Happy holidays everyone! I got somewhat sucked into making presents that never got photographed because I was working on them up until the last moment, but, I did get to spend some time with my niece over the holidays and she wanted to learn how to “knit like a big girl with two needles.” She has a hand loom her grandmother bought her, but like any little girl, she wants to do what the big girls do and use needles. So, Auntie K sat down and taught her how to knit with two needles. She picked it up amazingly fast, but of course made some mistakes that I faithfully corrected for her. I want to buy her a book that teaches her more about knitting (and purling, which we didn’t get to do) and how to fix mistakes since she lives very far away and I can’t be there to correct ever slipped stitch for her. Any suggestions out there? She is 8 and likes “chapter books” so she can read fairly well and understand the processes if they are explained in a rudimentary fashion. Her mom doesn’t knit, but can help her read if words are confusing. Interwebs to the rescue, I hope!

The one thing I am absolutely petrified of sewing (besides knits) are trousers.  I don’t know why two tubes and a crotch of material are so intimidating to me, but perhaps it is because I am sort of difficult to fit and all of the endless muslins and alterations scare me off.  A dress is much easier to fake if the fit is not ideal, but trousers cannot be helped if the fit is not right.  Knowing this, I scoured for some repro 30s/40s style trousers (wide leg, high waist) and found a few shops that sell them.

First up is Heyday clothing’s Swing Trousers (hey looks, it is Fleur de Guerre modeling them!)

Check out the gorgeous Fleur in those trousers!

I could only give more love to these trousers if they had them in my size.  I really wanted green ones and would have settled for navy or black, any of the wool colors, really, but sigh, none of them were available in my size.  They look absolutely lovely on those that I have seen wear them though and eventually they will be mine.

Second up is Vivien of Holloway’s Swing Trousers which I found and for which I quickly fell.  I bought them in green, and may I say, they are divine.  I was worried about fabric quality, very worried (I’ll get to that later) but these are lightweight, yet still warm, have the perfect amount of drape and swing.  I highly recommend them (and no, they aren’t even paying me to say that!).

Next up is a seller on etsy, Jitterbuggin, who makes vintage-style trousers from vintage patterns and vintage haberdashery.  I am not usually one to go for the overall look, and yet, these are rather enticing.  Perhaps it is the kicky pinstripe on that sassy model, but if I had the spare cash, I’d definitely want a pair of these.

A note about fabrics–the reason I had worried over the fabrics at Heyday and Vivien was because in some of the photos, the fabrics look very “costumey/polyestery” but having read the reviews, almost everyone comments on how the fabrics are much  nicer than pictured and are of really good quality.

I love the way i-cord looks, I really do, but for me it can get tedious the same way endless stocking stitch can get tedious.  This flower i-cord by Sarah Bradberry is truly adorable and would look great appliqued to a plain-jane A-line skirt.  Anyway, I was just playing around with some long lengths of i-cord with vague ideas of making a belt or a neckline trim or anchor-applique-something and truly putting off starting my holiday gifts.  Putting off gift-making is ridiculous, especially because this year I’m making a scarf and napkins (the easiest thing in the world!) and a little tiny pouch with a zip and a foldover snap for traveling with jewelry (the teeny tiny zip is scaring me away from this project, but it must be done).

What is everyone else making?

I am also searching for a really good and true recipe for Irish brown bread–the lovely crumby and soft bread you can get all over Ireland.  I’m sure it must have wholemeal flour, some sort of bran, and buttermilk in it, but I’ve tried out about 10 online recipes and none of them are up to par so if any of you know a good recipe, please let me know!

With the wealth of actual vintage sewing patterns available out there, I had been steadfastly ignoring reproduction patterns in my pattern-buying/browsing, but recently I’ve been swayed by two repro patterns out there.


Image Copyright Wearing History

The first, is one by Lauren over at Wearing History (if you haven’t looked at her website, you really must, it is a treasure trove of vintage sewing and costuming) is a pajama pattern but could also be adapted for a beach costume or lounge-wear.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  Too bad it isn’t the correct size for me (Pssst, Lauren, are you making more?) but if any of you out there would fit into it, please buy it and let me know how glorious it is to swan about your house in such a garment (find the etsy listing by clicking on the image).


The second pattern that has caught my eye is this one by Jennie at Sense and

Image copyright Sense and Sensibility patterns

Sensibility patterns.  This is the 1940’s Swing Dress pattern and while I am certain that there are a multitude of actual vintage dress patterns like this, I really do love the details at the shoulder and the waist and am very drawn to buying this one instead of poring over thousands of vintage dress patterns to find those same details in a vintage pattern.


Have any of you made up either of these patterns?  Are you a fan of repro patterns or do you prefer to stick to the “real thing” so to speak?  Any opinions are welcome!

