Thursday, July 31, 2014

Under $12: More Fabric and Patterns

For a while I hadn’t been buying much fabric and instead was trying to use the fabric I had, but dry spells only last so long, and I picked up more fabric and sewing patterns (that luckily didn’t cost much). From two thrift shops, I bought everything for $11.75.

I bought three lengths of fabric; two yards each of white and tan material that I’d like to use as linings, and a third patterned material with 1 ¾ yards. And I got extra pins and bias tape. And I got more patterns (that I don’t need but I can’t seem to help myself…).

This first one I’m not sure what the year is (although it looks like it’s from the 1980s). It’s a super easy-looking pattern for a simple looking dress; I like the neckline.

Second up is a dress pattern from 1979. I don’t think the dress in the photo looks flattering (because of the terrible choice of Pepto-Bismol pink and the somewhat saggy look of the fit). However, I really like the drawings of the three versions of the dress. I think they’re super cute; they remind me of dresses from the 1940s.

Third is a blouse and skirt pattern from 1980 (I thought it was a dress at first). Being separates definitely allows for more versatility of the outfit.

Next is a knit dress pattern from 1980. I thought if I ever got around to sewing knits and wanted to sew a dress, this might be a good pattern to have. I like the third option quite a bit; I love boat neck necklines.

Finally, I got this blouse pattern from 1984. I only like version C of the top. I think the bow is a nice design detail.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Aren’t You Supposed to Judge a Book by its Cover?

Judging a book by its cover is judgmental—we’re supposed to look past the exterior and instead look to the interior. And this is all well and good when we have the time, energy and an inclination to do so. Logically, I know that looks can be deceiving, but that doesn’t keep me from making those snap judgments and I don’t think it’s always a bad thing. We each have our own past experience that acts as a base of knowledge when we look at something, and it is this knowledge that helps us form opinions and make decisions faster than we otherwise would have.

When I’m browsing at the library, I rely on book covers to convey what’s on the inside—that’s the purpose of book covers (otherwise they’d all look exactly the same). Granted, sometimes books have deceiving book covers; terrible books can have awesome covers and awesome books can have terrible covers. Sometimes I’ll pull out a book and shake me head in dismay (or perhaps in disbelief) that someone created a terrible book cover and that is was somehow approved. [How can they not see that it’s truly awful? (Sigh.)]

I’m attracted or repelled by book covers. Of course the book titles themselves say much about what type of story it tells, but often enough it’s the color and the chosen font that says more to me than the actual words ever could. When I see pink (or any “girly” color) I tend to avoid it as they’re often romance novels, but when I see black or red my interest is suddenly piqued since they’re powerful colors and are more likely to be suspense novels. It’s rather essential that I make snap judgments to find the books that I’m more apt be interested in (otherwise I’d be at the library forever).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Two Silk Shirts

When I received a box of my mom’s old (mostly wool) clothing, I made the decision that (although I’d always avoided it) I was just going to have to hand wash dry clean items. It comes down to the fact that I like expensive fabrics and want them, and since I don’t want to dry clean everything, and I don’t want to ruin everything by washing them normally, that pretty much just leaves hand washing.

With this hand washing decision in mind, I decided not to immediately dismiss two (slightly large) silk shirts at a thrift shop, and instead bought them for a total of $9. The tank is a very light pink; it’s a blush tone that I really like and feels very light and summery. I also appreciate that this tank is well made; it has a lining (so it’s not paper-thin) and it has a little strap with a snap at the shoulder seam so you can hold your bra-strap within it (so genius).

The purple blouse I bought solely because of the color; I love deep rich jewel-colored purples. (Although you wouldn’t know it looking at my closet, which tends to be a mix of black, navy and white; there’s just a smattering of color). The blouse design itself is nothing special; it was a popular style back in the day. It just has a button in the back for the closure. I’m hoping I can alter this blouse, bringing in the sides and getting rid of those too-long sleeves.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Box of Mom’s Old Clothes

My mom was doing some cleaning and offered me a box of her old clothes (she thought I could use the material to sew with) and I readily accepted. There was a range of clothing sizes (some that fit but most that didn’t). They were her work clothes (from years ago)—much of it wool jackets and skirts.

There were a couple of items that I liked as-is and would wear: a long white pleated skirt (that’s very light and perfect for summer) and a wool red A-line skirt (although it’s a bit big). I actually liked a couple of other skirts as well, but as I looked closer at the garments, they had moth holes. [Pause.] Super disappointing.

