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Thursday, June 28, 2012

American Flag Cutoffs & Bandana Halter Top Tutorial

DIY American Flag Cutoffs and Bandanna top
A quick and easy outfit idea for you to make just in time for the 
Fourth Of July!

DIY American Flag Cutoffs and Bandanna top

DIY American Flag Cutoffs and Bandanna top

The folks from Fashion Art Projects  were kind enough to send me a box of goodies from their Next Style line to try out. You can find their products at Wal Mart and Micheal's Craft Stores. Among some of the goodies sent to me were iron on appliqu├ęs, letters and rhinestones, a canvas tote, and this red bandana.
Here is a fun way to use a bandana!
Bandana Halter top:

You will tie the bottom across your child's back.
American Flag Cutoffs :

DIY American Flag Cutoffs and Bandanna top

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Everyday Vintage And Our New Puppy

Introducing Miss Coco!
A little chihuahua we found at the feed store.

We love her...
Everyday Vintage
I found this blouse in a pile at a yard sale for 2 dollars. I fixed the pockets and patched the holes.

It's Jiminy Cricket from the old Disney  movie Pinochio!
I have no idea how old this blouse is but I love it! I'm guessing the early sixties?
The first Disneyland opened here in California in 1959
and I wouldn't be surprised if it was something that was sewn from fabric bought around that time.
Anyone have any idea?

I think it may have been pajamas or some sort of smock top originally .
I'm not too sure about my patch job but I wore this all day and got quite a few comments once people noticed it was Jiminy Cricket!
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Colette Hazel With Piping

Time to sew something for me!

I loved this stretchy stripe woven fabric and a touch of red was needed to make it pop. 

A detail of the piping, the dart I turned into gathers, and some loose threads!

There's me being bossy with my child labor , photographers. I wish they had told me my bra straps were showing. Oh well, you get what you pay for! They did a great job. I love that angled photo Shelby took!

A big thank you to my two wonderful photographers!

Notes on sewing this pattern. 

I added the piping for a pop of red which I always love. I had applied the piping to the angled seams on the bodice, but it looked really strange, like a Supergirl costume or something, so I removed it. The piping also gives a nice stiffness to the edge of the bodice.

 According to my measurements I should barely fit into a 6.  I don't like much added ease so I cut the 6. After basting  together the dress it was huge on me. By the time I took in all the seams it is probably more like a size 2/4 , so this pattern has a lot of added ease. BTW for new sewists, ease is extra space added to the pattern for comfort. I also shortened the straps which were about 4 inches too long for me.

Let's just say those two little darts in the bodice pointing directly at my bust had me feeling a little self conscious. I decided to make little gathers in that spot instead of the darts.

I didn't do a muslin as I never do, unless making a custom made pattern. The fact is, every fabric behaves differently and fits differently so a muslin may fit perfectly in one fabric and not fit the same in the final fabric you fit it in.  It's also a waste of fabric and since I buy most of my fabrics in the garment district or flea markets for 3 dollars or less, it doesn't really save me any money. But I might make one if I was using a thirty dollar a yard fabric!
Here is what I do instead:
I just make a one inch seam allowance instead of the usual 5/8 inch allowance included in. I mark the sewing line lightly so I know where it is. I have a dress form padded to fit my measurements and I baste together the bodice pieces first, and do my first fitting on my dress form. Then I try it on myself just to tweak the fit. The extra seam allowance I added allows for any adjustments that might be needed. With four kids, a job as a costumer, and several chickens, 3 dogs, and a home to care for, making muslins are a chore Im not interested in. I want to get straight to the fun stuff! After my first fitting, I pin and mark my new seam allowances, pull out the bastings and resew. If I think I may use the pattern again, and I will make this Hazel again, I adjust my pattern pieces.

One mistake I made was failing to add some length to the bodice when cutting it out. I feel this bodice could use about an extra inch of length and when I make this pattern again I will slash the bottom third of the pattern, as recommended by Sarai, and add the length there.I am planning on making it again from a vintage tablecloth so stay tuned!
Another big mistake I made was trimming my pocket seam allowance off because I had sewed them wrong sides together. I was too lazy to pick out the seam so I just cut it off. After spending a lot of time figuring out the pocket technique I realized they were too small to fit my hand in! So out came the seam ripper to remove them for good.

I used two tutorials from the Coletterie that helped me get past my hatred of invisible zippers and applying a facing to an invisible zippers. I have been sewing for more years than I care to say and have always been terrible at installing invisible zippers until I read this Colette Tutorial . Once I installed the zipper, this tutorial helped me figure out how to attach a facing to the zipper.These are such well written tutorials. If you are planning on making the Hazel, you have to check them out!

