Thursday, December 29, 2011

For the New Year

My resolution for this coming year has always been to organize what I affectionately call "The Black Hole" or... my sewing closet.  It's a smallish walk-in closet.  It's barely big enough to turn around in it, but it's fairly deep.  And just the right size for storing away fabric and supplies.  Now I'm 6'0, and the closet is almost piled willy-nilly up to my shoulders.  At least at the front.  There's about 20 years of bits and pieces of fabric in there.  Once something goes in there, there's no guarantee that I'll ever find it again.  And I've had enough with not being able to find anything.  And since apparently after Christmas sales are really plastic storage bin sales, now is the time to do it!  I'm going to need a bit more for my ever-growing pattern collection, and I need one more for flannels... and maybe some smaller ones for miscellaneous notions.  But I think this is a good start! 

Yeah, it's only 10 bins... and medium sized-ones at that.  And I accidentally got the wrong size lid for two of them, so I'll be going back to Target to exchange them.  Each bin is labeled with either a color or a material.  I mean, I have lots and lots of flannel, fleece, and denim, so they get their own bins.  Most of what I sew with otherwise is cotton or cotton/poly.  I should also have one for knits (sigh)  and one for lace and one for elastic.  The latter two don't need to be as big, though.  I already have a button box a scrap bin, and ribbon racks, so perhaps I should get a bias tape/piping bin, too.  And maybe a small one for zippers.  I am going to be able to find things when I need them this year!  And since we're doing a bit of moving--I'll still be on Granny Lane, but we have a pest problem that requires moving a lot of our stuff out so it can be taken care of, I have to pack it all anyway.  I might as well use the opportunity to make it so I can find things later!

I guess separating it into colors is a quilters' thing, but I do make quilts upon occasion, and I tend to dress the girls in bright colors, so it'll make locating the fabric I want a lot easier.  I don't have a dedicated sewing room.  The closet and my bedroom is as close as I get, and I do most of my actual sewing in the living room for the company.

Happy New Years', y'all.  And here's to a better organized new year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Georgia Tech nightgown AKA. Obsession!

We are a Tech family.  My sister, my brother-in-law, and my two younger brothers went there.  Sarah and Jared both have bachelors from there, while Geoff and Shane have Masters... and both of them are in process of working towards doctorates.  All from Tech.  Perhaps it shouldn't have been a surprise when I was asked by my SIL for help in making Jared a present--a Tech nightgown for her.  Apparently, for years, he's been annoying her by telling her she needed one--but the RTW ones don't come in plus sizes.

I can get my hands on collegiate cotton-

Which was fine with her.  I warned her that it would require ironing, but she's a little used to it by now because of the dresses I make for the girls... which are mostly in cotton because it's washable.

And then she picked out the pattern, which due to the large disparity in sizing between RTW women's clothing and patterns, required heavy altering using the slash and spread method.

We settled on view D, which since there's a 10 inch difference between her chest and waist (two pregnancies!) was probably the easiest to alter.  I also lengthened it to around knee length (another 10 inches) and changed the straps to tie-at-the-shoulder straps.    All-in-all, I added 14 inches around.

It fits, and it's what she wanted, so I'm fairly sure  it's a success.  I think, though, I'll have to insist on Butterick plus sizes if she wants anything more complicated.  They're closer to RTW sizing than McCalls, Vogue, or Simplicity, and come in more sizes!

And to think (Oh, my eyes!) that this might be responsible for my next niece or nephew!  *sigh* Men and football!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Fourteen for Christmas

I come from a large family.  No, not Duggar sized, but I'm the third of six children.  So we started with Christmas for eight.  Dad died in 2007, but by then, we'd added two spouses, making it Christmas for nine... and my paternal grandmother couldn't be left out, so that's Christmas for ten.  By 2009, Ricky and Gracie joined the family, making it Christmas for twelve.  2010 came, with Lizzy, making it Christmas for thirteen, and Nikki came this year, making it Christmas for fourteen.  While Jared and Joanna and Sarah and Shane have their own family celebrations with the kids, everybody turns up here for dinner and presents.  This year was no exception.  Well, except for Shane and my grandmother... their loot will be delivered.  (Grandma hasn't wanted to come for the past couple years, and Shane was apparently needed to assist with a tree removal at his parents' house.... on both Sunday and Christmas.)

I should have taken pictures of the tree and the fourteen stockings hanging from the mantle, but I was too enamored of helping Bit and Boo open their presents and stockings.  :) See, since Christmas fell on Sunday this year, we got up for Church and didn't open presents until afterwards when Jared and Joanna and the girls showed up.  I swear, looking at what was stacked under and around the tree, you'd think really greedy people lived here, but it's more a case of a fourteen-way present exchange!  Once everybody gets two or three gifts (and the kids more than that!) it looks like a wrapping paper bomb exploded!

I got the best gift ever--a very versatile piece of furniture.  It's really a padded storage bench, but I'll be using it to elevate my swollen legs, store sewing supplies in, let Bit sit on it, change Boo.  Yep, yep, yep!  Awesome gift!  And the second best gift ever--a thread rack!  Just what I needed!  I swear I'm organizing my sewing collection this year!

The funniest reaction was Bit to the panties we gave her--after what she told her Elf on the Shelf, Jingle Bells, (Jingle, my panties are too tight, tell Santa) we laughed ourselves sick and bought her more--she squealed and exclaimed over her new Care Bears and My Little Pony panties.  (To make it more ironic, she'd just gotten new ones a couple weeks back from her Mommy because she'd grown out of the old ones.)  And here I thought that underwear was a kiss of death gift! ;) At least, I remember it that way when I was little!  After we ploughed through the presents, leaving out Sarah's, Shane's, Ricky's and Lizzy's because they weren't coming until around 6, and Grandma's which won't be delivered until tomorrow, Jared and Joanna took the girls home for a nap and I started dinner.

We had roast beef, fried mushrooms, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, broccoli with cheese sauce (on the side so I can use the leftovers for mac and cheese tomorrow), rolls, various appetizers, three kinds of pie, and spice cake.  We let the kids play for a bit, and then they went home with their parents while we tackled a mountain of dishes.  And it only took three hours to clean up afterwards!

Am I weird to be grateful that Christmas is over?

