My first vintage pattern!

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Look what arrived in my mailbox today!

I’m so excited! This is my first vintage pattern, Simplicity 4676. I discovered the pattern on Lauren’s blog. Her make is gorgeous and I want one, too!

After some hunting, I found it in Tina’s online store.

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I’m always nervous ordering online from someone for the first time, but this was a pleasant experience. Tina emailed right away that she had received my order and was shipping it out. The pattern arrived wrapped carefully in plastic and is as advertised.

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I think I’m going to attempt view A.

Joann’s has 50% off of sale fabrics and I now officially have what sewing bloggers refer to as a “stash.” I totally lost control and filled my cart with linens, knits, cotton blends, and satins. I picked up 11 different fabrics. The most expensive was $5 a yard (a tribal print challis) and the cheapest (a wine colored cotton knit) was only $2.50 a yard! My fabric store purchases will now consist of only notions until I get some of this sewn up. I’m so looking forward to making up the garments I’ve planned for all of this beautiful fabric!

I picked up this beauty today for $3 a yard and I think  it will make a perfect bow blouse. It’s a lightweight (but not see-through) cotton. I’m generally not a big fan of pastels or purple, but I really like this anyway.

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I’m a little worried about the pattern’s fit. According to the body measurements on the envelope, I am a perfect size 16. In the modern patterns I’ve made up thus far, I’ve been taking a size or two down because there is so much ease. They look sloppy in the “correct” size. I wonder if this will be a problem with vintage patterns. Should I have ordered a 14 instead?…

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Monogram tote

 

This weekend, I wanted a quick project. I was in the mood for something fast and satisfying, so I whipped up a tote bag.

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I used New Look 0126. I made the dress a while back and decided to give the bag a go.

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It was crazy easy and I really like the result. The body of the bag is a faux blue suede I picked up on sale at Joann’s and the lining (and letter “B”) is made from quilting cotton. Luckily, I found strap material and ribbon for the top edge of the bag that match almost perfectly.

Interior of the bag with items needed for my workday

Interior of the bag with items needed for my workday. My laptop fits perfectly!

This project took about 2 hours on Sunday afternoon. There are a few things I will do differently when I made the bag again. First, I think I’ll shorten the straps by 3-4 inches. Second, I’ll use my walking foot to attach the lining to the exterior of the bag. There is one spot on the inside of the bag with a little pucker because the cotton moved on me while I was sewing. Third, I’ll use a smaller appliqué letter and a smaller zig-zag stitch when I apply it to the bag. The letter “B” is from Microsoft Word, but I think it’s a bit too big. Sewing around the letter got hairy at the round parts. It’s not noticeable  but I think a smaller stitch might be easier to maneuver.

My furry sewing buddy really wanted to climb into the bag while photos were being taken.

My furry sewing buddy gave me a photographic challenge. She really wanted to climb into the bag while I was taking pictures.

A second version of this bag is in the works. With Mother’s Day drawing near, I decided to try something different and make Mom’s gift. Her tote bag should be done soon!

 

 

Two challenges & a forgotten black knit top

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This morning, I took the Me-Made-May pledge! Eek!

I vow to wear at least two me-made items per week during all of May 2013. I’m a bit worried. Just a few months ago, I had never threaded a sewing machine and here I am attempting to wear things I made at regular intervals. Yikes!

Concerned that maybe I can’t pull this off, I took inventory of what I’ve created thus far and realized one of my me-made items had neither been worn nor posted on the blog. When I made it a few months ago, I was on the fence regarding whether or not it suited me.  I suspect the hideous yellow floral version on the pattern envelope may not have helped with my overall impression of the garment.

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I folded it up, placed it in a drawer, and forgot about it. When I inspected it this morning, I have no idea what my hang-ups were about this top. It fits well and my workmanship is good. I threw it on with a pencil skirt and sweater and headed off to my teaching duties at the university. Now, lounging around on my sofa in the shirt and a pair of yoga pants, I have decided to declare it a sewing success. It was super comfortable to wear today and I think the draped neck is a good look for me.

After months of neglect, here is McCalls 6563:

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Please ignore my blank expression. Obviously, a career in modeling is not in my future…

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With sweater. It’s warm here today, but the university has a love affair with airconditioning.

In addition to resurrecting my black knit top and signing on for Me-Made-May, I have decided to attempt my first sewing challenge:

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I like 1920s fashion. It always strikes me as a bit ahead of it’s time and appeals to my feminist sensibilities. Tiny waists or unnaturally pointy breasts weren’t required. Short, almost masculine hair was incredibly fashionable. I have yet to see a pair of crazy high heels in photos from the 1920s. While I have no desire to go back in time (I am a thoroughly modern girl), I do appreciate first wave feminists, flapper fashion, and bobbed hair.

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I also LOVE F. Scott Fitzgerald. This Side of Paradise and The Great Gatsby are two of my favorite books. Friends and I have already planned a girls’ night for the Gatsby movie. Obviously, I’m up for this challenge. I think the best part may be researching my garment. I’m hoping to come up with something paying homage to the 1920s, but modern enough for wear today. A Pinterest board may be involved….

In progress…

After a long day, I came home to some sewing therapy. I’m working on a cotton-linen blend tunic. It’s Simplicity 4149, view B.