Stop by and enter my Indygo Junction pattern giveaway!

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Indygo Junction Pattern Giveaway

Hi Readers!
If you are stopping by for Sew & Tell Saturday it will be back in July.
 I needed to take a little break and think up some new ideas to change it up a little.
 Also, I was at the beach yesterday with my kids and I was so tired from the sun I conked out before writing the post!
Today, the Indygo Junction pattern giveaway continues and I will be giving away the
 One Yard Overlap Pattern .
A cute and simple apron/ smock combo that is perfect for arts & Crafts!
This giveaway is open to followers of the Sew Country Chick blog. 
To enter, let me know if you follow via GFC, Facebook, or a feed in my comments section.
This is an unsponsored giveaway and coming from my cache of patterns I won via the Indygo Junction Modern Vintage Contest.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Elephant's Graveyard Costumes and Jodhpurs tutorial !

I have been super busy all week sewing costumes for The Elephant's Graveyard.
There I am in the credits!

I have the costumes  about 80% complete and tonight was the first run through with the cast wearing some of the pieces I have made for them.
This play has a lot of sewing involved and I am learning a lot working on projects I would never make for myself or the girls.
This is the first time I have sewed menswear and I actually enjoy it.
There is a crispness to it.
I am so grateful for being able to get paid to do something I love.

Ringmaster Costume

 I am really happy with how these jodhpurs turned out. There were no patterns available that I could find so I altered a pattern for some high waisted mens trousers.

I used McCall's 4745, a civil war uniform. 
This pattern is perfect because it has a high waist. I shortened the legs  and and drew the exaggerated hip found on jodhpurs, narrowing the leg at the bottom. It's really a simple thing to do and you don't need to search for jodhpur patterns for hours like I did!
This is how I redrew the pattern for the jodhpurs. Just widen the hip and narrow the bottom legs, Shorten the legs too.
Marshall Costume

I used Simplicity 2895 for this vest with welt pockets.
I also made the black frock coat pictured for another character but I haven't taken a photo yet. 
I may have to make the shirt for one of the characters because we can't find anything in his size 52.
This was the first time I made welt pockets! I was so happy that I could do it. It was one of those sewing techniques that always scared me. They aren't perfect and I still need more practice.


 I used a Reconstructing History pattern for this high waisted skirt still being worked on. It doesn't look like much of anything yet. I tried to dye it brown but the dye didn't really take. I'm going to try again and add some sort of embellishment to it. I had to work on this pattern quite a bit to get the pattern adjustment for a full abdomen. You have to raise the waistline at the center front. I am learning a lot about fitting different types of bodies on this project.

 Here is the actor in my vest. He still needs a shirt and pants. The actress is wearing my muddy colored skirt.
My inspiration photos:

This costume was fun to make. It looks like one of those striped bathing suits from the turn of the twentieth century.

Our strongman is a big man and the director wanted him to wear some shorts over his bodysuit for modesty.
To make the bodysuit I connected a shorts pattern and a tank top pattern from Simplicity 2330, narrowing the pattern a lot for using a stretch fabric. I used the same pattern for the shorts too.
Simplicity 2330

I added a ruffle to my clowns' jacket because it was a little too short for him.

Here are my clown and strongman at rehearsal. The clown still needs a hat and I have to make some shoes for the strongman.

A few more costumes,  the steam shovel operator, the railroad engineer, ballet girl, and strongman. The engineer is wearing my husbands striped overalls and Big Mac jacket!
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What do some dance schools really teach?

Hi readers.
I had posted this blog Sunday and took it down soon after.
My father advised me against posting it. He said,
"What's this doing on a sewing blog?"
He thought I might offend some readers who have their daughters in dance.
After receiving a letter from a reader who was disappointed that I removed it, I thought,
"Well, it is my blog and I am allowed to post my personal opinions that don't have to do with sewing or crafts once in awhile , right?"
It's not like I'm getting paid to do this.
Plus, I'm not putting down dance at all, it is a viable and beautiful art form.
Just some of the people who profit off of those eager students and parents.

I am new to the dance mom world.
 My nine year old has a talent for dance so I put her in a dance class a few months ago. She picked it up right away and I was pretty impressed by her ability to remember all of those steps. 
 Before we get started I have to tell you my daughter is in a hip hop class. I know a lot of parents out there think hip hop is inappropriate for children but Lily has been dancing to that WII video game for awhile and we often dance together on the wood floor in the kitchen. 
She is good at it and wanted to take the class. And the song they did their number to was innocent enough.
After enjoying this form of dance she now wants to study ballet. I think that will be a good balance. Some classical dancing, and some fun, show off dancing.

