Sunday, March 6, 2022

Yee Haw!

 My youngest sister lives in Tucson,  AZ. Her birthday is in late February,   which is also when the Tucson Rodeo is held.  


This combination of events provides the perfect excuse for a vacation. A warm dry location,  family, and fun stuff to do.   The rodeo is a big thing in Tucson. Schools close for two days so that everyone can attend the Rodeo parade. People get dressed up, fancy boots, jackets, blouses/shirts and hats. Last time I attended the Rodeo, I wore "east coast go to the county fair" clothes.  This time I was determined to blend in. I had the boots. They were leftovers from a western themed marketing campaign at the company I worked for. Employees were given the opportunity to buy a pair of Lucchese boots for ~$40.  A lot of employees immediately sold theirs on eBay for about 10 times the price they paid, but I kept mine.  

I wanted to sew  a top or jacket in a western style to wear with my boots.  In my Google search for patterns and inspiration I came across many colorful, embroidery embellished,  vintage western garments from the 1940's. It appears to be a time when there was a lot of interest in the western lifestyle, and Hollywood  released lots of cowboy movies. I also found McCall's patterns  for western themed clothing from the same time period. Below are  some of  the women's patterns, but there are also similar patterns for men and children.

McCall 1295

McCall 1348

McCall 1297


 I loved them. But these vintage  patterns, if available, were very expensive.  Luckily one link popped up for  Decades of Style  pattern #4008 1940s Rodeo Gal Shirt.  It appeared to be a reproduction of McCall's 1297,  and it was available in PDF format. The Rodeo Gal Shirt cover drawing shows the exact same illustration as the McCall's 1297, but with less embroidery and minus the smile pocket (non-flap, open chest pockets that are curved, like a smile, with a stitched arrowhead shaped tack on the ends.) I immediately downloaded the pattern.

Decades of Style #4008 1940s Rodeo Gal Shirt

Wool blend gabardine was a fabric that was used for 1940 RTW western wear and also recommended by the patterns.  I used a large piece of cream gabardine left over from my New Years Eve pants for the yokes and cuffs. I found a a rusty red rayon wool blend gabardine for the sleeves and lower bodice in my stash. The metallic gold piping was also from my stash. The snap fasteners from Amazon. Bemberg rayon was used for the  yoke lining.  The pattern sizing is current and the  instructions were good.

 There was one unusual detail  I had never seen before . The sleeve had an  horizontal slash dart a couple inches from the bottom that secures the sleeve pleats. The slash dart is sewn with the raw edges to the right side of the fabric and is later covered by the cuff.  I think it  is a clever way to add pleats above the cuff without  extending them  to the bottom of the sleeve, where they might have caused bumps in the seam where the cuff is attached like a reverse facing.

Slash Dart



 I chose to do all the embroidery that is shown on the  McCall's pattern cover.  It is fairly simple as embroidery goes. Satin stitch and stem stitch. But I had not done this kind of embroidery since high school(40+ years) when I decorated my blue chambray work shirt with flowers, peace signs and hearts.  I had to buy floss, a  hoop, and needles. I also  watched a lot of YouTube video on pattern transfer methods and stitching. Knowing my first embroidery attempts would be a bit clumsy (an understatement) I started working on the pieces of fabric that the cuffs were to be cut from. I could hide the cuffs behind my back if necessary. By the time I embroidered the front yokes, and purchased a magnifier for close work,  my stitching  looked much better. 


#4008 1940s Rodeo Gal Shirt Front


#4008 1940s Rodeo Gal Shirt side

#4008 1940s Rodeo Gal Shirt back

As you can imagine, this project was a lot of work. I had to do my normal fitting alterations, plus embroidery, piping on shaped yokes, and applying snap fasters.   But I got it done.

1940's McCall  Pattern Rodeo Shirt

We had a great time at the rodeo. We watched it from The Vaqueros club (equivalent to box seats) out of the direct sun, with lots of drinks and food. I got several compliments  on my blouse from other ladies in the club.



Saturday, February 5, 2022

January Sewing

 My Jan. sewing  had a bit of a trend, tops with draped necklines.  It wasn't planned, it just happened. 

 The first one was featured in the Feb 2021 issue. When I saw it, I recognized it as the same design featured in the Oct 2012 issue.  Have you noticed that BurdaStyle is starting to repeat some styles? I have spotted about 4 other repeated styles recently. Younger sewers probably wouldn't notice, but for those of us with some experience  and large collections of Burdastyle magazines .....



