Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Simplicity 1866 (1946) and 8242 (2016)

I opened the 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.

Breyer 1985 Montgomery Ward special run "Black Gold"


Okay, let's all revert to ten years old for a moment and just let me revel in this.  Don't judge.

I have wanted this model for, seriously, twenty-five years, but it has been consistently in high demand and low supply, and I've never been able to find one I could begin to afford even if I pounced fast enough to have dibs.


I've had a search set up on eBay for this model forever.  I get regular notifications for the #1294 reissue, which I may get, but it's not a priority.

Then, a vintage one popped up, with a BIN that I could afford.

(I'll take a better picture soon.  It was dark out and I was impatient.)

Simplicity 2015 1080 Dottie Angel - charcoal with pink roses part 1

I still have a bunch of these lined up to sew.

This one is Joann Cloud 9 organic cotton in pink mod roses on charcoal (dark brown/gray).  I was going to do sour green binding and pink buttons but decided I wouldn't wear it as much and went with black instead.

The print is pretty big--two and a half inches from the center of one rose to the next, diagonally--so I decided to fussy-cut the pockets so the print would match (mostly) and the dress wouldn't look lopsided.

It's not perfect but it worked pretty well:

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Semi-circle skirt with elastic waist

Quick weekend project.

I got this end-of-bolt Australian cotton print on sale online.  I could only get 1 1/2 yards so the waistband lining, pockets, and hem facign are red left over from the Thoroughly Mod[ern] Dottie dress.

I made a semi-circular skirt with an elastic waist.  I need to redesign this pattern--it's easy but it could fit better.   I used to have one that fit better but can't find it now.

This is as long as I could make it.  Long enough, although I'd have liked another two inches.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Simplicity 2015 1080: Thoroughly Mod[ern] Dottie

Version three of the Dottie Angel dress.  I went back to the kimono sleeves, lowered the waistline, and messed with the pockets.  I need to shift the waist tucks back toward the center back on the next version, but theses are pretty good.

The underarm on the purple dress tore so I reinforced these with bias.  I trimmed the seam allowance back to 1/4 inch, clipped it along the curve, ironed it open (butterflied), and overstitched bias, overlapping the end of the faux-French seam below it.  

This is an overkill variant of Lilacs & Lace's topstitching method.

From the outside.  The raw end of the bias was covered later by the sleeve-edge binding.

Fancy bias hem facing:


I need a better mirror.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Simplicity 2015 1080 Dottie Angel FBA series part II

So, this is dress #2, the FBA with the side dart.

I feel like something went wrong here.  Maybe with the added length, I needed less FBA?  It seems baggy.  Dress #3 will have a side dart on a smaller FBA, I guess.  (I'm also going to go home and measure it alongside Dress #1 to see if I did something boneheaded.  Pretty sure I didn't but it wouldn't be the first time.)

Not sure I'm going ot keep this dress.  I'm not wild about the fit or the fabrics--it looks very homemade, but not in a cool way, just in a "wearing bedsheets" way.

I need more small darts across the back, too, to keep the fabric from shifting forward as I walk.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Simplicity 2015 1080 Dottie Angel FBA series part I

I'm in the middle of my second version of the Simplicity 1080 Dottie Angel dress and I have a feeling I added too much to the FBA.  I did it differently this time than I did on the first one--it has a side dart but the armscye line was cut to the shoulder instead.  I'll see when I get home and measure it and the Version 1 purple dress if it's as much too big as I feel it's going to be, and then try to figure out where I went wrong.

Meanwhile, I just spent my lunch hour cutting out and altering scale models of pattern pieces becuause, yes, I'm that kind of person.

So . . . pattern pieces:

From left to right:
1) Original pattern piece
2) FBA 1 (the purple dress): Dartless
3) FBA 2 (the blue and red paisley dress): Side dart anchored at the shoulder
4) FBA 3 (proper FBA): Side dart anchored to the armscye

Pattern pieces cut and expanded:

All of these were expanded the same amount.

