Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My 1931 spring suit...

Thanks for all your encouragement about finishing those UFO's!  I'm happy to report that I've finished one and am working on the others!

Here's some photos of the 1931 Eva Dress suit:
I love, love, love it!!!

Aren't the daffodils just amazing?  They are one of my favorite parts of spring.  These photos were taken in the Prince's Street Gardens (very near the train station) and it was perfect timing to get all the daffodils in bloom!

I absolutely adore the collar on this suit was super easy to put together despite the VERY limited instructions.

The sleeves are really great! I did have to do about three different sleeve muslins to get the length and tightness right and I sort of winged it in terms of putting them together (since there were very few instructions)...which may account for the fact that they were tighter than normal.  But I think it looks fine!

Here's the pattern cover again:

And here's a photo of the back...I really love the peplum:

I wonder what kind of little blue flowers these are in the background?  Forget-me-nots?

Thanks to David for getting such fabulous pictures!!
Makes me want to sew up some other suits pronto! hehehe 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I won the EvaDress contest....and a giveaway!!

I'm sooooooo excited! I heard the news that I won first prize for 'Best Use of Pattern in its Original Form' for my 1933 dress:
Yippeeeee...I want to thank all of you who voted for me!  Also a big thank you to those who've congratulated me and the lovely Sarah, who cohosts the Sewing through the Decades Challenge with me for doing a blog post about it (you are so sweet!).

That said, winning is so much sweeter when you can share it!  I would like to host a giveaway for followers of this blog to choose any EvaDress pattern you would like as the prize.  The giveaway will include the pattern and shipping to anywhere!  Just leave a comment on this post, with the EvaDress pattern you'd like to win, before midnight EST on April 7th and you'll be included. I'll randomly draw the winner and will post it that week!

Thanks again everyone! What a wonderful surprise!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring suits on the brain

I've been daydreaming about vintage suits lately! I am really itching to make up a few this spring!  They are perfect for the Scottish weather and you can wear them to work....  Here's a few that I've had on the brain...

I got this AMAZING 1940 suit pattern from my lovely sister for my birthday:

And I'm dying to make up this 1950s/60's suit.  I actually featured it in my spring palette but I don't think I'll get it sewed up before the end of the month--but I do plan on tackling this sometime before the summer! I love how Joan-esque it is:

And I've mentioned this one before....but I absolutely adore this Eva Dress reproduction pattern.  I particularly like the jacket.  I'd probably do a sheath dress underneath (as opposed to a wrap dress)...but the jacket is STUNNING:

This would be the perfect jacket for the Tailoring Sew-Along I'm hoping to participate in....

Lastly, I'm almost done with my UFO suit:
Thanks for all your lovely comments on the UFO post--I'm going to tackle all of my UFO's this next month! YAY!

What sewing ideas have been on your brain lately?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

UFO Confessional

After seeing Peter's post on Unfinished Objeects (UFO's)...I figured this would be the perfect time to come clean about a few UFOs I have around here!

I cut this silk fabric out before I really learned how to sew! Then I came across the instructions and was a bit intimidated.  I definitely want to tackle this before summer!

I'm making the halter top in the purple fabric that matches the cuffs of the bolero.  Again, it was a project that I ran into a head scratching moment with, put it down and then never picked it back up again!  This would be a perfect halter to finish so I can wear it this summer!

I have a couple of needlework projects that are UFO's. 
I started this one at christmastime with high hopes of making it for my niece for Christmas! I think I grossly underestimated the amount of time it will take to make the doll and the doll's clothes!  Though I definitely still want to do it!
 This one should be easy peasy but I just need a few extra moments to complete it.  I've already finished the dress and at the moment it has mustard yellow collar and cuffs.  I've got extra collar and cuffs cut out in green (as shown above), deep red and purple! An easy way to switch up the summer dress!

