sewing


04.14.08 {taking a break}

[ this has nothing to do with dresses–well not really; except these are the latest additions to the inspiration notebook! ]

The weekend is over already–I can’t believe it’s flown by. And my goodness–it’s already the middle of April! Thankfully, I did get a lot done on my research paper over the weekend; it was something I wasn’t looking forward to doing, if only because the topic was one I didn’t feel I had a good handle on. Happily I finished it by late yesterday and have handed it off to The Editor (aka my younger sister–she’s a real whiz at proofreading/editing!).

In the midst of being stuck for a few hours on the last page (why is it always the last one that is the hardest?!), I too a little time off to refocus and bring some clarity to my words. A few evenings ago, I struck upon the idea of refashioning this recent thrift find:

04.14.08 {before my scissors got to it!}

Its a very bright, vintage robe! I found it a couple weeks ago while thrifting, and was quite smitten with the shades of pink (it reminds me of the gorgeous azalea blossoms that are due to pop out all over the yards here in a few weeks!). I don’t use robes, however, so it was going to be one of those “pretty” things that just takes up space. Which right now is at a premium (you don’t want to know how packed my closet is!! hehe!). So, I thought, why not make a dress out of it?

04.14.08 {rasberry pink}

The end result isn’t that radical of a change, but I think makes for a very fun evening frock. I basically snipped off 15” from the hem, turned it up 2-¼” and hand hemmed it (the thing that took the longest… but looks very nice!). I added a snap to the cross-over so it stays snugly in place. The sleeve I trimmed down to elbow length and reattached the original cuffs. Quick and easy!

Lately I’ve been feeling quite guilty about simply not having the time to sew from scratch (aka a length of yardage, a sewing pattern–you know, actually cutting out a pattern and constructing it from the flat pieces! lol!). But as my mom said: why sew from scratch when you can refashion successfully?! Hmm… sounds like good sense to me!

Finally, here is today’s Vintage Monday image!! I’ve lately been on a 1950’s kick–full skirts, cinched waist, trawling through Ebay trying to find the “perfect” 50’s summer frock! hehe! I love all the details on these; simple yet elegant. Enjoy.

04.14.08 {50's fun!}

Cheers!

[ email me ]

04.09.08 {the polka dot frock | one}

Its taken me a bit longer than I anticipated to finish this dress, mostly because I couldn’t decide whether I wanted a ruffle at the hem or not! And then I had to figure out what kind of trim? Sheer cotton voile, lace, or eyelet? *sigh* I can be such a picky-picky gal sometimes! hehe! In the end, I didn’t like the cotton ruffle, and haven’t really found any lace in my stash that goes well with the dress, so I left the hem bare (for now…). Instead my trusty, vintage petticoat will suffice to add some frill!

04.09.08 {the polka dot frock | original full length}

[ the original…

What started out as a rather dowdy, vintage Lanz dress I plucked from the rack a few weeks ago at a thrift store, had to be reworked! I fell in love with the whimsical sailor collar and bright polka dots (I have quite a collection of red polka dot frocks; I think this is my third or fourth!). But not the length, or the sleeves that hit at the wrong point of my arms (who ever thought it was a good idea to have sleeves that stopped right above the elbow?!), or the very high neckline (even for me).

04.09.08 {the polka dot frock | two}

Out came my trusty Gingher scissors and quick as lighting the hem was shortened, the sleeves removed, and neckline lowered! I rebound the armholes with pieces leftover from the hem reduction (lol!), and added a piece of vintage eyelet salvaged (from the ever-trusty 60’s lace dress) to the neckline. I love how fun and happy the dress looks!! Now that the weather is (finally) starting to cooperate and act springish, it quite matches my mood!

04.09.08 {the polka dot frock | three}

I admit, the whole look was somewhat inspired by the lovely lithograph posters of 19th century artist Jules Cherét. Th brightness and exuberance really struck a cord with me and this dress!

04.09.08 {the polka dot frock | four}

So, let’s see, this is my fourth refashion this year, I believe? (I’ve lost count… bad me!) As part of my “year without mass-retail” experiment, I’m quite delighted with how these restraints on what I can and can’t purchase is pushing the creativity envelope! Somehow, I don’t feel as… encumbered by the offerings of the stores and what the going “look” is. I’m much more excited to strike out on my own–so abstaining from purchases of a clothing-nature (at least at the mall–no one said anything about thrifting! hehe!) has been a bit easier. I even find that because I’m not allowed to go to the mall to shop, I actually shop less; its no longer quite the recreational activity it used to be. So in turn I’m consuming less, and spending less. Even with my thrifting I’ve become pickier: if I can’t foresee using a garment as-is, or being able to easily refashion it, then I put it back on the rack!