The 2021 version of this top was shown made in knit fabric while the 2012 was in stretch woven. The line drawings are identical.  I traced the  2012 pattern because my chosen fabric was a woven. I am curious if the patterns are exactly the same or  if the more recent one is drafted specifically for knits, but I am too lazy to do the comparison.  My fabric was large scale, irregular plaid, in a twill weave wool.  The fabric was sold  by Fabric Mart Fabrics in 2001 in 72 x 60"  panels  that actually had fringe on both ends.  I kept the fringed remnants to make a scarf. I bought 4 of the panels with some idea of making them into curtains for a dark library/man cave room. That never happened.  Because of the fabric softness and  the bias cut, I did not have to put in a zipper in this top.  I am amazed at how small this top makes my waist look.  I assure  you, my waist is the same  33" one I have had for years. Ha Ha, maybe my hips got bigger.  The top coordinates with the green wool pants I sewed late last year. 



Top number two is style 115 from the August 2021 issue of Burdastyle. 


 It has a high, draped, cross over neckline on a basic boxy bodice. The fabric is a textured cotton blend  knit from Metro Fabrics. I miss visiting Metro Fabrics. A friend of mine was recently in NYC and visited Kashi (Metro), Mood and I think, B&J.  She said Mood was a mess, like major remodeling and B&J had gone to swatch samples at the end of each row of fabric, instead of customer browsing.  I was thinking of going to NYC to look for fabrics for a mother of the groom dress, but my friend's report put me off the idea.   


  I have seen various makes of this top on the internet and the shape of the neckline is very much affected by the drape or stiffness of the  chosen fabric.  My fabric is fairly firm and the neckline stands up nicely. This top is a great alternative to the sweaters I usually wear in the winter.



Saturday, January 1, 2022

Bye Bye 2021

 




Bye Bye  2021.  You were better than 2020, but still not wonderful. Here's hoping that 2022 is the best!  It is going to be a busy year. We have rescheduled a sailing cruise of the Amalfi coast.  Fingers crossed it happens. It was  originally scheduled in 2020 for  my little sister's 60th birthday.  It will be her retirement cruise now.  And I will be the mother of  the groom at a Sept. wedding.  I may sew my dress, I may not.  

December sewing has always been outfits for holiday events, using wonderful, luxurious fabrics  featuring sparkle and glitz.   I don't have as many events  being retired now, and because of Covid.  We searched out things to do so that we could get my 85 year old mother out of the house. She complains of not going anywhere, "But Mom, we aren't going anywhere either." We went to our first  opera. Mom's comment was "One opera in a lifetime is enough".  But I enjoyed it.  Simple phrases like "I'm dying!" sound so much better in Italian. We attended a performance of the Nutcracker ballet. which is a family holiday tradition, and a Neil Simon play at local venue.  The  holiday event outfits were a bit more  casual this year, but I could not give up the glitter.  

Green metallic jacquard blouse and dark green gabardine pants. Sewn from vintage Burda Style patterns.

Burda  12 2014 117 and 1 2011 134





My New Years Eve outfit  was the vest and tunic from  Cutting Line Designs Artist in Motions pattern.


The vest fabric is a  cream colored mesh with gold sequins.   It was a bit of a challenge to sew.  I used freezer paper, cut to the pattern, to stabilize the  armhole and neck  while machine basting the trim in place.  I tore the paper off along the basting stitches and serged the trim in place.  I know there is probably an iron on/rinse away stabilizer designed for machine embroidery that would have been easier to use, but I wanted to use what I had on hand. The tunic is a off white silk from my stash. Pants are a tapered leg,  elastic waist style in wool gabardine  from an old Vogue pattern. I couldn't find my Cutting Line  Designs One Seam pant pattern that would have been perfect for this outfit.

Happy New Year everyone!



Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Oct Sewing

 In early October,  DH and I spent a week in New Mexico. I had been there before on a sewing related retreat and knew DH, with his love of rocks and old railroads, would love it.  Planned activities were hiking,  hot spring soaks,  museums of all kinds,  heritage sites, scenic railroad rides, and great food. Daily weather in NM in Oct. can be quite brisk, near freezing, in the morning warming up to  mid 70's during the day.  I packed garments that  could be layered, coordinated well with each other, and would be appropriate for sightseeing or hiking.   I had planned  to sew many garments for the trip, but you know how that goes. We randomly picked the week, but by luck it was  one that coincided with both the hot air Balloon Fiesta and peak  fall foliage.  The Albuquerque, NM Balloon Fiesta was a one of a kind experience. The sight of hundreds of colorful balloon ascending into the sky is awe inspiring. If you ever get a chance to go, take it!

