Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Winner of That Clever Clementine Giveaway #2...

And the winner of the Cindy Sue Cinch Sack is....

*drumroll please*

Stephanie Lynn of The Girl with the Star-Spangled Heart! I'll be emailing you today to get your address, yay!

Thanks for entering, everyone!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Trying a slightly different vintage hairstyle

I've been so busy! We've been running around and trying to accomplish pre-vacation things, because on Thursday we're leaving for one of our favorite places, New Mexico. We'll spend a few days with my family and then head to a cabin in the mountains near Taos. Point being I haven't had time to write up any blog posts!

So I thought I'd just post a couple of photos of when I tried something a bit different with my hair. With the shorter hair I thought I might be able to try a hot stick set again with Conair hot sticks (I think they're called You Link & Curl now). Probably like many of you, I first heard about them through Fleur's video tutorial. I was only ever able to use them very sporadically, because my hair doesn't last well in a hot set, and the curl I got with my longer hair was nowhere near the same look as I'd get with my usual sponge rollers. Well necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, and recently one afternoon I found myself with sudden evening plans after having just taken a shower. While still damp, I spritzed my hair with setting lotion. Once it was completely dry, I set it with two rows of hot sticks at the base of my neck, two on the light side of my part and two on the heavy side. My bangs were rolled back initially in sponge rollers long before my hair had dried, but when they didn't dry in time I had to switch them to standing pin curls and blow dry them, which gave me better results, anyway.

My bangs are very fond of falling in the front, so the only way I can get a nice wave is using a duckbill clip (like these) backwards, so the curved part faces out, going in the direction of the wave, spraying the heck out of it and basically letting it stay there as long as possible. Which is almost until I walk out the door... sooner if I'm leaving home myself and am worried I might forget about it, lol.

And yes, our bathroom really is that orange, and that plus a lack of good lighting is one of the reasons I've never done a hair tutorial. I'm not sure you'd be able to see it all that well, and we don't really have any other strategically located mirrors.

Anyway, I left the hot sticks in at least an hour, figuring longer couldn't hurt. Once I took them out, I didn't brush the curls out completely, brushing more down without gripping each section to really work through the curls, which is what I usually do. It kept a tighter, kind of more late 30s/early 40s look. And it lasted all night!

So if any of you shoulder or chin-length hair gals out there would be interested in a little tutorial on this quick and dirty vintage set, I'll see what I can do!

And here's a gratuitous cat photo just because. Can you tell I'm planning some fair isle knitting for vacation? :)

Don't forget, tomorrow is the last day to enter the That Clever Clementine Giveaway #2!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Finished project: scalloped collar Pendrell blouse

This weekend I finished up a sewing project, and I'm so excited to reveal it!

I started my scalloped collar Pendrell blouse back in early July and got it about 80% complete, then life got in the way and I didn't pick it back up until this weekend when I finished it up lickety split. I was tired of it taunting me from my dress form every time I walked past it!

I'm kind of over the moon about this blouse!

First of all, I want to say how nice the Pendrell blouse pattern was to work with. This was my first time using a Sewaholic pattern and I loved it. Tasia's instructions and diagrams are very clear and easy to follow (okay, and I totally love how it ends with a big "THE END!"). The fit was fantastic, too, and ran true to size. I didn't do a muslin and the entire time wondered how I was really going to get it over my head with no closure without it being a super baggy fit, but it was perfect. The only change I made (other than the collar, of course), was taking several inches off the length of the bodice pieces.

I could totally see making different collared versions of this pattern now!

I used Casey's 30s scalloped collar tutorial (part 1, part 2) for the collar. This was so much fun and a good challenge for me. Ever since I saw her post I knew I wanted to make my own version because I just absolutely fell in love with the collar. I'd been daydreaming about making my own version for months. The tutorial was very detailed and I was able to follow along with each step with no prior drafting experience. And I'm ecstatic with the result!

Don't get me wrong, there are a few minor quibbles I have with it, but it's all due to my own drafting, sewing skills and fabric choice. I realized that I must have been a bit lax in the placement of my scallops on my template as the two that sit on the back of each shoulder are slightly closer to the white inner collar than all the others. Overall the entire collar was the slightest bit uneven and even more slightly too long, but I was able to even things out when sewing it all together. And while you can't tell in these photos, the fabric is a bit darker and due to the busy print the scallops kind of fade away into the background when indoors. I anticipated this before attaching the under piece of the scalloped border, so I re-cut it out of the white fabric to give it a tad more 'pop'.

