Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Making vintage-y buttons

This dress is not very interesting to sew. 
Sure, I had to trace and alter and add about ....gulp... eight inches altogether. But that's just two inches a piece.

And my backside requires a FbootyAdjustment, so there was more to do.
But not much.

Oh no, go back and add in piping for contrast. See, it's going to look much better. And I think I should keep the measuring tape as a belt....okay, maybe not.

I do love buttons. I love making bound buttons. I collect em. I have bags and jars and framed buttons.

The predomniant thing about this dress, besides the keen high curve of the front bodice, is the buttons! Ten! Ten one inch buttons!

Do you know how nasty and gappy the hole for a button like that can get?

But small buttons just don't 'read' right on this.

So here is button making time. 5/8" buttons, 1" plastic rings. Coffee not shown.

A tab of white fabric to prevent metal shine through on the inside of the fabric circle.

I used some 527 (much like e6000) to secure fronts to backs. Put some on a card and spread it with a stick. A nice coffee stirrer from the espresso shop around the corner. This is Seattle! 

After glue, assemble and push together. 

There were blurry action shots of shoving the back onto the front with the tiny metal shoving tool.

Ring measured!

And then I got lazy and used a premade circle template.....aka plastic holiday drink cup!

Traced, cut, even gathering stitches with silk thread...yes, this is more fun than making the dress.

I did two circuits of the back before I trimmed the extra fabric. Next circles were cut a little smaller.

The sample looks nifty! I have a very weak spot for cherry prints.

A fun afternoon later, I glue 'em. 

Two rounds of stitching.  They will dry before I continue on the other side.

Next day: poke holes in nice side.
Insert shank of button through hole

Pull out through on other side.

I lined them up on cut wire (from a coathanger. Joan Crawford would not approve) to dry. I think they look nice and turtle-like on my green library book. 


If you work for the Seattle Public Library, I NEVER glue things on my books. Particularily the 1960's OOP book about servicing your own sewing machine.

And here we are. Snaps and a waist hook keep it from flapping open, but the high curve really does hold itself shut.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Cherry Vintage Wrap Dress

Sewing vintage patterns is always a crap shoot. Sometimes the pattern is missing pieces. Sometimes it's fitted for a different style of figure (corseted, bullet bra'd, chest flattened). Sometimes, and we've all seen this before, it's just not a practical design. The thing that drove most people to look for a website where someone reviews sewing patterns is a pattern that just didn't make any sense. Not naming names, but sometimes a big company or a designer just .... leaves something out. Doesn't work it through. Doesn't actually test it out. The infamous Vogue 7464

I am sorry that the blog that  I have linked this photo from is no longer up.
This fine lady  has taken a swing at it, so have I, but the only successful one I've seen is Fashionable Forties's lovely green felt model.

So it's not out of the question that you can make up something and find it's more like an Escher drawing of a house than a real house.

I am a sucker for this style of dress, and usually it doesn't suit me. It's as if I am still trying to date that guy who never gave me the time of day. "Maybe this time...."

This collar does not wrap around a neck, unless it's 2D. So that had to change.

For the sake of argument, I am not altering anything about the pattern per se.

I am: adjusting/revising the back neckline.
I will add piping/a contrast 'flare' on upper bodice to high light the front opening curve/make those handmade buttons pop.

I am not making buttonholes. I am fronting with buttons, but making holes big enough for the size of button this needs that will show up on this print; those holes will be enormous. So, snaps behind. Buttons sewn on front.

Making a hat from what little I have left.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Vintage Sewing vs Vintage Sewing Machine, Part One

I was planning on entering the Pattern Review Vintage Sewing Contest. It is my favorite of them all.

This is Becky, the Kenmore 1040.
She is not a vintage dress pattern. She's a 1972 machine.


 Quite possibly the cleanest used machine I have ever bought. All the parts are in excellent shape. Timing is a little off - the needle is brushing something. This is the sort of machine you can do most of the work on yourself. A three quarter size, 1972, metal gear driven. Came with the plastic 'roses' case, all in perfect shape. She's been named Becky for the lovely woman who sold her to me. Yes, one honest sale on Ebay! We are out there! Found the manual online, found some pretty great webpages on the 1040, and am just having a wonderful time.

 Becky has a tools box and a flip out table at the end of the bed. The box covers the access to the bobbin. It rattles some; I may stuff it full of batting and put the tools elsewhere.  She came with a piping foot and a blind hem foot, but not a zipper foot; the easiest one to replace.

For every lousy sale on Ebay, there's one that makes you glad you live in such a nice world! This is that one.

little flip table and tool box  
My problem is this: the #15 bobbin of the Kenmore 1040 has a slightly larger hole (thinner material for the central tube) than the #15 bobbin of today. It's the same exterior size as the #15 and the Bernina bobbin shown on the right, but that tube is just too small for the bobbin winder pin.

So I have two bobbins I can load on this machine, and a pile from the B-word I can empty.
The BWord sucked a thread into the handwheel and I cannot safely open it to remove it. So it needs an expensive trip to the "Oh, we don't have the parts" store nearby, or a car trip vacation to the place where the guy can fix it, but not anytime soon. Becky is supposed to solve that problem. I just thought I had a little more time to get to that point.

I was planning on sewing for the Pattern Review Vintage Contest, and then taking the summer work break.
Now I may just be entering this machine in the contest. It is older than 1980.

Oh, there's more to this.  Much, much more.