Thursday, December 30, 2021

A Wee bit of overdue Christmas Sewing...

 Like, you know, a year overdue.

You will remember that The Flute Player got married this summer.  Which doesn't seem to have much to do with Christmas, but her hubby (henceforth called The Jokester, because he is freaking hilarious) being added to the family and all means that he needed a Christmas Stocking.

And, wow,  went to link last year's post about Christmas stockings and discovered I never wrote it.  So this is an overdue post about overdue stockings.  Rewind to a year ago....

So, last year,  we added Grandson number 1 (Guess I'm going to refer to him as The Little Prince) to the family, and of course, he needed a stocking.  I'd already made a stocking for his dad, Prince Charming, back when he joined the family, so I knew what I needed to do...just make the same little applique'd teddy bear in a different color way.    

And, I decided I'd make a stocking for The Flute Player's betrothed as well, and wrap it up and give it to him as a Christmas present.  The Flute Player's stocking was the first one I created, based on the three stockings that her siblings had that we'd purchased in a Christmas pop up shop just before her oldest sibling was born.  Back then, the three stockings were for the Princess, My Sweet Babboo, and me, but we had kinda repurposed mine and my hubby's for the other two kids as they came along.  

 (The Originals, purchased at the pop up shop in 1985) - 

But we had nothing for the Flute Player the year she arrived,  and there was no going back to the shop that popped up eleven years earlier so I used a design from an applique' pattern book I had and made her a little girl mouse stocking:


But now, almost a quarter of a century later,  I needed to make some more.  I had a box of Christmas related fabric somewhere but I couldn't find I snagged some other green and red and dug through some scraps and made up another teddy bear applique'd red stocking and the partner boy mouse applique on green.

However...I discovered when I actually pulled the stored stockings out...I'd used the wrong stocking pattern.  I had made an oversized one for My Sweet Babboo's parents stockings years ago and that, apparently, was the one I used for the new ones.  About 20% bigger than the rest.

No problem...I'll just trace off a new pattern from an older stocking and recut therm, right?

The Little Prince's stocking came out ok...even though the applique looked a little smaller, that really wasn't a problem.

The Jokester's mouse was a wee bit off center on the oversized stocking; I thought I could finagle it when I recut it and get it better centered.

Only somehow I goofed and it ended up MORE off centered.


Devastation.  I did such a good job embroidering that little guy; I was heartsick.  I showed it to The Flute Player, who did her best to tell me, in a nice way, that it wouldn't work.  But I knew it anyway.  For most guys...yeah, they wouldn't even notice.  But The Jokester is a graphic artist/ animator.  He would notice.  And it would bug him.

So I rolled it up and put it away to deal with later because I was out of time and we didn't really NEED it last year.

But I didn't want to deal with it and all I got done over then next 11ish months was to unpick the seam joining the red cuff to the green body. But I did find the missing box of Christmas fabric...including the green canvas that the Flute Player's stocking had been cut from.  

I kinda thought I'd just cut the little mouse guy out and then applique the whole little thing onto the green canvas replacement.  But I put it off and put it off and suddenly it was Dec 18th and I HAD TO FACE IT.

And the green on the off-center stocking was a terrible clash with the green canvas that I was going to make the replacement out of.

So I took a deep breath, dug out the applique' pattern book, and made a whole new guy mousie.

Who isn't as good as the off-centered one but least he's not unbalanced, either, lol.

And they do look kinda cute together.

 Not sure what I'm going to do with the off-center mouse...but I will think of something.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Slowly Coming Together...

 I've mentioned once or twice that I'm in the process of moving the sewing space from the nook at the end of the laundry room to one of the recently vacated bedrooms upstairs.

I really wanted to paint and put down something other than pin-eating carpet, but, well, it didn't happen.

I actually bought new machines; hit deals and decided that I've spent too much time dealing with either old or inadequate machines.

They sat in boxes for...a long time...waiting on me to get the space upstairs ready.

Unfortunately, the current Janome sergers have a different footprint than my old faithful lady and they don't fit the old extension table that I've used for about 3 decades.  So I got a new one...less specific.  I thought it would work.