New Year's Eve is next.  I'm thankful that it's just a ham!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Well, y'all, as I frantically clean the house because with a baby here, I'm behind, I hope y'all get to relax and have a nice holiday.  (And yes, I'm aware I sound like a grumpy housewife)  I still have to do the mopping and scrub down the bathroom, and I'm sure Bit won't be happy tomorrow when she sees that I moved almost all of the toys out of the living room so we can cram 14 people in here on Sunday.   I still need to gather the scattered DVDs and VHS tapes and put them away and then reorganize Bit's book collection so that it won't fall out of the cubby and attack people.

So from everybody here on Granny Lane, have a Merry Christmas or a happy holiday for whatever you celebrate!  :)   Now to go put the DVDs away so that I can see the top of the TV, cable box, and tables like I can now see my floor!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

8 presents in 3 hours

Or how to do down and dirty fast and easy handmade gifts.  My original thought this year was to do matching sets of hats, scarves, and gloves all around, plus toys for the kiddos and the Christmas dresses.  It didn't happen.  Between illness and rescuing presents from the baby, I haven't managed much this year.  I managed to get my SIL's request done, do all the Christmas shopping, cut out Bit's set of undies for her dress, make up Boo's, get the embroidery done for the dresses, wrap everything...  But as for handmade presents, well it's a stretch this year.  Until I decided to do something easy.  I made 8 scarves for 8 adults in three hours.  Yep.  Easy.  Minimal sewing.  Mostly measuring and cutting.  And I forgot to take a picture before I wrapped them up during my wrapping marathon.  When you're wrapping for three people, and it's Christmas for 14, that's a heck of a lot of gifts!

This can probably be done with 1/4 yard of fleece, but I'd allow a bit extra for straightening the edges.  Which was the first thing I did--using my rotary cutter, mat, and ruler, I straightened up the edge, and then cut an 8 inch strip the width of the fabric.  Next, I cut off the selvedge edges, and measured four inches back for the fringe and marked it on the wrong side of the fabric.  Then, from the end, I measured 1/4 inch increments and marked them for the fringe.  I sewed down the horizontal line to mark the end of the fringe for reinforcement, and hand tied off the thread ends.  Then I cut the tails of the thread off and followed my fring marks to cut fringe.  Voila!  A scarf.  Now to repeat!

We're a Georgia Tech family--my sister, two brothers, and a brother-in-law all graduated from there.  And honestly, the idea originated from the fact that I can currently buy Tech fleece.  Since large heads run in our family, I thought it'd be a fantastic idea to make them Tech hats that actually fit.  But lack of time and they got scarves instead!  I'll be talking about my SIL's project for me... After Christmas because my brother knows where this blog is, and I don't want him to know since it's sort of for him. 

Oh!  He wants a Georgia Tech bowtie.  I told him that if he found silk, I'd make it.  So if anybody knows if there is such a thing....  ;) Cotton and fleece both make crappy ties!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas sewing.

I've put the coats temporarily on hold.  I'm so far behind this year it's not even funny!  This time last year, we were picking up the Christmas pictures.  This year, well...  I'm nowhere close.  I think I can manage what my SIL asked me to do, the toys for the kids, and the Christmas outfits for Bit and Boo.  Everything else will be IOUs for after Christmas--IOUs with fabric scraps pinned on them.  I was planning on scarves, hats, and mittens all around, but I doubt I'll manage them.  Maybe the scarves, seeing as there's no real sewing involved, and I can hand them over to my mom to do the fringe.  Three cut on the rotary cutting mat, two lines of stitching, and I hand it over to Mom and have at least one present.  Heck, the pictures may be an IOU this year!  All I have done is Boo's fluffy undies, and we've just got the collar embroidery left.  Wish me luck--I'll need it.  As soon as Bit's undies are done, I'll post pictures. And then the dresses after that.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


This is primarily a sewing blog, but at times, I may post other things.  Like this--

Like most kids of the late 70s and early 80s, I grew up with the Muppets.  I can't sing even an eighth of the cartoon theme songs, but I can still sing the entire Muppet theme.  I cried when Jim Henson died.  I still love Sesame Street--though stopped watching it until I got a kid the right age.  I saw all the Muppet movies up until Treasure Island.  Heck, I even learned how to work Muppet-type puppets in high school. 

We just went to see the new Muppet Movie.

Totally. Awesome.

Bit actually watched the whole thing in the theatre with us. I swear they could make a new TV series work after that movie. And I know I'd watch it.    And honestly, I wish they would.  In this era of King Reality TV, I think there's room for the Muppets.  I think we could use the laughter back.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

frustration and passive-aggressive revenge

My sister, my BIL, and their two kids decided not to come Thanksgiving.  Fine, but I could've used a day's notice that they weren't coming rather than an hour.  Instead, we were informed that they were coming today so I could measure her kids and that we were to feed them.  They could have asked. Instead, I guess I have to make something for her kids that will end up wadded up in the back of a drawer, unworn.

Fine.  She wants me to make them clothes, I'll make them clothes!  Before Christmas,  I'll try and make matching sailor suits.  Cute as hell, and my sister claims to hate them.  And frankly, her kids need all the help they can get in the cuteness department.  Bit and Boo are so much cuter that it's not even funny!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Crabby Thanksgiving wishes.

Today, as I finish stuffing a 17 pound turkey and stuff it in the oven, I am moved to share the crabby things I am thankful for. 

I am thankful that Boo only gave me her cold.  It could be worse.
I am thankful that my sister thinks she can sew, so that I don't have to make her kids clothes.
I am thankful that my card-carrying, unmedicated, insane grandmother is not coming for dinner.
I am thankful that my sister, brother-in-law, and their two kids are only coming for dessert, if they show up at all.
I am thankful for a mostly child-free day.
I am thankful that our cranky hot water heater has deigned to work today.  (we're replacing it soon)
I am thankful for the internet, where I can do all my Christmas shopping in a few hours and thus not go to the mall.
I am thankful that unlike my poor brother and sister-in-law, I do not have to go to a retail store on Black Friday.
I am thankful for ebay, which allows me to dress our girls in a style that I can't otherwise afford.

And for non-crabby things---

I'm thankful for my family... even the members of it that I don't particularly get along with!
I'm thankful that we have enough.  We're not rich, but we can pay our bills and eat and have a little left over.
I'm thankful for Boo and Bit especially.  My life would be a lot emptier without them.
I'm thankful for the online sewing community.  I've learned quite a bit since I discovered it.
I'm thankful for my friends. 

