Tag Archives: 70s

Once more with feeling!

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I made another version of Kwik Sew 717, this one with absolutely no lace. Plain jane, pure function. I think I’m almost done with the slips. Almost. Although there’s still a couple of patterns I’d like to try and Funnygrrl sent me some great skin-tone fabric it’d be awesome to use. Cuz she’s awesome that way. Especially her latest post on body image and negative self talk.

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There isn’t much to say about it. I made a slight small-bust adjustment, removing about half a cm from the width of each cup, and shaving about the same amount off the bottom. I should’ve left out the two funny little darts and kept the gathers, but I didn’t think about this until after the darts were cut and sewn. So the cups aren’t as pretty as they might be otherwise. They do seem to fit better than the first ones, at least sans bra.

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I used the shell hem, top and bottom. I might be getting good at it.

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The first slip I had lengthened about four inches; this one I made the original length, just for variety. I didn’t need to take in the side seams on this one. Maybe because the fabric is less stretchy than the lace, maybe because the cups fit better so I didn’t feel the need to pull it as tight to get “fit”. You can still see some puckering on the side seam—I didn’t stretch quite enough, I guess, while sewing them. The Rocketeer is a workhorse, but she may have a few tension issues. Probably a machine spa day would be in order…

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And you get arty modeled photos because that’s the only filter that didn’t show anything under the slip. Not great but better than dressform pics. I hope.

Happy eggs ‘n bunnies day! We’re off to the farm to enjoy “spring,” which in the last few days has included about four inches of snow and freezing rain, which I think is actually worse than a full-blown blizzard. But hopefully we’ve turned a corner now. Because I have springy dresses to wear with my slip, dammit!

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That 70s Dress: Cream & Red edition

Because I am creative with titles.

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This isn’t the dress I wanted to make. That is, I figured I would make this other dress: (yes, just exactly like the envelope) but I couldn’t find the pattern. It’s around somewhere. >_<

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So, fall back. Simplicity 7806 from 1976. Equally cute, and almost as high on the (admittedly rather dusty) “must make” list. The fabric is deep stash, an ivory-coloured stretch suiting bought from a thrift store in my first year of blogging. (I just totally missed my fourth blogiversary last week, by the way.)

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I think it looks kinda Regency. Which is pretty fun, actually. The pattern is a size 10, a size smaller than I usually make. Since my fabric has a fair bit of stretch (although I didn’t notice until after I had cut it out that there was a lot more stretch lengthwise than widthwise… headdesk), I figured it would be workable. I made my usual bodice-petiting and swayback alterations, and added some extra width on the side-seams of the skirt. I love these 70s A-line skirts, but they need to skim, not cling, and last time I made a size 10 there was, ah, clinging.

Anyway, I got the waist in the right place, but arguably it might’ve been better had I taken less height out of the yoke (which is a single piece that wraps from front to back—now that I’ve made it it’s pretty simple but I was having a hard time visualizing how to alter it beforehand) and more height between bust and waist. Although I think I like where the underbust seam sits, even if it technically is a bit high. It’s hard to say with that curved seam, though—it feels perfect in the middle, high at the sides. But if it were perfect at the sides, it would probably seem too low in the middle? It’s a funny shape, anyway.

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I paid a bit more attention to fitting the back than I sometimes do; I wound up taking in the back waist by over an inch on each side of the zipper. It clings fairly well, now, and then skims, although the bottoms of those darts could probably use a bit of fussing over. Hard to say—this fabric is heavy on the polyester, and while it presses fairly well, it does love to pucker.

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I got lazy gave the blind hem stitch on the Rocketeer a try. As with everything on this damn machine, you have to look up the settings—intuitive it is not—but once I figured out the recommended setup it was pretty easy. Although not particularly invisible in this fabric. Except in the places I completely missed the hem. /sigh Wel, it was fast. I love how the manual assures us that the blind stitch is “comparable to hand-finishing.” The hand hem is the gold standard. As it should be. ;)

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In this photo you can see (maybe) the main fit issue with this dress—pulling across the shoulder. When I saw this my first thought was “I overdid the petiting,” which is certainly possible, but I think actually this is a problem of either a) my size 12 shoulders in a size 10 shoulder-piece, or b) that I didn’t bother with a square shoulder adjustment. I generally try to avoid them in these sort of cap-sleeve styles, especially since I couldn’t really visualize how to do one, but now that I have it finished I think cutting a slash along the shoulder line of the yoke (once I determined where the shoulder line should be) and then adding in a wedge at the outer edge, narrowing to nothing at the neck, would’ve been just what the doctor ordered.

