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!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Must Apologize

...again for my lengthy absence from this blog.  I recently became (once again) a member of the drone class and got a job!  I am very happy about this, but it is kicking my butt! I never expected to be this tired after working a regular day.  Back in the day I was a do it all mom.  I worked fulltime, raised kids, kept house and was very active in several kid and community activities. 

I admit, I'm a bit older now, and my undesired hiatus from employment kind of got me a little spoiled.  After all, I could sew as often as I wanted, and then bore you all with the details!

Anyway, I'm looking for your advice and tips... how do you "do it all"? How do you remain gainfully employed and still have time to sew and blog?  I really do want to know!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Memories Giveaway Winner

Hi everyone! The winner of the  My Memories Suite™ scrapbooking software is ..... Jennifer! Jennifer, please contact me so that I can pass along the details of how to collect your prize! Happy scrapbooking!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall Housecleaning (of the Sewing Room)

It's true. It seems as though I've only just cleaned out the sewing room, but, after all the turmoil created in there by the crafting and sewing for the wedding, it really, seriously needs it again. I have to get this done prior to beginning any new serious sewing or crafting projects!

This means I'm remiss in my duties to you, my readers, and to the other blog I write for, Sew Mantra. But, I can't really get my juices flowing in this mess!

I need to go out and purchase a few more storage bins today. OK, maybe not like the ones in the pic, but something that works! It's imperative to be able to walk across the floor and be able to set up my ironing board.  I covet those cool systems from Martha Stewart! But actually, I'd take anything that made me feel less like I was on an episode of Hoarders or Clean House!

There's SO MUCH I want to do... Adorna's patterns are calling, and so are the patterns which came with Gertie's book, not to mention a few upcycles that I'm dying to do.  If I can get this done today, then I can be clear to make a few nice things later in the week, so hang in there with me!  And if you have any organizing suggestions, please feel free to let me know.

Meantime, entries for the  My Memories Suite™ scrapbooking software close at midnight tonight, and the winner will be selected tomorrow, September 25th!  Keep your fingers crossed, as this is great software, with great potential for a lot more than just scrapbooks!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Adorna's Patterns-Part I

I've been spending a lot of time with Adorna and her patterns over the past few days... as I mentioned, I'm using My Memories Suite™ scrapbooking software to organize and catalog them.  While Adorna (and her mother) seem to have had a serious penchant for shirtdresses, I am so excited and inspired by the collection. I'm trying to decide which to make first, though I've barely made a dent in the cataloging!

Here's a serious contender that I think would make a nice holiday party dress, made up in a nice satin, with a nice jacket or wrap.  It's a mailorder pattern from The News, dated late fifties by the metered postage.  I'm learning so much about dating these patterns by their postage markings even when there is no date on the postmark!  If you're interested in learning more about this, please visit here!

Here's another one I just love! I can see it made up in a lightweight wool. As we head into fall and winter, it looks warm and practical as well as stylish! It's a Marian Martin mailorder pattern from about the early fifties.

Another leading contender is the jacket from this pattern (though I like the dress as well). Again, heading into fall, all I can think about is warm and cozy! This is a forties pattern from the Hollywood Pattern line.

Which one do you like best?  Any suggestions on which one I should make first?  Ooh, and don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a free My Memories software suite, valued at $39.95.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Scrapbooking Software Giveaway!

If you're like me, you are interested in multiple other crafts besides sewing… but, if you're like me, sewing is your first love.  Recently, because of my wedding, I've been doing a lot of photo journaling and scrapbooking.  This used to mean getting out the glue, scissors and boxes of paper bits to incorporate into your design. It also used to mean spending tons of money on papers, embellishments, photo prints and albums. Not anymore! With today's digital scrapbooking options, you can have all of the fun with none of the mess, and very little expense.

But what does this have to do with sewing, you might ask.  Well, sewing is never far from my mind. Remember all those cool vintage patterns I got at the estate sale? I need a means of cataloging them so that I can minimize handling them unless I'm tracing them for use.  So, I used My Memories Suite™ to create scrapbook pages which I can use to organize and catalog my patterns.  When shopping, I can bring a printed page with me, rather than trying to jot notes in my unreadable chickenscratch, or bring the actual pattern envelope and risk damage to already fragile goods.

Best of all, this was so easy! I just scanned the pattern envelopes (something I'm still in the process of doing) and used the scans as pictures in my design. I added places to make notes. One about the pattern itself, and one to notes dates I made up the pattern, what fabric I used and the results.  I added some sewing clipart from my collection, and voila! I'm really excited about this because it helps me stay organized on several fronts.

