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Merchant & Mills Factory Dress

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This is my first time working with a Merchant & Mills pattern and it was a great sewing experience!  I purchased my copy from Fancy Tiger Craft’s online shop, but it’s available from many other retailers, including the Merchant & Mills website.

 I used a denim-look linen with thin (barely detectable, in fact!) brown railroad stripes.  I nabbed this fabric from the $4.95 flat folds table at my local Hancock Fabrics, a table of where I always finds tons of awesome deals.

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The Factory Dress is a 1920s inspired design with a slight drop waist, notched collar, side seam pockets and turn back cuffs.  A very simple design and a fairly straight forward sew.  The sewing instructions are a little sparse in both the written directions and the  illustrations.  There is no beginner sewist handholding here, so I’m reluctant to recommend this pattern to a novice.

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This pattern worked for me right out of the envelope; no pattern alterations needed since the dress design features a forgiving, slightly flared fit.  I’m looking forward to wearing this a ton this spring and summer!

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Notched collar, turn back cuffs & bodice patch pocket.

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A closer look at my railroad striped linen fabric + turn back cuffs.

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My Very Own Website!

So I’ve finally moved my blog to my very own domain: www.missdandysewing.com!  I’m excited to have made the move to the WordPress blogging platform and to start blogging again!

My posts throughout the past few years have been…errr…inconsistent to be on the kind side.  But the past 5 years of my life have been jam-packed with some pretty significant life events, not the least of which included the birth of my son, a divorce and relocating several times.  There have been sad, stressful, joyous and blissful moments throughout and I wouldn’t change a thing (well, maybe one of two things if I were to be completely honest).  And I have to admit that I put sewing on the back burner for many of those years.  I lost my sewing mojo.  Seriously.  As John Lennon wisely waxed poetic: “Life is just what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

But I’m back!  I’m settled, I’m happy, I have an awesome job, an awesome kid, and I have started sewing again.  Just within the past month (and it’s the shortest of all the months!), I have managed to make 2 skirts and 2 dresses!

Oh.  And I’ve started quilting.  And it’s awesome!

I sorely missed my sewing machine….Reunited and it feels SO GOOD!  Stay tuned, there is much more to come.

1990s Floral Romper

Completed Project: McCall’s 6997 – 1990s Floral Romper

 So this floral romper is the most comfortable piece of clothing I have ever made.  True story!  I used McCall’s 6997, copyright 1994.  Hard to believe that I was a junior in high school the year this pattern was published! 
I remember this particular style of roomy romper / jumper dress being popular during the 1990s, but I somehow missed ever owning one.  I cut the size 10 and probably could have gone even smaller, but I actually dig the roominess.
Back view.  This romper involved lots of gathering.  From the back, you can really tell this is a romper, but I received several compliments on my “cute dress” when I wore it to work the other day, so it’s almost imperceptible to the naked eye (and the business of the print probably helps).   

 Side view.  You can really see the fullness of the the romper here. 

 Here’s a link to the fabric I used!  It’s floral rayon challis from Wanderlust Fabrics.  I’m so delighted with this fabric!  It was so easy to work with and the drape is absolutely dreamy!  From the very first moment I saw it, I knew that it would be the perfect fabric to use for my retro 1990s romper.  In fact, it’s described by Wanderlust Fabrics as “90s Inspired.”

Front and back views, sans human model.
Cap sleeves.  I finished the interior seams and pockets with my serger and hand sewed the facings into place by hand.  I used a blind hem stitch for the bottom hem.
Close-up of a few details: Gathers and the self-fabric covered buttons.  It’s hard to even see the buttons due to the extreme business of the print!

This romper was super-easy to put together.  Between the cost of the fabric, pattern (found at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore for only .25 cents!) and covered buttons, it only set me back about $20.00….SCORE!
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In the Works!

