Hello! Hello! I'm so excited to share a project I've been working on and the next step for this site. But, before I go any further, I want to make sure to say that I expect blogging to be business as usual around here. I view this latest "WIP" as a supplement to the blog and a way to accommodate and enable my love and accumulation of vintage sewing patterns. It, by no means, will be the new focus of Tres Bien Ensemble. You can expect the same knitting and sewing and such that has been the template for the creation of this platform.
Alrighty then. It's a not so well kept secret that I have a large number of sewing patterns- Far more than I will ever be able to use in my lifetime. I started collecting them years before I started sewing and I haven't stopped since. Due to several bulk pattern acquisitions, I'm verging on running out of places to put them. I've tried to quit them; it didn't work. So, I'm going to try something new. If you're viewing this post in a browser window or on a mobile device, you'll note an addition to the navigation bar Tres Bien Ensemble *Pattern Shop*
I am finally organized enough to start listing patterns. Presently, I have a small group posted. Hovering over the Pattern Shop produces a series of drop down menus, wherein patterns can be viewed by different categories. In theory, each pattern falls under four separate sub-groups. Within each of these groups, patterns will ALWAYS be listed alphabetically by manufacturer, and then by number.
In addition to the navigation bar, there is a link at the top of each sub-page to help you get back to the shop storefront. It's my goal to keep things as easy to navigate as possible. I'm working on trying to add a "scroll to top" sidebar feature to help with maneuverability as the pages become more densely stocked, but it remains to be determined whether I'll be able to incorporate it. Accompanying each pattern there is a series of three images showing the front envelop, back envelop and pattern pieces of each pattern. Additionally, I've included the envelop description when available and tried to provide a brief subjective grading of condition.
I'm in completely new territory with this project. I've decided to host and operate my own shop for a number of reasons. To start, I want to count and photograph each pattern ONE TIME, and not have to deal with re-listing weekly, as on eBay; I certainly want to clear room for more patterns, but I'm not in a hurry and don't need to get rid of anything quickly, (this is why the patterns are priced based on market comparable not auction prices). Also, I'd rather skip the middleman. For now, the plan is to continue to add patterns monthly. I will likely do one post, on a Saturday each month noting shop updates. Aside from that, I'll be updating the shop Pinterest board as I add inventory. I've never created an online shop before, and I'm still getting my footing. I'm optimistic it will continue to be a fun and challenging project. If you have a minute to click around, I'd love to hear how the shop/links are working and any suggestions you have. I've tried to be meticulous with the organization; but it's a bit like proofreading your own writing.
Yep! That's three weeks of MMMAY under my belt. And, with the exception of my Grace cardigan, which I threw on over my maxi dress on day16, I haven't repeated anything. I'm not sure how that's possible. It's going to happen before the end of the month. But, it's fun to see how long I can stretch before it's necessary. I'm definitely starting to notice some major gaps in the Me-Made garments I have readily available in my closet. Which will definitely help to steer my stitching in the months ahead.
Can somebody explain to me how it's already the middle of the month? May 15th- Half way through MMMay13 AND it's reveal day for Le Challenge!
The theme for Le Challenge this month was wings. (I explained how I landed on my project in the guest post I contributed.)
To sew my skirt, I used Deer&Doe's latest skirt pattern, Chardon. It's a high waisted skirt with inverted box-pleats and pockets. YAY, pockets!
For an element of fun and interest, I added some vintage trim to the hem. It was my first time applying trim to fabric, and I didn't have a good understanding how to attach it. Ultimately, I sewed inside the perimeter of the bottom edge and sewed a straight line of stitching across the top. It's secure and tidy, but I would love to hear your suggestions for future projects. In the end, it looks lovely with the vintage fabric, a nice pairing. If I had to guess, I would estimate they are similar in age. Possibly the late 60's/early 70's.
Since my fabric was semi-sheer, I lined the skirt. Both my hems have the raw edges turned under and are machine stitched.
