Saturday, January 29, 2011

Meet the ladies...

I've always been interested in vintage sewing machines. This week I was lucky enough to find two beauties on the local kijiji for a song. My husband was kind enough to drive across the city in opposite directions to pick them up for me. He's enjoyed helping me get them running again, and boy are they lovely! Quiet, sturdy and elegant. Does it get any better? Yes, actually it does. They each came with a selection of feet including rufflers, edge stitchers, tuckers etc. Fabulous! They have bentwood cases with working keys, too. They do not have foot pedals or treadles or hand cranks. There is a bent lever sort of like a crow bar that fits into a hole on the front of the base of their wooden cases. This gets pushed to the side by my knee and the farther I push it, the faster the machine goes. How cool is that? I'd never seen machines run this way before. I really love them. Here they are, the Ladies!

On the right is the one I have named Ethel. She's a model 128-13 from 1948, made in Quebec, Canada. Original retail price was $79.50. The receipt came in the accessories box. The internet tells me this would be about $733 today. Wow! She runs really well and my husband made a new electrical cord with a switch. Very nice! We are going to order a replica hand crank for this one. The kids are really interested in trying it  out and it would be safer/easier for them this way.

This one is a model 99k from 1927. I've named her (can you Kit fans guess?) Aunt Millie. This one is great too, we are going to keep the electric motor. After oiling and adjusting both of these machines they are really nice to sew with. I'm excited to try out the various feet they came with. I've also ordered some vintage patterns to make myself some retro fashions. It just seems like the right thing to do. Also because our house was built in 1947, it's like these machines belong here. I'd like to make Kit and Molly some things with these, too.  They are both 3/4 size machines. Aunt Millie's wood case is in better shape despite being older.

Monday, January 24, 2011

An apron for me

I've wanted an apron for a while but I could never find a pattern that was exactly what I wanted. It had to be cute, flattering and functional. I came up with this over the weekend, using up bits of things I'd collected over the years. After looking at lots of pictures of aprons I drew up this pattern and voila! I love it! I think I'll make a little wardrobe of these. Hubby likes it too ;)

The solid pink twill and the pink calico are from a friend of mine. She cleaned out her sewing cabinet and gave me two bags of fabric. The white piping is leftover from a long ago project. The rick rack is from the clearance bin many many years ago. I only had 1 yard and I had been waiting for the perfect time to use it. The white is part of an old mis matched sheet. The bib and skirt are both lined in white.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nighty night Leonie

I made these yesterday to add to the swap with my friend. She had mentioned making bath robes so I thought these would be a good addition. Leonie likes owls and the red fabric in these pajamas has peregrine falcons on it. They look a lot like hawk owls so let's run with that, m'kay? I couldn't see myself using this fabric for anything else so doll pajamas it is.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lined hooded jackets

I took some better pictures of the jackets today. One is for my Leonie and the other is for a friend's Leonie. We are doing a swap.
This one has plaid lining in the sleeves. I'm going to keep this one for myself since it will also work for AG, with the sleeves rolled up a little bit. Maplelea Girls have slightly longer arms and my friend does not have an AG, so she won't be needing to roll her sleeves. I ran out of plaid and used light blue for her sleeves. 
This is Leonie, She is very pretty in person. Different from AG, she is more realistic and more detailed. It's tough to get those details perfect so AG are more perfect in the abstract sense. Anyways..she's lovely.

Her arms are longer so she needs the full sleeve length.

A peek at the lining. The bottom hem is hand stitched in place, as is the inside hem of the sleeves. The pocket details are also fully lined. There are no raw edges in there since the pockets are turned and top stitched in place.

This picture turned sideways on me, not sure why. You can see the blue lining of the sleeves in this one. The toggles were made by me out of Sculpey.

 Addy is modeling my coat. The cuffs look nice and neat folded up since the hem of the lining is invisible.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Orange plaid for Evie and something for Leonie(s)

By special request I made another plaid button up shirt. This one is for Evie who loves orange. The closest looking doll I have for modeling this shirt is Ivy, and I think the coloring is just right for her. I'm sure Evie will look fantastic in her new shirt.

The buttons are 1/4" size and are completely functional.

The collar is just the right size. I dislike when doll collars extend to the shoulders, it has to be proportioned and realistic.
Right about this time I lost my sun light.

