Monday, July 22, 2013

Completed Summer Retro Inspired Playsuit

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I did it! Just in time for the last month of rare summer days in Seattle.
           Fabric is from Nancy's Sewing Basket Mint and White Gingham all cotton with a white cotton lining

Here is how it all started Retro Skirted Playsuit and Drafting a Top.
The muslin fit well except for the dart placement. As with many vintage patterns the vintage undergarments changed the fit of the item. I moved the dart down and redrew the lower bodice dart creating a much nicer fit.

I am pretty proud of myself drafting a new pattern from two others and an idea in my daughters head. she has posted many photos on her blog, Bobby Socks Girl. If you are interested in vintage fashion, hair and makeup then check it out.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Taking a Little Time off from Sewing

I am taking a break form sewing this week while I am working. I find when I work all week I do not want to do anything with my hands. I work as a temp Dental Hygienist filling in at a few local offices for vacations and illness.
I didn't sew for many years as I was so busy working full time and keeping up with the kids. I decided that I should learn to knit. At the time, knitting had re surged as a very in vogue hobby and many celebrities were doing it.
It was credited as being relaxing, so I thought I would learn to knit. After all I did many crochet blankets for my Barbies when I was young. I surely could knit a straight stitch and create some beautiful handmade gifts in the process.
I tried to knit a scarf and it was probably one of the longest knitting projects in history. I didn't find it at all relaxing and actually it felt like the opposite. I realize I do not like to do anything with my hands when I use them all day long. I completed my horrible scarf and swore off any further knitting, hand stitching, crocheting etc.
Now that I just work filling in, I have embraced  sewing again and  with that comes occasional handwork. I am enjoying hand stiching hems and other finishing techniques on my garments.My stitches are finally looking pretty and I find I get into a sort of rhythm .
I actually have done some embroidery adding simple flowers to slips. and nightgowns. I have a few vintage embroidery patterns that I picked up on Etsy together in a lot. I love all the instructions and suggestions on vintage items.
Pretty for adding to lingerie

Guest Towels or other linens

Have you seen the very cool embroidery patterns at Sublime Stitching ?

They have really fun patterns and cute tool kits plus a book which can take you through all the stitched you need to complete these projects. She regularly has sales and free shipping on her patterns. Some of my favorites are.

Camp Out from Sublime Stitching

Roaring Twenties

As far as knitting I see all these fabulous hand knit creations from Lauren from LLadybird

                                                                   Peggy Sue Sweater

                                                           Red Cashmerino Cowlneck

It makes me want to give it another try. I have a very dear friend who knits often and very well she is offering to teach me this fall. Hopefully the second go will be better. Do you enjoy doing hand work?

I will have the completed Playsuit to reveal soon...just some small finishing details to complete.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Drafting a Top for the Playsuit

The Skirt Fits and has passed inspection. Now onto the top.
We have looked through our vintage and modern pattern stash and have decided on using these two and creating our own version.

Advance 828 

Simplicity 3460

Back of Simplicity 3460

She likes the square neckline and closer fit of the first one but the length and buttoned back of the second one. These are both close to her size and she has sewn the first one already. I know that we may have to do the same fitting alteration of removing 1 inch from the front of the bodice. The pattern features back button closure as requested by the customer.

The pattern is the right size and close to the desired style.I will make a muslin first to be sure fit is correct.
I drafted the pattern combining the two and making it shorter.
Pattern 2 below the tracing paper and pattern 1 above it.

The muslin is complete and ready for a fitting. I am pretty pleased but the real test will be my tough customer. Wish me luck.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Retro Inspired Skirted Playsuit

My Daughter has been eyeing cute summer skirted playsuits and I offered to sew one for her.She has been showing me some inspiration from her Pinterest board for a while of what she was looking for.She combined the ideas from these three to create exactly what she was dreaming of.
Cynical Girl Patterns on Etsy

Ebay listing


 After scouring the internet searching for the perfect pattern close to her size I came across a blog Post from Heather Lou from Closet Case Files.
I will follow her recommendations from the skirt she made for her playsuit and use Gertie's New Book For Better Sewing.

