Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to Read a Dress Review

While I get photographs done of my first few projects for the year, I figured I would get my book review up. I have tendency to peruse Amazon excessivily for books because I don't mind a cheap, used copy of some things. How to Read a Dress by Lydia Edwards showed up in my "You may also be interested in" feed and thankfully the library had a copy available.
Amazon.com

The book looks very promising from the cover. It has a lovely 18th Century dress with historical features pointed out. A quick flip through shows lots of pretty dress pictures from the 1500s to modern day with similar analysis. Not to drop the bad news right away, but I'm glad I only borrowed a copy. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Quick Review of 2017

Well it's only been forever. My last post was over a year ago, and a lot has/hasn't happened since then.

The first immediate bad news - I haven't sewn anything remotely historical in that time period. However, that doesn't mean I haven't done any sewing.

The good news is I still have sewn - a lot. My sewing took a bit of a retro swing (no pun intended) and I've been making oodles of dresses - 10 in fact! I've had a variety of fabrics in my stash for a while and at the beginning of the year, I made a promise to myself that I would try to work through it. In addition, I thought it would be fun to have several dresses for my destination wedding in August (more on that in a bit). Here's a quick overview of everything that was made, in no particular order of completion.
Christmas holiday dress - Retro Butterick B5748, Halloween dress - McCall's Archive Collection M7086
These were both made for work. They relax dress code during Christmas time for us and allow us to wear holiday colors, so I had to make a dress for the holiday season. I found this fun vintage-looking fabric on sale and it screamed to be made into a dress. This was my third go at the pattern (a reprint from 1960) and since I already had modified pieces for my measurements, it went together in a matter of a couple days.

My ghost dress I tried to finish in time for Halloween but failed. Part of the problem was I attempted to make it using a pattern I had not used before, so I had to do make a mock-up then adjust for my measurements. This McCall's reprint from 1963 was modified and I did away with the faux belt decoration on the front. Hopefully I'll have a chance to wear it for Halloween this year!
Bridal shower dress - Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book by Gretchen Hirsch, dress for fun - Retro Butterick B5748


Thursday, November 3, 2016

TBT: Sewing with Pets

I have pets. Specifically dogs. More specifically, my bag of bones (a.k.a. Skinny, Skeletor, Pretty Girl, Crazy Whippet) that I typically refer to on the web as Daisy the Dog.
Last post she made it into my write up because she found her way into the office/sewing space. Normally I don't let her in to help minimize pet hair in the projects, but every so often she sneaks in.

While digging through my multitude of cell phone pictures recently, I found this fun gem.
Yes, that's a dog tail peeking from under the skirt.
When I lived in my apartment, I didn't have much room for a sewing area, much less a lot of room period. I was working on my calico bluebud dress and needed to put it on so I could make some self-adjustments. Daisy refused to move from the room (the largest since I had to accommodate an 1850s crinoline). No amount of coaxing could get her to move, so I adapted instead and stepped over her, crinoline and all.

Surprisingly, she did not move. I stood there for probably 10 minutes taking measurements and marking things, and still she did nothing. The incident would probably have been unmemorable, except I had her tail sticking out from under the dress and crinoline the entire time.

Hope you at least get a good laugh from this one! Happy sewing with your pets!


Monday, October 24, 2016

Heirloom Acquisitions - Buttons and 1920 Wedding Dress

Ugh I've been horrible this fall about staying up to date! August we had vacation, September saw us trying to start wedding planning, and October has just managed to fly by. After September, we did some number crunching for the wedding and my sewing habit is going to have to go through some budget cutbacks for a few months. Womp-womp :(

So yes, still not a whole lot of sewing happening - both in general and for my 1890s suit dress - but I have other fun things to show off!

For starters, my Aunt Dianne was recently going through stuff at her house and bequeathed to me a family button box!
There's some really interesting buttons in here that go all the way back to the turn of the 1900s probably, based on what I was told and what I found in the box (an old stogie box) as well. These were a few of my favorite finds:
Glass buttons, buttons on a card, iridescent glass/jet with animal claws, and someone's leather thimble.

Now the really spectacular part of this post started with a phone call from my Grandma Siegfried. They were also going through stuff at their house and found a box with a wedding dress in it (I need to get names again for who it belonged to), probably from around the 1920s. From what she described, it had been picked apart after being worn and there were just pieces of dress in the box. She wanted to know if I might be interested though because I could possibly use the pieces in other projects. I told her to send it along and I would take a look at it.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Going Gaga for Gertie

Oh I did the most horrible thing this summer! It started way back when I needed more fabric for my Hawaiian pleated skirt made during my retro binge. The local Joann's closest to me was sold out so we traveled down to another location that had the fabric. Lo and behold! This Joann's had WAAAY more apparel fabric than my local one, including the Gertie Collection.

I knew nothing about Gretchen Hirsch (the designer) apart from I loved all the fabrics (think border prints, bright tropicals, and quirky retro designs) and after leafing through the accompanying patterns, found them to be pretty easy for putting together.

Several sales, endless coupons, and multiple trips later, I accumulated this:
My horrible math skills tell me there is about 41 yards of material in here.

And this doesn't include ALL the patterns. Just ones I wanted.
Retro is quickly becoming a quick part of my everyday life because it's a fun way to jazz up my black wardrobe for work, and it's super comfy because in all honesty, I could live in skirts and dresses.