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May 31, 2010

"What a dump!" Monday + Goals!

Yesterday I was digging in a box of art supplies searching for some wrapping paper, and look what I uncovered!  I didn't even remember I owned this Bette Davis paper doll.  It must have been a gift.

I'm especially fond of this lovely black number, no doubt an Orry-Kelly:

I really should have a pot luck or something and we can bring all our dolls!

But on to sewing.  I found this book on Saturday at the flea market and it has inspired me.

I feel like I'm ready to re-approach pattern making; I wasn't back in January.  The book proceeds project by project, making garments of greater complexity.  I'm psyched!

Remember our lively discussion about harem pants?  Well a few of you recommended Simplicity 4788, a sort of Lawrence of Arabia get-up.  I found the out-of-print pattern online and bought it.  I love all three versions and the clothes are cute too.  Thanks for the suggestion!

I experimented a bit with a yard of black crinkle cotton I bought last week and I came up with this:

It's basically just the baggiest pair of boxers ever made but super comfortable and so pretty to twirl in if slightly immodest.  Michael calls it my "skort."  If I'd had another yard, however, they'd be the balloon pants of my dreams.

So to recap, my week consisted of:

1. Sewing my skort, which took about an hour.

2. Donating a few bags of fabric to the Salvation Army.

3. Reading "Deluxe."

4.  Oh, yes.  I was transfixed upon seeing this photo of Liza at the "Sex and the City 2" premier.  I love this Liza look, which I think Cathy could pull off in something a bit less transparent.

I had to find out more about it so I started what turned into a very lively discussion on the Pattern Review message board, definitely worth a chuckle if you're interested.  I bought this pattern as a result.  Can't you see some of these looks in red sequins?

Readers, at the flea market on Saturday I also saw the loveliest vintage Singer 301, but I successfully talked myself out of purchasing it.  I really do have more than enough machines... sob.

For the coming week I want to:

1. Get started on the pattern drafting book, taking all my measurements and maybe trying to draft my first pattern.

2. Re-thread my serger which has sat unused for nearly a month.

3. Figure out what I want to sew next.  There's a menswear competition on Pattern Review that ends  in a few weeks and I'm not sure whether I'll enter it or not.  Maybe I'll whip up something slightly "Road to Morocco."

And now how about you guys?

I'm guessing you're mainly off work today so you'll all be busy sewing.  In honor of the holiday, I am only going to nag you telepathically.  But you know who you are and believe me, the frequency should be coming through loud and clear.  If you can't hear my nagging voice in your heads, you're not listening!

Have a wonderful, relaxing and/or productive day everyone!

What are you sewing these days?


  1. Yes it is a holiday but no I am WORKING - sigh, gotta do it with a trip away just around the corner. Going to hem the second dress NOW before the light fades and then I can take pictures and then you can stop hassling me. ;-)

  2. I have that Dorothy Moore patternmaking book and it's really great. I have used it almost as much as the ginormous Helen Joseph Armstrong text. Not sure what I'll be working on today but prob. an easy summer dress (imagine that)....

  3. I'm excited to see what you do with the Lawrence of Arabia get-up!

    And I'm sorry I was away from the Internet for your sewing anniversary - congratulations!

    I finished and wore the red dress. Post is up now if you want to take a look :)

  4. I had Tricia Nixon paper dolls when I was little!

  5. Those paper dolls are adorable! My earliest sewing was actually closely tied in with paper dolls... my best friend and I made our own (dolls and clothes), and then attempted to recreate the styles for our barbies...

    My next project is a pair of capri jeans (Jalie pattern) for myself. I have the pattern traced out and the fabric and notions already. If I can get it cut in the evenings this week hopefully I can sew it up next weekend (unless my husband get sufficiently fed up with the sewing machine on the kitchen table and punts it out down the stairs ;) ). I would love to see Cathy in that Liza ensemble :D (PS this is my first comment... I discovered your blog last week and love it!)

  6. Great movie, the Road to Morocco. You have great tastes in movies. If you have the guts to wear the harem pants, more power to you.
    Sewing, who knows with 4 kids home underfoot. I am going to try and mass cut out pajama shorts for all four, they are desperately needed.

  7. I love that Dorothy Moore book. The 60's fashion illustrations just made it. Have successfully made a sloper out of it, although now it no longer fits.
    I'm completing a tie-neck (neck-tie?) blouse that is part of my stash-reducing mission. That, and to figure out how not to have pointy boob-darts.

  8. Oh. My. Gosh. So Alyssa, who comments here sometimes as well, and I run a blog together (, it's pretty new, be gentle) and she JUST BLOGGED about making pants pretty much exactly like this for our last show (Comedy of Errors). Freaky! We didn't ever find that Simplicity pattern (there is an out of print Folkwear that we used, and in our opinion, there is something wrong with the waistband, it never fit properly) - probably wish we'd seen this one now. They are, according to our actors, comfortable.