Ah, another needlework UFO.  I originally started this as a Father's Day present (last year) for my dad.  Father's day came and went.  Then I thought, well I can make it for his birthday (which was in January).  Do you think I'll make it for this father's day?  Hmmm....  Cross-stitch takes FOREVER! I think I've easily put in 40 hours already on this and I only have one duck done so far (but it is pretty).  I think I may spend some time with these duckies in April and May!

I am so eager to finish this suit! Especially as I want to wear it during the spring.  The fabric is lovely and I think with a short sleeve blouse underneath I could easily get many more months of wear before summer!

It's perfect timing because finishing up one of these UFO's is the theme for the Sew Weekly this week! YAY! I am super excited about this!  Which one do you think I'll choose?

What about you?  Are there any UFO's you want to finish up?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Behind the scenes with David

Hey, all.

First off, thank you for being so supportive of Debi - she loves sewing but your responses on this blog have really contributed to her feeling passionate about her hobby.   For someone who loves her, it's great to see her find something she truly enjoys, and to see others give her so much encouragement.  I'm very proud of her and what she's been able to accomplish, but seeing your feedback increases that a hundredfold.   It's been great to witness new connections forming with her fellow seamstresses.

So...this post has been a long time coming.   I had originally thought of it on Valentine's Day, when Debi had completed her outfit minutes before we had to walk out and get to the Voodoo Rooms (where we had a table reserved).  I thought the whole experience was sort of amusing, hearing the machine upstairs running furiously as the minutes ticked away, calling the restaurant to push our reservation back half an hour, then walking out the door, dressed to the nines, ready for an elegant, relaxing and romantic evening before the sewing machine had had a chance to cool.

Anyone who saw Debi in her outfit that night would never have imagined that a) she'd made it herself, and b) that she'd finished it only minutes before.   It was stunning, and I personally hope she'll either wear the gown again or will make it in other colours (although being a Taurus, red did quite well, thank you very much).

I enjoy going up to Debi's sewing room with fresh pot of tea while she's in the "creative trance."

As a bystander, it's wild to walk into someone's work space when they're in the middle of a project.*

in my case, I'm usually met with the chaos of an ironing board covered with various bits of fabric and tissue pinned together,

a million and six strands and fuzzy bits, several teacups filled at varying levels, a minefield of pins camouflaged by bits of faux fur on the carpet, and my beloved seamstress bent over  her Singer machine, singing away.

It's great to see her so involved, to help her sort out the snags, to be a part of the satisfaction she feels when it all comes together, and to see her looking fantastic at the end of it all.

This look says it all, for me.

So again, thank you all for being so supportive, and for being such a big, positive part of Debi's journey.  I know she appreciates you, and I am eternally grateful.

Warm regards,

*You should see my space during exams or essay-writing.  In fact, here's my space (on a good day).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

1970's outfit finished and a giveaway!!

It's finished! My 1970's poncho and corduroy pants from Simplicity 8932--the poncho pattern extraordinaire!

Despite the popular reader request to go with the cowprint vinyl, I opted for a nice wool fabric that I got in a recent charity shop fabric haul and some of my leftover purple corduroy (from the 'Purple Parfait' outfit).

I did, however, become inspired by the headband in view 2 and created my own to go with the 70's vibe.

I basically took 3 long and skinny pieces of both of the fabrics and braided them together and then secured the ends so that I could just slip the headband on and off.  Here's a close-up:

It made me feel very groovy:

hehehehe...All joking aside, I do actually like ponchos. There is something very appealing about being wrapped up in a warm blanket-like garment on a cold day!  I used to keep a poncho-like wrap at work for when they blasted the air conditioning in the summer.  It is a good garment to have handy.

The only way I could make this wool fabric work was to cut the poncho on the bias! Eeep...ignoring the grainline is not something I usually do.  I was really nervous cutting it on the bias as I was unsure how it would affect the drape but I figured it was probably ok because it was a heavier wool and I wanted a drapey effect.  Though I did go back and read all the comments from Sewaholic's post on when you can ignore the grainline.  Very illuminating and I decided to take the risk.  Overall, I think it's fine and I don't think it affected the drape too much.  Phew!

