Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Le Sigh

I've had to step away from the blogosphere for a while.  I finally had to admit to myself that I spent more time reading blogs than doing pretty much anything else.  What had started as enjoyable morning reading while I ate my breakfast before getting to work turned into a multi-hour consuming distraction that left me with work to be done in the evening.  That being said, I think it's time to give myself a little blog time, probably only in the evenings or on weekends.

Things are a-changin' here.  I was recently notified that the business name I've been using for a year and a half is federally trademarked and I must give it up.  My heart sank when I read the email and I was so nauseous I didn't sleep that night.  I had done plenty of research before starting my business under this name to avoid just that problem, but apparently this other business is now forming a web-presence and was none to pleased to find my use.  I am no competition to this other business as I service only southern Indiana and Louisville, KY.  The only out of state customers I have are good friends who come to me regardless of other, more closely located businesses that offer the same work.  Despite my vast disappointment to have to give up my business name and have to redo everything I've spent a year and a half working towards with this name, I'm trying my best to remain positive and take this opportunity to revamp my whole image: name, logo, website and all.  I've been using a free stock logo and was thinking of designing my own this summer, so this is just a little ahead of schedule.  Unfortunately, it's also under a significant time crunch.  I have to get my changes made and submitted by the end of next week so that my upcoming phone book add has the correct information.  Talk about a rush!

I've polled my friends and asked for and received lots of great suggestions, so thanks to everyone who contributed.  I think I've finally settled on a name (that is free of federal trademarks) and am even fairly sure of the logo design that I want.  Now to get it all set into motion!

Other than this name fiasco, business has been great.  I've got so much work that I've had to hire some part-time help for the summer, which has been working out wonderfully.  My father has made even more wonderful sewing equipment for me (pictures to come) and I am so thankful for his enthusiasm and support.  Jim has also been a wonderful shoulder to lean on through all this nonsense.  I feel terrible that my tossing and turning keeps him up at night :(

Speaking of night, it's getting late and since my work is all finally done for the day, I think I'll actually try to get a full night's sleep for once.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Whew!  Has it been a busy month or what?!  I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, I promise.  I've just been better at reading blogs than updating mine.  Jim has a trade show in Orlando this week and I'm going with him, so the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of work as I try to  prepare for being on "vacation" for a week.  I was a little worried about what I was going to do with myself for a whole week while he works since I'm not really a lay by the pool all day kind of girl and I won't have a car at my disposal (because despite the fact that I'm married, own my own business and am planning on children in the next few years, I am still not old enough to rent a car!).  Luckily, I got my portable machine back from the friend I had loaned it too and so I will be taking it along with a whole slew of patterns, fabric and toys.  I may spend the whole week sewing...for MYSELF!  What a novelty that will be!

Speaking of sewing for myself, while I wasn't able to get my March garment for me finished during March, it was finished by April 2nd and worn tonight to the Holy Saturday Easter Vigil and our Confirmation.  As of several hours ago, I am now a Catholic.  Besides being thrilled to have found a church home that I love and a faith that I am passionate about, I am quite pleased with my Easter dress.  The pleats took a while to get pinned and basted in place, but one that was done, the dres only took about 4 hours to sew together.  And keep in mind, that 4 hours included dancing around the sewing room, petting the critters, talking to myself, and sewing.

Please excuse the rather shiny forehead, I still have blessed oil on it.

It was also nice to finally wear these shoes again.  I wore them to my wedding, so of course no one saw them, but I do really like them.

The hair is a pin curl set I've been playing around with for the last few weeks and have been very happy with.  I have a vintage hairstyling book that a friend got for me and one of the feature 'dos is Ingrid Bergman.  I read the description for the set to get her style and then did my own thing with it.  I'm more of a structured curl girl than a wavy dame, so I don't really brush the curls out when I take them down.  That being said, it's a blissfully low energy 'do once the pincurls are in.  I set them wet and once dry I take the pins out, shake the curls down, finger comb a bit and set with hairspray.  Done!

