Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stash Busting 2012

I've been keeping better track of my fabric stash and I've been diligently trying to stash bust all year long. So let's see how I did!

The bottom bar is my stash at the end of 2011. The middle bar is my 2011 stash plus any fabric I've bought this year. The top bar is the middle bar minus all the fabric I used this year. Each bar is coded for garment, quilting and home dec fabrics. I'm happy to say that current stash size is smaller than my stash last year by 13 yds! And I've used up most of my quilting cotton and not bought much more.

My current stash is mostly garment with just a bit of quilting and home dec fabrics in the mix. I don't often do crafting or home dec sewing but I do use quilting and home dec fabrics occasionally for costuming.

And here's a break down of all of the fabric I used this year (131 yds! eep!)

Type Stash 2011 % Stash 2011 Stash 2012 Used Remaining % of Stash % Used % remaining
garment 43.4 54.7979798 145.4266667 90.27333333 55.15333333 73.69656838 62.07481434 83.30899753
quilting 29 36.61616162 40.545 36.825 3.72 20.54662624 90.82500925 5.619052414
home dec 6.8 8.585858586 11.36 4.03 7.33 5.756805378 35.47535211 11.07195005
Total 79.2 100 197.3316667 131.1283333 66.20333333 100 66.45073016 100

 And if you are super nerdy like me, here's some more stats! Next year, my goal is to stash bust even more and keep my total stash amount down. Almost 200 yds is a lot! And I still have some huge yardage from my trip to the LA garment district last year. I need to sew some of that before I go back next summer!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sewing For Others

I don't know about you, but I don't normally sew for other people. Most people don't have any idea of how much work goes into sewing a garment and just the material costs alone are normally above their intended budget! Plus it's hard enough to fit yourself without having to learn someone else's body too. But every year my church does a live Nativity and this year I offered my help with the costumes.

The cast is mostly preschool through middle school kids and don't they look so cute! Most of the costumes we could use from last year's stock but many needed to be rehemmed or altered just a bit.

Shepard boys! (And on a side note, if you've ever heard my gripe about not being able to wear certain things to church/the barn, this is what I have to walk around in all day-sand!)

Angel girls waiting to go on!

My church does horse ministry so the wise men get to arrive in style!

Another group of wise men!

The Nativity went very well and the kiddies were so well behaved. I did end up running around and being super busy through most of church but it was so worth it! It was so great to be able to help out and use my sewing skills for my church!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Part 2

My in-laws, my hubby and I have a tradition where we get together at their home on Christmas eve for a fancy dinner and presents-no kids allowed! And it's always very nice. This year due to my father-in-law's work schedule we had it on the 23rd instead so this outfit did double duty for church and Christmas dinner.

I found the gorgeous 50s vintage suit at a local vintage store while shopping with a friend. Can you say wow! Velvet, peplum, a fabulous pinky red color and I could get it on my body!

Feline photo bomber!
I did move the button on the jacket and one on the skirt over a bit for some extra room and I let it out a smidgen over the bottom area just for a bit more wearing ease, but really, vintage suits are never ever this close to my measurements! And I got it for $45!

The condition was great! I could tell that it had been let out on the sides previously but it was barely noticeable. The only other issue was a bit of wear on the covered button. But it was sooooo fabulous!

I paired it with black hoes and some cute black shoes.

This is my in-laws' kitty Tuffy. He's crazy affectionate and kept begging for lovings while we were taking pictures.

So I gave him some before we had dinner. They have another kitty who goes by Baby but she's super shy.

Dinner set up! We turned off all the lights and ate by candle light. It was fabulous! 

Our contribution to the evening was a bottle of Delicia malt beverage (technically a beer I guess but doesn't taste anything like a beer.) We'd previously had the whipped cream flavor (nom nom nom) and brought a bottle of the red velvet flavor to try. And it tasted exactly like red velvet cake! It was a bit weird because it was a beverage that tasted like a food but it was good. If you need something new to try for your holiday festivities or New Years, I highly recommend it. It's available at Walmart (and other places I'm sure).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Some new and exciting things!

