Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Simplicity 9778 - Butterick 4888

So, a couple of years ago, I made Simplicity 9778 (1971), a long, yoked, Mother Hubbard-style dress with a V-yoke and band collar.

I loved the weird green Concord floral:

But failed to trust my instincts about the improperly-drafted collar, which was drawn and cut as a straight band and sat around my neck like a section of pipe (it looks better here than it looked and felt in real life):

Plus, the bulk of the dress bunched up in weird places as I walked.  I sewed some darts in the back waist, which helped a lot, but . . . eh, I still wasn't wearing it.

I had some scrap left and lucked onto an additional yard on eBay, so I cut off the "skirt" (well, the lower half, since there is no waist) and started fitting the bodice for Butterick 4888 (1977-1978), a slightly later prairie wedding gown.  Yes, with apron.  Psychoanalyze that.

(I already had fabric to make another version of this so it was going to have to be worked on at some point.  The other one will be gray chambray with long sleeves and buttons up the back.)

I needed a bust 34 + a small full-bust adjustment (Seventies patterns seem to run flat) + a little width added to the upper back.   My copy of this is a bust 36 so I decided to try cheating and just taking in the shoulders, and maybe the waist, although I didn't want it super fitted.

Then I did my usual lengthening of the bodice and lowering the bust.

I think I've gotten away with it this time:

I salvaged the sleeves from the first dress.  There is a bit of a dye lot mismatch but I'm not going to worry about it.

I also found raisin-colored Moda solid to make an apron, just because.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bear with me

I actually do have a project going on but it's a surprise for someone and I don't want the recipient to find this by accident.  Blog reveal after it's been given.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Bricks Quilt

Finished at 10:22 p.m. on New Years Eve!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fairfield slipped-stitch shawl

Easy slipped-stitch shawl or scarf

Free Ravelry download here.

                Designed by Alethea Drexler, December 2016.  Please share as much as you like but keep my name on it.  

          This was knit originally as a shawl but it is, admittedly, a bit tedious and a moderately skilled knitter will probably prefer it as a scarf, with a narrower border. The finished piece has a plain body with raised lines, a diagonal rib border, and is reversible.
          This is written for worsted-weight yarn (Lion Brand Wool-Ease; a lot.  Like eight skeins) on a 32-inch US8 cable needle.  The original shawl had 12 rows of border on each end and 10 stitches of border on each side; a scarf would probably look better with a narrower border and would need fewer rows/stitches.
Cast on stitches in a multiple of 8 + 7, plus the stitches you need for your border.  For a large-ish shawl, I cast on 16 full pattern repeats, so:

8*16 + 7 + 10*2 = 155

 . . . which ended up being just about 30 inches wide.  The chart below shows two pattern repeats.
The most important thing to remember here is to always purl the slipped stitch on the opposite side so that it creates the raised line. 

Border pattern (by far the harder part!):
Row 1: K2, P2 to end (you will end with a single stitch of either knit or purl)
Row 2: P2, K2 to end.  From now on, all wrong-side border stitches will mirror the right-side stitches: Purl the RS knit stitches and knit the RS purl stitches.
Row 3: P1, then K2, P2 to end.
Row 5: P2, K2 to end.
Row 7: K1, then P2, K2 to end.

Continue this pattern, moving the rib pattern over by one purl or knit stitch as needed at the beginning of every RS row, even after you begin the pattern body. 

All RS rows: Knit 3, *slip 1 stitch purlwise, knit 3, purl 1, knit 3*, knit 3
All WS rows: Knit 3, *purl 1, knit 3, slip 1 stitch purlwise, knit 3*, knit 3

Pattern chart

(thank you, Stitch Fiddle)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Breyer Stablemate Club 2016 "Django"

Alas, the Vintage Club is way out of my price range, but I can manage the Stablemate Club.  I've signed up again for 2017.  I hope they do fewer glossies--they're nice, but they're hard to photograph and not all of us are into that.  I know the first 2017 horse, Coco, will be glossy, though.

