Sunday, August 28, 2016

A cozy interlude: Christmas dressing gown

As you will begin to notice, there is no particular order in which I'll be posting my backlog of projects. They're all old, some are really old, some are completely seasonally inappropriate for the current weather, but there you go. Case in point:

The project I have to share today is one from WAY back in December. It's one of the few things I actually got finished in the latter half of 2015, as dealing with a 2 year old, newborn, moving, finding tenants for our old (now rental) property, and keeping managing to keep myself fed, etc took up a ridiculous amount of time. Go figure. I did finally set myself with a couple of goals towards the end of the year, however. My husband has had this wretched, threadbare, stolen from a theater department, too small, satin smoking jacket for eons, and he loved it. For three years I'd been telling him I'd make him a new one. This past year I did. That is, however, for another post. The point is, when I got to work on his new smoking jacket, I started to feel a little bit left out. Of course, I needed to make myself a warm dressing gown as well. I couldn't have him looking all fashionable in a new lounge jacket and not even own a robe myself, let along a fabulous one. So, I dug through my patterns and found one that was pretty close to perfect. 

I really didn't make any changes to it, other than lengthening it from tea to floor length, and I also changed the construction a tad, as mine is fully lined, where the pattern only calls for facings. 

The pattern is Simplicity 4056, for which I do not have the actual envelope, just the pieces; and I can't seem to find a picture of the pattern on the internet for the life of me, so you'll just have to take my word for it. It's a street length brunch coat pattern with two views. The first has a scalloped neckline, and the second (the one I used) has faced lapels and large pockets.

I used a checked rayon suiting for the outer, and it's lined in a buttery soft Kaffe Fassett cotton flannel that feels like heaven. It's also super warm, which is nice, because our living room is the furthest room from the furnace, and as the fireplace is not in working order it gets pretty chilly in there when I'm hanging out after the boys have gone to bed. The most difficult thing about it was cutting it out, as there is really not anywhere in my house that's very conducive to cutting such large pieces. I wound up doing it in the hallway. Assembly was pretty quick and easy. It's heavy, but it feels SO amazing and snuggly on, and it makes me feel really glamorous at the same time. You just can't beat comfy glamour. 

You'll have to pardon the mess, as these were taken in the midst of our Christmas mess, which gets pretty out of control when you've got small children. 

It buttons all the way down the front, has a tie tie belt, a BIG patch pockets. I'm pretty proud of how well I managed to get the plaid to match at my center front/back, too, since cutting it was such a massive pain.

I must admit, I'm really looking forward to being able to futz around the house in this all of the time again once it cools down. I'm not looking forward to inevitably getting stuck in the house because of the weather, but if you're going to be stuck, you should at least have a fab dressing gown to sit around in. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Anne Adams 4811 Redux

I didn't set out to make myself an Easter dress, but that's just how this one ended up. I finished it about two days before Easter, so the first time I wore it was to Easter brunch with some my mom's extended family. This is the second version of Anne Adams 4811 that I've made. The first version I made is one of my absolute favorite dresses, so springy and colorful, not to mention super light and comfortable in our sweltering Ohio Valley summers. A second one (and maybe eventually a third) was definitely in order, and in my book it's really hard to go wrong with a floral print challis, so floral challis it is...again.

Now, about half way through construction, I started thinking about the neckline. I wasn't sure I wanted two absolutely identical dresses, and I was kind of liking how the v-neckline was looking at this point. I decided to leave off the collar on this version, just to make it a little bit different, and faced the neckline edge with self bias tape. The buttons that I used for this dress are also vintage buttons that came from the big stash I inherited. It's been fun digging through and finding matching sets of buttons, interesting buckles, and other odds and ends, although it's such a huge box it takes ages to find things, and I'm never quite sure I have all of one kind. I've been very slowly trying to sort things out into color families at least, to make my searches a little simpler. I'm no where near having them organized though. 

I made the same alterations to this that I made on the first version, shifting the bust gathers up about 1.5 inches, grading in at the waist, and taking in the bust seams ever so slightly. It fits a bit differently now, since my son has weaned, but if anything it's improved the fit in the bust, which was what I had planned for. These pictures were rushed after we got home from brunch, I was tired and the sun was in my eyes, and therefore not in the mood for my husband playing photog. You get the idea though. 