Another thing I love about ponchos?  They are fun on windy days:

That's Edinburgh Castle up on that hill!  I love the view from this street (aptly named 'Castle Street').

I also lined the poncho with some purple lining fabric I had in my stash:
As you can imagine, a poncho is fairly simple to sew together.  This just has a front and back seam and no collar.  I left off the hook and eye at the neck as I liked it a bit open at the neckline.

The pants are, get this, elastic waisted! ha!  I had no idea until I started making them.  They have no darts in the front or back.
I had originally picked up the pattern at the Salvation Army because of the magic words written across the front 'Corduroy cut crosswise'.  Oh yes, the rib is going cross-wise on the pants.  I think my corduroy is not well suited for this design feature as this fabric is the pinwale type of corduroy (i.e. really tiny ribs).  Ah well, at least I know it's cross-wise!

I've had quite a bit of this corduroy in my stash.  I've made these pants and also Collette's Parfait pattern as a pinafore with it:

Now I want to pass it along for someone else's creativity!  Up for grabs is approximately 3 yards of this lightweight pinwale corduroy fabric in a deep purple (it's more of the color in the photo above).

This giveaway is open to anyone and I will ship anywhere.  To enter just visit the Sew Weekly archives and leave me a comment about which theme of the Sew Weekly has been your favorite so far and what you like about it.  I'll pick a winner by random drawing.  Be sure to leave a comment here before midnight EST on Thursday March 31st!  I'll announce the winner on Friday the 1st of April (and it won't be an April Fools joke :-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

And then there were four...

We will be having two additions to our family very soon.  We've found two cats in need of fostering by friends of a colleague and it couldn't be a better match!

Meet Ebi
Ebi has one white whisker (all the others are black) and she is very affectionate.

And here is Echo
Echo is also very affectionate and loves to lounge about (who doesn't)!

We are super excited that these two lovelies will come to live with us in the middle of April. We've met them through skype already!  Their parents are about to move overseas for a short time period.  It's perfect for us because we LOVE cats and have missed having them in our lives.  We've been wanting to get mature cats for some time and fostering seems like the best option.  I can't wait to get to know them better.

And here's one of my favorite pictures of Elizabeth Taylor (rest in peace) with a kitty.  What a beautiful lady:
Photo from the Catalyst blog.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What's on the Sewing Table

I'm going to be attempting my first 1970's pattern this next week!  The Sew Weekly theme is "Don't judge a pattern by its cover." So, trying to make attractive garments from very unattractive pattern (envelopes).  Sounds fun, no?

Here's the pattern I'm going to be sewing:

I'm going to sew up View 1.

First, I should clarify that this pattern is only hideous compared to the other patterns in my stash (I tend to buy patterns based on their pretty envelopes!)  I actually think the pattern cover is kind of cute and definitely very reminiscient of the time period!  However, in comparison to my other patterns, it does stand out a bit.  I mean, who wouldn't want a self-decorated rick-rack poncho in their wardrobe?  Or what about a vinyl cow print poncho with a matching miniskirt?  One of the options for the poncho and mini-skirt is fur fabrics.  I briefly toyed with the idea of making a faux fur poncho and matching mini-skirt with my leftover faux rabbit fur...though you will be happy to know that it was a very brief fleeting thought (thank goodness)!

I do look forward to channeling a 70's vibe this next week!

Thank you...

Thank you you all for voting in the Eva Dress competition!  It's so fun and exciting.

I have also been very blessed to have received several blogger awards over the past couple of months! A big thank you to Kestrel Finds and Makes, Honey Hi, This Old Life, the Swing of Things, and Jellybean's Odds and Ends....(sorry if I missed anyone--give me a shout out if I did!!).

 So, I get to tell you 7 things about myself....