I have also made a couple of coats similar to the light brown/coral one I posted about last week. One of these coats is for a swap I am doing with a local mom. The other is either for my personal collection or I may put it in an etsy shop. I know I keep saying I'm going to open an etsy but I think this week I really should. I have a few things ready to list. I'm going on a trip to NYC in April and it sure would be nice to have some spending money while I am there. Anyways, here is one of the two nearly identical coats I made. The only difference between the two is that the sleeve lining is light blue in the one for my swap friend. The other one has plaid in the sleeve just like the rest of the lining. I'll take better pictures of the coats tomorrow when the sun comes back. 
Leonie is modeling. She is a Maplelea girl and I promise you she does not photograph well, especially in this poor lighting. I will get nicer pictures of her tomorrow, she truly is lovely in person. My Leonie has an identical cousin who is also named Leonie, imagine that. She lives in our city too, both of the Leonie dolls were ordered at the same time. The owner of cousin Leonie has been concerned that her doll hasn't got a coat and it's been very cold here. -28 today, brrrr! Too cold to go out without a coat! I offered to do a sewing swap with her so now our Leonies will have matching coats and they will be warm. 
The plaid in these coats it the left overs from Evie's shirt. The denim is very dark blue, but this whole picture is really washed out.
I made these toggles out of sculpy. I mixed some dark blue and marbled it with some white and orange to coordinate.
This picture captures how cute she is a little better. Her wig is incredible quality, I'm so glad I got her! I wasn't sure about these Maplelea girls based solely on pictures, but I am really happy I gave them a chance.
These are her snowboarding boots, I love them! Leonie is the French Canadian girl in the series, I thought it appropriate to stand her on my son's school books. The desk she is standing on has a slanted top so I usually  have to make a level platform out of a couple of books.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Finishing touches and a new sweater.

I put some snaps inside the front plackets of the coat I have been working on. It stays shut well and won't shift with wear. I love these little snaps, they are part of the finishing touches that make something special. But how to make this one really special? I was looking it over this morning, getting ready to pack it up for shipping and I thought it needed something personal. Something to make it even more Boutique. I came up with this personalized label and I am thrilled to bits with it. I hope my client loves it. I showed my husband and he said "If I were one to squee I think this would be squee worthy, awesome job!"

This sweater is something I have been working on here and there for a couple months. I started it in late November but had to put it aside while I was making Christmas gifts. I had it nearly done in early December but I didn't get a chance to finish it until last night. I only had about an inch left of one sleeve and some seaming and then it was done. The pattern is a free Ravelry download by WildHorses. I did change it because I always like to make things differently. The body of the sweater is exactly as the pattern states but I made my own sleeves.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, January 10, 2011

An almost O+S school days coat.

This weekend I worked on a coat for a special order. I was quite excited to work on this one, since it meant I was finished making the doll ballet leotards and I had a chance to draft a cool new pattern. I bought fabrics on Saturday morning and worked day and night to finish this. With shipping times being unpredictable, I thought the sooner I finish it the better so my client can have it by the end of the month. I was given a list of ideas for this coat and I stayed as close to them as I could. I looked and looked for melton wool at the fabric store but it was not there so I decided on a piece of suiting with a soft hand and lovely drape. I couldn't find anything in a deep brown so I chose this latte color instead. The lining is as close to coral in color as I could find. I liked the style of the O+S coats I'd made for my boys so I redrafted it in the size I needed and made a couple of changes. The wooden toggles are so sweet. I like using them, it's so much easier than making the little button tabs like my boys have on their coats.

It is fully lined in a silky soft fabric. Carefully hand stitched at the cuffs and the hem.

It fits the doll quite well. She has room underneath for a sweater.

The hood fits over all of her hair. All of the toggles work properly. I used a very narrow ribbon to attach them.

I put a little pleat in the back for ease.

The lining of the hood gives it a splash of color and character.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ballet class

I have a client who asked me for some special ballet leotards for her dolls. She purchased an authentic Freed of London ballet leotard for me to turn into 2 doll size leotards. I was pretty nervous to cut into it, there being just enough for two tiny leos. No second chances here. Also nervous because I'd never made a ballet leotard before, especially one (two) this small. I had to make my own pattern, as usual. They need to be stretchy and fit well, they need to be tough and pretty. I used every stretchy stitch and tricky knit sewing technique I have in my arsenal and hot damn it came out pretty perfect. 98% perfect if you ask me. It goes on feet first like a real ballet leotard. Now I just need to make the second one.