Both of these dresses are on regular rotation for me this summer, and it's been nice having something super comfortable to throw on that looks like I put in some effort. It goes a long way to making you feel a little bit more human when you're stuck in the house with small children all of the time. It goes perfectly with my ReMix Sydneys, too, which are some of my favorite shoes. Always a plus. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Well, hello again!

I can't believe it's been a year since I wrote a post! I've been sewing and knitting plenty, but just haven't had time, with two wild little boys, for more than the occasional quickie Facebook post of projects. I've been thinking about trying to post some of the backlog of projects from the past year, but just haven't quite had the push I needed. After suddenly being reminded my Debi of how absent I've been on here, I am working on getting some of these things posted. Now, you'll have to bear with the iPhone photos and the occasional toddler/baby photo bomb and mess, as taking nice pictures just takes too much time and effort these days, but maybe one of these days I'll be able to find the time again. Haha!

Now, without further ado, the first project I'd like to share with you is the completed McCall 3610 that I had cut out a little over a year ago, just before we moved into the new house.

I used a rayon challis that I got from Denver Fabrics, and the drape was perfect for this. The print obscures some of the bodice detailing, but that was alright for a first go around with this pattern (as I was bad and didn't muslin first). The dress came out nearly perfect, however. I graded up one size, and the fit is spot on. I didn't have much chance to wear it before the weather got too warm, as I was still nursing when I finished it and was never without a hungry baby, but I'm really looking forward to wearing this fall. I think it's definitely going to be a go-to dress for me. The sleeves feel SO good, too! I adore bishop sleeves anyway, but in this soft, drapey challis they just feel so light and decadent. I would really love to make this dress again, perhaps in a solid crepe, so that the detailing will really show up. I don't have many cooler weather dresses, so it would fill a wardrobe gap for me as well. 

The self fabric belt is backed in black cotton and finished with hand stitched eyelets and a vintage shell buckle. The buttons I used at the neckline and cuffs are also vintage, and came from a HUGE stash of vintage buttons and things that I was given by a friend of ours. He also gifted me with his aunt's 1947 Singer 66-16, which I've just gotten back from my mechanic and am starting to play around with some. 

I also finally have something that I can wear my Irish lace jabot with! I love it, and am pretty proud of it (as it was my first, and as of this point only attempt at crocheted lace), but I just don't have anything with an appropriate neckline for it. It really looks fabulous with this, though, and I think completes the look perfectly; especially with a little black hat. Maybe I'll finally make the lace cuffs that match the jabot, too. I hope you all have a relaxing weekend!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Vintage Pattern Pledge V. 2.0

It's almost unbelievable, but I FINALLY finished another project! We're finally moved into the new house, and while I still have some organizing and things to do, I've gotten things settled enough that I actually have some space to sew again. I'd satisfied myself initially with a few quick, immediate gratification projects (in this case some bento bags for knitting projects and keeping the kids stuff better organized in the diaper bag), but I have actually finished a garment, too! This blouse is the same pattern that I used for the Vintage Playsuit Sew-Along , New York 1292. It wasn't in my original Pattern Pledge lineup, but when it came down to it, I needed a simple project that was going to be good for the summer, sew up quickly, and be nursing friendly. This was it. I already had the fabric in my queue. I pulled it out of my mom's stash when I grabbed the linen I used for my circle skirt, as they went so well together.

So without further ado, here are some hastily taken photos, in between trying to organize/clean/unpack and picking up the boys from my parents' house, hence the wrinkled linen and the shiny face. But hey! Actual pictures of me!

It's a super easy pattern, and even with two small kids, dishes and laundry to deal with I managed to get the whole thing finished in about three evenings (less than a day's work essentially). There are only three pattern pieces, front (with attached facings), back and collar. I did have to piece the undercollar, since I didn't have enough to cut them both on the fold, but if anything it just gives the back of the collar a little more structure. The armholes and back neck are finished with bias tape. I used a contrasting fabric for the back neck finishing, since I still have some of the green left from my Robson Trench. The little bit of color helps break up the floral some, and gives it a little more polish in my opinion. 

