Monday, November 29, 2010

Love to be thankful...

How was your Thanksgiving?

Mine was simple and sweet and nice - and in between trying to slice chunks of my finger off right before we walked out the door, and the Sous Vide turkey (the suffing was simply fantastic!), and some smack-talk laden games of pinochle -  I managed to squeeze some pattern/fabric deliberation with my dear friend, Naomi.

I did have some limitations with fabric lengths - and desperately wanted to use the yellow flowered fabric as a skirt but didn't have enough.  We hummed and hawed over it, examining yardage allowances and wondering just how much we could fudge the pattern layout to get what we wanted, and came up with (what I think are) some good options.

Now to get started on my first item!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stash Shopping

This is a selection of light to medium weight cottons from the stash.  Still haven't chosen which pattern view to do yet thought.

Thoughts?  Ideas?  Inspirations?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Pattern that Redeemed the 90's.

Finally, after much searching (and giggling), I found this pattern Vogue 9479:


Here are the line drawings:


The description reads: Sleeveless dress, above mid-knee, has close-fitting, self-lined bodice, raised waist, A-line skirt, and back zipper.

This pattern got my attention for a few reasons:

1) The possibility of contrast fabrics.

2) With a solid colour tiny details like gathering can create interest!

3) If given a reason to use giant rick rack, I'd be a swingin' my teddy bear too!

4) Even with simple lines and a crisp solid colour, pockets add a playful whimsy.  (The ice creams don't hurt either!)

Interestingly, reader Naomi suggested something just like this (not knowing I'd already purchased this pattern!) "Well you could go with the essence of the 90s, like veto the frills and gaudy prints..."  I hope this fits the bill!

The A-line skirt and raised waist were definitely styles popular in the 90's, but I also liked that it wasn't as full as many styles of the 90's, and had a self lined bodice. 

Vogue's recommended fabrics are faille, broadcloth, and lightweight denim.   I'm guessing in the 90's a chambray probably could have been used also.  While I don't think I could get on board with the denim, I'll definitely be looking for natural fibers to make this comfortable for the long, hot summers here in Southern California.  Time to go shopping in the stash!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Parameters (or How I'm Going Stop Being a Sewing Weenie)

Being one of those artsy types, if given the opportunity I tend to get very carried away with my projects, so I thought it would be wise to set some parameters for this projects, in order to focus on my goals.

So, to sum up!

As previously mentioned, my ultimate goal is to create a child's size 8 wardrobe for my oldest daughter, through the last 100 years of fashion - that amounts to approximately 10 pieces (not including underwear, jeans or basic t-shirts at this point).

This means I get to combine some of my current "loves":

Minimalism - to put it simply, I'm learning that in life, not just sewing, I prefer quality over quantity, so I want to only make pieces that will create an overall wardrobe that is not only wearable and functional, but stylish and beautiful!  This also means I'll be...

Stash Bustin' - shopping out of my stash first when looking for fabrics to work with.  When I'm unable to come up with the goods there, then I want to work with...

Genuine Vintage Items - this means that where possible (after going to my stash, and within my google search abilities and budget) I will work with patterns and fabrics of the time, and also...

Learn - the techniques of the times and combine them with design ideas of today.  I have the basics but without focus I've tended to avoid buttonholes the things I dislike the most and roll in my fabric do the things I like the most.  While that can be very satisfactory, I've become stagnant quickly.  And I want to make that spectacularly awesome designer cape from the 60's, so I'd be up the creek without a buttonhole paddle, which means I have to...

Stop Being a Sewing Weenie - buttonholes, I will own you!  Hand-picked zippers, you are mine!  Smocking, easing, lining, hong kong binding... well, you get the picture.  I want to be brave!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Follies of the 90's.

The first decade in my project as I sew an 8 year old's wardrobe through the last 100 years, is the 1990's.

Not having anything in my pattern stash from that decade I started poking around.  I found, in no particular order:

Many of these: 

And these:

And remember these?

And these:

 And let's not forget these:

(I had to show you two of the last one, because they are just. that. awesome.)

In between nauseous shivering as I recollected my own fashionably dubious decisions of the 1990's, and laughing uncontrollably at some of the images I found, I realized that the first decade I attempt might just be the hardest one.  What to do?  With the follies of the 90's so fresh in my mind, I just could not imagine putting my girlie in the giant collars, giant sleeves, nor the heavy workman's boots or boxy, dull separates, the oversized bows, the ... what is that last thing?  (I think I'd just be asking for some kind of Violet Beauregarde situation.)

So, ladies and gentelmen, I was in a pickle.  A 1990's pickle.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Perfect Project

So I had this fantastical idea that I could incorporate a whole bunch of my current "loves" and sew my way through the last 100 years of fashion... In this day dream there were unicorns thoughts of one pattern per decade, 10 pieces in all, that would stretch my sewing skills both in technique and experience working with new fabrics - but also put some unique and hopefully classic pieces in my wardrobe.

The trouble was, in going through my wardrobe recently, I discovered that in a lot of ways I already have lot of unique and classic pieces, and while certainly there are areas I'd like to expand (shirts for example - shirts are good - and dresses), I didn't feel the need for a range of 10 pieces.

Separately it had occurred to me that 1) my oldest daughter is growing like a weed 2) we are running out of hand-me-downs 3) I really dread going to the mall and 4) my tastes run a little too expensive for our budget.

The mental equation went something like this:

The sewing equivalent of unicorns + I love sewing + I love vintage fashion + my kid needs clothes = an absurdly monumental task that both delights and frightens me.

That's right, not only am I going to sew my daughter her 8 year old wardrobe, I'm going to sew it through the last 100 years of fashion.  Vintage patterns, vintage fabrics, twists, turns, unicorns, and maybe I'll actually learn a thing or two along the way that helps me be braver.

As you can guess, my other "love"?  Yep, biting off more than I can chew. 

Tomorrow: The trouble with the 90's.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I love projects.

Today's project was the craft/school cupboard.  Periodically it becomes such a quagmire that even I, in my optimism, can't face another day staring at the disaster that has befallen three shelves of stationary and pens, and assorted games and craft items.  Let me just say, there is a reason they call it Play D'oh.

I avoided it for a while, dodged around it, stepped lithley over it, danced about it, and basically did everything I could not to actually sit down and do it.  But then I saw a miscellaneous thumb tack (what!!) and realized the risk was far greater than I first realized...

And, as per usual, once I got going chugging happily along through various artistic interpretations of mermaids underwater adventures, Charlie and Lola go to the hair dressers, and Impressionistic Backyardigans (stopping here and there to peel puppy stickers off the floor) it wasn't quite as bad as I feared... I just had to face the fact that the journey to a clean craft cupboard is paved with - well... the strewn contents of the said craft cupboard.

Why mention all of this?  Well I've had a few ideas for projects that have been pottering about in my head most of the summer, and it struck me today I might be stuck in the "dodged around it" phase longer than necessary.  The fact is, I just need to sit down and do it.  I need to face the fact that the journey of a project is paved with the strewn contents of said project.  And that's ok. 

This is my jumping in -


More details to follow.  Hope you'll travel with me!