Making Do

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I can’t lie to you, I’ve had a rough couple of months.  Actually, I’ve had a rough 11 months.

Unlike many women (who I try not to envy), pregnancy is very hard on me, and my third pregnancy was the most difficult to date.  Perhaps it was because I am just that much older (I just turned the big 30!), or because it was the third time my body had undergone such a strenuous challenge.  I don’t know for certain, but whatever the reason, I spent almost my entire pregnancy either sick, sore, exhausted, depressed, or hobbling (or some fun combination of all five).   I was so miserable, that when I went into pre-term labor at 35 weeks, I was secretly relieved.  Is that terrible, or what?  Of course I was very glad they were able to stop labor and keep my baby safe, but I spent the next four weeks hoping the baby would end up coming early like my other two.  Instead, she decided to stay in there right up to 39 weeks, nice and cozy.

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I’ve never had an issue with weight gain during pregnancy, and this one was no different.  I spent the entire nine months assuring the doctor I am eating enough, and trying not to get exasperated when they tell me I need to gain more weight.  My body just doesn’t naturally gain a lot of weight.  With my first two children, I lost the “baby” weight very quickly after giving birth, retaining only five pounds or so while I was nursing.  Not so much this time around.  I have actually gained weight.  None of my clothes fit.  I’ve spent the past two months wearing my husbands clothing and feeling like a complete frump.  After you have a baby, you feel so strange and exhausted (physically and mentally); feeling like you at least look nice can really be a boon to your mental health.  I’m not overeating or eating unhealthy foods, and I’m trying to drink lots of water.  I am breastfeeding.  Even so, this weight ain’t budging.  Whenever I mention my frustration to others, I’m met with, “Oh, you just had a baby!  Don’t worry about it!”  While these sentiments are kindly meant, I am worried about it.  What if this is the beginning of a downward spiral?  I’m getting older now.  What if my body is changing, and I won’t be able to maintain my weight easily like I always have?  I don’t want to have to think about it!  I don’t want weight to become an idol in my life, or eating a focus.  I just want to live my life–and be able to fit into my clothes.

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Anyway.

We’ve been staying in a very small rental house for the past 8 months, which is a bit longer than we were hoping to be here.  It’s looking like it will be longer still, as we have had some hiccups and delays with getting our home in the mountains built.  The house has some mold issues, which cause me to be constantly mildly sick and stuffy.  On top of that, it’s kind-of (extremely) out-dated.  I’ve tried my best to make it cozy, but there’s only so much you can do in a rental house that you’re not planning to be in very long.

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Lately it is always a mess.  Again, when I mention this as a stressor for me, I’m met with “Oh, you just had a baby!  Don’t worry about the house.”  While I know that these comments are coming from people who genuinely wish me well and want to help me feel better about things, the state of my home does bother me.  Sitting on the couch, nursing a baby, surrounded by a huge disaster is stressful and discouraging.

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This little house has become my world over the past several months.  It’s dark, a bit stuffy, and can sometimes be depressing.  I’m trying to get outside more, but it’s just difficult with two little ones to chase around plus a two-month-old to hold.  Sometimes I just have to put the kids in the car and leave to give us all a breath of fresh air.

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I didn’t mean for this post to become so depressing!  My plan was to post some photos of my house in its current state, and talk light-heartedly about making-do when you’re in a transitional phase (with three kids, in a small, ugly rental house).  Instead, it has become a bit more real.  Maybe that is a good thing.  Lord knows we all need a little more realness in our lives.

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In life we have to take the good with the inevitable bad.  We really can’t have one without the other.  As much as I’d like to wish away the bad right now, I can’t and I won’t.  I’ll remind myself to find joy in the many, many good things in my life right now, and rely on God to give me the strength of mind (and body) to get through each day with a shred of my sanity left intact.  I forget sometimes that He is the only one who I can rely on for that strength.

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Sincerely,
Bessie

The Pregnant Vintage Home Sewist

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One of my goals for 2017 is to start working on my blog again.  I really have missed blogging.  Part of the reason I stopped for awhile has been general business–children, lots of moving, lots of business-related projects and orders.  But the other reason is because I feel a little intimidated by what blogging has become.  When I first began blogging back in 2008 (wow, almost 10 years ago now), it was an entirely different beast.  People mostly blogged because they were passionate about something and/or loved to write and share their thoughts with the world.  I blogged for both of those reasons.  I was sewing up a storm back then, and fascinated with garment construction and vintage fashions, and it was just so dang fun to document it!

