Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blue chambray shirtwaist dress

Here's my third and final incarnation of Simplicity 2246! It's time to move on to a new shirtdress pattern after this, methinks. This one is really just the bodice with a waistband and gathered dirndl skirt spliced on. Because the buttons no longer extend below the waist, I added a side zipper so I could get in and out of the dress.

This dress took me FOR. EVER. because I had this harebrained idea that I should try to learn a new sewing skill with each project. So, I decided to do topstitching, and do it right! At first I tried threading my needle with two threads, which gave the desired decorative effect, but I could not get the tension to stay even between both threads. After ripping out the same seam three times, I gave up and bought a topstitching needle (basically a size 14, with a larger eye) and topstitching thread (thicker than all-purpose thread).

I also took my time with the finishing details on the inside of the dress. I could almost wear it inside out! All of the seams are flat-felled, with the exception of the sleeve seams and the left bodice seam that has the zipper, which are both serged. (It is possible to flat-fell sleeves to a bodice, but this requires setting in the sleeves before sewing the side seams, and I uh, forgot to do that).

Despite all the extra work, I really did enjoy sewing this dress. It's a pretty classic fabric and style, and I think I'll be able to accessorize it many different ways. The sleeve length and full skirt remind me of the late '50s or early '60s, so it has a bit of the "vintage housedress" feel. With a cardigan, it should be a good transition into fall.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Vintage children's clothes

My mom has been helping a friend sort through and clean out her parents' house. This week she brought home a bag full of vintage children's clothes that she knew I'd enjoy seeing. I quickly snapped a photo of all the wonderful fabrics and prints:

There was a golden brown and pink girl's dress, made of real silk, from the 1920s. Lots of cute baby rompers. Most incredible of all was a girl's petticoat from the 1950s which had an inflatable inner tube sewn into a casing for extra flare! I'd never heard of such a thing. My favorite dress was a simple little '50s sundress, printed with rosebuds (on the left in the picture).

My mom's friend has yet to go through the clothes and decide what she wants to keep, so we'll be returning the bag to her. But it was lots of fun to take a small peek at what girls wore in the past!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A boy and his Puddleduck

One day, back in Indiana, Douglas and Edmund were walking around our apartment complex and stopped to befriend an older single lady. When Edmund admired her cheap plastic garden duck, she presented it to him as a gift. I confess I rolled my eyes when they brought it back. In my (well-intentioned, but perhaps over-zealous) drive to keep our lives free of clutter and junk, I thought it would end up in the dumpster in a few days.

However, I was proved wrong when Edmund really enjoyed playing with Jemima, as we call her. He treated her almost like a doll -- feeding her, putting her to bed, and meting out discipline.

Since our move, she's been residing in a box. During a recent retrieval trip to our storage unit, I came across Jemima and rescued her. She now happily resides in the herb garden.