Monday, July 27, 2009

Final Sewing Project

I think this is the last thing I will have sewn here. I am pretty sure it is because when we get more boxes tonight I'm going to pack up the rest of my sewing supplies. I can't wait to take everything over to the new house and set up my sewing room! One of the bedrooms has wood floors rather than carpet. I plan to use that one for my sewing room since dropped pins and needles are so much easier to find on wooden floors and it is also easier to sweep up clippings instead of having to vacuum a carpet. I have no idea what I'm going to do with so much space!

Thank you so much for your sweet comments and congratulations! The Lord is so good! We plan to move this coming weekend - I'm dreadfully excited!!
Anyway, over the weekend I finished this blouse from Folkwears Gibson Girl Blouse pattern. It is for my Little House on the Prairie outfit. The blouse only took two afternoons to make but I forgot to add additional length to the hem. I am lucky I am short waisted. I will have enough length to tuck into my skirt, but just barely. Next time I make this pattern I think I will add at least 5" to the length!
It is made from pink cotton calico and has white lace trim at the cuffs and collar. White covered buttons fasten the opening. I changed the design from a back opening to a front opening. Instead of making it open all the way down the front I did a short placket. It enables me to access Malachi's food source and didn't require so many buttonholes or buttons. I love this blouse. It is so comfortable! Once I get established in the new place I think I'll need to make a few more!

Here is my blue calico sunbonnet, also for the LHOP ensemble:
Now I need to make the skirt, apron and I also want to make a waist length cape. But that will have to wait a bit. There is a bit of work to do at the new house that will have to take priority over sewing. I have quite a bit of yardwork to do to make the flower beds neat and we have a huge garden we need to weed whack, burn, and turn. Then I have some painting to do as well, on the inside. The dining room is deep red and the living room a dark tan color. I think a beige or off white would be pretty and really open everything up a lot. I love red and tan but on such huge expanses of wall. . .its a bit overwhelming.
What colors do you all suggest? I have a bright lemon yellow bathroom and an electric-blue bedroom to do something to as well! :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Orange Satin Bag and Bonnety Happiness

Tomorrow I am headed up to the 4-H fair to see what there is to see. My two sisters are participating this year. Alas. I am too old. I really enjoyed 4-H while I was in it. It's been four years since my last 4-H fair. Four! Can it really have been that long?

I am trying to finish up a bag for my sister so I can give it to her tomorrow. It should have been done already but woe, I cannot find my orange thread. I usually sew with either black or white and all the thread I usually keep on hand is either those colors or red. But orange is orange. It needed its own color thread. But I cannot find the durn spool anywhere and I need it so I can sew on the lace and attach the strap and make a buttonhole to close it.
When I was cleaning out my fabric a week or so ago I asked my mother if my sisters would like anything made out of orange satin. I have four yards of this heavy, silky satiny fabric and could not think of what to do with it. My mother replied that my eldest younger sister would like a bag like I made for my youngest younger sisters birthday. So this bag resulted! It is lined completely with the orange cotton print I made Judah's Civil War dress with and I experimented with a fabric covered cardboard strip for the bottom of the bag to help it hold its shape. Well, I hope she likes it. I certainly would not have thought of making an orange satin bag on my own. I've been making bonnets these past few days, part one of my Little House on the Prairie outfit. I couldn't find the butterick pattern I thought I had so I experimented with shapes and came up with my own. This is the most recent one, made of pale pink cotton with teeny, subtle white polka-dots. The hat hunting did not yield any hats. We went to the antique mall but it closed two hours before we thought it would so we had about twenty minutes to look around instead of the long time we thought we would have. There were hats aplenty indeed but nothing suitable for the 1914 dress. I at last found the perfect hat on eBay but I haven't ordered it yet. I don't know if I want to spend $20 on a hat that I might not wear very often. But I'm still thinking about it. I really want it. If I force myself to wear it often I will consider it money well spent. And I don't want to take pictures of my finished dress until I have a hat to wear with it.
We did find this lovely mirror for $4. It is incredibly heavy. I love it! We also found a beautiful white lace handbag with a silver elephant head clasp with long, long fringe. David said it looked like me. I didn't get it but I might go back for it sometime and see if it is still there. The other thing I found that I really wanted (but didn't get!) was a folk art painting of a little girl in an 1820's style pink dress. David said if it is still there after we move I can go back and get it. It was incredibly cheap. I just love antique malls. I could decorate my whole house with findings from one. You just never know what you will discover!

