Friday, December 4, 2009

getting myself out there

So to help aid my search for the vintage patterns from VoNBBS and some others that I have found that just kill me with their beauty (like this one or the slim skirt I mentioned last week) I set up google alerts. I have mixed feelings about this because even though they are set to "as it happens" I don't really get alerted as it happens because it takes google a few days to search for them. This is particularly not helpful because the alerts I get are very rarely actually relevant to what I am searching for so when they are what I am searching for it is sometimes too late. I think the alerts are helpful when I am too busy to search everyday on my own. That being said I received my first google alert referencing myself!

Google Web Alert for: Advance Pattern 8425 slim skirt 1950's vintage

The Dart and The Hem: my vintage patterns
I really liked the portrait neckline blouse and the idea of a slim skirt so ... (I am desperately in love with Advance 8425 but haven't any luck finding it ...

it is a perfect example of why i find google alerts not that helpful. I received the alert yesterday sometime and the post is a week old! But it made me happy in a different way (:

Update: Google does it again but this time in a more timely manner! I got this one a few hours after posting:

The Dart and The Hem: getting myself out there
By amy
Google Web Alert for: Advance Pattern 8425 slim skirt 1950's vintage. The Dart and The Hem: my vintage patterns. I really liked the portrait neckline blouse and the idea of a slim skirt so ... (I am desperately in love ...
The Dart and The Hem -

I think google just likes itself but I am wondering how long I can keep this up :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

my vintage patterns

I can't believe that it has been 3 weeks since I posted! I feel like I have lots of news. First off I have finished the navy blue corduroy jumper mentioned in the previous post. I wore it to a friends for dinner and got lots of compliments. I forgot to take a picture so that is still coming. I think I am going to wear it this weekend to show off so I will be sure to get a picture then. Secondly is a string of related things:
I got this book about a month ago. I have been lurking ebay and the internet trying to find the patterns and I have found a few but they go for prices that I can't really afford right now. This was kind of discouraging so I stopped obsessively looking for them and instead tried to find similar patterns which has been fairly successful; some of which I like even better. Then I decided that if I am going to spend this much time and money on it I might as well just get the patterns I like. (Duh!) So I have been building a wardrobe with the idea behind the selection of patterns in VoNBBS sort of guiding me. I really liked the portrait neckline blouse and the idea of a slim skirt so I started there.

The illustrations Vogue decided to use on the front of the envelope are unfortunate because this top has more variations that you don't even know about until you flip over the envelope.

oh. hey! a sleeve variation and a low back neckline variation! If the seller hadn't photographed the back of the envelope I would never have even considered bidding on it. I like variety. It gives the pattern more longevity. The seller I bought this from also included a handwritten thank you note and told me he would be adding more 50's and 60's patterns soon. I am a HUGE sucker for a handwritten note so I checked back in his shop to see what else I could find.

The slim skirt. I like this one, again, for the variations. released pleats/darts, welt pockets or the cute side front yokes. It is a one yard "instant" skirt. This seems to have been a popular theme. (I am desperately in love with Advance 8425 but haven't any luck finding it yet)

This super fantastic dress has a variation with slits in the neckline so you can pull your scarf through! This was one of my favorite features of the background dress from VoNBBS. I also like the other 2 neckline variations. The tabbed version reminds me of this dress.
I received these in the mail just today but there was a third pattern in with them! Curious. I looked for the handwritten note.
"Thanks again Amy. I included an extra pattern just for the fun of it. Maybe you can use it with the skirt."


I love it! This is a blouse for all seasons and has lots of options. And it has a monogram. I always wanted to be like Lavergne and put a large "A" on all my sweaters. And it back buttons. Back buttoning blouses have been sort of scarce. How awesome was that?
The what is to be a very awesome, very vintage make over of my wardrobe is off to a good start. I am trying to stop obsessively looking at patterns and start obsessively sewing. I have a project that is on temporary hold since I am out of town for a few days over the holiday but I am hoping to finish up the first half of my 40's knitted moss stitch turban.