And now to go make icing for the cake to go along with three kinds of pie, cheesecake, stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey, peas, gravy, ambrosia fruit salad, rolls, and all the pickles and stuffed celery....  And tonight, as I collapse in a carb and sugar induced coma, I will try and rouse myself and use my thankfully child-free evening to do the hand basting and pad stitching on the coats!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Coats again

Because the views Bit picked have pressed-in pleats, I've been doing extensive research.  I mean, what works for cotton, won't necessarily work for wool, right?  And I read somewhere that wool will completely retain the vinegar smell, so it's not a great idea to use the vinegar and water method to set the pleats the way you would for cotton. 

After much research, I've decided on a three-combo approach.  Turns out that while pad stitching is great for soft rolls on lapels and collars, it won't work the way I was thinking.  However, Gigi Sews has a fantastic pleating tip, and I can edgestitch in the back from there.  It won't show from the front, but will keep the pleat where it needs to be.  For the outside pleat edges, I'm going to do something like a hemstitch on the inside of those edges to keep them together, which also won't show.

According to Gertie, the lining pleats should be feather stitched.  Her illustrations look a bit messy to me, but I'm taking that suggestion.  And I'm planning on going a little further, and feather stitching any place where the lining meets the wool after it's been whip stitched together.  I bought some thread that coordinates with the colors of the lining and the wool.  More updates later... when I actually get something done!  (Sewing with babies in the house is difficult.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Measuring tapes and sewing notions.

Somewhere in my house, there's a stash of bias tape and thread that Bit has stolen over the years and hidden.  And while I'm not the best housekeeper, I'm nowhere near the worst, either, I have yet to find the missing materials, but sooner or later...  Measuring tapes have also always been a favorite.  I've never managed to get the pictures off my camera phone, but I have a picture of her when she was just walking with one of my measuring tapes hanging around her neck and trailing behind her.

Today, I measured the girls.  I try and do this once a month so that I have a complete set of measurements for them so I can make clothes that fit.I have everything from the length of their arms, to how big their wrists are.  And I get how long it is from their shoulder to their neck, how long from waist to knee, torso length... Yeah, I measure everything.  That way, I know what I'm making will fit. I didn't do it when Bit was a baby, because infant patterns are based on weight, so I didn't bother.   Maybe it's genetic.  Bit didn't see measuring tapes until she was almost a year old, but I'm sewing for Baby Boo because lots of Bit's outgrown clothes were lost in the flood of 2009. 

Mine!  This is the best teething thing ever!
Boo has decided that measuring tapes are to be chewed on, and cries when you take it away.  I gave her the yellow one (I wanted to use the same tape for all the measurements) to sub, but apparently, the white one is yummier.  She dropped the yellow one in a minute once she could get her hands on the white one again, and dragged it with her everywhere for the rest of the day.  And I do mean drag--she's started to low crawl, and she didn't let the tape measure leave her sight!

It's yummy, Aunt Laura!

Children's corner and more coats

It took me two hours last night to fix the children's corner patterns.  Two hours.  Gah!  In that time, I could have easily got them both cut out, the embroidery transferred, and at least be halfway through the lazy daisies on one of them.Instead, I dragged my sleepy butt to bed.

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed because the girls are here, and found that the interfacing has arrived.  So I will momentarily be cutting out the last pieces of the coats and fixing the pleats before I iron everything down...  Maybe.  I'm not sure if I'm going to fuse yet.  The only hair canvas I could find is fusible, after all.  But just because I can fuse it doesn't mean that I will.....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Children's corner

I have to share my frustration! 

For years, I've heard about how Fantastic!  and Wonderful!  Children's Corner patterns are.  Don't waste your money.  I paid $16 each for the patterns, because they had a t-yoke dress with embroidery in both baby and toddler sizing.  Sorta.  Supposedly, the infant patten is supposed to fit up to twelve months, and it's supposed to have slip patterns in both.  LIE.    If it does actually fit all those sizes, it must be for a growth-stunted child, because it's closer to newborn sizing than anything!  Both patterns are absolutely devoid of the slip patterns.  And seam allowances.  And anything that would remotely make them fit!

In order to make this work, I'm going to have to fuse it with patterns that are the right size and pretty much redraft the whole damn thing!  And yes, I've already had a lovely screaming fit, because I just don't know what the people were smoking who told me that this brand was good!  The instructions are meh.  I've read better from the big four, and everybody knows that their instructions suck!  The stupid patterns don't even have skirt pieces!

So, to sum up.  Incorrect sizing, mediocre instructions, not all the promised pattern pieces, and, considering the $1 sales at Joanns, expensive.  Children's corner--don't waste your time and money!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Babies and sewing

Bit helped sew her pumpkin dress... was it last week or the week before?  It's hard for me to believe that she'll be in preschool next year.  :D In fact, since she already loves books, I'm going to get some use out of my education degree and teach her to read and write before she starts school.  Well, maybe not write.  It depends on if she's gotten the fine motor coordination necessary to write before then.  She'll at least be able to write her name! Anyway, it's been so long since Bit was Boo's age that I'd forgotten how challenging it is to sew with a baby in the house.  I spend more time feeding changing and playing with Boo than I do at my machine--I still haven't managed to finish cutting out the coats.  True, between the wool, lining, and hair canvas interfacing, I'm effectively cutting out the same project three times.  But well, Boo and Bit come first and sewing projects are usually relegated to days off--which I haven't had lately. Add to that my minor snafu--I ran out of hair canvas.  Now, the fabric stores in my area don't carry it.  so it has to be ordered.  *sigh* Which leaves me waiting.  In the meantime, I'm going to get as much prep work done as I can, and perhaps sew up Bit's new jeans.  She's getting to the almost desperate stage where she's wearing the same two pairs all the time.  The 4Ts are too big (4T shirts and leggings fit, though) and most of the 3Ts are too small.  Maybe I'll do a dress this weekend. Since her arm grew, I bet her legs did, too, which renders my last set of measurements moot.

'Sides, both of them need new dresses.  And I need to write up the vampire pumpkin costumes for the Simplicity Halloween contest....  And hooray for me!  I have three full child-free days to sew in!  I love them, but there are days that I'm sooo glad to send them home! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

The coats, part 1.

Early mornings and late nights here on Granny Lane.  I know I've been a bad blogger and not posting, but I have been busy this week.  Bit, who has never had a great relationship with hats, wants one--she told me that she wanted views 1 and 2 because they had hats.  This, from the child who has steadfastly refused to wear one since she was a baby!  Ah, well.  The hat from the pattern won't fit.  Bit has a 20 inch head, and the hat is definitely too small.  To add insult to injury, the hat included in Boo's pattern, Butterick 4009, is too big!

