Monday, December 20, 2010

Bacon tastefully done!!

Once the bacon was all painted, I mounted the individual strips on Steam a Seam, then cut them out and played with placement.  In the end I decided that they looked most like bacon when they are placed side by side as you would find them in their packaging or in a cast iron pan. 

My niece is my personal project runway challenge, so I hope she likes them. 

They looked a bit dark to me, so I've decided to punch it up with a drawstring with some more red rickrack.... or a white sheeting drawstring.... I really need to get these in the mail, so off I go.



Drawstring inserted, went with white satin which was much easier to thread through the casing, and makes it just a little more feminine.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Making bacon...

I've started the bacon portion of the flannel pj bottoms.  I've painted the bacon fat on a red cotton quilting fabric... and so far so good.  It takes me 20 minutes per piece, at least it's therapeutic and non-fattening :) Once the 18 pieces are painted they'll be cut out and sewn to the black flannel ground.

Holiday sewing flannel & bacon

Last Thanksgiving my niece and I made her first sewing project, a pair of frog pajama bottoms for Christmas.  When I asked her if she still had them, she said yes and then in a very quiet voice asked if the fabric shrinks.  Of course her father was on the extension and told her that she'd been working out so much that maybe that was the reason, so I assured her it was the fabric.  The fabric was a flannel from, it had been washed and dried twice before we cut into it, and it still shrunk enough to be unwearable.... so when we were together for Thanksgiving, we picked a fabric pattern (because it's no good second guessing a teenager), she wanted a print of bacon slices with a black background... like this one from Spoonflower.  My finances don't allow it this year so I'm making my own interpretation, that I hope she will like.

Using vogue 7837
 Vogue pattern 7837 sleepwear 

I made the first mock up from a pair of pajama bottoms that were a wadder from that same Thanksgiving day.  I used the pattern above, with the following modifications.

1) Instead of following the curve of the side seam, I redrew the side seam line so that it dropped straight from the waist instead of tapering in.  This gives me a very wide leg, my niece requested that they be "huge".  She likes baggy flannels (I guess she's trying to avoid the shrinkage issue in 2011)

2) I inserted solid side panels to make up the width of the legs, they are very wide, for the large the pant leg opening is 27".

3) I had to attach a separate casing for the waist, as there wasn't enough fabric to give it the proper length.
(the original pattern has a fold over at the waist band to enclose the elastic)

2 & 3 - were modifications made because I was reusing the wadder, but I like the solid panels on the side, wasn't it Mae West, who wore black side panel dresses to look thinner?

So I now have my pattern, but I'm still working out how to render the bacon (no pun intended yuk yuk).
And of course now I have these great flannel scraps to use for polishing silver, and featherweights!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Moulage (dress form)

So I've finished my dress form cover, and slipped into it to try it, then slipped it on the dress form.  I still have some stuffing to do, but I'm really excited about it.  I cut it out of a canvas I had purchased to make a slip cover for my sofa.  This is much better use of the fabric.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A departure - Kenneth King Moulage

I was away this weekend participating in the Kenneth King Moulage class.  Well I finally have patterns that fit.  The moulage is supposed to fit like a second skin (without ease), and I'll be stuffing my dress form, so I can finally start draping again.

This is not the final, just the first draft, so I'll go back and tweak the shoulders and armhole a bit.  So I am really excited to be in a position to finally have a good foundation for stuffing my dress form.  To begin draping all of those grecian inspired dresses I've been lusting after.  Really exciting!!

If you ever have the opportunity to attend the Moulage course, I totally endorse it.  The only disappointment was at the end of day three, we were done ;(.  I've put the Sleeve & Pant CD books on my Christmas list.  As I've said before, I need clothes!! 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Featherweight Case part 6 The Lining

Here's where we are on the case. A few bad days of rain have prevented any further work, but I've made headway today.

I went with the laminated cotton for the inside, just in case any oil spills, I'll be able to clean it up easily.


These are the side supports for the top shelf.

Here is the finished inside!!

Still waiting for the glue to dry.


to be continued....

Monday, September 13, 2010

Featherweight Case part 5 still cleaning

Well I can't stop cleaning it. There are still just a few little bits of glue left on it, and now it has a Swedish bleached wood effect. So another decision to make.


Should I just finish it with a stain finish, or should I go ahead and use the fabrics in my stash. Black ultrasuede outside with laminated cotton Kaffe Fasset for the lining.


Milleflore pattern close up.