Happy Thanksgiving! Make sure you eat too much!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I started making muslins for two different patterns that are essentially the same project. I have about 3 yards of navy blue pinwhale corduroy and I have been trying to figure out what to make out of it. I originally bought it to make a pair of wide leg pants but honestly I hate wearing pants and my wardrobe needs more fall/winter skirts. At first I thought just a simple A-line skirt with a center seam and the panels cut on the bias so they chevron in the center. But I wasn't really sold on it. Then I actually pulled out the material and it is much lighter weight and finer whaled than I had imagined it. I never really wanted a skirt anyway so I decided to make a jumper. The corduroy is so fine that not only can I not find the nap (I am slightly embarrassed to admit it) but it is almost like velveteen so I thought maybe a jumper that could be dressed up with snap in chiffon details and go cocktail hour. (a la the left)

Not really sure how that would work out so it is scrapped or at least on the back burner for now, mostly because I am on muslin number 2 and I am getting sick of it. I originally was making the Coffee Date Dress by Elaine May over on BurdaStyle because it was the overall shape and style I wanted and the pattern is free (so I don't have to buy it and I don't have to draft it myself). This was my first time using a pattern from BurdaStyle and while I think it is convenient and awesome that I can print a pattern at home it is sort of not convenient and not so awesome. There is a lot of taping and a lot of matching up things that don't exactly match and the trying to get it to print the right scale. Pluses and minuses, pluses and minuses. Back to the pattern I am mostly finished with the muslin except for a zipper to see if it does indeed really fit and I had decided to lower the back neckline. I was all settled on it. Then because of several other things going on that started influencing my every waking consciousness (more on this in another post) I remembered that I had this:

It is one of the two patterns I bought in July at my favorite shop. I had never pulled them out to check if they were complete. So I did that. And THEY ARE!! best $2 ever spent. So I decided to make a mock up of this jumper because I know the waist will need to be um...let out and it will need to be shortened by about 10 or so inches. I did the darts on the bodice and then I lost my sewing mojo. I just want it done already and what am I supposed to do with the muslins other than relegating them to the scrap bin? Then I read on Gertie's BurdaStyle Vintage Thursday column that women used to do tissue fittings and basted fittings because doing muslin mock ups is expensive and a more modern phenomenon anyway. Honestly I am always terrified that I will accidentally destroy the tissue if I do this but I think I am going to try it on this and then trace off the alterations onto kraft paper so I can still keep the original, original. And that is where I am now.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sewing: Summer Shirt

This shirt was made from the Summer shirt pattern in Downtown DIY Sewing by Alice Chadwick. I bought the book on sale because I liked the dress on the cover (which looks nothing like the photo of it on a person inside the book). I have several critiques of this book. First of which is that I think the instructions are poorly written and particularly confusing if you are a beginner and have no solid previous knowledge of how a garment comes together. And some of the instructions are just bad and could be made better very simply. For example the cuff piece on the sleeve is just a band folded in half lengthwise. The directions have you sew this folded piece directly to the right side of the sleeve and leave all the seam allowance hanging out. What?? Sew one edge to the right side of the sleeve and press the other raw edge under and stitch in the ditch. Also the seam allowance is 3/8 in or 1cm. That is tiny! Way too tiny to even comfortably finish properly. I bound the seams with seam binding as it seemed to be the easiest thing to do with out suffering severe burns on my hands. All in all this is my new favorite shirt and I do have plans to make one or two more despite the issues that I have with the book.

1 1/4 yd Floral Print Cotton, Vogue Fabrics, Remnant room, $4-5 total
Vintage buttons from Broadway Antique Mart

This is how I like to wear it. I have become very fond of wide belts worn at the waist.

And this is the muslin from it. I made it into a work shirt/messy shirt. it reminds of a french painters smock for some reason. You can see how it is wider at the bottom where i decided to take in the real version. I made the pockets out of the sleeve pattern. I shortened the cuff to the width i wanted for the pocket and removed the sides of the sleeve and adjusted some of the gathering so it was less full. 2 shirts for the price of one!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

yarn*con 2009

Spinning seemed to be the main topic of the day, at least for us.

and needle felting pumpkin pins

and $5 mystery bags of yarn. the three dark pink ones were my bag (it was labeled as dark pink, that is why i chose it) all acrylic but i am happy with it. the little green one is leftovers from my stash that i thought contrasted nicely.

