Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another Great Find!

As I was digging even deeper into the stash my friend Ima bequeathed me, I found some ribbons I never knew she had given me. I knew exactly where they came from as we had talked about this place many times. It's been a while but I believed it was called the Heritage Ribbon factory and it was in Pittsfield, NH. It was the only (so they said and I believed them) jacquard ribbon factory in existence using the original antique jacquard looms from France. You could go in and take tours of the factory and then shop in their sweet little store. The looms were amazing having the burnished look of old wood. The patterns  were set up  using paper cards with punch holes, an actual precursor of the modern computer. It was all quite fascinating and the ribbons were lovely. I have a few in my own stash from the ribbon factory. Very sadly, it burned down in the 90's never to be replaced, a real treasure lost. It makes me appreciate the ribbons even more. The family is still in the ribbon business but the factory was never rebuilt. I am sure they went off shore, like everything else today.

In that stash was something very unique, a fabulous zipper made with the jacquard ribbons, the likes of which I had never seen.
It sold for the grand price of one dollar and eighty cents! I think RiRi could take a lesson. 

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I have had two of my grandchildren visiting and sadly they have returned to their Momma and Dad. We had the best time, hiking the Adirondacks, picking vegetables in the garden, and walking in lots of rain. Here is a picture of them on the boardwalk over a marsh on the trail at the Visitors Interpretive Center in Paul Smiths, NY. 

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DH and I will be heading down south on business for a few days then its back up North for visiting with family in Mass. and NH. I will be gone for about a week or more. Till then.........Bunny

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

AND THE WINNER IS.........

The winner of the fantastic prize package donated by Sew Beautiful Magazine is:

                                   bubbygigi !!!

Congratulations, bubbygigi! You are the proud winner of everything needed to make the gorgeous heirloom camisole featured in Sew Beautiful issue #132 and Blog Tour. Here is a list of your goodies:

• complete kit needed to make the Vintage Inspiration camisole, from sizes XS (2-4) to 3X (26-28). This includes Maline laces and Swiss beading and all needed for completion.
• a copy of Sleepwear Especially for You (contains the basic tank top pattern suggested in the instructions) (retail $24.95)
• a copy of the new issue of Sew Beautiful (contains the Vintage Inspiration article and embroidery and lace shaping templates) (retail $5.99)
• a June Tailor Heirloom Stitcher's Shape 'N Press board (retail $42.00), 


Shoot me an email, bubbygigi, to bunnypep at wildblue dot net and we will get this in the mail for you. 

A huge thank you to all who participated in the first ever Sew Beautiful Blog tour. May you all catch the excitement of sewing something heirloom. And if you haven't taken the tour or are just plain curious, click on the Blog Tour picture in the sidebar. Thanks again,,,,,Bunny

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stauffer's

Things move at a different speed in the Amish world. I recieved my order of Italian and domestic organdy about 3 1/2 weeks after I mailed the check. There is no credit card or computer in the Amish fabric store. I knew and expected this time frame so did not trouble over it. My organdy arrived in great condition, but the box, not so much. I was afraid to open it but it turns out all was well. Besides finding my fabric inside, I also found a strong lesson in thrift. We can learn much from our Amish brethren.
I was impressed. The top of the puzzle box was turned inside out and retaped to become the top of the shipping box. It was ingenious. It was also not the best of shipping methods, but it got here and my Italian and domestic organdies were pristine. Also included was my order form with change attached. Unbeknown to me, in the month of July there is a 5% discount. My discount was returned in cash, taped to the order. 
Last night I saw on CNN a blip about what our incoming college freshman don't know. Among a lot of other factoids,  they don't know a world without credit cards. Most cannot write in cursive, really. And they have probably never used a mailed, hand written order. Sigh.........Bunny

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Third Piped Collar, Second Lined Bodice!!!

Can you hear me scream? This is collar number two and it is disgusting. I tried over and over to beat it into submission with the iron and that was the big mistake. I wasn't all pleased with the piping either. Close, but no cigar! No matter how  close I graded and trimmed the collar it came out like this. It also refused to lay properly at the neckline, gross. It finally dawned on me what the problem was. It wasn't my over ironing. It wasn't the grading. It was the dang poly cotton blend I bought to get the right color match for the garment. Luckily I had plenty of fabric left. I couldn't change the collar fabric as the sleeves were complete and in good shape. So I recut the bodice and recut the collar, made some more piping and started all over for the third time. It was the charm. I decided  because the collar had some synthetic in it to not iron it at all. It looks so much better and lays very nicely. The moral is if you have a synthetic/natural blend, just plain don't iron it. Really. It does that puffy thing that synthetics do and hides the seam allowances and lays better on the neckline. No, that's wrong. The moral is don't buy stinkin' synthetics for any reason for any heirloom garment. Duh.... Oy......

