Friday, July 30, 2010

I was featured on the front page of Etsy today!

Yay me!

Sloper is such a silly word.

sloper [n]: a basic pattern that follows the natural lines and represents the basic dimensions of a figure, from which all styles are based on. Also called basic pattern, block pattern, or foundation pattern.

Onda and I were having coffee and she said,
". . . . . . . . . . . . . ."

And I was all, "Yeah." And she said,
". . . . . . . . . . . . . ."

"Okay, we can try that."

Id never made a base pattern. I didn't even know how, but I was getting tired of reworking shoulders and dragging out the one pattern that I really liked the fit to match it up to my current work so I wouldn't have that much issue with fit. Then I was all, hey, can't a base pattern help with that?

Onda said, ". . . . . . . . . . . . . ."

How can I argue with that? I got out my muslin, and bulked up Onda with a couple of t shirts.


Then I sewed a band around her waist and marked her in half. I also marked 7" down for the hips and in the back I did a different marking to make the back level with the front in case I was going to make an over the waist jacket or something.


I did two different bodice patterns, one with the dart beneath the arm, and one with the dart on the shoulder. I have a lot of gathered bust patterns so I thought putting the extra fabric up there was a good call.

I still cant believe her body is my body. She's so shapely.

I've done the front, back and front and back for a skirt. I even remembered to match up the darts on the waist to the ones on the skirt, like all my vintage patterns. I'm going to mark the seam allowance later and do a mock up. Once thats done and the fit is good, I plan on tracing the base minus the seam allowance onto heavy card stock and use it as a map for altering my patterns.

Like Threads Magazine did. I of course WOULD find this article AFTER I did all this, right!?

I just made a sloper, I'm gettin' fancy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Vintage Pattern Primer: Cost effective patterns.

As someone who spends a considerable amount of time scouring the web and other places to find vintage sewing patterns, I thought now might be a grand time to sort of introduce a primer to those who are new to sewing with vintage patterns, or who are interested in collecting them.

First thing to do is to get a feel for the pattern makers, styles and eras. Here is one of the best consortiums of dating vintage patterns. I plan to give better tips on this in a later post.

Prices have gone up. Way up. I'm seeing more and more 3 figure patterns, and truth be told, I would attribute a lot of that to a pattern that sold on Ebay about half a year ago for $350+. It was a 20s/30s evening gown, lovely, but to hell with $300 for a sewing pattern unless its made of gold and even then, Id have reservations.

Not to say that there are not patterns that can command a 3 figure price. Generally accessories patterns go high. I am still lamenting over loosing a 30s hat pattern in a 23" head.

*sigh*


It went on Ebay for $120+, but I bid just over $100. That would have to be the largest miss for me. (If anyone has this pattern I'd love a copy!)

From there you get into the mire of pricing based on what the seller thinks they can get away with. This will vary across the board, as there are no real rules. But Im about to make some observations.

I think we first need to realize that $3 patterns from the 1930s are gone.

(Here are some of my actual $3 30s patterns.)



I never understood people being so sore about that anyway. A contemporary pattern can go for $20, yet people seem to still believe that an old pattern has to be a buck. Whatever. I price honestly, based on style and age and completeness of the pattern. Most people think because its old, that is by default valuable. So not the case.

#1
Just because its from the 1920s does not mean you need to pay bank for it.
People don't want you to know this, but 20s patterns, in vintage pattern terms,
are pretty much a dime a dozen.


They are everywhere. If you are paying more than $40 for a 20s basic day dress, you are being robbed. Now, of course there are grand acceptations, there always are, especially if you are collecting the pattern not just for the pattern, but the wondrous graphics on the envelope-
(I'm looking at you McCall)
-then the sky can (and often is) the limit.



But if you see a 20s/early 30s dress you like, take a breather before you fork over the bank.

#2
1930s patterns are the most expensive right now. Probably a modest second are new look post war mid to late 40s patterns. Their dramatic lines and large gored skirts are really in now. Which sucks for me because 30s patterns are my favorite. You can find 30s patterns for $30 and under but they tend to be 'plain', which isnt always bad. That brings me to rule 3.

#3
Invest in plain patterns.


I have tons upon tons of basic shirtwaist patterns. Each one has an interesting flourish, be it a lovely sleeve, a back pleat on the bodice, yoke gathers, etc. If you mix and match from different patterns instead of getting that one super $$$$ one that has all the things you want, but you already have in 3 basic patterns, you'll save money.


I'm all for saving money even with a hobby, thats why I snap up basic patterns. If you find a basic '40s shirt waist with a standard shawl collar for sale at $25, move on! These types of dresses are generally $10-$18. What is that, the price of a modern pattern?

#4
Buying your size can be pricy.
I have one pattern that is my exact size and it is my most expensive pattern to date.

Generally with 30s and 40s patterns, buying above a 36 bust can get expensive depending on design elements. If you see a pattern that is not your bust size, why not take a chance at grading? If you are a 46 bust and you get a 30 bust pattern, youll go crazy, but if you are a 36 and you see a cute 32, why not give it a try? I don't know too many 32 bust people, so Id assume most people buying those patterns are grading them anyway. It could be a good cost effective way to get some patterns into your collection.

#5
Prices plummet after 1955.
Don't pay $20 for a 1960s pattern. Just don't.

#6
Dresses are more expensive than blouses. Blouses are more expensive than nightgowns. Nightgowns are more expensive than slacks. Slacks are more expensive than skirts. Skirts are about the price of children's patterns. Aprons don't count in this or any logical thought process.