First off, I finally got a pinterest account! Woot woot! I'm trying not to spend every waking moment on there. *mustpinalltheprettythings!* But you can follow me here! If you have a pinterest account, please share in the comments so I can find some new lovely pinterest boards to follow!

Also, I'll be participating in The Dreamstress' Historical Sew Fortnightly next year! It's a historical sewing year long like Sew Weekly. I'm sure I won't make it through all of the 26 challenges but I'm really hoping to up my costuming wardrobe in 2013 and I think this will be super fun!

If you already got these memos, you've been following along on my Facebook page! If not, pop on over and like The Girl with the Star-Spangled Heart on Facebook so you don't miss the extras that are posted over there! Sometimes I have fun things to share that don't quite merit an entire blog post and that's where they go.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Baking in Style

I adore baking! And I've been wanting to make a larger apron to really protect me while baking. I'd been eying Wearing History's 1940s Apron pattern for a while and I finally got around to sewing it this month.

I used a green quilting cotton with red flowers and lavender bias binding. This pattern uses a lot of bias binding and it has every shape imaginable that you have to bind-inside corners, outside corners, shallow curves, sharp curves, sweetheart shapes...... But Lauren has a slew of amazing bias binding tutorials on her blog that makes life a whole lot easier!

The heart shaped pockets where the most difficult part but once you get past them it was quick and easy.

I suppose you could swap them out for patch pockets of a different shape but really the hearts are just too cute! :D

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Part 1

Just like for Thanksgiving, Christmas is a time of many, many, many visits to friends and family. On the bright side, that means more outfits! I sewed up this matching skirt and bolero for my husband's grandparents' big Xmas get together.

Polka dots! Thanks for all of you who helped out with my Christmas dress conundrum! This is the outcome. I got loads of compliments on it!

I self drafted a circle skirt and left it quite long. I also had enough leftover polka dot fabric to make a bolero!

I used the bolero from Wearing History's Chic Ahoy pattern. It's a great little bolero pattern. I did shorten it about 2" in the back because I wanted more of a cropped look. I may start making cute little matching boleros for all of my circle skirts now!

And, of course, I couldn't help but wear my black and white polka dot shoes with red accents even if the shades of red didn't quite match. Little jingle bell earrings with red bows finished the look. Love this outfit!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

In which my husband helps make a corset

The goal for my Edwardian sewing is to get as much work done over Christmas break as possible done on the underpinnings. For the brassier, I'm using a free pattern by Historically dressed.

I started by making a muslin just straight from the pattern and it turned out quite big. Above is my pattern pieces after all of the changes. I did end up changing the back neckline so I have more options for evening gown styles. The original is quite high. I found a lovely extant bra from this period on pinterest that has a v neckline in the back so I felt justified in my modification.

Here is my latest muslin. I'm half way tempted to finish it and turn it into a cute retro crop top (to be worn with a regular bra underneath of course!) since the cherry plaid print is so cute! It's funny out underwear from one period is more like outerwear from another.

For the corset, I'm using a free mid 19-teens corset from Festive Attyre. (It was her pinterest board of the bras too.) The pattern is hand drawn on a grid that needs to be enlarged to 1" by 1". My husband saved the day by doing fancy graphic design magic on it to get it enlarged and to print tiled like a pdf pattern. (In his words "enlarged in photoshop, saved as a pdf, printed as a poster in adobe acrobat".) So if you don't have a talented graphic designer husband/friend/coworker/etc, you won't be able to enlarge and print the pattern on a computer. Jen of Festive Attyre said that she used a copy machine to enlarge it so you might have better luck going that route.

She also has laid out a handy dandy chart on how to grade the pattern up or down to whatever size you'd like.

I also made a set of lacing strips as suggested by Jo of Bridges on the Body in her 1911 corset sew along. Can I just say that I HATE setting grommets. For my last corset, I upgraded from whatever grommets they sell at Jo-Ann Fabrics to grommets and a grommet press (the cheap kind) from a corset website (I've forgotten which one) and it sucks. I have to hammer the dumb press until the grommet starts to bend like it needs to, then carefully remove the whole piece from the press without the back part of the grommet getting stuck on the press and the whole thing falling apart and then hammer the grommet again. Oy.

