Tag Archives: handmade

Creative Solutions

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Unique Hand-Crafted Gifts

Learning to finger knit was my entre` into the realm of using yarn to create .  Knitting along with a variety of other creative pursuits was part of the cultural landscape I was born into … hands were always busy making interesting and beautiful things.  With that level of  industry and interest modeled before me,  it was most natural I, too, would learn to thread the needle.

I well remember the project in which I was allowed to use knitting needles for the first time; it was a yellow pot holder with a little loop knitted in one corner used for hanging.  From there I moved onto to slipper making; they had pompom embellished toes… in the same yellow yarn.    To this day, I could make those slippers in my sleep; I was so proud slip-sliding around the house in them.  I eventually moved on to knitting hats and mittens and sweaters, but that was long ago.    My knitting work was eventually was set aside to make way for my primary focus on sewing and tailoring.

It was during this past Christmas season that I had a challenging gift selection to make for someone special. I gave it good thought, but nothing seemed particularly fitting.   It was only after considering making a gift that I was knew I was on track as it is in the making of something that the true gift resides, the gift of time and thought and effort.  And so it was that I reached into my bag of tricks, dusted off my number 9’s and knitted a beautiful, one of a kind, Christmas scarf.

Considering her smile, I think she likes.

 Success!

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AND

I’m knitting again.  Since making this scarf I knitted two more and have yarn for number three and four.   I’ll keep you posted.

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RemnantWorks Vintage Patterns

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Open For Business

Vogue 1862

Yves Saint Laurent Paris Original Design

Yves Saint Laurent
Paris Original Design

One thing that has recently become very apparent to me is that I need to reduce the numbers of sewing patterns I have in my collection.  I have been collecting since I began sewing around the age of  13 and that means I have many hundreds and perhaps even thousands of patterns taking up space.

Sorting through all my patterns has been a trip down memory lane.  I seem to remember everything I ever made and when.  I like that.  The pattern above was something I made while at university and I remember buying the fabric and making it up in my little apartment on Polk Street.  It’s hard to believe I ever wore my dresses so short, but we all did.  And those wedge shoes are back in style again.

I know that people are selling “vintage patterns” online and it would be nice to make a small return on this lifelong investment, so I decided to see what I could do.   I opened my store about a week ago and was quickly bitten by the bug.  I sold my first pattern on Sunday and another one today.  How cool is that?!

If you know of anyone who is in the market for vintage patterns, send them my way.  I will be adding new stock daily and have quite a selection from the 70’s and 80’s with a few from the late 60’s.

So far I am only shipping to US customers, because of cost of shipping internationally is prohibitive.   I thought I’d start locally to see how it goes with the thought of possibly expanding later.  Wish me luck! 🙂

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Simplicity Sewing

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Simplicity Sewing

Purple or Periwinkle

I’ve been on the lookout for the right shade of purple to go with a skirt I’ve had for some time.  I found this interesting piece of embroidered linen that seemed like it would work.  I call it purple, but maybe it is periwinkle… I think periwinkle has more blue in it.

embroidered linen

Either way, it has turned out to be a good choice to go with my skirt.   I picked up a yard for the tunic pattern I’ve been using this summer.  I really like the simplicity of this pattern; I can complete it in an afternoon… no problem!

linen tunic and skirt

I found a piece of purple duppioni silk in my fabric stash to use as bias binding for the neck and armholes.  It’s a good feeling to use up a scrap of something I have on hand.

silk binding

It’s always fun to give a little update to something you’ve had and make it seem fresh and new again.The unstructured look with nothing-to-bind is perfect for staying cool on hot summer days.  I like wearing skirts, but often don’t want to feel “dressed-up.”  This look works for me, because it blends casual easy/no-care (what I jokingly refer to as rag-bag fashion) with the I-made-an-effort-today discipline that I try to adhere to.