This isn't the only application of digital scrapbooking software for the sewing room, I'm sure… I have another few project ideas up my sleeve! And, I'd like to share the software with you.  I'm giving away one free copy of the software right here.  Simply go to the My Memories site and look over all the scrapbooking kits. Come back here and leave me a comment, letting me know your favorite kit. I will select a winner at random on September 25th!  Good luck!
Also, how do you organize and track your patterns?  Especially the delicate ones? I'm always open to suggestions!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another Vintage Find

During our honeymoon, we did a little antique browsing. You know me, my eyes are always peeled for great sewing related finds. There's a little antiques co-op, not far from here that I love. I've shared finds from there with you before, including my beloved copy of Make Do and Mend. While casually browsing, my spidey senses began to tingle... literally, that's the only way to describe it... something made me look inside an old barrister's bookcase (you know, the kind with the glass cover panels to protect the books and documents) and I found the first seven books from the Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences course in "Complete Dressmaking and Designing With Pattern Drafting"! This course is the one headed by Mary Brooks Picken which so inspired Amy Barickman to write Vintage Notions (see my review here).

Anyway, ladies, I was so excited that my hands were literally shaking as I pulled these beauties from the case. They are in fabulous, near mint condition and they have already provided me with hours of enjoyment. My new hubby could see that I was beyond excited about these books, and he saw to it that I did not leave the shop without them. My only disappointment is that it is a partial set... the first seven in a seventeen book course!  I am dying to get my hands on the rest of the titles in the set. Seriously, if anyone would like to part with a set they own, let's talk. While I am far from a woman of means, I'd just love to have the rest of these, particularly if they were of the same vintage.

Each chapter in these wonderful volumes includes test materials.  Little quizzes on the contents presented, or instructions on what samples to create and mail in to be critiques by the faculty of the Institute.  There are a ton of projects to complete within these pages, may of which I will be sharing with you!

Included inside the first volume was a sheet detailing the course overview.  It also listed supplies that would be sent to each subscriber to the course.  These included a dressmaker's gauge, tape measure, answer papers, information blanks (I assume for notes), return envelopes and measure slips.

The books were sent out one at a time, so my assumption is that this subscriber decided not to continue in her studies for some reason. None of the books bore a name, or any other information, so I will never know why my historic friend stopped getting her books.

To commemorate this find, I'd like to share a little freebie with you! Here is a copy of the original Woman's Institute Measure Slip! Click on the image below and you will be redirected to download a fullsize PDF of the measure slip.  Print off several to use for your own measurements, or those of the people you sew for! Or, using PDF fill-in software, keep all the info on your computer. In any case, use it with my compliments, and thanks for your encouraging comments!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Finally... the Wedding!

Well, it finally happened after all that preparation and work!  The wedding took place on the evening of August 31st at 7 pm.  As you all know, I slaved over my dress, which used reclaimed satin from my mother's wedding gown, with new embroidered lace netting.  It was a beautiful evening, a beautiful ceremony and a terrific time with friends and relatives.  Here are a very few highlights, before we return to sewing.  Here's something you'll probably never see again... me without my glasses!

We were so lucky to have been gifted by special friends with our lovely cake by Niamh Swan.

A spectacular dessert table by Claudia Matthews.

And a killer punch by Randy Schryver.

The setting was Universal Pathways in pastoral upstate New York. 

We hope that everyone had as wonderful an evening as we did!  We are very grateful to our friends and families. I am also grateful to all of you, who have read along as I've worked on this project, offering advice and encouragement as I put this together on a shoestring budget!

Photo credits: Bill Lawrence, Lauren Albright, Maryann Fairman, Sam Simmons, Dee Tocci

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Love at First Sight

The book we've all been waiting for arrived in my mailbox on Friday (thank-you Amazon pre-order)!!!! Gertie (a.k.a. Gretchen Hirsch) is a heroine to many of us.  Her blog began to chronicle her process as she sewed her way through the vintage Vogue New Book for Better Sewing, and has become one of the most influential home sewist blogs out there. A woman with a real body and real curves and real attitude sewing awesome vintage lovliness! What's not to like? I have only grazed the surface of this beauty so far because I'm quite busy with another project (as you all know)... however, I cannot wait to read this tome cover to cover and to experiment with the lovely patterns included.  A full review of the book will follow... stay tuned!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Estate Sale Booty

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this to you before... I LOVE ESTATE SALES! I had to take a time out today and do something non-wedding related, so I hit an estate sale! and OMG! I came away with the most amazing haul!

