Thursday, February 23, 2012

1912 Project

I think some of you may already know that I signed up to participate in the 1912 Project.  As part of a remembrance of the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the Vintage Pattern Lending Library is taking on a huge project: the scanning and digitizing of the patterns and magazines of La Mode Illustree - once France's foremost publication of fashion of the era.

Though I have dabbled a bit in vintage sewing, I am by no means an expert.  And costume sewing, or historical sewing is really not my thing, however I love learning about history.  So why not learn about some of the fun things like fashion?

We have been divided up into groups according to location and interests in sewing men's, women's or children's clothing.  I am in Group 7 and will be sewing up women's clothing.  I signed up for the February challenge pattern, since nothing had come my way yet as far as my group's pattern was concerned.  Well, they both arrived on the same weekend, and now I have to choose which one I want to sew.

Luckily, they both fall into the same category.  Group 7's project for the month of February is a corset cover.  I actually think it would make a cute summertime blouse if altered a bit.  I do love the idea of a sleeveless blouse that buttons up the front.

The February challenge pattern is a gorgeous princess seam slip.  I have to admit, when I first saw this image, I absolutely knew that I wanted to sew it up.  I love the lace details and the very feminine shape from the princess seams.  Even I if choose not to sew it up as part of the February project, I will sew it up in the future.  Don't you think it would make a stunning dress if it were altered to hit just above the knee?

Of course I am terrible at making decisions, and already quite over-committed with all of the sew alongs that I have signed myself up for.  Not to mention some pattern testing for another blogger and the list of things that I want to sew from my existing pattern/fabric stash.  But that's half the fun right, the fact that we never have an opportunity to be bored?

I would love to hear if you have any input on which of these I should sew up.  Or any alterations you would make to them for more modern wear.  And you are always welcome to tell me about how you have over-committed yourself with sewing projects.

Live in this moment and love life!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

An Embarrassing Story for Your Entertainment

Ladies, let me share an embarrassing story with you.  Yes, I would like you to enjoy yourselves and have a good laugh at my expense . . . so here it goes.

Ever since being married to my dearest, I have quite enjoyed the idea of being sexy for my hubby.  Why not, right?  It's fun, plus he deserves it.  So, in the spirit of having fun I decided it would be a marvelous idea to hold up my stockings by wearing a pair of sexy little panties that have garter clip attachments on them.  No, I am not going tell you about a time when I tried to seduce my husband, rather I thought it would be fun to wear this all day - to work!

It is only recently that I have heard the term "bedroom lingerie."  Referring to lingerie that will hold it's purpose for a few minutes, 'cause that's all you need it for anyway.  Well, my little panties and their garter snaps fall into this category.  Which means my dear readers, that I went all day at work having the exact opposite problem of a wedgie.  Not only was I worried that I would find my stockings sitting around my ankles, there was the fear that my underwear would be there as well!  I work in a professional, conservative office - so as you can imagine, this was not a good combination.

Pin Up Corset Garter Belt from Anna's shop.
Looking back on it now, I can't help but laugh at myself.  But in that moment (all nine hours of them to be exact), I was not laughing.  I spent the day making frequent trips to the ladies' room hiking everything back up and in place.

Alas, I have found a solution to this problem!!!  (It deserves more exclamation points, but it just looked weird).  The lovely Anna (and she is quite lovely for a number of reasons) is teaming up with another blogger to host the Ooh La La Pin-Up Sew-Along.  As part of this sew-along, we will be making a functional garter belt.  Yes, please!

Pin-Up Bra Corselet from Anna's shop.
Should you be so inclined as to avoid an embarrassing story such as mine, I suggest you hop on over to Anna's blog (and I have made it so easy for you with this link) and let her know that you will be joining in.  Right now she's having a giveaway for the patterns we will be using in the sew along.  But if you don't win, no tears because her patterns are a very affordable $5.00 in her Etsy shop!

I'm in, are you?  Also, feel free to share any embarrassing stories of yourself in the comment section :)

Live in this moment and love life!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

German Pattern Experiment: Day 7 Your Free Pattern!

There is really only one way to start writing this - and that is to give a huge thank you to everyone who commented on my last post!  I had no idea that this little piece of lingerie would create such excitement on my blog.  Your sweet words and encouragement has meant so much to me - thank you!

And now in celebration, I am delighted to let you know that I have converted my Cami-Knickers into a PDF pattern that is available for free to all of my followers.  I even took some time to attempt directions, in case anyone wanted them.  They are not a translation of the pattern instructions, but simply the steps I took to sew up my garment.

I have already sent out the pattern to those who requested it on my last post.  If you did not receive it, please leave a comment on this post; and please be sure to include your email address.  Also, to anyone who was waiting for the pattern to be complete before requesting it, it is now available to you.

Allow me also to get on my soap box for a minute.  I know there are a lot of fantastic bloggers and Etsy shop owners who have taken the time to create PDFs of their vintage patterns to sell them.  Please do not let this free pattern deter you from purchasing these patterns.  I am able to give this pattern out for free because it is my way of giving back to the wonderful sewing community.  Converting these patterns to a PDF sure takes a lot of work (and I did it the easy way, by hand - rather than using a computer program), so I completely understand the reason behind requesting compensation for their time.

I know there is still a fantastic PDF that I have been wanting to purchase, and I hopefully will be doing it sometime very soon.

Okay, back down from the soap box.  I am really looking forward to seeing your creations from this pattern.  Please feel free to share once you have made it up.

Live in this moment and love life!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

German Pattern Experiment: Day 6 and a Finished Project!

