Friday, December 31, 2010

new things.

Well. You are all such amazing well-wishers that this sweet little thing came home with me today:

And at a fantastic price. I was sort of incredulous the entire time I was signing the papers. It's so much fun to drive too! Almost makes up for the fact that I'll be making a car payment for a while (but not as long as I feared!) I seriously love it. It's such a "me" vehicle.

Another really fun new thing is this adorable bag my sister made me for Christmas:

Such cute colors and mixy prints! You know how I love red and turquoise.

Yesterday I really wanted to sew, but didn't have alot of energy. I decided to work (a bit early) on a New Year's resolution...bust the stash! I used up two pieces of matching cotton print that I have had for...well, let's just say a long time. I decided they would make adorable pillowcases:

Really easy to make pillowcases. Tear two rectangles (I used a ready-made pillowcase for the length and used the entire width of fabric). Next, tear 4 full-width strips for ruffles (3" wide). I seamed and then roll-hemmed the ruffle strips, gathered up by hand, and attached to the cases.

I forgot to do french seams, which is how I normally do a pillowcase, so the insides of these are stitched and serged. That's ok though, my pillows won't mind! I love the faux-patchwork fabric. I have about a bajillion other pieces suitable for pillowcases left.

Next up is the rest of my New Year's resolutions. Mostly sewing related, of course!

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I stumbled across a new site the other day and applied for an invite. It's called Pinterest.

It's sort of ingenious; A place to bookmark your favorite photos from all over the web, and organize them onto inspiration "boards". Then, you can tag them, make notes and comments, others can repin them to their boards...and Pinterest credits the image and links it back to the original site! Fabulous!

Here's a quick snapshot of a few of my boards (um, I think I have 8 or 9 now, but not all are "filled" yet. I just keep thinking of things to add and they won't go in the already created ones!)

Do any of you have a pinterest? I'd love to know so I can "follow" you! I've been meandering around in others' boards this week too, but mostly I've been trying to remember my favorite photos and projects on the web, so I can share them in one place!

All in all, a perfect Christmas vacay distraction.

I sort of needed it too. My car broke down last week, and what I originally hoped to be an inexpensive repair, turned into a likely very expensive repair, and then, finally into a NONREPAIRABLE repair. Yes, my car is D-E-D. I just paid it off in May, so it's only about 6 years old, 70K miles. Isn't that the most ridiculous thing you ever heard?

I'm pretty sad about it, not because I loved the car, but because now I have to buy a car. That puts a 3-5 year kink in my "life plan". And I was just beginning to see light and fluffy bunnies at the end of the tunnel.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Clothes for Girls, c. 1947

I bought this sweet little book on Etsy for $5 recently. This gem was written by Elizabeth Todd, Professor of Home Economics Education, University of Georgia.

It's actually a primer (textbook), for high school girls, on dressing well. It includes a wealth of information on wardrobe-planning and clothing care, and a few sewing projects too.

I love the wonderful period illustrations and photos!

There are a few pattern photos too, provided by Simplicity:

My absolute favorite part of the book is the wardrobe-planning section though. Here is a Fall/Winter wardrobe plan from the book, you can click all of these for a closer peek!

Here's one for Spring/Summer, with prices! The challenge was to spend $35 or less.

And this one must have been very glamorous and exciting for a 1940's era high school girl; it's the clothing budget for an employed girl in San Francisco, age 18-20!

In the planning section, this question is posed:

How can wise decisions and wise purchases be made?

The suggestions given by a mother of two were these:

A fundamental rule of many years is: Never buy any article of clothing just because it is pretty, a bargain, or because somebody else does. Give it these tests:
1. Is it needed?
2. Will it go with your other clothes?
3. Is it your type?
4. Is the material good?
5. Is the garment well styled?
6. What about the upkeep?

Still sound advice, nearly 70 years later! I don't know about all of you, but I would do well to tape this list up somewhere near the laptop for when those impulse shopping urges hit.

I've spent most of the afternoon reading the first several chapters of this book. It's so interesting how relevant the information is, although I could do better about practicing much of it.

Personally, one of my New Years Resolutions is to declutter and simplify my life. I, like so many Americans, have too much "stuff". I find the information in this little book is especially inspiring in light of that!

I hope you're having a fabulous week. I'm stalled on my HP Belle skirt, waiting on a trip to the store for buttons, alas. The upside is, that's sort of permission to go ahead and start one of those Burda magazine patterns, right?

Monday, December 27, 2010

vintage sewalong!

I've signed up for Joanne's ("Miss Muslin") Vintage Sewalong 2011!

You can click the link above to go to the sewalong blog, and there are instructions for sign up too. There are basically no rules. My kind of sewalong! Choose a pattern and fabric in January, sew it up in February.