Oh, and have you met Simone? She is the lovely model above whose first attempt at spinning you are witnessing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

am I crazy?

I just came across this picture of Karolina Kurkova and thought "huh, i kinda like the fringe cape. Especially with jeans. In the cascading shades of grey. It wouldn't be that hard to make one. Maybe I should make myself one." and then I thought that i would look totally crazy in a fringe cape because I am NOT Karolina Kurkova or any other model fashionista person in New York City. What do you think? Is a fringe cape crazy? even in neutral shades of grey?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Welcome Back!

Hi Everyone! I am back from my travels and I know I have been slacking in my posting seeing as I haven't posted anything on either blog yet. Bear with me though I have lots I want to share including the spoils of my Get Out of Re-Fashionista Jail Card (yes. i went shopping in Israel) and the shirt I have been working on and some knitting. I am having some issues with downloading pictures right now since my computer memory is mostly full and my external hard drive and my computer are no longer getting along so it will be a bit longer.

BUT i cam across this today and had to share with you. I haven't looked at it too in depth yet but looks like an interesting project.
Garment Industry History Initiative

let me know your thoughts and hopefully I will have a real post for next week.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm an Arabian Princess and my Daddy just bought me a tiger...

I bought this dress in Tel Aviv 2 years ago. It is one of my favorite dresses and I feel really special when I wear it. Last year I put it on to see how it would work as a skirt and all the elastic shirring popped and I was just left with a swath of fabric. It sort of just sat in the closet because I thought it would be a huge pain to fix. Then I cam across this post from Sugar City Journal and realized it might not be so bad. Then I forgot about it and it continued to sit in the closet. Then it joined the list of items that I own that I need to fix or re-fashion or alter. Then I thought I might want to wear it on the trip I am going on so this week I did it.

I bought some elastic thread and now I am a princess again! And it was SO easy and fun. I want to do more smocking just because but it will have to wait until September.

And the title of this post is what B taunted me with when I first wore this dress.

So I have tried to be good about posting every week as per the rules of the game but I am leaving the country tomorrow. I am going to Israel for 3 weeks, part with a group and part just hanging out with my fam and friends. For more info and updates on the first part of my trip check out

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Guide to Better Sewing

I am in love and obsessed with Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing. The idea is based on this book from the 50's

which claims to be able to make you a better seamstress one project at a time. There was a line of patterns that corresponded with the projects in the book but were sold separately. Gertie has tracked down some/most of the patterns and is sharing her experience of working through the book and use of sewing techniques from the 50's (copious tailor tacks and hand overcast finished seams, anyone?).
The thought that i probably do not have to add for those of you who have been on this blog before or who know me even just a little bit is: I TOTALLY WANT TO DO THIS. I am generally not as much of a fan of the 50's as the 30's and the 40's (the huge skirts are fun but not so practical, same with the wiggle skirts) but the pattern's in the book and the projects of Gertie's that she has posted on the blog seem really nice and fairly practical. i love the portrait collar blouse, the background dress and of course the evening dress. The bow tie blouse and the shirt dress are of course classics. And initially not really taken with the slim skirt until i read Gertie's post about her slim skirt where she talks about the construction of it, now I want to make one whether or not it is flattering. The skirt is made with only one yard of fabric and has only one seam, up the back, and it is shaped only by a the series of pleats at the waist line. it is the vintage construction techniques that really get me. That is what I really want to learn. (and more on that later)

In other news, I am trying really hard to post something every week. Thursday seems to be the day with the exception of this week. i mostly have bits of vintage stuff i have found to show you as my own sewing has been a bit off and going slowly right now. I did pick up the green sweater i was knitting again and have just about completed the body and will start the sleeves soon-ish. I did sew up a dress a couple weeks ago but i broke one of the straps on it during our last trip and need to mend it. I will hopefully post that for you next week. I have also been working on the muslin for a shirt and it is going really slow. it has been hard to find my mojo in my new sewing studio. it is cute button down with short sleeves and gathering along the yoke. i think I want to make a shirt dress out of it too.