As the fabric is a bit sheer, this is the only modeling picture you will get.
Can you believe it?  Six weeks into my German Pattern Experiment and I finally have something to show you!  For my first pattern I chose to make a simple piece of lingerie and sew it up in a light cotton voile.  You know how much I love working with silk, but chose to make this from cotton because I wanted this to be more like a pair of summer pajamas.  Also, I wasn't quite up to the challenge of grading the pattern to fit exactly how I wanted it.  But since I couldn't completely let go of the idea of silk, I chose use a piece of left over silk from my Pendrell blouse to enclose the raw edges under the bust.  (Well, technically it's under the bust, but since I did not grade the pattern, it's much closer to my waist).

Close up of my bound seam with the teal silk.
Here is what it looks like inside-out.
In addition to using some silk, I added lace edging across the top and bottom of this nightie to give it more  feminine details.  Since my cotton voile is really thin and frays easily, I overlocked my edges and used french seams.  A little overkill (I am totally aware of this), but I plan to machine was this baby and I do not want it falling apart on me.

This pattern comes from the May issue of my German pattern magazine.  I'm not sure if you can tell from the pictures, but this a cami-knickers style piece of lingerie that can be worn under pants.  (Since I made mine for sleepwear, they would be too bulky to wear under pants, but I plan to make this up in some silk as a more fitted garment as well . . .)

What's really fun about this project is that I am sharing it as part of Debi's Sew Grateful Week.  So everyone from Debi's blog, welcome - I am so glad you decided to stop by.  My plan was to have the pattern available to everyone in PDF format, but I confess I am a bit behind in my schedule.  No need to panic, I am still working on getting this pattern converted to a PDF.  Want to know the best part?  I will make it available to all of my followers for free!  Actually if you are here from Debi's blog, you are also eligible for a copy - no need to follow this blog.

There are so many reasons that I am Sew Grateful for the online sewing community.  If you are a follower of my blog or have ever left a comment, know that my gratitude towards you comes from the bottom of my heart.  It delights my heart to see strangers encourage one another and maybe turn from strangers into friends.  When I first started out on my German Pattern Experiment, I was worried that I would fall flat on my face an fail.  But, I received so many kind words of encouragement and even tips from you that I was able to find success!

Button placket with the vintage snap fasteners.
I am really hoping to have this pattern available within the week.  You can either leave a comment on this post, or check back next week when (fingers crossed) I have the pattern available.  Just leave a comment with your email address and whether you follow my blog or Debi's.  And you are welcome to search through the scans of my May and December issues and request patterns that you would like to see in the future.  No promises, but I will do my very best.

Live this moment and love life!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

German Pattern Experiment: Day 5

Hi everyone and welcome back to my little corner of the blog sphere for another post on my German Pattern Experiment.  If you've been following along, you remember that last week I covered some tips on tracing these patterns.  Well this post is a follow up to that with a few more tips on things to look for when tracing your patterns.

In addition to special markings like dotted line (for edges placed on the fold of fabric) and other markings like button placements or darts, you will want to look for tiny little numbers in the corners of each of your pattern pieces.  Do you see the very blurry 58 in the middle of this picture?  Yes, I am sorry, it didn't look that blurry on my camera, but you can tell there is a number, and it is in the corner.

Okay, that really was hard to see, here is another example from a picture I used in my last post.  You can see the 35 in the corner of a pattern piece as well as the 65 that is below the asterisk.  As you are tracing your pattern pieces, you will want to look for all of these tiny numbers and add them to your tracing.  This will be especially helpful if you are like me and are too lazy to translate the sparse directions.

Again, fun cutout dress form has been provided by my one of my dearest friends.
Just why are these tiny numbers so important?  Because they show you how to line up your pattern pieces!  Isn't that a beautiful thing?  With just a bit of intuitiveness, you can easily decide which piece attaches to what other piece and where.  Below you can see where I am lining up two pieces where the number 60 matches up for both pieces.  (The flash gets in the way a bit, but I think you can still get the idea).

As I started piecing my muslin together I decided to try going in the order of the numbers.  For this pattern, I started with number 57, since that was the lowest number on my pieces and I just made my way through the largest number (66).  For the most part, it made sense to piece my pattern together in this order.  I just love how easy it was to piece this pattern together without needing refer to the directions even once (not that I could if i wanted to, since I can't read German).

Oh, and I should also mention that these pattern pieces do not include seam allowances.  So, when you go cut out your muslin or fashion fabric, you will want to add 5/8" or whatever your seam allowance preference is.

My last piece of advice comes with the sizing of these patterns.  I've learned that most of them come in sizes of 1, 3 and 5:

What's this, you can't read German?  Don't worry, neither can I.  Despite the fact that I did not make the effort to translate my pattern, I do have a translation of the sizes.

                        Bust                                       Waist                         Hips
Size 1     90 cm (35.4 inches)        72 cm (28.3 inches)         100 cm (39.4 inches)
Size 3   102 cm (40.1 inches)        80 cm (31.5 inches)         112 cm (44.1 inches)  
Size 5   114 cm (44.9 inches)        90 cm (35.4 inches)         124  cm (48.8 inches)

I believe the patterns in my magazine are size 3.  So I will keep that in consideration as I make up my patterns.

Do any of you have advice to share on working with German pattern magazines or a similar medium?  Your thoughts are important to me, and I would love to hear anything you have to share.  On my last post, Anna (who I would consider a vintage pattern expert of sorts) shared that it is a good idea to measure your pattern pieces before making your muslin, because quite often the pieces don't measure up to what you would expect.  This is great advice and something to really keep in mind when working with these kinds of patterns.  Any other thoughts or questions are always welcome.

Live in this moment and love life!