 
Leaving Albuquerque we drove north,  headed to Taos , There were numerous hot springs along the way, some just a short hike off the the main road where you can soak in either bathing or birthday suits, Other are commercialized, with the hot waters piped into soaking pools. And with sun shades, changing rooms and refreshments.  One of the items I sewed for the trip was a new two piece bathing suit. There are situations where  a 2 piece bathing suit makes changing (cars, semi public places) or using the facilities (the "facilities on small boats") easier than a one piece. So I always have one in my wardrobe, though it may not be my best look.



 This bathing suit is from an old pattern I have used before. Fabric was from my stash. 



We stopped at one of the commercialized hot springs and had a nice soak  under a clear blue sky. To be honest the water was a bit too hot for me. 


From Taos we headed up to Chama, near the the Colorado state line.  We took a ride on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad,  which has  narrow gauge tracks and steam engines.  The scenery was spectacular.  The  aspen trees, which I had never seen before, had turned a bright yellow and contrasted beautifully with the brown rocks and evergreen trees.  The limited color scheme was so different from the red, orange and yellow of Virginia fall foliage. It was a nice change.





Heading south,  we stayed the night in Espanola. We had a great meal in a local restaurant recommended by a fellow train passenger.  And stayed at a family owned hotel with authentic adobe structures  and architecture  accented by hand carved corbels, portals and hand made Mexican tile floors. 

I wore my me made shrug set , a sleeveless cowl neck top and matching shrug from Burda Nov 2013.  I made it from a marled poly spandex knit from Walmart.  When I got too warm, I just removed the shrug and tied it around my waist.  It looked like a self fabric belt. I did shorten the tunic and added elastic to the edge of the shrug to keep it from stretching out.



Burda 11 2013 111



Burda 11 2013 shrug set

And finally to  Sante Fe. I highly recommend seeing the art collection in the State Capital building, visiting the Natural History museum and of course window shopping. I love being able to visit the Sante Fe Weaving Gallery, Santa Fe Dry Goods, and  other clothing stores featuring unique, artistic garments.  I always get so many ideas and inspiration  for my own garment making.

We  enjoyed it so much we are planning our next trip.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Topping Off my Summer sewing

 The outside temperatures have dropped significantly and it feels like fall. And a package of wool fabrics arrived from Fabric Mart Fabrics this afternoon.  So I have pushed myself to document my late summer sewing makes.  All sewn in  August, all tops, all sleeveless, and  all from Burda magazines.

Number 1. 


 Burda 6 2018 109  sewn from a remnant of a light weight silk crepe print.  As I was cutting the fabric, I remembered how this fabric shifted about during cutting and sewing on the original project. Rather that do the bias finish on the neck and arm holes, I lined the bodice in cotton batiste.  The silk was droopier than the lining fabric resulting in a "droopy boob" look on the upper bodice.  Also contributing to this is the under bust seam which is not right under the bust  as depicted in the line drawing, but much lower. The under bust seam starts 1" above the waist at the side seam.  I double checked the pattern on the magazine insert. I also looked at the versions of this top sewn by the community on the Burda Russian site and many had the same problem. I will wear it around the house. Because it is red, my favorite color.

Burda 6 2008

Number 2.


Burda 3 2006 104 . Love the lines of this one. Cut in armholes, seams for shaping and topstitching, and back shoulder darts (which I need). I made it out of a yard of  turquoise white stretch chambray. Unfortunately the top stitching doesn't show very well.  This one got a lot of wear. 


Burda 3 2006


Number 3


From  June of 1997. Crossover top with tie accent, princess seaming,  and the back shoulder darts again. The fabric is a cotton print. Based on the yardage of fabric I had, I suspect I bought it to back a quilt. This print says beach vacation to me. I am not the only one to pull this pattern out of the stash recently.  I found a  French sewing blogger that used the top pattern  to make a dress in 2019.


Burda 6 1997

 Number 4.