Overall, I’d say this was the perfect fabric for this dress—drapey, with lots of polyester ;). The spandex may not be period, but the pattern does suggest lightweight knits as an option. I used the piping to finish the upper central neckline and back; below you can see my overlocked edges, and the hand-finished interior of the yoke. Overlocking anywhere near the red piping may turn out to have been a really bad idea, as that stuff frays like (words I won’t say on blog). Fray Check was my friend. I didn’t notice the problem so much on the Butterflied dress, where I used the same piping, but then that was more short, straight seams and it all ended up lined anyway. I don’t think I did much grading of seams, which I had to do lots of here.

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The biggest problem I have is that, being white (ok, ivory), my fabric isn’t, um, quite as opaque as another colour in the same weight would be. I think a white or nude slip is going to be in order before this one leaves the house. Which is too bad, because it really deserves better than headless bathroom selfies. And I will be really pissed with myself if I’ve made another dress I can’t wear, just for lack of proper undergarments.

Of course, now I need more cream stretch suiting, for when that original pattern turns up…

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The Home Alone Dress

What's that?

What’s that?

I have fifty million things I’m supposed to be doing (like, um, sewing a wedding dress!). So what did I do when my husband and kids left me behind while they went to the lake for the weekend?

Why, I made something that was barely on the queue!

Butterick 6890 is cute and has been marinating for a while, but there are plenty of patterns ahead of it in the queue. But when I found myself with a house to myself and the itch to sew something selfish, I did something a bit unusual—I started from the fabric.

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Butterick 6890

My typical MO is to move from pattern to fabric to project. This is mostly because I have my patterns catalogued electronically and it’s easy to paw through them and pick one, whereas I’ve been far more lax about my fabric. The problem with this approach, of course, is that it’s not an optimal way to use up stash fabric, and tends to result in me just buying more fabric for the new project. Anyway, this wasn’t an option on a precious solo Saturday night.

I had a lot of constraining criteria. I wanted a pattern that was pre-cut, one I could use with minimal alterations, and not have to trace. It had to be a pattern I could ACTUALLY find in the flesh. Once I pulled out this piece of glorious polkadot stretch denim, which I picked up just after Christmas and thoughtfully pre-washed at some point (thank you, past Tanit!,) I had only just over a metre of my chosen fabric, so it had to be a SMALL pattern.

Butterick

Butterick 6890

Butterick 6890 fit the bill in a lot of ways. It was short. It was pre-cut. It’s a Junior Teen size which means I didn’t have to petite the bodice. It was a size 11/12, which has a 32″ bust—a bit small for me, but I was pretty sure the stretch would more than make up for that. I did a small square-shoulders adjustment, and a somewhat bigger swayback adjustment, and got cutting. It became obvious almost immediately that while I can sew up a Junior Petite pattern almost without alterations to the bodice, the Junior Teen size-range is pushing it a bit more. I wound up sewing the shoulder-seams and underbust seam with 1/4″ seam allowances to get as much height as I possibly could. It worked, but barely. I am also, ah, rather bustier than the Junior Teen draft. While this is a nice problem to have for once, I had to add some hasty tucks under the bust (perhaps making proper darts would’ve been better, but I was in a hurry), and correspondingly narrow the front skirt. I also added some more shaping to the back seam, which helped a lot. Oh, and the stretch meant I could leave off the zipper, too!

Back

Back

I still didn’t have enough fabric for the sleeves or facings, and the bodice back includes a good chunk of the selvedge. I considered alternative fabrics for the sleeves, but the only colour I liked enough with the grey, a pale pink, I had barely enough to make the sash ties out of. I really, really wanted to do a piped finish on the neckline and arms anyway. I was SO relieved when a scour of my notions stash turned up the bias tape left over from my Last Sundress of last year (which is totally my fave thing to wear when it’s super hot*, and also the perfect dress to wear to the outdoor pool. ) It was the perfect greyish-pink shade, and even not too different from my sash fabric!

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Piped finish

I made one major booboo early on—when trying on the bodice I didn’t stabilize the neckline first—oops! So it’s a bit stretched out and tends to gape if I don’t stand perfectly straight, especially after the disaster that was my first attempt at finishing the edge (which involved attempting to bind it with straight-grain fabric pieces from the scraps from the sash.)  But once I found the bias tape and did a REAL piped edge, it worked really well. To get a clean (if not couture) finish, I serged the raw edges of neckline + piping, pressed them to thei nside, and topstitched. Voila!

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Bias-faced hem, hand-stitched

A topstitched hem would probably have been appropriate for denim, but, well, I was in love with the way the pink bias tape worked with the grey. And I’m kinda in love with bias-faced hems… anyway. this is what my finished hem looks like, with a fun peep of pink on the inside.