This project had two firsts for me: first time drafting my own collar, and first time making French seams. The navy floral is cotton lawn (the white is a cotton/poly shirting) and so I knew French seams were probably the way to go, since it was a tad on the sheer side. I loved the result.

I was happy with how my collar came together. I pretty much followed Casey's instructions exactly. The only real issue I had in the construction process was pressing the scallops, which I knew would be hard. My first try at it they looked terrible, so I cut out a little cardboard template that was a teensy bit larger than the scallop, inserted it into the scallop, pressed with the template in it, then carefully removed the template and pressed the daylights out of it. While some are still not perfect (this fabric didn't like to hold creases), it was a big improvement.

Below you can see the difference between a scallop on the left, pressed normally, and a scallop on the right, pressed with my handy dandy template. It made such a difference that I slipped the template into my pattern envelope!

Oh yeah, and you can see I got a haircut Saturday! I did end up going a few inches shorter. I'm really liking the ease of this length, and I might even go for another inch or two off next time so I can do a pageboy sometimes. It's one of my favorite vintage hairstyles. (By the way I've been meaning to do a bit of a hair tutorial for awhile, I need to get my butt in gear!)

Anyway, I'm so pleased with this blouse! It's really comfortable and lawn was a great fabric for it, and I can't say enough good things about this collar. I'd like to sew a pair of light trousers to wear with it, since jeans were the only thing I had in my closet that it worked with. I definitely will make a couple more of these blouses as it's the perfect summery top. But I'll probably wait until next year since I'm thinking more about fall sewing at this point!

I would highly recommend both Casey's 30s scalloped collar tutorial and the Sewaholic Pendrell blouse pattern. Both are big winners in my book!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

That Clever Clementine Giveaway #2!

Ready for another giveaway??

As you may recall, my mom is selling bags on Etsy in her new business, That Clever Clementine. She's generously donated another awesome bag to give away on my blog.

This giveaway is for one of her Cindy Sue Cinch Sacks, and it's my favorite bag of hers so far!

Here it is from the outside...

And the equally cute (and functional) inside!

It's a handy dandy size at 12" wide x 15" tall x 4" deep. I think it would be particularly great for toting around a crafty project that requires little accessories, since there's two pouches inside, plus a hanging clip (which, in my humble opinion, would be totally perfect for a KnitPicks Emergency Fix Keychain!). I liked the fabrics on the giveaway one so much that she sent me one for my very own. Awww aren't moms great?

I'm currently carrying a knitting project in mine. My inside pockets contain a crochet hook, pencil, knitting pattern and retractable ruler. Here's a picture of it on the go at work with a vintage cardigan in the works. (No, I only wish I could knit at work, I just pulled it out for a phone photo, lol.)

Delightful, isn't it! One can be yours if you're the lucky winner!

How to enter the giveaway:
  1. Be a follower of this blog, if you aren't already.
  2. Live anywhere on the planet.
  3. Leave a comment on this post. But first, head over to That Clever Clementine on Etsy and check out the goods, then come back and in your comment tell me what your favorite item was. She's done a few updates lately and has fun new bags in the shop. (I love the retro space cadet cinch sack!)
  4. Want an extra entry? Post about this giveaway on your blog, or link to it on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Just post a separate comment on this post with a link to where you mentioned it.
  5. How about another way to get an extra entry? Friend That Clever Clementine on her Facebook page,  or add her shop to your favorites on Etsy. Post a separate comment on this post if you do.
  6. Don't forget to leave a way to contact you if your blog or profile doesn't have your email address.
The giveaway ends a week from today on Tuesday night, August 30th. Winner will be pulled using Random Number Generator.

Good luck!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Late summer entertaining

Thursday evening we entertained two of our close friends. I took some photos as I prepped, enjoying all the colors and patterns and the summery foods.

Don't get me wrong, normally our coffee table looks like this. Magazines, remote controls, knitting needles and yes, a calculator I've had since grade school that I use for knitting math. That's the usual reality of our living room. (Can you tell we're going on vacation to New Mexico soon?)

But that evening it transformed slowly.

Tablecloth, too big for the table of course, I think was a gift from my mom several years ago...

A favorite vintage tea towel. Yes, I use them. Yes, I stain them. It shows they're well-loved!

