A Prince “Purple Rain” Costume for Emily

My daughter, Emily, recently attended a 30th anniversary celebration of the company she has been working for since her graduation. Because they were founded in 1987, the party had an 80s theme, which just happens to be Emily’s favorite decade.

Prince wore many versions of this costume, but the metallic jacket is Emily’s favorite. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find purple metallic fabric in the correct shade, but she had a business trip to NYC coming up, and suggested going to Mood, where we were sure she’d find exactly what we needed. I told her the yardage and wished her luck. Well . . . she did find some fabric that met all the criteria, except it was tissue lamé!

I’ll have to admit that I freaked out a little, because I wasn’t sure I could ever make a structured jacket out that crazy thin fabric. I tested several interfacing/lining products on small pieces, but they were too stiff, wrinkled badly, and didn’t drape at all. Then I made a trip to my local fabric store, and they suggested PerfectFuse, which is 60″ wide and comes packaged in 1 or 3 yard lengths. I ended up using 4 yards of heavy and medium weight in combinations, and, although it took a long time to steam it all on, it worked really well. It didn’t bubble, and the fabric stayed soft and flexible. This is not a product placement — I just wanted to share a happy surprise with a “new to me” product.

I made a couple of muslins in the process of tweaking my pattern, followed by cutting and fusing all the pieces (some were double fused), many fittings, and finally adding the studs, which was fun but also a little stressful getting them positioned just right. I made the skirt with the same closure detail on Prince’s pants. The shirt was purchased on ebay, and only needed a few modifications.

Emily was very pleased with the final result. She took a selfie as soon as she got home, and there’s also a good one of her with the Prince impersonator from the party. I hope the next time I sew with tissue lamé, I’ll be making a big poofy skirt instead of a jacket.

 

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Grid Patterns for Filet Crochet or Cross Stitch, 1923

These patterns are from the 1923 Elyria, Ohio Chronicle-Telegram. I’ve stitched quite of bit of filet crochet in my day, but I’ve always been a little disappointed in the results. For some reason, my filet stitches end up more rectangular than square (more wide than tall), and I’ve never been able to figure out what I was doing wrong. Of course, these patterns also make nice one-color patterns for cross stitch (where you don’t have to worry about wonky squares). Click images to enlarge.

Earlier posts containing Mother Goose grid patterns are available in earlier posts here and here.

 

 

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Pillowcase Dresses for Columbia

Lori (Humble Quilts) will be making another mission trip in February, and she’s going to be taking a suitcase of pillowcase dresses. I started making these three years ago, and they are so much fun (see earlier groups for Peru and Bolivia). You can whip up one of these dresses in an hour with nothing but a small piece of fabric and some bias tape, but I like to spend a little more time adding extra elements to the basic pattern. Check out Lori’s post for more information if you’d like to make one of these sweet dresses for little Columbian girls.

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Deighton’s Quilt Pattern Transfers and Book Giveaway Winners

Haha — I just realized that my new format doesn’t number the comments, so I decided to do the drawing the old-fashioned way — names in a hat. Congratulations to Bonnie Sue and Val — I will be sending you an email today.

Now, for the transfers from my new vintage Deighton’s Embroidery Transfer catalog. Honestly, I’ve never understood why anyone would want to use a hot iron method to transfer a quilting design, but I’ve found quite a few examples, both actual transfers and, in this case, a catalog with two pages of quilting designs. Most of these catalog designs are referred to as “Italian,” with double lines that are meant to be padded with cording or yarn, which I have never attempted. The elaborate designs below are identified as “English.” and would be something very special stitched on an alternate block. I’ll try to scan and clean all of the quilting designs in the next week.

Clicking on the images will open a pdf file which you can download and print using the poster setting in Acrobat Reader. The image is the same as the original pattern (20″ x 20″), so if you want to print them this size, you’ll need to select the poster option in the print dialog box in order to tile print the image. The catalog illustrations were scanned and enlarged from thumbnail drawings, so I’m sorry the quality is not the best.

More large quilting patterns are available in previous posts here and here.

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My Quilt’s on the Cover Book Giveaway

Haha! It’s probably not what you were expecting. This is not a book about vintage quilts or how to make quilts. It’s a quilt-themed novel, Everlasting Quilts, the 4th in Ann Hazelwood’s East Perry County Series published by AQS. I was contacted by the cover designer, who asked if he could use a photo of my bow tie quilt, and I agreed.

It’s not an exact representation of my quilt, because the designer used a detail photo of only 20 blocks and just tiled the photo to fill in the rest. Still, I think it turned out nice.

The publisher sent me two copies of the book to give away, so if you would like one, please let me know in a comment. If more than two people respond, I will use a random number generator to pick the winners next weekend.

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Antique Crib Quilt — Basket 4-Patch

The little 19th century quilt is just a top now, because someone decided to separate it from its backing and batting. You can still see remnants of the quilting stitches (a basic outline pattern) and where the binding was attached. I’m thinking it was once a crib quilt because of its scale and size (43″ x 50″), as well as the whimsical look of the baskets with their cute squatty handles.

