Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ok, This Time It's for Real

A few posts back, I made the statement "Holy vintage Batman". I really, really mean it now. This is my most recent score off of Ebay. It was more than what I've paid for any of my other vintage patterns. I hadn't been to a fabric store in about two weeks and felt I had a little bit of cash to splurge. I pattern envelope is not in great shape. However, the pattern pieces have not been cut so that's a good thing.

This is a large size. I wish it would have been in the medium but hopefully I can scale it down. The copyright date on this is 1966. Is this not a cool pattern?

Alright, I am horribly, horribly, horribly embarrassed to show this but I'm going to do it anyway. A couple of years ago, my mom packed a bunch of things in a box for my sister to bring up to Wisconsin and give to me. As my luck would have it, my husband and daughter were the first to rummage through the box, not myself. When they came across this, they just howled with laughter and Jeff had tears in his eyes from laughing so hard. It would be like my mom to save really embarrassing things instead of all the other great artwork and writings that I did as a child. I can't remember anything about this. I don't know who would have typed this out. We didn't have a typewriter until I was in junior high. My guess is that I could have been in second grade. What do you think the nuns were thinking when they read this? A six/seven year old discussing having a boyfriend. I can't believe it myself! I don't know, even after all these years, I must be still lusting after Robin. Jeff will always be my real superhero though.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Little Parisian Twirl Outfit

Here is a little twirl skirt that I think has a cute little story attached to it. While at quilt camp a couple of months ago, a fellow camper was cutting out this fabric to use for a quilt back. She was donating her quilt for an auction at her son's school. I commented to her on how pretty the fabric was. Well Gretchen immediately said "Do you want the rest". I told her that I couldn't take her fabric. She told me that she got it free off the Put-N-Take table at a prior retreat. Lucky Gal! Even though she didn't pay for the fabric, I could not take it.

So I came up with a bartering plan. I told Gretchen that I would make something for her daughter in exchange for the rest of the fabric. I happened to have brought my children's binder of projects. In my binder was the instructions for this twirl skirt. So a couple of hours later, Gretchen had a size three twirl skirt and I still had almost two yards of fabric left. That was now mine. I felt that this was now a fair trade. After two skirts, I still have 3/4 of a yard left.

So here is a duplicate of that skirt only in a size six. The skirt pattern is a freebie off the peanutbutter-n-jelly kids site. The applique is from Planet Applique. I love this design.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Elle est aliénée ?

She's gone mad! What is wrong with her? Look at me! Just look at me! I'm so furious I could spit Cartier bracelets. She is making me wear this petite fille dress. Hmmm, actually, this looks a little flirty on me. Is she trying to ruin my career? I will be the laughing stock of Paris if any pictures make it to the fashion houses in Europe. I won't even be able to land a Victoria Secret's job.

Do you know what this is? Quilting cotton! Mon Dieu! We use this on our beds in Paris, not wear it. Do you think her client is getting upset with the delays? She has a very important function to wear that silk to and this designer keeps dragging her feet. I keep asking her why we can't move this gig along. She tells me that she needs to make something for Kayla. Kayla, Kayla, Kayla. That is all I ever hear. I'd like to, I'd like to, well, I'd like to meet her on the playground and show her who the real diva is! I know that there is Italian silk in the atelier. But what does she do, waste her time on clothing for that little Punky Brewster girl.

What is so amusing is that she has a Vogue magazine sitting around. Like what for? Do you see anything Prada in this place? I think not. Look at the tag in the shirt. You buy this at a place called Wal-Mart. What kind of couture house in Paris sells their clothing next to cantalopes? She should stick to reading American Girl magazines if that's who she is going to design for.

To make matters worse, I think I've gained weight since I moved in three months ago. I can't see my feet. They have these little addicting cheese blobs around here called curds.

À bientôt


Monday, May 17, 2010

Tools in the Atelier

I wanted to show everyone some specials tools and supplies that I'm using for Whitney's bridal gown. Some of the supplies I purchased from my idol Susan Khalje.

Starting at the top left, I have white tracing paper and tracing wheel, bolduc tape, horsehair braid which will be used on the hem of the bridal gown, glass head pins, silk thread, tiny Japanese needles, lace scissors, petersham, spiral steel boning, bridal loop tape and finally hook and eye tape.

