Tag Archives: patterns

oh-oh-oh! am sooo excited !!!! my swap parcel arrived!!!!!

Will be posting all my photos in a bit. Just had to get a quick notice up to say my Lovely Secret Swap Partner IS FROM THE U.K. ! ! ! ! !  I was sooo hoping, but didn’t dare to even think about it!

More in a tic…. Meanwhile, do click over to her brand new blog. Samantha has wonderful skills, lots of sewing experience, a great sense of humour, and lovely model-daughters.

Enjoy, whilst I fiddle with photos…

green buttons… what green buttons??

actually, this is the remnant of the remnant, which i'm keeping, just in case...
actually, this is the remnant of the remnant, which i’m keeping, just in case…

It all started with this wonderful remnant of greens from some time last year. I couldn’t resist it, and decided it needed to become a simple sleeveless tee-smock-dress-whatever would fit.  Then suddenly the weather turned cold, and sleeveless was the last thing on the To-Do list.

Enter current hot, humid summer. And this pattern, picked up on sale somewhere… a great simple design (as in won’t-need-much-fabric).

Last Saturday I got everything out and stood on my head trying to lay out the fabric evenly. Guess what? Those stripes come and go, and they are NOT a straight line.  I needed 2 folds, so the fabric had to be folded evenly on both sides, toward the middle, so they met in the center. Think about how a staple looks from the side – each end folded over toward the center. That’s what I needed to do.

Normally I’d just start flipping each side of the fabric toward the center and slide it around until I got the proportions and grain right.  Nice idea, but cotton knit is slightly fuzzy and likes to stick to itself.  grrrrrrrrr.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t measure twice and cut once, as the DIY shows say… there’s a reason why there’s “lovely detail”  at the bottom of this.

On the plus side was getting the serger switched from black to white thread, adjusting the loopers so they were more or less correct, and generally becoming intimately re-acquainted with my ancient machine.  Another reason for a slight lapse?  Maybe, but I’m sticking with “creative detail.”   🙂

is this alllllll???????
is this alllllll???????

Yesterday afternoon, tired of sewing more layers onto the bottom, I thought about adding a just-decorative button or two at the neck.  Then I poured over my button stash and came up with… only 4 mismatched green buttons?!  How could I have allowed that to happen? And I’ve got all this green fabric??

Ruminating about that and staring at the blouse patterns I hope to work on, I suddenly remembered a small needle-like gizmo that’s perfect for working serger ends into seams. With all the cutting & serging I’d done, the inside of this thing had a spider’s web of tails and that would neh-vah do!  That little process I’m sticking into a post all it’s own.

Laura's green buttons flying cross country to moi!
Laura’s green buttons flying cross country to moi! (photo from her etsy store – thank you!)

While engaged in that project I went back to thinking about how to get some good green buttons… quickly.  Obviously the shops hadn’t had much, or I’d already have them.  Enter etsy… and the wonderful world of online search machines & photos.

On the first page I found my green button stash… er, it’s beginning.  WitNWhimsy, owned by Laura Pytlik, had this great group of green buttons and I had to have them.  Great price – great location – great selection, and they’re in the mail as I type!

I also ordered a wonderful Anne Adams pattern, but more about that another day.  Remind me tomorrow to tell you about the other Saturday fiasco project…

complete except for button trim!
complete except for button trim!

i’m going to Rio next week ! ! !

20130708-132322

Well, not me actually, but my winter swap package will be, to Sewing for Me.  Whoo-hoo! ! !

Luckily, we both have the same colouring, so my fabrics will look good with her complexion.  I’ve checked Wikipedia and see the average temperature year round is low 70s (F), so the fabrics will be light & medium weight – more will fit into that box!

Wanna see what’s going?  Oh-no!  You’ll have to wait until it arrives in Rio, and read about it on her blog. 😉

Hee-hee! ! !

By then I should have her package, and we’ll both be posting!

Thanks again to wonderful  Dresses & Me for putting the swap together, just before going to U.K.

weekly photo challenge: nostalgic

Am a bit behind the weeks here, but hope you’ll forgive.  Considering this is being written by a person who loves sewing vintage & retro clothes, do you really wonder what nostalgic means to me ~ tee-hee !

Doing our usual – here and here are the definition(s) from our fav dictionary:

Nos*tal”gic, a. [Cf. F. nostalgique.] Of or pertaining to nostalgia; affected with nostalgia.

Being fair, not to mention thorough, we go to ~

Nos*tal”gi*a, n. [NL., fr. Gr. a return home + pain.] Homesickness; esp., a severe and sometimes fatal form of melancholia, due to homesickness.

Am I nostalgic for life in the 20s, 30s, or 40s? Nope. Wouldn’t ‘specially want to have lived then. How-E V E R . . .

The styles of fashion then are more feminine to my eye, far more practical, and actually fit real women.  Before I discovered my fabulous fabric store in California (and after it closed) I hardly sewed at all because the whole sewing world seemed to be moving somewhere I didn’t like, or want to go.

New, and often not very good (remember early polyester knits – YUCK!!!) fabrics were coming on the market, and the patterns started going into a strange sizing realm, with not a dart or princess seam for fitting. Making a pattern fit was like making a new one, and who needed that when pattern prices sky-rocketed?

Nostalgic?  You betcha ~ for patterns of the 60s and 70s, when I sewed almost everything I wore, from coats with interlining & bound buttonholes, to nightgowns ~ and they fit.

But my love/lust relationship with colour, fabric, and texture never left, so I was delighted to begin finding out about the huge world of vintage/retro sewing (see Decades of Style pattern above).

Not to mention all the independent pattern makers, who knew exactly what appealed to sewers like myself.  I am immensely grateful to them for keeping me sewing, and for keeping the concept of practical sizing and styles for real women in today’s world alive.