I wanted some fairly neutral buttons, but since the background is such a weird shade of peach it was nearly impossible to find something that really matched, so I went with some plain, pale pink ones. I did add a fourth button, since these are a little smaller than the ones I used on the first blouse, and the three the pattern calls for just wasn't going to cut it this time. That's the only change I made though. 

I've got another blouse about half finished, and my next two Vintage Pattern Pledge projects cut, but haven't marked them yet. I've almost got my sewing room all set up; just a few more things missing, and then I'll get pictures taken to share with you all. It's SO nice finally having a dedicated workspace now. Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Moving right along

Lots of stuff going on around here (por fin)! The new house is officially ours, and we're busy, busy, busy getting things painted, moved and organized. The first room on the painting docket is my new.....SEWING ROOM! The downstairs bedroom is going to belong to me for a while, until the boys are much older, and it's probably going to be the only way I manage to preserve my sanity for the next several years. It's been super fun planning out decor, furniture arrangement, and so forth, and I'm so excited to have space for all of my machines, my fabric stash, ironing board, and everything all in one room. No more sewing on the dining room table for me! I've yet to find a desk for in there, to double as a sewing table and a storage space for home-office related stuff, but I'll make do in the meantime. 

We've been busy painting this week so we can get things moved in, and my sewing room was up first on the list (partly because a lot of the big stuff we need to move will be going in there, and also because it's clearly the most important room in the house). The color looks a little pinkish in photos, but it's actually a really lovely, pale lilac. 

Our bedroom is next, and I'm about half finished with the first coat, but OH LORD is it difficult to paint when you're also wrangling an infant. Having to stop every 15 minutes to change diapers or nurse makes it unbelievably inefficient and it's taking like twice as long as it should. He is pretty cute, though.

Taking a break for a sling nap and some lunch, since he was getting really cranky about sitting in his little bouncy seat.
Our room is going to be a bright, minty aqua color, and the boys' room is going to be a bright blue (so that dark grey will be gone). This is taking a frustratingly long time with little R.H. in tow, but I'm really hoping that with a little extra assistance from the mister on Sunday (maybe) I'll be able to get all the painting in the new house finished by the end of the weekend. We'll see.

While we were still waiting around to be able to close and get started moving I found some more time to work on getting projects cut out, so once we're settled in I can get right back to sewing. Three of them are part of my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, and the fourth is another Hawthorn blouse/stash busting project. New York 1292 and Anne Adams 4811 are a couple of warm weather patterns I hope to get finished before the end of the summer if I can. 

McCall 3610 is a long-sleeved, late 1930s pattern I chose to help flesh out my cooler weather dress options. It's not nursing friendly, so probably won't get much wear this winter, but I think it will become a staple next year. The skirt should even be pretty cycling-friendly. I'm making the bishop-sleeved version, but without the detachable, contrast collar. 

Since I finished my first two Hawthorns I've been wanting to make more. I had this blue and yellow floral cotton in my scrap bin, left from a dress I made a few years ago and ended up giving away. There was just enough left to cut out a sleeveless version of the blouse. I've also got some upholstery weight yellow gingham in my scrap bin that I'm going to use to make a coordinating belt, and I'm thinking about trimming the blouse with blue piping (the collar at least). 

I really can't wait until we're settled in and I can sew again (even if it's just a little bit every now and then).

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer florals: Finally fulfilling my fabric needs

It's been a rough several days around with the jealous toddler, and not having my normal stress relief outlet available (i.e. ALL of my sewing stuff) has been extra difficult. While knitting helps, there's really not anything like cutting into new fabric and listening to the whir of my sewing machine. I finally decided that enough was enough, so I shoved all the hefty boxes of books aside and dug out a piece of floral cotton from the bottom of another pile of boxes. While this wasn't originally in my plan for Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, I decided it was going to be a quicker and more user friendly pattern than the dress patterns I had on my docket at the get go. It's great for the sweltering Ohio Valley summer, and it's also nursing friendly, on top of being a super quick and easy project.

