Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vintage Simplicity 4464

Here's a fabulous vintage pattern I found listed on ebay.  I didn't buy it though, because I haven't yet scrutinized my pattern stash for something similar.  I think I might have one or two that I could use as a starting point.  I may have to make some modifications to the style, to give it a side zip (or even a back zip), figure out what I want to do for pockets. I have a pocket style in mind, and I'm sure there is a name for it, but I don't know what it is -- think Dale Evans, and in the meantime I'll try to find a vintage photo that shows what I'm thinking about.  Another compelling reason to get this pattern is that blouse!   I love kimono sleeves, dolman sleeves, and batwing sleeves.  I find that styling to work really well with an overly generous bust, particularly if the waist is brought in with a belt, or cummerbund, as illustrated below.  And I love it used unbelted, over the turtleneck as shown in the upper right.

I'm trying to improve my blogging presentation skills. I wish I knew more about making photo collages without purchasing additional software or add-ons.  So, I've been playing around in Microsoft Paint, and reading online about how to use its features.
I wanted to put together a seasonal wardrobe inspiration board, like the ones I've seen on more visually appealing blogs, but I'm not there yet.  Here's what I have come up with so far, a basic palette.

And I even figured out how to change a color on a photographed image, and then collage the result.

It's not the inspiration board I envision, as that is beyond my skills at this time.

I guess it's more important to to make the actual clothes, then I can photo and blog.

To undertake a Me-Made Seasonal Wardrobe project, here are the obstacles to be overcome as I see them:
1.   My sewing room needs a major decluttering and reorganization.
2.  My dress form needs a breast augmentation, and then to be covered.
3. Then she'll need a name, any suggestions?  Better yet, if you do, save them, and when I get her done, I'll celebrate with a giveaway of some sort.  I 'll have to figure out something suitable as a dress form-naming prize.
4.  I need to select my patterns, then modify as needed, and grade for size, and alter for proportion.  My figure type is an inverted triangle.  At least my overweight figure type is.  I put all my weight in my bust and around my middle.  Years ago, when I was slim, I was more of an hourglass.  I'm a little tall, (almost 5'8"), and have a longer torso, and only slightly longer than average legs.
5.  I'll need to source fabric, which may be a bit of a challenge.  There is only one fabric store in spitting distance, and I would prefer to see and touch the fabric before I buy, as I am trying to coordinate my colors pretty tightly.  I think the colors I have chosen are universal, and should be easy to find, but it hasn't been that way online, so we'll see.
6.  Then there's just the making of muslins, cutting and sewing the garments.
7.  And then the shopping for shoes and hosiery, and the accessorizing. 
8.  Then the modeling and the styling and photos and the blogging!
9. Oh yeah, I forgot to add knitting 2 or 3 Shetland cardigans (and selling my plasma to buy the wool!).  After all, I'd like to be dressed at least as well as your average Shetland pony! 

What do you think?  Am I crazy to try this with the holidays approaching?  Or is it too hard to tell, since I haven't actually quantified the scope of the project, like how many of each type of garment.  I'll work on that part of the planning next.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Latest Knitting Obsession

I have a sweater in the works, but I have lost interest, and I'm only on the first panel, the back.  I'll try to take a few pictures to share, although I'm not sure, because my original intent was a gift, so pics may have to wait until it's done (if ever) and given.
My latest obsession is for a basic wardrobe staple, a classic Shetland cardigan.  If you're old enough, you may remember the popularity of Shetland sweaters in the late 1970's.  They were mostly saddle shoulder pullovers (I had one in blue), or fair isle yoked pullovers, some with a button placket in the yoke, or made up as cardigans.  They came in soft, heathered hues, or bright, "preppy" colors.  I had a gorgeous yellow fair isle pullover, with the yoke done in soft blues, greens and white.  I remember that one label was "Northern Isles".  Apparently, that label is still around, I just checked.
Here is a cabled Shetland that Appleseed's has for about $60.  I am in love with the color.

So, back to my Fall/Winter Wardrobe planning.  Here's what I have in mind.
 Very simple, very basic.  What I envision is  mix/match separates centered around a defined palette, one that would be right at home in the early 60's.  Button-down blouses in solids, plaids, and paisleys.  Shetland cardigans and short-sleeve "jumper" sweaters, or better yet twin sets. 
Maybe a few ribbed turtlenecks (and matching ribbed tights).  Straight skirts (not tight, just straight), and twill trousers (ankle length, tapered legs, and side-zipped).  Picture a collegiate look, I guess, or "Weekend in Connecticut".  My chosen palette is navy, ivory, camel, and slightly rusty red. Shoes:  penny loafers in cordovan, and maybe even a pair in navy.

Of course, in my daydreams, the bulk of this wardrobe is handmade.  I've been pricing purchased cardigans (hard-to-find, very limited colors) v. handknitting (good yarn in that quantity is expensive, basic well-tailored patterns are proving harder to find than I thought, but many colors are available).  For years, I have (probably not-so) secretly wanted to go full-on into vintage dressing, but obviously I haven't.  I firmly believe that it works best for ladies younger than I, and infinitely better for ladies smaller than I.  I have been learning vintage hairstyling techniques, and often wear victory rolls at home, or I can be found in pincurls with a scarf tied over them (a la Rosie the Riveter). 

