Monday, September 7, 2015

A Sock Hop, Sewing Vintage, and a Photo Shoot

When I  came home from winning the Row by Row quilt challenge, I started planning my next sewing project. The next step in my sewing journey definitely had to include sewing daily wear for me and my daughter since our old clothes were wearing out. However I had to first get a handle on the sewing clutter, especially after a project as  massive as the Row by Row. Nevertheless on this night, I was tired. I had slept little the night before, because I was furiously sewing the final stitches into the Row by Row quilt.

Shortly after I got home my kids came home from work at Chick-fil-A with news that there was going to be a Sock Hop! In two weeks! And there was going to be a costume contest!

Wow! That sounded too fun! However I had less than 2 weeks to pull it all together. Well, time to put the contemporary sewing on hold, once again, to make time for vintage sewing.

I knew exactly which patterns I wanted to use. For the circle skirt I wanted to use a vintage pattern that I had bought in Vermont at an antique shop a couple of years ago.

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For the blouse I wanted to use a Gertie pattern! I'd have to lengthen the top so that we could actually tuck it in to the skirt, but that couldn't be so difficult. Right?


I was at a loss though for fabrics. Nothing in the stash would work. I read through the vintage circle skirt pattern directions and was entirely fascinated with the idea of duplicating a felt skirt. In fact I did quite a bit of research on felt circle skirts and found a lot of fascinating information. My daughter adores birds and liked the pattern on the envelope, so we went to JoAnn's looking for great felt, but it's all icky synthetic stuff. Not quite vintage. I decided to put this idea on hold. I'd still like to recreate it according to this pattern, and share my research, so stay tuned for that!

We perused the fabric selections over and over but  kept coming back to the Gertie line of fabrics. I had already bought two fabrics last spring and now I bought two more for our circle skirts.

Thus the first week was spent deeply organizing my sewing stash and space, driving my kids from here to there, and making 2 long 30 minute drives in traffic to the particular JoAnn's that carried the Gertie fabric. The first store we went to, which is closest to us at a 20 minute drive in the opposite direction wasn't selling Gertie fabric. In fact the manager had no idea who Gertie was. (gasp) Finally I settled into sewing. I had less than a week to sew 2 entire outfits for me and my daughter.
First I started with my daughter's circle skirt...

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Then I sewed her blouse...

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The collar was a bit complicated to put together, but it came out correctly! Yea! The buttonholes were a huge difficulty though since my machine was acting persnickety. We used buttons from my button stash. I had popped these off an old blouse when she was little. I'm always recycling buttons for future use. Buttons can be an expensive item to add to any sewing project. These buttons seem to have a bit of a mid-modern feel.

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I adore that back collar detail. So cute! I was elated that it came out so well considering how difficult it was to figure out.

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Then it was time to sew my circle skirt. I love this fabric. The circles are three dimensional and a tad crinkly which is fun! The inside of the fabric is quite comfortable against the skin and has a nice drape.

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The skirt came out like a charm. Then it was time to start the blouse. Don't those collar pieces look scary?

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Unfortunately the collar pieces were scary. This time I could not figure them out. They caused so much grief. I forget the details now, but I did find some lace to edge the collar in order to hide things, but that wasn't helping enough...so I then grabbed more fabric to lay over and sew on top to hide the mess.

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Finally everything was sewn together and it was time to get dressed! Never mind that I had wanted to sew new crinolines that would pouf more than our other crinolines. I never had time to even shop. I had also run out of time to hunt down saddle shoes which I thought/hoped might be for sale in the area.

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We got all dressed up, even the guys. Well, mainly my son. My husband doesn't really like costumes so he wore some everyday clothes that he felt were quite vintage. We all climbed into the van and went to Chick-fil-A...where nothing was happening, except rain. Oh yes, rain. We had our eyes on the sky all day. My son had been working there earlier so I had the usual drive back and forth to drop him off and pick him up. Nothing had been settled until after I picked him up and I never caught it on fb. I gave up on my blouse, fell asleep on the couch about an hour before we needed to leave, because I had stayed up quite late the night before trying to conquer the uncooperative collar. The sewing machine had caused me grief with my buttonholes too. Turns out I had missed the announcement on fb that the Sock Hop had been canceled due to the rain. The dance was going to be outdoors with professional dance instructors and expensive music equipment. The event was postponed until September, with the date soon to be announced.

We came home quite dismayed. Even so, I asked for the guys to do the photoshoot with us so that I could at least show off what I sewed, or tried to sew. It would have been so much more fun to have had photos done at the Sock Hop but oh well, this just seems to be the saga of our costume attempts these days.

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We changed clothes then returned to CFA for dinner to support them and try to chirk ourselves up.  We had been the only ones in 1950's attire and that felt so odd. We certainly weren't in Williamsburg where the modern town warmly accepts any era of clothing due to all the events there. The boss was glad to see us return. He was really disappointed, as well, at canceling the event.

Meanwhile I made mental plans on what to do to finesse our look.
  • Scarves-which I ran out of time to order
  • Saddle shoes-though I haven't seen any anywhere now that I'm looking for winter boots
  • Better crinolines
  • Shorten my daughter's skirt
Alas, there was never a September Sock Hop. Instead there was a very expensive Sock Hop, heavily advertised at CFA, at the nearby airport among the vintage planes. (sigh) I'd have loved to go but about $70 per person is too steep for us. We have two kids in college!

My daughter did wear her outfit to church the next Sunday, with her pretty red flat shoes. However the pink blouse keeps pulling up in back. I had noticed that when I sewed hers, so I made mine longer. Even so this blouse pattern is difficult to lengthen. Because of the darts, a taper at the waist is created (because originally it was a mid-drift blouse) so that however I amended it, the longer waist  sat uncomfortably tight in the waist and hips. Not sure how to fix that to wear with this skirt.
My daughter's pink blouse is too short to wear with the skirt, so I thought I'd add a peplum to it to wear with blue jeans to college. However I'm out of pink fabric (I think). I've considered using a wide matching cotton eyelet for the peplum but I haven't found that.It's in my sewing pile...

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