Burda  2 2017 106

Looking at this pattern, I wondered what it would look like made in an ombre fabric.  I tried making it from a lightweight silk ombre scarf I had in my closet.  The fabric was too lightweight and the project ended up in the trash.  I decided to make my own ombre fabric in a more sewable weight by dying a piece from my stash.  The color of the silk fabric was a beigey yellow. Not an  "in" color right now. I was lucky to find a small spool of matching thread in the bin saved from my mother's sewing room. I used Apple Green Rit Dye and the stovetop method to dye the fabric. It took about 15 minutes of dipping the ends of the yardage in the dye pot.  Not long, but my arms ached. I love the way the flounce is draped, starting at the side seam and  forming a sleeve as it goes to the back.  Fortunately there are detailed instructions for assembling this top in the magazine.  I did the narrow hem on the flounce by hand after unsuccessfully trying  both serger and sewing machine techniques.  I did not put in the slit at the top of the back because the neck opening is way big enough to get my head through. Even after I raised the  V  neckline slightly.  


Burda 2 2017

Burda 2 2017 back

I was amused to see the peppers  we are currently harvesting from the garden are similar in color to my top. 

Now I am off to pat and fondle my new wools to get inspiration for fall sewing.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Summer Travels

July was a month of much travel and minimal sewing.  Our early July trip was to a hot, humid location  so I decided to sew some linen garments and see if I would find them more comfortable/wrinkle free in that type of climate.

DS#1, age 29 decided to quit his job as a wine salesman and go to law school. He starts his classes at Louisiana State University in August.

Early in July,  DH and I  helped he and his fiancĂ©  drive their cars from Richmond, VA to Baton Rouge, LA.  It was 3-days of driving through 7 states. There were a few adventures. I discovered disposable face masks are good for other purposes when one finds oneself in a grubby gas station bathroom in rural Georgia  (detour around massive traffic jam on I85) with no toilet paper.  Or who knew the best restaurant near Atmore, AL is hiding in a dilapidated strip mall, furnished with a mix of booths repurposed from multiple types of restaurants; western, 50’s diner, and 70’s chic.  But the food was great, prices were low (what? no "7.5% meals tax" on top of local tax), and all mixed drinks were guaranteed to contain 1.5 oz. of alcohol, according to the sign at the bar.  The large number of  local policemen, having a  group dinner in the back room, kept us from extensively testing the validity of this claim.

 Before our trip I sewed up a pair of linen/cotton shorts and cotton lycra T shirt. The pattern for the shorts was Burda 12/2010 /108 pattern hemmed at knee length. I used this pattern last summer for the shorts in my  Birthday Suit.



 The printed linen cotton blend fabric was a “4 yard for $10” deal from FabricMartFabrics, purchased a couple of years ago. The print is lime green and beige. A color combo I had never considered wearing. But it is one I have seen a lot this summer, and it is starting to grow on me. And I remembered I had a necklace with stones of peridot green and beige druzy crystals.


.


  I also made a coordinating, wide neck, cap sleeve cotton/lycra T shirt from Vogue 1141.

Vogue 1141
Back to linen. I though Richmond was hot and humid, but Baton Rouge is much hotter and more humid, especially after the daily rain shower. 

 The wearing test  was while touring the LSU campus. The linen shorts were very comfortable. They still wrinkled but at least they did not lay on my skin, soaking up sweat and showing it in dark damp spots like the T shirt.  I don’t perspire much, even when exercising, but I did that day just walking around . 


LSU Law building

Wrinkles and damp spots


DH and I had our picture with the statue of the LSU tiger mascot.  I felt a bit disloyal to  the  Penn State Nittany lion statue of my alma mater. We also visited Mike the tiger, a real Bengal tiger who lives in a leafy, green habitat near the football stadium. He was sleeping in the shade, an appropriate activity for the weather that day. 

I had seen and admired some linen print, short and top sets on Net a Porter. 




 They were  very cute but a bit frilly.  I made a top  from a Burda envelope pattern in the same fabric as the shorts.  


Burda 6819

And now I now have my own linen short set. A bit more tailored than the N-a-P sets and in a subtle print, but something I would actually wear.


Linen print short set

  By far the most comfortable clothes I wore during our stay in Baton Rouge were loose fitting  shorts and tops of woven fabrics.  I took a bunch of the silk tanks tops I had sewn in the past, and they were cool, comfortable and looked great. I came home from my trip and made a few more,  which I will share in the next post.