Today I may have even set a record time for getting the pincurls in.  Since it was Saturday, the bank closed at noon and I needed to make my business deposit and do some money shuffling for the trip.  I got a late start, since it's Saturday and I love sleeping in.  By the time I got out of the shower, I was in a big rush to get to the bank and get on with the rest of the day.  We still had to clean, start packing, figure out what I was going to cook 11 people for dinner, cook the dinner, AND buy Jim a suit to wear to Confirmation.  We did get to the bank (thanks to my lightening fast hair-setting skillz) and made our way over to a very cool consignment shop on Frankfort Avenue to shop for suits.  The only problem?  All of Frankfort was shut down for the Easter parade, which were just in time for the start of.  After trying to wind our way through various neighborhoods, we got as close as we could and then walked 7 or so blocks to the store.  Once there, we found two great suits for the hubs for a grand total of $80.  Once suit (which he wore to Confirmation) fit perfectly and the other just needs the pant hem let down a bit.  Not too shabby, eh?  The next time we're in search of new clothes we'll certainly be going back there!  I tried on a few hats for Derby, but I couldn't really find anything that wowed me.  I'm making Vogue 1162

and may even be so unoriginal as to make it in red.  It's not because I'm actually unoriginal, mind.  I just think this dress looks stellar in red and if I may toot my own horn, I do look pretty smashing in a red dress (toot toot!).  I want a big hat.  Big and vintage and awesome...possibly with some veiling, because really.  It's Derby.  Go big or go home, yes?

Tomorrow, packing, cleaning and probably racing around like a chicken with its head cut off.  We need to be leaving our house by 4 am Monday to meet up with Jim's coworkers that we're driving to Orlando with.

Tired as I am, wish me luck getting to sleep tonight.  When my father and brother left tonight after our Confirmation (which they were so good as to drive down from from Bloomington) they took my little Riley with them.  We has last minute house-sitter issues, so Riley will be spending the week in Bloomington with his grandmommy and cousins, because my mother is a good sport.  I'll miss my little manatee!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Matchy-Matchy Awesome!

I finally found a reason to buy the McCall's vintage pattern envelope quilting cotton!  I even got a use for the coordinating instructions and pattern layout fabric by covering the sides of the step stool that my daddy built me.  That's right, I need a stepstool for ironing...but only when using my sleeve board.  I had Daddy-dearest lift this desk quite a bit when I converted it to an ironing table but then it was too tall when I tried to use my sleeve board on top of it, since the sleeve board is something like 8" tall.  It's a little hard to iron when everything is almost nose level!  I never thought I'd be so excited about pink decorations, but really, how can you resist this?!

No pictures of my fab new hair cut just yet.  I didn't take any yesterday when I got it cut and I am currently rocking bed-head with day old hair product from the hair cut.  It's calmed down a bit from where it was when I first woke up (when it was slightly "deranged queen of the crazed earwigs"), but still not braving a picture.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Autumn in February

I love autumn the best of all the seasons.  Not only is it just a delightful time of year, but the colors suit me the best.  I guess that's why I was dying to dig into my fall toned knits for this new dress.  I'm right on track for my blogging and sewing for myself more and loving every minute of it.  Here's personal garment number 2 for February

I've had this knit in stash for a few months.  It was one of those that I saw in the store and had to stop and "visit" and pet everytime thereafter that I was in.  Finally I just couldn't stand not to have it any longer and bought plenty for a dress and then some.  I had not trouble getting this dress out of it and have enough left over for a shirt.

It's such a thin fabric that lining was not really an option so much as a requirement.  I found this great dark teal knit at Joann's to line it with, which not only matches the teal in the print perfectly, but also matches the teal shoes I plan to wear with this dress.

The only downside to the teal is that it's a pretty substantial knit and so the dress weighs an awful lot for a knit dress.  The knit lining also helps keep the brown from sticking to itself, which is does something awful.  Now to decide on my next project.  Back to fighting with the vintage blouse pattern that refuses to cooperate, or onto something new and fun like another knit top?  I'll have to consult with my test group and see what they have to say about it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Harumph!  When I asked his opinion of my new top about half way through, Jim pointed out (I was in heavy denial) that this fabric really makes the top look like jammies.  Not exactly what I was going for and that thought bothered me as I was finishing everything up.  Alas, I think he's right.  I decided that cutting the sleeves drastically shorter would help with the jammy look, and it did, but still...can't get that thought out of my mind.
It does not, however, look as weird around the hem line as it does in this picture.  I think I was just standing weird.  It is very comfy, and aside from the jamminess look, the only thing that irks me a bit is the fact that the neckline will not lie flat.  I've tried pressing it, I've tried molding and steaming it on my dressform, but it just won't stay where I put it.  It's not that big a deal, since I don't intend to wear this out much because I feel like I'm in my jammies.  Anyway, one February garment down.  I still have plenty of hours of day left, so I'm going to dive right back into the pattern stash and see what else I can come up with for this month.

Burda the first

My wonderful husband, indulging my whims as he is prone to do, got me my very first Burda subscription for my birthday last summer.  I now have a nice little start to a collection but haven't actually ever gotten around to making anything from said collection.  Since I wound up with such a production for my January garment(s) I thought that a simple knit top was in order for February. 