The print on the fabric has groups of butterflies in alternating directions, which I didn't think would make a difference in pattern placement, however, looking at the skirt in its finished form, I worry that most of the right-side-up butterflies got lost in the pleated portions, making the print look upside-down. I'm sure I notice it more than others, but I wanted to clarify, just in case you were wondering (wink).
My skirt closes with a lapped zip at the back.
I'm not decided on this style skirt. To start, I fell between sizes on the pattern size-chart, so I went down. I think, for this style skirt, that was a mistake. There's plenty of room in the hip, but the waist is snug. Second, I can't tell whether this skirt overly emphasizes how short-waisted and FBG I am. I'm going to give it a try with a better proportioned top the next time I wear it.
As a final note and request, I'd like to direct you to the Colette Blog, where nominees in the Laurel contest for the readers' choice category have been posted... I would be ever so grateful if you could take a minute to browse the pool and cast a vote! Thanks!!
At the beginning of the year, I, as so many do, made a list of resolutions for myself, among which was an effort to control my ever-expanding sewing pattern collection. It was a failure from the start. Initially, I slowed my rate of accumulation. It was progress. I spent some time listing the pile of patterns I intended to sell on eBay, but I quickly got bored with the process and quit altogether. No big deal. I got rid of a few, added a few. I was basically even in terms of 'Patterns Out' vs. 'Patterns In'.
Then, mid-April, I read a listing for an estate sale. The home, a two-flat in one of Chicago's northwest neighborhoods, had been in the same family since 1928. It was most recently occupied by two sisters, neither of whom had married. The listing for the sale described them as seamstresses who sewed all of their own clothes with matching hats and gloves. It went on to describe rooms full of handmade vintage clothing and a large accumulation of sewing notions, fabric, and patterns.
On the morning of the sale, Mike and I made our way over to the house. It was our first estate sale, and we didn't have a real idea what to expect. We arrived early and put our names on the list that had already been started by veteran sale-goers. Then we waited... and waited... for the coordinators to let us in. When we got inside, I went straight for the patterns. There were two McCall's store displays brimming. There was already a couple scavengering by the time we got there, and many others joined within minutes. It was a frenzy. Mike, a complete enabler and gem of a man, had instructions to grab any and everything pre-dating 1970. Before we could get through both cabinets, we had filled our over sized tote bag and a nearby abandoned fruit box.
The fabric accumulation was twice as massive. However, there were so many people crowding the rooms and rifling through boxes, we weren't able to navigate through it. I did manage to grab two pieces of silk, a cut of cotton lace, a synthetic lace, and three bolts of trim off the surface of the piles. What I would have given to spend an entire day rummaging through the collection these women had. I wish I could have bought it all. The taste level was exceptional.
I wasn't able to completely assess my haul until we were home and able to unpack. Clearly, these women were kindred spirits. They had an eye for the same types of patterns I find myself day-dreaming over: 1940's, 1950's 1960's, unusual necklines, pockets, design details. They also clearly had the same problem I had in my pre-Pinterest organization days: there are many duplicate patterns- same size and everything.
After admiring and attempting to organize all the treasures I'd acquired, it became very apparent to me that I didn't need or have room for all the patterns I brought home. A woman can only sew so many garments in her lifetime- this was reinforced by the discovery of numerous factory folded patterns in the heap of patterns I'd purchased at the sale. But, what's a gal to do? Collections like the one amassed by these sisters are slowly disappearing. All of these patterns have been out of print for decades. There's a finite supply. Before the up-rise in vintage sewing pattern enthusiasm started, a lot of patterns landed in the trash. I truly feel I'm helping to preserve them by snatching up as many as I can. These are history. These are design. They tell the story of fashion. They show the evolution of women in society. These are individual works of art.... and they make me happy, so there's that... But, like I said, I could do with far fewer in my personal collection. The combination of these thoughts has been steeping in my mind for some time, and an idea has been brewing. I'm still working out the details of orchestrating it, but there's something new on the horizon with regard to my obsession with these lovely creatures. And, it's way better than that stupid resolution I made.