Lounging

You can see the underbust tucks in this photo.

I don’t think I can describe how much happier and more relaxed I feel, having accomplished a wee bit of selfish sewing. And I’m so glad I got this finished, even if I did stay up rather past my bedtime to get it done.

Posing

Posing. You can see the neckline gape here.

*Super hot by Canadian standards. Which is low 30s C, so far this year. I know this falls short of truly brutal tropical heat. It’s scrumptious.

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Splurge

Not so vintage...

While visiting my mom post-Xmas we traipsed down to the trusty local Mennonite thrift shop. I just happened to be wearing the dress from Simplicity 6023 , made from fabric purchased at this same store during my last visit.

I was good about the fabrics—there was nothing screamingly spectacular. It helped that it was New Year’s Eve and they were closing early so I only had half an hour; just time enough for a good rummage through the chest of patterns.

I was not so good about the patterns.

Moreso vintage

I must now pause at this moment to say a sincere thank you to Darlene Ratzlaff (or her heirs), as nine or so of the sixteen patterns I nabbed bear her name (click through to see the full size). Whether or not she is any relation to my high school drama teacher of the same surname, she had good taste in patterns (and was close to my size). The Ratzlaff Collection all date from the latest 60s to mid 70s. I think my fave is the Style 3060 with the Wednesday Addams look in the middle.

Jalie Potpourri

My mom, (who, as I have mentioned before, is a bit of an enabler) had some other goodies to contribute: she was gracious enough to lend me several Jalie patterns: the famous twist-neck and sweetheart-neckline patterns, a really cute jacket, and the slit-neck sweatery thing. I really like the jacket pattern. Because, y’know, I need another jacket project…

Patternmaking in 1908

She had also acquired several vintage sewing books which I have absconded with, and which we shall have to discuss more as I have the leisure to peruse them adequately (how’s that for some excessive verbiage?). The niftiest, perhaps, is a 1908 book on pattern drafting. Sadly the curves and rulers that originally accompanied it (kit price $5) have long since wandered away. Still, pretty neat. I am really curious to find out how it compares with the “Modern block” method of Harriet Pepin and all the more recent pattern-drafting books I’ve read. Unlike some of the other early 1900s sewing books I’ve found online, this one has illustrations, which means I may actually have some idea what they’re talking about.

Butterick Sewing

There’s also a Butterick sewing book, of 50s vintage, which I shall have to compare and contrast with the 70s Simplicity one I nabbed a while back. /sigh. I’m so behind on my sewing-related reading. Someday, over the thesis…

Tailoring

My favourite, though, is the blue-covered book simply titled “Tailoring”. It claims to want to be “an advanced tailoring text that even a beginner can use”, and from my reading of the first few chapters it’s doing a pretty good job. It’s got a REALLY comprehensive section on pattern measurement and ease calculations, too, including a chart I will have to scan and upload…

Oh, and I suppose I should be doing some kind of New Year wrap up/retrospective, but I don’t really feel like it. Maybe if I’m bored later this week, or sometime in the next month when I have nothing actually sewn. I’d rather spend what precious free time I have actually sewing, though. Speaking of which, coming soon: machine darning! (It may be a sign of sewing withdrawal that this was actually really, really fun.)

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70s Week

Last weekend, amid the trauma of saying goodbye to my brother, I decided to begin my self-imposed Me-Made 70s Week. Yes, for one week I would pull out the stops and wear every 70s and 70s-inspired garment I owned.

Now, I feel like I should insert a disclaimer here. Because while I may have found “my” vintage decade in the one that preceded my birth, I do not now and never will fully embrace the 70s. The fabric of choice, double-knit polyester, is abominable; the earth-toned colour scheme does nothing for me; and I have a limited tolerance for leisure suits. That being said, properly interpreted, the 70s has some of my favourite styles.

Cold calculation would make it obvious that at least some repetition would be involved. I had (until Saturday) really only six garments made from my various 70s patterns (sad, I know.) Even worse, the weather was not cooperative, so two of my dresses which are particularly summery went unworn. It was also not a great week for getting stuff like, oh, makeup on. So basically, not my best bash at making the 70s look good. Sorry. I’ll do better next time. Maybe in August, when we’re more likely to have something resembling summer.

Dress#1

Dress#2

70s Jacket

Bellbottoms

Dress #3 (unworn) (Style 41 34)

Dress #4 (unworn)

Day 1: June 12

June 12

70s Dress

The first day. With my houseguests gone I didn’t need to worry about frightening them with my outfits. (My brother’s used to me, but I don’t want to scare his girlfriend, or she might never come back.)