Nowadays blogging is a business.  If you don’t post X-amount of times a week, have 100 social media accounts, professional camera equipment, and sponsors out the wazoo then you are pretty much a blogging failure.

To be honest with you, I don’t want to blog like that.  It stresses me out.  I’m just a girl (ok, I just turned 30, so I guess I’m not technically a girl anymore–sniff!) who loves to sew, loves to homestead, loves her family and loves her goats and also happens to love to write.  So instead of feeling overwhelmed by the monster blogging has become, I am going to choose to blog anyway.  If you like it and want to follow me, then that is wonderful!  If I’m not quite fancy enough for you, I totally understand and you can probably find a zillion better blogs out there to follow instead. 😉

Now that that is out of the way, I wanted to fill you in on what I’ve been sewing lately!  This is my third pregnancy, and it is the first time I’ve actually sewn maternity garments for myself.  It seems funny to me that I didn’t do more of this with  my first child, when I had hardly anything to do, but I am sewing my butt off now with a 4 year old and a 2 year old running around being crazy.  Maybe the craziness pushes me to delve more into my creativity?  Who knows!  But I’m going with it!

So far I’ve made three garments.  All three were made using early 1960’s maternity patterns, because I just think they are the best.  The 60’s ushered in a different look for pregnant women.  No longer were they basically covered with a fluffy, ruffled, gathered sheet of fabric with a hole cute out for their head and arms. No, now we begin to see more fitted bodices (lots of empire waist) and more sleek designs.  Don’t get me wrong, I think some of those flouncy floofy 50’s maternity tops are pretty cute, but I don’t want to go around looking like this all the time (although Ethel’s dress is pretty amazing):

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So here are the three garments I have made thus far, for your viewing pleasure!

1. McCall’s 6995, circa 1963 (Here is one on Etsy!).  Middle view. img_3491

This top is amazing.  I’m actually wearing it right now, and I want to make a bazillion more.  It was very easy to make.  I used a shorter zipper than the pattern called for, because it seemed a bit extreme to use such a long zipper on the blouse (I understand for the dress).  The zipper is exposed, which is not something I usually do, but I bought this gorgeous zipper in Korea and thought it looked really lovely with this fabric and the style of this blouse.  And because I make baby toys and accessories and have a plethora of KAM snaps, I just used some matching KAMs for the sleeve cuffs.

Here’s a totally unprofessional photo (ahem, Photo Booth) of me wearing it.
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2. McCall’s 6686, circa 1963 (Here is one on Etsy!).  View A. 

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This top was not quite as simple to put together, but the pattern was so nicely designed that it went together with ease nonetheless and turned out super beautiful.  It’s a little more on  the dressy side (I actually made it for Thanksgiving–posted about that, too!).


3. Vogue 5423, early 1960’s.  View B with 3/4 sleeves.

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Oh, oh, oh.  This dress.  I had been hunting this pattern down for a while, and happened to stumble upon two copies of it online while we were living in Korea, which I promptly purchased.  This era of early 60’s Vogue maternity was just…just amazing.  So stylish and lovely and different from everything else that was available from that time period.  I’d love to collect as many of them as I can.

So, I made this as a Christmas dress, super last-minute, figuring I could also wear it pretty much any time and dress it up or down accordingly.  I love pretty much everything about it.  It is comfortable, stylish, flattering, and fits like a dream!  There is cased elastic at the front bodice/skirt seam (I used some yellow bias binding because, well, why not?), which makes for more ease and comfort as your belly grows.  One thing I don’t think was necessary (at least for me and my body shape/size) was the side zipper.  What with the elastic waist and back button closure, I haven’t used the zipper once.  It was kind of a needless effort.  But that is ok!

Here’s a flashy (haha) photo of me wearing it.  I wore it with a navy grosgrain ribbon as the belt, as I haven’t decided what I want to do with the the permanent belt yet.