Strawberry buttermilk sherbet (that we ended up not eating that night because we forgot about it)...

Fresh bread, right out of the oven...

Depression glass that my step-grandmother gave me from her collection...

Tomatoes and mozzarella, one of our favorite summer treats. We forgot the basil at first!

A good time was had by all. And this is what it looked like at the end of the night after the table was cleared and the pets had their own party playing with the tablecloth!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vintage Renaissance

No, not a vintage renaissance, vintage in the Renaissance. The Renaissance Faire, that is!

This past Saturday we went with our friends to the Bristol Renaissance Faire, which has become somewhat of a tradition for us. It's just across the border from Illinois in Wisconsin. The weather, while sunny in the morning, wasn't going to stay ideal for long. But we were been running out of weekends to go, so it was a "now or never" kind of thing. I didn't take very many photos due to rain later in the day, and I am so sorry I missed getting a picture of us all in our very fetching $2 plastic ponchos!

It was the perfect day to wear my medieval novelty-print vintage rayon blouse! I adore this blouse, but it had a sad little disaster the moment I put it on the first time. Age and stress ripped a more than 2 inch long hole in one shoulder! I mended it the best I could, but I could tell the fabric in that location was doomed to rip more. In fact by the time we arrived at the faire, I had another hole right next to my mend. Fortunately with the busy print and wearing my hair down it wasn't that visible. I'm not sure what I can do to mend the shoulder in a more permanent fashion. The blouse is fairly long so I could theoretically re-hem it and cut a portion of fabric to make a patch, but I think that would look really obvious on the top of my shoulder. So I don't know what I'll do. Worst case scenario, I am not above wearing it with a cardigan so you'll never see the problem area. :)

It was so humid that day that my curls completely fell before it ever rained! This was the first day I wore my hair down in months and now I remember why. I'm getting a cut on Saturday and have been going back and forth about either just a minor trim or chopping off a few inches... after seeing this photo, I'm leaning towards a chop! My hair is so finicky that at this length when it's hot and humid out, my sets don't last very well and it just falls flat (literally).

I'm wondering how I'd feel if I had it cut it to a length that sat above my shoulders when set. I guess I still have a few days to decide! I'm a bit nervous about the idea. I love that length on others who sport vintage 'dos, but of course you never really know if something will work for you until you try it. My hair fear is getting a cut and then being unable to style it successfully with my trusty sponge rollers or perm rods. Eek!

Anyway, isn't the print on the blouse amazing?

A mandarin collar, shields, turrets, swords and knights on horseback!

You can see why I'm reluctant to call this blouse a lost cause! Fortunately it's only one shoulder that seems to have issues, so I hope there's more life in this one yet.

Here's to great vintage novelty prints!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vintage knitting pattern: Date-Maker cardigan

In my post on campus-inspired vintage fashions, a number of you expressed that you really liked the Date-Maker sweater pattern that I showed! Here it is again...

It comes from Columbia Style Book vol. 108, a 1946 knitting booklet in my collection. I like the striped sweater on the cover, too. Even better, the original owner signed her name on it!

Since so many of you liked the pattern, I thought I would share it. At least a couple of you asked about a knit-along, so it's something I'm contemplating for fall or winter. What do you think? If there's enough interest, I'd definitely consider it, even though it would be a somewhat challenging pattern to talk about resizing as it's primarily knit in ribbing that angles diagonally. However the good thing about ribbing is it's pretty forgiving.

The interesting thing about this knitting booklet is that the original owner, Ms. Jesky, appears to have only knit Date-Maker out of all the patterns! It's the one pattern in the book that's marked up. In fact, she marked up the pattern in the same way I do (although I always do it on a copy of course). Here's a bit of what the original looked like:

Not very easy on the eyes! I debating between transcribing the pattern or just cleaning up the original scans. I ended up opting for the latter as I felt you'd probably all prefer to work from the original pattern. So I tried to clean it up as best I could.

It looks like a great pattern and should be a quick knit, in worsted weight yarn at a gauge of 5 stitches an inch, with a short overall length and no button bands. You'll also need a crochet hook along with basic crochet skills to crochet around the buckle and opening edges of the cardigan. The pattern as written is for a 32-34" bust and calls for 12 oz. of worsted weight yarn.

A really fun vintage cardigan pattern from 1946! 

Download: Date-Maker cardigan (pdf)
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