Saturday, June 30, 2012

Maternity Dress: Beginnings

Yesterday I began work on my maternity dress!

The pattern is Hollywood 1366, from 1944.

As you all know, after cutting and marking your pattern, the first order of business is to take care of all darts.

Which made me curious--how do you like to prepare your darts?  
I am not exactly sure where I learned how to finish darts, although I know it was through one or two of my old dressmaking books.  And maybe a little trial and error. ;)  
Here is how I do darts.

First, I always stitch my darts from the wide end to the skinny end.

You never want to backstitch at the tip of a dart--it adds too much bulk.  However you don't want that end unraveling--it is pretty crucial to the form of your garment!  Thus I like to tie off my threads at the tip, clipping the excess threads to a little less that 1/4".

For darts that are going to get a lot of lovin', such as the bust darts, I stitch a line of reinforcement stitches about 1/16" away from the dart line and tie off the same.  The reinforcement does not need to stretch the length of the dart--only the last inch or so.


Ok, on to bigger things!
So this dress has side front panels that are rather triangle-shaped (they look like a vest here) and a front  panel that is straight and attached to the inner seams of the side fronts.  That sounds confusing, but it will make sense in a minute. :D

So I made darts in the bodice side fronts and back.  The bodice front didn't need any work done to it prior to joining.

Next I had to put together the waistline belt ties!  I decided to cut these on the bias to contrast with the rest of the dress, which is cut on the grain.  I personally like the belt/tie to stick out a little. :)  

BTW, isn't this great fabric?  I love it!  Bought it at a thrift store the other day.  Six yards for $3!  Oh yeah.

Once I turned the ties, I topstitched 1/8" around the outer edges to lend some solidarity, especially since they are cut on the bias and will be prone to stretch a bit.

Next I basted the ties onto the bodice front (forgot to take a picture of that one, sorry!) and then joined the bodice front to the bodice sides.  This is how the belt will be tied--it wraps around the back and then comes around to tie in the front.  Well, until you get more pregnant, that is!  

Here is a side view.  See how the front panel goes straight down and the sides are tucked underneath?  Snaps will hold this in place.  There will be several snaps on the bodice side panel for adjustments as your belly grows.

Here's what it looks like all the way out!

So I did make one foolish blunder.  Well, two.  First of all, I got overzealous and forgot to plan out what sort of seam finishing I was going to do.  I joined the front to the sides and was about to stitch the back to the front at the shoulder seams when it occurred to me that I was going to have to finish the front seams first (duh!).  This fabric is loosely woven, so it definitely needed some good finishing.

I decided to turn under my seam edges and hand stitch, like so.  I have completely forgotten what this particular finish is called, but I love the way it looks.

Which brings me to my second blunder.  I made inverted notches when cutting out the pattern.  Not a good idea on loosely woven fabrics!  I had to do some major stitching-down at every spot where there was a notch.  Just hoping that it holds up.  Oh Bessie.

Here is the end result!

Looks pretty nice!  Today, if I have time, I am going to finish finishing front seams and hopefully attach the bodice back to the bodice front.  I may do french seams in the skirt, just to save time.  Plus, french seams are pretty darn sturdy. :)

So what kinds of techniques do you like to use when making darts?  How about seam finishes?  Do you have a go-to favorite?

Have a great weekend!


P.S. Found a nice seam finishing tutorial here.  Check it out!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wedding. :)

I always meant to share a bunch of photos and details from our very home-spun wedding last year, but just never got to it.  There are more that I would like to show you, but for now here are a few of my favorites that I actually have on my computer. :)

My father and I.  He just doesn't look like himself without that hat!  


I bought my dress at an antique store about a year prior to getting married.  Actually, I wasn't even dating anyone at the time.  I absolutely fell in love with the dress, and it just happened to fit me perfectly, and the best part is that it was only $40!  Can't beat that, right? :D

The jacket was made of a lovely copper colored velvet and lined with taupe satin.  The pattern is from the mid-40's.  I love how it turned out.  I made it in preparation for a chilly day, but it ended up being in the 60's all afternoon.  I had to wear it anyway, though. ;)

I made my veil, and love everything about it except that it pulled my hair back too tight so my hair looks a little goofy.  Oh well!

My sister Sarah made my wedding bouquet.  She is amazing. 

I think this was at "I now pronounce you man and wife!"

The wedding party.  Bridesmaids are all sisters except the two on the far left--although they are practically sisters too. ;)


We wanted to keep the wardrobe simple and relatively inexpensive for our wedding party.  We also thought it would be great if they could actually wear their attire again. ;)  So we opted for black pants/pencil skirts, matching sweaters over white blouses, and matching homemade flannel scarves.  For the girls I thought muffs would keep their hands warm and look super cute.  I made simple flower clips for the ladies' hair.  I love the way the whole party looks together. 

The whole wedding party--flower girls and ring bearers included!  Oh, and Josh (in the red). :)  The flower girls' jackets were made by my mother in a lighter copper velour from another vintage pattern.  

My parents.  I love this picture.

We were married at the Little Chapel By The Creek.  It was charming.

After the ceremony I let my hair down.  I kinda wish I hand't, but again, oh well!  These pictures were really fun to take. :D  I love Davis' pose in this one. 