Here's a peek at the sleeves. They will be french seamed in one solid line along with the bodice and skirt side seam.  The placket came out great. I like to cut my plackets on the bias and that of course worked well with the stripes. No little pleat at the bottom! Oh, the color of the fabric in the placket picture is true. It is a soft faded print, not yellowy like the above.
Thank you!!! Now that I have vented I will go back to the cave and put the three buttonholes in the placket. Cross those fingers. I'll use my old Kenmore for that one, just to be on the safe side....Bunny

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Click on the picture in the sidebar if you are looking for the Sew Beautiful Blog Tour. Have fun touring and don't forget to come back to see the finished dress!  It may be a few days as I am travelling and then two of the grandchildren are visiting. I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My New Baby, a Morse 4300 Fotomatic



I have been on the lookout for a while now for a heavier duty machine to use in my bag making. I love my true and loyal Pfaff. I plan on making a lot of bags for gifts for the holidays and the last time I did that I knocked the Pfaff out of time. I was looking for one of those prized tanks from the 50's - 60s. DH and I found it a church rummage sale this past weekend for 5.00 dollars. I think he was more smitten than me and has been surprising in step with this purchase and the rejuvenation process. Gotta love that guy! I spent most of Sunday taking plates off, watching tiny screws, and buffing, buffing, buffing. I think it looks great. Now to get it running like I know it will. You machine sharpies out there will notice the bobbin winder is missing. It's in the egg cup! I took it apart for cleaning and at that point needed to make dinner. In my excitement I grabbed the camera and started shooting.

I think this throat plate is just amazing. What a mirror! I used jeweler's rouge on all the shiny parts and it did an excellent job. This machine was made by Toyota in Japan in the 50-60s and my research tells me the finish on the head is car paint. All I have left to do is to put some Turtle Wax to it and the exterior will be done.
It does twin needle, buttonholes, blind hem, straight and zigzag and has an adjustable pressure. I love it's retro look. I have found someone to work on the inside and will visit them today. The motor runs like a top, and the big wheel spins, but nothing else moves left of the wheel. The light even works. After poking around with the guts and trying all sorts of things we both agree that it is something really simple as the motor runs so well. When I opened the back plate there was a spring on the bed. Hopefully we will have the mystery solved soon. If nothing else, this was a cheap date, giving me great pleasure with all the detailing for a Sunday afternoon. 

As far as the history of the machine, it is always fun to know a little bit. This belonged to the aunt of a forty something volunteer at the church sale. She said her aunt got it as a wedding gift, used it 2-3 years and then it became a hall table until today. How many sewing machines in cabinets became lamp holders? I bet a lot still are.
So consider yourselves formally introduced to my new friend, Morse. I hope we will all be able to spend lots of quality time together......Bunny
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For the Sew Beautiful Blog Tour either scroll down a bit further or click on the box in the side bar. Thanks for visiting and hope you come again and often......Bunny

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Miss Kaitlyn's Dress

My dear friend Charlotte, back in NH, has just been blessed with the birth of her first grandchild and baby girl, Kaitlyn. She came early and was tiny but is doing just fine now. Of course I have to do something special for Miss Kaitlyn and a smocked dress it will be. I am using a basic yoke pattern from AS&E.


I will not be doing the whole "Teddy Bear Picnic" design but just using this pattern to jump off from. The fabric is one I have had in the stash for a while. I fell in love with it instantly but never found the right opportunity to use it. Kaitlyn's birth is a perfect opportunity. As I always do with baby gifts, I make it for a one year old. So many mamas get just more newborn things than they can even use sometimes. By one year its time to shop. So generally I make all my baby gifts for one year olds. The fabric is a Daisy Kingdom design, from the time when Joanns sold Daisy Kingdom. It's a sweet little toile of children playing. Try and find Daiasy Kingdom fabric now, if it is even in existance. I have a cordinate stripe as well, not shown, that will be used for the piping. It is 100% cotton and there is a solid for the peter pan collar, speaking of which......
Talk about the sewing gremlins. Some of you know I do unit sewing. When I got bored with the smocking I started on my units. First came the piping, then the peter pan collar, then the sleeves. Can you see what is wrong with the collar? This is a test ;)

I learned very hard and very often that whenever one does a collar it is imperative to make sure both sides match perfectly in size. This didn't. I got it all piped, trimmed, pressed, and truly perfect. Talk about arrogance. Something seemed off. I looked and I looked again. One collar was a good 3/8 inch longer and bigger than the other. How the heck did that happen? I did everything right, didn't I?