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Aside from making another one or two McCall’s 6995, I also want to make this Butterick top up in a plaid flannel (and I am totally going to try wearing it with a bow, too):
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I am also loving this McCall’s pattern, and might try and make up view C before March comes along:

What are your thoughts and experiences with sewing vintage maternity?  Let me know in the comments!

Bessie

Finally: A Finished Maternity Top!

I’m currently growing baby number 3 (due in March!), and this is the first time I have actually completed a maternity garment.  I’m slightly ashamed of this.  However I must not be too hard on myself–I really dislike being pregnant, and typically feel pretty awful most of the way through it, so I guess it’s understandable that I haven’t felt like whipping up garments left and right.

Also, I’ve been pretty occupied lately working on baby toys for my business, Sweet Cozy Baby.  I am grateful to have had several orders over the past few weeks, and sold a bunch at a local craft show, so that has kept me busy!

We’ve also been moving, moving again, and in the process of building our own home on our own property up in the mountains, which is a little time-consuming as well.  But I digress.

I have to tell you guys, this pattern was a dream to sew up.  It was so nicely designed, and everything just fell into place beautifully with little-to-no need for improvisation.  The garment went together easily, and was a pleasure to sew.

Part of this was because I took it slow and made sure to hand baste my way through the process.  Have I mentioned before how wonderful it is to actually baste things together BY HAND when the pattern suggests it?  It makes your life so much easier, guys.  And your garments much more lovely.  This is especially true with setting sleeves.

This top was made using McCall’s 6686, version A.  I should have worn it with a strand of pearls.  And gloves.  Just like the envelope illustration.  Alas–I have neither right now (everything is in storage!), so a pair of gold hoop earrings had to do!  The collar is very wide-set, and really a perfect frame for a pretty pearl necklace.

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River and I posed for some photos outside at my parents’ place today.  You can see their Angora goats behind the fence.  Our goats are in the other paddock, healthy and happy (and two of them pregnant, hopefully!).

Here are some photos on the dress form (sorry, our house has horrible lighting):

Up-close of the buttons (I spent way too much money on these) (the fabric was thrifted, though, so I guess it balances out…):

I didn’t have any “matching” hem tape, but I have SO MUCH HEM TAPE that I felt I really ought to use some from my stash.  I opted for this pretty dark teal-ish color lace.  It’s one of those nobody-else-is-going-to-see-it-but-I-know-it’s-there splashes of color that are fun to add to garments.
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Just for fun, I put in a cute tag that I bought in Korea.

So there you have it!  My fist actual completed maternity garment, worn to Thanksgiving dinner 2016 with baby #3.  I am dying to make myself a beautiful Vogue maternity Christmas dress.  We shall see if that actually comes to pass or not.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Bessie

The Advance Wrap Dress

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This one has been in the “To Make” pile for about a year now.  Advance 7753.  Cute 50’s wrap dress.  Simple, easy, very adorable.   I bought a pretty blue plaid seersucker for it, and it seemed like a quick, easy project.  I was super excited to make myself a dress for the spring!

Lordy, did I have trouble with this dress!

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It was all my own fault.  The first thing I did wrong was to sew one of the skirt front panels on backwards.  Grab the seam ripper…

Next I realized I had made the side hole (which you pull one of the waist ties through) on the wrong side.  Whoops.  Thankfully I noticed this after I sewed the skirt on, tried the dress on, and realized that it did not fit AT ALL.  The front panels were way too long, even though I had adjusted the pattern for my short waist.  So off the skirt came, I shortened everything, re-pinned the skirt on, basted it to make sure it fit right, and then stitched it again.

Aaaand caught a bunch of the bodice back up in the seam.  Had to rip almost the entire skirt seam out again.  Re-pinned, re-stitched.  This time I did it the right way, with the gathers on the underside.  Why had I not done that before?  I have no clue.  I know how to sew.  I must have just been distracted.

Oh, let’s rewind to before the skirt came off the first time.  I also realized that the shoulders were gaping, and ended up making darts at the shoulders, which actually look great.

I was hasty with this garment, and didn’t make a muslin–I figured the usual alterations to the pattern would apply here, but this was a very different design and I absolutely should have made a muslin first.