Dirndl Skirt
I really like this book, the instructions are easy to follow and It is easy to read while sewing. 
Adding in 5/8"seam allowance
 The skirt was very simple pattern to draft and assemble. It tool me about 1 hour last evening  Today I added a simple white cotton batiste lining because the fabric is thin and slightly sheer. I completed the assembly including the lapped side zipper I am leaving the bound buttonhole for another evening this weekend. We are ready for a fitting.

Add caption
Mint and White Gingham Cotton from Nancy's Sewing Basket in Seattle
All and all an enjoyable project and therefore adding extra love and joy to the recipient when she wears it. She did request that I take my time and not rush through it getting cranky in the process. Hmmm Do I do that?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Staying on Task in the Summer.

I have completed my muslin for the Craftsy Sew the Perfect Fit Class .I understand the importance of creating a muslin or test garment but find myself bored with the process.I am not sure why but  maybe because the fabric itself leads a little to be desired and I have not yet decided on a fashion fabric. I found my mind wandering and thinking about other things I want to sew. I had a hard time staying on task feeling  a little like a school child looking out the window on a sunny spring day in Seattle.If you live in the Pacific Northwest then you know what I mean.Never the less,I completed my muslin for Vogue 8766.  
I stay stitched the waistline of skirt and neckline of bodice. I added the thread tracings to mark my 1" seam allowance on the top of the skirt and the rest was only basting seams. Now I am waiting until we have our group meet up in a few weeks. 
Back with zipper opening.

Front of skirt 

Right now I have Simplicty 3857  pattern  on my mind. The Pattern is a size smaller than what I would normally choose so I will have to do some adjustments. I plan to do view 2 and omit the pockets. Cute right? It would make a nice addition to my everyday items to wear with skirts or shorts this summer.

Michael Miller Clip Dot (
I found Michael Miller white cotton dot from The fabric arrived yesterday and I have washed, dried and added it to my ironing pile.
I also have my eye on Gertie's Shirtdress from her New Book for Better Sewing
 I liked this one right away when I first opened the book and keep have returning to it.

 I finally decided to splurge on some lovely retro inspired Liberty of London fabric also ordered form I can see myself wearing this all summer.Don't you think this is a great fabric choice?

As I have been dreaming of what is next, my daughter has been doing the same.I guess it is in the air. She love retro fashion and wants a classic retro inspired playsuit with a skirt. Something like this.Except  with a full closure instead of a tie on waist.
Simplicity 2120 from 1947 

 She would sew it herself but is busy in camp over the next few weeks. It really looks straight forward so I offered to sew it for her.The skirt should come together easily but fitting the top may be a challenge because she is so small.I am now looking for simple patterns for the top from our vintage stash .
                After all its Summer In Seattle and time for summer clothes. Do you agree?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Great Summer Sewing Read

The  Mermaid of Brooklyn by Amy Shearn, The book reminded me of the difficulties of  a stay at home mother with two small daughters.My daughters are 14 and 16 now and very independent young ladies and require much less care.I do not want to reveal too much for those who may want to read it. The main character Jenny gains inner strength with the help of a mystical creature and creates a small sewing business to support her family one hot summer in Brooklyn.Along the way, Jenny makes many mistakes and continues to gain strength and independence.  It was a fun summer read especially for my fellow sewers. When doing a little research for the blog I realized that this is on Oprah's Summer Reads, and just think I stumbled upon it at my local library unknowingly.

 I Finally received my pattern in the mail and started the process of measuring with help this time to choose the correct size. I was 33 High Bust and 33 full bust so according to Lynda I will use 33 inches for my bust measurement. The size 10 is a bust measurement of 32 1/2  inches and the size 12 is a 34 inches. I decided to go with the size 10 knowing that one of my fit problems is that I am very narrow through the body and almost always have to take things in in the center and the shoulders plus the Vogue patterns usually have plenty of ease and I am allowing for 1 inch seam allowance. I feel pretty confident that that size will work for me.
Bodice Back with additional seam allowance in red
Skirt Sections complete with additional markings

I have pressed and trued up my muslin and added the additional 3/8 inch to my seam allowance to give me a total of 1 inch. I plan to cut it out do my threadmarkings today or tomorrow and assemble it the following day.It is only 5 pieces and I do not need the fit perfect for the muslin so it should go pretty quick.I didn't really feel I needed to read the instructions since it seems to be a pretty straight forward pattern but it made for some nice outdoor reading since my book was completed and I am trying to do better with following all the steps. I will review the next lesson before I assemble the muslin.