The big deal for 2016 was the #6 horse, Django: A dark-bay tobiano on a new standing Friesian mold.  A lot of people got them with bent ears but I was fortunate yet again: Mine is fine.

Sigil (Alwyn [Friesian] x Bega [Dutch warmblood, by Art Deco]) 2017 dark bay tobiano Friesian sport horse stallion:

I need to work on my lighting--the shadow behind the horse spoils the illusion of space between the model and the backdrop.  Not too bad, though, for an iPhone shot with a desk lamp. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

Bricks quilt - border

Every time I sit down to work on this, the cats make a beeline for it and won't take no for an answer, which is adorable but makes it impossible to get any work done:

But they were distracted last night so I finally got started.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bricks quilt - binding

I was worried about the binding on the bricks quilt looking like an afterthought and considered binding it in plain red or maybe a dark-green mottled mixer print.  I like scrap bindings but I didn't want it to be obvious that none of the prints that are actually in the quilt were available for the binding.

Or . . . not.

I went through Mom's last-chance scrap bin and found--I am not kidding--2 1/2-inch strips of calicos that are in the quilt.  Yes, she still has scraps of them, thirteen years later.  And she had exactly enough for a binding.

Check it out:

Binding applied to the front, and the extra batting cut away:

These barrettes tear out my hair but they're fantastic for quilt bindings.  You can buy packs of plain ones at sewing shops but I have a bunch left over that I don't use any more.

The binding from the back (note: The border is not quilted yet.  Normally, you'd quilt the whole thing before binding it but because this quilt is so small it's not such a big deal):

The first finished corner:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Bricks quilt

OMG I started this, no joke, at least twelve years ago.  I finally got all the bricks quilted.  Finally.  It's not large--about 24 x 32--so I can't justify it taking that long, but there it is.

I'm going home tonight to put a binding on it and mark the border quilting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Simplicity 2015 1080 Dottie Angel: Black on black, part I

This is a quick side project.  I'm still tweaking this pattern.  I reconfigured the waist tucks and lowered the applied belts to basically the "real" waistline (belly button height).  The fabric is Exclusively Quilters Paloma black-on-black bird and vine print; I got it on clearance as a bolt end and I love the design.  Black lace trim on the hem, armscyes, and bound neckline.  I'm almost done--I just have to sew on one more button, cut the buttonholes, and do a little seam finishing.

Applying the lace to the hem:

Hem faced with plain black bias:

Black faux-glass (i.e. sparkly plastic) faux-Victorian buttons at the waist:

Armscyes and bound neckline with lace trim:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hollywood 1089 (1944) Election Day: Part II

 . . . ugh.  Not feeling very enthusiastic about this project.

I guess I'll finish in, anyway, and maybe put it away for awhile.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Hollywood 1089 (1944) Election Day: Part I

I did not get my act together fast enough to have a vintage-style pantsuit ready for Election Day.  I've only ever done one pair of badly-fitting scrub pants, and I can't muscle my way up that kind of learning curve in three days.

I do, however, have simpler dress patterns and patriotic fabric from which to sew them.

I bought the Marcus Brothers Betsy Ross blue flags fabric four or five years ago and bounced it around, conceptually, among several 1940's housedress patterns.  I think it was actually part of one of their Civil War-inspired lines but whatever.

Sometimes you just need a push to force you to get started on a project, though, so I bit the bullet and pulled up Hollywood 1089 (1944), which was chosen because a) it was a 1940's housedress, b) I'd already fitted DuBarry 5612 (1943) and thus had another princess-seamed pattern to which to compare it, and c) it was my size and didn't need to be graded, though it would need fitting.

I estimated the needed fit tweaks in the process of tracing it: Lowered bustline, added upper back width, added hip width, slight FBA.  The waist height measured OK so I decided to risk it.