So in lieu of photos this week go check out Gertie's blog and report you thoughts back to me!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jules and Suzanne

Jules and Suzanne run my favorite little antique/vintage shop. My Dad and I used to go in there all the time but since i have moved out of my parents house and the shop is not very near my new home and we all have crazy schedules we have haven't been there in awhile. Like years. We went a couple weeks ago since Dad had a day off. We decided to go antique-ing together, we were looking at treadle sewing machines. Jules and Suzanne did not have a sewing machine but we had to go anyway. We lovingly refer to them as "The Girls". Suzanne wasn't there when we went but Jules was (as well as Jackie, Jules' little dog) and upon entering we received a cheerful greeting followed by a "I haven't seen you in awhile". I had been wondering if we would be remembered or not. We used to shop there a lot but not all the time and we usually bought stuff. Its a hard store to walk out of empty handed. We were there for over an hour digging through everything. The store is very literally packed and you never know what you will find. My grand total was about $13. here is what i brought home:

Paris Scarf, Silk I wore it the other day. I really like scarves. I just usually don't know how to wear them.

Button-er, I have no idea what these are actually called. i think I am going to start collecting vintage sewing/dressing implements. Because I need another thing to collect.

Patterns. I have no idea if they are complete or not but they were $2. The shirts in the 60's pattern have a separating zipper all the way down the back. My first thought is "Is that neccessary? can I change that to a shorter zipper?". My second is " Ouch, if you are sitting in a chair with a back".

And they have a huge selection of buttons. So i am starting there next time I need buttons even though it wil be an hour nad half trip on public trans... but the perfect vintage buttons are always worth it!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wardrobe Refashion Pledge

I __Amy_Sobotta____ pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of "new" manufactured items of clothing, for the period of 6 months. I pledge that I shall refashion, renovate, recycle preloved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovoted, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Dart and Hem blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftiness brings! Signed__Amy Sobotta___.

That is my pledge. I have to let you know, especially those on my cheerleading team, that I am not officially signed up at Wardrobe Refashion. Why? because according to their rules i need to post on their blog once a week. I don't think I can post once a week, but I will try. I will also be out of town July 5-12 and August 9-30 with no access to my blog at all during those times. That is the only exception to the rules that i am making. After August, depending on their sign up schedule i may officially sign up with them. I was originally going to do 2 months, and then 4 months, and just now i decided to go for the gold and do half a year. That is today July 2, 2009 through January 2, 2010. Cheerleaders I hope you are ready for your job.

So here are the official rules:
No buying new! (handmade is excepted; So this allows for Etsy purchases etc!!) All clothing must be Recycled, Renovated, Preloved or Thrifted, or Handmade only for the term. Employment related and special needs clothing (ie sports, school), shoes and undies are excepted from the rules, although you are encouraged to have a go at making these.
In extreme circumstances, maybe a special event, or the worlds greatest and most amazing never to be repeated sale that you simply can not pass up, you may use the Get out of Refashionista Jail Free card. You are able to use this card once during the 2 month part of your contract; ie 1 for 2 months, 2 for 4 months etc. Of course you need to fess up on the blog and display the button!
You must post on the blog at least once a week to let the community know what you've been up to. This will not only give you brag points, but inspire and encorouge others! Of course you need to display the button on your blog and have copied the pledge in at least one post, and provide a link to your pledge under the button.
You need to be honest and admit when you've fallen off the Refashionista Wagon! Go directly to Refashionista Jail, do not pass GO and do not collect $200! Apply for parole once there.

6 month pledge

Friday, June 19, 2009

almost forgotten...

I brought these home form my parents house a couple of weeks ago. Some of it I had forgotten i had. I am very excited about the patterns since I was lamenting having to buy some since they are so expensive. And all the little bits are very fun and should spruce some of my upcoming projects.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Skein 3

70%merino/30%silk, cutch, pomegranate, quebracho green, wattle, chestnut, logwood gray

The last skein I dyed in blocks of color. This one I dyed by pulling out sections and dyeing them. I spent about 2 hours on this and I left part of the yarn blank. It is a very tedious process. I am not entirely happy with the results. i might re-wet it and add some pop of purple or some other color to it. Though a nice subtle mix was what I was going for. it was inspired by this colorway by Three Irish Sisters.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Skein 2

70%merino/30%silk yarn, Indigo overdyed with madder, chestnut, cutch and fustic

And here are some pics of the finishing process:

The yarn is wrapped in plastic wrap or put in a plastic bag and steamed for 45 minutes. My extra rice cooker worked perfectly for this as it fits one 100g skein very nicely.

