Thursday, October 23, 2014

I Would Like To Introduce You To Mildred, My Acme Adjustable Dress Form

I have the most wonderful people in my life. While at a recent sewing group at church I was overheard saying I would love a vintage dress form. I have vintage clothing to sell in my Etsy store and thought a timeless form would suit the timeless clothing. I have seen a few on Etsy and Ebay, but with the shipping cost of such a delicate purchase, I could not justify the cost.  I said it dreamily, with optimism because the likelihood of finding one locally was so slim. No sooner were the words out of my mouth, did one of my group members say, " I have a vintage dress form you can have I'll bring it for you next week."

Holy Cow! Could I be that fortunate? Sure enough, this week Belinda, my new life long friend :) brought me an Acme A-d-j-u-s-t-a-b-l-e Dress Form. I am still doing research on the year of mine and found these original ads on Pinterest. Please share any information you may have.

Acme Dress Form Ad
I love this! Look at the three generations of women who can use it. The trial cost was $3 with the remainder payable over time. The total cost was ONLY $15!
I love how this one reduces in height.

Let me introduce you to Mildred.

She is a Junior size with a lot of expansion potential. 
(Umm Picassa, do you think you made that signature big enough?)

The original  label is still attached.
Here she is collapsed to the junior size. There is a wing nut that needs some lubricant to move,  a broken bolt inside, some fractured chipboard, and decades of rust. Once those issues are repaired, I am certain I can bring her back to her former glory.
There are holes in the chipboard and tears in the fabric that  need to be patched. Hopefully, very soon I can take her apart to clean and repair the broken chip board inside. I also plan to recover the body with a bit more batting.  Courtney at 24 Kites to Fly has one of these and has successfully dismantled hers and made repairs. I am excited to bring Mildred back to her former glory. 

Her Cast Iron Stand.
I love Mildred but, I do not plan to use her for dressmaking purposes. I love B.I.R.A, my custom dress form. She is a precise copy of my body, no adjustments needed :) .

For now, she is a great  addition to my sewing room. Stay tuned for the restoration process.

Happy Sewing,

Monday, October 20, 2014

American Girl Sewing Studio Knock Off.

Our Little Miss is now a year older. Time sure flies when you are having fun. My hubby had a birthday at the beginning of the month and the day after, Little Miss started counting down to hers. It is good to see the pure excitement in her face when she thinks about a day that is all her.

She is the proud "Mama" to two American Girl dolls. I won the first in a silent auction for $35 and the other was free in promotion by House Party. I tell you this so you know, I am not one to spend excessively on toys. These dolls and accessories are well made, beautiful, and tell wonderful stories. They generally seem too pricey for the way Little Miss plays. The latest catalog came to the house recently and there were many requests for the goodies available. Top of the list is the sewing studio for the doll Isabelle.
Photo Credit American Girl
This beautiful sewing and ballet studio in perfectly stocked, but at almost $300, out of my reach. I told this to "Little Miss" and without missing a beat she asked if I could make it for less? Challenge accepted!                   

I started with a thrift store jewelry box.
 And ended with this self contained doll sewing studio and young sewist sewing box.


The sewing studio is equipped with an ironing board, cutting table, inspiration and project board, cutting table with rotary cutting mat, fabric bolts, patterns, and of course a fabric stash.
Patterns on the inspiration wall

Bolts of fabric

Pattern stash

Cut Patterns

Fabric bundles

More from the fabric stash

Fabric Bolts

Ironing Board

I used spools of thread as the table legs.

Make shift Sewing Machine

Paperclip hangers
I stocked the top with actual sewing supplies for her to use in her sewing.

Table stores on the back using hook and loop tape.

Everything but the dress form fits.

She Loves it!

She likes is so much she played with it for an hour before remembering it was was for Abby, her doll!

Happy Sewing,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dye! Dye! Dye! New Life for Vintage Lingerie

You all know that I have a love for all things, Mod, Hippie and '60's and '70's retro.  Earlier this year, a friend who owns an estate sale company had a household of vintage clothing. She felt  the items "screamed my vibe". She was right and I purchased the whole lot. In the lot was a collection of vintage lingerie including, full and half slips, camisoles, house coats, and pant slips. These lovely items reminded me of special occasions as a young girl and getting dressed in slips and pantyhose before leaving the house.

In a day and time where celebrities are "forgetting" to wear underwear, one may think there is no longer a place for these gems of the past. I looked through the lacy, silky, sultry garments and saw that they still had much life in them. After living with these garments for a few months and deciding how to use them, I was struck with a flash of inspiration. I would revitalize them with fabric dye making them wearable as outerwear! The effect of the dye on the fabric increases the opacity reducing the visibility of the under garments beneath.

I am feeling under the weather and am anxious to share this latest project with you. I got one (kinda) good shot before I enlisted the help of a friend to model a sampling of the garments.
Full Slip with Jersey Wrap

 Meet Cheri!

Full Slip dress with  Wrap Cardigan
Full Slip Dress with Denim Shirt
Camisole and Half Slip and Denim Jacket
Camisole and Half Slip and Denim Jacket
Maxi Skirt with Camisole as a scarf. 

I really love the one of a kind nature of each of these items. In making these, I felt like Christmas morning as a child. It was so thrilling to untie, unroll, and untwist each one piece not knowing what patterns would emerge. Some were  just as planned, others exceeded my hopes.

If you want to rock these items from the closet of a naughty Granny, you can! I have listed many of these gems in my Etsy store. Please stop by and take a look at them. I will be adding more to the store as I photograph them. Be sure to add the store to your favorites so you do not miss them.

Happy Sewing,

Friday, October 3, 2014

Wardrobe Refashion: Hippie Jeans and a Hobo bag.

On a recent resale shopping trip, I came across this wonderfully embroidered denim shirt. I love all of the elaborate stitches and colors. This heavily embellished shirt is too much for me to wear as is. When I saw it I  immediately thought of retro hippie jeans, I knew I had to use it in a wardrobe refashion.  

I had a pair of well loved flared jeans in my stash and thought this would be a perfect canvas to redesign. Using the fabric from the sleeves, I cut large triangular insets to be sewn to the outside side seam.

I wanted to use as much of the sleeve a possible while maintaining the original hems from both. I tucked the ends under to test the placement of the insert. I pressed it under and trimmed the seam leaving a 5/8th inch seam allowance.

I then traced the insert on the jeans and cut it out.

With right sides together, I stitched the insert to the jeans paying care to pivot at the point.

I also chose to remove the back pockets of the jeans and replaced them with fabric from the back.
To unify the look, I added hand embroidery details to the fly and pocket tops.

The shirt I used was a Chico's 3 (is that a large?). After making my Supa Dupa Fly hippie jeans, I had fabric remaining. Using fabric from the front and back of the shirt, I made a simple hobo bag. I wanted an uncomplicated shape to showcase the embroidery. For that, I chose to modify the Beautiful Belle bag by Amy Butler. I made that bag earlier this year and you can read about it here.  I made this bag larger, omitted the pleating and changed the handles. I lined the bag with denim, included pockets and added a magnetic closure. For this strap, I re-purposed the belt of a suede jacket from my stash.

 The bag is a great size for a busy Mama on the go. I am very pleased with it.

I really like both of these projects. As is becoming a theme of my sewing, I enjoy making things that make me happy and smile. It is an added delight to have people I encounter, smile and share their joy.

Peace (Or not? Apparently, my fingers are pointing the wrong way and I am showing an obscene gesture. So, sorry. I have been playing in fabric dyes this week and my nails are a mess! I was only thinking of that. Oops!)