Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Just Life

It is an odd feeling when one's life is at a "stand-still", yet be one of constant busy-ness at the same time. Such has been my life for the last couple of months. Even more craziness seems to be on my horizon, so you most likely won't see very many sewing related posts any time soon. Not to mention that I have z.e.r.o. motivation or desire to sew. Thankfully there is just one project on my table and it's one of those to work on "just for fun."

Happily, I can just confess that the blog may take a little turn towards other things and not disappear off the face of the earth. In fact, I still want to show you pictures of my sister in her 1940s Swing Dress. I playfully teased her that she'd need a chaperon when wearing that dress. ;) She pulls off that classy-vintage look so well.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Modern McCalls meets 1930s Inspired

Finding cute skirt patterns can sometimes be a challenge. When I saw an unused pattern of McCalls 4924 (now out of print) for sale and in my size, there was no hesitation to purchase it.
My favorite views were A and B, and knew that my vintage woolen yardage would be perfect for this pattern. For days I was trying to decide if I wanted lace insets. Part of me liked the idea but then I wondered how modest it would be. I thought about doing solid fabric like this cute dress features, but my sister suggested that it might make the skirt look more "homemade." I came across a picture of this 1930s suit on pinterest, and thought that it wouldn't look so bad using the same fabric, so that's what I ended up using.

Since I avoid alterations if they can be helped, I made view B as is and love it. So onto the pictures... :) These pictures were taken this morning after church.

Maybe it's my imagination, but the buttons above the pleated insets really add that vintage touch to the skirt, don't you think? Excuse the wrinkles. After all, I was sitting in church. ;)

Etienne Aigner herringbone oxford-styled heels match wonderfully!
And like I said I would, I used the lace seam binding on the inside waistband. Sorry, no picture of that. ;)
There is about 1 yard left of this herringbone wool, and when my Dad saw it he said it would make great speaker covers (ie. sound speakers for a living room). :P Unless he really wants it, I think it will be tucked away in my stash bin for something else. Perhaps made up in a men's vintage style vest?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What You Should Know About Peasant Cottage Aprons

On occasion I receive questions about my etsy shop, Peasant Cottage. Not necessarily how to run one (though I get questions like that, too) but more detailed ones that brings me to the making of this post, of which I hope will prove helpful. I wrote it in a Q&A format, and will most likely keep updating this post so if you have any questions for me, write them down!

Where do you buy your fabrics?
Literally all over the country. Ebay, etsy shops, thrift stores, flea markets, antique shops, quilt shops, JoAnns, and (very rarely) Walmart.

How do you choose your fabrics?
Quality of fabric is very important to me, which is why I rarely buy from the $2 table at Walmart. Once in a very blue moon, I'll find something decent from there.

If possible, I love to buy vintage fabrics since, obviously, they are from the time periods I'm seeking to represent in making an apron. Again, the quality of the fabric is screened closely. At times they don't come to me in perfect conditions, so that means I get to make myself another apron (ha! sorry friends!) or I'll sell it in the shop with a reduced price and explain why it is reduced

Choosing fabrics for me is generally along the lines of, "Is this something that I or previous customers would like?" As with our own tastes and personalities, the aprons I make are not at all like vintage-inspired aprons you'll find in other shops. "The bigger, the bolder, the brighter the fabric" is not something I personally gravitate towards. Next I ask myself, "Would this look good in an apron?" and "Would this look better in a Ginnie apron or a Gracie apron? or in the Margaret style? or a Tasha Tudor style?"

Sometimes I'll get notes from would-be-customers or returning customers asking if I could make a solid white apron, or "the next time you make a Gracie in blue, let me know!" or "my colors are butter cream and purple, could you find a fabric like that?" It's fun for me to please customers, so I always welcome suggestions!

Can you tell me more about your trims?
Bias Tape: Since all of my patterns are from actual vintage aprons, most of them call for bias tape which seems to be a signature look among those well-loved. Most of the time I buy this brand-new, though there are times I'll come across a few packages of vintage bias tape. There are a few times where I'll make my own using the same fabric I'm using for the apron. While it doesn't give the fun contrast like the solid color gives, it provides a uniform finish.