I was reading Anja’s Clever Nettle blog today where she mentioned that after longing after a vintage photo album she finally bought it.  This particular photo album includes wardrobe photos of a girl from the 1930s and I was struck by one particular photo:

hooded dress

Photo copyright Anja Louise Verdugo at http://www.clevernettle.com

how amazing is that dress?  It reminds me of the vintage Simplicity 3276 dress here, except the dress in the photo has so many more luscious details and looks more structured and put together than the Simplicity pattern.  I would love to find a pattern (I’m too chicken to attempt to make my own simply basing it off a photo) and make up this dress, and rock it with the same attitude and confidence this girl shows!

I am looking to barter with someone–773px-Barter-Chickens_for_Subscriptionone of you lovely readers or someone you know perhaps!  I am in need of a custom image for my Etsy shop for custom orders or reserved listings and I would love to trade someone handy with the sketching for something knitted (your choice of anything listed in my shop (dog sweater, clapotis shawl, tea cozy), a scarf, fingerless gloves, a hat,  baby blanket, or if you have another idea or desire, let me know and we’ll chat about it) of your choice.  My idea for the image would be a TRex knitting up a sweater with needles and yarn trailing but I’m open to any and all ideas and I hope someone out there can help me!  Let the bartering begin!

I have recently been introduced to Fluevogs by Sally’s blog and now I have found a pair that I am absolutely swooning over.

libbysmithAren’t they gorgeous?  Well if you don’t have a thing for spats, I guess you would say they were ugly, but I love to toe the line (no pun intended) of cute/ugly in shoes.  Too bad they are WAY out of my budget right now since we are remodeling our house but maybe after the dust settles I can save up for them (hopefully before Spring!).

Also drawing my attention, but not in the same NEED WANT way as the Libby Smith’s above, are these beautiesgiuliaThey are very funky and cute and I love the shiny.  In fact the only thing I don’t like about either of these shoes is the 2.5 inch heel–I know it will be comfortable, but I like my boot heels to be 3 inches otherwise I feel that they are in that weird not high heels/not flats area.

What are you all drooling over for the Autumn/Winter season?

So Gertie’s post today about sewing winter coats got me thinking: when you sew a coat, and you are looking at sizing, do you sew your size the way you sew your size in a dress or shirt or trousers or do you go up a size because you are wearing this coat over a sweater and scarf or other bundly clothing?

I’m nowhere near ready to make a coat (I don’t think) but in my musing, I happened upon this pattern, Vogue 8626.  Looking at it, it seems to have a lot of give.  I am V8626normally a size 12 or 14 in Vogue, but would I go up to a 16 for a coat that I want to wear a sweater under or do the patterns account for that?  Any advice please leave it in the comments!

Edited to add–the Vogue website doesn’t have finished measurements for this garment, so while I know what they say my size is, I have no idea the amount of ease in the pattern because finished measurements are not online (or I don’t see them).

flat-earth-societyOh hello there!  What happened to me, you may ask–well I bought a house, a money pit, really, and it has been sucking up every single free minute of my time.  I managed to complete the puppy sweater (for Gibson, I will have pictures soon I hope of him in it) in between a massive plumbing problem at said money pit but since every moment of free time is spent over there fixing, painting, and doing all manner of home renovation I haven’t had much time for sewing.

I am working on neep heid though (in the beet heid colorway) and it is coming along smoothly after a bit of a struggle being impatient with the I-cord cast on.  It’s my first go at colorwork and while I’m pretty sure I’m not doing it “right,” I’m doing it and so far, it looks like the picture, so hooray!

I may be a bit absent for the next few weeks as we try mightily to get the money pit ready for inhabitants, but if anyone has any opinions on what to do about a kitchen floor that has a layer of plywood glued AND nailed to the hardwoods, leave a comment!

I have decided to splurge out and buy a dress form, but having scoured the reviews for a few hours, I’ve realized that the modern Singer and Dritz ones have very bad reviews indeed (most saying that they are cheaply made and break easily).

I have heard a lot about the foam Uniquely You dress forms but there are mixed reviews about the performance of the foam and the most critical review was of the “uni-boob” with which the makers endowed this form.    Said offending anatomy can be seen at the right.

Then there is the PGM dress form, which looks suitable but isn’t overly adjustable so I’d have to work on padding it out in places that need padding.  The PGM one I’m looking at is the #603 and is seen at left.

Then of course there is ebay–there are various vintage Wolf dress forms from the 80s on ebay, which might be nice, but the measurements seem a bit odd and I would once again need to pad.

Other vintage forms on ebay are enticing, particularly these three:

This is a Wolf brand dress form from the 50s.

This one is an Acme adjustable dress form–I just love the thought of owning something Acme..not sure why I have nostalgia for the company name.

Another push button adjustable dress form that looks promising.

So, I turn it over to you, dear readers…any recomendations on dress forms?  I like the idea of having an adjustable one, so that I could change it if I gain or lose weight.

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