 I've had this cute blue knit in my stash for over two years (short in terms of shelf life, I know!).  I got something like 3 or 4 yards from Baer the year before they shut down with no real plan on what I would end up doing with it, but I do occasionally stand in the closet and pet it.

It's one of those wonderful, trendy knits that is almost transparent until you put it on, so it may be a layering piece but it feels awfully nice!  I got down my little stack of Burdas and flipped through, laying out every knit top that appealed to me.  Then, because I just couldn't narrow it down, I let Jim decide.  It was a close call between 2-2010-122B and 2-2010-112, which in the end, won out.

Today is a lazy day at home where I don't have anything that I have to do and I am seriously enjoying it!  I should be able to get this top nearly all the way done today.  I really want to give it a nice finished look with twin needle topstitching on the hems, but that will have to wait until I get my little Kenmore back from a friend.  They don't make twin needles for industrials and I don't have a zig-zag plate for my Singer Spartan, so hems will probably just have to wait.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Take that resolution!

Or a tale in which two is better than one

As  you may recall, one of my New Year's resolutions was to make at least one thing for myself every other month.  Well, too keep the motivation going, I joined the One Garment a Month sew-a-long on PatternReview.  The point of the resolution was to start sewing for myself for fun and not always to just whip something together under the gun for an perhaps I failed.  Last night was Bootlegger's Ball at the Wildwood Country Club and Jim and I were chosen as one of three couples of demonstration dancers to encourage dancing.  Had this been a 1930s or 40s event, I would have been set, but alas, no dice in the way of 20s clothes.  Fabric stash to the rescue!  I have some mauve cross strap Aris Allens that are great for 20s dances so I stood in my closet and pondered what I had to match the shoes.  Luckily, I was able to come up everything I needed (except a foundation garment) for a flapper dress.  I had resolved to not wear a kitchy, cliche flapper dress, so mine contained none of the following:
1. Red
2. Black
3. Fringe
4. Feathers
5. Long strands of pearls

Go me!  Sadly however, I have learned that if you want to win costume contests at historically inspired parties, you should in fact where a costume containing at least 3 of the above items

Nevertheless, I was quite proud of my creation, especially since this was my first real attempt (an 18th century chemise definately doesn't count) at draping and designing without a pattern.

I was standing a little strangely, so it's hard to see, but there is a dropped waist of the ivory silk, which helped break up all that rose chiffon.  The mauve shoes are dance shoes, so I wore regular mary-janes for the walking around outside.

I was dying by the time we got home!  5 hours of sleep, a full day of sewing and dancing for 3 hours will do that do you, or so I've heard.  I finished my dress at 4 am Saturday, slept until 9:30 and then got up to finish make Jim's vest, which also turned out smashingly.  I was finished at 3 pm and had just enough to do hair and makeup and walk out the door.  He's quite pleased with it!
I got online and youtubed 1920s hair and makeup tutorials to get the look you see above (pardon the slightly dishevelled look, this was about 5 minutes before I got to go to bed finally).  My hair is definately past my shoulders and I wasn't interested in getting my hair bobbed for a one night event.  As usual, Iris didn't let me down.  She's one of my go-to tutorial wizards on youtube when it comes to vintage hair.  I'd never used a tutorial by Miss Elegance by she certainly didn't let me down.  It was the exact look I was going for.  That classic "damsel in distress" silent film star look.  I was a bit rushed, so I didn't get it exactly right (and I have yet to learn how to reshape my brows well) but I was still quite happy and did get lots of compliments.

The vest was made to match the pants that I made him for Valentine's Day last year and he's been asking for it for quite some time.  Actually, this outfit is full of presents!  The bow-tie is a vintage piece that he got in his stocking that matches the red-orange stripe in the plaid perfectly.  The pocket watch was his wedding present, because really, what Dapper Dan doesn't have a stylish timepiece to go with his "out on the town" look?

The back is a yellow satin that matches the other prominent stripe in his plaid. 

These pictures really don't do the fabric justice, but it's pretty fantastic looking when you can see all the colors together.

This was the first upper body piece I've made for Jim and boy am I glad that I muslined it!  I've got myself a lop-sided husband and didn't even know it!  It was mostly prominent in the front, but I did wind up having to take a little dart out of the pattern on his back armhole on one side.  The things we learn about people when we sew for them!
I cheated on my dress since I had no time, nor inclination, to make the proper foundation garment to get the figure of a 12 year old boy so popular in the 20s.  Instead I butched a sportsbra by cutting the racerback out of it and rebuilding it to be hidden under the straps and neckline of my dress to achieve the same look.  Worked out pretty well too!  And I not only made my one garment a month deadline by one day, I got two out of it!