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, 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