Thursday, March 31, 2011
I call this vintage polyester skirt, "the green & pink bubble skirt." Creative I know...it's sort of like having a dog and naming her "Dog."
Anyway, I got this pretty vintage polyester from "dreamingofsewing" on Etsy. She has some great vintage fabrics! I hadn't previously done a skirt in this color scheme or print, so I bought it up. You know...I'm finally getting to the point where I actually have to justify that I haven't yet done a skirt in a particular color or print before indulging in the fabric...does that mean my OCD about this project is getting better? Probably not. The minute some seller on eBay lists a bunch of vintage zig zag prints, I'll be up to my nose in it!
The polyester, as usual, was pretty easy to sew. One thing I noticed: this particular polyester was a lot more lightweight than previous ones I've been sewing from the 60's/70's. I wonder if at some point fabrics started getting thinner on average. I ask, because when I go to Joann's I'm not satisfied with the weight of their polyesters. To me, they should be thicker like the classic double knits(or at the very least, offer a thicker option). I know a lot of people think the double knits are too warm. But you know, I get cold easily so I enjoy marinating! Kidding, kidding. I'd rather the sweat be left out, but I do like to be warm : - )
Friday, March 25, 2011
I love a good geometric print, especially large prints in which the shapes really stand out. One of the things I find very mod is argyle. Now, I haven't had luck finding a really cool argyle print to sew into a skirt. However, I do think diamond shapes are mod in general and have made a green diamond, gray square fabric into a mini-skirt. The fabric is a vintage polyester that was purchased on Etsy.
When I took these pictures, one of my rats named "Yoko" was looking at me from the cage. I ended up picking her up and taking one of the pictures with her. Sadly, little Yoko ended up dying within a few days of this picture being taken. It was really unexpected and very sad. I don't mean for this to be a depressing post-- it's just that I thought I should explain ahead of time.
R.I.P., little Yoko, we miss you.
Trying out the look high-waisted instead of drop-waisted.
Prefer drop-waisted, but both are cool.
Prefer drop-waisted, but both are cool.
This project was inspired by an argyle/green skirt and tights ensemble from a vintage "Seventeen Magazine" cover. Now, if I could match a shirt with coordinating tights, that would be very cool.(ABOVE)
I've been getting quite a few compliments on these as I roam about Atlanta. I find that to be very satisfying in a way that I never would feel if the items were store-bought. Sure, I put effort into styling myself when I wear store-bought clothes, and everybody appreciates a compliment whatever the context. It's just so much more fun when you receive a compliment and can reply that you made the item. It's also a great way to meet people and start a conversation. Although, the shy introvert that I am, I haven't tried to extend the conversation (yet).
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Okay, a quick break from the skirt projects to present a mini dress I made using vintage fabric. I used Simplicity 6783 from 1966, which I've used before. I made view 3, but I made it into a mini-length instead of the regular length shown on the pattern envelope.
This fabric was listed on Etsy as a vintage polyester blend. I was expecting it to be similar to a polyester double-knit, but it was more like a sweater material once I got it in person. I didn't know that polyester could feel like sweater material, so I wasn't sure what to make of it.
I proceeded anyway with sewing it into the mini dress. I'd used that pattern before on a pink houndstooth fabric with good results. It couldn't be that hard...could it?
Yep, it could. I must say that this was the most frustrating sewing project I've had in a while. The sweater polyester wasn't that well suited to a dress. It seemed to stretch in ways I didn't want it to stretch, which was frustrating.
Now here's the rundown of the rest of my problems:
1.) MR. SEAM RIPPER: I think the fabric stretched so weird, because the sweater material was a loose weave. I had similar fears with the acrylic fabric on the last skirt I made, but luckily that didn't result in any real problems. So, when I had the problems with weird stretching, I needed to resew some of the seams.
So what's the problem? Mr. Seam Ripper to save the day? Uh, no.
Because this was such a loosely weaved sweater material, when I tried to seam rip, I had a terrible time not pulling up the threads of the fabric with whatever seam thread I was trying to pull out.
So then I tried basting, so I'd have longer stitches. So, things would be better, right? Wrong.
