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I was born in 1976, and so was this pattern.

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I get a kick out of thinking this vintage pattern is as old as I am.  I guess this  makes me pretty old.  Yikes.  Quite simply-Simplicity 7407, my favorite vintage pattern ever!

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So easy to sew, so fast I completed it all within an hour or so this afternoon.  I confess I have sewn this a few times already, the pattern for size 4 even worked for Eleanor last summer.  This time I left out the elastic on the “bloomers” to make them into simple shorts instead and she loves them.  I think they will get worn all summer with or without the wrap top.  The fabric is by Richloom, a cotton print I bought ages ago on clearance.  I don’t normally like dressing little girls in black but the simple bold dot pattern looks so modern to me.  This style crossover top is ridiculously cute and I am going to be so sad when my girls have both outgrown this type of top.  How do they get so big so fast, I am not ready for the bedazzled, sequined, graphic tee and skinny jeans styles.  Girls fashion seems to go from baby to teenager way too fast…ever try shopping for a 6 or 7 year old?  I almost cried when Isabel grew out of 5T, anything above that is a whole new world.  There are classics though, like Lands End, that still appeal to me- but try getting a size 7 at Marshalls that doesn’t have “bling”.  Ridiculous.  Let them be little for longer Ok?

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Playing hide and seek, trying to climb the tree?  Hard to get the girls to stay still for photos, but I can’t get mad she looks so darn cute.  I just love this little monkey, she is so sweet.

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Have you ever sewn a wrap top like this?  For a few years I tried to adapt/draw up my own for Isabel and had different varies of success… but this pattern is spot on.  Smashed Peas and Carrots has a great tutorial and pattern for a baby size crossover pinafore like this as well, I would totally recommend it if you have a little baby girl.  I also found an easy tutorial of how to draft your own pattern using a dress you already have.   Wish I had thought of this years ago when i was trying to draw my own!  My sewing has sure come a long way, with alot of trial and error.  I guess that is how you learn right?  I have never used either link, but thought they might be helpful if you wanted to give it a shot.  Another option is to search for this pattern online, I was able to find a few on etsy.  Lucky me I think I scored mine for pocket change from the thrift shop last summer- even cheaper than the 1.00 price from 1976 listed on the envelope.  All together, since this fabric was on clearance last year as well, this entire outfit probably came in under $5.00…pretty amazing.

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The Simplicity pattern I used is put together a bit differently than the tutorials I listed above, the front and crossover straps are one piece, not separate as in her tutorial.  Very simple, just cut two fabrics (contrasting or the same as I used here) on the fold, sew them right sides together, turn them inside out and topstitch.  Add your button holes and buttons and you are done.  Easy peasy.  Much easier than trying to get her to stand still, or wear shoes to match the outfit- I know, I ask too much.

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Modern Retro Kindergarten Style, Part II

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Done, done, done.   Isabel’s Kindergarten “Graduation” dress using this pattern:

 

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(blogged about here) is done.

Well, to be fair it was done a while ago, but with out of town guests, field trips, cleaning for guests, cleaning again for guests etc. it took a bit to get this posted.  The most exciting part of this project is that it is the first time all of my seams are professionally serged- woo hoo.  The serger class I took at the local fabric shop got me started- even though after over 2 hours of playing around with my machine during class we couldn’t really figure it out all that well.  For some reason I got home, set it up, tried one other knob and it worked- yay!  I am now hooked, it is like sewing on speed….awesome.  Not that I would know what it feels like to be on speed- but you get the idea!

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Knowing I will be too busy to take pictures on her last day of school I forced my little “model” to pose in the dress tonight- not too happy.  She loves the dress, just not standing still for pictures when she’d rather be running around on the swingset.  I think it turned out pretty great, but hoping I am the only one who notices the flaws.  Not going to point them out on here!!

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I followed the directions as written, but instead of using ribbon trim after the dress is completed I used pink piping in place of where the ribbon was to be used- across the back and bodice, and down the front center seam.  I really like how it turned out, already thinking of doing this again with solid colors ala Mondrian color block.  I think I will omit the puffy sleeves next time though, not sure if I like them but I am pretending I do because if I show any doubt she will not wear it…she has already hinted to hating them.  Oh well, live and learn.

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Eleanor was jealous of the picture taking action and jumped in- maybe she can wear it for Kindergarten too!

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Besides sewing, we have all been busy with our yoga as well- kidding.  I couldn’t resist this though.   Who would’ve thought it would take a few new handmade outfits to make them show some interest in their American Girl dolls!

