Search This Blog

Sunday, September 23, 2012

If it is September......

Halloween is just around the corner and it's time for costumes! I love adore costume patterns! I sewed lots of costumes for my kids as they were growing up. And lots of patterns have passed through my collection. Here are a few favorites...
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My daughter's TMNT costumes weren't made from a pattern because there were no patterns. I combined a couple of patterns to get the look I wanted. One Halloween she was a TMNT; the next year, we added a long overcoat from the thrift store and she went trick-or-treating as a TMNT disguised as a man. One father, out with his son, didn't get her costume and made a snotty remark. His son, who DID get it, called Dad on it right away. "Dad, don't be so dumb. She's a Turtle disguised as a man. Duh." Making everyone but DD (Dumb Dad) happy. Butterick came out with a pattern for the Turtle costumes in 1990.
Clowns. I can't resist clown costume patterns. Even if I know I already own 3 copies, I have to buy every one I see. This 1965 Simplicity pattern for Happy the Clown, Bobo the Clown, Bubbles the Clown and Jingles the Clown is my favorite.
What Halloween is complete without a witch or two? I made this witch costume around 2000. Still love it! I may have a scrap or two of that black and silver fabric around somewhere!
Not only did I sew costumes for my girls, I also made matching costumes for their 18" dolls. I usually had to modify an existing doll pattern. This Pumpkin Costumes pattern for the entire family includes a costume for the 18" doll AND the family dog!
My last "favorite" costume pattern is another I made. Three girls, 3 M&M's. I still have at least one of these costumes in the Halloween tubs. Maybe someday, a grandchild will wear it.....
The last costume I sewed was for myself. I made two (if one is good, two is better!), one purple for "dress", one black for everyday. Simplicity 9887 is an easy pattern to make if you want to whip up a wizard's costume with a little pizzaz!

If it is September, Halloween is just around the corner. Time to find your favorite costume pattern and start sewing!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Ahhh.... the smell of line-dried laundry!

There are two kinds of people, those who LOVE the smell of line-dried clothes and those who HATE it. Put me on the "love that scent" side! I spent many hours doing the family laundry at my Grandmother's house. Yes, laundry was a chore, but it meant I got to go to Grandma's house and be ALONE! Not a minor thing when you come from a big family who lives in a small house!

On my recent trip to China, this house on the Grand Canal in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China, was just one of hundreds I saw with clothes hung out to dry.

Back to laundry! Hanging clothes on a line requires clothespins. And clothespins require storage and easy access.

My favorite is the Clothespin Apron. This pattern, McCall Kaumagraph No. 777 is from the early 1900's. It is fabulous! The clothespin designs are stamped onto fabric, then embroidered.

Clothespin aprons are back in vogue as many people are finding the scent of line-dried laundry to be irresistible and thrifty. Here is a link to a free Clothespin Apron pattern.

Make an apron, hang your laundry outside, inhale deeply!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

1954 Fashion - David Crystal

This newspaper clipping, advertising a David Crystal suit, perfect for Easter, was tucked in the envelope of McCall's 9888 (1954). The store, Mindlins, was a Topeka, Kansas department store well known for their fashionable clothing. The suit being advertised looked almost exactly like the pattern illustration. Compare for yourself!

My immediate thought was that the original owner of this pattern must have chosen it so she could sew the latest style. When I checked the pattern pieces, the skirt was cut, but not the jacket! Just a straight, slim skirt, not even shown in the advertisement. Leaves me wondering..... Did she make the skirt and not like it? Why didn't she cut out/make the jacket? Why did she tuck this ad inside the pattern?

Read more about David Crystal on the Vintage Fashion Guild website. Interested in Mindlins Department Store? Read a bio of the founder, Rose Mindlin Jacobson .

See this and other 1950's patterns for sale on DellaJane Cloth and Patterns.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Becky & Jan & Baptist Fans!

