My first Cotton project

The Facts

Fabric: Blue printed gingham, all cotton : )
Pattern: Simpliciy 1692
Notions: 1 zipper, 1 package vintage navy rick-rack, 6 buttons from stash
Time to complete: 2 1/2 hours
First worn: September 2013
Wear again? Yes
Cost:  $4.78 including pattern

Rochelle from Lucky Lucille and Tasha from By Gum, By Golly are hosting the Fall for Cotton Sew Along. The only “rule” is the garment MUST be cotton otherwise Anything Goes : ) ( I recently saw “Delovely”, can you tell?) Good thing they chose cotton since I LOVE cottons AND recently bought a pile of vintage fabrics at the flea market and the Longest Yard Sale!

So here we are with this shirt – it is actually project number 3 in a series but the first one photographed. I had bought the fabric as a remnant at Stone Mountain Daughter thinking I could make a wearable muslin and indeed I did. (For some reason I’m fixated on ginghams right now, maybe because the closest JoAnn’s to me has had the same three pieces since February. When I asked if they were going to get any in, ever, they told me that they no longer had any control over ordering at a store level, that it is all auto-shipped from a central warehouse. I know all about those warehouses. I used to be a store manager for House of Fabrics. I spent HOURS of my week arguing with a bunch of guys who didn’t understand the importance of re-stocking the fabrics in high demand. The fact that they’ve “streamlined” their process to cut out the people that actually know what sells in their area just has me shaking my head.  OK, rant over.)

I decided to try Simplicity 1692, Vintage 1940’s, since I picked it up for a whole dollar and it has potential. You know what threw me? The model on the envelope is wearing some sort of white headband or head scarf but every time I look at it the first thing I think is “Mennonite”. Don’t misunderstand, I have a great deal of respect for them but I don’t necessarily want to emulate their style. It’s just not me, like fluorescent colors and belly baring tops, so not me!

Once I got past the whole headscarf thing I liked the view with the neck gathers and the view with the rickrack. And guess what I discovered as I wrote this post up? I forgot to do the rick rack bow on the front of the shirt.

I really liked this shot until I realized I had a piece of redwood bark on my pants…

Here Chloe has turned her back to the whole process.

I felt very Farm Girl today : ) What else does a gingham blouse need? A polka dotty head scarf a la Tasha. I didn’t have enough pins but it worked out pretty well for a first attempt. It was also windy today, my bangs desperately need trimming but I felt cute and put together…so I could go work in my garden…

Beautiful Miss Amelia helped in that way only a chicken can.

And Chloe did some photobombing. Do you think she cooperated when I tried to make her part of the shots?

Only if I rubbed her chest : )

OK, so things I like about this shirt:

The deep scoop of the neck is lovely. The button detail on the shoulders is cute but seriously, do you need to do all those loops and face everything just so? No, you don’t. The scoop is deep enough that you don’t have to rely on the buttons; at least it was for me. Baste it closed and see if it goes on over your head to double check but in the future I’ll happily sew buttons along the seam and skip the loop-making.

Another side zip. Sigh… I can’t stand side zips but I went ahead and installed one anyway because the tucks around the waist of this looked like I’d need a zipper to get in. I think my install job on this is about the ugliest I’ve done in a long time. I didn’t even take a picture. And I didn’t unzip it before I pulled the shirt on. Now I can take it back out, it passed the Mena test : )

I also had to finagle the rick rack at the neck edge because I wanted to insert it between the shirt front and the facing. I may not have read all the words on the instruction sheet and made life harder than it had to be but I like the way the shoulders turned out.

Those buttons? I have NO idea where they came from but I had 6, and this needed 6 so they seemed perfect. I ‘m on a roll when it comes to finding buttons for things lately, just wait till you see the shirt I made from an old bathrobe and buttons I bought in the early 90’s…

The sleeves are a little big for my tastes but they don’t bind. If I had tried the shirt on before I had hemmed it I would have narrowed them by about an inch. And you’ll notice the pattern meets at the shoulder/arm seam? Pure serendipity.

The head scarf is just a rectangle with tapered ends. Anxiously awaiting the pattern Rochelle is developing for a nicely fitted headscarf : ) This was fine. My neighbor called me “Lucy”.  My jeans are my Rosie the Riveter jeans, the shoes vintage. Minnie showed up here so I included her in a shot all by herself.

She has no tail. She was born with one but she broke it, then bugs got in it so we fixed it. I felt bad for her since she used to wag it like a dog but she’s fine : )

I did photos this week in my own back yard. The area you see here we call Pomegranate Alley.

That is one gigantic Pomegranate tree there on your right (my left). It drapes over three arches and could really use a fourth. The rake I’m holding is a real rake that I really use and the turquoise wheel barrow behind me is one my dad bought when we moved to Walnut Creek in 1968. It has some holes but it’s wonderful. I love my farm tools : )

I also love the vintage cottons I found at the flea market:

I’m not sure if I’m going to have time to get everything made by the end of the sew along but choice is good!