summerwear

Sewing With Cotton

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I haven’t made a cotton dress for so many years I can’t remember how long it’s been.  I do remember working with my mother on a dress made in a peach shade of dotted swiss cotton in 7th, or maybe it was 8th grade.  Somewhere between junior high and the present (many moons) , cotton just disappeared from my consciousness as a dressmaking material.  I think it was rayon and emphasis on the beautiful drape rayon provides that came into fashion sewing somewhere along that way that sidelined cottons into the realm of quilting and craft sewing.  Serious apparel seamstresses, at least in my world, just don’t use quilting cotton, opting for higher end linens, wools, silks.   But, as history bears repeating, what is old has become new and with the retro-look harkening back to the 1950’s and 60’s, quilting cotton is back with a vengeance.  I know I’m slow to take up with the new trends, but I’ve finally caught on and am taking another look at cotton and it’s possibilities for apparel.

First I found a great floral in one of my favorite color combinations.  I love spring green and am always drawn to it, so this was an easy choice.

Next I went through my pattern library and found something simple for summer.  I prefer princess seaming, because it is easy to modify and always flattering to the figure.  This particular dress is a little different from usual princess patterns, in that it has back dart rather than seaming.

I decided to line the dress to give support and shape, but also to preclude the need to wear a slip…  I really don’t like to wear slips in the summer.  Lining was a little extra work, because I had to create my own and attach it to the facings.

It went together without any difficulties and I can definitely say that I am an quilting cotton convert.

Posing for my  paparazzo with my good-natured neighbor

Back view

I went through my closet and found this coordinating cardigan and a necklace to finish the look.  Summer her I come!

Sewing Tutorial – Making An Underskirt

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It’s a cold, gray and intermittently rainy day… so typical of April weather in the Pacific Northwest.  I am so tired of the damp and am dreaming of sunny days that will soon be here.  I will be ready for the warm weather once it arrives, now that I have completed my underskirt to go with my white linen dress.  It turned out just as I had hoped; it’s pretty, it adds interest and best of all it has the practical purpose of providing a lining to what is otherwise a very see-through dress. See-through dresses are… well… embarrassing and while wearing a nylon slip under a natural fiber sundress might sound like an option for some, in my world slips and sundresses somehow just won’t do.  And so you see, I really had no choice other than to make my own cool underskirt.

1)  I started by searching through my pattern library for something I could modify to my needs.  I found what I was looking for in this skirt pattern by New Look.

2)  I chose a rayon lining which is perfect for warm weather, because it breaths, and doesn’t cling, and is quiet (I don’t like to hear a rustle of fabric unless, of course, I’m in my tafetta gown at the cotillion).   I stitched the side seams and serged the edges for a clean finish.

3)  I determined the length and width of the “fashion” fabric (fashion fabric is meant to be seen) I wanted to attached to the bottom of lining (lining is meant not to be seen).  I didn’t want it to be a full ruffle, so I eliminated much of the width from the original pattern piece.

4)  Then the side seams were stitched and serged.

5)  After the side seams were completed, I stitch three rows of machine basting (the longest stitch setting on your machine).  The first row was stitched at  3/8″, then at 5/8″ and the last at 3/4″. Once the three rows of basting were in place, I began to draw up the threads to create gathers, securing the end threads on a pin.

6)  With the ruffle gathered to the desired width, I pinned it to the lower edge of the skirt lining.

7)  I then sewed the ruffle to the skirt lining using the 5/8″ gathering line as a stiching guide.  Once the ruffle was attached, I removed the 3/4″ line of basting .

8)  Next I created a casing at the top of the skirt to run elastic through.  I turned down enough fabric to allow for room to slide my elastic through plus a little extra so I could tuck the raw edges under the fold to create a finished edge.

9)  Then I stitched the casing leaving a space open for elastic insertion.

10)  Then using a bodkin (a sewing tool designed for pulling elastic or cording through a casing… a safety pin will work in a pinch) I inserted the elastic pre-measured to fit my waist.  Once the elastic was through the casing I stitched the ends together and stitched the casing closed.

11) And here we have the finished underskirt ready to be worn on the first warm day that comes along.  I think this might be quite a versatile piece and I may be able to wear it with some other things I have.  I’ll be making a visit to my closet to see what else it might go with.

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