04.09.08 {the polka dot frock | five}

Anyway, I’m off to do some work and homework! I’ve been busy work on websites and logos, and all manner of fun graphic designs lately! (As well as some top-secret personal projects… look for a debut in a month or so!) Oh yes, and enjoying this sunny day! I want to thank you so much for your sweet comments and emails of late–I’m so tickled that you enjoy my silly ramblings! hehe!

I hope you all are having a lovely day wherever you are!

Cheers!

[ email me ]

Aw… Thank you for your sweet comments about my wee posting that my Sweetheart was home for the weekend! It was really so lovely to find those in my inbox this morning; softened the feeling of loneliness a bit. Thank you.

03.17.08 {bittersweet cardigan}

Onto sweater-reveal goodness! Its a cardigan that originally looked quite drab, unfitted and well… basic. (Somewhat like this one, although this is a different sweater. I forgot to take a “before” shot! Ack!!) I picked it up at one of the local thrift shop’s dollar days, and since it was a lovely silk/cashmere blend, I thought it would be worth refashioning into something a little more… me!!

03.17.08 {tic-tac-toe}

I used this book, The Yestermorrow Clothes Book as a reference point for starting the refashion. It details how to take apart a sweater, adjust the fit, and put it back together again! I figured out how much I wanted to take the sides in (‘cause the fit was too boxy for me), cut the side seams apart, removed the bottom ribbing band, cut the sleeves off, and shortened the body of the cardigan by about 4”.

Despite the fact that it is a sweater knit, it wasn’t really that hard to sew the pieces! I just used a very narrow zig-zag (almost a straight stitch… but not quite) on all the seams, trimmed them down and then did a larger zig-zag over the edges. The sleeves I shortened by cutting off the original sleeve cap, and cutting a new one (I was bad… I just eyeballed it, although the book does recommend using a pattern!), and then reattaching to the new armhole (which I narrowed at the shoulder seam).

03.17.08 {eyelet}

The reconstruction work was a breeze; deciding on trim and buttons was the hard part! hehe! I hunted through my stash of vintage textiles and pulled out two sleeves I had chopped off an old, eyelet and lace dress. I knew the salvaged eyelet would come in handy one day!! I just enclosed the front edges with the eyelet, topstitching everything down. The buttons were just from my stash; and I decided to go with the white and red because I didn’t have enough red buttons of the right size.

03.17.08 {construction details}

So… I have a very cute (in my opinion! lol!) cardigan for only nickels and dimes, as my dad would say! Now that I have made you endure the long, drawn-out details of how I did this, here is the fun, belated, Friday links roundup!!! Oh, and now you can reference the older posts of Friday links just by clicking the “inspiration” image. Hurrah!!

 make a no-pattern, no-zipper skirt!
 sweet ideas for accessorizing with vintage doilies
 beautiful, inspiring fashion and outfit ideas
 a great interview with Polaroid artist Jen Gotch [ via ]
 Jenny’s meditation on creativity and developing a collection
 knit a very cute, stripy hat!
 breathtakingly beautiful photographs and illustrations
 how to take a pattern from a favorite garment!!!*
 I so want to live in this space…

*I am dying to try this! I mean… wouldn’t it be great to finally take some patterns from my vintage collection?! *sigh*

03.17.08 {artsy}

Enjoy all the linking-goodness and inspiration! I shall post the Vintage Monday image a wee bit later today…

Cheers!

[ email me ]

03.13.08 {refashion preview!}

A sneaky-preview of another refashion to be revealed in tomorrow’s post! Or, how I spent an hour last night. hehe!

03.13.08 {mutant peeps}

Oh, and I had to show you these singularly odd Peeps that my sister picked up yesterday! We’ve dubbed them the “X-Peeps”, ’cause they’re all kind of mutant! lol. Seriously; not one in this string has their eyes in the proper place (and one is missing his altogether!). We got such a laugh out of them! hehe!

Cheers!

[ email me ]

p.s. I have been getting no emails on my Gmail account the past several days. So if you’ve been trying to contact me, please try again! Sometimes technology just is more of a muddle than a help! *giggle*

03.09.08 {neckline}

I have so much to show and tell you–it is just practically jumping about in my head dying to get out! But I won’t reveal it all at once; don’t want to subject you all to The Post of the Century, do I? hehe!!!

Before we delve into this week’s super-special Double Vintage Monday feature (I know!! So exciting!), I wanted to show a little something I whipped up on Saturday:

03.09.08 {how i spent my saturday}

The top is modified from the Burda Style Lydia pattern. I found some gorgeous, black jersey recently; and it was a very tiny length (a little over ½ yard). My original top idea had to be modified quite a bit to get all the pieces to fit on the material, but I did it! *jumps up and down* I left the body of the pattern pretty much as-is, just scooping out hte neckline a bit more. The sleeves is where all the action is: I shortened the piece, slashed and spread from cap to hem, added about 5” and reshaped the bottom edge a bit. The cap was shirred to its original width, and I gathered the bottom onto a wide band. Voila!! Pretty, fun sleeves!

