The Wannabe Craftster

The Highs and Lows of a Fashionista and Craftster Wannabe

Ooh La la!!!!

My sister had this pattern back in the day.  I thought it was the sexiest thing I’d ever seen and wanted it for myself.  You can find this at http://www.lanetzliving.net/

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October 10, 2008 Posted by | inspiration, patterns, sew, sister, vintage | , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Give Up

It just beat me down.  I’d never done pleats before and struggled with THAT.  I really needed to mark symbols and tried it but they disappeared!  (Maybe too much time between sewing sessions?)  I’d never put in a zipper before and attempted it and thought I did a B to C grade job until I tried to apply interfacing and realized I’d put the zipper in way TOO high and it wouldn’t accommodate the facings.

Sometimes, things just have to be shelved.  I have learned that just because a pattern is labeled EASY doesn’t mean that it’s for beginners.  And that’s what I am—a beginner.  And really, when you’re homeschooling, housecleaning, etc, etc, being a beginner may last a little longer than what you’d like.  Okay.  Lesson learned.

SO…………I am working on a new blanket for my mom.  (Pictures later.)  AND……I’ve decided to try something simpler and smaller.

Top right will be made up (WILL be made up) in pale green $1 a yard Walmart fabric.  Certainly, I shouldn’t be too disappointed no matter what the outcome.  WISH ME LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

September 16, 2008 Posted by | patterns, sew | , , , , | 3 Comments

If

If it ever got cool enough in Texas, I’d make something like the latest wrap/jacket that Erica Bunker has made. Her blog is one of my absolute favorites and was, if I remember correctly, the first one I ever bookmarked. Photography is great, and she has impeccable taste. Not perfectly matched with mine, of course. She’s tall like a model and I’m….not. I could never pull off some of the styles she favors and looks so good in. If you haven’t already, check it out.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b16/eribunk/Projects/101_1746.jpg

July 25, 2008 Posted by | Austin, inspiration, patterns | , , , | Leave a comment

Marking Fabric

For beginning sewers like me, marking requires a bit of thought and lots of advice.    Actually, I could really use an expert in my dining room with me guiding me.  NOT going to happen, BUT after reading and rereading every section in every sewing book that I own and trying and failing a FEW times to mark and recognize my own marks UNsuccessfully, I was quite pleased this morning to find THIS post at Another Creation.    And with a twist!!!  I’ll be trying this after I visit the Crayola aisle.

http://anothercreation.blogspot.com/

June 27, 2008 Posted by | patterns, sew | , , | 2 Comments

Vintage Blouse Patterns

Right now, I’m wishing for winter the way it was when I was growing up—you know, back when there were actual seasons? Remember putting away summer clothes after a frost or two and pulling out your winter wardrobe? Mine never totally recovered from the mothballs, and the mothballs let me down, I discovered, when I pulled out a gorgeous emerald green wool coat I’d worn ONCE and noticed mothholes on the arms. Winter clothes were always better than summer clothes, I thought, because you got to wear boots and shawls and ponchos! Well, I fantasized about wearing shawls, anyway. I finally have one but not the weather to wear it in. Sigh. If you couldn’t guess, my best winter wardrobe memories involve clothes from the 70s. Some early 80s, too, but I remember so well my sister’s clothes during the 70s. She had white jeans, I think, and knit tops, chunky heeled shoes, blouses that tied in the back, handkerchief blouses, and a tube top. She even made her own bikini.

This is her pattern, and I know she sewed it but I can’t recall the fabric she used. Seemed that it was reversible.

Some of the others, I’ve just picked up. Sometimes, you snatch them up before you think, right? Like this one–my bust could be a 32 1/2 again, right? Pppptttttttt! As if! And I’m sure I’d love to have to unzip my blouse in the back to take it off, wouldn’t I?

Another one of my sister’s. You can totally tell everybody wanted to look like Farrah.

Now, to be totally mushy and sad. These two, I bought when I was pregnant but before I knew I was carrying a boy. I thought for SURE, I’d get to buy pink. I suppose I could buy fabric and wait for someone I know to get pregnant….Has the time come for me to come to the realization that I won’t be needing any more baby clothes?

But the girly robes are darling, aren’t they? If you know anyone who needs anything so warm, that is. As long as I continue to live in Texas, it would probably be a good idea to resist the long sleeved little treasures like these. But, wouldn’t it be lovely to have a houseful of little girls in pajamas and nightgowns hurrying off to bed and waiting for their bedtime stories?