And guess what? Looking through July 2013 fashion mags at the hair dressers I saw countless NY & Paris designers’ Fall Seasons previewed. More & more they’re also getting the idea – vintage/retro ain’t nostalgic. It’s practical, and women want it!

PD/ Here’s the WordPress post.

2013 winter swap ~ yes, i do mean **now**

20130708-132322

Penny over at Dresses and Me ( in New Zealand) is hosting a winter swap. Southern Hemisphere seasons are opposite of Northern Hemisphere, so she really can say Winter.

Hurray!  Have seen other swaps and am amazed and more than slightly envious at how people view their partners, and was green with envy to participate. Hee-hee!

If you’re interested, and have a sewing blog (so your partner can see what you like) click onto Penny’s blog post and sign up right away – there is a time limit!

Kat at Modern Vintage Cupcakes also just posted an interview with Penny about her online store and her personal sewing likes – quite interesting!

Will be posting about my package as soon as it arrived, so stay tuned!

indie pattern update & a linty life lesson

thanks to Folkwear owner Kate Mathews for photo permission!
thanks to Folkwear owner Kate Mathews for photo permission!

Speaking of ease, it’s accidental that I’m using Folkwear’s Metro Middy Blouse as my indie pattern, but fortuitous because there’s so much ease in this style, and it’s easy to see.  If you look closely at the piccies on the left, you can see the fullness billowing at the hem lines.

After doing a loose-fitting with the pattern pieces, I decided to use slightly smaller sizing that I’d use for a pattern with less ease. Also shortened the sleeve length a tad. It’s hot & humid just now, which is nasty weather as far as I’m concerned, but have resisted my usual impulse to ‘chop sleeves off now’ by remembering this is to wear in air conditioning.

Am thinking about adding some edging embroidery with this, but can’t visualise details yet.  The pattern includes designs typical of the 20s, but I’m thinking of a different look. But that’s the last step, so onward!

Early one day last week I thought I’d spend an hour either zigzagging or serging the edges of the linen-cotton blend before I started sewing it, and sat down at the machines. Began with the zigzag… tried regular tension, then loosened it up. Still not too pleased, so went to the serger, without changing all threads (which is why some are black instead of white). Neater than the zigzag, I thought, despite mis-matched thread.  Proceeded to unwrap new cones of white thread, preparatory to threading. That’s when the trouble started.

There were loose threads sticking out of the bottom of one cone. No way could I have ripped them when taking off the wrapping. I was super extra special careful.  Rats. Serging temporarily not an option.

Being in the mood to do something, I went back to zigzagging edges, until I got to the small curved back neck facing. There, the machine started chewing instead of stitching.  After it did it several times I checked the bobbin, then decided to see if there were any stray threads stuck somewhere.

No threads.  Just gobs of lint, as in never seen so much this side of terry cloth.  AGH — panic stations!  This machine was just serviced!  What did I do???   After I calmed down, which took dark chocolate & leaving the scene of the crime to faff about a bit, I remembered all the lint that came off the fabric during the wash & dry cycle.  I’d laundered it a second time, I lost respect for the fabric… but also in my judgment, for thinking the fabric was ok to use. But there was also a teeny, niggly thought that I might not have cleaned the machine after my last project…

Finally, I decided to just go ahead and sew, thinking this would be an expensive & unplanned muslin (term for trial garment usually made out of inexpensive fabric for fitting purposes, not for wearing). Following Folkwear’s easy-to-read directions, the back & fronts came together quickly, as did gathering the sleeve tops & seams.

Then came the crucial moment: Before I could sew further, I needed to get shoulder & side seam edges finished in whichever method I was going to use. Postponing a decision, I reached for the iron to press those seams flat, and have a think.

I realized I hadn’t enjoyed working with the fabric after I started feeling I was ‘wasting’ my time with inferior fabric. After more thought, I realized finally admitted I’d made that entire Burda blouse, but hadn’t brushed the bobbin case before starting this project.  Uh-oh.  User error. wagging finger, apologies to fabric, hang head in shame.

pressed shell awaiting sleeves
pressed shell awaiting sleeves

The fabric did iron nicely, so am beginning to think better of this project.  It  also reminded  me of a RTW linen/cotton blouse I’ve had for years. That started out feeling heavy & slightly too fuzzy for hot weather wear.  After seasons of laundering, it’s just fine. Maybe I should start throwing this in with every wash load …

What do you think?!

a gathered sleeve awaits being sewn into blouse
a gathered sleeve pinned into arm hole awaits being sewn into blouse

indie pattern makers (IPMs) list .02

Just added under Resources!

  • newest alpha list of indie pattern makers & their web sites is below
  • list contains several previously unlisted IPMs
  • .03 list almost done; contains (1) country of origin; and, (2) any international shipping info available on web site (many times none)
  • as always, all additions/correx welcomed via comments!
  • as usual, updated versions published as appropriate

thanks to all you great bloggers ~ happy creative sewing!

02 MASTER-short list patterns

02 MASTER-short list patterns-A4

update – just added the A4 paper size to make life easier for everyone outside US-sizes    😉

updateResources page re-arranged;  miscellaneous stuff’s now at top

flash! karen’s etsy shop has patterns

this is Karen of Sew U Sew Me - she's NOT the clothes pin at the top of the page!
this is Karen of Sew U Sew Me – she’s NOT the clothes pin at the top of the page!

And they’re selling real quick, because her prices are great, she ships internationally and doesn’t charge an arm & a leg. If you’re in the market for craft, kids, or fashion patterns, from 1960s to current, click on over to Sew U Sew Me.

Happy shopping!

🙂