Monday, January 31, 2011

January Dress - Weekend work

This weekend wasn't the most productive weekend of all time sewing wise. I took a trip down to Mississippi to visit my grandmother and for my Uncle Robert's birthday dinner. It was nice, but sad.

My grandmother is in the early stages of dementia. She's still mostly herself, but she has a lot of trouble remember dates and names. She recently had to be placed in an assisted living center and this weekend was the first time I got to see her new home.

My two grandmas and my Mother at my college graduation in 2008. My Mississippi grandmother is on the left.

Overall the place was very nice. There were a lot of people her own age and she has a very nice roommate. Still it's hard to think that the woman that played countless games of Uno with me, took us to vacation bible school, and who made these huge lunch spreads every time we came to visit can't remember what day of the week it is.

I suppose that's life, but I can see that she's becoming less and less of the Mom-mom I've always known. She's forgotten everyone's last names and it's only a matter of time before she forgets the first names completely as well. There's not much I can do but be supportive and understanding of what she's going through, but the day is coming when my Mom-Mom isn't going to be Mom-Mom anymore.

Mom-Mom at my cousin's wedding in 2009. 

I'm going to make sure to visit Mom-Mom as much as possible. It's difficult when a drive over to Mississippi costs me over $100 in gas and I'm currently only working part-time, but some things are more important than money.

As far as the January Dress goes I've gone ahead and cut out all the fabric pieces for the bodice and underlined them with the ivory colored cotton. This evening I have class to attend until 10pm, but I'll try to assemble the bodice after I get home.

I used Tasia's tutorial (I just love her name. Tasia, it sounds so pretty) on underlining a bodice. If you haven't read any of Tasia's tutorials you are in for a treat. Her instructions are crystal clear and she creates the most beautiful dresses.

And I'm really stoaked to tell you that $25V now has over 1000 twitter followers! Thanks everyone for following me! I'll try to keep bringing you interesting sewing related tweets daily!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Updates: January Dress and around the house

Hello Readers! I just got my new fridge this morning!

This is the old ugly broken fridge.

And this is the new side-by-side fridge! It's shiny and new and I love it! My OCD will kick in in a few minutes and I'll have to scrub the whole thing down with soapy water and windex, but for now I'm admiring it. We've been keeping our food in the little wine fridge. You can't imagine how great it's going to be to put the food in a real fridge in the kitchen.

But enough about my appliances. I realized I hadn't posted the fabric for the January Dress yet. So here it is.

I went with olive green 100% linen for the shirt and bow. The eyelet is a white cotton paisley. I'll be lining the bodice with an ivory cotton (center). I wanted to use ivory eyelet fabric, but that's almost impossible to find in the shops around here. I compromised by choosing an ivory lining. It will add a little bit of the ivory color and it will help to really show off the eyelets.

When I overlay the eyelet onto the cotton it will create an effect like this. You'll get just a touch of the darker color. Just trust me on this one, it's going to look fabulous.

So what did I pay for all these fabrics? Well my plan had been to find an eyelet dress or top from one of the local thrift or consignment stores because eyelet fabric is so expensive. Unfortunately, eyelet hasn't been super popular in couple of years or so. I did see quite a bit of it last spring, but I guess it hasn't hit the thrift stores around here yet. So I had to go with this white eyelet that I found at Joann's. It was originally $11.99 a yard, but I had my 50% off coupon. Heck yeah. I ended up going home with one yard of the eyelet for $5.99.

The linen was a bit more expensive. I think I paid $6.99 a yard for it, but I'll check the receipt before I do a grand total post.

For the skirt of the dress I decided to use the skirt from this pattern.

It's just a simple 1950s circle skirt, but it's easy and won't cause me too much trouble. This particular skirt is pretty poofy so I'll be taking a few inches off the width of the skirt panels. I'll add a few inches to the length of the skirt panels to be safe, but I shouldn't need it. This particular skirt already ends near my ankles since it is not a petite pattern. (I'm 5'1/2".)