Okay, I guess the good news is that I won’t be humiliating a daughter by making her wear homemade clothes that would be, in the under 10’s set, considered out of style. And, truth be told, I may be trying to recapture something that is truly gone forever. BUT, I like pulling these out every once in a while to think about what might have been, remembering my own little 70s pink pajamas I got to wear by the fire, back when we had seasons.

April 18, 2008 Posted by | patterns, sew, thrifting, Uncategorized, vintage | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Inspiration Behind The Wannabe Craftster

This is my sister. She can do anything. Not half-way, either. As far back as I remember, she was crafting, sewing, or just had her hands busy doing anything creative she could. I think the first vehicles were, for her, camp crafts, bible school crafts, 4-H… She told me recently about an art teacher she had as a child, or was it a teacher who happened to teach a little art, who inspired her. I’d never known how important all of that was, because just as we don’t imagine our heroes having heroes, it never occurred to me that she needed any inspiration of her own or that she was once the little pair of eyes watching someone else paint or sew or pull odd materials together to form something new. To me, it all began with her, and that’s all I needed to believe, anyway. At the time. We shared a room together when she and I were kids, and she looked like this and had a horse. I followed her everywhere and must have been very annoying. She put up a funky looking poster in our room and a bumper sticker over her closet door that said “Archie is a Saint” referring to Archie Manning. She, along with everyone else in our family, actually enjoyed watching football on tv. I never got into it. In fact, I never even had the sense to ask who Archie was or what a Saint was. She also hung a burlapped rendering of Raggedy Ann and Andy on the wall. Early on, Andy popped his suspenders, and it all began going downhill from there for him. As different pieces of the unfortunate duo began to disappear, it seemed a bit sad and lost. Not that my grubby, fat little hands had anything to do with it. That I don’t remember. Once, she made one of those science project volcanoes for school. Fascinated me. She knew everything! Of course, these days, that kind of info is everywhere–how to make science projects, craft of the week, dough crafts, macaroni crafts, crochet patterns, knitting patterns, etc–but in the 70s, it absolutely was not. We didn’t get craft magazines or sewing magazines at our house, and there was no internet. There weren’t copy machines in the grocery stores, and we really didn’t have much of a public library. “How to” books are everywhere now for those who can do, or those who, like me, are, like me, wannabes. Wannabes tend to read a lot and look at pictures.

When the 80s hit, she dove into the craft movement like Greg Louganis at the Olympics. She taught me to crossstitch, and she taught herself to crochet rugs, knit sweaters, weave baskets, embroider, quilt, smocking…

You know, I just say that she taught herself. Truthfully, I can say I’ve never seen her in the beginning stages of anything. She presents her idea, gets the what-choo-talkin-bout-willis look from me, then presents the finished project, and again, I’ll say in all truthfulness, it ALWAYS looks ready to be photographed for a magazine.

I call myself a WANNABE because, unlike my sister, I’ve spent years studying crochet books, sewing books, knittting books, tatting…. everything. It takes me forever to make any progress, because I need someone to actually guide me through my lessons, to correct me, to tell me when to pull stitches out and to start again. And, to be honest, I have less faith in myself than most people. When I tell her about some of my ideas and ask her if she thinks I can do it, she always responds with an “Of course, you can!”

But, she can actually read and understand directions.

I’ve always believed that she is fearless.

When she was a teenager, she used to scare my mother to death all the time as we were riding along in our car. “LOOK AT THAT CORVETTE!!” she would scream. Maybe it’s just me or maybe it has to do with THAT kind of reaction, but I don’t think Corvettes have ever been as beautiful as they were in the 70s. I used to fantasize about growing up and making enough money to surprise her at Christmas with a yellow Corvette in the front yard. It would have suited her perfectly. Of all the strong personalities in my family, she is one of the only ones I truly consider to be fun-loving.

She was always, always kind to me. She took the time to teach me manners, to talk to me, to let me tag along, to ride me on the back of her bicycle, to laugh at my mostly dumb jokes, to rouse me on Christmas morning to say “I think Santa Claus came last night!” and to bring me tons of presents home from her church trip to Disneyworld, one of them being my first watch, a Minnie Mouse with a pink strap that I still have. Well, I still have the watch–and it works–but not the pink strap. I had longed for one all through second grade. She even wrote a postcard to me on that trip, and I don’t know where it is anymore. I would give anything to have it again.

She was the first person to make me feel important. And, it’s funny, but nobody has had quite the same effect on me since. It’s funny how imperative that first sense of self is, and there’s no bond like the one you make when you’re that young…..with someone who guides you, who inspires you, who shows you how much fun life can be, who makes you feel cute or precious during the only time in your life you can expect to be adored. God, we’re lucky if we ever find anyone who thinks everything we do is smart or funny or just naturally enjoys our company. She did. And, she does.