There was a review of Boo's pattern  on Pattern Review that said it was insanely oversized, so I dug into the stash and whipped up a quick wearable muslin to check for sizing.  I don't know what that sewist did, because the size she's supposed to be fit fairly well.

(I'm making A.)  So today, I spent time altering patterns.  Boo's coat was altered to allow a center back pleat.  Bit's was changed for length, the neck was widened (I'm considering doing that for Boo, too because the neck was a little tightish.)  and the sleeves lengthened so that they'll have cuffs.  Since Bit's arms got 1/2" longer in the last two weeks, I decided that adding three inches of cuffs was a bright idea!

And then came the hat problem.  Boo has a 17" head.  The smallest hat on the pattern is for an 18" head.  And to add insult to injury, I whipped up a muslin of Bit's hat because it didn't give a hat size, only to find that it's much too small.  But I'm stubborn.  And aside from being very, very cute, it'll keep their heads warm.

When my other niece was blessed, I used Simplicity 2908  to make a bonnet as part of her blessing outfit.  From experience, I know it runs a little big, and to make it even better, XS is for a 17" head, and L is for a 20" head!

I'm making the tulip hat without the ric rack and the applique.  It has the same flavor as the original, only without all the darting.  I spent some time preparing the pattern for that, too, and last weekend, I preshrunk the wool.  I've been reviewing the you tube videos and blog posts from Gertie's Lady Grey coat sew along last year. I've come to the conclusion that if I do the pad stitching right, I just might be able to get the pleats to fall into place without any of the usual basting and vinegar setting.  (cross your fingers!)

Tomorrow it's cut out day.  I told Bit that she could have the hat if there was enough fabric left for it, so I'm bringing in my big folding table to lay the fabric and pattern out on.  If I'm lucky, my three yards of 60" wool will be enough for two coats and two hats!  Goodness knows I hope my 8 yards of horsehair canvas will be enough interfacing!  I read the instructions for the coat, only to find out what I assumed was bias tubing for the bows was supposed to be ribbon, so I ordered some vintage velvet ribbon two days ago  that looks to be a good match for my fabric.  In fact, it was the only thing I could find that looks anywhere near close!  So I'll be using that for the band and ties on the hats, adding the bow in the center, and both coats will have the bows at the top end of the pleats.  Lots of lovely vintage style for the girls.....

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Today, we decorated the cookies that we baked this weekend. Most were smiley faced pumpkins, but Bit insisted that we needed some vampire pumpkins and some monster pumpkins, too! Bit insisted on licking the mixer paddle that we used to make the icing with.

After that, we got silly!

And, of course, we had to give Boo a cookie without the icing and the candy on it, and she om nom nommed it and covered herself and Gamma with wet cookie!

Every cookie was, of course, different, but here's one of Bit's Monster Pumpkin cookies.  Only six eyes on this one, and teeth going in every direction!

And here's one of our standard ones.  We bake these every year for Halloween.  At least, we started doing it again when we got the kiddos. The icing is really a vanilla glaze that dries hard, thus sticking the candy on very well.  It's just so fun to let the little ones decorate them!  Though I do have to admit, more candy ended up in Bit's tummy than on the cookies!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween madness

Dee and Jay
I'd intended on finishing the wearable muslin for Boo's winter coat today, but circumstances prevented it--Bit did a fantastic (and no, I'm not being sarcastic) job of splitting the seam in her leggings today at a Halloween party, so guess who got to fix it?  Sewing time was in short supply today, anyway, because of Trunk or Treat at church.  A lot of churches in the area are doing it tomorrow, but, well, a party like that doesn't seem right for Sunday, so we did it tonight... with the other two congregations that meet in our building.  It was fun, but a total madhouse! 

The pic is my adopted niece and nephew.  See, we unofficially adopted their mom and vice versa after my dad died.  Lee is the sweetest person alive and we needed each other right then.  Isn't Dee the cutest tiger you've ever seen?  And, well, Jay is really into ninjas right now.  :D

Bit managed to rip three inches of seam out today, so my SIL brought it to me for repair.  The actual fixing didn't take long, but threading the serger did!  I swear, I love that machine, but I hate spending an hour rethreading it every time I have to change thread.  Knotting works well... unless you're switching to wooly nylon.  Bit and Boo were adorable, too.

Boo playing with Uncle Geoffrey's hair.
Bit on Uncle Geoffrey's lap

They wore their pumpkins to story time Tuesday, a Halloween party this morning, and to the church party today.  And Monday is Trick-or-treating, too!  We're going to bake pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies and Bit will help us decorate them Monday.  Sad thing is, we won't get any trick-or-treaters here.  That's the sad part of living on a gravel road with only one other house--they skip our street, so we don't get to see the costumes!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No more orange!

Simplicity 8429 copyright 1978
The road to this project is a little twisted.  You see, I'm already committed to making Christmas dresses for Bit and Boo for pictures this year, and to give their dresses the necessary fluff, I need petticoats.  So I started looking to price them.  Because, well, if I can buy it cheaper than I can make it, why not?  I all but puked when I discovered that one in 6-9 months is $30!  So I needed patterns.  Enter Simplicity 8429. I was originally looking at the green one.  It has a zipper back, but a few tweaks can change that into a shoulder button.  Most likely, I'll still be making it or something like it as a petticoat later on.

Front of dress
Anyway, pumpkins have currently moved up in Bit's affections.  She's completely in love with them right now.  And while I was mired in her Halloween costume, she asked me for a pumpkin dress.  And lucky for me, I tripped over some inexpensive pumpkin fabric... Or should I say massively discounted designer pumpkin fabric!  (If anyone tells you that it's not possible to use quilting fabric for apparel, they're... misled.  It depends on the fabric, and usually, the 'designer'  fabric is a nice quality cotton with a soft hand and good drape.  The only downside is that it requires ironing!)

close up of fabric and bows
There is one thing--the middle panel on the bottom of the skirt is shorter than the middle panel of the middle of the skirt.  Next time, I'm adding some length to it!  This was also the first sewing project in which I let Bit do any sewing.  And some thread cutting with her kids scissors.  She's been asking me to teach her how to sew for the past six months, and while I'd never allow her to do it by herself at this age, I did let her stand between my legs and guide the fabric.  And thanks to Casey, I managed the easiest and best lapped zipper installation ever.  It's not perfect, but it's the best I've ever done!  (I much prefer buttons!)  It looks better on, but Bit wasn't in the mood for modeling because she wanted to be a pumpkin, not wear them.  But she'll most likely wear it to church Sunday, so I'll get pictures then.  It looks so big!  It's sad, but my baby niece is growing up. 

back of dress
I'm proud of myself for the zipper.  The lap isn't--quite--even, but I managed to install one without spending an hour cussing it out!  The bright orange ribbon on the dress goes all the way around, and the bows help, I think, to give a focal point to hopelessly busy fabric.  It helps that she has bows to match!

