So blogging just may not be my thing

… and looking at the very grey photos in my earlier post, photography may not be either.  But I’ve been thinking about my little space on the web a lot lately, and I want a place to keep track of what I make, so I’ll keep trying.  To get around my hatred of having my picture taken, one of the biggest hurdles to my posting updates, we’ll settle for pictures on my dressform, Violet, for now.

A very high-level view of what I’ve made since my last post:

I finished my “Winkelman”.  It isn’t perfect – in fact, all I seem to notice are the parts I wish I’d done differently – but I made my first coat and my first project that required major pattern changes.  As you can see, it looks very different than the inspiration coat, largely because I: (1) didn’t want to use real fur (duh) or fake fur (long story) so I replaced the fur collar with an oversized wool one and skipped the cuffs, and (2) chose to use a vintage brass buckle and buttons that I found in a shop in Latvia via Etsy rather than using fabric covered.   Overall, I am very happy with how it turned out.  Of course, as soon as I finished the four-month project I simultaneously thought of how I never ever want to sew a coat again and what I’ll do differently next time.  Hrm.


I spent the rest of 2014 focusing on projects that take less than four months for me to make: dresses (mostly vintage, two of which are pictured below), a couple fleece items for my adorable niece (pictured below), some super-simple home decor items, a bathing suit bottom, beach hat and cover up.

Vogue 5645, View B, no pockets

Vogue 5645, View A , different belt and no pockets

McCalls 6782

Elke Dress

My first finished project of 2015 is a modified vintage Simplicity 5996 – my very favorite dress pattern.  The modifications are mostly on the bodice:  I merged the bust and waist darts into one long princess seam in front, and merged the shoulder and waist darts into princess seams in the back.  Both of these changes give me more flexibility with fitting since I find it varies with each make.  I also, as usual, chopped at least two inches off the skirt length and graded up a size for the hips/butt.  It’s made out a cotton fabric with just a bit of stretch that had me scratching my head as to why I bought it — it’s not pretty — but I really like the way this dress turned out.

My third Simplicity 5996

Up next: maybe I’ll finish the vintage Butterick 7514 (a combination of views A & C) that I muslined, adjusted, and then tossed due to a bad fabric choice, or the Simplicity 1254 Leanne Marshall jacket that’s in progress…

More soon, I hope.

Dreaming of the Winkelman

After at least one night lying in bed thinking about it rather than sleeping, I’ve picked my next project, and it is a big one. I’m going to try to replicate this incredible coat, without the fur collar and cuffs.

Grey Winkelman Winter Coat

I found this beauty in the Mill Street Vintage shop on Etsy a year ago.  It’s from the 60’s and is by Winkelman.  I thought about it constantly for days, maybe even weeks.  I would have happily bought it, despite the hefty price tag, if it would have fit around my hips and backside.    So despite not having a pattern and having never made a jacket or coat before, I’m going to try to make it.

I scoured Etsy and eBay and found two patterns that could get my going: Vogue 1939 – but the only copy I can find costs $95, so um, no – and this one, which I found uncut in my size for $9 shipped.

This is not my size - it's just the best picture I can find.

This is not my size – it’s just the best picture I can find.

It arrived on Monday and I started my first muslin last night.

I had planned to make the coat in grey, just like the picture (yes, I seem to be on a grey kick right now), but when I got to Winmil I found a coat-weight wool in brick red for $12.98/yard.  It’ll be tough to find a belt buckle and buttons to match, but that is a challenge I’m willing to accept even if it may require another trip to NYC — because yeah, twist my arm.  I’m not sure what I’ll use for lining just yet, but chances are this will take more than one muslin, so I think I have some time.  If you  have any suggestions, please let me know.

Work in progress

9.18.13 In process

Work in progress describes a few things happening right now:  finally starting the blog that I’ve been day dreaming about for months, opening an Etsy shop for vintage patterns, and the purpose of this post, my latest Simplicity 5996.  My first attempt at this pattern is my all-time favorite handmade dress so far.  I made it in April in Ralph Lauren red denim with some stretch that I picked up at Winmil Fabrics.  Despite making a muslin, I needed to alter the bodice of the final product due to excess fabric in front – maybe due to a narrow torso and/or possibly just the stretch in the fabric?  This time around, I’ve altered the bodice pieces of the pattern a few times and finally have a muslin that I think fits well.  I cut the bodice in light grey mid-weight wool that I picked up at a fabric swap earlier this year and the skirt in dark grey mid-weight wool (leftovers from my NewLook 6000 that I finished in February.)  I plan to incorporate the two buttons, probably on a belt. I’ll hopefully start sewing tonight.  Happy sewing…