Sunday, August 22, 2010

Whipped up Wallet

In just a few days I'll be traveling to Japan.  It's been about nine or ten years since I was last there, so I'm pretty excited to return for a full ten days of temple hopping, people watching, and mountain climbing.  To commemorate my trip, I decided to whip up a wallet that actually fits my passport.  You also walk around with a lot of coins in Japan, so this has a nice sized change pocket, which will come in handy.

I chose the "A Girl's Best Friend" wallet from Jenna Lou Designs.  I picked this up in Minneapolis last year, but never got around to making it.  And I had just enough of this fabulous vintage remnant to make the wallet.
It was pretty easy to construct.  According to her website, there was a misprint in the instructions, but I didn't have any trouble fitting the whole thing together.  I wish that I'd used fusible interfacing, but I couldn't find any in my sewing cabinet and was too lazy to go buy some.  I probably should have used a snap instead of velcro, but the velcro will work just fine.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Oh Buttons!

A few weekends ago I stopped by the Sunday Antique Street Faire and picked up some buttons from one of the vendors.
Ocean Pearl by Schwanda
Also by Schwanda...Made in Germany.
More Schwanda buttons...Made in Western Germany.
Just some shiny blue ones.
And then there are the buttons I already have in my stash.  These all came from my mom's collection, which she generously donated to mine.
Le Chic hand painted glass buttons.  The card says that they were made in "Germany-U.S. Zone"
Also hand painted, glass Le Chic buttons and these were made in Western Germany.
La Mode buttons.  Australia is written on the back of the card.
I think I need to make a dirndl just to embellish it with these little handpainted buttons.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I Shutter to Think...

I am a chronic procrastinator.  I know things need to get done and I'll sit there and look at them for days, months and sometimes years, before I actually get around to doing what needs to be done.  Case in point:  my bathroom shutters.
They didn't have this large gaping hole when we moved into this place in January of 2009, but there was the tiniest of holes in the shutter curtain all the way to the left.  And then one day there was this larger hole and then a bigger hole in the next shutter over.   Hmmmmm...any idea what could cause this?

There's the culprit.  Mr. Parker, in his constant quest to escape from the best life a cat could ever have, had clawed his way through the hole.  Okay, so these curtains were pretty rotten to begin with and it did not take much to tear them.  In addition, the bathroom has no ventilation, so there were speckles of mold and one of the previous occupants had not removed the fabric at the last shutter painting party, so there were also  paint outlines on the edges.  They needed to be replaced.

But instead of fixing the problem, I would just dash into the shower and hope that no Peeping Toms were lurking outside to view my bits and pieces.  These curtains were still in tatters months after a friend came by and remarked that she was surprised that I had not fixed them given my inclinations toward craftiness.  But last night I ended the cycle and made some replacements.  I don't know why I waited so long, because the whole process took less than two hours.
I love them!  I used Swiss Dot Fabric from a yard sale (my usual place to buy fabric!).  And the next morning I woke up to this gorgeous glow in the bathroom.  It made me happy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pajama Party

I'm tired of wearing workout pants to bed at night (though they are comfy and convenient if one decides to just roll out of bed and go running).  I decided to make some pajamas.  I went through my fabric stash and evaluated them on their softness and girly floral patterns.
So I made these pajama bottoms from the Betz White Sewing Green "Lounge Pants" pattern.  Size L, of course, for a nice cozy fit through the hips and thighs.  The pattern is for a 29" inseam, which I do not have.  The pattern also suggests some cuffs in a contrasting hue, but for some reason my seams did not align, so I gave up on them.
They're pretty comfy so far.  I'm wearing them to bed tonight and if I like the way they feel, I have a few more soft fabrics lined up for some additional pairs.  Mr. Kitty has already given them his seal of approval...
I also decided to try making a nightie.  I had McCall's M5248 on hand, so I made a medium, the largest size my pattern offered.  My bottom half is not a medium, so I added a bit to the pattern to adjust to my personal measurements.  The bodice portion of the nightie turned out way too big, though I am sized correctly for a medium in that department.  I fixed that problem, but I still don't like the way it fits.  And besides, I don't like nighties anyway.  Halfway through the night the whole thing gets bunched up around my waist.  Useless!
Anyway, now that I am all outfitted with some new pajamas, who wants to come by for a sleepover?  We can play the Mystery Date Game and see which stud or bozo is behind that Mystery Door...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wedding Dress Beading

In early May, after months of scouring vintage stores, I found my wedding dress tucked away on a rack of fancy dresses at a store in Santa Cruz called All Shook Up.  It's a lovely champagne-colored dress, with a dropped waistline, square neckline, pleated skirt, and tons and tons of beading.  And I couldn't beat the price...a whopping $52.44, after taxes.  There are still some things that need some slight modifications.  There are some weird shoulder straps that can be taken off and it needs to be cleaned, but before I do any of those things I need to reinforce the little rhinestones.  

Rhinestones?  What am I saying....they are called Rose Montees, which are basically rhinestones set in metal prongs that you need to sew onto the fabric (and it took a good hour of searching the internet to figure that out).  The dress has seed beads, pearls, and these little rose montees all along the waistband, the neckline, and throughout the bodice.  The seed beads and pearls seem to have remained intact after these 40-50 years, but the rhinestones are either loose or missing.
I found some for sale on Etsy and ordered them only to discover that they were just a tad too big.  I thought I had my millimeter measurements correct when I ordered, but apparently not.  So I tried again and the sparklies in the next batch were just a tad too small.  Ugh.  I've given up trying to find the perfect size.  I'll just sew them on and hopefully it won't make much of a difference, though the ones still on the dress are a bit tarnished.  The new ones claim to be vintage, but they are not as tarnished and seem to still have some life in them.

So how does one go about sewing a rose montee onto a dress?  All of my hand sewing needles were too thick.  I found some English beading needles at the place where I had my machine refurbished.  These needles are so delicate and the eyes are teeny tiny.
So what sort of thread do you suppose fits this sort of needle?  The lady at the store suggested a fine, strong silk thread, but she didn't have the right color.  I found a fine polyester spool of thread and a transparent spool of thread at Hart's.  I tried threading the needle with the polyester thread, but I felt like I had the DT's and just could not get it through the eye.  So I then tried the transparent thread -- a very, very fine monofilament.  After only two or three tries the needle was threaded.  Yay!
I've reinforced about four of the rose montees so far and this thread seems to be working.  If only I can keep this plastic stuff from getting all twisted and caught up in itself.