1980’s Here We Come!

I donated some stuff to the thrift store yesterday, giving them some previous cut sewing patterns I had in my shop, as well as some large fabric scraps and remnants I had that I wanted to destash and weren’t selling. I figured I’d take a look around while I was there, and I picked up 11 sheets of craft felt (all different colors) for $0.10 a sheet. I’m not sure what I will use it for but sure it will come in somewhere.

I wasn’t quite ready to go home yet so I went to the thrift store in the outlet mall and I struck hilarious, wonderful gold. The first thing I found was an old 1960’s copy of Simplicity Sewing Book, which aside from yellowed and a few loose pages, is in amazingly good condition. Its full of helpful hints for basic garment construction, and tips and instructions for various sewing and finishing techniques. The book retailed originally for $0.75!

I also found 6 old issues from 1986 – 1987 of Knitting Elegance Magazine, and that’s what this post is really about. To say the sweater designs are dated is an understatement, and most of them feature big boxy shapes, wide, padded shoulders, and wild color blocking with a lot of randomly shaped patches of angora yarn. Apparently angora yarn was ridiculously popular as a luxe feature in sweaters.

Anyway, I took photos of some of the more crazy styles and I’m sharing them here with you. Let’s begin!



This one features what looks like entrelac,though I honestly don’t know much about it and the patterns for most of these are charted, and I have no idea how to read the charts.



Huge puffy sleeves? Check! Open “cold shoulder? design? Why yes! Angora fuzz on only part of the sweater? Absolutely!



Crazy space-age props like metallic gloves and crazy updo’s and sunglasses? We got ’em!



Wild color blocking and yet another appearance of the fuzzy angora yarn in random places.



I guess this one isn’t so terrible, but with the dress it just stands out as… well, I’m not really sure.



More color blocking, what looks like fake fur or some sort of novelty yarns, and Dolman sleeves. I’d honestly wear this one if it was a solid color.



Another appearance of the angora yarn shoulder! Also, a lot of bangles. Many, many bangles.



This is the only men’s sweater to make the cut. The coloration is just weird and trying too hard to be artsy, and that V-neck and no shirt underneath looks like this guy is a major… um… my professionalism prevents me from saying what on this blog. Sorry!



This one I think actually has a nice simple shape but those cables everywhere kill it for me. It makes this girl look bulky and she’s not. The weird contrast around the neckline looks odd too to me.



Last one. Big, bulky, square, probably padded shoulders, and is she holding something across her body or is there something really weird going on with her skirt? I honestly can’t tell!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this blast into the 1980’s and loved all its sweater glory! There are a few patterns in the Summer issue I do actually love and would like to try to make. <3

Babydoll Lingerie Tutorial from How Joyful



Another Pinterest find, this babydoll negligee is too cute with all the ruffles and light, fluffy layers. You can find the directions to make this here, and her instructions are very easy to follow. This uses 8 pieces total, and 5 of them are just strips of fabric to make the ruffles. Chiffon is inexpensive and most of us have some soft ribbon around to use or the ties, so this is would make a gorgeous low-cost alternative to store-bought (and pricey!) lingerie. I’d call that a win!

Simplicity 2154 & A Maxi Skirt

Back in June, I sewed up the blouse in this pattern, and though my fabric choice was pretty and it looked nice, it didn’t work out. The fabric shredded through the seams with the slightest pressure, and even with seam binding added onto it, it just didn’t work out. I loved the pattern though and knew I was going to make it again in a different fabric. Wednesday I sat down in my craft room and cut the pieces out of a cotton fabric I bought for something else originally but decided would work great for this blouse. I cut it slightly large then the pattern called for where the seams would be to give myself a little extra room to do French seams. The first time I made this I found out this blouse has very little ease, so cutting a little bigger was a must for this. I also added about 2 inches to the length of the blouse. This goes together really quickly and soon I had a super cute top in an adorable button print. I will swap out the zipper in the side most likely later on for a lighter weight one, but aside form that, I am thrilled with it.



So Sew Easy had a post on making the perfect low-volume maxi skirt and I was excited to try it. I only recently sewed my first maxi dress and am crazy about the length. I’ve never had long skirts or dresses before. I grabbed a fabric I originally bought for a dress but decided I didn’t care too much for and got to work. I thought it might make a cute skirt so why not? Wrong! The fabric is super thin, super slippery, and just bad. When I had 2 layers of it, it sewed okay, but when I added a third layer the fabric kept getting stuck in my plate. I tried backing the fabric with tissue paper and wax paper. Nope. Still stuck in the plate. I tried my walking foot (that I finally looked up how to put on my machine- doh!) and that didn’t help. Finally I settled for pretty much dragging the fabric through by hand and it sort of sewed okay. I’m pretty darned sure the rest of that fabric (slightly more than 3 yards) is going up in my shop very soon!



I did love the shape of the skirt though so I made another one out of a more stable, not slippery knit. This one turned out fabulously and its in the pictures with my blouse. I want to make another one but not sure if I have another cut of fabric that will work for it in my stash. I’ll have to go look.

Simplicity 2154 View B – The Bow Blouse

First off, let me say I love this blouse! However, that said, I learned a few things form it about choosing the wrong fabric. This is a really cute blouse with a rounded collar and a giant bow in the front. I think this blouse would be equally cute (and someone suggested almost Asian) if finished without the collar and bow. I fully intent to make two other versions of this blouse, one with neither collar or bow, and one without the bow.