Have a wonderful, God-filled week dear ones!



Saturday, July 18, 2009

1914 Afternoon Dress Progress

Almost done. All it needs to finish it is 7 buttonholes and buttons for the back. I need to see if I have thread to match the fabric for the buttonholes. If not, I'll have to get some while I am in town.
And later today I shall go hat-hunting! What a delightful prospect. When did women stop wearing hats or bonnets? I must admit to being more of a bonnet wearer than a hat wearer. I think we need to bring them back.



Thursday, July 9, 2009

Vintage Style Dress & 2-Yard Skirt

Still no definite house news. We have called about and seen a variety of places. Some nicer, some larger than the others. It is interesting how prices can differ from place to place! For a very small, not-very-nice home one might want quite a bit, while a nicer, larger home is less.

There is one home David and I have in mind, but nothing definite has been decided upon yet. So far, this is the only house that we have both felt rather peaceful about. It is not much larger than this house and in some ways, not as nice but we both feel it could be the right one.

I have started packing in earnest this week. I like to pack and organize, but I don't like the half-moved look of having boxes stacked in all the empty corners and spaces. Thankfully we have a nice large attic which is a convenient place to store the packed boxes. When moving day arrives, all I will have to do is hand the boxes down to David and he will put them into the truck and there we go. I don't want our house to look bare and plain before we move so I always save the decorations and pictures for last. I will probably pack those up the day before we move.

To keep my mind and hands busy I have sewed a bit and finished up a dress and a new skirt. I figure I might as well use up some material so I don't have to move it all! :)
The dress was a test run of my newly made, finally fitted bodice I was having so much trouble with last week. I finally got the darted bodice to fit smoothly and then I swung the bust dart to the shoulder and created a princess seam pattern. I only had three yards of this fabric to make the dress, so the skirt is not quite as full as I wanted it to be, just 2 panels of 45" wide fabric gathered to the waist. The sleeves are short puff ones. Nothing fancy or special. I was going to make cap sleeves but decided puffed ones would look nice in this fabric, which is very light and almost sheer. It is constructed almost entirely with mid-19th century methods. I hate zippers and wanted to avoid one at all possible cost. I can't get the durn things to go in right and its hard to zip oneself up if the zipper is in the back. I also needed a front opening so I could nurse the baby. So the bodice opens in the center front and the skirt opens at the center side utilizing a dog leg closure. The bodice is flatlined with white muslin and the only modern thing I did was to zig zag the raw edges so they won't ravell as much in the wash.

The skirt came to be because of a 50% off Red Tag sale at Jo Anns. I was looking for fabric for a pioneer style around the house sort of dress and I fell in love with this fabric when I saw it. There was very little left on the bolt, however, just 2 yards. I got it because I could not bear to leave it there. So lovely, so soft, a heavier weight cotton in off white, with blue and pink roses and green leaves.
The print seemed to big to look nice as a blouse (my first thought). It was enough for an apron but I didn't want to use it to keep my other clothes clean. The fabric was too pretty. So I at last figured out how to make a long skirt with the yardage I had. I made two tiers. The top one was just full enough to go comfortably over my hips. This used a full width of the 45" fabric, cut in half for the front and back. I had to cut two strips to go on each side to pull the fullness up a bit, to around 50". With the remaining fabric I had enough to make a 15" ruffle almost three 45" wide widths full. I made a casing for narrow elastic at the top and it was done. A quick afternoons project. My current obsession is the clothing from the TV series Little House on the Prairie. I want to make a blouse and skirt like the grown up ladies wear and a sunbonnet. The clothes aren't so terribly odd as to look very out of place worn for everyday so I've been planning what I can do with the patterns I have and the fabric I have.

The Blouse:
I have Folkwears Gibson Girl blouse which looks a lot like the style of blouse Laura wears as the grown-up Mrs. Wilder. I've made the Folkwear blouse before and know that it gives a nice look and it already fits the way it is. I'll just need to change it to a front opening. I want to make mine out of a lightweight lawn or voile.

The Skirt:
The skirts worn by the ladies in this series appear to have a fairly flat, gored front and lots of fullness in the back taken up in pleats. I have Past Patterns 1890's Circular Skirt pattern but it's not quite the look I'm going for. I found two skirt patterns that would work perfectly.