I'm having a bit of dilemma trying to choose just one pattern though. So I'll probably sew as many as I want! (In my dreams, right? I've been so prolific sewing-wise lately and all.)

Here are my top contenders right this second though. First, a two-piece Simplicity (late 30s/early 40s?). I love the gathered shoulders and the very 1940s gored skirt.

A late 30s Hollywood pattern. This is probably my most favorite vintage pattern ever! I love the grey coat (top right) but that red dotty dress with rickrack trim is just SO me!

I don't often see alot of 1930s and 40s blouses in a print, so that's what makes this Hollywood pattern exciting. I love the boatneck top, but personally I can't wear that style (it's so cute in the illustration though!) No, I'm fond of the apple green print blouse with the bow:

Super chic suit with a bit different skirt than the pattern above, plus tailored top and gorgeous jacket:

Sweet, simple sundress with bolero jacket. Sadly, I can't put my hands on this pattern today so I'm wondering where the heck it has gotten off to! This looks like one of those easy to make/easy to wear pieces for spring & summer:

I just won this pattern earlier this month on ebay. I had to do a last minute bid to get it though! I LOVE the tied bow neckline and the button-on bodice! I haven't opened it yet to check, but I wonder if the buttons are decorative rather than functional. Either way, it's an adorable dress!

Another red dotty dress that I love. This one has a slimmer skirt than many of my patterns, and I love that turn-back, ruffled collar.

Last one for today. (I have a whole other box of patterns in the closet!) This one is a little unconventional, but I love it! I'm not sure how brave I am, as far as wearing these in public go, but I have had a lifelong love affair with overalls, so when I saw this pattern on ebay last fall, it had to be mine. (It wasn't cheap either. ALOT of people apparently have an overall love affair).

I actually think this would be cute with a skirt too.

That's it for my choices for now, mostly 30s and 40s era patterns. I haven't even thought about fabrics yet...that will depend on my final pattern I suppose.

So, are any of you joining us in the Vintage Sewalong? Have you chosen your pattern yet?

Friday, December 24, 2010

holy night.

Wherever you may find yourself on this most peaceful, joyous day,
I wish you love and happiness.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

January Burda

It's been so long since I loved an issue of Burda Style, I was beginning to doubt renewal of my subscription. And then came January! I love the following things. Alot.

Beautiful, vintage-esque garments like these:

These 2 coats may just cure me of my coat-sewing trepidation:

I think I have a Sandra Betzina tee that is similar to this one, but I like it nonetheless:
And the plus section doesn't disappoint either! Wonderful dress with interesting seaming:
FABULOUS high-waist pants. Now these are what I've been waiting for!!

The dress from before, as a top. Very cute. I can even see this in some of my cute cotton (gasp! quilting!) prints. It reminds me of an indie pattern that I can't place, maybe an Amy Butler top? Gaylen will probably know!

I can see a lot of tracing and cutting and (hopefully) sewing on my 2-week winter break! Yay! BS is back! Please don't let this issue be a fluke. (I don't think it is, I liked the February preview in the back too, especially that white dress.)

Oh, and to "JB", who left an interesting comment on the last post...I am so sorry for you, that you have never experienced the amazing thrill ride that is Lee "Apollo" Adama. Get thee a subscription to Netflix asap. Season 1 of Battlestar Galactica will most assuredly improve your disposition. As for the other things you had to say? If you're waiting for me to change my irrelevant ways and snap to your (or anyone else's) tune on my own blog, well, I just hope you brought snacks. 'Cause it might be a while before I find the inclination.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

bloggy people are, like, the best!

Seriously. Who else but a sewing geek would fussy cut you a Cylon snowflake?

To which, all I have to say is this:

So say we all.

(why is cigar-lighting Lee as hot as naked Lee? Something to ponder.
Better stare at both pictures a while longer, hmmm.)

This was my second bloggy friend surprise this week, the other one was also awesome and unexpected. I'd shop her into some half-nude photo op, but I google-imaged and John Simms pretty much keeps his clothes on.

Which is a shame.

You really gotta love the internetz.

Much love for ya people, much love.

Monday, December 20, 2010

i heart u giveaway WINNER!

Yay! It's #22:

And it's Faye of Faye's Sewing Adventure!!

Faye just finished a GORGEOUS Colette Lady Grey coat. I love her blog, she makes such beautiful garments.

Congratulations Faye! You have my email, so just send me your mailing address and I'll package your goodies right up, just in time for Christmas!

Thank you everyone for the very sweet comments about my blog. I haven't been sewing much this fall and I often think about the blog, and how I'm going to write a post with nothing concrete to show you! So your feedback was much appreciated and I'm glad that even inspiration posts are appreciated.

