Thursday, April 29, 2010

New blog name and some color.

As you may have noticed I've finally changed the name of my blog. I decided to go with 25 Dollar Vintage or $25V for short. I think it expresses what I'm trying to do while still leaving room for me to blog about other things in my life. Okay, I confess. I totally picked this name so I could use my cute little semi-acronym. $25V. How cute is that? Expect a new banner soon. I just need some time to sit in front of InDesign and plug one out.

Also need to think about changing the blog colors. I'm totally leaning towards the fabulous 60s and 70s Harvest Gold/Avocado Green combo. Come on, you wish you could still get your dishwasher in fabulous colors like this!

I always wear my fancy matching harvest gold gowns when using my dishwasher. Who doesn't? Seriously.

All joking aside I do quite enjoy the updated summer yellow and lime green color combo that's been floating through home stores for a few years now. My kitchen is furnished in greens and yellows, soft and modern versions of everyones favorite 1970s kitchen sets. I do not have a green dishwasher, but my hand towels, pots and baking dishes as well as kitchen decor all follow along those color lines.

I've always found it interesting how in one way color dates us, but yet it's still so cyclic. Think of how today's incredibly popular sky blue and brown color combo will look to us in 10 years. I'll tell you how it will look, dated.


But I'm fine with that. I like my yellow and green kitchen. I know many people who love their brown and blue and I've always been a firm believer in doing what makes you happy today. Sure it's important to plan for the future, but should that really extend to your home decor? I think the answer is no. If it's beautiful today go for it. Have that Blue and Chocolate Brown wedding if that's what's going to make you happy. Eventually every color combo is going to go out of style, but as I said these things are cyclic. What's out of style today will come back at one point or another.

Want proof? Do a quick search for vintage 1960s fabrics. I bet you'll come up with more than a few in the brown and blue category. The B&B color combo were also popular in 1930s and the early 19th century. Here is a BEAUTIFUL hand made rug from the early 19th century. (If anyone's interested it's currently retailing for 21,000 dollars)

Or how about these vintage fabrics I found on etsy?

The seller didn't list a date for this fabric, but judging by the design I'd probably put it somewhere in the 1960s. Please correct me if I'm wrong here. I'm no textile historian. Or how about this beautiful 1930s feed sack fabric? Could you just die?

You'll find a surprising amount of fabrics from the depression era in Blues and Browns. Check out this stunning 1960s Blue/Brown fabric. Wouldn't you just love to have this in your home today?  

(Here's a heads up, the seller has 8 yards of this for sale! It doesn't quite fit in my challenge budget, but I hope someone else can utilize it.)

Here's some 1970s fabric from Switzerland.

Paisley anyone? I know my father own a shirt made out of this fabric at one point in his life.

Moral of the story: buy whatever colors you want! Even if they go out of style, chances are you'll see those colors in vogue in your lifetime.

So, why spend all this time on one color scheme today? Colors are very important when making recognizably vintage clothing. Take note of how the 1960s blues are darker and less turquoisie, the browns are a bit more orange. The 1930s blue is very dark and the brown is a little more murky (granted that image is off colored slightly). You're not going to get the same look from a piece of modern sky blue/chocolate brown fabric.

The design, fabric choice and the color have a powerful ability to invoke a certain time and place. It all depends on how authentic you want to go. A 1940s shirtwaist dress in a cheery floral rayon is going to invoke a different time than the same dress in a bright pink cotton knit fabric.


Do a little research before you pick a fabric for your vintage pattern. See what people were actually wearing at the time. Think about how retro you want to go. Do you want to be 100% accurate or do you want to use a fabric more common to a modern film set? Something people will immediately recognize as a 1940s print? Even if it's not completely accurate? Or you might be like me. I like to use modern fabrics with vintage cuts and I hardly ever worry about picking an accurate piece of fabric. I'm much more likely to go for something like the knit and an updated pinup/rockabilly look than an accurate look.

After you've thought about that and come to a decision then go to the fabric store, shop or flee market. Planning is just as important as the construction.

Happy sewing : )

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Challenge

As I mentioned in the last post. A challenge has been thrown down by my Beau. We were sitting at the dinner table discussing my recently doubled stash of vintage dress patterns. I was talking about fabrics, patterns, and zippers when this question was posed. Is it possible to have a completely vintage wardrobe? And what's more is it possible to do it an affordable cost? Back in the day my Mother and Grandmother made all of their clothing. Fabric was inexpensive and store bought clothing was out of their price range. Now with a yard of cotton sometimes exceeding $10.00 making your own clothing is more a labor of love and a hobby. It really isn't cost efficient with places like Target, Charlotte Russe, and Kohls around.