I would like to thank everyone who has voted for Chloe and me for the BAD RAP calendar. Last I checked we were in 8th place, all we have to do is be in the top 11 and we’re in so yay! THANK YOU!!!!

And no crickets this week. I’m on a roll : )

Final photobomb. I love you too : )


A Kat and a Pea Fowl make a coat, and we meet Lil Bub

Time for adventures! For those of you who don’t live in my area we’re going to San Francisco on this little outing and out to…

Haight Ashbury!
Hippie heaven, ground zero for the Summer of Love, which in many places has never left. Seriously, talk about time standing still. My daughter remarked that it probably smelled better back in the 60’s, perhaps people were still bathing regularly, as two gentlemen in brown overalls (the trend of the moment) walked past and left quite an odoriferous wake. Nope, I reassured her, they smelled pretty much the same way they do today : )

This is one of the reasons why we headed out there:

The Peacock Lady. A panel on a wall. Just cause.

And a peacock coat. Just cause.

I think I had the idea to do something like this coat last year when I was working on the Snow Queen coat. Why now? It just seemed right : ) And I love Katwise, who is blogging, and her energy is infectious and wonderful. So a Kat met a Pea Fowl and they made a coat.

Actually, my daughter borrowed my sewing machine for a week and the only machine I had was the overlock. Rather than do nothing except clean the house (meh) I decided to make this.

I wanted to make each panel look like a feather without being too literal so I used my quilting skills to cut and piece a “feather”. I originally made 24 panels and when I went to sew them all on the waistband they WOULDN’T FIT. I cut two panels off each end so now I have 4 panels laying about the house, orphaned and sad. Brittany suggested I make each of the dogs a winter coat from them. I actually did play around with them the other night on the dogs but all I got was confused canine expressions.

See what I mean about fullness? Holy moley!!

Check out the first pic – see the black and white polka dots? My “normal” clothes are showing through. I was going to wear turquoise tights, purple shoes and a fancy necklace like I did with the Snow Queen. Then we decided to take BART into the city since there was a 49’s game, the America’s Cup races, an anti-Syria war protest AND record high heat projected. And they just opened the new Bay Bridge span so people are FLOCKING over it, even though it has some broken bolt issues that sound the like the beginnings of a bad Stephen Segal movie.

Once I packed the coat into a bag I KNEW that was it, I wasn’t hauling anything else but my camera, purse and a change of shoes into the city. Oh, and a bottle of MAC makeup that I wanted to replace that ended up becoming a nightmare retail experience. Over makeup. Sigh…

Into the city we went, took a bus to the Haight and started shooting. First we hit the peacock painting, then down the street to Buena Vista park. Both Brittany and I were thinking of the song ” if you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear flowers in your hair” so I picked a flower and tucked it behind my ear. (It’s very small and yellow and behind my right ear)

What you can’t see are the people at the top of the hill. And what you can’t smell is the smell of the Haight : ) Hint – they roll it up and light it on fire.

My pixie hood.

And at the bottom of the hill are groups of tourists – some speaking German and some speaking French. All are looking at me like I’m just part of the normal goings on. That’s cool.

It’s still really nice out, in the mid 70’s with a breeze off the bay. I decided to try spinning since Katwise does a lot of spinning…

As I’m spinning a tourist bus is unloading at the corner. The leader of the group is giving instructions as to when and where to meet and ends with “Meet AT the McDonald’s across the street but don’t EAT at the McDonald’s!”. <snort>

Down at Haight and Masonic is a store that advertises “If you want to work here you Must Love Rainbows.”

See what they mean? Just in case you don’t think they’re serious –

That is the World’s Largest Tie-Dyed T-Shirt in the window : )

The whole time we’re taking photos there are people passing by who remark on the coat, a fire truck full of really cute firemen who smile and wave and a couple of open double-decker tourist buses who think I’m just part of the neighborhood. Again, that’s cool.

What ISN’T cool is the coat. The jacket is wool, most of the greens are cotton so it weighs a “bit” and when standing in the sun I can feel the sweat sliding down my spine.

Apparently peacocks are popular graffiti subjects right now – we found this little spacey fellow and…


And an outtake for Vicki : )

The way I got rid of the black and white polka dots was to unbutton my shirt, fold each half back under the coat and re-cinch the coat. I figured most people have seen boobs and a bra by now. When we were done I readjusted, took off the coat and went on our merry way.