Also, the pattern instructed to sew seam binding into the waistline seam, which I skipped, but later realized I needed because it’s a heavy skirt and needs the extra support.  So I went back and sewed in some sturdy ribbon by hand.

While trying this dress on, I noticed that because of the large plaid this dress really needed to be worn with a belt to define my waist, otherwise I looked very wide.  So I changed the waist tie design a little, knowing I would be wearing a belt with this dress and not wanting a big bow in my way.  I eliminated one tie completely, and stitched up the side hole, and sewed a piece of ribbon on one inner side seam and the front edge of the bodice that I did not add a tie to.  That way I could fasten that side on the inside, like a robe.  Then I used a wide, sturdy hook and eye on the one waist tie.  The eye is on the outside of the tie, near where it attaches to the bodice front, and the hook is on the opposite end.  This way I can wrap the tie around and fasten it in the front, with no bulk.

My little photographer took some great pictures of my in my dress today.  She shows much promise.

I think the plaid still makes me look a little wide, but I like it anyway.  Definitely looks much better with a belt.  Here’s a picture without:

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And yes, technically the side with the ginormous pocket is supposed to be on the outside.  That was my final mistake, but I couldn’t bear to take anything else apart and I think it looks fine the way it is.

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You definitely need to wear a slip, underskirt or petticoat (or some shorts) under this one.  If it’s windy outside, you might reveal a little more than you want to.

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I love the top of this dress.  I might try to make a few blouses from it.  The dress is very comfortable and easy to wear, if a little on the full-skirted side for me!  I’m typically a 40’s girl, but I think I can live with this one. 😉

Bessie

50’s Apron Cuteness: Simplicity 1359

Guys, I’m so sorry.  I have completely neglected this blog.  I never intended to do that.  I re-vamped it, re-named it, had tons of great ideas for it…and then it just fizzled.  Well, I shouldn’t blame it, the blog, I should blame myself.  I have let it fizzle.  I’m just not great at having lots of irons in the fire, and this particular iron has not been quite as important as the others I’ve been juggling lately.  Hopefully that will change soon!

We are getting ready to make the big move back to the ol’ U.S. of A. in a couple months, and I have hoarded so much fabric over the past couple years here (because it is SO INEXPENSIVE!!!), I figured maybe it would be a good idea to try and take some orders and cut down on my stash a bit before moving.  I put up a little post on Facebook inviting people to place orders and help me de-stash and save some money for moving home, and I was delighted to have several toy, apron and bow-tie orders that very day!

This weekend I’ve been hard at work finishing up the first batch of toys and one of the aprons.  Here are four of the toys, which I must say turned out extremely adorable:

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It was so nice to make toys again.  I’ve been so fixated on garments this past year, and my toy business has kind-of been on the back burner for awhile.  I forgot how fun these are to make!  That bunny–if I had more of that fabric, I might have to make one for myself.  Or River.  He picked it up while I was working on it, with a delighted look on his face, and said “My bunny!”  So hard to say no to that!  Guess I’ll be making a bunny for that little bugger, too.

Today’s big project to finish was an extremely adorable apron, made from vintage Simplicity 1359.

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For this apron, I decided to go with version 1.  I love the waistband and big pockets on that one.  In my opinion, where aprons are concerned, the bigger the pockets the better.  We made a trip to Dongdaemun over the weekend and I picked out some very cute medium-weight cotton in a colorful leaf-looking print for the body of the apron and a cute
brown tiny gingham for the contrast.

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The only thing I should have done differently (ahem, or shall I say, I should have actually followed the directions on) is the way I sewed the bias binding onto the pockets.  The end result turned out great, but the way I did it took waaaaaay longer than it should have.  The directions say to sew the bias binding to the wrong side of the pockets, trim seams to 1/4″, fold the binding over the edges, and then top-stitch.  I did it the opposite way, and slip-stitched the binding down.  Like I said, looks fine, but took way longer.

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It was a unique design, and fun to put together!  I like how the waistband was sewn on, and how the middle-most end is actually stitched into the dart!

