Friday, June 15, 2012

Thrifting - Variegated Embroidery

I know thrift store shopping is not for everyone, but every once in awhile you can find some diamonds in the rough.  This little shirt is 100% silk with rayon embroidery, a little wrinkled but other than that perfectly wearable.

Embroidered shirt front

They used a variegated embroidery floss for the design on the placket and motifs.

Embroidered shirt placket

 There is some of this in the stash that I haven't wanted to use until I found some inspiration. The embroidery detail on the center front placket is achieved with a very small stitch giving it a hand made quality.  The front panels are accented with three sets of pin tucks on each side.

Embroidered shirt - detail

 The center front placket has two tiny pearl buttons matched with two tiny thread chain loops to keep the neckline closed.
Embroidered shirt neckline

Embroidered shirt  tiny buttons

The center front placket has 6 mother of pearl buttons.

Embroidered shirt pearl buttons

The sleeve cuff  has a coordinated version of the embroidery on the cuff, and is closed with fabric loops and self covered buttons.
Embroidered shirt cuff

The inside seams are finished with a french seam at the side seam and under sleeve seam.

Embroidered shirt french seams

The neckline is finished with a bias strip, that is under stitched and top stitched.

Embroidered shirt bias neckline finish

And all of this for $4.00, the pearl buttons alone would be worth that.  This is also a good example of how lightweight silks can be finished and for those of you who entertain the " One pattern many looks " philosophy the details here are good ones to keep in mind for dressing up that one silhouette.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vintage - Castleberry knits

Another thrift store find, I don't know why I had to have this except that I immediately envisioned white linen palazzo pants, a thin lizard belt, gold bangles and big black sunglasses.  There's more, there was a cocktail in one hand, chaise lounge, a pool in the background and a cabana boy somewhere in there.


My mother was very talented, and one of her talents was knitting these classic dresses for herself and clients.
She had a Pfaff double bed knitting machine which produced rib knits and intricate textured patterns, later she would buy a Brother single bed knitting machine to make intarsia and lace knits.  I still have this knitting machine and a few cones of yarn, so the purchase was more of a study of the cuffs and joining knit to woven.

The top itself has potential, it is 100% polyester, and while I normally stay away from polys this is a high end polyester, it is silky and very lightweight.  In addition to the knit hem and cuffs, there is a strip of knit trim around the collar and yoke (front and back).  I imagine this would be an easy travel item, wrinkle resistant and easy to wash and hang to air dry.  It can be worn as a jacket, with a cami underneath as the front opens all the way to the waist. A departure from what many travel pieces look like (we don't always want to wear tank tops and tank dresses).  An interesting style with some interesting design details.


Hidden button placket

Shoulder pads - inside out view

Rib knit joined to woven fabric - just a note, this knit has tremendous recovery, from a flat 30" it stretches to 42" without distorting, so finding the right knit is key for this project.

Bottom Hem
Stretched out



Knit trim collar edge

Isn't it nice to know that even manufacturers have problems finding matching sets of buttons?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

This is not a Chanel jacket - Tweed jacket finish alternatives

What if you want to make a Chanel jacket but didn't want to bother with all of that hand quilting and didn't want to get involved with an epic project.  There are alternatives to the interior finishes that are acceptable.  This jacket originally retailed for $2,250, it is a fancy tweed, very soft and luxurious, much like the tweeds used for Chanel jackets.


Honk Kong bound seam allowances
Silk crepe de chine facings 


Pocket detail 3 layers of crepe de chine cut on the bias and fringed.


Silk crepe de chine hem facing with scalloped lace.

Seam finish hidden under a strip of crepe de chine

And if you look closely to the left, you can see under the facing an area that reveals a serged edge.


If you've been sitting on the sidelines thinking you could never have a jacket that resembles that Chanel cardi, because you didn't want to commit to quilting, here's your alternative.  The idea of these finishes appeals to me for a summer version of the cardi, something that doesn't have an extra layer to make it even warmer.