We passed houses like this:

And this is the store front of the Piedmont Boutique:

If you wander in as a tourist you may not realize (at first) that the pants are all really long, and the shoes go up to size 15, and the jewelry is REALLY big and sparkly…and it’s for drag queens : ) Yes, it is almost as bright as the “Must Love Rainbows” store. But what you REALLY go in for is the amazing rhinestone jewelry. No one does rhinestones better than the drag queens.

And then we were back on a bus, heading downtown to meet Lil Bub. Lil Bub was in town for a meet-and-greet and Brittany wanted to go, so we went : )

Two hours we waited in the sun. If you look at my hair and make-up in the polka dotted blouse shots above I’m a lot more together. As the day goes on my hair gets messier and after waiting in line for 2 hours in the sun to meet Lil Bub my make-up was almost completely in my cleavage.

She is very tiny : )

The meet and greet was very quick, and she looked a little tired. We then went to the other gallery where artists from all over the country had done pieces based on her.

Brittany knows a couple of the artists : )

I like the one with the alien pieces coming out of the frame.

And who doesn’t recognize Grumpy Cat, a friend of Lil Bub?

There was more to our day, so much more…like Loran losing her sense of humor at the make-up counter in Macy’s and a 4 hour homework session when I got home BUT I got all my first week assignments in on time and have new makeup (Urban Decay, very exciting!) to play with so all is good!

I have also submitted the photo that Angie took of Chloe and I for the Snow Queen shoot last winter in BAD RAP’s calendar contest. All we have to do is finish in the top 11 spots to be included! Last I checked we’re in the number 6. Because this is a fundraiser for the rescue you have to donate to vote but it’s a REALLY good rescue so if you feel like helping a couple of girls out… : )

I’ve got at least 5 projects on my table right now for Rochelle’s Cotton Sew Along, including vintage fabrics and patterns that I bought at the Longest Yard Sale. I’m now only allowing myself to sew once homework deadlines are met so either I’ll get really productive or you’ll be hearing crickets here.


The “Lady in Samba Red” dress

The Facts

Fabric: Red cotton sateen w/ lycra
Pattern: Vogue 8850
Notions: 1 zipper, 2 packages vintage seam tape from Z : ), belting and a bakelite buckle
Year: 1951
Time to complete: 5 hours (half of that was hand stitching hems)
First worn: September 2013
Wear again? Yes
Cost – ~$30.00 I think


Talk about sliding this one in atthelastminute!!

You’d think having a whole MONTH to make an outfit would give me PLENTY of time to get my act together. In one sense you’re right, the minute I saw the Pantone colors I knew I had to do the Samba red because, you know, it’s ME : )  And then life happened so I had to really concentrate to get this done.

There’s lots to love about this pattern and a few things to watch out for. First, read and CAREFULLY follow the directions. That front band works but you HAVE to do it exactly the way they tell you to.

For maybe the third time in a Sew Weekly challenge there is not a finished seam in this entire dress. Not a one; nothing is overlocked, nothing is pinked, they’re all just naked : )

Honestly, it was the best I could do. One of these days I may go back in and finish things off BUT thanks to Z at Gladys and Viv the hems have LOVELY vintage tape to finish them off and, in the case of that side panel, give them some life.

The main thing I’m not so crazy about is that side drapey piece on the bodice. It’s pretty clear I don’t need any assistance in the boobage department so I wasn’t sure about that piece to begin with. My choice of fabric, the cotton sateen, meant that there would be a little more bulk than if I used a satin (like the many other versions of this out on the interwebs) but I didn’t want such a fancy, shiny dress : ) I followed the directions EXACTLY about drape and placement and after looking at the photos and wearing the dress all afternoon I think the piece is too long and puffs out awkwardly. Fortunately, because of the no-seam-finishes approach I ended up taking I’ll be able to re-drape that part pretty easily.

When it’s all put together it’s not bad. I do REALLY like that skirt drapey panel. It’s about a quarter of a total circle and not only do you have to hand hem the hem but the SIDES as well! And tack down each side of the bodice drape…goodness. So much hand work, so little time!!

But doesn’t it look pretty when the wind catches it?

I really wanted to try to incorporate one or two of the other Pantone colors in here but no. Couldn’t do it. As it was I played around with my shoes – red satin up above…

And the red/black ones here. I’ve got fabulous rhinestone jewelry for a fancy night out and the hat is from my friend John H who has great taste in women’s vintage fashion. Thanks John : )

Brittany and I headed back to Mills today to do pics. The top one and the next couple were taken in front of the music building:

This one was taken in a small garden next to the Campanil, which was designed by Julia Morgan and survived the 1906 earthquake in fine style:

And just for Vicki, an outtake photo that was taken in front of the blue doors of Lisser Hall, the theater that I spent so much of my life in as an undergrad:

I don’t remember WHAT I was looking at or if a bug flew up my nose but this is for you, Vicki : )

And we come to the end of our reunion. I can’t WAIT to see what everyone else does!!