Dancing. :)

Our cake.  My sisters collaborated on this one.  Skylar baked the cake (vanilla with lemon filling--yum!) and Sarah, who used to work at a cake shop, decorated it.  Didn't they do a great job?

This is when I bit Davis' finger.  I didn't know that I was biting it, but you can tell by his face that he is in pain.  Poor guy!

Such precious memories!

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend and a blessed 4th of July!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Garden Woes

This is a venting post.

I am beginning to think maybe we weren't meant to keep a garden.  We had horrible luck last year with our plants, so this year I made a brand new raised bed and filled it with extra-good garden soil.  I've been pruning and watering and watching our little garden like crazy.  Here is the result so far:


I go outside to water yesterday and find on of my lovely, healthy zucchini plans completely uprooted and laying next to the hole.  Holy crap.  I have no idea what happened, but I am very mad about it. Zucchini is the one plant in our garden that I actually like.  Errrg.  It almost looks like something chewed it from its roots, as the root system did was not attached to the plant--just a nub.

2. Beautiful big boy tomato...rotting on the vine??

This tomato has been growing nicely for a few weeks now and all of the sudden it is all rotten on the bottom!  

3. Will our cucumbers always be this size?

Last year we planted small pickling cucumbers next to regular sized ones and the cross-pollinated.  The result was small spherical cucumbers that looked rather funny.  This year we only planted one variety of cucumber, a regular type, which is supposed to grow to 6-7" long.  For some strange reason, though, they are not growing more than 3" in length!  

I am really lost.  Is it that hard to keep a garden?  I haven't seen bugs on the plants (I planted a plethora of marigolds to ward most of them off).  They are in good quality soil.  I just don't know what I am doing wrong!


On a pleasanter note, my flowers are blooming nicely. :)  I planted zinnias and black oil sunflowers (that's what I feed my goats, so I figured I'd plant some and see what happened).  Not many made it past the sprout stage before becoming snail food, but the ones that did are looking very nice.  

Ok, I'm going to sign off for now.  Thanks for letting me vent.  I always had this dreamy idea that I would get married, move out to the country, have a beautiful, bountiful backyard garden, and it would all be happiness and bliss.  I am learning slowly that some of my daydreams have been a bit unrealistic. Well, I had to figure that out sooner or later! :p


Monday, June 25, 2012

The Chicken Whisperer

So as much as my husband claims that he does not like animals, he sure does seem to have a way with them.  Our two dogs adore him and will do anything he says, while they (ahem, Rousseau) jump all over me.  The goats even like him--although I think I am still their favorite. :D
 Well now it seems that he has a way with chickens too!

He came home the other day to a wife who was about to, well, be violent to the chickens.  I had a horrible headache, and had been listening to this constant loud chirping all day long.  I was over it.  I think pregnancy has made me less patient.
 Davis simply sat down next to the brooding box and gave them a little talking to, and VOILA!  Silence!  Ever since that afternoon they have been nothing but pleasant!  

I don't know what he said, but it worked.  I have a whole new respect for him now.  My husband, the chicken whisperer.


In other news, I am about ready to embark on a new project!  I want to make this dress:

With some lovely yellow feedsack-patterned rayon that I have had sitting around for a couple of years.   Yay!  The dress looks very simple to put together.  Plus, no zippers!  The front panel snaps at the sides. You sew on several snaps at 2" or so intervals so that throughout the pregnancy you can gradually widen the belly.  

I am also still working on that darned bathing suit.  I have picked it back up now, so hopefully it will be done shortly!

Last, but not least, I will be listing new patterns on Etsy every week this summer, so be sure to check out the shop frequently!  I may also be doing some special sales---perhaps one or two just for my followers!  Whoop!

Hope you are all enjoying your June so far.  Have a great day!


Thursday, June 21, 2012


I have decided that I do not like chickens very much right now.  I have a feeling that this sentiment has a lot to do with the fact that they are inside my house.

Reasons why I do not like chickens:

1.  They STINK.  (I'm sure this has a lot to do with the fact that they are inside a small brooding box.)  My whole house smells like chicken poop.

2.  They are constantly messing up their food and water.  CONSTANTLY.  I have to change it several times a day because they insist upon kicking shavings into it and pooping in it.  When I give them fresh food and water they act like they are starving birds and annihilate it.  Well, chickens, if you would quit pooping in your food and water you would not get to the point of starvation!

3. They are very very loud.  They chirp constantly.  I have to keep my bedroom door shut at night so that I can get to sleep over their annoying, incessant peeping.  It was cute at first, but it is cute no longer.

I am just not an inside animal person, I guess. ;)  You know what really blows my mind?  Some people actually keep their chickens as indoor pets!  On purpose!!  I read an article in Mary Jane's Farm (one of my favorite magazines) once all about that.  Apparently Mary Jane herself keeps a pet chicken.  She even had a pattern at the back of the magazine for a chicken diaper.  

No stinkin' way I'm going to change a diaper on a chicken. 

Anyway, this is just a venting post.  I'm sure I will love the chickens eventually.  We are just going through a rough patch right now.

On a happier note, my other hollyhocks have started blooming and they are BRIGHT PINK!

Oh, and my first zinnia has bloomed as well.  :)  I love zinnias. 

That's all for now folks. Gotta go clean the brooding box. 


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Patterns Up!

New patterns up at Bessie Miller Vintage!  Here is a sampling...


Check it out!