And this one is from Truly Victorian. The bonnnet won't be hard. I have an old Butterick pattern for a "pioneer" dres and "pioneer sunbonnet" that has the right look. :)

Ah. The only problem I have is the fabric required for the skirt. Around 5 yards! I hardly ever have used that much fabric for a skirt before. I like to get as much as I can out of as little as possible. I will need to overcome this mindset.

May you all have a lovely week -


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Problems with the FBA

I had hoped to have a completed dress to share by now.
I don't.
The past few days I have spent making many muslins. (Try saying that 3 times fast!) :P
I decided I wanted a princess seamed bodice, a wide scoop or slightly V-shaped neckline and little cap sleeves. A full skirt, either gored or gathered to the waist. Perhaps a ruffle at the hem.
Simple, right? Not.
I at first tried a pattern for a princess seamed open-front blouse I have. It looked okay when I put the muslin on, but it just sort of hung over my bust in a very unflattering way. When I tried to take in the seams below the bust to give it more shape, the hem edge curved up towards my center front.
I was stumped, but remembered someone posting something on the Sense and Sensibility board about Full Bust Adjustments. I had no idea what this was but decided to look into it. I found out that since I have a 5" difference between my high bust (taken just above the full point of the bust) and my full bust, I needed to make this adjustment to my pattern.
So I tried.
It gave me the needed length, but also made the armpit area way too baggy and there was too much excess fabric just above the bust.
I gave up with that pattern.

I tried drafting my own, but had the same problem.
I tried a simplicity dress pattern that had a basic bodice with one dart on each side of the bust, going up vertically from the waist, and one dart on each side of the back, going up vertically from the waist. This was promising. I still needed more room over the bust, so I added length. It worked!
I tried this muslin on again today and attempted to figure out how to convert it to a princess seam bodice. I found some tutorials online for making princess seam bodices out of darted ones but all the darted ones had two darts on each side of the front - one going up vertically from the waist and another one going horizontally or slightly diagonally from the side, up to the bust.
I finally pulled out my Vogue sewing book and right there was a fitting section with how to adjust patterns for a larger cup size! (Most patterns are drafted for a B cup) I tried this with the original basic pattern and it worked much better than my other attempts.
It still is not perfect. Here is the front. As you can see there are some funky wrinkles going on just to the side of the bust and under it. I don't know how to get these out. They were worse, but I pinned out a teeny bit more of the dart under the bust and it helped smooth things a bit. I don't know what to do about the pulling. I wonder if the weight of the skirt, when I attach it my "real" bodice, would pull it down enough to get out these wrinkles, or is it another fitting issue? Sigh. Oh, and yes, the neckline is wavy and the shoulders have a bit too much fabric in them, but I can easily take that out when I draw in the new neckline and position of the shoulders. It's the bust and below that has me discouraged right now.

Here is the side. I'll be so glad when I'm a C-size again. Hopefully. You can also catch a glimpse of my lovely stomach flesh.
I think my problem is that:

1) I am short waisted
2) My high bust is 35", bust is 40" and underbust is 31". From high bust to underbust is about 7" or so. So within a 7" space I have to go from 35" to 40" back to 31".
3) I am short waisted
4) I have about a 6" space from my underbust to my waistline. This does not leave much room to make a tidy looking midriff area.
I could just use this muslin as-is for my pattern. I could make the dress up in a darker, heavier sort of fabric and it probably would look okay. Not fabulous, but passably okay.
But I really want to make a nice fitting muslin so I can use this as the base for more clothing. I doubt I'll change size much until after Malachi weans and I'm not going to wait another 6+ months to make clothes for myself.
Any advice or helpful tips? :) I'm wondering if boning the darts at the waist would help. I'm wearing the muslin over my best supporting Medela nursing bra but it still gives a kind of floppy look. I guess fashion and breast feeding don't mix. But honestly this looks a lot better than my other bras do except for a super supportive rather hard-cupped flesh colored bra that gives a fantastic shape but is not convenient for nursing. It's definitely a High Fashion Bra.
I think I'll put my sewing up for now and work on rolling out that sugar cookie dough I made earlier today and making some, star-shaped, with red and white and blue icing for David. And the little boys. They have already tried picking at the dough in the refrigerator!