Happy Birthday, Sissie, from your little sister, The Wannabe Craftster.

April 13, 2008 Posted by | inspiration, sister, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vintage Dress Patterns

I haven’t worn a real dress since I was pregnant with my younger son who is now four years old.    It’s a real shame, since I’ve owned so very many dresses and probably 100 or so dress patterns.  Some of those were never used, since we lost contact with Miss Francis, our beloved friends and dressmaker.  Since my sewing skills were nonexistent and I didn’t own a machine, anyway, many were finally grudgingly donated to Goodwill years ago.  While I don’t regret this much, I’m now on a quest to replenish my stock.  Reasons are many.  First, I just wanna.  Secondly, my sister the sewist has relocated to Fort Worth with sewing machine in tow.  Thirdly, I am back in communication with Miss Francis.  Finally, I’ve got my own sewing machine and intend to develop the skills to turn out perfection.  Or something like it.  Of course, this will take time, which is fine with me, because I’d also like to take some weight off before I really dive into this.  In the meantime, I do love to take a look at my growing vintage dress pattern collection and can do so now without rummaging through the patterns themselves but can just pull up my albums on Thumbplus and peruse.  Now that I’ve finally learned a LITTLE bit about my scanner, that is.

I love the DVF Wrap Dress pattern but couldn’t afford the genuine article on Ebay in my size.  Chose this little lovely, instead and can’t wait to see it worked up.

Possibly, POSSIBLY, I could turn out a nicer version of the traditional housedress using these patterns.  I KNOW, but I like the idea!!  Come on. it could happen.  Right?


April 12, 2008 Posted by | Designer clothes, patterns, sew | , , , | Leave a comment

Nothing Gets Between Me and My Calvins

….except perhaps these 65 extra pounds I’m carrying around. Thanks, Baby #2. Can I still say that even though he’s now 4 years old? Ha!

When I was in 8th grade, I dreamed day and night about owning a pair of Calvin Klein jeans. Two girls in my class actually had some, and I stared unabashedly at their rear ends every time they passed by. There was something about that label that set my heart racing. The $40 price tag made my mother scowl, of course. She would never consider even letting me try them on but would pay up to $33 for Lee jeans. I’ve often thought a mere 7 dollars would have bought so much satisfaction. I do think Calvins were not generous in the derriere, though, which I definitely would have needed. Then AND now!

I did not have a designer clothes allowance. What I DID have was a smart mom. One our way home from school one day she obeyed an instinct and stopped at a neighbor’s house and simply asked her if she sewed and if she would sew for pay. Mom had noticed how well-dressed this lady’s children were. We always saw them morning and afternoon stepping onto the schoolbus. This angel of mercy was named Miss Frances (yes, she was married but we kids always called everyone “Miss”, because Mississippi kids are not to be bothered with the extra syllable in “Mrs.”) and she did, indeed, make her kids’ clothes and sewed for others as well.

Thus began a friendship that literally changed my life. Miss Frances was, and is, a genius who could make men’s suits, line lady’s suits perfectly, could turn out those crazy 80s designer jackets and all their complicated construction with the skill of a couturier.

And, oh baby, she made jeans.

To FIT!

Little Meg could have a pair of Calvins that fit her derriere. Yes, Vogue made a Calvins jeans pattern, and yes, we bought it!

I still think of those jeans (and the body that fit into them) lovingly. I do not know what happened to them. We chose a dark gold thread to contrast with the dark blue denim, which made the design on my buttocks just SCREAM style and happiness with each step I took. A darling twinset Miss Fran made for me + those jeans made my favorite Calvin combo.

HEAVEN!

I lost contact with Miss Frances years ago. She moved away, and I grew up and got married and had babies of my own and just, well, got involved in all those things you get involved with when you complicate your life with adulthood.

This past Christmas, I followed an instinct, myself, and thought of everyone I’d lost contact with and did my best to find their addresses. Christmas cards went out with catch-up notes. And guess who I got a phone call from during Christmas? Yes, the most talented and brilliant Miss Frances. What a wonderful Christmas present! She’s since written me and I intend to visit her and take pictures when I go back to Mississippi. I don’t know that she ever realized what an important part of my life she was. I’ve told so many people about her and her beautiful work and what it meant to me.

Today marks the first day of my final diet. I’m taking measurements, weighing, making menus, exercise plans and waving Good-Bye to 65 pounds.

Once this diet train reaches the station, how do you think I’ll celebrate?

calcopy.jpg

March 31, 2008 Posted by | Calvin Klein jeans, Designer clothes, designer jeans, sew | , , , , , | Leave a comment