The plan is to make this an ankle length dress, but what do you guys think? Should I make it floor length or bring it up to the mid-calf and make it into more of a day dress? You're all my stylists so let me know what you think! Just remember that the bodice will end just slightly below my natural waist.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January Dress - The Muslin part 1

 Okay, so here is the fabulous part two of the January endeavor: the making of a muslin. For this little experiment I used some cheap cotton muslin from Hobby Lobby that I got for about $1.50 a yard.

I cut out all the pieces and lined them up. I like to line up my front pieces over my back piece to check for length and such. So far so good. You'll note the fabulous pointed join from the yolk piece to the bust piece that's going to have to be sewn here. Pointy joins are one of my least favorite parts of sewing, but I'll suffer for my wardrobe.

I didn't take too many photos of the sewing up of this baby, mostly because I wanted to get it done as quickly as possible so I could check the fit. You'll notice some pretty common features of a 1930s bodice here.

#1 is the loosely fitting bust. That's achieved by gathering the shoulder seams or in this case adding some pin-tucks. I actually could probably let this out a little more, but since I've got that big bow going in I probably won't.

#2 is the gathering under the bust line to make cups. I don't know why this was so popular. Okay I do, that was more about the loose bust aestetic. It's not like the dart didn't exist. You see them all over the place in Romantic and Victorian Era dress, but for some reason they fall out of favor during the 1920s and early 1930s. Personally I find making darts to be quicker and nicer looking, but you don't get that nice gathered edge which was so popular in 1930s evening gowns.

#3 I actually lowered the neck line here by about 3.5 inches. Originally it was straight across, but since my inspiration dress had the drop neck I went ahead and lowered it.

So here is the muslin on. You can see there are still some fitting issues. The sleeves have not been hemmed so you can expect them to be about an inch smaller in width. I'm suffering here from 1930s saggy boob syndrome. This happens to me with every single 1930s pattern I make. At the time we were still deemphasizing our busts rather than pushing them up and out. I don't particularly like the look of the boobs here, but since they'll be covered in a giant bow I'm not too concerned about that. I'll probably move the gathers an inch towards the center, but other than that I'll leave them alone. 

I'm happy with the silloette. It's shaped quite well to me, but that also makes it more difficult to get on and off and it's probably going to be impossible once a shirk is attached. So I've decided to go ahead and add a zipper even though it's not really period appropriate. By the way, does anyone know when zippers became popular? I know they were invented in the 1850s, but I don't believe they became popular until the late 1930s. Please correct me if I'm wrong on that. 

And here is the back which I love! I was originally going to drop the back into a more curved shape like my reference dress, but this back was just too pretty to change. I just love it! I'm going to be installing my zipper in the side seam to preserve this awesome back.

So here's what I'll be changing between this and the final garment. 

1. Adjusting the bust gathers to give me less "saggy boob"
2. Adding 1.5 inches onto the bottom of the bust piece and dropping the yolk accordingly. I'll probably also drop the neckline a bit more and redraw the seam between the shoulders and bust pieces. 
3. Add closure of some sort, most likely a zipper. 

So how are all your January projects going? 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January Dress - Pattern Fixin' part 1

I have got to stop making promises on this blog that I can't keep. I'll tell you something is always coming up around here. Monday's post was delayed until today (late Tuesday) mostly because of issues ordering our new refrigerator. Our house was struck by lightning a little while back and it fried most of our appliances. We've been using the wine fridge to keep our food since then. We finally placed an order for a new fridge Sunday afternoon, but there was an issue with the ordering system and we ended up spending most of the day trying to get our purchase refunded. I am happy to say, however, that we got everything worked out an our new fridge will be here on Thursday!

The other reason the post was delayed was because we're getting ready to paint my sewing room/office.