So I proceeded to cut out another whole set of collars and piping. When I got to the point where I put my piping in the Darr piping ruler I knew what had happened. I cut one down to a perfect 3./8 inch seam with the ruler. When I went to do the other, I  proceeded without cutting the piping down to 3/8s of an inch SA, thinking I had already done it. You can see the difference above. One seam allowance is defintely bigger than the other and I didn't pick up on it when I did the photo. I only noticed when it was completely done.  So, it was start from scratch and pay attention this time! It is now done just fine. I will not tempt fate and ever say it is perfect, never....

On this dress I will be using this plate from Sew Beautiful. However, I will put some bullions in each of the triangles. It is all smocked at this point. I have the collars complete, the sleeves all piped and complete. Now it is bullion time and then finish the dress and get it in the mail. I hope Miss Kaitlyn's momma likes it. It has a really sweet look.
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Thank you all for the wonderful comments on both the Badgley Mishka jacket as well as the Sew Beautiful blog tour. I think cyberspace is just grand........Bunny

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vogue 1099 Badgley Mischka Jacket

I love how this pattern triggered my creativity. Above you can see what I did with the collar. I think it is so much prettier and unique. The original pattern has a double collar which stands tall against the neck, very pretty and a great look for a short person like me. However an Ah Ha moment occurred as I dressed it on my form and the outer collar flipped down. It hugged the shoulder line beautifully  and became even more achitectural. It easily steamed into submission and I love it. It stays there no problem.



From the front you can see the very interesting construction of the collar. The inner ruffled collar is slightly gathered and eased to the flat outer collar. They are both cut on the bias. Once they are basted together at the neck edge you push the ruffled collar back into the flat collar for about and inch and a quarter. It makes for a "how did she do that" type of look, too cool. Thank you Badgley and Mishka for that!  Here's a closer look and you can also see how I hemstitched the pleats and how the sleeves are inset into the bodice at an angle.




Now for the yummy sleeves. I did take these up a notch from the pattern. The sleeves are double, like the collar with a simple hem. My original plan,  the minute I saw this in the Vogue Pattern Book, was to smock the lower sleeve. I did. I did my two hems with machine hemstitching using a wing needle and size 80 cotton thread. The idea is for the holes to be prominent, not the stitch or thread. While Hermana Esperanza taught me how to do this by hand I think she would be happy with the results the machine turned out on this. She always had us working on nice linen so that must be where my love for this fabric comes from. The sleeves were BEAUTIFULLY drafted fitting perfectly into the shaped armscye. You can see the fullness is controlled by one dart at the top that lines up with the shoulder seam. I did nothing other than stay stitching and clipping to pull off  the angled sleeve shape.
 
Because my hand smocking was hidden by the depth of the upper sleeve hem, an unforeseen circumstance, I flipped it back and secured it with a mother of pearl antique button gifted from Ima. 
Here are a few more detail shots:


Now for some interior details. The jacket is 100% home dec weight linen purchased at Martin's in Bedford, NH. The lining is Bemberg rayon ordered from Sawyer Brook. The interfacing is my fave, Formflex from HTC.  I used a 100% poly charmeuse to make an uncorded piping strip between the facing and the lining. This pic below is somewhat distorted.


This got interesting at the jump hem. I used the method described in the tute in the sidebar on the right to deal with it. I bound the edge with Bemberg and then catchstitched in exaggerated crosses with floss to secure it. The trick with that technique is to plan on using it and doing it before you stitch the facing to the hem edge at center front corners.



The lining was sewn traditionally but the hem edge of the sleeve lining hangs free. It is secured by hand  stitching the lining in the ditch from the hem to the bodice side seam. I found the Bemberg to be quite stretchy  throughout and ended up cutting a good inch and a half off the hem edge of the sleeve. The sleeve lining hem was serged, turned twice the width of the serging, and hand catchstitched with floss like the jump hem.