Day 2: June 13

June 13

This is an example of my early-morning outfit—that is, what I throw on over breakfast to get hubby and kids out the door in the morning. No makeup, no hair (hence the cap), but it is all me-made (except for the cap)

Winged Cardi
Ruffle-back top
Bellbottoms

Day 3: June 14

June 14

Another 70s dress. Headless due to unforgivably bad hair. My new sewing room is already getting nicely messy.

Day 4 and 5: June 15 & 16

June 15 and 16

This will pass for my outfit for both days, sadly. The only difference was the top. I really like this jacket with the skinnies (which I know is very un-70s), moreso than with other pants I own.

70s Jacket in corduroy
Skinny Jalie Jeans
Day 15 boring shirt
Day 16 boring shirt

Day 6: June 17

June 17

A really awful photo of me, but it was a looking-after-sick-hubby (who absolutely refused to be my photographed loved one) day. Ah, well, the kids out-cute me at the best of times. (I made both their shirts and the vest Syo is wearing, too). You saw the other photos from this series here.

The Bellbottoms
Evil JJ blouse

 

Although the JJ blouse is contemporary, I feel like it goes well stylistically with the 70s outfits: fitted body, puffed sleeves.

Day 7: June 18

June 18

My daughters have decided they want to be like their daddy and take about computer bits. My husband recently replaced the power supply for our desktop… and now my back deck is littered with the shreds of the old one. Also an impromptu fort made from a plastic picnic table and scrap wood. Aren’t my children ingenious?

70s week was rescued from early termination by a repeat of my day 1 dress, topped this time with the rather-over-the-top cowl-sleeved jacket. This is one of those outfits that pushes even my comfort zone for everyday wear, but I was expecting to go to the local Comic Con today (which got bumped to the 19th), by which standards I’m pretty sure I would be beyond prosaic.

I’m a little disappointed with the amount of recycling I had to do this 70s week. I’ll have to try it again when the weather is better and my wardrobe is a little more well rounded. I certainly have no shortage of appropriate patterns…

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California dreaming…

New tunic!

… on such a winter’s day…

Ok, not really winter. It was raining (again), which in these parts denotes NOT winter about as strongly as anything. Yay, liquid water!

But definitely not as summery as I’d like.

Still, I continue to sew hopefully, so today I plugged away with my gauze 70s tunic, trying not to mutter about how much I prefer nice, heavy coating fabrics. Cotton gauze and voile don’t rate too high on the scale of difficult fabrics, but you have to be so careful about the finishing, especially in white. Things I usually ignore, like how evenly I grade my seam allowances or whether my tail threads are getting eaten by the feed-dogs, stick out like a sore thumb.

McCall's 3838

Now, I was aiming for view C, the left-most on the pattern envelope. Since it was a sleeveless (essentially), un-fitted pattern (and I don’t know how McCall’s patterns fit me yet anyway), I omitted my usual swayback and petiting alterations. Instead, I opted for a square shoulder alteration, which I’ve been pondering on my last few tops.

Front view

And I’m quite happy with the results, although I should probably have lowered the neckline the same 1.5 cm I lowered the centre edge of the shoulders. I did that for the back neckline, but didn’t think to do it for the front. If I make this view again (which isn’t certain, as there’s lots of options) I’ll lower the whole neckline at least an inch, anyway.

After some consultation with mommy dearest, I did some seam-finishing experimentation and settled on the lazy stitcher’s French seams, which is where you serge the edge on your first pass, then press and encase the serged edge within the French seam for the second pass. Basically it adds the serger thread, but saves you the trimming stage. I pretty much blow at trimming seams evenly, so this let me get a much narrower French seam than otherwise, so despite the extra thread I end up with less bulk. Although my serger, despite being serviced just at Christmas, has tension issues when dealing with light-weight fabrics; there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground between ultra-loose and loopy and too-tight-and-ruffling. I’ve discovered that if I leave extra-long tails I can usually work the thread in so the thing lies evenly afterwards, but it’s a bit of a pain nonetheless.

Back view

Yes, it’s time for a new serger. One with all the bells and whistles.

Anyway.

I was really, really scared of the sweetheart neckline. Mostly because I felt the fabrics were too light to interface or reinforce, other than stay-stitching. So I stay-stitched, and handled as little (and as carefully) as I could. It did wind out a smidge stretched out, but… decent. And mostly symmetrical, my other fear. Although I used the lining as my facing for the neckline, for the armscyes I bound with bias-tape made out of the voile, and pressed to the inside. I used my machine’s lone decorative topstitch (OK, the only one I like) to topstitch around the neck and the armscyes. Patty is making me very jealous with her decorative topstitching.

