Monthly Archives: July 2008

A consolation prize

Check out this wonderful pattern I scored today on Ebay – Simplicity 7805 and it’s my size! The seller called it a “vintage goddess dress” which made me smile. This is the sort of 1970s design that I fall for every time because it’s still so wearable today. I will definitely make this as a dress and a top.

goddessdress

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Filed under Patterns, vintage

Downsizing sucks

The cold, harsh reality is that, after 20 years here at Chez Gigi, I am going to have to move into a smaller house sometime in the not-very-distant future. That’s really not such a bad thing because this house is way too large for one person. It’s wonderful having so much space – sewers do love to spread out – but the maintenance is killing me especially since I now have to do a lot of things myself. The Boyfriend is a big help but he has his own house to maintain.

This realization that I needed to purge my possessions came to me after I helped my son get settle in his new townhouse. After I came home exhausted and covered in paint The Boyfriend asked if I thought all of my stuff would fit into a place that size – it’s very spacious for a townhome but the answer was “no way”. In fact, I believe I laughed.

So, I’ve come to grips with the fact that I have to make some serious decisions about what is essential and what is not. We all know that the fabric/button/pattern/notion/thread stash is essential so that’s pretty much staying. I already purge those collections once a year of things I no longer love and I do sew a lot.

I won’t get started on the machines because I’m liable to cry. After much serious consideration I have admitted that I could part with two of my industrials. That still leaves me with a pretty large herd but I will address that later on.

I’ve already gotten rid of about 50% of my sewing books over the past two years, mostly books that I had outgrown years ago. I’m not willing to part with most of what is left.

Which brings me to The Vintage Pattern Collection. I love my vintage patterns! It’s not a large collection but I have some really, really special ones that I just enjoy looking at. To me, they are little works of art that I keep hidden away in a file drawer protected from the elements in their little acid-free storage bags. Honestly, I am one of those people who believes things should serve a purpose, be useful. I don’t keep things just for the sake of it and so cannot really explain the vintage pattern obsession. As a rule, I don’t keep things for good, I like to use and enjoy my nice things. So, I made the (painful!) decision that I would only keep the vintage patterns I thought I might actually use and part with the rest. If you collect vintage patterns, you might want to check out my Ebay listings.

I know they will all go to a loving home so that does make it easier. Next up on the auction block will be my peculiarly large collection of contemporary Fiesta vases, pitchers and candlesticks. And I am questioning why I still need dinner service for 32 but at least I am down to one set of dishes.

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Filed under Patterns, vintage, This and that

Desperately Seeking The Past!

I’m in love with this pattern! I’ve been looking around online for a size 8 (or even a 6 since I’m going to use jersey) but haven’t had any luck yet. If you happen to see one (or have one you want to sell) let me know!

m5490

This one (as well as a very cool dress made from the pattern) are available for sale at Pintucks. I’d buy it but I don’t feel like spending the time to grade it down from a size 16.

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Filed under Patterns, vintage

New Look 6648 again!

You may have noticed that I often make a pattern again right away. See, when I find a pattern I really like I find it helpful to go ahead and tweak it while everything is still fresh in my mind. Often I do this after wearing the initial garment because some needed changes are not apparent until then.

newlook6648turquoise

After wearing the first top last night I decided to bring the neckline in 1″ on each side and raise it 1/2″. I also decided to take the hip band in 1″. Notice that I once again omitted the ruching on the hip band – I want to look as trim there as I can to balance out the volume of the top. The fabric (now sold out) is from Gorgeous Fabrics, of course! I plan on wearing this out with my girls tonight – hopefully no other changes will be needed. I want it PERFECT when I cut out the silk jersey.

I’m still searching for the purse pattern I was working on, sigh. If you ever need something hidden in such a way that no one will find it, call me. In the meantime I’ll probably keep myself occupied by working on the pattern for the Stripe-A-Licious Top so it will be ready to go when the fabric arrives. Once I finish that it’s back to the poor neglected Riviera Tee. I had originally planned on using the Paint Splashes Jersey for it and now I can’t decide on a substitute.

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Filed under Fabric, New Look

A little Flickr mosaic fun!

mosaic

These are a few of my favorite things! If you’re wondering what that black icky-looking thing is in the center of the top row it’s a Haribo Licorice Wheel (or Schnecke if you live in Germany)! I LOVE them and can easily eat an entire bag in one sitting. The only licorice I love more are the Haribo Katjes and Salmiak Pastillen, both of which are harder to find in the US. Most shops just have the Katinchen which I don’t like as well. I sure miss my Oma sending them to me every Christmas!

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Filed under This and that

New Look 6648

It’s done and I LOVE it! I think this is a great way for a petite to wear volume because it’s not too overwhelming. I cut my usual size 8 but may go down to a 6 next time depending on the fabric that I use. You just want to make sure the band is not snug because it will continually want to ride up your midriff. Other than that this top is generously sized. I did not need an FBA or any other alterations – what a luxury!

newlook6648

As you can see, I made a few changes from the pattern. I lowered the neckline a little in the front and added an exposed facing to mimic the designer top. Beware, the neckline is even wider than it appears in the pattern photo. I’ll definitely bring it in a little next time. Also, lingerie guards are a must with a top like this because it will want to slide off one shoulder all the time without them.