I am really pleased with how this turned out. I know you probably want to see it on me but it is so well pressed I hate to take it off the form to get wrinkle again. Difficult, aren't I? ;)
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If you are searching for the Sew Beautiful Blog Tour you can scroll down to the previous post or just click on the Blog Tour box on the right. Hope you enjoy.

I have already started my next project, a traditional little dress for my friend Charlotte's first grandchild/daughter. More on that to come. It is moving along pretty quickly. There will also be a post about my purchase from Stauffers, rather comical, more to come and thanks for stopping by.....Bunny

Monday, August 9, 2010

The First Ever Sew Beautiful Blog Tour

 I have been honored to have been asked to be a part  of the first ever blog tour sponsored by Sew Beautiful magazine. Their goal is  to spread the word that heirloom sewing is not only doable, but relevant. My regular readers know that I love to incorporate heirloom techniques into grown up wearable garments so we are very much on the same page here.  Sew Beautiful has developed a blog tour that features a series of heirloom technique videos. Each video "class" shares a technique needed to complete this  gorgeous woman's camisole that the editors have recreated from a vintage nightgown. The pattern is drafted from any basic tank top shape, and SB shares the instructions and templates needed to create this camisole in their September/October issue #132.
 Now for another bit of excitement....Sew Beautiful will give away on the La Sewista blog a complete kit  to make the Vintage Inspiration camisole, from sizes XS (2-4) to 3X (26-28), a copy of the book from which the pattern was drafted, "Sleepwear Especially for You", a copy of the latest  magazine that contains the Vintage Inspirations article, instructions and embroidery and lace shaping templates, and a lace shaping board. There are yummy Maline laces, Swiss beading and more than enough yardage of them to make a 3X size garment.  This is a total of about 160.00 dollars worth of great merchandise, goodies that can get you started on your way to finding out how deceptively easy heirloom sewing can be.  I really admire that SB is doing its part to bring more sewists into the pleasureable world of making  clothing for yourself or others. So make sure you leave a comment to be part of the give away and I will draw the winner on Saturday, August 21st.

To start the tour or return to the "landing pad"  for your click to the next blog, just click on this link.

There are seven stops on the tour, your beginning, the five learning sessions at five different blogs, and then the completion back again at Sew Beautiful .
Each blog will have videos explaining  a technique, so make sure you check them all out even if you are not actually making the camisole. These are great tutorials by fabulous teachers and that is always fun to follow. If you are making the camisole and this is your stop to learn  how to do lace windows and lace inserts the following video will teach you these lovely heirloom techniques. Due to my connection speed I will give you a link for the second video. Don't want any slow uploads for our dial up followers.


Here is your  link to the Second Video on lace windows and inserts. Have fun learning!

If you are now smitten with the idea of making feminine, beautifully stitched garments one more opportunity is here to encourage you even further.  If you would like to purchase some of the exquisite laces, trims, etc. from Martha Pullen go here. There will be a 25% discount with no minimum. Just use the code word BLOGTOUR. This offer will expire Oct. 31, 2010.
(ONE use only per person. Discount applies only to full price items. Pleaters excluded.)


If this is your first visit to the La Sewista blog, a big welcome, and I hope you stop by again and often. We do all sorts of sewing here from heirloom to bag making to tailoring and more. Please feel free to leave your comments too. We like that. And if you leave comments on this post you will be in the running for the gift package from Sew Beautiful.  A huge thank you also to Kathy Bernard and Shannon Miller of SB for letting me be the vehicle here to encourage the fine art of sewing.  These are two journalistic professionals who also are as passionate about sewing and sharing the love of sewing as the rest of us. Thanks again for stopping by....Bunny

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Pendleton Bag, un fait acompli

Not sure I spelled the French correctly. I had more fun photographing this bag,. It is just doggone photogenic, so bear with the multiple pictures.
This is Simplicity 2357 and it is very easy to make. In my last couple of posts you have seen the changes I made to the pattern. Basically a few construction upgrades and a design decision to use "prairie points" for the bias edge. I definitely plan to start another bag like this, different fabric, very shortly. It just went that fast.
This bag is ripe for some personal creativity and would make a great holiday gift. I have decided to give this one to DD#2 for her birthday next week. She has a grey wool jacket very similar to mine that will go great with the bag.
Details:  Pattern is Simplicity 2357 View A

              Fabric is Pendleton wool, two were cut yardage and the third was from a plaid kilt. All       
              came from my friend Ima's legacy.