Doesn't the tracing wheel look deadly? Certainly, not a tool to leave out if you have small children around. Well, I guess for that matter, large children. The glass head pins allow you to press your fabric with the pins in place. The glass heads will not melt under the heat of the iron. The petersham will be used to make the waist stay for the gown. The little nubby point scissors were used for cutting the lace. These are great little scissors for anyone who does heirloom sewing. The silk thread will be used for all the hand basting because of how fine it is. The loop tapes may not be used. I purchased them before we had decided on the back closing. Finally, the spiral steel boning. The best way to describe this is that it looks like a miniature Slinky. This boning has the advantage of able to move side to side and forward and backward. I'm hoping that my sizes work. The lengths that I ordered range from 5 inches to 11.5 inches.

The last picture is the silk organza. The organza will be used as interlining/underlining for the gown. I purchased enough for the entire gown plus Kayla's flower girl dress. This will help give the bodice some shape, support, strength, help to hide the boning channels and provide a base for the lace.

Gifts for Gabriel

Quite a while back, my dear, dear friend Kim let me know that she was going to be a grandmother. Both of her children were expecting babies. Jacob's baby was delivered this past Monday. Ali's baby is due in August. I did these items kind of at the last minute. I was waiting on the sex and name of Jacob's baby. So once I was armed with the information, I had to scurry about to get these things made.

As luck would have it, I needed to go to Wal-Mart for something. I spied these onsies on clearance. I decided to grab a bunch. I usually make more burp clothes but time was of the essence since I was heading to Omaha. I wanted to hand deliver the baby items. I'm a procrastinator. If I didn't finish these, more than likely, little Gabriel wouldn't fit into them by the time UPS delivered them. The onsies were perfect since it would cut down my sewing time. Now the big decisions were "what designs to use." The airplane and the Jack Russell Terrier design came from Planet Applique. That little dog onsie is perhaps my favorite. I kept looking at it and it reminded me of the times the girls and I watched Wishbone on PBS. The whale applique came from Embroidery Library and the Splotch Font and Diaper Dude came from Five Star Fonts. The appliqued "Baby" is a freebie from And finally, the baseball is a freebie from The font on the baseball is Tinker Toy from 8 Claws and a Paw. Whew!

Do you remember back in December when I showed a mini tutorial on embroidering on tote bags? I decided to take a couple more pictures, this time while the onsies were stitching out. I wanted to try and show you how little working room there is when embroidering on the onsies. They are not my favorite things to embroider because of their tiny size. I turn the onsie inside out to help with keeping the fabric free. I have to use my fingers to keep the fabric away from the needle. The embroidery unit can chew up a onsie faster than you can say "baby spit-up." One of these days, I'm going to either break a finger or severly puncture my finger by keeping it so close to the rapidly moving needle. The last picture is one of the burps stitching out. My kind of project. I'm not risking my hand on this one.

Bubblegum Girl

I think it was last summer I spied an embroidery design set from It is called bubblegum girl. I just had to have that set. You may remember seeing one outfit I made for Lauren's goddaughter. I used a different design for this outfit for Kayla. Instead of the whole body, I decided to use the head design so you could tell that the girl was blowing a bubble. I think this came out really cute. I purchased the outfits on clearance last year at Wal-Mart. I wish I would have had time to boutique the flip flops but I was going to see my sisters and I wanted them to take the outfit back to Kayla. I'll be down in Kansas City this weekend. Maybe I'll sneak Kayla in my suitcase and we can play in my sewing room all summer long.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm Losing Count. Muslin Bodice #2

Let's see, three sets of paper patterns (two that were sewn together) and two muslin bodices. The first muslin bodice was taken apart and altered twice. With that, I decided to dismantle the muslin bodice and make all new pattern pieces with the alterations. I did not want to get confused with all the stitching lines. So officially, I have cut this bodice out five times already. I will need to cut it out at least three more times (fashion fabric, lining, interlining.)

Whitney stopped by yesterday and I needed desperately to finish bodice #2 for her to try on. We both agreed on the fit. So last night I decided where I would be placing the spiral steel boning and then measured the lengths. This morning I placed the order for 13 pieces of boning. So Whit's gown will have thirteen channels of boning in it.

I was on the fence about doing the muslin on the entire gown or just the bodice. I guess I'm leaning towards making up the entire gown. For one, I'm changing the back opening from a zipper to a lace down back. I need to make sure that there is enough support with this closure.
The second reason is to make sure that there is enough support with the boning and the waist stay to hold up the heavy skirt. The muslin can't possibly mimic the silk satin with the beaded hem lace but it's a start.