 My experience with her dance school is this:
 It is a money machine that exploits well meaning but unaware parents.
The sad thing is since we live basically in the middle of nowhere, we don't have any other schools to choose from that aren't over a half an hour away.

 Twice a year there, is a show the children are expected to perform in and parents have to buy expensive costumes for every number their kid is in. One mom I know has two daughters who were in numerous numbers last night and she spent 800 dollars on costumes!
Most likely the school is getting a good percentage on the sale of the costumes.

Each costume costs around seventy dollars and the child only wears each costume for one song.

As a seamstress, I know how much work goes into making these costumes . The girls end up having dozens of costumes sitting in their closets, each being worn three times. Once for the required and expensive photoshoot, another time for the dress rehearsal, and again for the performance. It is so wasteful.
I make costumes for the theatre. The budget is small so we try to reuse costumes often by altering or reworking.
Some of these costumes from the dance school are beautiful but they only get to see two minutes of performance time before they are retired indefinitely.

Not only do you have to buy costumes for the show but you have to pay fifteen dollars a head to see your child perform.
And you can't film your child during the performance. You have to buy a 35 dollar DVD! There are also flowers and photos to be bought via the studio. I have to spend thirty five dollars so I can fast forward the entire DVD just to get to the two minutes my child is dancing? Hmph!!!!

This is a mainly working class community here folks! Why are all of these parents shelling out such big bucks for this?  

As you can probably tell by now, I was not on board with all of the pressure to spend, being the thrifty (cheap) mom that I am . My daughter was in only one 3 minute number/ song and the show was 2+ hours long. 
Her number was after the first intermission. No way was I going to pay seventy dollars for the family to see Lily dance for two minutes!
But I wasn't going to miss her performance for the world, so during the intermission we snuck into the auditorium through the exit doors which were very crowded with people walking out. We walked in seperately to avoid notice and since some people had left during the intermission, we sat ourselves down in great seats to watch the second half of the show.
I was prepared to pay if we were questioned but we were lucky. There were guards everywhere at the performing arts center, but the one at our door must have taken a bathroom break at the intermission.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Yes, you may think that antisocial behavior, but the punk rocker still lives in this almost middle aged lady.
 I hadn't seen all of the costumes except Lily's late eighties style MC Hammer type hip hop knickers and vest which were quite modest.

So I was shocked to see very young girls in suggestive outfits with lots of makeup dancing to songs with lyrics like "I'm a bad girl..."

What the *%#@!?... 

My husband and I squirmed in our seats. What happened to the cute little tap dancing outfits I had imagined?  These little girls were shimmying their hips and wiggling their derrieres in a very mature way.
It was like an audition for a Vegas showgirl act!
I can assure you, it was NOT appropriate for 10 year olds.
If my daughter had been in some of those numbers I would have wanted to grab her off of the stage. I wondered if the other parents had a problem with this too.
In defense of the school there were many numbers that were very well danced and not inappropriate at all.
But those previous ones mentioned ruined the performance for me.

 It got me  thinking that one of the reasons I love vintage sewing and especially vintage children's patterns is the innocence of the drawings of the children and the sweetness the clothing itself conveys.
Of course, almost anything gets me to thinking about sewing....

The sexualization and objectification of children is everywhere. Shows like DANCE MOMS and Toddlers And Tiaras  indulge some of the worst aspects of our culture here in the good ole' USA. Mothers on these shows don't think it odd to parade their innocent children onstage fully made up, in sexy and revealing clothing, and with pounds of hairspray on. The infighting, unhealthy competition, and unfriendliness on these shows doesn't show our society in a very good light.

But by showing shows like this on TV our culture is condoning the sexualization of our girls.
How would we feel if there was a show about 8 year old boys lifting weights to try to be the hottest dudes around?
It would never even make it on air.

 Are your daughters in dance school?
 Do you think my daughters school is unusual or typical?
Just curious.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My 1940's Kids Sewing Patterns : Summer Sportswear

Today I am sharing some photos from my vintage pattern collection with you.
Today's theme is 1940's warm weather children's sportswear. There is one thirties pattern thrown in for good measure.
I adore these old patterns as much for the sweet envelope art as the for great styles inside them.

A peek inside a pattern to the directions...

A typical unmarked one size only pattern piece. 
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