Monday, April 30, 2012

Madison Avenue Monday: Streamline Buttons

This ad for Streamline buttons just says "Spring", doesn't it?  I wish some of these cute buttons and bright trims were still made today.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Still Sewing: an Upcoming Tutorial + a Sale

I haven't fallen off the face of the planet this week if you're wondering what I've been up to.  I've just been working really hard on a spring-themed sewing tutorial for you and I thought I'd have it done and posted today.  I'm just not happy with the materials I used, so I'm starting over. 

I'll give you a little hint about it:

I hope to have it completed and posted by Wednesday of next week.

In other sewing news, I took Simplicity 2936, the puff-sleeved blouse to sewing class with me last week and had to rip the sleeves out.  I put in two small bust darts in the bodice and now I have to fudge the sleeves a bit to make them fit.  *Sigh*.  It's all part of the learning process, isn't it?

{Sale Preview}

For my readers only!  If you're planning to make a swimsuit this year you are now the first to know that vintage and contemporary swimsuit patterns will go on sale in the shop next week. As it's wedding season, wedding and formal wear patterns are on sale now and will continue to be on sale through May.

Until next week then....

Monday, April 23, 2012

Madison Avenue Monday: Cotton, You Can Feel How Good it Looks

I love the print on this fabric and I would totally make this dress.  Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and go fabric shopping....

From McCall's Pattern Fashions, 1970

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In Progress: Simplicity 2936 and Pauloa 901A + Giveaway Winner

As I mentioned in my last post, I just felt like sewing over the past week.  When I had a spare moment I cut, pinned, and sewed.  I did that today too in-between errands, and that's why this post has been published so late in the day.  I guess I've been a little obsessed. 

Now for my inspiration. Two weeks ago while watching the Mad Men "Mystery Date" episode and drooling over Joan's rose-patterned dresses (roses are my favorite flower, and Joan's style is my favorite, with Megan's style being a close second), I was delighted to see Joan wear this simple blush pink blouse patterned all over with tiny rosebuds in the last scene:

Photo shamelessly borrowed from the fab TLo guys

It reminded me a bit of this vintage eyelet fabric that I had in my stash:

Vintage eyelet fabric with strawberry pattern at Serendipity Handmade

Actually, we should call this "faux-let" because it is not really eyelet.  Why?  The design surrounding the small hole (cut-out) on real eyelet is embroidered.  On this fabric the flowers are stamped, making it cheaper to produce and available at a lower cost.  This is a 50-50 cotton poly blend too, again, lowering the cost.

This delicate print reminds me of summer picnics in the sun.  So I decided to make Simplicity 2936 again, view D this time, because my pattern is already altered to fit (sort of!).  You may remember that having made view F before I will still need to make size adjustments after sewing.   I actually just cut it out a few days ago, and the blouse is about 65% finished.

I also still need to sew the facings, make the button holes, and hem it.  I pinned it to Esme to give you an idea of how it looks:

I will probably have to set the sleeves in again as they don't quite fit the armhole opening (you can see they don't quite match up to the bodice pieces).  This is because my sewing instructor and I adjusted the bodice piece to fit perfectly with the view F flutter sleeves.  The same bodice pattern piece is used for view D but the shape of the puff sleeve is different. 

There are two tucks on either side in the front, and one on either side in the back.  I LOVE tucks, which is one of the reasons Joan's blouse charmed me so much. 

I've also cut out and prepped Pauloa 901A, a.k.a. "Kekahi".  I was hoping to get a little further with this project but that was impossible due to the number of tailor tacks I've had to make. I took a photo of only four of the pieces, so you can see what I mean:

And I'm still not done with the markings.  I know I can use chalk or pencil to mark but I find that it mysteriously disappears on me before I can sew the pieces together.  I've taken to using tacks if there are a lot of pattern markings.

You know, I'm starting to feel a lot more confident about my sewing skills now.   I think being able to take on these (still simple) patterns without assistance shows that I've made some real progress over the last couple of years in re-learning how to sew.

I have to admit I'm proud of myself having been a beginner two years ago who hadn't sewn since high school.  I still need to learn to set in a zipper (well) though, so I guess I'm still an advanced beginner.  That's ok.  I'm really looking forward to my sewing future.

{giveaway winner}

Lisette is the lucky winner of McCall's 6147!

This dress is going to be so very cute when it's made up so I hope we'll get to see it (perhaps on Lisette's blog?).  Thanks to everyone who entered, and a special welcome my new readers who decided to follow the blog.  I hope that all of you have had a little time for yourself this week or weekend to pursue your own creative dreams!  Until Monday....

