sewing saturday no. 4.. i'm making a jumper! the beginning


Well, it's official. The beginnings of my first handmade garment are completed, and I'm a few steps closer to having a completed jumper.

My mom came over earlier this week to help out, and she clarified a lot of things for me.. mainly, that the pattern I was tackling for my first job was not as easy as I thought, as it called for pattern alterations and didn't explain every step as clearly as a pattern for beginners would. Essentially, the Built By Wendy Dress book is not complicated - but if you're starting out on patterns and have no experience like me, it's best to start with something simpler. The BBW book has three basic patterns that you alter and vary from dress to dress. It has no seam allowances because of this and while it's a clever idea, it's a bit too clever for me at the moment.

So, my mom helped me pick out a beginner's pattern from my vintage stash and we ended up with the pattern above.. a playful jumper circa 1968!

Now, this pattern involves all of the steps that I was running from before.. button holes, zippers, darts (which, ok, are inevitable in almost any dress pattern), and the dreaded ruffle. But on the positive side, the instructions are fail proof and detailed. I can do this. I think.

The steps completed thus far have been a bit time consuming, which means I haven't gotten as much done as I would like. I'm also being a naggy perfectionist about it all, which translates to a slow worker.

We cut out the pattern's nine pieces.


I laid out the pattern pieces on the folded lengthwise, right sides faced-together fabric (the pattern tells you how to lay them out so the fabric's print is cohesive when you sew it together), placed certain pieces (part of the bodice and one of the facings) on the fold, and pinned them all.


Then, I cut them out. Some required doubles, like the ruffle and the shoulder straps, so I re-pinned the same pieces and repeated the process.


Ok. So, that's it for now! Next week, I'll tackle these instructions..


Or at least a portion of them.

Other decisions to be made in the meantime.. do I add rick rack, or is this jumper already cutesy enough?


And which buttons do I use for the shoulder straps? I could use any of these or maybe just some plain white ones.


I'm a fan of the brown vintage ones but they're a little big. I think I can find their miniature counterparts at a craft store, though.

In other news, I've acquired some pretty cool stuff recently. A lovely woman that lives a bit outside of Nashville has a friend who works with estate sales, and when he needs a place to drop off big bags of vintage clothing, he heads her way. Lately, she's had too many pieces to deal with, so she's been selling them in bulk. I bought over 60 pieces from her yesterday.. mostly dresses and coats, but also purses, shoes, hats, pretty blouses, and even some lovely fabric - a blue floral broadcloth, a camel colored velvet, and my favorite - a sheer flocked swiss dot cotton in light pink. I keep imagining a springtime, sleeveless drop waist dress when I look at it.

Most of the pieces are from the 1960's, but some are from the 40's, many 50's, a few 70's.. a couple pieces are a bit later, like a grunge bodysuit in black with a scalloped neckline and a pair of patterned harem pants that make me want to watch Do The Right Thing and dance with Rosie Perez in her painful mullet days. Fight the power.

Some plaid, some paisley (recently my sister talked about the colors of a 1970's bathroom in a bad way.. because they're, well, bad. Puke greens and browns and oranges. Well, one paisley dress has all of these colors but still manages to be really super lovely), some floral, a couple peter pan collars, some stripes, plenty of bows and lace and lots, LOTS, of tailored coats (two Vogue Paris Originals!). Wiggle dresses, suit jackets with matching pencil skirts, turtleneck tops, housecoats. Even a few dresses suited for evening wear.

I could go on forever about these clothes. Here are just a couple of the pieces, plus another recent find.

recent finds!
recent finds!
recent finds!

The seafoam green clock radio was found at an estate sale Neil and I hit up last weekend. And it works!

recent finds!

We also found an 8 millimeter Kodak Brownie camera with its original case from the early 50's.. their first movie making model. I have absolutely no idea how to work it or how to transfer the film to my computer, but once I do, I'm filming everything with this guy. I've been watching YouTube films made with 8mm cameras and the look is muted and magical. And this film of Rhiannon from last fall that Drew made.. it left such an impression on me. I don't know what camera they used (although I've probably talked to them about it before and knew at one point, my memory is miserable and I forget everything), but it most definitely has a vintage look.

That's all for today. We're headed to see Alice in Wonderland in IMAX tonight! If it's half as cool as Batman Returns or Edward Scissorhands or The Nightmare Before Christmas or any of Tim Burton's earlier films, I'll be satisfied.