It didn't.

It's too short from shelf to table (about 3/4") and not deep enough front-to-back for the waste tray.  And it's too high.  So disappointing.  It doesn't look like I can get an extension table like my old one anymore.

I got that from Nancy's Notions in, oh, 1990?  My Sweet Babboo thinks he can router it out to fit, but I'm not sure.  It's basically contact-paper-covered flakeboard, so I don't know if it will trim out easily or if it can be restored to a smooth finish if it is.  Currently, I'm using it with the leaf down and the little plastic extension that came with the machine.  Not ideal, but whatcha gonna do?

The old sewing machine table fits the new HD 5000 just fine.

I really intended to get EVERYTHING set before I sewed anything but, well, we had an urgent need for a garment for the Church Christmas production, which was this past weekend.  So I gleaned what sewing supplies I didn't take to church and made a quick skirt.  We had one older girl who was dancing with the younger ones and she was in an adult skirt. But it was wayyyy too big and heavy for dancing.  Would've been fine if she were just walking about, but for dancing...nope.  

I had purchased some rayon/poly blend on sale to make myself a Dickens skirt but I had a different part and didn't get to wear Dickens.  So I used about 3 yards and made a new skirt...a wee bit shorter, with a hem circumference of only 120" instead of 180".  I cut the pieces after dress rehearsal on Thursday and had a new skirt for her by showtime on Friday.

I   used a  strip cut from a manila folder as a template to press up the hem;
It was gathered with good ol' dental floss

Total elapsed sewing time:  Approximately 3 hours.

She was MUCH happier in that skirt and she could move much better.

On a related note, I had some wait time on Tuesday last week so I did a little task on the Wonky Dress...someone donated some lace collars and one of them suited it pretty well.  So I hand tacked it on.

It looks right properly frumpy vintagey housewife now, so I'm donating the dress to the church costume closet, in case we need someone who looks rather like a vintagey housewife, lol.  The pulls and other issues should not be visible from the stage.  It's found a good place to live out a dress up life.

The production had folks in Dickens costumes, in the best approximation we could get of clothes from the 30's, the 50's and the 80's....we've never had so many people wearing so many different costumes before.  But my bit was modern, so while all my friends were posting selfies of themselves looking all cute and costumed...I was, like, 'Look!  I'm actually wearing makeup!' LOL

The run went really well; we were sold out for Sunday's closing show.  I finished the data entry this afternoon and will take tomorrow off.

Maybe I'll even get some more work done on the sewing room set up...

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Hoover Trunk, Part 4: A child's dress?

 Just to think about something other than Christmas costumes for a few moments, I thought I would post another treasure from the Hoover Trunk.  I have a backlog of photos that I took a month or more ago and I'm forgetting things, lol.

This is what appears to be a child's dress that looks to have been in the process of being deconstructed when it was put into the trunk and no one came back to it.  It's a purplish-brown, and I'm going to guess that it's silk.

For reference, the table has a 56" circumference. I believe the dress was originally one piece, but the bodice has been separated from the skirt and trim has been removed from the skirt so I think it was going to be remade into something else but, like so many of my projects, it got stalled and apparently never completed.

You can see the raw edge of the waist line seam; I believe it had a gathered pigeon-front as the front is longer and wider than the front lining.
The side bodice and underarm look to me to have been pieced.  It could have been deliberate, but it doesn't really line up so I think this was making do with bits of fabric.  I wonder if it actual was  once a woman's dress, made over for a child.  It's very interesting; just after I photographed this  I came across Nicole Rudolph's video on shattered silk, and I suspect that's what I have here.  There are other pieces in the trunk that are more suspect, but as this has broken down in a few places  (Like the split visible above)  I am wondering if this was the case.

It closed with hooks and eyes; quite tedious for a young girl I'm sure!
It is completely underlined in cotton
The stand up collar is actually a separate piece, completely finished off and hand tacked to the neckline.
The other sleeve also is splitting; it could be just a lack of wearing ease.  Comparing the two picuters, the seams are not the same on either side, which also makes me believe the bodice was pieced from repurposed fabric.

