Sunday, October 31, 2010


This weekend I set myself quite a challenge and boy was it worth it! I recently purchased some really amazing German pattern and fashion magazines from the 1920's and 1930's on ebay. The instructions and patterns are like Burda Style Magazine in that they all come out on one very large sheet that you must trace your pattern from. Only these were in German. I don't speak German.
So I chose a very simple pattern that was luckily in my size and began the long process of tracing and translating (yay google translate!) to figure out how to sew this baby. 
I chose this great little bra pattern, and adjusted it a bit to make it a tad more wearable.

German word of the day: Büstenhalter. Roughly translates into busts-holder.
I will create another post outlining the process of using one of these magazines for those who wish to attempt it. I found it definitely worth the work. Here's how she turned out, my lovely büftenhalter.
 I used some lovely unidentified fabric that I snagged at a thrift shop in the states, some salvaged vintage lace, made my own bias tape, and lined this little baby with black satin.
 I also had to add a couple of tiny pads to fill out the 'bullet-bra" shape that my... um, girls, didn't quite fill out.

 I used a button closure in the back because I like sewing on buttons, and am lazy and didn't feel like fiddling with hooks and eyes until my fingers hurt.

I'm hoping that I have enough fabric left over to make a great pair of matching tap pants from another pattern in the same magazine.
On another note, I went as a pin-up for Halloween and while I only got to wear my get-up for a somewhat disappointing hour and my pictures came out poo, I still had fun dressing up and shellacking all that red on my lips.
Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My day off.

Today I had my first day off in the middle of the week in along time. I was torn between cleaning the house from top to bottom, and going into Stavanger and doing some much desired window shopping.
It's not hard to guess which idea won out in the end. I rode the bus in and spent the most of the afternoon curled up outside of Sjokoladepiken, a great chocolate shop/ cafe with a great book and some rich hot cocoa.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bras, Aprons, Headaches and muscle Pain

Please forgive the massive gap between posts. Between my work schedule, a neurotic aversion to finishing things, a jacked up arm muscle, and the ultimate time waster, StumbleUpon (I love you, Stumble, but I want my life back!) I have been too busy (lazy) to post.

So here is what I've been working on:
Thanks to the awesome stash of the lovely PhoebeDelia's Mercantile (a.k.a. Mom) I acquired (begged and begged for) this amazing hand painted 1920-1930's silk bra.

I will eventually restore the sweet little beauty but first I wanted to make a pattern from it. It didn't go so well. Apparently I have a mental block (I'm stupid) against taking a piece of fabric containing a dart and making a pattern from it. I tried a few things and thought I was in the free and clear but instead I just made it too wide and had to end up adding two overlapping side darts.

Let's all keep in mind that Slut-Jane II's bosoms are much bigger than mine so this thing is pinned on at every end. What, you didn't name your dress form something inappropriate? Bet you will now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Have you heard about Etsy?

If you haven't heard about Etsy, then you need to. Not only did I have a successful shop there before we moved overseas, but my mother sill does (And regularly posts things that I can't live without!).
I thought that I would follow the Adjustable Belt Tutorial with a few places that you can find some of these great buckles, as well as great vintage and modern notions.
Lets start with the buckles:
This 1930's Bakelite and rhinestone buckle is in a great new shop on etsy called Seams Forever.
Here's a great rhinestone geometric buckle for only $9 in another etsy shop, Boylerpf who also has some amazing vintage jewelry.

And from my mom's shop, Phoebe Delia's Mercantile, the prefect ribbon to make belts with. I have tons of this myself (God bless those care packages) as it's great for sewing (I use mine for belts, bows, ruffles and other embellishments) and it easily dyes any color.

On a similar note, I just got two large boxes in the mail from Mom, and they were brimming with vintage patterns from the 1930's, yards and yards of lace in every color, fabric (silk charmeuse, oh my!) and a few delightful vintage undergarments for pattern making and wearing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Adjustable Belt Tutorial

Today's post is on belts. When shopping for belts, I always have to choose if I'll be wearing it at the waist or the hips, as few belts will fit me in both places well. On a dressmaking project a few months ago, I sought an editing eye from Mike to see if a belt was needed to complete the look. We both agreed a belt would look better, but we disagreed on where the belt should sit. I wanted it high up on my (mostly nonexistent) waist, and he thought it would look better on the hips. Since I was making the belt myself and was planning on using a 2 piece vintage belt buckle, I came up with a way to make the belt so I could wear it however the mood struck.
My fist adjustable belt.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fluff 2000

So my darlings, I am currently working on a tutorial to show you how to make an adjustable belt with a 2 piece buckle but while I'm editing my photos, I wanted to give you something that will hopefully make you giggle as much as I did.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Reasons Not to Feel Stupid