Featherweight Case part 4 - rusty bits

There is metal throughout the case which was a bit rusty. The handle D-rings, the hinges, the locks and the feet. I have decided not to take any of these things off, because I can't do it without further damaging the case, and aside from a little rust, it's all in good condition. With a little help from WD40, a wire brush, and some oil, the pieces are much improved. They aren't perfect but they have character.

Handle D-Ring - before

Handle D-ring - after

Locks - before

Locks - after

Underside of the D-rings - before

Underside of the D-rings - after

The actual handle base is stitched through the wood, it was attached with a chain stitch and cord. All of this was cleaned up below.
Stitching around the D-Ring.


I really have to hand it to Singer these were made very well.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Featherweight Case part 3

So after a full day of scrubbing, the little guy screamed "uncle" and I stopped.  Tomorrow, I will start to recover him.  I don't recommend doing this unless it is absolutely necessary.  It is a lot of work :( but I'll have an original case with no smell, that is unique.  Fabric selection next....



I know I can go out and buy a perfectly functioning case, but these were very well made (aside from the falling apart), it really only needs a little glue and TLC. The previous owner left it sitting in water, which was part of the problem. I don't think the replica cases were built with dove tail joints.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Featherweight case part 2

So after the 8 hours, the smell is almost gone.  So I started taking a good look at the case to see what could be salvaged.  Someone had peeled back part of the black outer cloth and used packing tape to secure the bottom.  One the tape was removed the bottom fell off, then part of the side followed, so I decided to test how much of the fabric was still attached and here's what I ended up with.



You can see how the case fabric was disentegrating, the black dust on either side of the case was the issue.
I think in the end it's a good thing that this happened, so tomorrow I get to scrap off the cloth that remains.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Singer Slantomatics & attachments, feet, throat plates... don't let this happen to you...

This is where it all started...(went wrong)...


I picked up a singer monogrammer for slant shank at the thrift store for $1.50. It had the monogrammer unit, feed dog cover plate, screw, instructions, letter placement template and one cam for the letter "C". So of course my thinking was that for $1.50 what could I lose? This was before picking up my Singer (Rocketeer aka 500A), so this attachment would not fit any of my current machines.... forever the optimist...

So now that I am the proud owner of a Singer Rocketeer 500A. I needed to get educated on what I actually had. Since I have decided to keep this machine to use it for (eventual) denim pocket embroidery and buttonholes. This is just a little blurb about this specific machine in the Slantomatic, Slant-o-matic series and what to consider when buying vintage machines.

a little background....
The Singer Slantomatics had a few versions, the 400, 500, and certain 600's series. These machines are slant shank machines, which means that the needle and pressure foot are at a slight angle forward for better visibility. So any foot you buy will need to be specifically for a slant machine. Here's a graphic representation from the Clotilde website of the different types of feet.

So from my research these are the other model numbers for the Singer Slant machines.
401, 403, 404
500, 503
620, 630, 640

So you can use the same feet and throat plates for all of these.

They have a pressure fit for the throat plates.

These are great, there's a little lever that drops the feed dogs down and it raises two "clamps" allowing you to switch out the throat plate easily, and you don't have to fumble with screws and hunting down screw drivers.

The lever...

The throat plate


The 401, 403, 404, 500, 503, 620, 630, 640 use the same throat plate system.


The plate on the left is what came with the monogrammer (for the 700 series), the one on the right is #161825 which is what I would need to use it. Gratefully it appeared with the buttonhole attachment which would later arrive.

More faceplates & throatplates....
Then there are the 700 series, Stylist 400, Fashion mate 200-300, Stylist 500-800. These take different systems from magnetic, to slide in and magnetic, slide in and clamp. So it is really important that you know which machine you have, so you can buy all of the proper accessories.

Tomorrow... the buttonholer....

Singer Vintage Buttonholer

Well I finally received my Singer Professional buttonholer today #102577. It's been a long wait, I paid for it on the 6th and it just seemed like it took forever to get here. It also came with the elusive plate that I needed for the Rocketeer. I've had some fun just playing with it today, and look at my buttonholes!! How exciting!! Maybe I can finish that safari jacket and belt now.... and that blouse... and those jeans... I'd better get working.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Latest addition..... The Rocketeer

I've been reading a bit about vintage machines these days and how they produce fabulous stitches and well i've been swept up with the possibilities.  So After a few ebay purchases, and a craig's list find, I present the latest addition to my machine collection.


This is what it looks like open... yes it's a Rocketeer!!!