03.09.08 {close up of smocking}

The skirt was originally a rummage sale find from last autumn; I think I spent $1 on it. Although I loved the waistband, the rest of it was kinda blah and a bit frumpy. So I chopped off the old hem (a good 11”!!), rehemmed it and replaced the back buttons. The pockets I made from the leftover pieces of the old hem; just eyeballing the size and proportion, and topstitching them to the front of the skirt. I added a couple vintage buttons for the cute factor and now I have a new skirt! Hurrah!!!

I tell you: this recycling/refashioning and sewing-from-scratch experiment is proving to be the little kick I needed to really get back into sewing for myself. I’m having a ball!!

03.10.08 {vintage monday!}

Anyway, now to compose myself and move on to the Double Vintage Monday! Here is the “official” image for today; a series of four, lovely shirtwaists from 1906. Aren’t they so pretty? I can think of at least half a dozen ways you could reinterpret any one of them into something very modern and cute. For instance, that large, Bertha collar on the middle left blouse? You could reuse that idea (possibly scaled down a bit) on a light, sleeveless summer dress. What ideas do you see?

vogue pattern catalog {22} 1964 vogue pattern catalog {04}

The bonus feature today is a series of photo-excerpts from a 1964 Vogue pattern catalog!! I inherited this years ago from my grandmother, and paging through for ideas and inspiration is something I do frequently. Unfortunately, its a bit of a chore scanning this behemoth, so pictures are the only solution! I do hope you’ll enjoy these! Click on the image above to be taken to my Flickr album, or view the whole set here!!! Feel free to comment on the photos with your ideas and inspirations!

I hope you all are having a simply lovely and inspired Monday!!!

Cheers!

[ email me ]

p.s. Did you see that the new Poppytalk Handmade Market is up? And this month it’s got an eco-friendly theme!

03.02.08 {close up of dress}

Just a quick note to pop in and say “hello!” to all my lovely friends! My apologies if I have been tardy in responding to comments or commenting on your blogs… I am in the throes of wrapping up midterms before Spring Break next week. (Hurrah!!!) So my mind has been on books and exams lately!

03.02.08 {black forest dress}

Remember this sneak peek last week? Here is the dress it became! I’m pleased as punch with how it came out, ‘cause I fell in love with the soft, windowpane plaid cotton when I spotted it. I was somewhat terrified that the dress would end up just being a sack, since it is so loose-fitting, but a belt remedies a thousand things. hehe! I modified the length and sleeves a bit, to make it more me. Click on any of the photos or my Burda Style page for more snippets of “technical sewing” details!

Here is the Vintage Monday (on Tuesday… but I had a test yesterday, so I hope I can be excused for the belated feature!) installment for this week! Another 1940’s inspiration! I love the dress on the left especially; the sweet bow and stripy fabric just seals the deal for me. hehe!

03.04.08 {inspiration monday}

Have a lovely week my sweet friends! I shall return around Thursday or Friday–hopefully in a much less distracted state! hehe!

Cheers!

[ email me ]

02.25.08 {side view}

Thank you all for your sweetness regarding my “Ugly Duckling” dress!! hehe! I am happy to report that I wore it today, and quite liked how it looked. It is definitely a blank canvas in so many ways; I could liven it up quite a bit if I wanted with colorful accessories! But today, I was feeling a bit on the less is more side, and kept everything pretty simple (sort of like those Japanese craft books that I so admire!):

02.25.08 {the ugly duckling is really a beautiful swan...}

Reminds one a bit of Toast or Saltwater, don’t you think?

02.25.08 {back view}

I tend to go through cycles with my clothing. For awhile, I like to wear bright, happy colors; lots of layering and frilly things! But right now I’m enjoying a bit of a respite with my clothes. Dresses are very much in favor; especially the shift style. Subtle, neutral colors that rely more on surface pattern or texture than pops of color. I’m also wearing my beloved “ancient reproduction” earrings a lot more (simple, gold hoops). I think it is quite amusing in a sense to see myself go through these visual, aesthetic moods! I daresay my next move will be onto much brighter, girlish cuts and colors!! hehe!!

02.25.08 {the pattern}

I hope you all are having a lovely Monday–I was quite naughty and went thrifting today (I have a huge post I need to do on my latest adventures)! Here is this week’s bit of vintage to liven things up, and perhaps give you some visual inspiration!

02.25.08 {vintage monday... hooray!}

Enjoy your day (or evening… or morning, whichever the case may be!), my dears!!!

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

p.s. Speaking of surface texture, have you seen the new lovelies over at Gibbous?! Yummy!!!

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