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When I first tried it on, I didn’t like the way the bib pooched out on the sides.  Then I realized, since this is a one-size-fits-all apron, they designed it that way on purpose to accommodate different sized people.  The way the waistband is sewn on, you can easily adjust the sides of the apron to fit you by tucking the excess down before tying.  It’s hard to explain, but here are some photos:

The buttons are vintage ones from my collection.  They were in a humongous jar of old buttons that I found at an estate sale one time.  The buttons are actually supposed to be hidden on the underside of the waistband, but I thought they looked way to cute for that so I put them out the outside instead.  The buttonholes were bound using a quick and easy method that is suitable for things such as apron straps, and that I’ve observed in many of the handmade garments I’ve found around here from Korea and Japan (namely shirt dresses and blouses).

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I did take a few horrible bathroom selfies wearing the apron to send to the customer, but…well, they are just horrible bathroom selfies.  However, in the spirit of transparency (and because my son ran in wearing a Bart Simpson mask yelling “Look Mom, I Bart Simson!” and it was hilarious), I will share them with you, pile of dirty laundry and all.

So that’s what the vintage home sewist has been up to this week!  I still have several more toy orders to complete, another apron (this time in a red and white polka dot, version 3!), some headbands and baby bibs, and a couple bow ties to make, so I’ll be pretty busy.  But busy doing what I love, so I’m not complaining!

Bessie

Another Old Dress

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I went to VinPrime again yesterday and found a few noteworthy vintage dresses that were MAJORLY on sale.

My favorite one, however, I paid full price for.  A whopping  ₩15,000.  That’s only about $13.00, so I felt like it was a pretty good deal.

This dress is from the 60’s or early 70’s.  Handmade, and gorgeously tailored.  I took some photos for you of the inside and the outside so that you can drool over the details with me!

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First of all, THAT FABRIC. Secondly, THESE BUTTONS!

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They were covered with foil when I bought the dress, which I have never seen before.  If you have any idea why the owner might have done that, feel free to comment and let me know.  I’m super curious.  Maybe just to keep them looking nice while it was cleaned?

The front buttons to the waist and then has a zipper that goes down about 7″.  At the bottom of the lapped front there is a snap, which has broken and I will need to replace.

All of the buttonholes are delicately bound.

Now let’s take a look at the inside!

The skirt lining  is secured to the dress by hand with tiny stitches.  The dress skirt itself is pleated in the front and back, but the lining is simply darted.

Here’s a look at the zipper:

And I love how the maker reinforced the shoulders!

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Bra strap holders are in place, which is uncommon (at least in my experience) in shirt dresses but super cool!

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Most seams are finished with pink bias binding.

But blanket stitch was used to finish the back yoke seam.

A simple hem.

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The lining back seam was machine stitched and then hand stitched before being pressed.  I’m sure this is a tailoring technique that I have not learned yet!

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All-in-all a lovely dress.  I can’t wait to wear it.  It needs a couple repairs–one button is broken (I will replace it with the button from under the collar, which I will not use and you will not be able to notice is missing), and then the snap that I mentioned above.  Once everything is fixed, I’ll be sure to take a photo or two of me actually wearing it!

Here are the other gems I found at VinPrime:

The “Trees and People” shirt:

70’s Tailored Dress with Yellow Buttons:

Cute go-go-esque dress, which looks like it’s from the 60’s:

Have you found any cute vintage garments lately?  Do tell!

Bessie

Making The Perfect French Press

 

I’ve always preferred my French press to any other method of home brewing.  However lately I had begun to feel like my pots were lacking in depth.  This point was brought home in a big way when I stopped by my favorite local patisserie for a pastry and the most delicious French press that had ever danced around my taste buds.

I knew at that moment that I was doing something wrong.  I had to figure out how to make a French press like that.

So I went online and did some learnin’.  One thing I learned was that it is beneficial to help the wetting process along by giving your grounds and hot water a 20-30 second stir before letting your coffee brew.  I use a chopstick, and gently swirl the coffee until a lovely, yummy foam forms on the top and then cover and let brew.

The second thing I learned was that I was not brewing my coffee anywhere near long enough.

When I was younger, I worked at Starbucks for a bit.  It was a fantastic place to work, and I loved it.  However, I don’t believe they can be looked to as the best resource for coffee brewing expertise–at least not on every level.  I was taught that if you let your French press brew for any more or any less than EXACTLY 3 minutes, it would be ruined.  THREE MINUTES!  Three. Minutes. Period.

