Thursday, February 27, 2014

Vintage Sunsuit

a tale of tragedy, triumph, and biting off way more than you can chew. 
I've had this romper hanging in my sewing room for almost 4 years because its so stinkin' cute. Last week I was checking one of my favorite sites for vintage clothes, LittleLostWonders.com and saw this...
An almost identical version in the opposite color way! I bought mine at an antique store in florida, and it's twin was for sale in Australia. What are the chances? I threw it in my cart and checked out with quickness but alas, it was not meant to be. My payment was refunded within the hour because it had already been purchased. Noooooo!
So, being the ingenious person I am, I decided to make my own version. It is very basic construction with a little satin stitch embroidery and fagoting.  That's easy, right?  Should be, except for the fact that I have no experience with satin stitch embroidery or fagoting.  Small detail. That is were my go to sewing reference book comes in. Butterick's Art of Dressmaking from 1927. I'm sure there are more modern books that are superior, but that's not how I roll. ;) We'll see how it goes.

I just finished drafting my pattern and tracing off the embroidery design, so it may be 5 years before you see the finished product.

Also, I'm not sure where the triumph comes in. It just sounded nice.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Vintage Style Dimity Dress

DISCLAIMER: I could write a book on all the imperfections and mistakes I made in the following garment. I'm sure somewhere someone is cringing at all the errors. And if it's YOU, fear not! You are not alone. I am here cringing, scrutinizing, and shaking my head in disappointment with you. Now onward!
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I've wanted to make a version of this vintage dress since I got it from eBay several years ago. It is one of my favorite pieces in my vintage collection.

The tag reads "Made Expressly in Paris for Saks Fifth Avenue".

It even came in its original box. Which may be the cutest thing ever.

I chose this pattern for my base. I omitted the collar and pockets and added all the necessary lace and tuck inserts. Of course, I wouldn't want to waste valuable time making a test version or anything like that so I jumped right in and cut it out of my favorite fabric ever- a pink dimity that I buy every time I see it.
At $45 a yard, why not throw caution to the wind. What could possibly go wrong?

There wasn't enough of one type of lace edging in my stash to use for the whole thing so I used a larger edging on the neck, armscy, and skirt. I was out of low tack tape when I gathered and joined the 20 miles of lace so the gathers turned out uneven in places.  Plus it was hastily ironed so it looks worse than it really is.
Don't try to tell me that people were gathering lace effectively hundreds of years before tiger tape was invented.
I don't believe you.
I have since procured 8 rolls so I will never be without it again. I'm pretty sure that is how hoarders start out.

There was an ugly accident that resulted in my Bernina being hospitalized in the corner where the bodice, skirt and tucked strip are joined. Hence the addition of bows. They are just pinned in place here and I haven't washed away the blue ink from the neck area.
For future reference, when you see a bow on my blog it is safe to assume it is covering something hideous. I like to think of bows as the duct tape of sewing. You can fix anything with a bow.

The thought of starting over popped into my head more than once.
I even priced replacement materials.
When I'd sew teeny doll dresses if something didn't turn out exactly right I could just toss it and start over. Not so with larger things. The fabric and lace for this dress would cost over $200 if I reordered.
So I gave my inner obsessive-compulsive self an ultimatum. Deal with it or get a job. My inner OCD self is a clever girl who enjoys naps, so I continued with what I had. This was all from my stash so that it was free.

I'm going to make another one eventually. Hopefully with evenly distributed lace gathers and no traumatic sewing machine crippling events.

I signed up for blogger five years ago this month. In those five years I've managed to post 6 whole entries. That is pathetic. I'm going to try to be less lame in the future. I'd like to say I've been busy doing fascinating things, but that would be a lie. In actuality all thats been happening is trivial drudgery. And shopping.

Monday, December 9, 2013

1930's McCall Bubble Dress Kit

Thought I'd share another vintage kit today. :) This one was made by McCall in the early 1930's. I first saw it in one of my McCall counter catalogs. After some fruitless research I assumed one would never be found. It first appears in the 1932 catalog and seems to have been discontinued in 1936.


A few years ago I bought a big lot of antique baby clothes on eBay for $4.99 that had a finished version in it. The auction photo looked like it was taken from mars, so I really didn't know what I was getting but for 5 bucks I couldn't resist. It was a pleasant surprise.


It's faded and very worn, but I still ♥ it. 

The day after Christmas last year a complete, uncut kit appeared on eBay. I HAD to have it so I prepared to squander a good chunk of my Christmas cash and got up ridiculously early so I could place my bid at the very last second so (hopefully) nobody could outbid me. I'm sneaky like that. And then nobody else bid. It was kind of disappointing. I won for less than $30.


The box is the same size as the pattern envelopes from the 20's thru the early 30's.


It comes with everything you need to make the dress!


The pattern is printed directly on the pieces. It also includes the basic tissue instruction sheet that came with the regular printed patterns at that time. 
Originally it cost $2.50 which seems high. 
A regular McCall pattern with transfer cost between 30-35¢ and a yard of "Sears' Best Printed Lawn" would only run you around 17¢. Other companies were offering kits that were precut for 75¢ and a brand spankin' new cotton lawn dress only cost $1.25 in the 1936 Sears catalog.

So maybe they weren't popular because of the price.

Sorry for the lack of posting. :( I've been trying to pick up this mess...