Note: After you expand FBA 1 and FBA 2, you'll have to straighten out the shoulder, which will have a dip in the middle where the slash opened.  This is easy, you just need to make sure you remember to do it, and that the length of the altered front shoulder matches the length of the back shoulder.

1) Original pattern piece: Not altered
2) FBA 1 Dartless: Width added only.  The cut for the side dart is overlapped toward the bust point.  This actually shortens the pattern piece, so the seamstress will need to add length to both the front and back pieces if she doesn't want it shorter.  The main reason this didn't work for my purple dress was that I used an applied belt instead of the back ties; if you're using the back ties that the pattern is intended to have, and check the height you need for the front tucks, this works well for a small- to moderate-FBA and preserves the simplicity of the pattern.
3) FBA 2 Darted, anchored to shoulder: Didn't really change the length.  Adds a bit to the upper chest which could be a problem for women with narrow shoulder and/or lean upper chests, but might not be too noticeable on a pattern like this that isn't fitted, anyway.
4) FBA3 Proper FBA: No width added to upper chest.

FBA 1 versus original:

FBA 2 versus original:

FBA 3 versus original:

Note difference in cap sleeve/armscye between these two.

FBA 1 versus FBA 2:

Pretty similar.

FBA 2 versus FBA 3:

The biggest difference is at the shoulder.

More later when I get the second dress finished  . . . 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Simplicity 2015 1080 Dottie Angel dress part I

 . . . sigh.  Yes, I've hopped on the twee dress bandwagon.  Enter Dottie Angel:

(I'm scalping part of this from my Sewing Pattern Review writeup.)

Okay, this is going to sound a lot more negative than I mean it to be:

The problem with simple patterns is that they usually fit one specific body type really well and everyone else poorly-to-not at all. This one, it turns out, has two pattern pieces that are the same except that the front has markings for pockets. Yes, you read that correctly: The front and back are the same.

The up side of this is that, yes, it's easy to sew. But does it fit?

. . . not so much.

The back width and bust width are identical, so if you're bigger than an A cup, it will be tight across the front. Going up a size doesn't help because then the shoulders are too big (and the bust is still probably tight. My first muslin was like this. I'm a just-barely-a-C-cup so we're not talking Dolly Parton geography or anything). And it runs a bit big--I ended up cutting a small despite being a pattern size 12+slight FBA. The shoulders on the medium were huge.

So, despite my determination to do a quick and adorable little dress, I ended up using another pattern I'd already fitted to graft on a higher neckline (the neckline is very wide if you have a lean upper body). I added back neck darts and did a 2" overall (1 inch per side) full bust adjustment. The first version I did of this, I skipped the side dart and only added width, which helped.  The second time, I am adding the side dart, too (I'll post this later). 

 I drew the third leg of the FBA to the shoulder instead of the armscye, though, to avoid messing up the cap sleeve/extended shoulder. Seems to have worked OK despite being technically wrong. 

 Changes:FBA, complete neckline redraw.

Lowered the waist tucks/beltline a lot. This is partly because I have a low bust and I had to, and partly because I didn't want it to be empire-waisted (so part fit issue and part design change).

Side note: The lower skirt panel on the original pattern is just cut straight across instead of following the curve of the hemline. I'm not putting up with that; I traced and cut a new one that's shaped correctly. I'm also doing a variant with a flared skirt panel.

Did an applied belt that buttoned at the sides instead of the back ties (I'm just not that into back ties). 

Bound all edges in bias binding.

The fabric was dull purple small floral and gray small floral trim, from Joann's:

In person:

Update Rundown

I spent the last week, ok, mostly driving, but this included three days at a college reunion.  Campus has changed a lot--I got completely lost in the huge science building--but the town looked great.  One of my best friends from kindergarten/early elementary teaches art there now and I saw her in person for the first time in 28 years.

Lots of pix .

I've found three more cockatoos for my Morton (Illinois) pottery cockatoo flock.  I think I'm up to ten variants:

Rhodochrosite (Rhoda) is full of energy as only a seven-week-old kitten can be.  Mispickel is still not on board but she hasn't attacked the door--Dad put a screen door in the upstairs hallway--and the grumping and redirected aggression has diminished.