So it was with this thought that my Beau issued the challenge. My task? To make a vintage inspired wardrobe. This means tops, bottoms, slips, camis and most especially vintage dresses. There are very few rules, but they are going to be very strict.

Rule 1: The total cost of the garment must not exceed $25.00 US Dollars.

This includes fabric, lining fabric, buttons, zippers and anything else that is part of the finished garment. I make this distinction because these are vintage patterns and I'm a bit of a strange size. I may need to do some editing at some point or another. We decided that the muslin or tissue paper needed for this will not count in the final price. Why? Those are sewing notions that are used to produce a finished project. I wouldn't factor in pins and scissors, so muslin will not need to be totaled into the final price.

Rule 2: All dresses must be made from vintage patterns or vintage inspired patterns.

Some patterns will be vintage, some may be reprints. Whatever pattern I choose the dress must be a vintage design. The goal is to end up with a complete vintage wardrobe.

So some changes are going to be made around here. First the title of this blog. I figure it's time to let go of my college blog and move onto the doings of my professional life. I already removed another blog I had attached to this account that displayed parts of my college portfolio. So in with the new out with the old. I want the title to reflect this project since I'm planning to completely convert the focus to my sewing challenge.

A few names I am considering.

"25 Dollar Vintage"
"Sew it for 25"
"The Vintage Wardrobe Challenge"
"Nancy's New Wardrobe"

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

Stay tuned for big changes and an exciting new blog name!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More of the pattern haul.

Here are some highlights from a lot of patterns I picked up this week. I've been getting such great prices that I just can't stop myself from buy buy buying. Some of these images are from the vintage pattern wiki, some are from the auction itself.

First on today's list is McCall's 5079. What a cute cute blouse pattern. I really like the short sleeved view C, but lady B looks so nice in her long sleeve with pencil skirt pairing. This pattern came in a Bust 34. I would love to make one of these in a pink or light blue. White is okay, but it'll be my shirt and I like pink.

Next is American Designer Pattern No. 1188 in a Size 16. I WISH WISH WISH this was in my size. Look at the fabulous neck line. Wow, I'm melting. This lady just looks so posh, so sophisticated. Couldn't you just die? The little peek-a-boo detail at the bottom is a nice touch. Love it.

This is my favorite pattern from the whole lot. Not necessarily because of what the pattern is, but because of the note scribbled on the front. It reads "Ramona, dear -- My conscience would not permit me to finance the wearing of pants by a girl, not event to the small extent of furnishing a pattern, so I have removed that portion." So it's not a complete, but this pattern has history. Apparently Ramona didn't care much for the skirt version of this because the pieces were never cut out. It's still factory folded, minus the pants.

Another cute blouse. This is Simplicity 3275. I love the cute little bow on view 3. Not quite sure how I feel about the waist. I'd have to see one of these made up. My pattern is Size 14 Bust 34. I think this would be a great blouse in some sort of light fabric with a simple print. View 3's got the right idea there.

Advance 9729. Really super cute coat. This lady is looking fabulous in her pill box hat, coat and gloves. I'm a huge fan of glamorous looks like this. This pattern is copyright 1961. I bet this lady is wearing purl earrings. I would be with this ensemble!

This pattern is very similar to Butterick 8367. I definitely prefer the sleeves in this one over the puff sleeves on 8367, but not over the sleeveless version of 8367. It's very cute and "Sew Easy!" Mine is a size 14. I love the tiered skirt, this looks like a very fun day dress. The lady in the teal dress loves dancing around in hers. Bangle bracelets seem to be required for wearing this dress as well. This will definitely need a crinoline, so probably more of a early spring/late fall kind of dress down here in GA.

Simplicity 3745. Very cute blouse pattern. Wish it came with the shorts view 2 is wearing, but it's just the blouse. Not quite sure how I feel about view 5's duel color blouse there. It might be a little too tacky for me, but view 4 looks like she's going to go have a great time at the beach. Awesome, I like the beach and wearing sunglasses too. We totally have something in common. Looks like this comes with three collar styles and two sleeve styles. This I won't be making. It's a 36 bust, about two sizes too big for me. It's a little sad, but hopefully someone else will be able to enjoy this great pattern.

And last, but not least is Simplicity 2549. Sooooo cute. My pattern envelope is in much better shape than this one that I grabbed from the wiki. Mine also comes in size 14 bust 34 flavor. Cute dress with two different skirt options. I'm picturing making this in some sort of black silky/satiny fabric with a contrasting white collar. I think that would be very very fab. The pattern would need a little alteration, but that's what muslin is for.