First, it's important to note that I got everything you are seeing here, and more, for a total of $15! Yes, that's right, $15!  That high pitched noise you hear is me squealing in delight.

First up, a nearly mint copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Sewing book from the sixties... AWESOME!

The, a ginormous box containing hundreds of patterns...

as well as a few odds and ends.  There were a small collection of notions,

and a little pile of iron on embroidery patterns.

As well as about a half dozen cooperative extension publications on sewing.

The patterns are fantastic.  Most are used, so I'll need to go through them to be sure they are intact, etc.  Many I will put to good use myself, others, I will sell, and still others will be part of a really cool give-away in the not too distant future.  Not only were some of these from the pattern companies we know, like Simplicity, Vogue and McCall, but there were a fair number of Advance and Hollywood, and some awesome mailorder ones.  Best of all, most of these are close to my size, so, for the ones I keep, there'll be relatively little drafting up and down.

Most of the patterns were addressed to Miss Adorna Wheelock... Adorna... what a unique and interesting name, especially for a sewist!  There were some handwritten notes on some of the patterns, like these:

As I said, some of these may be missing pieces, and some have some tearing on the pattern envelopes, but what a find, yes?  Do any of these strike your fancy?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Simple Upgrade

Hi!  In the spring, Target was featuring designs in stationery and home goods from Privet House.  There was a really cute wire "birdhouse" I loved.  I waited until it was on clearance and got it for $12.98, marked down from the original $27.00.  I'm using it as a card holder at my wedding, with a tiny alteration.

Of course, I'll add a bow, and maybe one of our cute tandem bike stamps, but not bad, huh?  Gotta love Target clearance.

On another note, my favors arrived today (well, the part that requires no crafting).

If they print "FRAGILE GLASS" on the side of the box, does that somehow translate to "Drop kick me into the truck"?  Thankfully, nothing was broken!  These will be revealed after the wedding because I don't want to spoil it for my guests.  Thanks for looking in on me!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Another Wedding Accessory: Footwear!

Weather permitting, we are being married outdoors in a bucolic garden setting.  I don't wear heels often anyway, but heels would only aerate my hostess's lawn, and end up looking all muddy and nasty.  So, what would look great for an outdoor wedding and be comfortable?

Today I'm making something I saw on Pinterest some time ago, and just loved. Now I don't want to take anything away from the fine company that made the original, but I simply couldn't afford over $40 for these, so I decided to make a version of my own using elastic nylon beading cord, the same types of seed beads from my dress, and some glass crystal beads.

First, measure out enough of the elastic cord to go around your second toe, up the foot and around your ankle.  Then decide on your beading patterns and get to it!

When you have enough to go around that second toe, close the loop with a crimp bead.

Measure how long you want the connecter from ankle to toe to be and bead that in a showier pattern.

Then, place another crimp bead but don't close it.  Bead the stretch that will encircle your ankle and then bring the end through that crimp bead you placed earlier, and close it, and you're done!

Please excuse my lack of pedicure... my feet will get the full treatment before the big day!

Now, these were time consuming to make, but they consumed about $10 worth of materials.  If one were making them for someone else, one would need to add timed costs for the labor, but as a DIY, it was quite economical.  Let me know what you think!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Something Blue

We're not doing a garter toss or anything... we're a little old for all that.  But every bride needs something blue, so I decided to make a garter.

I had this lace from an earlier garage sale day.

And a spool of blue satin ribbon.

I made a casing out of the ribbons, added the lace, and a few little embellishments... voila!  Something blue.

I'm pleased with how it came out, and it was quite a bit cheaper than the store bought ones.  I would guesstimate about $3.00.  More accessories to come... what did you wear for something blue on your wedding day?

Monday, August 6, 2012

That Ultimate Restyle

My cold is mostly better now, and I'm still working on the finishing touches to my wedding dress.  The wedding is coming up very soon, though I'm sure it seems like you've heard about this dress forever.  I've been hand sewing lace and other embellishment to the dress.  Here are a few quick detail pics.

I can't wait to wear it at the end of the month!  Until then, there's lots more I'm working on... for instance, I did our invitations a few weeks ago.  I designed them myself and printed them on my printer at home.

The theme is tandem bicycles... popular, to an extent it seems.  I got a great tandem bike cake topper on Etsy from heatherboyd.

I have SO many more things to do, and I'm taking you all along for the ride (tee hee).  Hey, my dress needs to be pressed... have you ever used a dry cleaner just for pressing?  I lack the equipment I think.  Anyway, thanks for stopping by!