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Modern Retro Kindergarten Style

This weeks Modern Retro is bittersweet for me.  My Isabel is finishing Kindergarten- how did that happen so fast?  She is really growing up-yikes.  I have found having a 6 year old is like having a teenager and a toddler fighting for power- constantly swinging back and forth between independence and emotional breakdowns.  Growing up is hard, that middle ground between being a young child and a big girl is hard to navigate.  It is terrifying to me to think about her growing up with me being unable to control her environment and make sure she is safe.  Not just physically safe, but emotionally safe.  Her feelings are easily hurt, and I can relate all to well to being shy and unsure of yourself.  It breaks my heart to see my insecurities reflected in her.  How I wish she were more aggressive, bold, open to new things and new people.  The school years are rough- I am sure we all have memories of getting our feelings hurt, being fearful, being picked on etc.  So hard to wach.  Boy do I think the baby years are easier! I know her empathy and sensitivity will make her a better woman as she gets older, but as a child she is just an open wound walking around.  Very hard.

Anyways, her school does not have a “graduation” for Kindergarten but they are having a celebration with songs and a reception so I am going to make an extra special dress for the occastion.  This has become a tradition, I made a dress for her Nursery school graduation, and one for her Pre-K celebration last year.  This year for Kindergarten I am ramping it up a bit and tackling a vintage Butterick pattern  3017 for an a-line dress with short puff sleeves and ribbon trim (the one shown in blue).  I am going to replace the ribbon trim with contrasting piping.  For a modern approach I “might” make coordinating leggings so that she feels more comfortable, because again this is awfully short!

 

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The fun part of this is the FABRIC!  I actually found this awesome print at Joann’s.  It is a designer print- Alexander Henry Kaori Floral…and I am in love with its bright and fun print.  Love it!

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Picture this sweet little dress paired with red capri leggings and her saltwater sandals…adorable.  I can’t wait to get started on this and see how it develops…keep you posted!

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Redemption

I have recovered from the crazy hospital gown/clown dress of a few days ago and have redeemed myself by making a great pattern redo.  The pattern I chose this time is Butterick 3062.     My pattern was a size 4, with a 23 inch breast.

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Toddler Girls’ Top And Bloomers: A-line top has scoop neckline, buttoned shoulders, and regular, scalloped, or shirttail hem with purchased eyelet ruffling. Bloomers have elasticized waist and legs.  I chose to make the version with the lace trim and rounded side slits.  This is put totally over the edge with the coordinating bloomers.  Hoping my (almost) 4 year old still feels comfortable wearing bloomers…not much longer I am sure.  I think I will mourn the loss of bloomers when she outgrows this style, it has got to be my favorite summer style for little girls.

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Look, it is a potato bug!  Eleanor has no fear of bugs and loves to explore.  Unfortunately for this little bug a few minutes later she examined him a bit too much…smoosh.  Gross, at least no pics of that right? 

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I would be lying if I said my latest obsession with Mad Men had nothing to do with my choice of patterns for this blog.  Sally Draper has certainly inspired some of these pattern purchases.  I can’t resist a short girls dress with knee socks and mary jane shoes.  This look however is much more juvenile than the last one I attempted (and failed) and will look so sweet with her little saltwater sandals this summer.  Perfect hot weather outfit to run around in.  She helped pick out the fabrics and approved the pattern and loooves the lace trim.  I tend to prefer cleaner lines, and don’t usually like to pair busy patterns with trims but for this modern retro series it seems to match the era and look I am going for.

With the momentum I gained from recovering from the horrid dress I mentioned earlier I kept on sewing.  And sewing.  And sewing.  Completing a pair of knit shorts, knit capri pants and knit dress today alone.   I plan on posting on these soon!

I also tried to save the clown dress by cutting off the collar and finishing up the neckline with an inside bias tape and added an elastic ruching to the back to bring it in a bit- and it is still too large!  It still looks a bit like a hospital gown and I am working on what I can add to make it work.  I am determined to make it work!  Oh god, I just heard Tim Gunn’s voice in my head.  Project Runway flashbacks.  Oh how I used to love that show!

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FAIL!

Heartbreaking.  Totally heartbreaking.  How I feel after I spend a few hours of my not so spare time making  a piece of clothing, following the pattern exactly, finishing seams, installing zipper, hemming etc. only to have it turn out like crap.  What looks like an adorable a-line short mod dress on the pattern cover turned out to be an oversized hospital gown like dress with a clown collar!  How am I going to redeem this?  So bad i won’t even post a picture of  Isabel wearing it for fear of total humiliation on her part.  Bad.  Really Bad. Does this ever happen to you?  Like there is a “You”…I haven’t even told friends or family yet about this blog.  I doubt anybody has read it other than me!

