worth it. It's part of working through my UFO's -- things I've had in my stash and just haven't taken time to finish. I'm committed on this one, though. I've heard Angela Kane say "always finish a project." Good advice.
This particular pattern says "average" for the sewing skills, but I think it's a little more advanced. If I make it again, I think I'll use a very light cotton, like a Liberty, with a soft hand. There are so many gathers in the skirt that even a quilting cotton is a bit heavy.
This is from the 1956-57 Original Design, and I believe Vogue still has it, although it's a clearance pattern at this point:
Speaking of patterns, I'm still organizing. Just when I thought I was done -- I ran across the 40+ that I got at our local Salvation Army. Sign.
Apparently I am obsessed with sewing patterns. I mean, I knew I had a lot of patterns, but good grief! I've been through 425 manila envelopes so far. I just got 200 more, which hopefully will be enough. I have 7 fat binders full of pattern envelopes and 3 big file drawers full.
I like this method (even though it's taking forever!) I have seen it a couple of times on blogs and videos. This is Mimi Goodwin's preferred method, and I think I saw Whitney do it as well. You take the actual pattern tissue and instruction sheets, and file them in a 6.5 x 9.5 manila envelope. Label it with the pattern company and the number, and then file it. Place the actual pattern envelope (the one with the pictures) into a page protector and put it in a binder. This way you can easily flip through the binder and find what you want, and then go to the file drawer and grab your pattern.
I did this sort of thing years ago, but a bit differently. I copied the front of each pattern and put it in a binder, then filed the actual pattern in a box. You could do the same thing these days by scanning the pattern and then printing. You'd use less space in the binder and probably wouldn't need a page protector for each one. You could also scan/copy both sides of the envelope -- but that's a lot of paper. I think I like the method I'm using better simply because I can pull the pattern envelope out and look at the back. This gives me yardage, recommended fabrics, etc.
If you don't have a billion patterns, you can always do what Whitney did and file the entire pattern, tissue and all, in a page protector in an envelope.
Anyway, here are some photos of the process. Wish me luck on the rest. I think I need another cup of coffee --
The binders Stragglers
The box I have yet to do
The amazing file cabinet built by my father-in-law
Four drawers full! Time to stop buying patterns already!
OK, all graduated, sewing room is finally set up, and I've already been in there stitching away! It is wonderful to get back to the thing that keeps me sane. I've been disappearing for days on end, coming out for only another glass of water or Diet Root Beer (my new obsession).
I'm also organising my patterns, and it is taking awhile. I've already been through almost 200 small manila envelopes, and I'm probably only half done. It's ok, though -- some people collect coins, others figurines, some fine china, and me, well, I collect patterns. I love going through and seeing them all. I have a dream of sewing through the lot of them, and either giving away what I make or selling each one on Etsy along with the pattern. We'll see if that ever happens -- it would likely take me the rest of my life to do it!
I've finished a simple shirt, a very cute sundress I had in my "to do" pile (from about 4 years ago), and I've cut out a pair of shorts for Makaela. I've hemmed a couple of skirts and currently I'm working on a Butterick pattern that Makaela was going to make . . .
How is it that I'm such an avid sewer and yet none of my girls have picked this up? You'd think out of five, I'd at least have one. I suppose it's easier these days when you can get Mama to do it. And I'm glad to -- I do love to sew!
Here is a wonderful, basic tutorial I found some time ago. I can't remember if I've posted it before. Even if I have, it's still great information about the way a sewing machine works. Enjoy!