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Just Feel Like Sewing

I just feel like sewing this week.

Do you ever feel this way too?  When you just want to funnel all of your creative energy into one area, a certain project, or a certain craft?  That's how I feel this week.  I just want to sew.  I just can't get enough sewing time this week.

I see my blog as one part of my creative life.  Unlike other blogs, I rarely write entries ahead of time because I prefer to write in the moment.  I generally let the world around me, like the seasons, or perhaps a book I've read, or an outing with a friend or family member influence what I post or write about that day or that week.

So, if you're wondering why this blog has been silent for a few days and what I've been up to well, I've been sewing when I have a free moment.  Like crazy.  Well, maybe not like crazy but it's all I can think about this week.

Next up, proof that I've been sewing.  Or in other words, some project photos!  (smile)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Giveaway: McCall's 6147 Sundress and Matching Jacket Pattern

It's time for a vintage sewing pattern giveaway!

Have you been thinking about your spring and summer wardrobe?
Why not sew up this little number from 1961?

This is McCall's 6147:

Cute, no? It's very Betty Draper-esque from earlier Mad Men episodes.

Now for the details: the envelope on  my actual copy is a little worse for wear so I didn't picture it, but the tissue is in great condition. Bust size is 33 inches.

If you're interested just leave a nice comment by Friday, April 20th.  One comment per person. Be sure to leave an email address or point me to your blog so I can contact you.   I'll choose a winner by random number and announce the winner on the 21st.

Good luck!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fashion Cheats to Save You Money, Part Four of I Hate to Housekeep

It's true these days that most of the clothes that we buy are not built to last for more than a season (or two).  We all love a good bargain and love to show off a great bargain.  But some things we buy simply aren't bargains -- they don't last long enough to make it worth the expense, or worse yet, they look like a bargain (in Peg's words, they look "cheap").

Wouldn't you like some general tips about what type of clothing items you can save money on and still look good, and what you should save your pennies to buy?  In this final part of the I Hate to Housekeep series I'll share some of Peg's advice about your wardrobe that I believe has stood the test of time.

Fashion Cheats to Save you Money, I Hate to Housekeep, Serendipity Handmade
Doesn't the little girl in this Hillary Knight illustration look a lot like Eloise?

First a little advice from me: if you know the item is going to wear out quickly, I suggest buying it from the clearance rack, or even better, at a consignment or thrift store.

A personal example of this are cotton knit t-shirts because they are a basic wardrobe staple that I frequently wear with jeans. Over time they become stained, or the color washes out, or the cotton simply wears so thin that the fabric starts to look cheap. I'm not the type to spend upwards of $20 on a t-shirt so I know that it is best to buy low priced items that can head to the rag bag when they get ratty.

And here is Peg's advice about clothes you can cheat on -- in her words, "buy cheap" -- and get away with it, and those clothing items you should buy to last. Keep in mind that this is 1960s advice, apply it in terms of your wardrobe and lifestyle.  Some of us attend cocktail parties; some of us don't.

What You Can Cheat On
  1. Summer shoes. (You'll have probably worn things like flip-flops and espadrilles out by the end of summer if you wear them frequently).

  2. Summer cottons or synthetic dresses.  Peg says, "Dispose of them at the end of the season because at that point the cheap ones have lost their bounce.  If you don't dispose of them, you'll continue to wear them and they'll look their price."

  3. Cocktail dresses, especially bright ones.  Peg says, "It takes a trained eye to discern the difference between a flame-colored $22.95 number and a flame-colored $98.95 number, particularly after a couple of Gibsons."

  4. Jewelry, if you chose carefully.  (You know that you can get some fabulous-looking vintage costume jewelry at thrift stores, right?)

  5. Handbags, ditto. 

  6. Underwear, depending on your audience, if any.  (Ha ha ha!  Perhaps no one is looking?)

What You Can't Cheat On
  1. Girdles and bras.  (You've seen countless articles in women's magazines about being fitted for the correct size bra.  And the more you spend on your Spanx-like undergarments, the better they will smooth you out and hold you in and the longer they will last.)

  2. Shoes.  Peg says, "The trouble with cheap ones is that they lose their spurious good looks very rapidly but they won't quite fall apart so you go on wearing them."  (You put a lot of pressure and weight on your feet every day.  Whatever the size, shape, and height of the shoe, buy the best-fitting shoe that you can afford in order to problems like corns that occur because of ill-fitting shoes.) 