Well, "HELLO!" Wednesday. Where did you come from? I'm still at a loss for time. I can't seem to keep my months straight, let alone the days of the week. I'm progressing slowly on a number of projects without a lot of measurable result. I hate that. Why, oh, why aren't there more Sundays in a week? Hours in the day? It's not fair.
One project I wish I was working on is my butterfly Chardon skirt. This skirt is my project for May's wing themed Le Challenge. What is Le Challenge, you ask? It's the brain-child of Nat and Lucy. Each month, they select a category/theme to inspire participant projects. Then, at the close of the month, they host a link party so everyone can bounce around and see the lovely contributions. Now, I love a theme based challenge, so I was hooked from the start. But, it gets better. The challenge is open to every type of crafter. There are sewing, knitting, crochet, quilting needlework, DIY decor projects, etc... Check it out here, and join in! I was beyond thrilled to be asked to share a guest post for this month's theme. To mix things up a bit, I'm holding May's giveaway through Le Challenge! So, go check it out!
Ah! This post, along with everything else I'm working on, is behind schedule. Mea culpa. It's time for me to take a few deep breaths and collect my thoughts in a more meaningful manner, so I can start to catch-up with myself. Before we round-up the first week of MMMAY, I have to share my extreme delight over my latest culinary conquest: BBQ Pulled Jackfruit. Mike and I have been craving this since we drove throughFort Collins last summer. We've spent the better part of a year looking for jackfruit in our local groceries, to no avail. Then Mike found Hmart. We made a special trip to the North burbs to get it. Those of you who eat veg are likely terrified by how similar this fruit looks to meat. I was too. But, it's totally friendly and completely delicious, especially topped with some slaw and pickles! If you have access to jackfruit, vegetarian or not, you should make this sandwich ASAP. Speaking of access to jackfruit... have you guys been to an HMart?!? It was completely surreal and really cool. It was a mad-house while we were there, and I had some initial culture shock, so I didn't get to fully take it all in. But, WOW.
OKay, okay... enough blabbering. Here are the Pieces I incorporated into my first week:
I debated posting this project. There's something a little.... embarrassing??? about posting pictures of one's pants on the internet. I officially feel like you all know a whole lot more about me than you did before you got here.
It's not like I'm bashful. And, it's not like I'm wearing them (Hi MOM!). I hope I haven't crossed too many boundaries here.
I couldn't resist. I'm so pleased with myself for having sewed my first pairs of unders! All the kids are doing it. And, if they jumped off a bridge... you catch my drift. So, when Laurie and Kerrilee put their challenge out, I decided to join in.
I used the only stretch fabrics I had laying around. The blue is left over from my Sew For Victory dress. I might go back to Vogue Fabric and buy it in every color to make more. It's heavier than the white and turned out amazingly well and very comfortable (oversharing?). The pattern is Rosy Ladyshorts by Cloth Habit, which is available for FREE! It only took me three hours to complete both pairs! How's that for instant gratification? I'm so chuffed about these, I might have to buy every pattern I can find and make a pile! Have you wandered down this road? Do you have any tips on where to buy fold-over elastic, stretch lace, etc???
It's here! The day we've all been waiting for!
I'm kicking off my first ever Me-Made-May with a new outfit. This is not to get your hopes up. The rest of the month will likely be full of janky selfies in front of the mirror. But, I wanted to start on the right foot and get my momentum flowing.
You might recognize that blouse fabric. The modifications I made to my MadMen Dress left me with just enough fabric to squeeze-out a top.
Putting the fabric back into my stash seemed to defeat the purpose of having used it at all, and I was determined not to.
Thanks to the lovely assistance of Twitter and Nat, I decided to keep things simple and go with a solid white collar. A decision I'm very pleased with! There's a faux front button to hold the neckline placket closed.
I lined my skirt using leftovers from the same dress as the shirt. The royal blue adds a nice pop to the eyelet, I think.
There's an interesting dart configuration on the front of the blouse. It's unlike anything I've done before, and I think it's very flattering. The side and shoulder seams are French seams, so they're nice and tidy. And, there's no risk of any slop shining through.
