Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pattern Finds

Recently, I did something that I probably shouldn't have: installed the ebay app on my phone.  It offers constant temptation to scour for vintage patterns.  I've been demonstrating admirable restraint by not buying all the vintage patterns that are out there in the world in need of a good home.  I'm trying to be selective. Here's one I couldn't pass up:
I've always been a fan of 1960s fashions, and anything from the Camelot era in particular.  This pattern has been cut, but very carefully, and is in great condition.  I'm looking forward to attempting it at some point.  First I'll have to master zippers, but if sewing this pattern isn't motivation enough to do that, I don't know what is.

Earlier this week I happened to be near a large antique mall in the area and stopped to walk the aisles.  A few vendors had some patterns...
This is a simple pattern requiring only a button closure.  I'm going to be brave and actually attempt the button.  Version 2 looks very similar to the aqua & white print apron I made last month (using Butterick 4166), so I think I can handle it.  I need a little more practice with the buttonhole foot on my machine, but I'll get there.

What are you sewing lately?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Vintage Pattern Love

Clearly, I love vintage patterns.  This isn't a new thing; I've been collecting them for a few years now.  It all started with this:
The image on these three collages came from a pattern I picked up at Market Day way back in 2009....long before I knew how to sew.  There was just something about this image.  The look on her face, that full skirt, the tiny waist...I'm not quite sure exactly what it was, but I  had to have it, and so I bought it.  Just because. (And it was only a dollar.) I had it about a year before I did anything with it, and it then led to a whole bunch of collages that I just had so much fun making.  I sold all the others, but the first one I did was always my favorite.  Here's a closer look:
If you've followed along with me here, you may recall that I even had this image printed on fabric a couple of years ago.  One of those mini-quilts was featured in Art Quilting Studio magazine last year, which was exciting for me.  This collage is available as an art print or a blank greeting card in my etsy shop, too, in case you might like one.  I've also used old pattern envelopes as journal covers too.  There's just something about those illustrations of the vintage fashions.  I find them irresistible!  I'll be making another batch of pattern journals for opening day at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market on May 7, because they make perfect Mother's Day gifts.

Yesterday I took a little time to tidy up my sewing room and hang these three collages up together.  The colors in these pieces seemed to go well with the apron I was working on.  I love the combination of aquas and reds together.  Here's the apron:
The fabrics used are from JoAnn's; the pattern is a vintage McCall's from 1966.  It's a "sample" pattern; I've never come across one of those before.  I bought it simply for the envelope illustration, which is retro and yet looks very contemporary to me:
Eventually I want to frame some patterns and hang on the wall and this will likely be one of them.

What's just as much fun as vintage patterns?  Vintage pattern print FABRIC, of course!
This fabric is by Michael Miller.  Love it.  I'm tempted just to re-cover a message board with it rather than sew it, so I can enjoy looking at it all the time.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Fabulous 40s Apron

This weekend's project:
Simplicity #1837, circa 1944
I scored some sweet vintage apron patterns from ebay and etsy recently.  I loved the wide straps on this one.  I haven't seen one where the straps cross in the front before.  Here's my version:

This fabulous floral & dot print is from JoAnn's.  It took just about all of the two yards I had to make the apron.  I did 2 pockets instead of just one; the more pockets, the better, in my opinion.  I would have preferred a contrast pocket, but I didn't have any suitable fabrics on hand.  I might make this pattern again and do just that.

I "adjusted" the pattern a bit to suit my skill level and personal preference: the pattern called for the straps to cross in the back and attach to the waistband/ties via buttons....which naturally demand buttonholes, and I don't do those.  When I tried the apron on before finishing it, I liked the straps better un-crossed, so I pinned and stitched them that way.  It works just fine.  The pattern also included embroidery instructions, which I omitted.  This print doesn't really need any embellishment anyway.

Love the retro style!  As a friend said, she can easily imagine this over a crisp white blouse, with a skirt and anklets.  Exactly!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

all about aprons

One of my goals this year was to expand my sewing skill-set beyond basic quilting.  Eventually, I'd love to be able to sew a simple skirt.  So I figured that aprons would be a good way to work my way up to skirts.

 Another skill I want to improve is my ability to follow a sewing pattern.  When I make quilts, I don't use patterns.  (Truly, I don't  see the point.  Half the fun is designing your own quilt, right? )

So I've been having a lot of fun looking through sewing books and my ever-growing collection of vintage patterns.  One of my favorite sewing books is this one:

(Disclaimer: I'm not being paid to promote this book; I just really like it.)  This book is a rather unique sewing book in that it contains lots of interesting historical info plus patterns.  Good stuff.  I chose the Flapper Apron and the end result looks like this:
The polka dot fabric is one I've had in my collection for quite a while.  It's from Hobby Lobby, and I purchased it a few years ago, before I even started sewing.  The pockets are made from an adorable crown print that I've used very sparingly and I had just enough left to make the pockets.

After the flapper apron, I went back to my old habit of making it up as I go along, and sewed some half-aprons using some fun fabrics:

The red dots print is from Riley Blake design and the pink print is from Lotta Jansdotter.  I've been holding on to both of these for quite a while, because that's what fabric hoarders do.  We buy fabric to cut up and then we just can't bring ourselves to cut it up.  Perfectly normal, right?  I think aprons are a perfect way to showcase those favorite fabrics.

Last week, I decided to challenge myself with a vintage pattern:
Butterick pattern #4166, 1966
Obviously, the pattern says "easy" but for me, this would be a challenge because it involved sewing darts, which I had never attempted before.  I looked up a bit more information in my copy of Sewing Made Easy, which gave a bit more information than the sewing pattern.  Vintage patterns assume you know how to sew! Then I dove in, cut fabric, stitched seams and the intimidating darts, and I'm pretty happy about the result.  It's not perfect, but totally wearable.
And wear it, I will.  I love this happy fabric, a JoAnn's clearance bin find.  As you can see, I didn't bother to make the belt.  I will also confess to cheating just a bit: instead of a button, I used velcro.  I haven't quite mastered buttons yet.

Eventually, I'll be listing some aprons on my etsy shop as part of a new product collection.  They are so much fun to make and personally, I think putting on a pretty apron does make housework a bit more fun.  As someone who definitely does not enjoy housework, I need all the motivation I can get.  Buying fabric and thinking about my next sewing project is good motivation.