Tomorrow, I'm starting on coats.   It's about to get cold again, so they're going to need them.  And I need to make a quick muslin for Boo out of scrap because according to Pattern Review, Butterick 4009 runs to huge!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

About vampire pumpkins

Bit is just a tad obsessed with pumpkins right now.  It's why my current project is a pumpkin dress from a 70s era pattern.  So far, the pumpkin costumes were technically the worst ever just because of the sheer number of patterns involved.  I started with an etsy and ebay search, looking at what was available, and settled on Simplicity 2788 because it was current and I could get it at one of the Joann dollar sales. 

Thing is, I wasn't all that happy with both their fabric choices (velour and fleece in what will most likely be 70 degree weather) and I hated the hat.  So it was back to ebay to look for a better hat, which I found on the one and only vintage pattern in the whole bunch--

Simplicity 8833.  It has a 1988 copyright on the back, so it's not all that old, but it's still vintage 80s.  The rest of the pattern was a pass, but I loved the pumpkin lid hat... and so did my SIL.  Which led to the next steps--what went underneath.

Boo was easy.  We got a copy of Butterick 5588 at yet another dollar sale.
My SIL chose the onesie style, so this was the one to use.  And I wanted footie pants to keep her toesies warm, so I altered the overalls... but I made a mistake.  I cut the rise too low to fold over for a casing, so I had to cut a waistband.  And I added bows on the front of the onesie, waistband of the pants, and at the ankles of the pants just so we could tell which side was front.

Bit, though, well, just so they matched, (because she kept saying that Boo wanted to be a pumpkin just like her) my first thought was to make her a leotard like from Butterick 5545.  But Joanns didn't have it in her size and I was getting desperate!  There was also the fact that I wanted these to be functional clothing afterwards so that I didn't waste money on something that would essentially be worn only once.  I'm, well, thrifty, I suppose you could call it.  Or cheap.  ;) So I searched the pattern sites and found a t-shirt pattern that I already owned-- New Look 6016. 

I suppose that I could have used the leggings from this pattern, too, but I'd already altered Jalie 2920 to be long enough and I already know it's a good fit because I've made it before.  And, of course, I put a little green bow on the front waistband so we knew which side was front.

The last bit was the covered feet, so I went back to my go-to pattern for feet covers--Simplicity 4024. I used it before for Foofa two years ago. I put bows on them, too, so they'd match Boo's. 

I used a lycra/spandex blend that was four-way stretch for the under bits and the stems so it would all match.

Bit and I sat down together and drew out her pumpkin's face.  She wanted a happy pumpkin with big teeth and fangs, so we came up with this--

I changed the pattern smile to look sorta like it and fraychecked the living daylights out of it so I wouldn't have to satin stitch around it.  (It was faster!) And, well, the pumpkins were labor intensive, because the fleece padding was stitched into each piece before they were sewn together, and then the lining was sewn together, and then sewn on.  Boo's was a little worse, because I had to take in two inches.  1/2 does not necessarily mean it will fit at six months!  Bo's hat was made with the original seam allowances cut off to make it smaller, too.  I think the most interesting thing I did, in regards to construction, was to sew crocheted headbands to the hats to keep them on the girls' heads.  I lined some clips to further secure it to Bit's hair because they seem to stay better on mostly bald heads!

I also got to try out a trick I learned from Make it and Love it to use a double needle for the hemming on my regular sewing machine and it works great!  No breakage and the fabric retains its stretch!  The stems were also handsewn to the tops of the hats.  And I have to say, I'm pleased with the results!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Happy dance!

Found them!  How they got in between pieces of the sectional, I'll never know!  I'm making view A of the Butterick pattern.  I'll be adding tiny fabric bows to the top of the pleats and a back pleat.  And to 4834, I think I'll add cuffs because I like the way they look.  So the girls' coats are going to be a little bit of both!

Oh, the drama!

I'm much less organized now that we have Boo in the house than I used to be.  Certain things (like filing away patterns and cleaning) have slipped because rocking the baby is more important to me than being organized.  I mean, she'll only be this age once, and soon she'll be crawling, and then walking, and soon cuddles will be a lot more rare than they are now.

It's getting chilly here.  Which means that, naturally, it's time to make coats for our girls, right?  I pulled out the wool and the lining fabric and started looking for the patterns.  And THEY'RE MISSING!  ARRGGGGGHHH!  Oh, the drama!  The tragedy!  And to make matters worse, THEY'RE VINTAGE!  Well, Bit's is.  Boo's is 2003 and also out of print, so it might as well be.  Which means that tracking down the patterns in right sizes again is hard.  Okay, Bit's is harder because it's late 50s-early 60s.  Bit's is Simplicity 4834, and Boo's is Butterick 4009.

*sigh*  I've checked every place where I can see patterns with no joy.  I moved my desk in case something had fallen behind it.  Nope.  I cleaned out the sewing corner.  Un uh.  Checked all three pattern boxes, the other desk, through piles of papers and piles of fabric (yes, my house is a mess) and under the other desk, because I spotted a pattern there.  Nope.

I found a size three that didn't sell, and emailed the seller to see if she'd sell it to me--just in case.  And I located the more modern Butterick pattern and bought it--also just in case.  I'm moving the TV table next and then the couch.  We'll see if the originals can be located.  I hope.  I think I need to clean the house.....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vampire pumpkins are attacking me!

I still need to tweak the shoe covers, but we have two vampire pumpkins in the house! Boo loved chewing on hers, and Bit didn't want to take it off, so I think we have a hit!