The first muslin needed the FBA undone but otherwise fit well (OK, it fit well when I wasn't wearing it over street clothes for the sake of decency.  Just trust me on this):

I'm using navy rick-rack for trim and recycled peacoat buttons at the waist instead of ties.

So I have to go home tonight and hem, trim, and set the sleeves; set the pockets; do the bound buttonholes and set the buttons, and hem.  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Simplicity 1866 (1946) and 8242 (2016)

I opened the Simplicity.com site a couple of weeks ago and, lo and behold, saw this:

This looks familiar!  I have that pattern!

Well, I have that pattern's grandmother, Simplicity 1866 (1946):

I just cleared out a huge box of patterns and I'm trying not to buy more to acquire new ones more judiciously but I'd already promised myself I would get this in the interest of, uh, science.  Yeah, science.  Okay, specificaly to compare the cuts of the original pattern to the reissue.  I've heard that there is alteration to modernize the fit and now I'll know for sure.

I suspect we'll see a bit of a shoulder-ectomy.  1946 was the height (no pun intended) of the Joan Crawford shoulder, and it's not a look that those of us who survived the Eighties are anxious to repeat, nor is it very comfortable.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


My parents are getting ready for a road trip and I promised Mom I'd help her make up some pillowcases to give as gifts.  I figured since I was doing that, I'd make up the ones out of fabric I'd been saving for myself, too.  Mom's are done; I just have to finish the cuff ends on mine.

Total: 21 pillowcases.

I finished hers last night, including this rather spectacular one from Robert Kaufman Effervescence:

I cut off the end and used it to line the open end so I wouldn't have to fold the edge print over:

For Mom, I made: 1 pink fairies, 1 Hallowe'en cats, 1 space men, 1 owls, 1 candy corn, 2 loons, and the Effervescence.

For myself: 1 Midcentury cars flannel, 1 sharks flannel, 1 zebras flannel, 1 folk art birds flannel, 1 sharks cotton, 2 sunflowers, 3 autumn leaves, 1 gourds, 1 constellations flannel, 1 ghost cats flannel, and 1 minerals.  I'm waiting on another piece of fabric in the mail, too.  Whew.

I'm taking some time off next week.  Rhoda goes in on Monday for a spay, and Wednesday I'm taking a road trip up to East Texas to pick up some model horse stuff that a friend needs to unload before she moves.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Butterick 1979 6038 green gingham homespun, part III

Nope, too short. 

I like the idea of it, though, so I'll get a yard and a half of homespun this time, scrap the first effort, and try again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Butterick 1979 6038 green gingham homespun, part II

No pix.  Turns out it's a lot harder to sew with two cats around than it is to sew with one.  Shocker.

I started the neck last night but it took me two hours because of Rhoda.  OMG, Rhoda.  So cute but such a little imp.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Butterick 1979 6038 green gingham homespun, part I

I got impatient and started one of my staycation projects early.

I made this before in white Kona and it worked pretty well but there were some minor fit issues and I didn't keep it (I'll probably make it again if this version fits better).  So I got it out the other day and added some back width and neck darts, and did a small FBA.  Seventies patterns are so flat.

I have one yard of green gingham homespun.  I think I can make this work if I make it sleeveless and collarless and probably a bit shorter than the photo suggests:

Eh.  But closer:

Upper back width, rotated to neck dart (this is a rough draft.  I need to fix the shoulder line):

FBA with bust dart rotated into the shoulder gathering (also a rough draft.  these will be retraced):

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

To-Do 2016 August 16

I'm failing right and left at birthday gifts this summer.  My brother's and sister-in-law's birthdays were both this month. I got him two small things and her one big, and rather weird, thing.

One of his things is new and wouldn't be available until September 1.  I knew that when I ordered it but it was cool.  No problem. 

I ordered the other one and waited.  And waited.  And waaaaaaaaaited.  And finally sent an email.  And was informed that they were waiting on a new shipment.

So I sent him a card and an apology.