The quilter chose an appealing set incorporating the 3 1/2″ basket blocks into a 4-patch block. She mostly used the same prints for both the baskets and the plain squares, but not always, which gives the design more interest. The fabrics include madders, double-pinks, gingham and shirtings — I’ve always loved this combination of brown and pink.

Madders don’t hold up well over time, and I think you can see, if you enlarge the first photo, that some of them are torn and shattered. Those that are not already disintegrating are extremely fragile, so I covered the back with a piece of sheer weight, iron-on interfacing. I bought it despite these issues because I loved it so much, and now I’m going to make a copy using reproduction fabrics.

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Vintage Embroidery Transfers – Anthropomorphic Household Objects

My blog began in December, 2008, and I just realized that this is my 1,000th post. Now I wish I had something more exciting to write about than another vintage embroidery transfer, but at least it’s a cute one.

I do not know the publisher — if you have any information about them, I’d love to hear from you. Click images to enlarge.

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DIY Upholstering on the Cheap

I’m not dead! It’s been six months since I’ve posted anything, and I must say that it’s very hard to get back into the routine of posting after you’ve taken a long break. Gordon and I spent about four months arranging new housing for his parents (independent and assisted living), as well as cleaning out, repairing and selling their home of 60+ years. Also, Gordon has finally retired, so we are doing more things together during the day, which means I am spending less time sewing.

Some of my break was spent reupholstering furniture, which has been a challenging but satisfying project. We purchased our living room couch when we moved into this house 26 years ago. It’s a Lane in a traditional style that was originally covered in blue brocade (I know . . . ick), but it was a subtle pattern and I liked it for a long time until I didn’t. Although the couch itself was still in great shape, the fabric was really gross. Our dog, Lucy, used to sneak in and sleep on it when no one was home, and also it was faded from the sun. My sister gave me a bolt of  yellow striped cotton which she decided not to use for her couch, so this project was practically free.

I am also recovering two matching chairs purchased from a thrift shop about the same time as the couch — one of which is finished, and the other is in progress. They’re a sort of French style, with carved wood frames, and fabric covered seats, backs and arms. Double welting covers the stapled edges.

My sister, who taught herself how to upholster, helped me with my first piece, and I’ve since done three others. This couch, however, is the most elaborate job I’ve tackled. There was more sewing involved because it has six cushions, four of which are odd shapes, but most of the project involved staples — tons of staples. I feel like there were thousands in these three pieces, which I saved in a bowl to prove to Gordon how hard I’d worked. It’s insane how many staples these professional upholsterers use — I always think they go crazy just because they can, since they’re using easy, expensive pneumatic staple guns.

There are lots of good tutorials online for learning to do upholstery (I like this one at diydesign), and even though they’re not going to be quite the same as your piece, they can still be very helpful. For the couch, I started at the bottom and just began peeling off each section, keeping the pieces intact that I would need as templates for the new pattern. I marked all the pieces with a black sharpie, making note of placement, direction, seam allowances, tucks — basically anything I could think of that would help me get the thing back together. I also tried to preserve all the little tricky devices they use (some metal, some cardboard) so I could reuse them later. Really, it’s just like a big puzzle, and if you take your time, it’s not that difficult. The very worst part is removing all the staples, and I found some new tools that made it much easier this time (shown below).

Here’s the couch while I was working on it — propped up on other furniture, including the chairs I would recover later and a piano bench with a shuffle board on top. It’s much easier on your back if you can rig up something to elevate the piece.

Here’s the finished couch, which I think took about three weeks to recover, but I didn’t work on it every day. The old blue fabric was very snug on the cushions, but I wanted a little softer look. I kept the bottom cushions fairly tight, but made the back cushions a little slouchier.

I thought the chairs were going to be much easier, because the construction was pretty simple. Unfortunately, the staple situation was horrible. The wood was much harder than on the couch, and the staples were butted up against the edge of a sort of channel in the wood which made them very difficult to pry up without gouging the wood.

What saved the day were two staple lifters — C.S. Osborne & Co. No. 763 (red handle) and No. 64006 (yellow handle). I would have given up without these tools. I also used heavy-duty pliers, a light staple gun with 3/16″ wire staples (I can’t squeeze hard enough to use the heavy duty guns, so sometimes I have to use a hammer to get the staples all the way in). As you can see in the photo below, the cotton was a little rough after I peeled it away from the fabric, so I added new pieces of quilt batting to smooth it out.

I love this linen fabric that I found 50% off at Joann’s, but it was only available online and I had to wait 3 weeks to receive it. The double welting on the chair is super easy to prepare, and there are lots of instructional videos on YouTube. The original welting was stapled on, but I always put mine on with hot glue, which works just fine and is much easier.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. My plan is to post whenever I have something new, but I’m not sure how often that will be.