So this is my current sewing space while we paint my office. It's a collapsible table in my dining room. The sewing machine is currently residing in the kitchen and the ironing board has set up shop in the upstairs hallway. Actually it's probably safe to say that my stuff has exploded all over the house. Oh well, I have more elbow room in the dining room.

But, you'll be pleased to know that I actually have sewing to post today! Hurray! My wrist injury has really been holding up the production line, but I've been taking my supplements and working the tendons during yoga. I'm still having a little trouble with certain things like opening jars, inking drawings, and certain yoga poses. Still not ready to do some of the Ashtanga inversions, but I've almost got my adho mukha svanasana back which is awesome.

I know I've written before about how terrible a draftswoman I am. I'm not lying. I'm terrible at it. Something about creating a pattern from thin air just doesn't mesh with my brain. I guess I'm just not wired for that stuff. Still, give me a pattern and I'll modify the heck out of it. I actually take great pleasure in transforming one pattern into something completely different. It's a fun challenge for me.

So today I'll be sharing part one of the process of turning this pattern:

Into something similar to this dress with my own twist, of course.

So the first thing I did was look into what pieces I would need. I decided to use a standard circle skirt pattern for the bottom. I opted out of the pajama pants on the suggestion of a few friends. So that left me with the bodice pieces only.

The first thing I like to do is write down what pieces I need somewhere. Post-its are my paper of choice. I'll normally stick them to the wall, the sewing machine, or my shirt to remind me of what I'm doing. I tend to get forgetful when I get really focused on a task. This dress required relatively simple alterations, but making notes is a good habit to get into so that when you do have to deal with altering 6 or 7 pieces you'll know which ones you need to worry about.

Next step is to trace your pattern pieces onto paper. I traced the bodice piece (A) first as it was going to require the most altering. You'll note my clear ruler above. If you don't have one of these you really need to get one. I picked mine up for less than five dollars at a Micheals and I use it every single time I sew. It makes altering patterns a breeze.

The first thing that I needed to do was decide where I wanted my seam to go. This is more of an art form for me. I'm self taught so I'm sure this isn't the right way to do it, but it's the way I like to do it. I wanted the band to be about 5 inches wide and to lay completely across my bust. Looking at the pattern the top of the yolk reaches just below the bust so I marked five inches from the bottom curve of the bodice. From there I just played with the seam until I got it where I like it.

The seam obviously had a few incarnations here. The biggest reworking was due to the fact that I forgot to adjust the neck line before I drew the seam. Whoops. I ended up reducing the darker bust portion down to about 4 inches across with an additional 1/2 seam allowance below the adjusted neck line. I freehanded the curve. 

Basically my method works as such; I draw my seam, pin the pattern piece to my shirt and then see if I like how it looks. If I don't get what I want I'll go back and rework the seam again. This time it only took me two tries to get it the way that I wanted, but I confess reworking a line 5 or 6 times on other garments.

Next I separated the pieces. When I have more than one cutting line on the piece I'll normally mark my actual cut line with a marker. I wasn't totally sure where my markers were today though so I used a blue pen instead. It works just as well.

I like to write myself a lot of notes while working. It's not uncommon for me to forget what lines are seam allowances, which are tucks or darts, etc. So if you ever borrow a pattern from me expect there to be lots of scribbles along with it.

I then traced the pattern piece again and added a seam allowance along the bottom edge where it would connect with the dark strip of fabric across the bust.

By the way, cans make the best pattern weights. You've probably noticed them in previous posts, but they're cheap, heavy and work fantastically. Who needs fancy pattern weights when you have canned pumpkin?

I added in the rest of my seam allowances and my notches and was quite satisfied.

It's a good idea when you transfer a pattern piece more than once to check it against the original. You can see here that my notch had migrated and needed to be put back in place.

All that was left was to cut out the pattern piece.

Rinse, repeat on darker bust strip, and end up with your two new pattern pieces. I've named them A1 and A2, but I normally just number them.