I ordered her gift and got an email a few days later explaining that they were over-sold and it would be 6-12 weeks late, would I like to cancel or wait?  I opted for wait and they gave me a small discount for not canceling.  Woo hoo!

So I sent her a card an an apology.

I got a notice the other day that the waiting-for-a-new-shipment item was due to get to the vendor soon.  Step forward!

Followed by an email saying that the September 1 item would now be September 16.  Step back!

At this point, I've done all I can and I just have to sit back and watch stuff drift in whenever it feels like it, I guess. . .

And that's assuming my SIL doesn't hate her gift.  It's all or nothing: It's either genius or "you should have just gotten me socks" bad.  Fingers crossed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I'm taking a week off next month when everyone is away to do whatever.  Sew, read, hang with cats, stuff.  I do want to plan, though, so I don't waste and so I actually get done some of these projects.

The boring stuff:
1) Replace elastic in one petticoat and three skirts with no-roll.  This would take no time if I could just get to it, but Mom is putting a quilt top together.
2) Knit.  Finish that sweater and donate it.

Projects that I might actually achieve:
1) Butterick 6038 (1979?): I made this before and it was pretty good, but I knew less about fit then and need to remake it now with tweaks.  I have one yard of green 1/8" gingham homespun that I think will make a sleeveless, collarless, version if I'm careful.
2) McCall's 5273 (1976): Blouse and dress.  Simple, and I could use these for work.
3) Simplicity 7627 (1976): Boring, but I love the fabric and, again, would like to get this done.

I'd also like to at least start fitting the zillion shirtwaist dress patterns I have that I'm dying to sew.  I'm tired of my office clothes and I have so many fun shirtwaists planned.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Simplicity 2015 1080 Dottie Angel - charcoal with pink roses part 2

Finished this Thursday night.  I'm really glad I went with black binding and not bright green.

The back waistband:

The front waistband didn't go as well and I had to redo it, but it's not too distracting:


Friday, July 15, 2016

Breyer Trakehner: The mystery bay

It's been a good month for model horses.

Breyer used to make models for long stretches.  Some of the older models were produced for fifteen or twenty years.  Misty of Chincoteague has been in production, with several variants, since 1972.  Unsurprisingly, it's common for paint colors and styles to vary a little bit over time within a single run of any given model, and collectors will often collect duplicates of a model if the variations are obvious enough.

I got Halifax in early 2013.  He's an old #54 (two digits so you know it's an older mold) regular-run Trakehner.  This was one of Breyer's shorter runs, from 1979 through 1984, and he came with his original box, a 1979 catalog, and the previous owner's notes on the breed, written in pencil on the back of a school permission slip.

Note his paint: Very dark brown with red underpainting.  This is a slightly unusual color variant and I think must have been an early-in-the-run thing

Another common variant of #54 can be seen here at Identify Your Breyer (this site rocks, by the way).  He's more committedly bay, with obvious black points, but he's still a brownish shade of bay.  I don't have one like this, but Adios models from the same time period are similar in color.  I have two Adioses--one like the reddish one in the IDYB link and one that's brown-er.

So . . . an eBay listing came up for a Breyer Trakehner.  I was looking for one of the pinto models but this one caught my eye because he was a regular run but so completely different from the one I already had.  And he was a good price and in great condition.

I mean . . . so completely different.  That's his actual color.  His paint style is nothing at all like Halifax's--he's definitely bay and his body color isn't brown at all.

So, what gives?

Apparently the Breyer produced a run of between 80 and 200 bay Trakehners for the Trakehner Society in 1983.  These were the early days of special run models so the sketchy record-keeping and the fact that the color isn't very imaginative are not surprising.

The SR model looks like this.

That's a lot closer to the new Trakehner.

I can't prove that he's the Trakehner Society special run, and the seller wasn't currently involved in the hobby and didn't have a clue, but . . . I'm really suspicious.  It kind of doesn't matter since I would have wanted even a regular-run bay Trakehner that was so different from my first one, and I have no intention of reselling him, but it would be fun if he were.