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American Girl Dolls Dress up as Characters from Clueless.

Because we had such a great time last year at Emily’s American Girl Doll Store birthday party, we decided to do it all over again this year. For last year’s party, I dressed 3 of the dolls as 80’s pop stars. This year Emily requested characters from one of her favorite movies, Clueless, directed by Amy Heckerling — a 1995 coming-of-age comedy staring Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, and Brittany Murphy, which is loosely based on the novel, Emma, by Jane Austen. Mona May was the designer of the amazing costumes.

Once again, I had such fun finding the materials and making these outfits. Here are the dolls hanging out in a mall bar before our visit to the AG Store. Mary-Ellen is dressed as Amber, Julie is Cher, Addy is Dionne, and Molly is Tai.

american-girl-dolls-as-clueless-movie-characters

If you’ve not seen the movie (and you definitely should), here are some photos of the original outfits.

clueless-cher-and-dionne

clueless-tai

clueless-amber

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McCall’s Monday — Dutch Boys and Girls Embroidery Patterns, Part 2

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments on my blog break post. I’m fine — just very busy with family and projects that have nothing to do with quilting or embroidery. I hope to share a few things in the next couple of months, and look forward to getting back to a regular blogging schedule after the holidays.

Here are the rest of McCall’s 779, Dutch Boy and Girls. The other two motifs can be found in an earlier post.

mccalls-779-dutch-boy-girl-3c

mccalls-779-dutch-boy-girl-3

mccalls-779-dutch-boy-girl-4c

mccalls-779-dutch-boy-girl-4

mccalls-779-dutch-boy-girl-5c

mccalls-779-dutch-boy-girl-5-reversed

 

mccalls-779-dutch-boy-girl-6c

mccalls-779-dutch-boy-girl-6

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I’m Taking a Blog Break

I am taking a blog break of indeterminate length. There is a lot going on here, but I hope to check in occasionally. I will post the rest of the McCall’s Dutch boy and girl patterns.

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McCall’s Monday — Dutch Boys and Girls Embroidery Patterns

This pattern, McCall’s Kaumagraph 779, uses both appliqué and embroidery. Clicking on the pattern images below will open a two-page printable pattern that also includes templates for the appliqué pieces. I will upload more of the six patterns next Monday . . . hopefully all four, but two more for sure.

UPDATE: The four other patterns may be found in a later post.

mccalls-779-dutch-boy-girl-1c

mccalls-779-dutch-boy-girl-1

mccalls-779-dutch-boy-girl-2cmccalls-779-dutch-boy-girl-2

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Free Pattern Friday — Laura Wheeler Bird Embroidery Transfers

Here are some cute bird illustrated proverbs from Laura Wheeler. There are also several other bird transfers in earlier posts: Vogart 671 and LW 676, LW 718, and LW 918.lw-7140-home-is-where-the-heart-is lw-7140-bread-is-the-staff-of-life lw-7140-cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness lw-7140-haste-makes-waste lw-7140-many-hands-make-light-work lw-7140-a-stitch-in-time-saves-nine

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McCall’s Monday — Outline Figures for Child’s Trimming

This is a minuscule illustration from my 1928 McCall’s Needlework Catalog which was scanned it at a very high resolution and traced in Photoshop. I had to take a few liberties with the lines where the quality was poor, but I hope the results are usable. Click images to enlarge.

mccalls-1589

mccalls-1589-hockey-bunny mccalls-1589-hedgehog mccalls-1589-cat-and-bird mccalls-1589-girl-hedgehog mccalls-1589-pig mccalls-1589-woman mccalls-1589-bunny-duck mccalls-1589-cats-teeter-totter mccalls-1589-birds-and-flower mccalls-1589-birds-bowl mccalls-1589-bunnies-and-tree mccalls-1589-bear-family mccalls-1589-dancing-bunnies

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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

For the past few weeks I’ve been working on Emily’s latest Halloween costume. This year she asked me to make the Cyndi Lauper outfit from the “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” video, which was, appropriately, a lot of fun to make. It’s a coincidence, since I recently posted a squaw apron pattern, and the skirt Cyndi wears in the video is a thrift shop squaw skirt, probably from the 1950s.

As you can tell from the photo below, Cyndi’s skirt is very full. I decided to make Emily’s skirt with circular tiers, instead of the straight ones called for in my vintage pattern — it’s still very full, but less bulky and heavy. It’s a little trickier to sew the trim on a curve, but I like the way it turned out — the bottom of the skirt is just short of 9 yards long.

Here’s Emily . . .

emily-cyndi-lauper-costume

and here’s Cyndi . . .

cyndi-lauper-girls-just-wanna-have-fun

Of course, we couldn’t find anything like these weird tribal mask earrings Cyndi wore, but I thought I could make them with Sculpey clay, and that’s exactly what I did.

cyndi-lauper-repro-earring

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