Next post: The new challenge and a blog name change. My Beau has issued me a challenge and I'm always up for a challenge. This is a good challenge, a crafty challenge, a challenge that allows for a lot of jersey. Stay tuned for an update on blog changes!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Small set back, but I'll live.

One small set back with dress production. I miss read my pattern and am making something that is WAY too big for me. One size up? More like 3. I'm a 32 bust, this thing is a 38. How did I interpret 38 as a 32? Don't ask...

But I wiped that egg off my face and went off to find another pattern. Luckily the world is full of vintage dresses, so fear not. I hopped on ebay and found these!!! I won them for a ridiculously low price... but wow! Gosh, I love every pattern in this lot! I don't have a large picture of all of these because I only just won the patterns today and they have not been shipped yet, but some of the pictures I was able to pull from the vintage pattern wiki and some of them are from the ebay page.

Butterick 8367 Magic to Make party/day dress. This will definitely need a crinoline, but I've been meaning to pick one up anyways. I think the sleeveless view C is my favorite here. It's more to my taste, but the puff sleeves on A & B are also super super cute even if they are a little young for me. The envelope on this one is way torn up, but the seller assures me all the pieces are intact.

Butterick 8078. The soft shirt dress. Mine has a 34 bust. This would be great in a lightweight cotton for spring, or jersey anyone? Have I mentioned that I love jersey? View B is a definite must make for me. Love the collar and those great sleeves. The sleeves sold this one for me. A is a little bit crazy with the fabric pattern, but the longer sleeves are nice too.

Advance 6260. This one is going to be way too big for me. Bust 44, so a definite resale or trade. If anyone is interested in it, it's a super cute shirt waist dress. Gosh, just look at those scalloped sleeves. Wish it was a little smaller, but I'm too lazy to re-draft this one in my size.

Simplicity 1260. Published in 1955. This picture is from the wiki. My pattern is size 14 and bust is a 32, which is totally spot on my size! I'll be making a muslin of this in case I need to make this a little more boob friendly. And it's obviously worth it to make a muslin in this. I mean, look at how happy these girls are to be wearing this dress? It's like euphoria in an envelope. I love the removable dicky and the great bodice shaping. I bought this whole set for this one pattern, so I'm definitely going to have this dress one way or another!

Simplicity 1553. Mine's a 34 bust. This is my first night gown pattern and it is so so cute. I swear my Aunt Donna had this exact night gown. I've even got a picture from Christmas morning 1973 to prove it. Wish I had a pajama party to wear something like this to. Satin would be so nice, or sweet lace. Silk would be nice too, just not in my budget. I actually think these are pretty sexy and I've seen similar styles in Belk. Plus it comes with a panty pattern. Awesome! Always wanted to make my own panties.

Butterick 6109. Mine's a 32 bust and again a perfect fit for me! In the auction I actually thought this woman was wearing gingham. She's actually got a cute polka dot pattern. I don't normally try to match fabrics to pattern envelopes, but this sweet red fabric is fantastic and I'm now officaly on a mission to find something similiar. Definitely prefer the scoop neck to the collared neck design here.

And finally Butterick 7461. A lovely robe to go with my new night gown perhaps? It says it's quick and easy. Which should mean easy pattern editing if necessary. I think the little construction diagram in the lower left corner is pretty cute. I love how fitted this robe is. Totally unlike today's robes. I'm totally dreaming of terrycloth or chenille here. Something about a fitted bathrobe seems nice, but depending on how the pattern works out I'll probably end up going with wool. I like the short robe better than the long, so I'll probably end up with that one.

Overall very excited about my purchases. I've got another bid on some more of this lady's patterns so if that works out for me I'll be posting about those as well. I can't wait until these arrive so I can get sew sew sewing.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The woes of vintage patterns.

I love vintage patterns for many reasons.

A. They're cheap.

B. My style tends to lean towards 1940s/1950s glamour with a modern twist.

Here's a picture of me in a typical clubbing outfit in Atlanta sometime during February 2010. Not the best picture, but you get the idea. Cute rockabilly dress from Pinup Girl Clothing with a fabulous matching corset. (Confession time, I am so into this new corset trend! Seriously, who doesn't want to wear something that gives you a tiny waist and great hips?)

C. Most of the time the previous owner has so nicely cut them out for you. If you're really lucky they've cut it out on your size and not chopped them up too much.

D. Making dresses from vintage patterns gives you serious Bad Mamma Jamma points. And of course you get double Mamma Jamma points if you make them on this!

So earlier this week I picked up a few patterns for 50 cents a pop at the antique store just down the way from the office.