Rick rack: All of the rick rack I own is unused vintage. There was maybe one or two aprons when I first started out that came with modern rick rack, but I quickly discovered that I didn't care for it for several reasons: it looked to much like polyester, felt at times like recycled plastic, limited color choices, the points and overall shape of the rick rack did not compare with the vintage cards I was glad to find.

Lace: The laces I will occasionally use are a mixture of vintage and modern.

Buttons: My button collection looks like I'm a professional hoarder, but only because I was at a thrift store once and saw a huge bag of vintage buttons weighing nearly a pound for just a couple dollars. Once in awhile you'll find buttons on my aprons but they usually go on my historical garments, tote bags, or other modern wear.

Can you make me an apron like the one that just sold?
This is a frequent question and my reply is always that I rarely make the same apron twice. As a seamstress, it would be boring repetition if I were to make 5 aprons all identical. (Though I think I've come close to making 5 aprons out of an all-time favorite fabric. I've been combing ebay and etsy on a regular basis to find more of it! I'd tell you what I was looking for, but then I'd be afraid you'd snatch it!) ;) Since many of the fabrics I purchase are pre-cut, what I get is what I get to work with. If it's less than 2 yards, I'm only getting one apron out of it.

Do you sell patterns?
There have been times when I've considered making patterns off of the ones I use to make the aprons in my shop, but there are to many factors involved for me to do it, some of which are:

1. I wouldn't even know where to begin or how to begin that process.
2. I like sewing aprons and if I were to sell patterns, I think I'd go out of business. ;)
3. There are SO many apron patterns out in the sewing realm (the "big four" pattern companies, ebay, and etsy for example) that I don't think it's worth trying to sell my own.

Oddly enough, I've never been able to find actual vintage patterns of the Ginnie, Gracie, and Margaret aprons I sell. Maybe they were designed by the seamstress who made them? :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Little Things

  1. Piping hot herbal tea goes perfectly with a brisk fall morning
  2. Teaching eager (and some not so eager...) music students
  3. One of my longtime friends is getting married on a beach in Florida next month, and I'm thrilled that it's going to work out to attend. (What to wear to a beach wedding in November?!)
  4. My woolen fabric is all sewed up and I just need to take pictures to post.
  5. Vegetarian Falafel wraps
  6. A gorgeous Christmas paisley waiting to be sewn up into a Gracie apron.
  7. Older, mother-like women at church who pray with and for me.
  8. Candles (favorites this season from B&B Works: Sweater Weather, Leaves, Marshmallow Fireside, and Nutmeg & Spice)
What are some of little things in your life that causes you to be grateful or happy about? 

Thursday, October 10, 2013


"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." ~Anne of Green Gables
"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air." ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Vintage Herringbone Wool

Blame it on my old-fashioned upbringing, my love for vintage fashions, or maybe it was seeing an oversized chair at the furniture store in a similar fabric (finely trimmed in leather) that got me fascinated with this timeless design.   I was delighted to find a large piece of vintage wool in a herringbone pattern on etsy not long ago.

The thickness and drape is perfect.

The kind seller even sent a package of brown seam lace trim along with the fabric. You'd think that with my love for vintage things I would have used seam binding like this by now, but no. I'm thinking it will be used with this fabric in some way.

Some vintage buttons from my stash are begging to be used, too.

And I have the perfect pattern to implement all these things. Can hardly wait to get started! It will look, shall we say, vintage. ;)

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Making of Applesauce in Pictures

Mom and I did applesauce for the very first time (ie. in large quantities) this season. Using McIntosh, Jonathan, and Gala apples, we cut up as many would fit into our largest pan and cooked them until they went down to about the middle of the pan: mostly "mush" and peelings. I felt like Felicity Merriman when she was stirring her apple butter to prevent scorching. (Anyone else read the Pleasant Company/American Girl doll books as a child?)

I fed them through our new-to-us Victorio machine, and out came beautiful sauce. When our largest stainless steel bowl was full (containing about 4 quarts of sauce), I added just over 1/4 cup of sugar to make it slightly sweetened. I wonder what using honey would have been like? Oh well, for that much sauce and so little sugar per serving, I'm not worried. :)

We ended up with exactly 13 quarts for the freezer. Now that we've done applesauce, maybe next year we'll be brave and "put up" other sauced fruit or vegetables!