Saving the planet... one garment at a time!

... and one upcycle at a time... Welcome to my blog: A place to have an "over the fence conversation" about sewing, altered couture, upcycling, and all kinds of crafts using found objects, beads, ephemera and other vintage finds!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

That Downton Dress - III

I continue to work on the Downton Dress.  All the hems have been very time consuming, but they continue to progress, and the results are very satisfying! Now I'm beginning to think about the embellishments.  The front of the dress has a draped belt and it needs clasps.  The woman I'm making the dress for bought gorgeous 1920's clasps on Etsy.  These are the real deal, and look as thought they were made for this dress!

Evening dresses in the era were often beaded and embellished.  The print on this dress is quite ornamental itself, but I purchased some other embellishments which will match nicely with the clasps.

One thing I'd like to do is put a single rhinestone on each point of the handkerchief hem, along with three bugle beads.  The larger piece will be on the back of the dress to stabilize the v-back.

This is a fun project, and one that I hope will yield stunning results!  Thanks for checking in!

p.s.  Any thoughts on the new logo?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

That Downton Dress-II

One challenge with a vintage pattern is a scarcity of directions - even when the pattern is a repro, Much was assumed about the skill of the seamstress.  This dress has many handkerchief leaves in its hem, with no direction as to how to finish them.  A couture dress is distinguished by the hand sewing that goes into its production, so I decided hand rolled hems would be the most appropriate for this gown.  This is a painstaking process, but very rewarding in the end.

First, the raw edge is folded over and held in place with a tiny running stitch.  Then, a running zigzag is made, taking only a few threads into each stitch.

Here's another look in case my big thumb was obscuring your view.

After you've made a half dozen or so of these stitches, gently pull on the thread and it magically rolls into a beautiful rolled hem, which looks like this from the wrong side:

And, like this from the outside of the garment:

I'm super happy with the look of this, but there are a lot of them to do! Hope your week's sewing is going well!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Tunic with Embedded Recycle

As part of my stash and UFO busting crusade, I came across a cotton T Tunic I had cut, probably years ago.  In case you were not aware, a T Tunic is a tunic cut using a shirt from your wardrobe as a pattern.

In this instance I wanted to incorporate an antique pillowcase that had a few holes in it.  I love clothing made from antique linens, and the white of the pillowcase and the dainty embroidery contrasted nicely with the blue check.

I cut off the body of the tunic, turned it sideways and stitched a center back seam.  Then I added in the area of the pillowcase I wanted to use.  I gathered the new body of the tunic and attached it to the kimono arms.  Here is the resulting tunic.

I've already worn it, and it's light and airy and comfortable for summer, but could carry into fall with a long sleeved top underneath. This was a quick project to do, allowing me to wind down from more intense painstaking work on the Downton Dress.  Thanks for looking!

Monday, June 29, 2015

That Downton Dress

The Downton, or twenties dress I am making for my friend progresses along.  I finally figured out how to cut it without having odd seams everywhere.  Here is a shot of the lovely fabric.

The drape on this is incredible.  It will be like wearing a silk scarf.  Of course to cut it, I had to rip out the fitting muslin I had made.  Here are some shots of the cutting table in progress.

The first step post cutting was to apply some wash away stabilizer at some detail points on the main front piece.  I used this for the shoulder pleats, the torso pleats and the front slash points.

I can't wait to see the finished garment on my friend.  This dress will complement her striking coloring.  BUT, this will take a bit of time.  I want it to be beautifully constructed as well.  Anyone have some tips for working with lightweight, drapey fabrics?  The stabilizer is certainly one great help.  Please feel free to share!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Quick Sunday No-Sew Craft

The hubby is watching a man movie... so, I'm free to craft!  This happens rarely on weekends, so I threw together a quickie.  I acquired this frame at a yard sale.

And, I had some printed burlap left over from another project.

While thrift shopping earlier, I had also gotten some cute fabric strips.

So I threw them together with an old Yale safe key found in our house when we moved in.  Here's the result!

Not bad for a few spare minutes!  Hope you're having an excellent weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

One Thousand Followers on Pinterest

An extraordinary thing happened the other day.  I reached one thousand followers on Pinterest!  For some, this is but a paltry number.  For me, it is awesomely exciting and nigh on unbelievable.  I am very grateful to all of my followers, on this blog, via Bloglovin', Google Plus, Facebook and Pinterest.  I love "talking" to you, and I love all of your ideas, too.  Thanks for being there, and thanks for taking a small amount of your time to interact with me!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Dress from a Japanese Pattern Book (in English)!

I have a fascination with the many pretty Japanese pattern books available now in English.  I pin them to my Pinterest sewing board, Sew Inspired. I collect them (I think I have a half dozen or more). But, until now I have not really tried to sew anything from them. I love the simple yet elegant lines of these patterns.  I admit I was a little intimidated by the talk online that these are difficult to sew.   I decided to ignore all naysayers and start with the Sweet Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori.

The patterns that come with these books are generally to be found in a pouch in the back of the book.

One needs to remove the desired sheet, flatten it out, and trace the desired pattern pieces.  I used freezer paper, which is one of my favorite pattern papers.  Keep in mind that the patterns are without seam allowances, so you'll need to add an allowance to each pattern piece.

The pattern I chose is IC, a loose fitting dress with french sleeve and lovely pleats at the neckline. I used an adjustable blind hem foot to make perfect little pleats.

Here is the finished dress on Betsy, my trusty dress form.

This dress was fun to make, and not at all difficult.  I am loving how it came out.  I wore it out to coffee yesterday, and I can tell it's going to be a staple part of my summer wardrobe.  Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!  Have you tried Japanese sewing pattern books?