Turns out, if you let those grounds soak for 7-8 minutes, your coffee will taste amazingly better.

Today I took some pictures of my coffee making process, and without further ado I will share my little step-by-step Amazingly Awesome French Press Coffee tutorial with you!

Step 1: Beans, grind ’em.
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Obviously you want to use good beans.  I’ll admit, although I’m sure they are not the fanciest of beans, I absolutely LOVE Dunkin’ Donuts coffee beans.  Turn up your nose at me if you will–I’m not ashamed.

Anywho, put them in your grinding device (we use a Magic Bullet-type blender) and grind until your beans look about like grits.  In case you are not from the south and have no idea what grits are, here’s a good example:
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I use about 1/3 C of whole coffee beans per 4 C French press.  Some people like to use more than that.  I personally like a rich coffee that is not too strong or bitter, and 1/3 is perfect for me.  Feel free to experiment!

You can also grind the beans a bit finer, if you like.  However your coffee might end up a little bitter, and you might see a few grounds in it.

Make sure you take the time to inhale the intoxicating scent of freshly ground coffee.  Forget smelling the roses.  Smell the coffee, people. SMELL THE COFFEE.
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Step 2: Put the beans and water in your French Press

I had a helper this morning.  See above how he deftly demonstrates the emptying of the blender contents into the French press.  I then allowed him to pour boiling hot water over the grounds.

Just kidding.  I did that part.

I learned at Starbucks that boiling water was actually a little too hot for a French press, but have since read elsewhere that it is acceptable.  I haven’t noticed a difference when I use slightly cooler water, so boiling it is for me.

Step 3: Swirl, swirl, swirl!

Next, take a spoon or chopstick or something of the sort and give your coffee and hot water a few nice, slow swirls.  When a fine foam floats to the top (that is carbon dioxide escaping from the grounds), you’ll know it’s ready to start brewing.

 

Step 4: Let Brew
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Place the lid on top and set your timer for 7-8 minutes.  IMG_3406

 

Step 5: Plunge and enjoy!
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Gently press down the plunger of your French press.  Pour yourself a delicious cup of coffee.  If you have a delicious French pastry to go with it, all the better.

Oh, and I must share my awesome mug with you.  My sweet friend and sewing buddy over here bought this for me.

Do you like my little coffee “splash” on the counter?  Yeah, this is real life people!  Sometimes you spill a little coffee.  And that is ok.

What type of coffee brewing method do you employ?

Bessie

Up-cycled Mod for Evvie

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Evelyn asked me if I could make her a dress like Tiana’s.  I told her I didn’t have quite enough material for a dress like that, but I could look at what I have and see what we could make.  She went into my fabric stash and came out with some pieces of a shirt I was going to up-cycle into baby toys.

I knew just the pattern to fit those pieces.  It was a cute McCall’s from the mid-60’s.  Simple little A-line dress with a front pleat.  Turned out that there was just enough fabric to make a dress without pockets.  I also had to chop up the pattern a little and add a contrasting facing for the back, as the original design had the dress back and facing all in one piece and it wouldn’t quite fit on my shirt pieces.

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My sewing room is like a refrigerator.  Hence the hat. Oh, and this is McCall’s 8001, circa 1965.

I didn’t intend to turn up the sleeves like that, but it looks super cute that way!  My first thought was to cover some buttons with the stripe fabric for the back, but to be honest I just didn’t feel like it.  So instead I opted for some cute vintage blue buttons I happened to have in my stash.  I think I like it even better than how the stripe buttons looked in my mind.

You’ll notice I also had to add a contrasting pleat underlay.  I thought stripes would be too much, so I used some baby wale green corduroy instead.  It was just the right shade to complement the main fabric.

For the hem, I tried out the method we discovered in the 70’s shift.  It was very simple and easy, and looks really good.

Evvie told me once the dress was finished, much to my disappointment, that she thought she’d just save it for summer.  She begrudgingly agreed to do JUST ONE photo shoot for me, and I was very much obliged indeed.  The dress looks pretty adorable with those jeans, don’t ya think?  It’s like a little tunic.  Maybe she’ll change her mind and wear it a few times this winter.