Then you hang it up to dry for a few days and then you wash it and let it dry again. We dyed on Wednesday nights and I steamed on Thursdays and washed on Monday so it would be dry again for Wednesday. I just washed in the sink with my usual sink soap.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Slow Fashion Meet High Fashion

I have been wanting to knit this turban as my new winter hat. (I left my elf hat on the train accidentally while trying to meet up with a friend) I love vintage clothes and here I am thinking I am being semi-original and slightly demode and I find these on the Sartorialist:

I think a burgundy, marooon, wine-y color would be fab for my turban but my coat is that color and that i think would be a bit much. Maybe for wear with my brown down coat so I don't feel so dowdy...(the contrast of the turquoise snakeskin clutch leaves me completely done in by this look. Simple with some pop of color. I love it)

As elegant as I think white can be, as it is here, I think it would just get too dirty. And I think it would fail to make me happy in the dead of winter.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Skein 1

So here it is folks, my first hand dyed skein of yarn!

It is a 70% Merino 30% Silk blend hand dipped in Indigo. The whole skein was dipped to give it a light blue base and then I pulled out individual sections randomly several times and re dipped them for scattered darker hues throughout. It dried down a lot so it is overall quite light.

i am currently obsessed with this colorway from Three Irish Girls. I feel like i need a matching tam/beret, scarflette, and mitts set out of it. In something textured like moss stitch. it is my inspiration for the hand painting we will be doing this week in class.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Clothes Swap

I went to my first clothes swap. A friend of a friend was hosting at her apartment. I had 2 bags of clothes and a bag of shoes. It was hard picking out things to give a way. I kept saying "no i can refashion it somehow," but that pile is big enough already and I haven't done any of it yet. I was kinda worried that I would come home with as much stuff as I brought over but I tried to be really picky and only took things i really liked.
I highly recommend a clothes swap. I have tried to get some friends to do one for a while and no one seems to want to because i am too small. Unfortunately for them i gave away some awesome pieces that were too big for me. I also gave away some stuff that I didn't really think anyone would take so your trash may very well be someone else's treasure. There were also several pieces that had been swapped before. Start one of your own with a group of friends and some snacks or do a google search for one in your area (Chicagoans find some links below).

I really liked the colors on this scarf/wrap and thought i could make something out of it. I am thinking a simple sheath dress. and there should be enough fabric, it is wide and folded in half it is much longer than i would want the dress to be.

and its from the Women's Foundation of Nepal.

This dress was my friend Erin's. Erin has awesome clothes. She suggested and I might take the sleeves off to make it more versatile. I wish you could see the texture. it is kinda crochet-y

I took this sweater because I kinda liked the color but more than that it is the style of sweater that i want more of. It hits around my waist instead of around my hips which is way better for dresses. The hip length ones get overwhelming and I think look kinda frumpy with a dress. The only thing i don't like about it is that it is kinda thin and the button band is a little too heavy for the rest of the sweater so it gaps. But i can easily use it as a pattern to make my own sweater(a theme for my taking home items). A concept that I have been thinking about heavily lately. i will post my ideas on this later.

more on a theme. This skirt is way too big for me but it is the exact style of skirt that i want to make for myself for the summer. A-line with a kinda 70's feel.

It also has this great pocket detail. That's why I took it. Just so I can copy the pockets.

later that evening when I went to yoga my teacher gave me this shirt. its a cirque du soleil shirt nad i think the pattern is really fun. I also don't have a lot of long sleeve shirts.

The whole thing made me kinda laugh because i went to the swap and then my yoga teacher had more clothes for me. It was kinda funny.

Chicago Clothes Swap Links:
Clothes Swap Meetup(other cities might have meet ups too)
Chicago Clothes Swap(Seems to be very organized and has multiple drop off locations. Drop off your stuff pre-swap in exchange for chips that you can "purchase" items from the swap with)