Up next: The Bodice Muslin

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Delicious Frozen Yogurt Time for a cure!

So in case you're local and you didn't know, the south side of town now has it's own TCBY. Little known fact about me: I love TCBY. Not just like, love. We had a TBCY at the local mall while I was growing up and almost every time we went I would beg for TCBY yogurt. At the time my favorite flavor was their White Chocolate Mousse, which believe me I would still be enjoying on a regular basis if my stomach could handle the dairy. 

In any case the new TCBY is in Peachtree City, Georgia and is just a stones throw away from Haus of Nancy. When I scheduled a meeting with one of my favorite local ladies and fellow health food enthusiast, Mrs Carol, on Thursday we both knew where we were going.

The new Yogurt store is way too cute. I just love the funky updated retro-design.

The colors are really fun and right up my ally. Best part of the trip? The store was donating one dollar to the American Cancer Society for every 16 ounces of yogurt purchased that day. You don't have to tell me twice! I can easily rack up 16 ounces of fro-yo. Well, actually fro-so since I can't really eat fro-yo.

The Peachtree City TCBY is more like other popular frozen yogurt bars such as Yoforia, Cloud 9 (another personal favorite of mine), and Frozen Yogurt Bar. You start with a giant cup and the rest is self serve. 

I really wanted this....

But I was good and went with this raspberry fro-so[rbet]. 

And then I topped with some Strawberry-Kiwi sorbet for color. Who am I kidding? I just wanted more sorbet.

They had your usual display of toppings. I always go for the fresh fruit myself, but you can get anything from sprinkles to captain crunch to peanut butter cups. Michael, the store manager, tells me that they are working with local farms in the area to get all their fruit fresh and in season. I'm a big time local foodophile so I was very excited to hear that.

I was very close to grabbing some of these maraschino cherries, but I went with blueberries instead. 

I'd much rather have fresh blueberries then sugary food-colored semi-fruit, even if they are super delicious.

Of course I added a ton of my favorite thing on earth. That would be coconut. 

Delicious, delicious coconut. I also tossed on some toasted almonds and strawberries. Yum!

My finished creation was just under 16 ounces, but at least I gave it a good shot.

I guess TCBY donated about 90 cents in my name and I got to eat delicious sorbet and enjoy the company of a great lady who also happens to be cancer free for 29 years! Congratulations Mrs. Carol! 

So you're probably all thinking this is becoming a food blog with two posts in a row being food centered. Well I promise you it is not. I've got lots of sewing going on this weekend. 

Goals for this weekend are: 
1. Finish last baby surprise for Mrs. Eleanor
2. Cut out the fabric for the January Dress
3. Put some paint on the walls. 

Expect a sewing post on Monday all! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Forks Over Knives

I know I don't typically talk much about my diet on this blog. For one thing it's not the topic of the blog, but because Atlanta was host to a preview screening of the new film Forks Over Knives yesterday evening and I just had to share the preview with you.

For those of you who don't know I am technically classified as a high-raw ovo vegetarian. That basically means I eat a lot of raw veggies and do not consume meat or dairy products. I do consume eggs, but I only eat organic local free range eggs on occasion. Now don't go thinking I'm crazy. I have spent a lot of time researching my food choices, weighing the risks of certain foods, and decided on a diet that works for me and my lifestyle. I'm not trying to say my diet is best or that it's "right", but I will tell you that there is a lot of research out there that points to consuming large amounts of animal protein as being a large contributer to heart disease and diabetes. Forks Over Knives examines the idea that many health problems can be reversed by simply changing the ratio of meat to plant based foods in our lives.

I can't tell you how excited I am about the release of this film! I've been a long time fan of the books Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Essestyne and the China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. I strongly believe that as Americans we do not put enough whole and living foods into our diet. I know too many people who will not touch anything that's green and I hope that this film will help some to see the "veggie light." I don't think everyone should go out there and immediately adopt the vegan lifstyle, but I do hope that it will inspire people to incorporate more produce into their diets.

