Tuesday, February 14, 2012

As I Back Out the Door....

The last few weeks of clearing the belongings left in my childhood home have been really, really stressful.  The circumstances under which the ol' homestead is being sold brings to the surface all the childhood memories from 1961, the year our Buick deposited our clan from the Nebraska flatlands to grow up in the middle of a growing area soon to be identified as Silicon Valley.  I will be sad to leave, even though I have always felt 'mid-western' and have shed the 'California-girl' mindset and beach goddess figure pressures I felt as an adolescent transplant.  Why did we come?  My sister's fragile health issues and the better California school system (at that time) was what they told us kids.  It was hard leaving our neighborhood and childhood friends and grandparents.  Sorting through papers left behind, there were also other skeletons rattling the leaves of the family tree that clarify why that dramatic decision was made.  Secrets were buried when my father suddenly died within 3 years of our arrival.  My mother never moved from the house my Dad bought for us, and amassed an amazing pile of what I can only refer to as 'stuff' in the 50+ years she lived here in a further attempt to bury family secrets.  

"The Kids"(c)
...And I'm moving the 'stuff' left in her wake.  I am now so removed from considering the value of these tangible 'things' I feel quite free to donate and trash the stuff I previously planned to sell for a king's ransom.  At this late date I'm literally giving everything away and not giving it another thought.  That's a good thing, right?  I did decide to repair and store my grandmother's Domestic (converted) treadle machine, the family picture albums and documents to further investigate and document my family tree.

Because this house is where I began (machine) sewing, I suddenly felt I wanted to consciously complete one more garment before I left the familiar walls, sounds and lighting of this house.  Of course, my way of releasing tension is to immerse myself in some mind-numbing stitching, so I dug out Vogue 1199 and the fabric had cut out a while ago.

Vogue 1199 rear view (untucked)
Photo courtesy of McCalls.com 
Since no one has previously reviewed this blouse on patternreview.com, I will attempt to post my first review of this garment there later this week.  Someone did complete and review the skirt included in the pattern (with positive comments), so I will add it to my list to complete from a yet-to-be-found wool gabardine.

Vogue 1199 front (untucked)
Photo courtesy of McCalls.com
Vogue 1199 front
Photo courtesy of McCalls.com

So, here follows some visual views of my version....



Fringed Ruffle close-up
If you don't look closely, you could miss the pintucks on the front and back of the top.  I think there are approximately 20 on the front and a similar number on the back.  These tucks were my meditative touchstone for a couple of hours each night.  The most difficult part of the process was marking them.  This particular garment demands proper marking.  The sleeve swirl (what I call the ruffles within the sleeve), collar ruffles and sleeve hem are finished with fabric strips cut on the straight grain and frayed 1/4" at the edges.  

Stay-stitched Edging 

Front Pintucks
Be sure to pull the single thread cross grain to ensure this pattern piece is perfectly straight on grain (pattern piece #9).  There is a reason I know what can go wrong here...lol.  Using 60" fabric, you would only need to purchase another 1/8th yard.  Using fabric 45" wide, this helpful hint will not help you...devising how to invisibly join the end will need to be created.  The shirt tail hem is a simple edgestitch.  A single button closes with a fabric loop at the neckline.  I moved the loop higher than it appears in the photograph.  I haven't picked the button yet (here I come Stone Mountain & Daughter!). The fabric was on sale for $1 yard at a JoAnn's sale and is a shrimp-colored lightweight polyester crepe.

Beside taking the time to complete each step to the best of your ability, I only have two construction suggestions:  

One.....cut the pattern piece for the ruffles at least 7"-8" longer in order to avoid piecing the strips.  None of the strips were long enough to completely cover the required edge without piecing them.  

Two...As you complete each tuck, take the time to tie off and trim the threads of each one at the top and bottom.  I didn't do this (sigh...) and now have to devote an evening to tying off these threads.  

I had a great time doing this blouse and plan to do another one.  I have a similar weight crepe in white and will dig it out of one of the bins I have packed and sew it for this spring/summer.  This blouse requires a lot of marking and basting.  If basting is not your thing, this may not be the project for you.  The next one will have an FBA adjustment and I won't be moving!...lol

Thanks for dropping by and reading about my latest sewing project!  In preparation for my move I have many projects cut, marked and ready to sew.  I hope you continue to stop by to see what I'm doing and share your thoughts in the coming months.  Please excuse the picture quality....for some reason some of them are so fuzzy I  had to resort to including cell phone photos as replacements.

I will be seeking out new notions at a nearby quilt show next weekend (free!) with a sewing buddy of mine.  I hope to test run some new sewing machines, overlocks and blind stitchers.  The sewing blogosphere has shown me my beloved Singer 401 is not the only girl on the block....lol    Happy Valentine's Day!

What do you do to relieve stress?  Do you take it one stitch at a time or use another activity? 


  1. Can't believe I'm the first to comment on this gorgeous blouse. I've had this pattern for while, but despite having good sewing skills I feel a little intimidated by the project. Well done.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment, Gail!

    I encourage you to jump in and give this one a try. I've been too busy to post a review on patternreview.com, but I welcome you to take a peek at my photo album to get a good idea of the process here.

    I've read a review or two on the skirt in this pattern, and they were all positive. I plan to make the skirt and another blouse in a similar white fabric for summer. The next one will be lengthened just a little...

    If you are a 'get it done fast to be worn tomorrow' sewist, don't try this one... I am someone who sews in units, so I loved making and am glad you dropped by to make a comment about it!

    Please come back again!...

  3. Thank you so much for you review! I have tried to find review on the patternreview web site, but there is no any review on this pattern! NON! And I am happy to find yours. :)
    By the way and it is more important - your blouse is beautiful! Love the color! I am sure you like the result.

    1. Hi Lora....
      Thank you for your comment on my blouse project. I am a member of patternreview, but haven't managed to put the time together to post a review of this pattern. It seems I always manage to select patterns no one else has reviewed, so I need to be more responsible to my fellow sewists. I do love this blouse and plan to make it again in white fabric I have already purchased. I promise you will see additional photos when I do.

      More importantly though, I want to thank you for posting a comment. They are more important and motivating than you can imagine!

  4. I must have eyed that pattern a million times. Your blouse is gorgeous! I love your blog - I'm so happy to have discovered it.

  5. Hi Lainie!
    Thank you so much for your comment! This blouse is one of my recent favorites, and, as a matter of fact, I cut another version out last week in a white crepe. I will begin it as soon as I finish the evening jacket project I am finishing now!
    Please come back to visit again, soon.