Here's a picture of just some of the haul. Then as I said in the last post I found some fabulous Jersey knit at half price. So, what to make? I started with a shirt dress from Simplicity 7450, but as I began unpacking the pattern I realized that the sleeve piece was missing. Lame, but one of the risks of vintage pattern buying. It had all the rest of its pieces however so I'm still planning on making one of those fabulous suit sets to wear to work in the winter time. I'll just have to make the sleeveless version of the dress to go under. No problem there, love that little yellow number there.

I was a bit disappointed by my lack of sleeve, but luckily I'd also purchased 6934 as you can see and view 2 was quite similar. So I checked for pieces, had them all and got cracking. The smallest size on the pattern was a 12. Just a bit big for me, but I decided not to worried as this is a shirt dress after all and isn't designed to be close fitting. The magenta jersey is soooo nice. I'm too much of a jersey fan I think, but it's so darn comfortable. I think this is going to be a great summer dress and it looks like it'll sew up fast. It has a few more seams than 7450, which is a little disappointing (I was more in the mood for a two night project) but it also gives me more places to take in if the dress needs some fitting.

I'll keep you posted on the progress! Tonight I hope to start sewing everything together.

And in more exciting news I have my very first follower! I've never had one before. This is so exciting! I feel so honored!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend Update

My Beau and I had a seriously busy day yesterday. First stop, estate sale. We dragged ourselves out of bed early enough to get there for the good stuff. We mostly went for the books. My Beau loves old books and this sale had a great collection of old books. We browsed them, but the couple who owned the house were serious antique collectors and they were a little out of our price range. No worries though, my Beau found a fantastic roasting pan for $3! Score. I'm not quite sure what I'll do with a roasting pan. Being a veggie eater myself I've never made a roast, but my Beau being a meat eater is very excited about the prospect. Guess I better call up my Mom and get a recipe. I think a roast is a great excuse to have friends over.

After the sale we went to a social gathering and I brought these!

Got the recipe from Jenn and they were a huge hit. There's something really fun and wonderful about making tiny food cookies. I got to get my craft on and eat delicious cookies. Win win I'd say!

I also managed to find some cute magenta jersey fabric. I recently came into possession of several vintage patterns and the magenta seemed perfect for a fabulous shirt dress, circa 1967. I'll upload some pictures as that progresses. But first, what's the best way to make a vintage dress? Using this machine of course! I want to introduce you to what I affectionately call my Old Lady, at least until I can think of a more fitting name.

I picked this baby off of Craigs list on the cheap and it is a beast! Remember my love for old ugly retro things? She's not pretty, but she probably weighs a good 15 pounds. She's amazingly stable and I just love looking at her. There were other machines on the list, but when I found my Old Lady it was love at first sight. Look at those knobs! That fabulous yellow color! How could I leave her out there on her own, without someone to love her?

Aside from her good looks there's just something about making vintage dresses on a vintage machine. I feel like I'm channeling my grandmother when I use this machine. I wonder if this was how my grandmother felt when she made all her clothing, her husband's clothing and all the clothing for 5 kids.

They really don't make them like they used to. My Old Lady is belt driven (you can sort of see the belt around the back there) and still has her two prong electrical plug. Nothing fancy, no crazy stitches or electronics. Just good old fashion sewing. She's slow, but she's determined. If she breaks, she's easy to fix. This is true sewing machine love right here.

And to round out the weekend, I got a new shipment of herbs in.

I'm very anti-bulk bin. They're dirty, the food is often old, and can very easily infested with bugs. The only local herb shop around only sells herbs in bulk, so I'm forced to order online and waste all sorts of plastics and shipping materials. I'm sorry earth friendlys, I'd rather have nice clean herbs that are all mine. Don't believe that bulk bins are nasty filthy things? Head on over to Love Veggies and Yoga and check out her thoughts on the subject.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The urge suddenly came upon me...

TO POST! Holy Bologna! It's been like, what? A year or more. I miss my blogging days. I'm gonna freaking blog. While sitting at work today I came to the conclusion that it's my blog, I can post about whatever I want. And today I want to post about this....

Holy Hideous Sofa Batman! Wish I had more than my cellphone, but your eyes do not deceive you. This is the ugliest sofa that may have ever existed. The worst part is I couldn't help but think "I wish I had that for my basement." It's sort of a cute retro ugly, and seeing as I'm all about retro I decided that this is the world's most perfect basement sofa. (Disclaimer: I have no Basement.) I briefly debated following this guy to his destination and trying to barter for it, but I don't think my Beau would have gone for that. So with a heavy heart I let this awesome so-ugly-it's-cute sofa drive off into the sunset.
I suppose I have a love for old ugly things. Is this bad? Only when trying to mesh by style with my Beau's. The Man has very nice, refined, classic tastes. I have a taste for bright colors, retro finishings, and apparently plaid back of pickup truck sofas.