I am unsure why bodice #1 has a smoother fit than bodice #2. Shouldn't later versions look nicer? It looked fine on Whitney. I did tell her that the boning will help smooth out some of the wrinkles. It won't take care of excess fabric though. I hope I don't have to chisel it down. I'd have to reorder the boning. It's not expensive, it will just add another week to the project waiting for it to arrive.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Muslin Bodice #1

Were you paying attention? Did you notice that we are now working with fabric and not paper? As I mentioned in a previous post, I needed about an inch to in the midriff band to match the upper bodice. The upper bodice and the midriff band are from two different pattern companies so that is the reason for the lack of match up. I cut out yet one more paper pattern. This time, I drew two sizes on the pattern pieces so I could make sure I had enough fabric to work with. As I was cutting the pattern pieces, I made sure that I had at least an inch seam allowance on all the important edges. I added extra allowance on the side, the shoulder, the neckline and the bust. I increased the midriff one inch on the top of the band but did not increase the bottom. I knew that it was hitting at Whitney's waist. I needed to widen the band. In the picture, the band doesn't look as wide as it's suppose to. I guess I better double check all my math. I did shorten the upper bodice so the band would sit up higher.

Before I could put the bodice together, I first needed to do some prep work. I marked the bodice with tracing paper. I traced the stitching lines and grain. Instead of putting the tracing paper in the middle, I did one side at a time. I put the
tracing paper on the bottom and used the tracing wheel to do
my marking. I then removed the pattern piece and carefully put all the pins back into the fabric. I turned the pieces over and took the tracing wheel and went over the markings. This method helps to eliminate the shifting of the fabric.

After the marking was completed, I was able to go to the sewing machine. I basted the stitching lines. I also decided to stay stitch the curved edges of the bodice. Whitney's shoulder to waist measurement is about 1.5 inches longer than Gigi's. (Yes, she's still employed even though she's causing dissension in the atelier). So the bodice looks a little big but we will see how the fit is tomorrow when Whitney comes over for the evening.

Floral Design Class #6

Well, this was our last class. I think Whitney and I learned a lot (even though my pictures may not show it). On the agenda was to create a floral topiary and we were let loose to do anything we wanted to. Whitney and I brought containers and peacock feathers. We both tried to use the peacock feathers but they didn't fit in with any of the flowers that Ken brought for us that night. Sigh. He said that peacock feathers were very expensive. We told him that we didn't have to pay for them. We took them from Lauren's stash in the basement. She used the peacock feathers for her evening gown in her senior fashion show.

When we started the topiary, I didn't think that I would like it. Whitney and I and our other table mate really liked how they turned out. Our table mate has a son who is getting married on September 10th. She was going over to their place to show them her topiary. We all thought they would make great table decorations. My thoughts are to add one more stem of the alstroemeria (Persian Lily) to the top of the topiary to give it a fuller look. I would take away most of the flowers on the bottom but I would leave the flowers on one stem of alstroemeria. I think it would look nice with moss on the bottom but I think the moss is expensive. I didn't bring my ribbon up as high as I should have. I would also see if a satin ribbon works better in this arrangement.

Our last arrangement of the night was designer's choice. Whitney had mentioned that she wanted to use one of my silver pitchers. My sister Karen loves to rummage sale. I think I've gotten about 4 pitchers from her. I took a little silver polish to the pitcher before we went to class. I chose an old Haeger pedestal container.

As with so many projects, I panic before I get started. So I had to take a minute and try to think of what we did in past classes. I decided that I wanted to have some cascading action going on. When Ken came by, he said "this will be interesting with the little amount of flowers that you have. You'll have to think about it". Man, he sounded like Tim Gunn on Project Runway! I was determined that it would work for me. When I was finished and Ken came over to give his critique, we both differed on what we thought should be the front of the piece. My back was his front and vice versa. In the end, I think he liked the arrangement. We had a no-show student tonight so there were extra flowers. He went and grabbed one more flower and stuck it in the arrangement to bridge the lower flowers with the taller flowers.

Whitney decided that she didn't want to use all of her flowers. I think she had the same yellow tulips that I did and she didn't like the colors together. She did really well the past six weeks. Her memory is certainly better than mine. She was able to answer Ken's questions. I wasn't!

A couple of days ago, I was in the grocery store and there was a cart with roses and carnations marked down. The flowers weren't really the right size for corsages but I decided to buy them anyway. For nine dollars, I got 10 roses and 6 carnations. That was a decent price to spend to get some practice taping. There were tornado sirens going off in the area. I kind of headed that and went outside to clip some shrub branches to use as my greens. I clipped some lavender but I didn't clip enough so I gave that to Whitney. Like I said, the flowers really are too large but they served the purpose.