    As for what I'm working on - I have six or seven patterns and more on the way (EEEP). I want to make myself several dresses this summer, and also if the fabric gets here in time, make a shirt for my husband (and enter it into the PR menswear contest).

  9. I LOVE that pattern making book.......

    I am doing some Fake Sewing- upholstery items ,home decor,etc, and some Real Sewing- garment sewing, this weekend.

    Must balance all the sewing coordinates.....

    Love your blog.

  10. Last week, I successfully completed Evie's birthday presents. The el-pi-tent was much more involved than I thought it would be and I've discovered the horror that is metallic thread. The dang stuff breaks every three seconds, so a three minute (tops) job took an hour and a half! And I share your frustration with polyester brocade... only mine was red polyester satin that was fraying like mad, wouldn't cut straight, and just generally gave me fits! I did a review of it because until I bought the socks, I honestly didn't know that you could make an elephant out of a pair! The dolly clothes were much, much, much easier!

    Oh--my new niece was born last week... three weeks early. So I'm an Auntie for the third time and this one will be lots more fun to sew for than her big brother!

    For this week, I'm playing with double needle pin tucks in preparation for making the christening gown of doom. So I'm making Evie a nightgown from a vintage pattern and pintucking the yoke. After that, (which should be a fairly fast project) I'm finishing everything else I have cut out, making Alina's layette, and some more little dresses that won't fit yet. She was itty bitty, so it will take a month or two for what I'm making to fit.

  11. Just won Vogue's 7101 (in my size!!) on ebay and can't wait for it to get here! It's a sleeveless sheath to be made in pale blue linen lined in matching batiste.

    Got to get all my current projects *DONE...NOW*

    I know, pale blue, linen, boring - but it was such a loooong cold winter and then yesterday I went to town and it was 96.

  12. Last week, I finished a cotton dress with which I am very happy. I have way too many sewing goals for the week - silk blouse for me, shirt for hubby (or at least cut the sucker out), swim trunks for my boys... I don't think they'll all get done, but one can dream...

  13. I have that book too! I'm going to cajole people into a draft along later this summer. I took a flat pattern class last year. Hmmm. I have to check. But, I think I have directions for a male sloper in a Japanese book. Will look for you if you're interested.

  14. Just a quick tip on the measurements for your pattern drafting - it will be good if you had a helpful friend to do some of the measurements for you. Some are a bit tricky and the art of good pattern drafting is to have accurate measurements. Looking forward to seeing your 'blocks' when they're all finished!

  15. Peter, if anyone can make those crazy pants work, it's you! :)

    I have always adored paperdolls, but why does Bette's head seem out of proportion to her height? Why is she so short? Camera angle?

  16. Sounds exciting, guys. Moxie, I think it's a camera angle thing, though her head is a little on the big side -- but wasn't it real life too? LOL

    Janet, I've taken the basic measurements with Michael's help. So far, so good.

    Cidell, thanks for the offer. The book I have has a men's shirt pattern and as for pants, I guess I'll work from the one here too. Not quite sure what a men's sloper would be, though.

  17. Oh wow--I can't wait to see what your pattern drafting foray yields! Funnily enough: I just drafted up a sloper the other evening, and need to finish it (and draft the skirt portion). ;)

    That Bette Davis paper doll is amazing!

    Lately I haven't had much time to sew (my sister is visiting for 3 weeks), but I've got a late 30s dress cut out and neatly stacked, waiting for me to haul out my sewing machine from the guest room. ;)

    ♥ Casey
    blog |

  18. The top guy on the right in the pant pattern looks like Adam Carolla--can you imagine him in Lawrence of Arabia parachute pants? No. Stick to dresses, I beg of you Peter.

  19. Hey Peter.
    Oh man, a Singer 310. I had one which I foolishly broke trying to unjam it. I figured I'd just "tap" the hook assembly with a tack hammer and ended up breaking it off. (Insert dope slap here). I think I hauled it off to the dump (insert next dope slap here). I Soooo wish I had it back. I swear it could stitch through sheet metal.
    Huzbear Brian came over yesterday and took pictures of me in muslin #2 of my winter coat project. I think I'm making progress, but it's still not right. I'll be posting the pics soon. Hopefully you and your fans can give me some advice.

  20. I started painting my wedding dress this week. I'm keeping photos to myself until the grand unveiling (only 27 days away!), but it's looking great! I'm going to continue working on it this week and hopefully get all the painting done so I can start beading or whatever else I decide to do next week.


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