By the Way...The Great Online Sewing Bee starts Monday. If you want to follow along here sew mama sew
As readers we can follow along and participate with the community bee sewing along with any or all of the patterns. There will be time constraints for the 10 contestants but not for the community.Also I should mention there will be PRIZES from Colette Patterns, Oliver and S, Sewaholic patterns , and more....
I am not sure if I will have time to add any additional projects to my month but maybe one will tempt me into it. and I do love prizes. Along with completing my muslin, I have plans to do a sleeveless summer blouse this week from one of my vintage patterns.
What about you? Do you have anything on your sewing table?

Friday, July 5, 2013


I am looking forward to the latest Craftsy Class that I am enrolled in Sew the Perfect Fit taught by Lynda Maynard. Although I am still waiting for my pattern to arrive I decided to start lesson one , the plan is to do one lesson a week.
 I am enrolled in this class along with Amy from Sew Well and a few other fabulous Seattleites. We will be getting together for a fitting session soon.I am looking forward to meeting other sewing enthusiasts in the Seattle area.In the mean time we are all waiting for our patterns to arrive so that we can complete our muslins for the first fitting.
I think that most sewers would agree that fit is one of the biggest problems when sewing. When I am completing a pattern that I know fits it can be so much more enjoyable. I have so many garments that I have completed and worn once only to grab the seam ripper and alter them over and over. I tend to over analyze my sewn garments as many of us do. Our store bought things have many fit issues but for some reason we happily accept it . 
In lessons 1 and 2 I learned that when choosing a pattern size always use your high bust ( if greater than a B cup) and standard bust measurement if it is a dress. Use the largest hip measurement, sometimes extending down onto the thigh if you are doing only a skirt, otherwise your bodice piece will be way too large. It is easier to adjust for a larger hip measurement while getting an accurate fit around the shoulders and bust area.Lynda recommends you have a fitting buddy to help get accurate measurements. This probably explains right away some of my fit problems....doing my own measurements. She also instructs you how to "true up " your fabric, another detail that I sometimes skip in my enthusiasm to begin a sewing project.

My first Crafsty class was The Couture Dress by Susan Kahlje. I signed up for this class last year to improve my sewing skills and learned so many helpful techniques form this class. and completed a cute summer dress

Bag Making Basics/Reversible Tote and zipper pouch by Kristen Link of Sew, Mama, Sew ! The bag went together easily and was a delight to sew.I even added a zipper closure. I completed the bag quickly one evening  while sipping a nice chilled rose. .
Ballet Tote for my daughter

If you haven't discovered Craftsy  yet you should check it out. There is much more than just sewing instructions.They have a large variety of classes ranging from Cake Decorating-Fine Arts and many things in between. The Classes are priced well and they often have sales. You can also find several free classes.

By the Way...The-Super-Online-Sewing-Bee- sponsored by Sew Mama Sew and Janome. Is an online sewing contest similar to the BBC Great British Sewing Bee.

Anyone can enter and the requirements are listed in the link above.The deadline for entry is July 6th and photos will be available on Flickr along with blog posts. I will be following along should be really fun.

What are your biggest sewing challenges? Do you also struggle with fit?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Completed Bombshell Bathing Suit

                 Completed Bombshell Swimsuit

Yes! That's over 40 me on the internet in a Bathing suit. I think that best expresses  how much I like this swimsuit.It really is very flattering. 

My bombshell cost....1 1/2 yd  of fabric @ $12.00, lining 1/2 yard at $14.00 purchased at Nancys Sewing Basket in Seattle,  1 pattern  Etsy $10.00, elastic and thread $4.00 Bra Cups purchased from Sew Sassy Fabrics for $3.98. Fabulous instructions and camaraderie FREE! Grand Total expenses ...$46.00.
I think it looks as nice as these...


          ModCloth $89.99                                                               

 Now to decide on a coverup,  I like  these with maybe a sheer lightweight fabric.
                                                   What do you think?

               Can't you just imagine me sipping cocktails poolside in Palm springs?