 So what do you think, Dear Readers? Would you watch this film? Do you eat a lot of veggies at home? Am I just some crazy nut job? Let me know your thoughts!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New information on an inspiration post and LOTS of updates!

Hello, Dearest Readers! I've got quite a few updates for you today! First, and most exciting of all is that I was contacted by Ms. Mady Genco Nichas about a post I had made back in August. I had posted this photo of Ms. Mady's Grandmother and Grandfather's wedding.

Apparently someone in Ms. Mady's family found this blog and showed it to Mrs. Vita Genco (the Bride). Mrs. Vita wasn't able to contact me directly, but Ms. Mady gave me all sorts of info on this photo and I really wanted to share it with all of you. When I posted the photo and my questions from Mrs. Vita's wedding I never expected to hear about the wedding especially from the Bride herself! I just thought the info was too cool not to share with all of you.

Ms. Mady tells me that the wedding was in 1952. Mrs. Vita's mother made the wedding dress and all the Bridesmaid's dresses. That's seven full gowns, quite the accomplishment in my eyes! Everyone looks so beautiful. Mrs. Vita's mother was obviously an amazing seamstress because those gowns look fantastic. I especially love Mrs. Vita's gown because of that fantastic train. Ms. Mady tells me the train was so long because it represented her purity. How cool is that! I had no idea that there was still a connection between train length and purity in the 1950s. I had known about a similar tradition in the late 1800s, but I did not know that tradition extended as late as the 1950s. I guess the explains the trend towards long trains in the 1920s and 1930s as well.

The best part of Ms. Mady's information? The color of the bridesmaid dresses of course! I'm told that they were lilac so my guess of pastel pink or blue was pretty close. Thank you so much for sharing all that information with us Ms. Mady and Mrs. Vita!

After geeking out on that bit of information I guess I should move on to the rest of the updates. Second on the list is that Ms. Lisette at What Would Nancy Drew Wear? is doing another sew-along. This time she's tackling a Sense & Sensibility ensemble.

I wouldn't exactly call this sew-along a vintage sew along, but I'm a total Jane Austin geek so I enrolled myself. If you're worried about the complexity of this project don't be. Ms. Lisette has giving her sew-along a nice slow pace. The patterns are a little pricey, but they're actually quite reasonable for reproduction patterns. So if you're interested in one of these cute ensembles for yourself head on over there and let Ms. Lisette know.

And don't forget that Ms. Tasia is running her Sewaholic Pendrell blouse sew-along right now and Ms. Gertie is mid-way through her Crepe sew-along.

Third on my update list is that I spent the morning with some awesome folks from the Peachtree City Powercore team. Powercore is a really fantastic business networking group that Mr. FiancĂ© is a member of. They're a group of great professionals who provide fantastic services. They gave me some great ideas for future blog posts and put me in contact with some really interesting people. I can't tell you too much about what's going on because nothing is set in stone yet, but there are some really great sources of vintage and historical awesomeness around here in the near future.

Fourth: Don't forget that I'm giving away this free knitting pattern to anyone that mentions or links to $25 Vintage.

It could be in your facebook, on your twitter, in an email to a friend, or even on your own blog if you like. I've gone through and updated all the instructions, yardage requirements, gauge, added a terminology key, included a high resolution photo, and added my own little comments. It comes in a pretty pdf and is the first of $25 Vintage free pattern releases! Hurray! All you've got to do is leave a comment for me or copy me on the email and I'll get that pdf sent right to your inbox. 

But wait there's more! Fifth Point! We've reserved our church for the wedding! So reception venue, dress, and ceremony are all taken care of. My wedding is started to feel so real. I even spoke with someone this morning about ordering save-the-dates! 8.5 months to go!

And finally you have got to check out the hilarity over at Molly's Garage Sale Adventures. She's making this:

with that fabric. It's so fantastic it hurts!