I have a couple projects currently in the works!  First of all, I scored an amazing 1970s pantsuit at the Goodwill in Black Mountain, NC that I want to alter into something more wearable.  Here it is in all of its tacky floral polyester glory!  I’m keeping the pants as is; all they need is to be taken in at the elastic waistline.  
I’m definitely going to reconstruct the butterfly collar shirt and mix it with a solid colored stretch knit fabric.  I’m thinking about using the Briar pattern as a template. 
And here’s a preview of my latest make.  All I have left is the bottom hem!  I used an incredible rayon from Wanderlust Fabrics.  The pattern is from 1994 and I thought the floral print was very reminiscent of the 1990s, especially when it comes to baby doll jumpers, which is the view I’m making. 

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Completed Projects: Summer Round-Up!

Surprisingly, I’ve managed to complete a decent number (for me, anyway!) of projects so far this summer.  Sewing isn’t really the issue so much as finding the time to model and photograph everything for the blog.  So I’ve decided to do an all-encompassing round-up! 

First up is McCall’s 6965.  Let me tell you, this retro flared shorts pattern is a definite winner!  I love it so much!  They are a ridiculously quick and easy make.  I used a red linen look fabric which really helps with defining the “flare” of the cut.  

Admittedly, this kind of looks like a high school cheerleading skirt on, but I still dig it!  Next time I will make them in a draper fabric like rayon.  

Next up:  The Wiksten Tank.   Another ridiculously quick and easy summer project!  I salvaged the fabric (cotton/poly blend) from two vintage pillow cases that I thrifted for a mere .50 cents.  SCORE!

A lot of my summer projects have been basic wardrobe builders.  This is the Colette Mabel Skirt, whipped up in a mere 2 hours using black ponte knit fabric.  Flattering + figure-hugging pencil cut + no closures + low yardage = highly recommended project!

 

This was my most time-intensive project of the bunch: The now-iconic-within-the-home-sewing-community Bombshell Swimsuit.  This swimsuit is nothing short of amazing….A true miracle….A marvel of retro feminine engineering.  I feel so incredibly sexy and confident while wearing it and I will most definitely make another next summer!

Here’s the final line-up (from left to right):  Colette Mabel Skirt, Wiksten Tank, Katy and Laney Tap Shorts (previously blogged with lots of photos HERE), Bombshell Swimsuit and McCall’s 6965 Flared Shorts!
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“Carefree Patterns From McCall’s” Catalog – April 1973

I just nabbed a lot of 35 McCall’s, Simplicity, Butterick and Vogue mini catalogs / pamphlets on eBay, all from my favorite decade – the 1970s!  I just love these little pieces of vintage sewing ephemera and, since this particular decade seems to be more reviled than revered for its fashion legacy, it appears that I might be able to continue amassing a collection that won’t break the bank (I got all 35 for only $5.00!).  
Are there any fellow 1970s fashion enthusiasts out there?  If so, then this is for you!  I’ve scanned the “Carefree Pattern From McCall’s” issue from April 1973 for you to feast your eyes upon!  This seems to be a special cute couples-themed issue and, unlike most of these free mini catalogs, this particular issue contains no text of write ups about the fashions.

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Completed Project: Katy & Laney Tap Shorts


TA-DAAAAH!  So it would appear that I am sewing and blogging again after a one year+ absence!  I was lucky enough to nab a job almost one year ago sewing cushions and upholstery for one of the few locally owned, strictly made-in-the-U.S.A. furniture companies left in my part of the country.  Business has been good so I’ve been extremely busy.  I also have a rambunctious 4-year-old son, which absorbs a lot of my sewing time.  The plant was closed for the week of the 4th, so I took a minor “sewcation” and actually had a chance to make a few things for myself.  

I’m in dire need of shorts, so my first recorded make after one year: the Katy and Laney Tap Shorts!  These were incredibly quick and easy to construct.  I opted to make view A which features diagonal seams at the front.  No pockets, just a faced waistband, back darts and invisible side-seam zipper.  There are thorough instructions for back welt pockets, but I just wanted to be able to sew something quickly in my limited free time so I nixed those.

I’m a sucker for a high waist, and these are a true high-waisted pair of shorts!  They’re extremely comfortable and flattering. 