The fabric is a piece that came from the stash at my mom's, and I pulled it out to go with the linen I used for my grey-green circle skirt (which I will hopefully be able to fit into in the next few weeks). The piece was tiny, so I knew that it was destined to be a sleeveless blouse of some sort, and I really liked New York 1292 after I finished my first version. It was actually barely enough for this pattern even. I had to piece the under collar and there wasn't room for the sleeve facings, so I'm going to finish the armholes with bias strips instead.

I can't really get my machines back out, so I doubt any actual sewing will be accomplished anytime soon, but I think I'll try and get one of my dresses cut out (or maybe two, but I'm not going to hold my breath) in the next couple of weeks. I'm going to be making myself another version of Anne Adams 4811, since it's such a ridiculously comfortable dress. This is the first version I made:

I've got another rayon challis print I'm going to use for it. I bought a bunch of challis on sale a while ago, because I just can't resist it, and while I originally bought a pink floral to make another of these, I decided that print was better suited to another pattern I've been wanting to make, so I'll be using this instead:

It will definitely require a slip, but I think it's going to be really pretty sewn up. I figure if I can get a couple of projects at least cut out, once we're finally moved and settled I'll have all the annoying cutting done and can dive straight back into sewing (between diaper changes and trips to the grocery).
Despite having to work around the child dumping my pins everywhere, and the baby crying because his brother wouldn't leave him alone, it felt really nice to have my scissors in my hand again, even if it was only for 5 minutes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Turtle" to some..."Rough" to others... - Project Progress

Well, since we're STILL waiting on the stupid mortgage lenders to give us an actual closing date, practically everything I own is still packed up in boxes, so despite the incredible urge to sew that I've been having lately I haven't been able to. I've moved on to yet another one of my knitting WIPs, so I'll at least have some new stuff to wear this fall/winter even if I can't get any more of my Vintage Pattern Pledge summer projects (or any modern patterns for that matter) finished for the warmer weather. 

This project is sort of part of my own personal Vintage Pattern Pledge, although it's knitting and not sewing, so I'm at least in keeping with the spirit of my original summer plans. It's a pullover pattern from a knitting magazine that a friend gave me a couple of years ago. The magazine is from 1940, and there are a few really nice sweater patterns in it, as well as patterns for four different skirts, intended to be combined with any of the sweaters to make either a two-piece outfit or a dress. I'd really like to make a couple of the skirts as well, since I've always admired the vintage, knitted suits and dresses that are so popular but so difficult to find.

Anyway, I bought this yarn (Cascade 220 in Irelande) ages ago, with the intention of making a cabled sweater of some sort, but then decided I wanted to do something different. Initially, I thought I'd use it for a pattern in North, but the neckline would prohibit wearing a camisole or anything under it, and the yarn isn't quite soft enough to wear against my skin. So, after much pondering and sifting through all of my knitting patterns and the Ravelry library, I decided on this pullover pattern. It'll be great for winter bundling, because I'll be able to wear a long sleeved shirt or long underwear under it, which will be nice. 

vintage knitting magazine 1940s
I really like the cabled sweater on the front, too. 

1940 turtleneck pullover sweater

1940 raglan sleeve sweater
My project bag was made by Rochelle. The colors are so cheery, it makes knitting even more fun to carry my projects around in this. (Way better than the medical supply company tote I used to drag them around in.)
It's a raglan sweater, as you can see, knitted top-down in the round, so I don't have to mess with all that tedious seaming once I've got the pieces finished. I'm seriously loving that aspect of this pattern, especially after seaming together all those pieces for my mohair cardigan a few weeks ago.  I've got a fair amount of this finished already, as the straight stockinette goes extremely quickly. I did go back and knit the collar before finishing the rest of the sweater just so I could really see how it was going to work. I just didn't have the patience to wait. I've got about 8 inches to go before starting the waist ribbing I think.  I think I've gotten more knitting done in the past 6 months than I've gotten done in the last couple of years (partially because my machines are packed up), but I'm really looking forward to having some new knitwear this winter. Once I've got this finished, I have a 1940s fair isle vest from A Stitch in Time V.2 up next in my queue, along with another pair of socks, this time with a little color work. 

Finally, although we are still waiting around on house stuff, our second little boy made his debut in this world just about two weeks ago. He's a sweetheart, and we're all pretty fond of him (even the two year old, although he's having a hard time adjusting to sharing the attention). 

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