This is a record for me--Bit's outfit took five patterns to make because each piece had it's own pattern.  Boo's was only three, but I majorly altered the pants from footed overalls to regular pants.  And this is my first time sewing spandex.  I have to say that I'm glad to see the end of them!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Totally Thrifted

Yesterday afternoon, my sister had a doctor's appointment.  This is only significant because we went to the nearby thrift store to kill some time.  We didn't find the baby jumper we were looking for, but we did find some cute clothes for the girls.  I love thrift stores for that!  Now, they always have to be washed.  And this time around, there were three stains on Bit's new-to-her dress.  But I've learned how to get just about any organic stain out, so it was no big deal.

I love the fact that I can get pretty things that I can't afford otherwise.  This is a 4T, and I might have to take down the hem--I'm not sure yet.    Very nicely machine smocked.  Okay, that's a bit snobby, but I like hand-done things better!

This is what we found for Boo.  It's a large 3-6 months and I think that it might be a bit large on her still.  It should be nice as a casual jacket, and it looked as if it was never worn...

I love thrift stores!

A letter to ebay sellers

Dear ebay sellers,

First of all, you know who you and you and you are...  Old does not necessarily mean rare.  Children grow.  That means that children's patterns are more plentiful than adult patterns.  As in--not rare.  Old does not mean valuable, either.  The most expensive kids' patterns are usually around $16.  Yes, that's right--$16.  Less than the retail price of some modern patterns that I can walk into the nearest craft store and purchase.  And another newsflash--most moderately competent seamstresses, like me, can actually take any pattern that looks vaguely like the ones you're trying to mint money with and reproduce it from the picture alone if she or he is feeling ambitious.  Which I'm not.  I have too much else to do!

Laura of Granny Lane Sewing

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fabric choices.

This weekend, (read: yesterday... bad idea on Sunday ;) ) I've been working on the vampire pumpkin costumes.  I think I've successfully redrafted the pattern two inches smaller than size 1/2.  And I dug out fleece from donations for the padding (which, BTW it calls for in the instructions, but not on the back of the pattern envelope!) from my donated boxes of fabric.  Yay, free!

After reading the instructions and pattern envelope both, I started thinking of fabric choices.  Unless it's stretch knits, I usually take what's on the pattern envelope as a suggestion.  In this case, I think they're totally insane!

Obviously, whoever thought of it doesn't live in the South.

First of all, they want the jumpsuit in velour.  I decided I wanted something that can be recycled as clothing later, so I went to the pattern stash and pulled my leggings pattern and a leotard pattern.  They'll get more use that way.  I could still do both out of velour, I think--especially if I used stretch velour.  But then I read more.  The pumpkin part is fully lined with an underlining of the aforementioned fleece and also made from velour.  Let's do a count--three layers of velour combined with a layer of fleece.  In Georgia.  Riiight. 

Can we say heatstroke?

Don't get me wrong, I am underlining in fleece.  But the rest of the pumpkin is poly/cotton broadcloth.  And the leggings, shoecovers (which I'll gank from a different pattern) and leotard are all going to be lycra/spandex.  And the hat will be of the same fabrics.I'm putting alligator clips on the hats, and using an orange headband to attach them to.  It's going to look more like a pumpkin lid than the poofy hat from the base pattern.

Sometimes, I think you really have to just ignore the crud out of the pattern envelopes in regards to fabric.  I swear, this costume is meant to keep a child warm in really cold weather! And, well, here in Georgia, it'll most likely be in the 60s and rainy--not really cold at all!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

And it came in the mail....

Bit is convinced that everything good comes in the mail--at least since this past January when we bought some Pooh toys for her over the internet.  Since then, when she wants something it's-- "You buy it and it comes in the mail." 

Well, I bought them at about 50% retail, and they came in the mail.

Matching shoes for Bit and Boo for the annual Christmas pictures.  Now to just get off my duff and make the dresses.....

Monday, October 3, 2011

christmas pictures

Okay, I have very classic tastes when it comes to dressing Bit and Boo.  Lucky for me, her mommy and grandma do, too.  I think kids should look their age instead of miniature adults or mini-hookers. That's one of the big reasons why I sew for my nieces--a dress for a three year old that makes her look three is either 1) hard to find or 2) expensive.  That's not to say that they spend all their time in dresses, but they always wear them on Sundays, and sometimes during the week.  (Boo lives in knitwear right now, and Bit mostly in jeans.)

It's become something of a traditional present to my brother and SIL from Mom and me for me to make Bit a fancy dress or buy one (the one next to us was a thrift store find, and I made matching panties with ruffles on the butt because the panties were missing)  and then get her all dressed up for pictures at the local Olan Mills in Wal-Mart.

We did it for her first Christmas, skipped one and then did it again last year--

This year, I'm going the heirloom sewing route again, only in blue.  That way, she can wear it more than once or twice, and it will coordinate nicely with the blue wool coats I'm making for both of them.  And Boo is getting a matching dress.  Her coat will match, too, because I found a pattern from the 90s that almost matched the 50s one I'm using for Bit.  I had to go with Children's Corner patterns for the dresses to get them to match, and I'm going to have to do some revamping for them to look like they're not from the early 80s or getting christened, but they should look adorable.  (The matching infant pattern is for christening gowns)  I'm making bows to match and they'll be wearing white tights and hopefully matching shoes.

Which brings me to the shoes.  I'm a bargain shopper.  And since Peter did a post a while back about quality shoes he bought second hand off ebay, I started there.  We're on a fixed income, so I have a definite budget.

But I also have expensive tastes.  We buy a lot of the girls' clothes second hand and invariably, I will pick up the most expensive thing there and want to buy it.  It's the same if I walk into a department store--I'm attracted to the most expensive thing on the rack... all without looking at the price.  Which leads back to shoes.  I will happily buy second hand shoes for Boo.  At her age, they grow so fast that there's rarely any real wear on them. She's going to be an early walker, so we got shoes to help her stand up (with us holding her hands) on our slippery floors.  (Standing and "walking" are favorite things for her do do. She can be throwing a fit and if you stand her up, she's all smiles)

But not so with Bit.  At her age, kids wear shoes out and get them yucky, so I want 'em new.  Which I can get on ebay for a fraction of the retail price.  She jumped to a size ten recently in toddler shoes, which means that I want 10.5 in dress shoes.  She only wears those once a week, so I need them to last a while.  And Stride Rite is a favorite brand.  They have a great reputation, I wore 'em as a kid, and they have the classic, plain black patent mary jane that I'm looking for.  It also helps that Bit loves the sound the hard soles make against the wood floors.