1. I love sewing...(hahaha just already know that! :-)   But I will tell you my absolutely favorite fabric to sew with is wool!
 I love everything about wool (and sheep).  Lightweight wool is a dream to sew with and to wear--it has such excellent body and drape.  I am definitely taking advantage of my location (Scotland) to get some fantastic wool!  Can you believe that I have found lightweight wool that's sold for cheaper than quilting cotton??  Unbelievable and FANTASTIC!  Oh, and it's lambing season right now and they are soooo cute.

2. How I Got Started Sewing:
I had taken some sewing lessons (3 to be exact) from a sewing tutor I found on Craigslist in New York City when I lived there (before moving to Scotland).  I had always been attracted by vintage clothing and when I started to look online for vintage styled pieces, I stumbled across a few sewing blogs.  I was hooked--both on reading about other people's sewing projects but also by vintage patterns.  So I enlisted the help of the sewing tutor and bought more patterns than a novice really needs and started out.

It was a bit daunting and very slow going in the beginning.  I didn't end up finishing that 'first' dress until this year (and I took the sewing lessons in 2005).  Starting a blog about sewing and my projects really helped me to integrate into the online sewing community (which is so supportive) and encouraged me to get over my fear and really start spending the time doing what I loved.

As I've mentioned before, there were two bloggers that I think really got me hooked...Lauren from Wearing History and Casey from Casey's Elegant Musings.  I loved that both wore and photographed themselves wearing their creations and did their hair up in vintage styles and really evoked the time period of whatever they were creating.  That really captured my creative imagination and inspired me to no end.  I think I have read every single post from both of these bloggers (multiple times!).  It really unleashed my own creativity and thinking around creating vintage and period pieces of clothing.

Of course there are many, many others that inspire me now but those two ladies were two of the first and that's how I got absolutely hooked!

3. When I'm not sewing....
I'm actually a researcher in my day job (hence my super pattern finding research skills! hahaha)  I research the prevalence of violence against women and children but also ways to prevent this violence.  I absolutely love what I do!  People always ask me if I find it depressing and I have to say that I find the exact opposite--I find it very hopeful!  There are the most amazing people working in this field--dedicating their lives to these topics and I find it so inspiring!  I had the opportunity when I was in New York City to work with the founders of the rape crisis movement...these amazing women are still heading up the rape crisis programmes today that they started 30 plus years ago around their kitchen tables due to the outrage of how rape survivors were being treated by the police and by hospital staff.  We've come a long way (though there is still a lot of work to do) but it was amazing to work with these women (and honestly, they are the nicest people you will ever meet).  I take their inspiration and passion for what they do as my own inspiration and I hope that through my research I can make a small contribution to ending violence against women and children...

4. I believe in love at first fact, that's how David and I met!  We were both at a restaurant/bar with separate people and saw each other across a crowded room (no kidding!)  It was electric--definitely love at first sight.  We've been together almost 8 years and I feel as if we were made for each other (aww...sweet, no?):

5. I love fact, that is one of the first things that David and I discovered we had in common.  The first night we met we went out to a Bistro in NYC to grab some food and we had the most amazing tea called Jardin Bleu.  Unfortunately, that Bistro stopped carrying the tea after a couple of months and we were devastated....but then we found the French company, called Dammann Frères,  that actually makes the tea. They make some of the most lovely teas--including Jardin Bleu!!!

6. I'm just now watching Mad Men.... can you believe it?  It took me the first season to get into it but now I am hooked.  I just finished season 2 and am making my way through season 3.  I am definitely becoming inspired to make some late 50's/early 60's dresses soon!

7. I like Mexican Food... wait, no, I should say I LOVE Mexican food...everything from chips, salsa and guacamole to chiles rellenos and enchiladas. yummy!  Believe it or not, there is some really good Mexican food here in Edinburgh!

But I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the wonderful sewing community that is over at the Sew Weekly Sewing Circle.  You should join.  And when you do, definitely 'friend' me. It would be great to see you all over there as well!
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