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Did you know $25V's facebook links to all kinds of free stuff?

Did you know that $25 Vintage's facebook fan page posts links to free vintage patterns from all across the web on a regular basis? Today I shared a link to this cute 1938 knitted hat pattern from

I also post links to vintage patterns from my personal collection as well as stories and updates that you won't find here on the blog. It's pretty cool. At least I think so.

If facebook isn't your thing $25 Vintage also has a twitter! We're @25dollarvintage. Yay Twitter!

And I totally have something nifty for you Readers today. As of today if you mention or link to $25 Vintage on your blog, facebook, or twitter I'll send you a copy of this ridiculously cute 1930s coat and hat pattern.

All you have to do is mention this blog and then post a link to your post in the comments below. Be sure to leave me your email address and in return I'll send a pdf of this pattern straight to your inbox! The pdf comes complete with updated knitting instructions, yardage requirements, gauge, terminology key, high resolution photo, and snarky comments by yours truly.

The hat pattern is especially cute and very quick to knit up. I know you'll enjoy it. All you've got to do is mention me and then leave a comment or send me a message to let me know.

Have a good one!

Monday, January 17, 2011

First Look: Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1932 Ladies Frock

Well Friends, between injuries, holidays and ice storms $25V has not been very active in the new year. There's also some other surprises in the works that you'll have to stay tuned to see. What I can tell you is that $25 Vintage is getting a total makeover in February including a new website design and logo that have been in production here in Haus of Nancy. 

Well, I hope that your weekends went well. Ours was great. For starters we're finally free of our house! Georgia Snowtastrophe 2011 has finally ended! We had 55 degree Saturday which really helped the thaw out all the roads. Looks like life around here is finally getting back to normal. 

The only good part about being iced in is that I was able to get a lot done around the house. I caught up on all the laundry, I reorganized the master bedroom closet, we cleaned out the upstairs office so we can paint and get it ready to become my sewing room, we reserved our church for the wedding, I cleaned all the base boards in my house, I put away the rest of the holiday decorations, we recycled the tree (which was sadder than expected) and we may or may not have had a Robotech marathon on Sunday. I never said we weren't dorks....

But the most exciting news of the weekend? Ta da!

My Vintage Pattern Lending Library Pattern came in the mail! I've never ordered one of her patterns before so I was super excited to open this thing up and take a look. I thought I'd give you all my first impressions of the pattern before I started chopping it up and turning it into January's dress project. Call this a mini-review.

My first impression of the pattern was very good. It was packed very very well. My mail man had forced the shipping envelope into my mailbox and creased the cardboard "do not bend" envelope right down the middle. The outer packaging also tore while I was trying to pry it out of the mailbox. After an angry phone call to the post office I peeled back the shipping envelope and was ecstatic to find that pattern was still in pristine condition. Awesome!

The pattern is packed in a heavy duty plastic zip-top sleeve and printed on good quality paper stock. My favorite part was the actual pattern pieces themselves. They are printed on two large sheets of vellum and are very tear resistant. I tried tearing an empty corner as a test and it took quite a bit of strength to do it. 

She's added seam allowances to the pattern which I really appreciate. She's also added things like tucks and darts in easily readable red ink. That's going to be a major time saver.

I also really appreciate additions like the dotted line above which will save me quite a bit of time on sleeves down the road if I want to make this dress as intended. 

Overall I am really happy with the quality of this pattern. I haven't had a chance to read through the instructions yet, but so far I'm really impressed. She has really added a lot of time saving features to things that always slow me up when working with unprinted patterns. The only down side to the pattern that I see is that it is one size only. She gives fabric recommendations if you do chose to scale up the pattern, but otherwise you're on your own. 

It was a bit more than I like to pay for a pattern, but with all the features VPLL has added I have to say that this dress pattern was a great value. I paid $12.00 for it and I know that the velum pattern pieces are going to stand up to multiple uses.