It was $25.00, for everything.  Now, the cabinet has a few scuffs on it, and the bench has to be tightened, two of the legs move a little.  I'll be either stripping or repainting the cabinet, someone suggested a glaze, and I've always wanted to try that.  The machine actually works but needs cleaning, and it does produce a lovely straight stitch.  There were a few feet included but no cams.  Hopefully by the end of the week, this puppy will be clean, and I'll post some more pics then.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dressing the croqui

Just a little about the lines you draw in on the croqui, you can use these to "plot" a new style, or just to keep symmetry on designs you draw.


1) start with the v at the neck and draw the base of your neck
(imagine a column)
(it should look a little like a crew neck)

2) Then find your shoulder bones and draw down following your side seams
(you can always give it a little shape later).

3) Between the shoulder joint and your neck - mark a halfway point.

4) Find your waist and draw it in starting with your belly button to the indentation at the side seams. Alternatively, just start with the center and go straight out to the side seams.

5) Then mark your crotch, knees, ankles.
6) Then draw in where your legs bend at the hips (this could be the bottom edge of a pantie line depending on what style you wear).

7) Then mark center front - from the v, to the crotch, intersecting the belly button.

8) Then quarter the body - shoulder midpoint, waist midpoint, hip joint midpoint.

After doing this exercise, I found a few things out about my own body, like different shoulder lines. One straight and the other that curves downward. This would explain why I always find myself making shoulder adjustments. You may find high hip, tilted waist... we're all a little uneven:)

Do a last check to make sure that your lines are as symmetrical as possible. Since this is all done in pencil you can still play with the lines until you're happy with it.

I found two outfits in an old Anthropologie catalog that I think would like nice on my Croqui's body type.

Now whenever you want to dress the croqui, you have reference lines to refer to. Look at the style on the model and where these points fall on her body and transfer them to your croqui.

So I found two styles for "Kate the croqui" and dressed her.

Here we've marked the major points and outlined


Then I found this style, which I also thought might be fun.



Making your croqui

To make your croqui, you need a digital camera, your computer, a pencil, tracing paper and patience. Dress yourself in clothing that will show you all of the lines of your body, you could do this in underwear (which is probably better), shapewear or a yoga outfit. Preferably something that will show the reference lines that you will need in the future (like waistline, neckline, etc). Set up your camera or have someone take a photo of your full body. Try to get them to fill as much of the frame with your body leaving a little on the top and bottom so that you don't cut your head or limbs off. Also, since you are doing all this prep, make sure to take the back as well as the front, and take a few in different poses, so at least one with the arms down at the sides and another with one hand at the hip, and maybe another with the both hands on the hip (these will come in handy if you try to draw a butterfly sleeve or dolman). And if you want to see what you would look like in heels, by all means take a few of those as well. So here's your homework..

Photos - in underwear, shapewear, bikini:)

Hands by your sides Front, side, back

One hand on hip Front, back

Both hands on hip Front, back

*** Try the same shots with heels, especially if you are planning a formal or dressy outfit, something you would normally wear heels with.

As an example we have Kate Moss. She's skinny isn't she? Perfect right? I'm using her as an example because we are sometimes blinded by our own imperfections. I tried to find an example in the fashion magazines that was in underwear, and was a full body shot, but I think this will work as a sample.


Upload those photos to your computer. Open up the first image, and don't panic, I have never liked being photographed. I had a few feelings of ugh, how many more sit ups will I have to do? How many cupcakes will I need to give up, this is just an exercise, and no one need ever see these, they are just for you.

Decide which stance you want to start with, take a piece of tracing paper and place it over your screen or print the image out in black and white. Do not use permanent marker or pen, use a pencil. Lightly outline your body completely, try to do this as carefully as possible capturing as much detail as you can. Be sure to mark all of those points which give you a guide to your future garments.


Outline body
- mark the base of the neck (where the little V is)
- waist (bellybutton)
- crotch
- knee
- ankle
- elbow
- wrist
- hands (you can just draw lines for the knuckles)
- shoulder
- high bust point
- head

If you are tracing from the screen take the paper off the screen and work on a table top and work on the lines a little more until you are happy with it.

Outlines automatically look larger because they don't show shadows and areas that recede. So don't throw it out because you don't like what you see. Even models don't have perfect bodies and what you are looking for is a realistic shape, so that you can play later. When you finally get something you like, take a thin line black marker and put in your final drawing. This will help with the next step.


This is just to illustrate that no one lives up to the fashion croqui which is more like this...

We will dress Kate's croqui in the next post.