Thankfully, after the first strip (and wasting about as many grommets as I actually set in) my wonderful husband stepped in to help. It went much smoother and we only had one wonky falling apart grommet to do over on the second strip! Woot! Guess he has the magic grommet touch....or I just have the upper body strength of a small ten year old.....

Anyways, I whipped up a muslin in some red striped quilting cotton. I picked this fabric because it was an appropriate length (about 1 yd) and it was a bit thicker and so would be a bit more durable for fittings. I did not attempt any strip matching so those lovely looking chevrons are just by accident.

I used 1" seam allowance as suggested by the Bridges on the Body sew along. Now I just have to baste the lacing strips on there and wait for my bones to come in so I can use a few to fit my muslin.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dressing Downton Take 2

You may have guessed from all of the late Edwardian inspiration that's been popping up lately (and from this post), but there is going to be some Edwardian sewing going on here! My previous Dressing Downton efforts were mostly modern or modernized a bit with the costume documentation part dying a sad death after my laptop died and I lost all of the photos I had collected. :(

In 2013, there will be (more) historically accurate costuming going on and still some costume inspiration from the show as I decide what lovelies I want to make. And, as with any good historical costume, I'll be starting from the inside and working my way out!

Phase 1: Undergarments

The thing about the Edwardians is that they wore gobs of layers and many of these layers were covered in ruffles and lace. These would include:
  • chemise and drawers (open or closed)
  • or combinations which were a chemise and drawers sewn together at the waist
  • corset
  • corset cover with bust improving ruffles if needed
  • early brassier 
  • stockings

I was going to draft up a set from The Edwardian Modiste even though it was from the 1900s rather than the 1910s since all of the patterns I found (like the above one from Truly Victorian) were from pre-1910 anyways but I finally found a combination pattern from 1913 so all I'll have to draft up is the corset cover. I've also found a great pattern from an early bra that I've been muslining.

Phase 2: Corset


I seriously considered joining in on the 1911 corset sew-along hosted by Bridges on the Body last January, but I decided to buy my Astoria's instead. I'll be using a free pattern by Festive Attyre based on an extant mid-1910s corset from her collection (her finished corset from this pattern above). And I'll be using bits from each site to help me make my corset because you can never have too much help when making something you've never made before! I'm planning on going the whole nine yards and using coutil and steel boning for this corset.

Phase 3: Clothes

I'm currently planning 3 outfits to make before costume college: day separates, day dress and an evening dress for the gala. I have loads of ideas for this part but I'm sure that they'll change before I get this far! At the moment I'm in love with Mary's gold evening gown above!

Monday, December 17, 2012

2012 in Review

The holidays are upon us and before we know it, it'll be 2013! So let's see how I did on this year's resolutions!

1) More (and better) outfit posts.

Success! The last few months, I've been on a nice outfit post rhythm and I should be able to keep it going! 

2) Knit stuff

Yups! Check out all of the lovelies on my Ravelry page! I'm still a slow knitter but I'm gaining more experience!

3) De-stash my stash!

I think my stash progress is going to get a post of it's own but I'm down 12 yds from last year! :D

4) Create a quick everyday hair and makeup routine.

Getting a pixie helped loads on this score but I still could do better here.

5) Sew more blouses and other work appropriate clothing.

Not so much.... But I have been focusing my rtw purchases on work appropriate clothes because I just don't like to wear the work appropriate clothes that I make and I hate making them. So I don't.

6) Get off the caffeine!

 *sigh* Definitely no progress here.... :/

Things I've conqured this year:

Losing 25lbs! (and keeping it off so far too!)

Stash organization 

Our first pets!

Sewing with knits


Me-Made vacation wardrobe

Retrimming hats

Unprinted patterns


Sewing from Edwardian Patterns

Costume College

Meeting other bloggers

Completely self drafted outfit (left dress)

Dying fabric

Sewing a jacket