I have finally settled on the above styling, which is decidedly classic, and generously "mature".  I already have a couple of pairs of L.L.Bean khaki chinos that are close to what I described above .  I have a few classic blouses.  My loafers are falling apart and need to be replaced.  If I can nail down a pattern for the slacks and skirts, I'd love to make them in wool flannel or gabardine, lined.  Other bonus items I'll strive for are shirtdresses, in solids, plaids and corduroys.  Wish me luck!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Really Random

1.  No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.  Being consistent just is not my forte.  I have reminded myself repeatedly that in my case, blogging is about keeping an online journal, and so its purpose is to serve my need to express myself.  If I were primarily trying to write for a specific audience, it would become a stress-inducer, not a stress-reliever.  This is how I try to assuage my guilt.
2.  I hate Facebook.  (Is hate too strong?)  Off and on, I have tried giving it a whirl.  I have learned a few things.  It's easier to like people when you don't know everything that they are thinking and feeling.  I don't need to know 99.9% of what is posted.  And at least 50% of it distresses me, and most of the remaining 50% barely interests me.
3.  I don't know how to tweet.  And so far, I don't feel the need to learn.
4.  Pinning is another matter.  I do have a Pinterest account, and a few boards.  I haven't been nearly as drawn to it as some are.  
5.  So far, these items aren't really random.  They all have to do with social media.
6.  My son stopped at a Yard Sale on his way to the beach with his sweet girlfriend.  Being on the way to the beach, he had no wallet, but discovered something he wanted, so he called me, knowing I'd be interested in the vintage items being cleaned out of an old house.  I was, and besides picking up the dishes his girlfriend told him he needed for his apartment, I found a few other things.  I should take some pics to post.  I brought home 6 matching coffee mugs, a heavy aluminum roaster (that looked like 1960's maybe?), an aluminum straining basket that will fit in my vintage 4 qt. pressure cookers, a few books and an old magazine.  But really the best part was talking about biscuit recipes with the 2 ladies running the sale, and another shopper.  I guess you had to be there.
7.  I've been reorganizing our home filing system.  Reorganizing is a generous term.  We had a shameful number of piles of "important" papers which had never been put into the proper folders.  We had also been suffering with the hassle of searching these haphazard piles (randomly located throughout the house) whenever we needed some pertinent document.  This has been a very gratifying purging experience.  I have sent huge amounts of paper off to be recycled, and made another collection of papers with sensitive info for shredding.  When I lamented to DH about how long it would take to sit at the shredder, he went out and bought a fire pit at Home Depot.  So I got marshmallows, Hershey bars and graham crackers, and we had a little toasting party on Saturday night, while watching for meteors.
8.  We're doing a homemade pizza week.  We did it before several weeks ago, and it was hugely popular.  I was making sourdough starter, and on the King Arthur Flour website, there are recipes for using the daily "discard" starter as you feed it.  So, besides buttermilk sourdough waffles, I was making sourdough pizza crust each day (which you can freeze for future use if you don't use it).  The toppings and salad would change each day.  So one day, it was Hawaiian pizza, another day Greek, another day Meat Lovers or Mexican.  I found this to be a very economical and nutritious way to feed the locusts, uh, family.  (What would you do if your DH was 6'4", and your 3 boys were aged 16-21, all about 6'3" tall, and working hard at very physical jobs each day?  Adding to their appetites, the two older boys play softball in the evenings, one of them surfs every chance he gets, and the youngest is training at the gym or running pretty much daily, anticipating the upcoming football season.)
9.  Re: above:  I do the menu planning and grocery shopping and most of the cooking, but I don't haul in the groceries, take out trash, carry firewood, or my own luggage, and while I do most of the laundry, I don't carry down large hampers of dirty laundry.  Oh, and I don't shovel much snow -- only if I feel like it, for a little exercise and fresh air.  I love having "men around the house.
10.  I read somewhere that eating beans 3-4x/wk decreases your risk of heart disease by something like 37%.  I have multiple risk factors, so I've been seeking more recipes with beans, and acclimating the eaters in the house.  I have had some real success with cooking lentils with beef broth, onion powder and a little cayenne pepper, and mixing them in with ground beef in various casserole-type recipes, like Shepherd's pie, taco meat, etc.  I will try in meatloaf, and maybe even some burgers soon.
11.  I haven't sewed a thing, but the itch is getting stronger.  I want to make a whole new wardrobe!
12.  I love heirloom sewing (see Jeannie Baumeister's blog, The Old Fashioned Baby), and I want to try smocking.  I think that means I'm gearing up for grandbabies.  Kind of the way a young couple gets a puppy or kitten when they are getting mentally prepared to start having babies.  (Tho' most don't recognize that it is a common pattern they are following..
13.  There's a lot to do to get the 2 older boys off to college in about 10 days.  I hate it when they go.  I feel like I've had an amputation.  I can tell I'll be having a horrendous case of ENS (Empty Nest Syndrome) in 2 years when the last one goes. 

Anyway, that's just a little bit of what is rattling around in my head these days........