One of my blogosphere heroines, the intrepid Gertie of Gertie's New Blog For Better Sewing, asked a very interesting question today on her blog. She asked if the Mad Men phenomenon had changed the way we dressed, citing examples of clothing companies labeling certain looks as Mad Men inspired to boost sales.
Mad Men's lovely Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks).
I mean, honestly, who doesn't want to look like that? But let's face it, some of us feel rather self conscious walking around in a full vintage getup. (Do I look like that crazy lady in Walmart with smudged lipstick who looks like a 40's hooker in drag?)
Sorry, I just had to.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I ordered more fabric. I know, I know, I was so proud of myself for not adding to my stash for so long and using only what I have (and I have a lot) but hear me out. Everything I have is either so nice that I'm afraid to use it, like four yards of raspberry silk charmeuse, or just one yard of something-or-other {blah} that I can only make little projects from.
So I bought a bunch of rayon satin (never worked with it before but it was on sale) in this lovely rose color:
I'll be making my recently arrived Advance 8229 out of this, and some lovely lace that my lovely mother is being kind enough to send me.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I have about 10 new patterns sitting here on my desk, and about 100 different fabric yardages on shelves, and I just can't seem to make any of them fit in my mind. Solution? Read a good book on the couch and the answer will wake me up in the middle of the night. It's always that way.

In the meantime, for those of you who don't know how (I just learned myself) here is how to do a slip-stitch. The Mary Jane slippers that I just finished required such a technique and while the instructions were very clearly written, I was feeling particularly thick and couldn't make sense of it. That's where my collection of sewing books came in handy. After looking up 'slip-stitch' in 3 different books, it clicked.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mary Jane Pattern Review

Well another very long week is over and I'm back in the sewing room! Oh glorious sewing room how I missed you. So with Vincent in my lap, batting at my threads, I finished my Mary Jane slippers that I've been working on using I Think Sew's Pattern.

The final review? This is a great pattern and I would buy it all over again.
Here's what I liked: the instructions were really simple and they came with tons of images to guide you through construction. The finished project looks really great and the fit is quite accurate as well. I was first concerned that the toe was going to be too wide when looking at the pattern but it came out just fine.

I chose not to use the flower included in the pattern because it required me to cut out 36 of the same small flower pattern. I used bows instead and it looked great. I will definitely be making these again.

Another great thing about this pattern is, when you purchase it online you get 5 additional free patterns to download for small easy projects. Can you say hand-made Christmas gifts?
Image courtesy of

The next I Think Sew pattern I'll be buying will be for the Retro Bag. But for now, I have some vintage patterns that I've been dying to get my hands on.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


The mail came yesterday and even though I'm working a ton and have almost no time to sew until the weekend, I'm excited! Take a look at my score:
You know you've somehow become too busy when you find yourself trying to chose between blogging and showering because you don't have the time to do both. Well, I just had to get up earlier to fit both in.
Who needs sleep anyways? That's why there's coffee. You can sleep when you're dead.
Here are my favorites.
Butterick 5978 from 1921

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm in!


I did it! I made it into the top 50! Please please please go to burda and vote for me to win! Mine's # 39.

I have some incredibly talented competition, I love that there are so many insanely creative people out there making their own clothes to their own design and fitting needs (she says while strangling something cute and fluffy). With so many talented people, my chances aren't very huge for winning but the way I look at it, I got an amazing dress out of the deal anyways!

By the way, the project sponsors, Rowneta, are offering an incentive to voters. according to Burda "one lucky voter (USA residents only) will win their own DG5030 Pressure Iron and Steamer and IS9100 Precision Valet garment steamer!" So after you’ve voted on the slide-show, go back to this post, leave a comment telling them who you voted for and why, and you’ve entered to win this incredible prize! Voting is open until 5pm EST on October 11th, by the way. Hope you guys win something out of this too!

In the meantime, I'm going to let the chips fall where they may and get on to my next project! I'm in the middle of making these adorable mary jane house shoe!

Image and design courtesy of
You can purchase a pdf pattern for these here. I'll let you know how mine goes. In the meantime, could you go to burda and validate my somehow stunted sense of self worth by voting for me? Pretty please?


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Some book love...

So in an effort to have a more organized sewing room, I'm attempting to create a swatch catalog of my massive fabric collection. Stitch Magazine has thoughtfully provided a free pdf download to a lovely little printout that has everything you need to create your own stash catalog!

Image courtesy of

Now I'm not sure about the rules of sharing a pdf that belongs to another web site and I had to create a free account with them to get access to the download so I'm going to leave that up to you guys. However, I signed up for their newsletter and, though most of it seems to be about quilting (not really my thing) there are some great sewing tips and other things that I've gotten out of it.