Monday, December 20, 2010

It's our moving week!

Sorry for the silence on this's getting close to that time...yes, we are moving this week!  I know, I know...what could have possible possessed us to move in the middle of December?  We've just had a fresh dusting of snow.  So, hopefully the movers will still show up!

I dismantled the dressform today and finally came to terms with the fact that I won't be finishing the cape until we unpack on the other side. 

I'm so excited about the move that all the usual moving chaos and hard work (not to mention that I'm in the middle of a big consulting contract on top of my normal work) will definitely all pay off.  We are so excited to be moving to Edinburgh!  We have so much planned...swing dancing classes, regular Sunday brunches out in the city, operas, plays (not to mention the 'fringe festival' every summer), FABRIC STORES, etc. etc.  It's all so exciting!  You must visit Edinburgh, if you've never been.  It's such a fantastic city!

So, it might be a bit quiet around here for the next week or two while we unpack and settle into our new flat.  I'll be sure to post some pictures of our new hometown.  I have some exciting sewing plans for 2011 and I can't wait to get started!

Happy holidays everyone--hope you have a wonderful end to 2010!  I look forward to starting a fun and exciting new year with you all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wintergreen and American Beauty

I came across a color scan of the 1939 Sears catalogue photo that is also pictured (in black and white) in the Everyday Fashions of the Thirties.  The page describes two popular color schemes during the year.  I've always wondered what exactly they looked like (since I had only seen the black and white versions)!  Aren't they great?

I really like the 'American Beauty' color scheme.  I've been wanting to incorporate more of a raspberry color into my sewn wardrobe.  Over the summer my mom gave me a great polka dot top in a bright raspberry shade (it's a bit more raspberry than pink as it appears in this photo) and I really like it:

I would love to find some fabric in the reddish blue similar to the 'American Beauty' above.  I, of course, also love the Wintergreen color!  Which is your favorite?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

McCall 789 is finished!!!

Oh, I am so happy! I just finished the 'House of the Seven Gables' 1940 embroidery pattern (McCall 789).  Not a moment too soon as I need to mail this out by Monday to make sure it gets to my family by Christmas for the gift exchange.

Here it is....I just love all the colors:

Here's the pattern cover:

And some close-ups:

I love the trees:

And the front door of the house:

And here is what it will look like framed (we still have to mount it properly)...

YAY! It's so pretty! I love it and I can't believe I finished it in time!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hollywood patterns featured in September 1940 Glamour magazine

I wanted to share with you all some great scans from the September 1940 issues of Glamour magazine:

I somehow managed to snag this magazine for super cheap on ebay (not quite sure how that happened) but I am loving EVERY page of it!!

It features several Hollywood patterns including # 494 and 498 below:

Hollywood 498 (on the right of the photo above) has a bloused jacket and an inverted front pleat in the skirt!  So cute....

Hollywood 494 has a long jacket which is double-breasted with a front that can be buttoned high or low below the notched collar.  It has also has pocket flaps at the hips.  I managed to find this pattern on the Vintage Patterns Wiki and it features Lucille Ball on the cover:

The magazine also features these two beauties:

The dress on the left is Hollywood #500 which is a "serene little dress for important afternoons".  It features a high curved neckline which "makes it a perfect background for some of your new Autumn jewelry".

The dress on the right is Hollywood #502.  Isn't that neckline pretty?  This pattern also contains a shawl with deep fringe to knot at the throat.  I found a picture of this pattern from nnaloh on the Flickr Vintage Sewing Patterns Group.  It features Jane Wyman from the movie "My Love Came Back" on the cover:

The last two patterns featured in the magazine are Hollywood #501 and 495:

The lovely and talented Mena from The Sew Weekly has made #501 in one of her early dress posts.  Check out the wonderful photos of her in the finished dress!

Do you have any Hollywood patterns?  Have you seen any that you just adore?  Have you sewn from any?  Do share!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Progress on the 1935 cape (McCall 8501)

I'm making good progress on my 1935 cape pattern and I'm getting really excited about it.  Here it is with part of the shell completed AND the lining and interlining which is almost finished (still have to hem the bottom):

Here's a side view:

This was my first time lining anything!  I had my doubts along the way but it turned out really well:

I also interlined the cape following Gertie's excellent tutorial.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find any lambswool for the interlining, so I used cotton batting instead.  I was a little unsure about this but it was really easy to sew with and hasn't affected the drape at all!

There's still a few steps left:
  • Sew the jacket to the cape front,
  • Face and attach the collar,
  • Sew on the pockets,
  • Make buttonholes and sew on the buttons,
  • Make a matching belt, and
  • Finish hemming the lining!
I've gotten some really great buttons to go with it but have encountered difficulties in finding a matching I've decided to make my own.  Here's another look at the pattern cover to get an idea of how it will hopefully look when finished:

In other news, it's still snowing here!!  Here's my favorite recent snow picture:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Swoon worthy shoes

As many of you know, I am unfortunately allergic to leather (actually the chemicals used to tan leather) BUT I am dying to try out some vintage shoes (late 30's/early 40's) as the chromium tanning process didn't begin until the late 30's and wasn't widespread until later.  I am holding out hope that maybe, just maybe, I can find me a pair of vintage lovelies that won't cause an allergic reaction!

The other problem with trying to find vintage shoes is the sizes!  It must be a gold mine if you are a size 5 or 6 but much more difficult if you wear an 8, 9 or 10 size shoe.

I stumbled across these shoes on etsy this last week:

I think these are the PERFECT shoes.  They looked very I dug out my Forties Fashion book and sure enough, they are the SAME shoes (sold by Kickshaw Productions which is run by the man who wrote the book, started the Fashion History Museum in Ontario and has this blog):
Oh how I wish I could fit into these size 5 shoes!

