Tag Archives: nostalgia

A box of linen thread

18 Jul


Who doesn’t need a 12 spool box of No. 35, 3 cord white Barbours Linen thread?  They are all intact so I couldn’t test it to see if it is even useable.  It is just so gosh-darned cool looking!

Lovely little dressform

16 Jul


Such a little cutie, just sitting in the thrift shop and only $5.  It is a Perfect Fit Ajust-o-matic dress form made of heavy card stock.  If you zoom in you can see the little slots where you adjust for the Perfect Fit!


Back view.  This lady was petite, but had a long waist and teeny, tiny hips.


I desperately wanted to bring her home with me, but just could not justify the purchase.  Brilliant concept though, as it could have been flat packed, assembled by the owner and has quite a lot of adjustability.

My rule for such purchases is that if it is still there the next time I go in, I can buy it.  I somehow doubt she will still be there the next time I go a-thrifting, but you never know.

A Google search turned up an ad/article about the Adjust-o-matic.  Read all about her here.

Good news – the machine is fine:-)

7 Sep

But it has become very fussy about needles and the only way it would work was with Schmetz size 14 stretch.  Once I got that worked out, after some fruitless and profanity filled tests, it was happy again.  BUT I am totally stuck on how to decorate this dress and have been starting all kinds of other projects to keep myself occupied while mulling it over.

Today’s project, spurred on by the Design Helper telling me to work on it or he would send it to the dump, is my Grandad’s chair.  I love it because it has beautiful lines, is a beautiful example of late 1960’s “Danish Modern” furniture, is extremely well made (I am sure he paid a lot for it back in the day), because it is one of the few arm chairs I have ever sat in that allows my feet to fully touch the floor and of course, because it belonged to my Grandad.  We have hauled it around with us for decades and although I had to finally let go of the matching couch, which nobody ever felt comfortable sitting in (weird paradox there) I have used in one way or another for ages.  But in this house, it has mainly resided in the garage.  We tried it for awhile in our bedroom, but in spite of the best of intentions of using it as a quiet reading spot, it ended up as many bedroom furnishings do, as a repository for discarded clothing.

So off to the basement!  I found it this morning with the seat cushion askew, our set of jumper cables under the seat, a drop cloth, and old cammo jacket belonging to one of the kids and a copy of Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town tossed in a variety of ways over and around it.  Here it is:


I think it is happy that it is getting attention.  See the smile?


Step one is to remove the coverings piece by piece.  The bottom had about a hundred staples in it, all of which were rusty.  None of the staples underneath it were rusty though, so that is a relief.  Here is the strapping under the chair.  No springs, which I hope somehow will make the job a bit easier.   A little “before” pic.


And the “after”


The strapping is stretched out and will need to be replaced. The frame is in beautiful shape and heavily bolted together.  Time now to bring in and set up another “use it or it goes to the dump” piece of furniture – a huge table currently sitting outside with a “free” sign on it.   Stay tuned!

Closeups by request

26 Jul

Here are a couple of close up shots of the skirt with rhinestones and sequins.  At the moment I am leaving this gown lightly decorated.


Wow!  When I click on these I also can zoom in, which gives a seriously detailed picture!  I am constantly amazed by technology and how much cool stuff I can do sitting at my kitchen table:-)

New record!

25 Jul

The Fab Fifties dress is now complete and except for fabric acquisition and some pattern drafting, it only took 6 weeks!


It helps a  lot that I am off work for the summer and have extra time, but several of those days were non-sewing days due to dance camp, so this has really been a quick one.


This can only mean one thing – Dress # 9 is on its way!

Magic Moment – done enough to wear

12 Jul

Yes, of course there is still work to do!  Some work on the bands at the back, floats must be made and rhinestones to be added.  But if I really wanted to, I could compete in this dress today.  I forget who mentioned long white gloves, but I dug out the pair I wore 40 years ago to my high school graduation and they look pretty good!


Pearls, of course!

Pins and Needles

10 Jul

Well today started out with lots of needles – acupuncture needles!  Quite a few of them and all  in my glutes.  Yep.  Quite a way to start a day, for sure.   At first it felt like I had run into a table corner or been given a swift kick by a cranky pony.  Now it just feels a little achy – with any luck they are releasing whatever makes my leg do the weird twinge-y thing when dancing.  No photos.  You will have to make do with finding something on google images if you want to see those sorts of needles in action.


Lots of sewing needles today, as well, and though I commented positively on hand sewing in a recent conversation on Pattern Review, I realize that I was thinking of nice, easy hand sewing like hemming.  Stitching on fasteners like hooks and eyes or snaps is not my idea of fun.  But I had the top band secured, the waist band ready, finished off the clear elastic around the neck and sleeves.  This dress will definitely be ready for Seattle Star Ball!

Short view

10 Jul


So here it is at the “correct” length!  Definitely not the usual for around here and only sometimes seen at higher levels, but fun and different.  Today was spent wrestling with the waist and top bands, trying to get them to lie nicely and still be stretchable enough to both let me get in and out of the dress as well as, oh…I don’t know…breathe!

Pretty sure I will put some horsehair into the hem.  I have some white and silver left from another gown that I think is plenty long enough.  It will give a bit more volume to the bottom of the skirt.

Fun fifties – and I am not talking about my age!

30 Jun


My fifties inspired ballgown is on its way to becoming a reality, in spite of the fact that I still do not have a clear idea in my mind about how it will look.  The only aspect that I have nailed is the skirt, and here it is.  Nice that I have a perfectly coordinating t-shirt, eh?  And shoes that are only worn for trying on gowns.  Everyone has a pair of those, right?  I got them cheap at a competition and they just don’t quite work for my feet for dancing, so since they were always kicking around my closet, they got an actual job.


The front has two wide pleats and the back is gathered into the lycra waistband.  I am thinking that visually it doesn’t make enough difference to be an issue but  I am still feverishly trying to make this gown without a zipper, if possible and if the skirt is gathered onto lycra, I can pull it on and avoid the zip.

Stay tuned for design ideas, plans and trials.

French seams? Mais oui!

9 Jun

Of course all the organza under layers of the gowns can be serged, but since this one will have an organza top layer, we must go with technique classique and do some proper French seams.  The important question now is which machine is the correct vintage for sewing them?

This is an early 60’s inspired gown, so perhaps the Genie is the right way to go:


But the genie is really more of a late 1960’s – early 70’s vibe, so it is entirely possible and plausible that this gown would be sewn on a Featherweight:


Add to the mix that Shelby the Feather has a single hole needle plate, winds bobbins like a dream and is quiet enough to satisfy my early Sunday morning brain and we have a clear winner!

...Then Came Dance

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