Aside from the shoulder alteration, the only other change I made was to add 13 cm (aka 5 inches, but I’m trying to be a good metric girl these days. The search for a metric gridded ruler continues, and I am consciously teaching my kids to sew in metric.), to the hem, bringing it from a blouse length to a tunic length. Somehow when I was thinking about this pattern, the outfit I conceived of was this tunic-almost-dress worn over cutoffs you almost can’t see are there. Voila. Although maybe for the full illusion I should’ve made the top a couple of inches longer still.

Side view

I’m quite satisfied with the fit—none of that bunching up behind my neck that I often get, so I presume the square-shoulder thing did its work. Other than that there’s not much to fit or not fit ;). Side-bust darts might improve the shape a bit, but aren’t actually necessary.

View C has a self-sash stitched in place at the centre front, and I even cut one out, but then I couldn’t resist trying it with my Japonesque fabric sash, and I love it, so I’m going to leave it changeable for now. We’ll see how it stays in place when I ever get a chance to actually wear it.

But all in all, super happy fun!

There’s a bit of the inevitable pregnant pouf that is going to accompany pretty much any take on this style, but this is a look I’m resigned to, as it’s pretty much my natural figure anyway.

This is “officially” my second piece for the Summer Essentials Sewalong. Now, excuse me while I go fantasize about hot, hot sun…*

*I think I should apologize about the amount I whine about the weather. I’m not sure if it’s human nature or a Canadian specialty, or just that I’m a wimp (I am a major weather wimp, especially about the cold). The weather we are getting right now is a kajillion times better than what I was complaining about in, say, March. So really I should STFU.

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A Me-Made Week in Review

Ok, so last time I included my Me-Made June outfit in a post was on the 6th (aside from some of the sewing-room pics on the last post). Yikes! I have been getting them up over on Flickr, though.

Anyway, before I dig into that, a cute and teensy bit of mending I did over the weekend.

70s Peasant crop-top (Pre-re-elasticizing)

This is a “vintage” (my guess is 70s, it was kicking around in my dress-up clothes from the early 80s and I presume it wasn’t new then. Also it kinda screams 70s.) peasant-top that somehow I’ve never been able to pass on, although I doubt I’ve really worn it since I was fourteen or so. Maybe sixteen. Anyway, at some point in the last fifteen years the elastic has gone to that great sewing studio in the sky, or at least its springiness had, so the shirt has been kicking around in the mending for quite a while.

Me being about as good at mending as at cleaning. I’d say I was turning over a new leaf this week, but really, I can tell the energy won’t last. ;)

Anyway, it was a matter of moments to open up the elastic casings and pull out the old elastics, and only a few more minutes to thread in new elastics, hunt down Tyo to snug them to the right size (Syo’s expression when I asked if she wanted to try it on was, shall we say, unimpressed?), and sew them closed. Then I soaked in a bowl with some Oxy-Clean for a couple of hours in the hopes of brightening up the colour a bit, which I think was successful although it’s hard to tell in the photos.

Some drying later and, voila:

Tyo in the mending

I noticed a couple of interesting things about the construction of this RTW piece. First, observe, regular RTW tag, Made in Canada, even.

Tag!

Next, observe side seam. Completely unfinished. And remarkably unfrayed after more than 30 years of wear, too. Anyway, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen unfinished seams in old RTW garments, but I feel like it’s an interesting thing to point out…

Unfinished side-seam

Me-Made June Review:

I’m thinking I’ll do these three at at time until I’ve caught up. I’ve really enjoyed some of the longer reviews other people do (like with a whole week of outfits) but I don’t think I can stand hunting down that many links, sorry.

MMJ 7

June 7. I’m a ninja!

… or that’s how I felt in this outfit. Probably less stealthy, though.

Kimono Lady Grey
skinny cargoes again.

MMJ 8

June 8. Also the day this photo was taken. A comfy, practical, and thoroughly unremarkable outfit, although I do love getting to wear this coat.

Springy Coat
Raglan knit top
Skinny jeans

S

MMJ 9

June 9. The kids and I played hookie to take my brother and his girlfriend to the Tyrrell Museum of Natural History. Not the best picture ever, but somehow the only one of the hundred-some taken that day of me. :P Poopily, the “button cufflinks” I made for this jacket have popped off and/or broken. In any case, disappeared. Poopy.

Cropped Jean Jacket
Cowl top
Well-loved jeansWhew

Whew! Ok, that MMJ’s me out. Will catch up one of these days…

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