The first one went for $25, the second one went for $50, and the last McCall went for $120!
My brain can't process this.

#7
Sadly some mail orders are starting to command the same prices as retail patterns now. Often the designs are similar so just keep an eye out.



#8
There is no real pricing difference in printed vs. unprinted patterns.

#9
Don't put too much stock in a factory fold. Sure, some collectors think that is the way to go, but Id rather have the pieces counted before I buy the pattern, especially if I plan to make it, as opposed to getting a FF and finding out the collar is missing! CRAP!

#10
Like with collecting anything, collect only what you like. Don't go bananas just because its an old pattern. Get it if it suits your tastes. Also, buy form a seller who knows that they are selling. You might think you are not getting a 'deal', but after you feel a seller out, you will know if they price fairly or if they gouge. I get tired of the crap shoot with people who price patterns sky high, but have no clue on era, condition or what have you.

Also, you might want to thin the herd every now and then. Reselling patterns you don't mind parting with is like giving pack to the pattern pool. It keeps all us collectors going. Try it every once and a while.

I guess thats enough yammering for now.
Any other tips you'd suggest?
Happy pattern collecting!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I got a new soap!

I'm not one to yammer about beauty products, but with some of my past posts on my struggle with my hair, I have to squeal about my newest discovery.

I had always wanted to try black soap in bar form.

It looked so cool and natural and moisturizing. Everything Ive ever wanted. But a bit out of my price range. That, and I did want a liquid form.

When I went to Vitacost for my normal order of castile soap and oils, I ran across this.

WHA?
Shea butter infused black soap in liquid form!? I moderately liked my castile soap, but the one I bought had tea tree oil in it and was a bit too drying for my skin and hair type.

This black soap is like pouring a bucket of moisture on my hair. It smells great, washes off great and hydrates my skin and hair ten fold. When I used it for the first time my hair was s soft I almost didn't need conditioner. I was stunned.

I'm buying this stuff for the rest of my life now!

Here's a list of the products I use.

The Jason vitamin E oil (5,000 IU) blend I mix in with my leave in conditioner for my hair. It smells amazing and is light.

Cococare is one of my favorite brands. Its inexpensive, has pretty high cocoa content, and smells light. This is my main moisturizer and I use it after I shower. Their pure cocoa butter stick I've been using for years and is AMAZING. It's like a push-up pop of cocoa butter!

Burdock Root Oil is great for the scalp. You can get it in capsule form, but I don't because it generally has gelatin in it. This oil from Floraleads is about the purest version I've ever found. I invested in the 4 oz bottle and I'm s glad I did. The smell is not very pleasing so you might want to cut it with an essential oil or something.

Dessert Essence cocoanut conditioner I decided to get with the new soap. Its nowhere near as strong as the other scent of theirs I bought. So far it seems okay.

The Dessert Essence Jojoba oil is what I add sometimes to my body wash. Its also great for my stretched ears.

Palmer's os one of my favorite brands. I use to get their cocoa butter lotion back when you could only find it in the granny section of Walgreens. Now that the company has had a resurgence, I've been priced out, but I do enjoy a few of their speciality items. This facial moisturizer is nice and has sunscreen. Also, I have some of their lip butter and it smells so gewd.

Thayer's Witch Hazel is awesome. Enough said!

Good old fashioned Dove deodorant. It's smell is understated and it doe s the job.

The last bottle of Jason's vitamin E oil (14,000 IU) I use mainly for my cuticles and for the top of my puppy's nose. She's prone to dryness. It smells obscenely good.

Thats pretty much all I use. Sure, I have a couple of bins of trial and error (I am a girl after all) but I tend to stick with clean, natural stuff that I have the option of mixing and matching.

That and a lot of water.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Skirt of many, many, many, many gores progress.

Don't you hate it when you are putting on your girdle, but you can't see the hook and eyes because your boobs get in the way...?

Come on, don't act like I'm the only one!

Welp, I'm almost finished with the 12 gored skirt.

I almost didn't have enough fabric for the skirt. I had to redo the layout of some of hte pieces. It was one giant puzzle, but no piecing, yay! I marked each piece VERY carefully so I wouldn't have any mess ups. Once I started sewing it it went together fairly quickly.

I would have posted images sooner, but Aunt Flow came for her visit and I couldn't fit into the skirt! Yay water weight gain! Four days later, I was able to fit into it.

This garment is what I would call a 'only wear under right conditions' skirt. The pleats are sewn down over the bum and abdomen making it very form fitting and I didn't add much ease. But I do look cute in it, thanks to foundation garments. All I have to do on it now is add a hook and bar closure at the waist, and hem the skirt about 1/2".

Once I make my ticking girdle that nips my waist more, I'll look super hot!

On another note, how is everyone doing with their Make & Mend projects. I have one more to do, the make something for someone else.

The good news is, I'm making a mother and daughter apron for a friend. The bad news is, all the supplies won't be here until next month. Crumbs. Also, I've gotten a couple of emails form ladies suggesting more time, so I'm going to extend Make & Mend through August so people have more time.

If you haven't started yet, now there is no excuse. Get to mendin'!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Catalog Sunday

This week in tandem with my previous foundation garment post are foundation garments from the 30s and 40s. Check out the variety of the Lane Bryant ones. All the LB scans from 1942 were from one 60 page catalog.

Lane Bryant 1932

Lane Bryant 1933

National Bellas Hess. 1933

Rowman's Department Store 1938

Chicago Mail Order Company 1941

Lane Bryant 1942.

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