I’m pretty excited about having this box of clothes that I can (hopefully) reuse. Because every so often when I’m at a thrift store I consider buying something and altering it but I never do, because I can’t justify spending much on a garment that I’ll be experimenting on. However, the garments my mom gave me are free (and also some are damaged with stains and moth holes), so they’re the ideal items to experiment with. I have about 12 items that all need to be cleaned and most that I’ll have to tear apart in order to use the undamaged material sections.

I have no idea what I could make (and hopefully I’ll actually get around to doing something with the fabric), but I think it would be cool to make something with my mom’s old clothes. It’s funny, as a teenager I wouldn’t be caught dead in something my mom would wear, and here I am, years later, trying to find a way to wear my mom’s old clothes.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Black and White T-shirt

I’ve been avoiding knits ever since I got my sewing machine. Yet, I’ve bought knit fabrics (because I assumed I’d learn how to sew knits one day) but never used them because they scared me. And I don’t think this fear is uncommon. Knits stretch and pull and need to be sewn differently than non-knits; it’s intimidating.

Overall, I don’t think I wear a ton of knits—mostly just T-shirts and tanks, but I do wear the ones I have fairly often. As I buy less and less clothing new from stores, I thought it would be useful to learn to work with knits by taking a class. So I signed up for a class that taught how to sew a T-shirt.

When I told a friend I was taking this knit class, she gave me all the knit fabric she had because she wasn’t ever going to use it. She had once tried and failed to sew a T-shirt (with a friend’s help) and basically gave up. [Pause.] This did not instill confidence in me. It was very nice of her to give me her unwanted fabric, but I decided to sew with a fabric I’d already bought for the class. Even though I don’t wear a lot of patterns, I picked out this black and white jersey because I thought it’d be more interesting than a plain-colored fabric (and I didn’t see any pretty plain colors at the store anyway).

The class was five hours long and I think one out of eight of us completely finished by the end of class. Most people got to the hemming the sleeves and bottom with a twin needle. I was the slow one. I was in the middle of sewing the V-neck part when the class came to an end. My time just seem to slip away from me.

I think I was especially slow because I’d never worked with knits before, I was using a sewing machine I wasn’t used to, and when I do something new I tend to go more slowly because I’m unsure if I’m doing things correctly. I spent a lot of time trying to get my fabric to remain flat and wrinkle-free (as it seemed to stick to itself), and I redid seams because the fabric would bunch at the ends. It was somewhat frustrating at times.

So I had to finish the T-shirt at home. I finish sewing the neck on and then hemmed the sleeves and bottom with a twin needle. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sew it completely right (as the tension seemed off when I hemmed it; it was my first time using a twin needle so I had low expectations of my execution). It may not be perfect but at least it’s done.

It was my first time using jersey, as well as using Swedish tracing paper (which I liked quite a bit) and sewing with a twin needle. I can’t say that I loved working with jersey, but I don’t have a burning hatred for it either. Maybe it’ll be something I’ll learn to love in time.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Estate Sale: Matchbooks

The rest of what I got at this estate sale was matchbooks. I already have matchbooks that I have yet to use, but I got more to add to this unnecessary collection. I just think they’re interesting from a design standpoint. This estate sale had a bin of matchbooks that my friends and I went through and each picked out some to buy.

I got a total of 18 matchbooks. Here they are, fronts and then backs (and insides on the interesting ones):

My favorites in this set are the Holiday Inn matchbook (I love the retro sign and fun sunny back) and the Playboy one (I like the simple graphics).

The “Wise Eyes Watch Channel 10” matchbook makes me laugh—it’s creepy; those eyes are trying to hypnotize me into watching TV.

I really love the Jacaranda matchbook front; the color palette is fantastic, the design is simple and flower-like, and the type is interesting. I also really like the Travel Lodge matchbook that looks like luggage with its cute travel stickers.

As for the interesting matchbook insides, I like the simplicity of Black Angus and Travel Lodge, as well as the font of the “Sombrero Room.”

Jacaranda has a cool map on the inside; everything looks hand-drawn (even the triple A logo is hand-drawn).

And I’ve included the Tadich Grill matchbook inside because its very extensive history makes me laugh; it reminds me of a Gilmore Girls episode where Luke and Lorelai go to Sniffy’s Tavern and the menu has an incredibly long drawn out story about the restaurant (and you have to wonder, “Who reads this?”).