But I refuse to pay retail.  That's somewhere around $50-$60 which in my mind is too much for shoes that she could grow out of in a couple months if she hits another growth spurt.  I've set myself a $20 budget, which isn't much above what I'd pay for the cheap ones at Payless.  It's funny--I got her new sneakers for less that that ($15 brand new second hand because the child they were originally purchased for outgrew them before she wore them), some white sneakerish t-straps for $5.50, and I've even found boots for her, brand new, for under that.  Heck, I got two pairs of Stride Rites and one pair of Pedipeds for Boo for under that!  (*Those* were second hand--$15 for what amounts to around $150 worth of shoes)  I can buy new Sunday shoes for Boo for about $15, but I'm having problems with Bit.  I can get 10s.  It's $6 over budget, but I can live with that.  It's just that I can't seem to find them in 10.5 M.  Wide, yes.  Narrow, yes.  But medium?  Good luck.

Mom claims that I'm developing a shoe obsession because I check once a day to make sure I haven't missed a pair going up.  There were pairs in the right size, but by the time I got back from having her feet measured (another reason to do Stride Rite--we have a local store that will measure her feet so I know that she'll fit that size in that brand)  they were all sold.  Probably, I have until the first week in December.  So until then, I'll keep combing auction sites and crossing my fingers.  In the meantime--I should probably go buy Boo's shoes in the next size up, because she just turned five months today and she's on her way out of the size 2s....

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vintage for me, too?--part 2

One difference that I forgot to mention is that the majority of early kids' patterns aren't labeled for "toddler", "girl", or "child."  In fact, the pattern envelope illustration can make you think that it's universal across the board, because they often picture all three and there's no real way to tell before you buy the pattern.  In fact some patterns that are clearly for an older child look like they should be able to fit a toddler as well.  And the differences vary according to company. The "girl" sizes, though, tend to be the bigger ones.  "Girl" starts at about size 7 and up, and can overlap with the larger "child" sizes.  "Toddler" and "Child" also have an overlap, which can make it confusing when you're trying to determine if a pattern will fit your child.

The only way to tell if it will fit your vic-um-recipient is to measure the kid and then measure the pattern.  I have a long list of measurements that I redo every month for Bit, simply because they change so fast at this age.  I've made vintage 2s that must have been for a child, but since it wasn't labeled, I didn't notice until after it was together that the pattern was bigger than I thought it would be! On the other hand, I've made child 2s that fit perfectly after they were shortened.

Just because she's into pattern size 3s, doesn't mean that all of them will fit her without adjustment.  Modern Butterick, for example, well, the shirts tend to be short.  I emailed them complaining the first time I made Butterick 3477 the shirt was five inches too short when, being a child pattern, it should have been too long!  With Butterick patterns, the difference is really in the length.  I would assume that with McCalls and Vogue being the same company, it's the same for them, but I've never had cause to find out--with modern patterns, I tend to stick in the categories I know will more or less fit Bit.

According to Simplicity's Simply the Best Sewing Book, (I recommend it for bare beginners.  It was a prize for winning third place in the costume contest two years back and actually the first sewing book I ever had... after sewing for 17 years), the difference between "child" and "toddler" is that the shoulders are wider--according to their charts, there's an extra 1/2 inch--and the back is wider by 1 1/4 inch.  The sleeves and the general length are longer as well.  These are modern measurements, but generally, it should hold true.  You'll need to measure the kid, and then measure the pattern itself.

Vintage patterns always have to be lengthened for kids.  Frankly, people are generally taller now than they were then, children included.  Not only that, but they wore dresses much shorter than we do on little girls!  But they're also not as clearly marked, so to ensure that it fits, you have to be more careful with vintage than you are with modern.  For the most part, if I check the finished length on modern patterns, and it's okay, I can go full steam ahead and whip out a new dress or outfit for Bit that will fit her.  But with vintage, well, unless I measure carefully, I can end up with a hot mess!

Friday, September 16, 2011


I'm still doing the Supergirl outfit.  If she doesn't wear it for Halloween, it'll make a fine dress-up outfit.  But for two weeks, all we've heard is "I want to be a Pumpkin for Halloween."  And today, it was "I want to be a nice pumpkin, not a scary pumpkin, but with fangs and big teeth."  *sigh*  Not specific is she? 

Hello Simplicity 2788.  I'll have to change the smile, and instead of that velour jumpsuit, we'll be wearing a leotard and either tights or leggings--whichever is the least expensive.  I'll be stuffing it with wadded up newspaper balls and putting a lining in it out of muslin to keep the newsprint from staining.  It'll be lighter, cooler, and cheaper than using batting or fleece.  I learned the hard way with the Foofa costume two years ago--

I made it out of craft felt, thinking that because it would be nice and warm that it was a good thing.  But it's usually just starting to get cold  and more raw than anything at Halloween.  Poor kid was completely overheated because it was simply too warm.

So it's knit or spandex and broadcloth this year.  And the hat is only a perhaps because my SIL says she can get a super cute headband for a pumpkin costume. 

Bit has learned that if there's something wearable that she wants, Aunt Laura is a bit of a patsy when it comes to dressing her.  It's a hard economy.  She's taller than most kids her age and is now in 4Ts just for the length.  And my brother and SIL are struggling to make ends meet.  We're lucky enough that we don't have to worry about paying the bills, and I shop smart.  I spend time researching before I buy anything.  I go for the most value for my money, shop on sales, and use coupons at the fabric store.  When it's cheaper, I buy from etsy, ecrater, bonazle, or ebay.  Which means that Bit and her sister get clothes that fit that you'd have to go to stores other than say... Target, Wal-Mart, or K-Mart to buy.  The girls have made me incredibly thankful that my mother took the time to teach me sewing basics.  I've learned a lot more from the internet.

Aside from the "Nice pumpkin with fangs and big teeth" today, Bit picked up the fabric I have laid aside for a dress for her.  I was waiting for my pattern to arrive because I managed to track it down one size bigger.  She brought it to me, gave hugs and kisses and said, "Thank you for making my dress Aunt Laura."  Great reward!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Project Runway...

Why is it that the winning designs this season look like they came straight from the Wal-Mart clearance rack?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The yoke dress

There are two basic kinds of little girls' dresses-- (actually scratch that.  There are two basic kinds of dresses!)  the yoke dress, which is by far the most common and what I call the tunic dress.  Today, I'll be talking about yoke dresses.  Weather they're empire, drop waist, or anything in between, these dresses feature a definite waistline, and a gathered or pleated skirt.  Variations on the yoke dress are numerous, but the principles and basic construction are all similar.  Later on this week or next, well cover a-line tunic dresses and talk about princess seams as a major variation.

