Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vintage Finds

The recent deluge that hit the Northeast gave us a bit of flooding in the basement, something that has not happened since the house was built 5 years ago. It was only a little puddle, about 1x3, but it did need to get cleaned out and bleached. This required that a lot of things be moved. It made me go thru another box of Ima's legacy. If you are new to the blog, Ima was my neighbor back in New Hampshire, degreed in textiles from a university in Texas and a graduate of FIT as well. How lucky was that? Long story short, she is in her mid 80s and had an amazing stash. She bequeathed it all to me last summer and I have been pouring through it all bit by bit, washing, line drying where possible, and re organizing. In my efforts to clean the wet basement I found some more goodies I had not seen. There are some lovely vintage pieces here. This little eyelet is just so sweet. It is on a fine batiste. You can see thru it to the flowers underneath. I've got between 4-5 yards and just need a baby to make something for. Based on the group of fabrics it was with and the ages of her children, I would say circa 1950's.
I think this darling little print is probably the same era. The cherries say it all! This would be adorable for a pillowcase dress for Carly. The colors you see are true. There's about 3 yards of this one. And then there is this fabulous embroidered trim.
This is a batiste trim also but not as fine as the eyelet. I have about 5 yards of it and when you see it up close it is the effect of teeny cross stitches, machine made, very sweet. Its about 13 inches wide.
So babies, where are you? My fingers are itching!

Our home has been hectic with visitors but DH and I love it. We used to be just the summer destination but now it is fall for foliage and winter for skiing. Despite all the company, cooking, and cleaning, I have managed to finish all the hand worked buttonholes on the jacket. What you see above are the bound buttonhole lips made out of the silk charmeuse lining fabric. They are basted shut and behind each BH. The lining will eventually be flipped over and a hole made in the lining and catch stitched to the lips. So these will be bound buttonholes on the inside of the jacket and hand wrought BHs on the outside. Once the "lips" were properly placed I machine stitched around them in that rectangle with a 1.5 stitch. Just like the quilting, the machine stitching is invisible on the front due to the nubby texture of the boucle. You can also see in the pic that I have catch stitched a stay, selvedge, along the front edge to prevent any stretching. Stay tape will also  end up in the armscye as well to keep that from stretching out.

Anon asked why these hand made BHs took an hour to do just one. First off, the thread for each one is waxed and ironed. I use a 36 inch piece of thread, per C. Schaeffer, so there is no stopping while making the BH. Because the thread is so long, even when nearly doubled, it can loop up and knot very easily. Therefore each stitch has to be slowly laid out and pulled through the loops. Inevitably I have to back track and rip out a few stitches and then get going again. I can thank the nubby fabric for that. Each stitch has its little purls set in the right position which is more fiddling. And most of all, I want to do this right and well and that takes time and close attention. There is no rush here nor should there be.

Now I am at the point of basting the jacket all together for some trial fitting. I know I will need to adjust the princess side seam as I made it extra large for insurance purposes. I should be able to try it all on tonight. There is so little of these CJs that is machine done, maybe ten percent. I am really anxious to wear this and just see how scrumptious it will feel.....Bunny


  1. Thank you for showing pictures of the incredible vintage fabrics. They are exquisite! (and I am not particularly drawn to vintage- they are just so amazing).
    I am really enjoying the progress on your Chanel jacket. It is lovely.

  2. I love your precious goodies. I sew with vintage linens. Wish I had some fabrics as well. Maybe someday I will find some. Susan VH

  3. Bunny, I am also enjoying watching your progress on your jacket. Your vintage fabrics brought back memories of when I was a child and everyone used clothes lines to dry their clothes. We would play hide and seek and sometimes hide behind the sheets hanging in somebody's yard. I loved all the cheerful prints on the linens. Your fabrics are very "happy".

  4. Bunny, thank you again for the your explanations on the CJ. Was wondering if the machine quilting could be see on the front of the jacket, but you've just explained it in this post - thanks. Those materials are so sweet. I too would love to make for babies/toddlers, but mine are all grown up and no grand children, one-day.....hmm

  5. I have been lurking around your blog for a while and just wanted to thank you for sharing your experience with the Couture Chanel jacket with us.
    Last year I took a class about Couture Tailoring Details with Claire Shaeffer and wanted to do the Chanel jacket ever since. I have been procrastinating for months now but you certainly deliver good motivation!
    I wonder if you could post a detail picture of the front edged of the jacket, did you use a ribbon on the edge?

  6. You must brag and post a close up of those finished buttonholes so we can see all your beautiful work. I love the stuff you do and the detail you put into your work.

  7. Those vintage fabrics are awesome! You are indeed a lucky woman!

  8. Delightful post! I love the vintage fabric and the buttonholes in progress.


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