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Is it the subdued and pale print fabric I used?  Maybe if I used a bold print floral and omitted the collar it would be Ok.  What is most confusing to me is the fact that it is so large…it is a size 6 and Isabel’s measurements match those on the pattern- yet she fit in the size 4  pattern last week.  Hmmm.  Either way it is going to be hitting the chopping block tomorrow and get sliced up into something wearable!

One positive is that it was an absolutely beautiful day today.  We went for an amazing walk to the playground and brought our first picnic of the year.  I made an awesome set of picnic placemats last week that I finally got to use today and they were so nice.  The park was perfect- the weather was sunny and cool.  Perfect day to eat outside and lounge on a blanket while the girls ran around the park.  Post to come soon on the placemats, once I get a few good pictures of them I will post about the pattern and fabric I used.  Next onto making a picnic blanket…once I get through the stack of fabric sitting next to me waiting to be turned into dresses and leggings for the girls.  Redemption from this epic failure.

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Modern Retro – this week’s pattern chosen!

Ok, so I am a bit late on this.  Only my second week in and I am already slacking.  I will blame it on this crazy weekend of parties…3 within the last 48 hours or so.  Sounds more exciting than it was in reality, they consisted of two kids parties where I watched Isabel run around and bounce like a maniac, and the third was a very quiet family party.  Nonetheless they kept me from what I needed to do for this post- which is keep my deadline and post a new vintage sewing project!  I did get my crafty mojo going by way of the birthday presents for the kids, and got to show off some awesome Marvel comics fabric I found for a crayon bag…almost makes me wish I had a boy.  Almost.  Hope the little boy liked it as much as I did!20130525_113028

So, enough excuses.  I guess it doesn’t really matter since nobody knows about this blog yet, but I feel the pressure so here is the chosen pattern for this weekend.  Looking through my pattern stash I found this cute pattern for a great a-line dress.

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The pattern is from 1969 (again!) and features short sleeves, back zipper and optional collar.  Hopefully I will be able to take advantage of Memorial Day tomorrow and log in some hours sewing and whip this baby up.

Also, I am so excited to be starting an Etsy vintage shop!  I have been combing the thrift stores and have come up with a few great finds that I will place for sale in addition to the vintage patterns I am featuring on this blog.  Coming soon…

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Modern Retro 1969, part II the result

So, I finally found time to bribe Isabel into modeling the dress.  Well, top, or dress, or mini-dress depending on what era it is!  I think it actually looks super cute without leggings, but for the real world I will probably have to pair it with shorts or pants.  Girls just don’t wear dresses this short these days!  ImageImage

The details: Simplicity pattern 8668 from 1969 from this post.  Fabric is Little Red Riding Hood by Michael Miller paired with a white cotton yoke and red cotton fabric back yoke.  I used a red double fold bias tape from my vintage stash and a red zipper with an eye hook neck closure.  I love how the bias tape contrasts with the white yoke.  Pattern was a size 4, but I left off the ruffle trim and added the bias trim for a simpler detail.   I couldn’t resist adding the ric rac trim, I think it adds such a sweet detail. I eliminated the hand sewing on the inside- so my inside bodice is not up to snuff compared to the original pattern but who will notice?  I don’t have time to hand sew the inside of a kids top.  The best part of experience is knowing when you can stop following ALL of the rules, an example of when cutting corners is OK!  I have found vintage patterns to be much more detailed and labor intensive than many of the modern digital patterns I have used.  Just an FYI though, don’t let it intimidate you!  The end result is still great, wearable and unique.   I plan on using this pattern again.  Next time I will probably try the version with sleeves, with the contrast yoke and skirt.

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Although this was originally planned for Eleanor (who is 3) the size 4 was more generous that modern size patterns and luckily Isabel is happy to wear it!  Off to find my tape measure to avoid any more guesswork in sizing…

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Modern Retro 1969

Every weekend I hope to post a vintage pattern remade into a modern garment.  This weeks feature is a sweet toddler’s coat and dress pattern from 1969, Simplicity 8668.  I scored this pattern along with over a dozen others at my local Amvets thrift store for 5/$1.00!  Woo hoo.  The item I have chosen is the sleeveless dress (View 1).  My pattern is size 4 toddler, but somehow fits my 6 year old daughter!  I think I need to take measurements of my girls and use these for sizing rather than the number size given.  Having two girls helps though, it is bound to fit someone!  Image

Stay tuned to see the finished results.  It includes red ric rac and little red riding hood!