The skirt is fully lined, with a placket entrance and a faced hem.

The lined waistband is opened at the top, presumably where the bodice was removed.
There is a band along the bottom that has seams that do not line up with the seams in the main body of the skirt.
The hem facing band.

You can clearly see the parallel stitching lines where some trim was removed; I'm guessing it likely matched the trim on the bodice.

It was a pretty somber dress for a little girl.  I wonder what it was supposed to have become in its next iteration?

Monday, November 08, 2021

Looking at a make-do job...

 I'm sure there is someone out there who will look at this post and think I'm making fun of what someone did a couple of decades ago.

And that's not the point at all.

In the 'I'm doing small tasks in my spare time' category, I brought a pair of knickered-up pants home to replace the spent elastic.

Only as I got into it I realized I was looking at something else all together.

Now...let's say you're a mom in the early to mid 1990's and your youngster is in the church Christmas production.  Time is tight and you're handed a pair of pants and told to 'just cut the legs off below the knees and put some elastic in them.' really don't sew.  And you don't own a sewing machine.  But all the moms have been asked to sew /altar up/ convert/ create their kids' costumes.

So whaddya do? cut the legs off as best you can with the scissors you have.

 No sewing machine means you're going to have to hand sew it...even though you haven't done any handsewing since that cross-stitch thing you did in 7th grade home ec, er, family science...

And, you know, you don't have any much would you get?'ll make do with what you have...

After all, it's just for a couple of performances, right?  Grab a couple of rubber bands and have at it.

I'm actually pretty much in awe of this mom's ingenuity.  And I know it can't have been easy to hand sew that casing around the rubber bands.

She had no way of knowing that 25ish years later someone in another church in another state would be taking her hard work apart to fit those breeches on another kid.

It did what it had to do at the time for hers.

Saturday, November 06, 2021

I missed a noteable date....

On November 4, 2005, I posted my first-ever blog post.  I meant to write something commemorative and appreciative and all the stuff you do on the 4th but I was at church absolutely all day and came home dead beat about 9 PM.

I didn't even think about what day it was at all.

Just hit me today that I missed the sweet 16 birthday of the blog.

Wow.  Sixteen years.  I went back and read some of the old posts from back then...and was shocked to see actual comments.  They are rare these days....I think, partly, because everyone's too busy to click through from whatever reading service they use (guilty).  And, probably partly because my participation in online sewing communities has dwindled considerably...same thing, too much busy, not enough sewing.  And folks are moving to video platforms.

I was quite surprised to learn a few months ago that I have a you-tube channel.  I guess I made an account sometime who knows how long ago so I could comment on videos and didn't realize that came with my own channel.

Whatever shall I do with it, lol....

Anyway, even though I'm two days late...for those of you who've been hanging with me for sixteen years...or those of you who have been hanging around for any number of years...thanks for stopping by.  Church drama productions, school drama productions, SWAP wardrobes, the Vivienne Files challenge, the eternal attempt to actually sew up more fabric in a given year than I buy, the dreams of making fantastic garments that I'm too chicken to actually cut the fabric out for...sewing for my kids all have been here. 

Here's to more sewing and talking about sewing and maybe throwing in something random every now and then...

Friday, November 05, 2021

Sewing for the 2021 Christmas Production

 Somehow, this year I've inherited the position of Costume Mistress...which  means I'm doing more administrating (making spreadsheets and lists and delegating) than actual sewing.  Not sure I'm entirely comfortable in this position...ok, I lied, I am definitely NOT comfortable in this position...I'd much rather just be handed patterns and fabric and asked to make twelve lame' shirts, lol but, well, it is what it is.  It is good for us to be drug out of the comfort zone from time to time, right? Right?

Anyway, I have squeaked in a little sewing for the production.  Part of the problem is that the sewing room is migrating from the dump nook at the end of the laundry room to a now unoccupied upstairs bedroom, and that is taking much more time and energy than I thought it would, but we had a piece that needed mending so I thought I would do it myself rather than stick someone else with it, since it was all hand sewing anyway.

