Monday, June 27, 2022

Blinded by the White

My spring sewing plans included a dress for the bridal shower of Son #2’s bride to be, that I hosted it in May. Getting the house ready for the event meant clearing out my sewing room, aka... the dining room. The cleanout was achieved just in time, but as you could have predicted... no new dress.  I shopped my closet and wore the Seersucker Sundress I sewed last year for an Instagram Challenge. It proved to be perfect. So cliche, wearing seersucker on a southern summer day.  But it was comfortable and cool on a very busy, unseasonably hot day.

 The day after the shower, Son #1 and his fiancĂ© showed up at breakfast wearing wedding rings. Surprise! They had tied the knot a week earlier is a small, but beautiful ceremony with a Justice of the Peace and a few friends. I was so happy for them. Their lives are busy. They wanted to get married without having to plan parties and spend a lot of money. I understand. My husband and I had the same type of ceremony 43 years ago, for the same reasons, and never regretted it. And to be quite honest, the planning and festivities leading up to son #2's wedding are stressing me out right now. 

 I reassembled my sewing room quickly and was able to sew several tops for our early June sailing cruise down the Amalfi coast of Italy. Italy and the cruise were wonderful. The flights, both coming and going, were delayed or canceled or both. Luggage was delayed (mine) or lost (hubby, sister, and BIL). My luggage caught up with me so late in the trip, I had no time to wear or photograph my sews in Italy. Thanks to the airlines and our travel insurance, both my sister and I purchased and wore  small wardrobes of  Italian linen clothing. Sis was not happy wearing linen. She is a big fan of knit garments. But knits were hard to find and sizes were problematic. She had great luck finding cute Italian shoes. I,  having big lady feet, was pointed in the direction of the men's shoes when I asked for my european shoe size. Sigh, travel is always an adventure.

 Here is what I sewed,  and would have worn with my white jeans and shorts on my trip.

 Blue stripe, oversize cotton shirt made from a Mrs Stylebook drafted pattern. I had sewn this shirt before and really liked the slightly oversize fit and long shirttails. I added full length sleeves with cuffs for this version. It was to be worn as a light jacket, a bathing suit coverup or tied at the waist for casual look.

 A crossover T shirt  in a cotton/lycra knit print from Nick of Time Textiles  using  Burda pattern 6764, view A.  This was a surprising quick sew as the front neckline edge and sleeve hems are finished while flat. I used my covertitch machine.  The only dislike I have with a crossover style like this is the double fabric layer across the tummy area, which is my widest, puffiest part. 

Burda 6764


A  V neck T shirt in another cotton/lycra print knit.   Burda magazine  2 2005 T shirt 114 with short sleeves from dress 133.   Another quick to make top.

Burda  2 2005 114

 And finally a lace tunic with bias trim from Burda magazine June 1997.  This one has been an unfinished project since the original trip was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid. The lace is cotton and the bias trim is self made from silk shantung.The 5/8"seam allowance of the neckline, sleeve and bottom hem are turned to the right side and the bias binding covers them. It is an interesting way to clean finish the hems, but it took a lot of hand basting, first of hems and then of binding over the hems.

Burda tunic 6 1997 107

Burda 6 97  107

Burda Tunic as swimsuit coverup

Burda Tunic with shorts

Let's see if the rehearsal dinner dress and the Mother of the Groom dress get made. Fingers crossed for luck. 

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!