But those aren't the only lovelies on esty.  How about these beautiful rich brown seude shoes with adorable red bows:
 Sadly, a size 7--I think it would be too tight for comfort.

I just came across this amazing and unique 1930's/1940's shoes on etsy.  Sadly, a size 6--but I am in love with this color combination:

Or what about these tan and brown shoes which are a bit closer in size (but would still probably be too tight to be truly comfortable):

I think I must have a thing for the 30's/40's shoes that have bow details because I also love these lighter ivory shoes:

If it wasn't always so cold here, I would invest in more sandels.  I love these colorful 1940's wedges:

Talk about small, these beauties are a size 4:

While I think the late 30's and 40's is my favorite time period for shoes, I also really like shoes from the 1920's/early 30's.  Check out these beautiful flapper shoes:

And finally, these AMAZING ivory shoes!  These would be perfect for a vintage wedding:

Which ones are your favorite?  Do you own any vintage shoes?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's not too late to enter the Blue Gardenia Giveaway....

Just a quick reminder to enter the Blue Gardenia giveaway.  There's a pattern and/or gift certificate to the pattern shop, 4 yards of Italian wool AND Revlon's Fire and Ice lipstick and nail polish!!!  Wowza.  I already entered!! Twice.
This is the pattern up for grabs OR choose your own with a handy gift certificate to the Blue Gardenia pattern shop:

All you have to do is:
 Leave a comment about why you like vintage patterns and whether you have ever sewn one before at this link by Friday, December 3, 11:59 p.m. PST.  If you are already a follower on Typepad and enter, or if you become a follower (and you can do this through Facebook) and enter, you get one extra entry.

Hey, it's open to everyone--no previous vintage sewing experience needed.  This may just be your chance to try it out!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1930's Cape

I'm itching to move onto something I can wear this I'm starting on McCall 8501 from 1935:

Isn't it a beauty?  I love the jacket (there is only a jacket front pattern piece--apparently the belt keeps the cape on) and the collar!

I'm making it in this fantastic tweed plaid that I picked up at a charity shop (only in Scotland can you pick up nice tweed and wool in charity shops!!!):
But it was a weird experience at the charity shop because they didn't have any fabric in the shop.  So I asked the guy working behind the cash register if they had any fabric and he said, "let me check in the back room".  So he takes me to this back room and there's another store employee there and she said, "oh yes, we set aside all fabric for a woman that comes and buys vintage fabrics, whatever she didn't want is in this suitcase."  And there I found 3.5 yards of this tweed and an identical tweed in brown (also 3.5 yards) and about 3 yards of matching grey lining fabric.  Major score!  Now, I always ask about fabric!!

I am going to try and interline (with the help of Gertie's interlining vlog) and also line this cape (with the gray lining fabric).  This will be my first time doing either!  I'm very excited as it looks like a fairly straight forward but elegant pattern.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

French Knots

I've almost completed my 'House of the Seven Gables' needlework pattern from 1940.  A few of you were asking about needlework stitches and I thought I would show you how to make a French knot which is used extensively in this pattern.

It is used for these Larkspur flowers:

And as the center in these Daisies:

First you will need to determine how many strands of thread to have in the needle.  The patterns from this time period are very specific.  I am to use six strands of thread for the French knots.  This is the standard number of strands in embroidery thread:

I am really happy that all the thread came with the pattern!  So if you use all six strands then just put the end of the thread (as pictured above) through your needle.  If it says to use only three or four strands then you'll need to separate off two strands of the thread.  Hope that makes sense.

Your threaded needle will have the longer thread and a short tail (just keep enough of a tail to work comfortably without fear of your needle losing the thread!):

Then you can either knot the end of your thread or leave it loose and just not pull it all the way through the fabric (whichever way you prefer).

Step 1: Start from back to front.  Bring the needle through the mark on the pattern for the French knot:

Step 2: Bring the thread all the way through the fabric:

Step 3: Hold the thread taut with your left hand and bring the needle up against the thread:

Step 4: Wrap the thread around the needle (from top to bottom to back to front) the number of times indicated on the pattern.  I've wrapped it twice around the needle:

Step 5: Continuing to hold the thread taut, reinsert the needle into the fabric very close to where it originally came through the fabric (but not in the same place):

Step 6: Continue to the hold the thread you wrapped around the needle with your left hand as you pull the needle through the fabric.  You'll need to pull a bit tougher at the beginning as you are pulling through all the thread (it will be easier once the tail goes through the fabric).  You can hold the thread less taut when you first pull the thread through the fabric as that will make it easier to get all the threads through the knot and you can then hold it more taut as you get closer to pulling all the thread through.  In this photo the needle has just gone through the fabric and you can still see the tail thread on the right:

Now the tail has gone through and it is just a small amount left to pull through:

Et viola!  Once you've pulled all the thread through, you should have a French knot:

You can change the size of the knot by the number of times you wrap it around the needle. The orange knots in the picture above were wrapped twice around the needle.  My pattern says to wrap the thread once around the needle which gives a smaller knot (the right one below):

I'm not using an embroidery hoop in these photos (sometimes I use them, sometimes I don't).  Overall, they are very helpful for keeping the fabric taut as you embroider but you can also embroider without one.

Hope that was helpful--it's definitely less daunting then it appears and it's fairly easy to correct mistakes (just cut the thread and pull it back through and start over!)  This is actually my first time making French knots--so if you have other techniques, please share!

I'm super excited that I'm almost finished!  I am going to wrap it up as a family present for Christmas (my family is doing the pick a number and choose a gift thing this year!)

What about you?  Do you embroider?  Have you ever wanted to try some of the vintage needlework patterns?
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