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I almost didn’t buy this pattern. I tried to purchase it at my local Joann’s during their 5 for $5 Simplicity pattern sale, but the store didn’t have my size. As I was strolling through rows of fabric, my good friend M sent me a text. She was browsing patterns at the Joann’s location across town. What are the chances, right?! The store she was in had the pattern in my size and she picked it up for me. I’m not too excited about the elastic waist pants and I think the skirt may be an odd length for me (needing some substantial adjustments), but the tunic variations are great. Before I left the store, a few yards of shimmery cotton-linen landed in my basket.

I worked up the bodice this weekend. I didn’t do a muslin since the pattern looked so simple.

This evening, I eased in the sleeves. Both took me two tries, but I finally sewed them in smoothly. No puckers!

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And, perfectly aligned under-arm seams.

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The only thing about the make thus far that caused me trouble were the bust darts. They were way too low. I moved them up by 2 inches.

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Tomorrow, I’ll hem it up and wash off the fabric pen markings. I hope to share finished pictures soon.

J’adore Miette!

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I finished Tilly’s Miette this weekend and wore it today to lunch with Mom and then to an event at the university. I am thrilled with how it turned out!

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Mom took some glamorous parking lot photos, but the super bright sun makes it tough to see the details on the skirt…

As promised, it was super easy. I didn’t even need to refer to Tilly’s online tutorials. The skirt involved only very straight-forward sewing.

I cut the size 3 and only made adjustments to the length. I’m short, so I cut of about 4 inches from the hem. I used a very light-weight denim I purchased at Joann’s. It’s dark blue and hangs nicely. Today, I discovered it does wrinkle, but it’s not too terrible. I give it high marks for comfort and I adore its versatility. I dressed it up today, but anticipate wearing it with a plain cotton tank and sandals throughout the summer. The wrap-around nature of the skirt means it will always fit, big meals or otherwise (this was tested and proved after lunch today)! Despite the wrap-around design, it held up well in some wind and got my mother’s approval. She referred to it as “appropriate” and “cute.” That’s a thumbs up from Mom! Wahoo!

Back view

Back view

After making Miette and the Mathilde blouse, I’ve started watching Tilly on The Great British Sewing Bee. There has been some kidding around on the web about Team Patrick (eh… not my type), but I am a big Tilly fan. I love the fact she’s willing to take risks and seems to bounce right back when things don’t go exactly as planned. After all, it’s just clothing… The show isn’t airing in the U.S., but I’ve found it on YouTube and can’t wait to watch her and all the other contestants in tomorrow night’s installment.

Tilly- if you happen to read this- keep the patterns coming! I could really use a pair of shorts (hint…hint…).

Bad hair day with wind that made it worse, but you get the idea...

Bad hair day with wind that made it worse, but you get the idea…

A University of Florida baby blanket & Tilly’s new pattern

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My latest baby blanket draped over my office chair. Try to ignore the stacks of paper on the floor!

After the Mathilde blouse, I pulled together another football baby blanket. I made this one for a good friend’s pregnant sister-in-law. The pattern and directions are from Jessica’s blog, Happy Together. The only changes I made were widening the white lace bits to a full inch. I felt they were a little too narrow on the first football blanket I created.

I have decided on a policy of strictly selfish sewing, but my friend asked very nicely and offered to cover my costs. When she told me the expectant parents are fellow Gators, I caved…

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I’m fairly certain it is my solemn duty as a University of Florida graduate to make sure future Gators are immediately surrounded by orange and blue. Duty fulfilled.

In other news…

Tilly has read my mind. I was staring into my closet this weekend after finishing my Mathilde blouse and pondering my next sewing project. I decided a simple and versatile skirt should be next. Maybe something in khaki or denim I can wear all summer and well into fall.

Have you seen Tilly’s new pattern? She read my mind! Her Miette pattern is exactly what I need. I’m not a big fan of pockets (I just don’t need extra fabric in that area…) but, I adore the pocketless version. Although, I haven’t purchased the pattern yet, my car inexplicably pulled into the fabric store parking lot on as I ran some errands this evening. I left the store with this:

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The color is really off in this photo. It’s a dark blue denim. It’s not quite as light as chambray, but it’s close. I didn’t want anything too stiff and I think this will drape nicely. Mysteriously, the exact amount required to make Miette landed in my shopping bag… Hmmm… it appears construction on my Miette will commence soon!

“Sew” in love with Mathilde!

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My Mathilde is finished!

This blouse was such a pleasure to make. The pattern fit me perfectly. (I’m 5’3″ and usually find the best fit in the petite department. Taller girls may need to lengthen the body, but it worked perfectly for me!) The only adjustment I made was to the fullness of the sleeve. I thought they were a bit too puffy, so I slimmed them down by 4 inches.

I encountered a few sewing firsts with this make: buttons

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button holes

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pleats

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and French seams!

I was so worried about the button holes. They were intimidating! I read through my machine’s manual and practiced a bunch on some scrap fabric before finally braving it with my good fabric. I was thrilled with how they came out.

Overall, this was an easy make, but that was due in large part to Tilly‘s excellent online tutorials. Whenever I had trouble wrapping my head around the pattern directions, I referred to Tilly’s blog. Her detailed explanations and photos were a huge help. The bit about the gathered sleeves was particularly helpful

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as was the post on the poof at the shoulder.

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I wore the finished blouse to Easter dinner with a white mini skirt. I felt comfortable and chic while filling up on ham, veggies, and wine.

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A huge thank you to Tilly for the great pattern and super clear online tutorials. Due to her diligence and my willingness to go slow and follow her every direction, my blouse is shockingly flawless (how amazing is that?!). According to her blog, Tilly is about to release another pattern. If it’s anything like this one, I’m all in!

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