Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Restoration of Mildred My Acme Adjustable Dress Form

Bummer! As I was preparing to post about my progress on repairing Mildred, my Acme Adjustable Dress Form, I deleted the previous post. :( I will attempt to recap that post a bit before posting about the restoration below.

I was generously given her by a friend who overheard me daydreaming about one. These sewing gems are available for purchase in auctions, on  Etsy and on Ebay, but free is better, always.

Magazine Ad.
 She is made well of board, jersey and steel.

Mildred in here fully expanded glory.

She is well loved and has some damage.
It still has its' original label. 

I was apprehensive about dismantling her to make the needed repairs. Courtney at 24 Kites to Fly has successfully repaired Bertha, her antique dress form. Based on her success and advice, I had the confidence to move forward.


Damage that went completely through the board. It is held in place by the fabric.

I glued it together to stabilize it, but there are still holes to be filled. My initial thought is paper mache type pulp paste to fill and decoupaged paper to cover. Thoughts?  I will also recover the jersey fabric with something from my stash.

Soaking the nuts and bolts in vinegar to dissolve the rust.

Steel wool cleaned the rust away easily. Before on the right.
I will continue to attempt to bring her to her former glory. I am undecided if I want to keep to the jersey neutral or jazz it up with a print. I am also on the fence about the interior paper too. I have some lovely options that I can choose from. 

What do you think? Stay true to history or add my spin?

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!)