              Lining is Taupe colored Kasha, a heavy flannel backed satin, generally used for luxury       
              coating. Where it came from who knows.

              The interfacing is fusible fleece from, aaaccck, Pellon. It is the only product they make
              that I don't despise.. It adds a lot of bulk to this bag. but it needed that.

Now it is time to finish the BM jacket. I am just going to use a double linen collar and try to get it in the Natural Fiber contest on PR. Then  it will be more winter sewing...Bunny

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Simp 2357, Construction

The Pendleton Bag, Simplicity 2357 is very close to complete. Love that tag that came with the yardage. I sewed it on the outside of the bag. My company is a day late and I am a day closer to completing it. There are a few things that need to be pointed out about this pattern. It is very easy. Despite the fact that I am using wool and fusible fleece it is easier to sew than most bucket type bags I have put to dear Pfaff. There are just no awkward turns and angles here. I am going to point out a few of the changes I did and recommend to anyone using this pattern.Some are because of my own decisions, others are because of the dumbing down of the pattern. First, the design calls for a strip of points to be sewn into the bias edges of the bag opening. The combo of the wool and fusible fleece was just too much for the pattern design to handle. Way back in my former quilting life I learned how to edge a quilt with "prairie points". Its really simple and here is how to do it:

First I cut a five inch square. It was five inches because that was the width of my ruler and it just seemed simpler to work with that width. The triangle is folded on the diagonal and given a good press. Then it is folded in half again and pressed well. I used my clapper thruought this project. Then the folded triangles are placed inside of each other along the bias edge and basted in.
The biggest problem I see with this pattern, and I do think it is a big one, is that there is no direction to stabilized the  bias edge. This bag will be pulled open a lot . Just handling it in sewing caused my lining to stretch quite a bit. So I would at the least, stay stitch the edge, but better yet, use some twill tape or selvedge to stay the edge.
Another shortcoming in the pattern directions is the lack of direction to understitch the edges, those bias edges again. I understitched them as far as I could. I also ditch stitched by hand with a back stitch,  connecting the side seams between the  lining and the wool. Without the ditch stitching and the understitching I can really see this bag bagging out, separating the lining, and becoming pretty sloppy looking pretty fast. Another recommendation would be to stitch a second line of stitching next to the first when attaching the handle to the bag, just for strength. This bag looks like it could carry a lot and I would hate to see that handle separate.

Below you can see the inside of the bag. It is pinned here and there and therefore looks a little lumpy. All that is left is to connect the other side and finish the bottom edge with a binding.I love the Kasha lining, very luxurious and perfect for this fabric.....Bunny

Monday, August 2, 2010

Simp 2357, The Pendleton Bag

I have jumped to winter sewing! I have been taken by Simplicity 2357 since I first saw this pattern, specifically the View A Bag. I didn't want this to look like it was made at a quilting seminar. Quilting fabrics, like the one shown on the pattern, can be great fun but I wanted something more substantial.  I thought maybe some of those Pendleton woolens from Ima could work. My current very cold weather coat is grey cashmere and these plaids should work nicely.
I have already made a couple of changes to the directions. Would you believe no interfacing is called for in this pattern? That sure needed to be changed. The bag is totally interfaced with a fusible fleece. It gives the wool the little extra oomph it needs and adds stability to the bag. I am still on the fence with the "dragon fins". I made one set of the points and am just not happy. The points don't turn sharply due to the bulk of the wool. Today I will play with a couple of other ideas. One is the old "prairie points" technique where is square is folded to to make triangle that rides over the next triangle, and the next, and the next, ad nauseum. I have seen this referred to in fashion text as origami. The other option is a pleated insert. That would be in keeping with the kilt look of it all. Experiments to be done! Do you see the fringe in the fabric above? One of the fabrics was a kilt that Ima gave me that I took apart and pressed. It came apart beautifully. Authentic kilts are one long length of wool and have a LOT of fabric in them.

The lining for this bag had me in a quandary. I wanted something substantial and a solid color. I usually interface my linings with weft insertion for bulk. This time I chose some Kasha lining I had in the stash. That is that heavy, luxurious lining you see in fur garments and better woolen coats. The color is a taupe and works well.

I have major house guests arriving for the week so I am not sure how much I will get done at this point. May be a few days till we meet again......Bunny