This construction would highlight the soft drape of the tweed, with no interference from lining or quilted backing.  It looks "finished" on the inside.  I would have concerns over time that it would be stretched out, and would not store the jacket on a hanger just to be sure.  The other thing I would add to this are removable underarm shields to protect the garment from waxy deodorant.  As a relatively quick project (if you already have a TNT), there's nothing wrong with this approach.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's towel madness !!!!... bathroom org continued

A little disappointed that I couldn't use the binder attachment, I turned to an old trusty friend for inspiration.  My vintage Pfaff Automatic 360, with embroidery stitches.  I have not used these stitches for any project, so this was a first for me.  It was pretty exciting to see that the cams still worked, and produced some pretty cute embroidery stitches for a machine that's over 50 years old.


I pulled out the instruction manual and started playing on scraps.  I used a thick silk Gutterman thread for the needle and regular thread for the bobbin.


So far so good....



Now onto the clean up towels.....
I was going to turn under and stitch but that would have made the edges very thick.  Instead I decided on three passes with the serger, the first pass with the knife engaged, and the next two passes with the knife disengaged. This gave me a sturdy edge that is finished.  It also left me with tails which can't stay that way.


So the solution is to thread a large eyed tapestry needle and bury the thread in the stitching.  To secure the thread further, you can take a back stitch and run it through the stitching again.


No more tails!!


Now I have piles and piles of towels.

Lest we forget that issue I have with the oral B, and the mess it leaves after brushing my teeth. No amount of rinsing cures it.

Looks pretty good but not good enough.

How about a little sleeve?

How cute a little furry shelf!

This works and I can toss it in the wash.

Last but not least, the flying shower curtain, which leaves puddles on the floor.  This issue has been solved with clips.  I placed the bottom clip high enough so that I can still reach the knobs to turn the water on before I get in the shower.
Shower curtain clips

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Pratesi project - recycling towels

Face Towels

So back to towels, which dovetails into my learning new techniques on my sewing machine, because... I have attachments!!

FIRST - Get all of my towels in one place and separate them by condition.

Guest towels - Every day towels - Cleaning the car towels - General cleaning towels - beach towels - kitchen towels.

Put the good towels away lest they get sucked into the sewing void.

FLOOR MAT Look for the heavier sturdier weighted towels. There were two towels that were heavier and thicker than the rest.  One happens to be a hand towel and the perfect size for a floor mat, so that one will stay as is, the other was a white plush towel.

Sometimes the woven side bindings on a towel shrink in the dryer, and the towels end up being a puckered mess, this was the case with this towel, so the first thing to go was the side edges which were serged off.

Then I placed a true floor mat against it for size and decided to go with a bigger dimension.

Cut binding

Then the binding (this is an old sheet I had used as a muslin) cut into bias strips.

Then I joined them together so I would have one long strip, and sewed it to the edge with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Then it is turned under and stitched in the ditch and trimmed.

Applying the binding
Now you'll notice, the binding attachment was not used here. I tried but the towel got stuck in the attachment, it was just too thick. From two bath sized towels I was able to knock out 13 items on  my project list.

Project List -
Face cloth 13" x 13" - (Quantity 4 - blue)
Counter / sink towel - (Quantity 4 - blue with borders)
Makeup towels- for wet and dry - (Quantity 2 - white square)
Dental care mat (maybe placemats)- wet and dry - (Quantity 2 rectangular)
Bath Mat - (Quantity 1 white)


The cut towels with the woven borders will be turned and stitched instead of finished with binding. They are already finished with a serged edge but need the final treatment.

Bath mat & face towelsThere is a brand of linens called Pratesi, and when I was growing up they made bed linens and towels with a scallop edge bound with a bias tape.   It was an easy way to dress up a towel and they were cute. I decided against the scallop and went with a straight edge.

Now even at a discount store the face towels can run into the $4.00 range, and a bath towel just a bit more.  If you go to the department stores, they can be $20 and up.  Frette which is as close in quality to Pratesi was these days the humble face towel is $27.00.  Frette's towels have three embroidered stripes on them, that might be an idea to test out the buttonholer attachment, which supposedly also does embroidery or monogramming.  That's a whole other post.  So if you were thinking that a coordinated set of towels were not in your budget think again, you can buy a bigger towel and custom cut smaller ones.

Singer FW attachments 160809

Sorry for the departure but someone was asking what attachments originally came with Singer Featherweights.

Box is labeled 160809

Comes with ....

120598 Ruffler

160359 Multi slotted Binder with guide pins

120855 Hemmer

36865 Tucker

121441 Gatherer

Adjustable tuck foot

120378 Small Screwdriver