The good news is, I have a planning period (I'm a teacher for those of you who are new or aren't aware) in the spring! I've been teaching through my "plan" all fall, which has seriously cut into my free time at home. That's the main reason I haven't been sewing.

So the new semester should find me refreshed from a nice break, and with some extra time to sew during the week to boot!

Thank you again for playing! Have a great week!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

vintage notions - book review

Note: I've removed my original brief review of this book. I have had a chance to read the book and have things to add. Read below for my updated thoughts.

And...don't forget to comment on the I Heart You Giveaway! You have until midnight tonight!

I ran across this amazing book at my local fabric shop a few afternoons ago:

I was on my way home from an appointment and ran into the store on a lark. I am so glad I did! This charming book is packed full of fun, vintage information on everything from recipes to fashion and sewing. Perfect reading on a cold, wintry day.

A bit of an oddity... although her name features prominently on the cover, Amy Brickman did not write this book. She wrote a brief forward to each section. Everything else is a reprint from various newsletters sent out by the Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences in the 1920s.

The book is divided into sections by season. Each month includes a sewing pattern (diagrams and instructions only), and there are recipes scattered throughout as well. The rest of the "month" is filled with inspirational articles, reader's letters, and other goodies that were featured in the newsletters.

Here's the author's website: Amy Brickman. You can download sample pieces from the book there and read more about her experience researching and writing it.

If I had one tiny quibble, it's that Ms. Brickman claims to be "rescuing Mary Brooks Picken from obscurity" (I'm paraphrasing from her introduction in the book). I personally have been a fan of MBP for many, many years and I know there are hundreds of other vintage-loving seamstresses who are longtime fans too. Perhaps a better turn of phrase would have been "introducing Mary Brooks Picken to a new generation". After all, if she only found MBP in 2008, she's rather late to the game in the vintage sewing realm.

Oh all right, if I had two quibbles my second would be that Ms. Brickman wrote none of the content and yet receives top billing as "author". I think the book cover and back jacket are misleading as to the contents therein. Nowhere does it state that the entirety of the book is a reprint of vintage materials. The back cover states "This book features inspirational essays and projects..., seasonal recipes and decorating ideas, four storage pockets, Twelve Magic Patterns".

Having quibbled, I personally love Vintage Notions. It's a fabulous insight into life for women in the 1920s and is an enjoyable read. It's beautifully and thoughtfully put together and I consider it an amazing treasure. I highly recommend it!

And...might I suggest purchasing it from your local quilt or fabric shop? Yes, you could probably pay less at Amazon or with your Barnes & Nobel discount card, but let's choose instead to support our LQS!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

i heart u giveaway.

Have I mentioned that I really love all of you? No? Surely I've mentioned it.

I do! I heart you all at least <----------------------------> much.


In honor of the Christmas season, and to share my love of sewing, books and vintage-y patterns, I've put together a giveaway for you. My sewing blogging buddies.

First, a brand new copy of Sew Serendipity:

Fabulous skirts and jackets and dresses, oh my! This entire book is filled with yummy prints and easy patterns. Just the thing to thumb through with a hot cup of tea or cocoa on a snowy, winter day.

I'm also including this fabulous Hotpattern, the Metropolitan Tie Me Down Tops:

Can you get any classier than a tie-front top? I love this one for the vintage-y shoulder yoke shirring and the V-neckline.

I'll also include a few little surprises in the winner's box.

Here are the rules to play! 1) This giveaway is open to followers of my blog only. I love to meet new people too, but this gift is intended for the people who aren't just passing by to enter a giveaway. 2) Leave a comment by midnight on Sunday, December 19, and tell me one sewing project or technique you'd like to master in 2011.

That's it! I am very lucky in so many ways, but especially I feel lucky to have the chance to interact with all of you on a regular basis. If you all weren't out there, somewhere, I'd be bursting at the seams with sewing chatter and no one to share it with.

I'll use a random generator to pick our winning seamstress on Monday!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

peppermint dreams.

I'm recuperating from a 24-hour "sick" (ugh). Sadly, so is Shannon. We are so alike we got the same bug on the same day. It would be funny, except it totally wasn't.

I've only been upright 12 hours or so, but today did give me some quiet time to peruse my saved images folders for some holiday sewing inspiration. While watching Holiday Inn and White Christmas. I do love Bing Crosby.

Oh, that I lived in a technicolor world filled with lavish petticoats, pincurls and peppermint-inspired dresses like these:

(Most of these images were from favorite etsy sellers TimelessVixenVintage and CatBrooks1940s.)

Sigh...if I were much richer (and alas, much thinner) I would absolutely wear vintage red and white dresses the entire month of December.

And Bing Crosby would sing me to sleep, every night.