Back view and side view.  The high waistline is flattering to most backsides, I think!  And this is probably the best and most invisible invisible zipper I’ve ever sewn!  Their instructions for sewing the zipper are fantastic.
I used a vintage lightweight pinwale corduroy from my deep within my stash (and when I mean deep, I mean that this particular yardage has been in my stash for well over ten – yes, TEN – years!  I thrifted it from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore and could never find the right project for it, mainly because it was only a one yard piece.  View A of the Katy & Laney Tap Shorts only requires one yard of fabric so I finally found the perfect project !

 Inside view of the front diagonal seaming detail.  I finished all interior seams with my trusty serger.


Closer photo of the vintage pinwale corduroy.  Hopefully I will be able to photograph and blog a few more of the projects that I made over my “sewcation” sooner than later.  Thanks for stopping by and happy sewing!
Scout Grainline Tee

Completed Project: Scout Woven Tee

I have nothing but enthusiastic RAVES for the Grainline Scout Woven Tee!  It’s a fairly simple to make, super-flattering and an easy-to-wear design.  And well-worth shelling out $6.50 for!  For the front of the tee I used reclaimed fabric from a vintage 1970s floral print scarf.  
Yes – quell horreur! – I plead guilty to cutting up a perfectly fine and wearable vintage scarf, but it was put to good use, right?  And I have a confession – I have tons more of these oversized vintage scarfs in my stash just like this that I’ve stored up from my various thrifting adventures.  I find that, at $.50 cents to $2.00 each, they are an affordable fabric option for small projects like this and usually offer nice pops of color or unique design that’s usually hard to find in modern fabric.             

Since I only had a small amount of scarf fabric for the front I opted for a matching rust-colored rayon challis for the back and the sleeves.  I found this fabric at a thrift store as well.  This tee is extremely comfy to wear I really love the swingy fit!  Although the floral scarf fabric is slightly sheer, I opted not to line it because I have a feeling this summer is going to be a hot one and I plan to wear this often!
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Completed Project: Reconstructed Tom Hanks “2x Academy Award Winner” T-Shirt

This reconstructed t-shirt is definitely an in-joke amongst myself and a few of my friends.  I’m notoriously not a fan of the once-ubiquitous Tom Hanks, which my friend Scott insists is positively un-American.  So he made me this t-shirt to wear as a joke to he and his wife Cate’s annual Academy Awards party in late February.  I believe the photo of Tom Hanks used here is from an episode of Saturday Night Live that he hosted in the late 1980s.

The original t-shirt was an oversized Hanes men’s shirt so I decided to take it apart and reconstruct it into something a little more wearable. This is the pattern I used: Simplicity 9165 from 1989.
I thought the front overlapped detail was really cool and I had *barely* enough fabric to make it happen.

I zig-zag stitched around the the original iron-on printed fabric photo so it would stay in place.
Detail of the unique front-lapped design.
The original design didn’t call for a center-back seam, but I had to utilize it due to a major lack of fabric!

I cut a size 10 and I usually wear a size 12.  Although the original design is cropped, the shirt is extremely cropped on me and (as pictured here) will require the use of a camisole of tank top underneath.  Not sure how often I’ll wear it as I consider it to be pro-Tom Hanks propaganda and – well – I’m just not cool with that!  😉

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“Te Amo” – Look of the Day

My first post in about 3 months!  I hope to be able to do more of these “look of the day” posts.  You see, I work as a cook during the day and I kind of live for shedding my kitchen scrubs and dressing up every afternoon when I arrive home.  Plus, I suppose this will be the last time I will be able to wear a plaid wool skirt and grey over-the-knee socks and get away with it before the slight winter chill is gone and Spring is here for good.

None of my look is handmade, but the bias plaid skirt is definitely vintage 1970s.  Scored with an entire armful of similar skirts all at once during a lucky pitstop at the Goodwill in Black Mountain, NC last fall (and they all fit, too)!  The awesome “Te Amo” Han and Leia shirt was definitely love at first sight and is from We Love Fine which has nerdy t-shirts at decent prices and awesomesauce customer service too!  The skinny belt is from Banana Republic from, like, 13 years ago.  The combat boots by Espirit are just about as old.  You see, when you’re poor you tend to make your things last….