I also added some wide bands at the sleeve like the original. I cut my bands 6″ wide which gave me a 2.75″ finished width. I wanted them 3″ wide but this is all the fabric I had left due to a very stupid cutting error! Thank goodness I always buy plenty of fabric otherwise the whole thing would have ended up in the trash. Anyway, I trimmed 2.5″ off the sleeve (2.75″ finished band width minus 1/4″ seam allowance) to retain the original length.

Because there is so much volume on the top I wanted the fit around my waist and hip to be as trim as possible so I needed to eliminate the ruching on the band. This is a super-easy fix here as only the outer band is ruched, the inner band is flat. Simply measure the width of the inner band from the cut edge to the foldline marked on the pattern. Then draw a new line at the same width on the ruched section and fold (or cut) away the unwanted tissue.

Note the fold line towards the bottom of the pattern piece:

band1

I drew a 2nd line the same distance away on the ruched side of the foldline:

band2

New pattern piece:

band3

Hop on over to The Sewing Divas to see how I sewed the facing and sleeve bands.

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Filed under Fabric, New Look, Tutorials

Working on…

Yes, I was quiet yesterday, no sewing. My Sunday started with breakfast in bed and was followed by the Washington Post crossword, a little reading (a sewing book, naturally), the British Open and napping before heading out to The Big Tomato for a mashed potato pizza and a couple of Martinis. Sometimes it’s rather nice to have a lazy day with no focus on accomplishing anything!

I’m back at it today, busy fashioning this:

paintsplashesjersey

and this:

newlook

Into something that resembles this:

seebychloe

I didn’t have any silk print in my stash that had a similar feeling but I did have this now-sold-out Paint Splashes Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics! I really like this New Look pattern even better than the See top because it is less voluminous which can be tough to carry off when you are 5’3″.

If I like this look on me I really want to make another one in this faboo silk jersey which I do not own *yet*. See what I mean about the fabric addiction?

silk jersey

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Filed under Aren't you glad you sew?, Fabric, New Look

Not sewing-related but…

I’ve always said I want to be Dame Helen Mirren when I grow up. She manages to look not only elegant and beautiful but sexy as well – not an easy feat when you are in your 60s! After seeing this photo of her, I love her even more! She’s chosen a bikini that is just so perfect for her when it would be so easy to go wrong and look like mutton-dressed-as-lamb.

helenmirren

I mean, I think I look pretty good in a bikini but, MY GOD, she is the same age as my mother – well past bikini-wearing age (hell, I think I might be past bikini-wearing age!) – and she looks fabulous. Maybe if I work extra-hard to stay in shape and possibly sell my soul to the devil getting older won’t be so bad…

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Filed under This and that

As if I need another project…

When you are a sewing fanatic it seems as if the wheels never stop turning. If I am not actually sewing I am thinking about it, reading about it or shopping for it. Sometimes I suffer from insomnia and I can’t help but wonder if I’d be able to get back to sleep if I weren’t thinking about my current project or planning out my next one. If only I had an Etch-A-Sketch mind so I could just shake my head and drift off to sleep!

Right now I have three, count ‘em, THREE projects in the works: the vintage tie-top, the HP Riviera tee and a top inspired by the See by Chloe top I posted earlier in the week. I was also working on a bag pattern for The Sewing Divas! But, you see, when I did my little studio spiff-up I put the pieces somewhere “safe” and can’t find them now! As if that weren’t enough I am also working on a couple of home improvement projects.

So, I must be sick to even be dreaming of this:

stripedfabric

as this BCBG top:

bcbgstripes

The fabric is Stripe-A-Licious Cotton Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics – even the name is adorable. I can’t help but think that the uneven stripes would make this top look even more fab! It would be so much fun to plan it all out! And it would look so cute with my white shorts! I was resisting pretty well but now it’s on sale so I won’t be able to resist much longer. Time to face the truth: 1. I am just a hopeless fabric collector and 2. (fabric) diets just don’t work.

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Filed under Fabric

Button magnets

I’m not into crafts (rather be sewing!) but today I made magnets out of vintage Patrick Kelly buttons! You see, I bought a magnetic bulletin board at my friend Bonnie’s garage sale last year. I finally hung it next to my desk a couple of weeks ago but had no magnets for it. I was going to make these great magnets from Not Martha but they were just too involved for me. Then I came across a bag of these buttons that I’d purchased on Ebay a couple of years ago and voila! in less than 5 minutes I had some cute sewing-themed magnets. You can buy magnetic discs at Michael’s. I used the 1/2″ ones and some E-6000 glue to attach the buttons.

magnets

If you want to hang cards or larger photos I’d recommend the 3/4″ discs as they are stronger than the 1/2″ ones.

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Filed under This and that