Here are some playing-with-beans action shots!

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Yesterday was my big day to go fabric shopping in Dondaemun.  I had several projects to buy fabric and supplies for, including costumes for an upcoming play at my husband’s school, a few dresses for myself, a bag, and some really adorable overalls for the kids.  But true to Korea form, I traveled to Dongdaemun only to find that the entire fabric shopping complex was CLOSED for reasons unknown to me.  I cannot tell you how frustrating this was.  Since I have two kids under 3, it is practically impossible for me to do large-scale fabric shopping with them in tow, so I have to go when my husband is home.  The shopping complex closes at 5pm (GAR!), so I can never make it on the weekdays.  That leaves weekends.  So the next time I’ll be able to get out there is next week, putting me very behind on costuming.

Alas!

I do need to bring my camera and do a post about Dongdaemun.  Oh, fellow sewists–it is like a fairy dream land!  Anything and everything you could EVER WANT for sewing, crafting, knitting and crochet.  Gobs and gobs of it.  Four huge buildings full of it.  It is pretty amazing.

So this week I’ll just spend my time making up a muslin for Tzeital’s wedding dress (they are doing Fiddler on the Roof), and bust my butt making up for lost time next week!  Go with the flow, right?

Bessie

A Dress For Tiana

Have you ever sewn from a vintage Barbie doll sewing pattern?  I’ve collected a few over the years, and now that I have a daughter who has a beloved Tiana Barbie with a small wardrobe, I have been trying some out!

By small wardrobe, I mean she has one outfit.  We found her at a yard sale last year, butt naked.  Evelyn thought she was the most beautiful doll in the world, and I thought it would be fun project to sew her a new wardrobe with my old patterns.  Shortly after we brought her home, I made her this cute little outfit:

It’s been about a year since I made that one.  I’ve been swamped with commissioned sewing lately, and decided for a little creative break today to pull out the vintage Barbie patterns and let Evvie pick a new outfit for Tiana.  We chose Butterick 9993.

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She picked the wedding dress, of course.
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I didn’t have any large pieces of lace, so I used a little lace trim that I had to edge the overskirt.

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A rolled-up dish towel makes pressing tiny tubular skirts and curved seams much easier!

I pinked most seams, and double-turned some others, taking tiny careful stitches along the back edges.  Skirt was finished with a tiny hem stitch.

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Barbie dresses are fun because you get to do a lot of the finishing by hand, but it doesn’t take very long.  Well, unless you have a 3 year old and a 20 month old saying “Mommy!” every two seconds.  But that’s ok!

The dress was very simple, and very easy to make!  I used a small strip of velcro for the back fastener, as it’s a little easier for my daughter to open and close than snaps.

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The overskirt really adds some glamour! If only I had enough lace left for a veil.  We’ll have to add that later.

Evvie was very pleased.  Next I am supposed to make a dress “with flowers on it.”

What have you been sewing lately?

Bessie

Two 60’s Dresses from Korea

Handmade Black Party Dress
This dress has a full skirt with pleats on the front and back and has 3/4 sleeves.  It’s a simple dress, and unlined, but looks absolutely adorable on!  It’s about 1″ too small for me in the waist, but I can squeeze into it if I suck in and hold my breath.  The dress is made of a black poly-something blend with pretty embroider allover.  Very nicely finished and seems to be in great shape!

I’m thinking about taking out the waist a little so I can keep it.  If I do, I’ll take a picture of it actually on so you can appreciate it better than just on the hanger.

 

Mitsukoshi Sheath
I hate that I couldn’t model this for you, but the sleeve lining has come unstitched so I need to repair that before I can wear it.  This is a bombshell dress!  The first time I tried it on, I positively felt like Marilyn Monroe.  Another simple dress, but this one is very much a designer dress with lots of lovely details.  It is by Mitsukoshi, a Japanese designer.  I love the elbow darts and snaps at the forearm.  It is fully lined and made of a pretty black crepe.

Both of these dresses were also on the 5,000 won rack.  Yep, I paid less than $10 for these two lovely specimens!  I guess Koreans are more into 1980’s than 1960’s…

which is fine with me.

Bessie