There was a fur-collared camel cashmere coat that just showed up from who knows where in the costume storage at the old church building; it was clearly vintage and when we did the edition of this show two years ago, two years after moving all the costume paraphernalia,  I looked for it for one of the 1930's characters but couldn't find it anywhere.  This year, the same character shows up in the re-write and I happened to open the right box and found the coat all smunched up.  And  missing all but one of the buttons. And ripped badly at the top of one of the welt pockets  But it fits the lady playing the character and she loved it.  So I brought it home, poked around online, trying to find some 1 3/8" vintage-looking buttons.  Found them at Jo-Ann's, to my shock, and I could order them for pickup at the store across town.

So I picked up the buttons...and a few other things, since a whompin' thunderstorm hit moments after I walked into the store and I had some time to poke around, and did the mending a couple of weeks ago.  Hit it with the steamer tonight to make it presentable to return to the costume shop.

I thought I took a photo of the original state, but, alas, there was no photo on my phone of the pre-mended coat.

I do, however, have some pictures of the damaged pocket...

I tucked the welts back to the wrong side and it didn't look horrid; but, to my surprise, there was no interfacing at all supporting the pocket so I suppose it just caught on something and ripped.

And the inside and outside of the mending job; I was able to whack a triangle off of the welt pocket facing to use to reinforce the rip.  Fortunately, it won't show much from onstage...I hope, lol.

I took a pic of the labels in the coat: just to see what I could find out.

 I googled it.  Turns out Carol Brent was a house label for Montgomery Ward's back in the day.

Never, ever would I have guessed that this coat came from 'Monkey Wards'.  By the time I was shopping MW's in the early 80's it was lower on the fashion ranks than Sears.  But the coat was fairly well made, despite the lack of pocket support,.  There's a surprising amount of hand sewing; the fur collar is hand tacked on so it could be easily removed for cleaning, and the fabric is luscious, slight moth damage and all.  And it is most certainly from the early 60's.  But we're trying to pass it off as 1930's so...don't tell anyone, lol.

My steamer is pretty pitiful,  The coat still looks kind of rumpled; that's as much as I could get before it vapor locked up and quit steaming.'s a LOT better than it was when I started, all the same.  It may not look too bad on an actual body.  I hope.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

I DID do some Sewing this Summer...

 And I should have posted about it 6 weeks ago...but I was waiting for all of the pictures, lol.  

Not that there was much, aside from the wedding sewing, but I did squeeze in a bit.

First up...a church T shirt for which I missed the original distribution.  By the time I got around to picking one up...all that was left was a 3XL.

But that's fine with's a simple little drill:  open the side seams (or cut open the sides, if there's no seam), remove the sleeves, pull out my Vogue 9057 top and lay it over the remaining t and recut everything, then sew it back up.

I got some jeans from Lands End last year in a nice muted green but found I didn't have many tops to wear with them.  So I splurged  on three or four fabrics that had that bit of green; one of them actually got made up.  And it's been worn several times this summer; I really like it.  There really IS green in the ditsy print, lol! Vogue 9057 again, but view D, without the colorblocking:

While I had the red thread in the machines, I stitched up a piece of linen I bought earlier from FabricStore dotcom.  I confess I've gone a little overboard on linen since I found them...such nice stuff!

This is from Cutting Line Designs; the My Heart's A'Flutter shell top with the In the Trenches skirt.  I shortened the skirt about six inches and made it slightly less was a good thing; had it been longer or narrower I would have a real problem getting my leg high enough to climb into my Sante Fe, lol.

It's their IL019 linen in Beet...a really nice deep red.  And...this is the reason the pics are so late.  I wore it to work the week I finished it, and intended to take pics after I got home.  Well, we had choir practice in the evening and I didn't have time to take pics before practice.  Then, on the way home hubby and I decided to treat ourselves to some ice cream ...and just before taking the pics I found I had somehow dripped a big ol' ice cream drip right on the front of the top.  So it went into the laundry.  I had to wash it twice to get the shadowy spot out...and then it hung around in the laundry room waiting for the iron.  I finally got it ironed last week and I wore it in while the temps were still hitting the 80's. Such a rich red color helps linen wear well in the warm days of autumn in the south. ;-)  Managed to get the pic without mishap this time...