I chose a polyester charmeuse for this blouse, mainly on account of it being pretty, but that turned out to be a bad call. The fabric was so set on unraveling that after I finished it and put it on, the seams just started shredding apart. Eek! I ended up taking some bias tape and binding the seams which seems to have solved the problem.



I hadn’t finished the armholes when I took this pic of the back, but the only changes I made were adding a hook and eye to close the back neck rather than a button and loop as called for.

I love how this blouse turned out, but there is very little ease in this pattern and if you’re between sizes, definitely go up a size! I really should have cut a 20 instead of an 18 because of my large bust. Next time I sew it, I’ll be adding to the seam allowances just a bit to give myself enough room to finish this with French seams and not be quite so snug.

Simplicity 3673 View C

Yesterday was day 4 of my sewing frenzy, and after I loved View A of Simplicity 3673 so much, I knew I had to make View C. The bodice is the same as View A, but the skirt is fuller instead of tight and narrow. I had a large piece of black cotton broadcloth so figured I’d dive right in.



Unfortunately after I cut the skirt pieces and one set of the bodice pieces, I realized I did not have enough black in my stash to cut the lining pieces too. I poked around in my stash for a minute and came up with some white broadcloth that I decided to cut to use for the bodice. I thought everything was going smoothly with my sewing except first I sewed the back seam of the skirt all the way up instead of leaving it open partway for the zipper, and then as I was picking that seam out, I wasn’t paying attention and picked out one of my darts instead and had to put it back in. I also wasn’t quite as careful when cutting as I should have been and as a result, the top edges in the back on either side of the zipper don’t line up quite right. It probably won’t be noticeable as my hair will generally cover it, but I wish I had cut more carefully. 🙁



Overall it turned out nicely though, and I look forward to wearing it in the coming Summer. And to those of you who commented I need an iron- I have an iron; I just don’t have anywhere to use it at the moment. I ordered a small tabletop ironing board last night though, and it will be here on Wednesday. 🙂 Wednesday I will give these dresses a good going over and have them ready for real wearing. 🙂

Simplicity 3673 View A Completed!

Yesterday I told you I was starting work on Simplicity 3673, view A. I had planned to cut the pieces yesterday and do the sewing today. Instead I did the cutting, realize the temperature had dropped enough that it really was nice in my craft room, and decided to keep going. I know Simplicity patterns are supposed to be easy, but this one was so ridiculously easy I spent the whole time wondering when something glaringly wrong was going to happen. Thankfully, it never did, and the whole thing went perfectly smoothly except for the part where I forgot to stitch the side seams on the bodice until it was about to be stitched onto the skirt. That was minor though and really didn’t affect the assembly process at all. I was able to cut and completely construct the dress in a few hours, even getting the zipper in properly on the first try. Trust me, that’s major for me. I am horrible at zippers no matter how many I put in.

When I tried the dress on, I realized I probably should have gone up about half a size in the bodice. The skirt portion is fine- its a beautiful fit, but the little bit of slack I would have up top is taken up by my (overly) large breasts. Ugh. This is a close-fitting dress, and believe me- if you think the measurements on a given size will be tight, go up because they will be tight. You can also adjust it down a bit as you go if needed.


The only place I differed from the assembly instructions was I did not use gathering on the front of the bodice, instead I used two ppleats on each side, and I didn’t use a buckle to finish off the faux-belt’s bow. Instead I used a large black button and stitched it into the middle of the bow, securing it to the belt, and tacking the belt down into place. I can see this jumper looking fairly casual with a shirt or blouse under it, but without the shirt, its actually a pretty sexy dress. Anyway, it looks just like the photos, and I give it a solid 5 star rating.

Really sorry about how wrinkled it is in these pics- it was pretty wrinkled coming out of my stash and even though some of them shook out, its still pretty bad.




I’m also especially excited about this dress because its a style I’ve adored for years, but have been heavy so long I’ve been unable to even think about wearing something like this. I still have a bit of a belly, but it looks good, and in another ten pounds, it will look great!

Simplicity 3673

This is my next project. I am doing view A, which is the one on the far right. I’m using a deep wine colored cotton for it, as I discovered I had 5 freaking yards of it and I wanted to see this one done in something simple but still bold. I don’t know if I will do the faux belt that goes with this or not. If I do, I might make a different one, though I do really like the idea of the bow on the front of the dress.

I am really set right now on having some new clothes for this summer, and as many versatile pieces as I can manage. What I really need are tops, as I think I have about 5 shirts that are not t-shirts or sweaters. I do have some buttons downs, but I don’t have any cause to wear dress shirts really so they just stay hung up.

Anyway, I’m hoping to get the cutting done on Simplicity 3673 finished today and can start sewing on it tomorrow.

I’m also really looking forward to my order from to get here. I picked up a fabric I want to use for Butterick 5491 that I think is going to look fantastic. Its a bright turquoise, black, and white that looks kind of like broken tiles. I almost didn’t see it, but when I did, I fell in love. I hope it really was still in stock when I ordered it- its showing now on the website as unavailable.

aquaI also ordered some kelly green broadcloth, and charcoal grey rib knit, two spools of green thread, and a dark green zipper. I have a plan there too but not 100% on it yet. Maybe I’ll share it when I sort it out for sure.