I spent yesterday morning with my friend Jan, sharing my skills in quilting Baptist Fans. She brought chocolate chip cookies (yummy!) and contagious enthusiasm. My sister Becky supplied a bright, scrappy Halloween quilt top and I contributed my Avante and Groovy Boards. The photo doesn't do a good job of showing off the fabrics :(

Baptist Fans is a very traditional hand quilting pattern that has been adapted to continuous line machine quilting. I call the pattern Baptist Fans, have heard it called Methodist Fans. I wonder if there are quilters out there calling it the Seventh Day Adventist Fan or the Buddhist Fan.

We used Groovy Boards, made by HandiQuilter. They are grooved boards. Duh. The trick when using Groovy Boards (or pantographs) is aligning them correctly so the quilting pattern is straight and even with the quilt. Once the boards and the quilt are set up, a stylus fits down into the groove to guide the machine. Presto! Perfect Baptist Fan quilting! It is really mindless quilting, but the final product is fabulous! Quilting 101: Combine straight piecing lines with curved quilting lines.

You can see the quilting lines very nicely on this shot of the back:

Click here to see MORE photos of this quilt on Flickr.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Congratulations on Your Wonderful Website!!

I received an interesting email yesterday. The email was from a teacher (Miss Cassandra Smith) who said her students used my website, DellaJane to study the internet. (Carrot!) Someone recognizes how wonderful my website is!! They particularly loved my links page.(Warm Fuzzies!) What's not to love? Check it out yourself if you don't believe me!

One of her best & brightest students (Samantha) found an article about making quilts. Of course it would be a good addition to my already wonderful resource page. Would I please add a link to this article on my links page so Samantha and the other students could see a tangible reward for their hard work? (Appeal to my human nature to help others.) As an additional carrot, she told me Samantha was going to get extra credit points for her efforts.

I'll be the first one to admit I'm in love with my website. But the links page? Please! What is fascinating about a list of links? Because I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, I checked out Samantha's recommended resource, the "make a quilt" page. The article had been posted one day before and was a very broad overview of quilting terms. NOT the first page I would recommend to someone who wants to know more about making quilts! Or the second. Or the third. The web page with the article was on a site selling personalized gifts. If this was the best resource Samantha could find, she wasn't working hard enough!

I checked out the school web site link in the teacher's signature. At first glance it appeared to be a valid school website. Further exploration had me doubting this. No physical address, no staff names, just vague mission statements, directions for picking up your child after school, uniform description. The "News and Events" page had a paragraph about parking lot safety. Really? That's the biggest (only?) thing going on? Red flags flying everywhere! Private schools tell you where they are. They tell you where to buy the uniforms. They brag about their faculty and include extensive bios. They list emails for contacting the (over-qualified) staff who will shape your child's life. They show pictures of the buildings. Their website shares all the cultural and mind-expanding events they've held in the past and will hold in the future. They ask for money!! They offer scholarships to not-quite-well-off-enough parents are wise enough to consider their school. This "school" website had none of these.

Final Analysis: This is a scam. A good scam. A victimless scam. But a scam nevertheless. This personalized gifts website is trying to get inbound links from reputable sites to increase their own ratings in Google searches. Sorry, Miss Cassandra Smith. Not from me. Momma didn't raise no fools.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year, New Resolutions Plans

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2012! I sat down this morning about 3 am and wrote down what I wanted to do this year. Not a list of resolutions, but a map to guide me, with suggestions for getting from Point A to Point B.

1. Take better care of myself by exercising every day, drinking more H2O and less caffeine, eat a healthier diet by eliminating most of the sugar and adding more fruits and vegies. Maybe this is the year I start a yoga class!

2. Be creative for at least 10 minute every day. Sew, quilt, play the piano, draw and sketch, write. Every. Single. Day.

3. Manage the money. Eat out less, cook at home more. Follow the budget. Think before spending.

4. Grow DellaJane. Update website, find and sell unique items. Find creative ways to advertise. Keep things organized, from business paperwork to items for sale.

5. Be more involved in the world around me. Be less of a hermit. Write and call and email friends and family. Participate in the groups I already belong to.

6. Knit a pair of socks. I have instructions, tools and yarn. Just do it!