I have  a pair of black cotton gauze pants about half done but my sewing time has been pretty minimal for the last month or so.  I'll probably finish those up and just put them in the box for next summer.  But hopefully get a picture first, lol.

In other news, the costuming effort has begun for the Christmas production; this weekend is our first pass at getting folks into the costumes we have...or getting them on the list for something to be made or purchased.  SO FAR all that's on the 'to be made' list is a couple of 1980's maternity outfits.  Somewhere,  I believe I have a box with my old maternity patterns.  I don't *think* I donated them to the thrift store...gonna hafta get up in the attic and dig around a bit.   We do have quite a list of alterations and mending to be done but I have some new volunteers this year who are really wanting to Do Stuff...glory hallelujah!  

At least we will NOT be making any tiny sheep costumes from faux fleece! LOL.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Hoover Trunk - Part 3: Aprons

 There were six aprons in the box from the old trunk; the first two appeared to be made from the same basic pattern.  The fabric and lace are different but they are created the same way:

Theres' a center panel, with extensions seamed on (click on the picture to make it bigger; I've folded it in half, then folded back one edge so you can see the seam allowances and the side panels).  The edges of the center panel on both aprons are selvedges; this fabric was 24 1/2" wide.  
I'm wondering if it could be left over from the infant gowns, which were also made from very narrow fabric but I never compared them and I'm not digging through the already wrapped and packed boxes to see.  It could be.  In any case...very, very narrow fabric.

 There's a wider sash gathered into the waistband for prettier bows.:
One of the aprons has a stamp on it.  "P A FLINT" is the text; Ida Hoover became Ida Flint when she married but I'm not sure who P A Flint might have been...daughter?  Mother in Law?  I'll have to ask Cousin Pat if she knows...
ETA:  The consensus seems to be that it's a blurred stamp and should be 'D.A. Flint' David A. Flint was Ida's husband.  In retrospect, if there was a stamp made to identify household goods, it makes sense that it would have his was, after all, around the turn of the 20th century and women had very little in way of legal rights.  He did  apparently have such a stamp that he used on his tools.  There was a suggestion that perhaps the apron was made from one of his recycled shirts, but since the front panel is selvedge-to-selvedge and the stamp placement makes sense on the apron, I kind of doubt that.  I think Ida just used the stamp to quickly mark the apron as hers...for whatever reason.

The next apron is TINY.  
It appears that it was worn by buttoning it, but the entire waistband from button to button hole is only 23 1/2 inches.  Feasible, for a tight corset I suppose...or a very tiny person. Or perhaps even a child.
This apron has no pockets, but it does have slightly larger side panels; the center panel is still only 24" wide fabric.

The next apron is cut on the crossgrain; it's very sheer; I'm guessing voile? 

The pattern across the bottom is woven in; even the 'hem' is woven in.

 The bottom edge is actually a selvedge.

It's missing one of the ties; which is sad.  But it is pretty badly stained from storage.

These aprons are all pretty sheer, which makes me wonder if they were for show rather than for actual 'protect my dress' use. 

The other two are bib-style aprons.  Apron number one ties in the back, but I have no idea how the bib stayed up.

The only clue is this slight rust stain on the strap; I'm guessing there was a pin (possibly even a straight pin) there as I know aprons were pinned up years ago.
A row of machine stitching for the twice-turned hem, and another row of machine stitching to attach the rick rack.

The last apron in the bunch is one that I've called 'the show-off apron' due to the incredible number of tiny, individually made loops which literally outline every detail:

I can't imagine the hours that went into the construction of this.  And...there is again no visible means of closing it up, so I'm assuming it was pinned on as well.

We have a bit of revers on the bib, all outlined with the loops.  The 'lapels' are attached with a running hand stitch, and the bib is connected to the skirt with hand sewn tacks...pretty much the only notable hand stitching (other than the button holes on the Very Small apron) in the lot.

All those loops!!!  I can't imagine taking that much time on an apron.  I've never seen anything quite like it.  But, I guess if you can't surf the 'net in the evenings...why not make an over the top apron?