2.) SIDE SEAMS: Side seams are so important to the final fit of the dress. I like to have the freedom to be able to baste and then remove the basting if the fit is wrong. With the Mr. Seam Ripper debacle, I was prevented from doing this. So, I tried to get my basting as perfect as possible, but I still ended up having to keep ripping it out. And all the time I'm ripping it out, I'm terrified that I'm going to rip out the threads of the fabric. I was becoming certain this dress would fall apart, much like Charlie Sheen's life when the media tires of his tiger blood and *god forbid* his Adonis DNA.
So, with all these terrible side seam issues, somewhere along the line, my side seams ended up fitting. But, here in lies the rub.... they look kinda weird. I'm not sure if it's the loose weave of the fabric, but they don't lay quite right at the bottom of the dress. I gave up trying to fix them after my billionth attempt. Okay, maybe not billionth, but I tried so many times...so many times... (quietly cries).
My husband tried to get a good picture of the side seam problem, but you know how that goes. Whenever you try to show someone something, you can't quite capture it-- like if you're trying to show your cranky neighbor lady that cool trick that your dog always does without fail. When you try to show her, of course, the dog fails. When we gave up trying to photograph the side seam problem *of course* that's when the problem emerged from its dank, little problem-cave, laughing at my pain and suffering.
So, the side seams look a little weird at the bottom of the dress. I'm not sure if he's just trying to humor me, but my husband says it's not that noticeable.
Luckily, the rest of the seams didn't make steam come out of my ears.
3.) STYLE: When I'd finally given up on perfecting the side seam problem, the dress still didn't look right. It was missing something. That's when my husband had the idea of adding a drop- waisted belt. That really helped, because the dress does have a really bold pattern and breaking up the monotony of the pattern gave me more shape and dimension.
Well, that's about it. I hate these tricky sewing projects, but at least this dress looks pretty cool. It's definitely my style, so I didn't make that mistake of picking a style that wasn't me. I guess I'll be more wary about what fabrics I pick for dresses. It seems with skirts, it's a lot harder to go wrong.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Previously, I posted a horizontal zig-zag skirt. Now, I'm ready to present a vertical zig-zag skirt! I purchased this vintage acrylic zig-zag fabric on etsy from "dreamingofsewing." I had never worked with an acrylic material before. I didn't find it to be that difficult. However, because the fabric was a looser weave, I did have this constant fear that I was going to pull the weave out of shape. That didn't end up happening (phew).
What is it about zig-zags that make them so retro? I have a minor obsession with zig-zigs and checkers. They make me happy :- )
What are your minor obsessions design-wise?
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Sometimes I do many skirts in one day-- in a pseudo-assembly line fashion.
My record is 4 skirts in one day
My record is 4 skirts in one day
I watched "Project Runway" before I learned how to sew. Now, knowing how to sew, I watch it with completely different eyes and can appreciate it even more. My favorite contestant from last season was Mondo. Anyone who watched will find the reason obvious-- he was definitely inspired by mod fashion, and his work was bold and colorful. But he was robbed of the win!
So, when I came across this vintage polyester fabric from "IntheOldSchoolhouse" on Etsy, I thought immediately of Mondo. When the contestants had to do their own textile print, Mondo created a plus sign design. His story involved being diagnosed as being HIV positive and also trying to think positive throughout his struggle.
I don't have a great personal story involving this plus sign fabric, but I do have a quirky story involving a friend. My friend's mom was a former nun and when they were kids, his dad would go around the house, changing the crucifixes into plus signs. He was trying to remind them to stay positive. Needless to say, friend's mom= not so happy!Front
I usually see fabric from a design aspect only and appreciate prints for their artistry. Then again, I haven't had the chance to design my own print as they get to do on Runway. That would be an experience.
Mondo's plus sign fabric
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I love these two pictures from the era. Both feature bright colors that really typify the mod era. In the "Tangee" ad, the models have what is called "the Total Look." I didn't realize that was the name for it, but according to the book I'm reading, that's what they called it when someone was wearing mod fashion that really goes to the next level-- i.e. incorporates full on accessories, shoes, jewelry, belts, etc. When you didn't have the Total Look, you simply had "the Look."
I recently tried to incorporate colored tights into my mini-skirt look, but it didn't quite work. I looked 80's which is something I don't go for. I'm still going to try if I can figure it out, but for now, just sticking to boots or knee high socks.
Of course, the picture of the gals in colorblock dresses is almost too much for me to handle! I've expressed how much I love colorblock and that has not changed. Of the three colorblock dresses, I like the one on the bottom left the most. It has the most space-age vibe.