The shoulders on both the front and back of the blouse have a nice angle to them; they're just slightly cut-in towards the neckline. .
The blouse buttons up the back.
And, the skirt has a center back zip.
This may officially be my go-to skirt pattern. The shape is really fantastic for my bottom-heavy figure. And, it's insanely simple to sew.
I'm a little bit in love with the blouse too. Though, it's necessary to pair it with something high-waisted. It's too short, as drafted, for me to feel comfortable wearing it with jeans. I could see adding some extra inches to try to make it more versatile... Or not. This type combination may very well become my new spring/summer uniform.
I'll be posting a weekly round-up of my Me-Made outfits on Sunday afternoons. If you're dying to see what sorts of things other participants are wearing, jump over to the flickr group and have a peek! And, before we forget about April, the winner of this month's giveaway is KATIE! Hooray!
Simplicity 3559: View 2, 1950s
A very quick blouse project. I'm not so sure about the alternate views, but I'm not ruling anything out. I omitted the back darts for a less... suffocating fit through the torso. I misjudged that top button slightly, and it could use bumping up, but it gets the job done.
Simplicity 5924: View 2, 1970s
EASY. EASY. EASY. So super simple, I, with my slug-speed sewing, can make it in an evening! I think it's splendidly swell from the shape, to the length; however, I don't see myself wearing suspenders any time soon...
Trendy- not exactly a word I would use to describe myself. Still, even an ostrich like me can pick up on the dominate presence of the ombré phenomenon. And, when I read the categories for the Colette Patterns' Laurel contest, I decided to employ the technique for my submission.
Prior to this endeavor, I'd never attempted to dye fiber or fabric, so I wasn't really sure where to start. Fortunately, there are a slew of really helpful tutorials on the RIT website, including this one on ombré technique.
Still skeptical, I headed to Joann in search of a piece of fabric I wouldn't cry over ruining if things went terribly wrong. I had my heart set on fabric with a bit of texture, like the Missoni dress I pinned to my inspiration board, but I didn't have any luck finding a replica. However, I was delighted to find a rayon blend burnout- when did Joann incorporate natural fiber fabrics into their collection?
After a pre-wash I dyed the entire length of fabric, leaving roughly 6 inches at the border white.
I hand washed, rinsed and hung the fabric from the shower rod, light side to dark, to avoid color bleeding.
The colors dried considerably lighter and less saturated than I expected them to. But, the effect was there.
I laid my two body pieces side-by-side, making sure to match grain and color lines between them. The sleeves were cut from the darkest portion of fabric. I turned the sleeve cap to match the coloration at the points of contact, so the deepest shade is at the cuff.
Construction was a breeze. I didn't refer to the directions at all, so I'm not sure whether or not I made any modifications. I did use a self faced underlining on the body of the dress. I left the sleeves unlined, but attached them with French seams, so there wouldn't be any slop peaking through.
I used a lapped zipper closure up the back. And, I machine stitched my hem(s).
I was amazed at how quickly this dress comes together. I waited to start cutting/sewing until Saturday evening, and I had a completed dress Sunday morning.
I wore this out and about during errands and appointments Sunday afternoon. It was easy to wear. Very fuss free.
The sizing on this pattern is worth mentioning. I am fairly out f touch with the sizing on conventional patterns; however, this seems vanity sized-TO THE MAX- I cut a size 4 with no modifications. And, I'm swimming in it. I know there is some intentional ease, but I think I easily could have cut the zero and still had room.
Since I typically use vintage patterns, I was really nervous to be cutting anything smaller than a size 12. And, i haven't fathomed wearing a zero since I was in grade school. Frankly, I find vanity sizing very frustrating. I wish women's clothing would change to a men's sizing system- makes much more sense. Certainly there are other numbers (IQ perhaps) we can weigh heavier than our dress size.
I digress.... You can check out all the contest submissions in the Colette Patterns flickr group. I'm entering under the categories of #laurelcolor and #laurelselfdesigned. Fingers crossed!