  3. Belts.

  4. Tailored suits, coats, dresses.

  5. Nylon stockings.  Peg says, "Finding the right brand, size, gauge, and denier can take some doing; but once done, they look much better than the grocery type or factory seconds."  (If you do wear stockings or tights to work, as part of costume events, or for formal events this tip is very true.  Cheap stockings look just that -- cheap.)

  6. Perfume.

  7. Gloves, except for short white cottons.  (Consider this especially if you live in colder climates and wear gloves frequently in fall and winter).
Do you agree with Peg's advice (and mine) Dear Readers?  When it comes to fashion, in what ways do you economize?  Tips, ideas, and stories are always welcome....

Monday, April 9, 2012

Madison Avenue Monday: Fashion's Illusion

I really love the bright, cheerful 70s print on this dress...even if it was probably made in polyester just like its Pellon interfacing!

From McCall's Pattern Fashions, Spring 1972

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

via apron memories

Just wishing you and yours a happy Easter (and happy Spring)!
Have a lovely day.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fortunate Finds: a Music Box, some Costume Jewelry, and More

I had some fun while I was out thrifting last week.  Guess what?  I went with my dad!  My dad lives a plane ride away from me so I don't get to see him very often. When we get together we thrift as it's one of our favorite pastimes. 

Dear readers, you may remember me writing about the huge influence my dad has had upon my creative life and how I probably owe any innate creative talent that I have to him.  Well, he's done it again -- he is simply Mr. Incredible when it comes to thrifting, especially for costume jewelry at local thrift shops like Goodwill.

Let me show you a few of the things he has found over the past couple of months.  First, this fabulous vintage Sankyo music box keychain:

vintage damascene sankyo music box keychain, Fur Elise, Serendipity Handmade blog
Vintage Sankyo music box keychain.  It plays Fur Elise.

This keychain was made by Sankyo, a Japanese company that is known for its music boxes and music box components.

The illustration on the cover is an example of damascene, or a decorative process where non-precious metal is decorated with 18-24K gold in geometric or scenic patterns.  You can see the design process in action here.

I believe that the metal on the keychain is bronze, probably because it's a keychain.  It's also seen a little wear and tear, as it appears a tiny bit of the bronze has worn away, but I haven't tried to clean it yet to find out for certain.

The design itself is an Arabesque desert oasis scene with palm trees and pyramids in the background.   I will have to do some research to find out when this was made.

Just to show you what is made in Spain, here is a pair of non-vintage damascene (in Spanish, damasqinado de oro) cuff links made in Toledo that a friend gave my husband:

damascene cuff links, damasquinado de oro cuff links, serendipity handamde

Back to vintage finds, my dad also found this signed Roman Company tennis bracelet and a very vintage Kramer rhinestone brooch.  No dates. It's hard to say when the Roman was made, but my best un-researched guess about the Kramer is that it dates from around the 1960s:

Roman tennis bracelet, vintage Kramer rhinestone brooch, Serendipity Handmade blog
A couple of the rhinestones are missing on the brooch, but it's still very pretty

Next is one of my favorite pieces.  It is a perfect vintage signed Hollycraft multicolored rhinestone brooch, and my best un-researched guess is that it dates from the 1950s or 1960s:

Vintage Hollycraft goldtone multicolored rhinestone brooch, 1950s or 1960s, Serendipity Handmade blog

I can't believe what some people unknowingly donate to thrift stores!

My dad seems still loves costume jewelry but has suddenly become very interested in vintage dinnerware now, especially Mikasa and Noritake.  I'm trying to get him to look out for mid-century Metlox and Vernonware -- I love the stuff.

As of late I've been very good at restraining myself because I simply do not visit thrift stores and estate sales very often (you know I'm all about destashing some of my current collections).  But I picked up a couple of vintage magazines that will be fun for Madison Avenue Monday:

Ladies Home Journal, March 1954 and Woman's Day, October 1941, Serendipity Handmade blog

And I couldn't leave this embroidery pattern behind (yes, I know I don't need any more patterns, but it is a "C" for Collette!):

Simplicity 4040C, Embroidery Transfer, Serendipity Handmade blog

What do you think of our finds?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Madison Avenue Monday: Zing Into Spring

Sorry that MAM is so late today....

You know I love the I chose this ad because I like the mod color-block dress illustration in the background.  The artist paired it with patterned hose.

Color-blocking is on trend this Spring, and I've seen quite a few women wearing patterned hose over the last couple of months...but I haven't seen the color-blocking and patterned hose together...yet.

vintage ad, yarn, linen, color-block dresses, 1960s, Serendipity Handmade
Partial ad from McCall's Needlework and Crafts, 1968