Now, yoke dresses as they relate to vintage.  Adult fashion carries over into children's fashion.  The twenties saw straight, boxy dresses with buttoned waistbands.  The thirties were more into loose-fitting short dresses that were heavily influenced by Hollywood--specifically Shirley Temple.  (Twenties dresses were also longer, but the economy as it relates to the rising and falling of hemlines is another topic.)  Most twenties patterns I've come across--and the 1928 Singer Sewing for Children book I have--have more in the way of tunic dresses than yoke dresses.  The thirties and forties have a mix, and the fifties is almost all yoke dresses.  The sixties began to see a mix, but leaned more heavily towards tunic dresses than yoke dresses.  (This is all from examining patterns, BTW) The seventies saw a mix, with yoke dresses with ruffles at the bottom of the skirt becoming common in the late seventies and early eighties.  Late eighties and the nineties saw almost a resurgence of 50s-style yoke dresses.  The hems were tea-length, but they had the same full skirts and in the case of almost all of the Daisy Kingdom patterns, required pettiskirts to go underneath!  Nowadays, almost anything goes, though yoke dresses are still the most common.

This is an almost modern yoke dress.  Ignoring the oversized collar, (90s here!) it has a definite yoke, waist, and a skirt gathered into it.   Due to the pleating and the v waist, I wouldn't venture to call this a typical example, but the basics are all there. 

Simplicity 2430 is a modern example.  The whole dress can be broken down into three shapes--cylinders for the sleeves, a square for the bodice, and a triangle for the skirt.  The difference between this modern example and vintage examples are in darts.

Yes, you heard me right--darts in a toddler-sized dress!  Vintage examples of yoke dresses usually have waistline darts.  In toddlers and young children, who are, in essence, cylinders, they're really just for show.  The only time I've seen darts in a toddler dress make sense, they were on a back neckline to make the dress conform to the back and shoulders.

You've probably seen this particular vintage pattern over on Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing or on the Pattern Junkie.  The Pattern Junkie talked about the artwork, and how the littlest one obviously needs a bathroom yesterday.  ;)   For Gertie, it's a project she has to conquer to finish sewing Vogue's 1952 edition of "The New Book for Better Sewing".

Because this dress has been sewn millions of times, it would be possible to sew it without the pattern or even glancing at the instructions.  I've sewn fifties patterns before, and while the instructions are a little more detailed than the 30s pattern instructions, I probably wouldn't even bother.  :) In the next few days, I'll go over how to construct a basic collared yoke dress.  I'll be using a vintage pattern, so we'll even deal with darting! 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Vintage for me, too?

Vintage and vintage inspired fashions are taking over.  Pattern companies are re-releasing patterns from their archives in more modern sizing.  Modern sizing?  Yes!  Measurements are everything with vintage patterns, even children's patterns.  Somewhere around the late seventies to early eighties, they redid the sizing, adding more ease and generally making sizes bigger.  So a 1934 toddler 2 is smaller than, say, a 1989 toddler 2.  While there are small differences between toddler/girl/and child patterns (all easily adjusted) I'm not going to talk about those today.

Instead, let's talk about the differences between modern little girl dresses and vintage.  Aside from sizing,(they fit closer to the body and actually fir Bit better) there aren't actually many differences between modern and vintage dresses.  Difference #1--the hemline. 

Bit is in size 3s now.  Well, close enough.  :) She's actually in between, which means that 2s aren't going to fit for much longer, so 3s are the order of the day!

Simplicity 1703 is one of my next dress patterns for her.  It's from the 50s, which means twirly skirts (which she loves).  But it will have to be adjusted.  The finished length for this dress is 17 inches.  Sounds short, doesn't it? 

Especially when you compare it to Butterick 4054, which is a modern pinafore dress.  Aside from the fact that the vintage pattern is much more interesting, ;) the length is vastly different!  The finished length for this one is 24 inches.  Granted, it's tea length, but that's a huge difference from the 17 of it's vintage counterpart.

For knee length, Bit needs 22-23 inch dresses.  Yeah, she's taller than average.  :)  I'd be lengthening most things anyway, and to be perfectly honest, there's just more variety in vintage than modern!

Difference #2-- neckline.  Vintage patterns tend to have smaller, more closed-in necklines than modern.  My usual solution is to simply cut off the seam allowances to open the neck up enough that she doesn't feel like she's being choked.

Difference #3--this one you have to watch for!  Up until the late 70s-early80s, patterns came in one size per envelope.  Personally, I think it was a ploy to sell more patterns.  ;)   So if you're lucky, you can find the pattern you want in the size you need.  Otherwise, you may have to learn how to grade a pattern up or down.

Difference #4--the hem.  Most modern patterns have a 1.5 inch hem allowance. Vintage, though, a 3 inch hem isn't uncommon.  Since dresses were the order of the day, they gave generous allowances for the hem so it could be let down as the child got taller.

Difference #5-- seam allowances.  This is where you have to look at the admittedly brief instructions.  Modern patterns tend to have a 5/8 seam allowance, but that's not always true with vintage.   Take the Hollywood dress I made earlier this summer--

The seam allowance on it was 1/2 inch.  Since the fit is closer, if I'd gone with the usual for modern patterns, even that much would have made it too small!  I'm not saying that your seams have to be perfect, but quilting has taught me that going over the requisite amount is generally a bad idea!

Difference #6-- variety.  Most dress patterns are some kind of yoke dress.  But by going vintage, you have about 80 years worth of patterns to choose from.  Since the 1930s, styles for little girls' dresses haven't changed that much.  Oh, drop waists came in and out, shapeless a-lines were queen, circle skirts took over and ruled the roost.  But since dresses were a wardrobe staple, there were more interesting patterns released.

I got started sewing vintage for the Bit last spring because I stumbled across a pattern that I just had to have.  It was from about 1946.  At the time it seemed surreal to me that I was making a pattern for my baby niece that my aunt could have worn!  I will admit that some look dated, but not all of them do.  :) I'm attracted to pretty, interesting, and different.  I didn't start out being a pattern collector (I can hear my collection jeering at me now!) but I pick up patterns that I'd like to make.  And they're vintage more often than not!