Saturday, December 25, 2010

May You Live in Interesting Times


I made this sleeping skirt for k-bot a few weeks ago. It's my first pattern made from scratch. I took her measurements and built the pattern from them using a book I got at the library. The closure is a drawstring, so it's not overly complex, but it came out very well. It is a very time consuming process to build patterns from scratch though, at least for now. I'm going to try to make a fitted t-shirt for her next.

Men's Jeans, Model A-1, action pose 1 thru 3

*I'm almost done getting the used motorized bicycle I bought recently into running order. The frame is painted, new kill switch installed, new gasket on the carburetor, etc. More images of that project once it's finished.

Denim Inspiration, 1940's

Here's some images of the old motorcycle club 13 Rebels. I have to say, the biker culture of the 1940's really had a lot of style, without seeming contrived or pretentious. Everything seems to have a comfortable, practical function but doesn't seem sloppy.

So I'm using this aesthetic as an inspiration for a few items that I'm working on, such as the new jeans in the post below, and some sweatshirts and t-shirts.

Check out more images from their website here.

Arden van Scykle

Men's Jeans, Model A-1, Cone Denim

I finished these jeans last week. 13.25 oz American-made Cone Mills denim, red selvedge, unbleached canvas pocket bags, hand-peened all copper rivets, antique Finck's Red Bar top button and antique black enameled buttons for the fly, single needle stitched with hand felled seams. These have been soaked hot and line dried, but them put in the dryer to see if they would shrink anymore. I made the pattern from an existing pair of jeans and then combined it with another pattern and tweaked it a little. My goal is to make something similar to the style of jeans you see in pictures of motorcyclists from the late 1930's and 40's; a pretty straight leg with a somewhat fitted top block. I got close with this pair, though the leg is still too tapered.

I'm really wishing I had a machine that could handle heavier gauge thread and thicker material. My 1950's White is a pretty awesome home machine for shirting, but it's no friend of denim. Most of the skipped stitches can't be seen on the outside but I don't like to see skipped stitches anywhere.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy (Pagan) New Year!

Merry solstice everyone and happy times whatever days you hold sacred!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Buckle Back

Black Jeans, Mens

I've made a few different things in the past couple of weeks, but I haven't gotten around to taking images of anything. Here's a slightly blurry shot of some black denim jeans (14oz, American made, selvedge) that I'm working on. Trying for a more fitted straight leg style. I still need to add the rivets and hem em' and then I'll take a few more images.

My Wall

A home for the hand-crafted misfits and orphans who haven't yet found a home.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Old Florida pt. 2

Jacoby Lumber Company, Molina, FL

Hemp and Sisal Factory, St. James, FL, early 20th C.

Soldiers at Camp Tampa waiting for deployment to Cuba, Spanish-American War, 1898

Caltagirones Grocery, 10th ave, Ybor City, FL

Boxing ring at the Cuban Club, Ybor City, FL

A gathering of African-American's in Tampa, c. 1900

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kaupo Store

Playing around with Photoshop...

Old Russia

USAF Sweatshirt

I found this US Air Force Academy sweatshirt at the thrift store recently. I'm guessing it's from the 1950's-1960's due to details like the expansion gussets on the sides, the width of the waistband, the look of the tag, and unique way that the body is made. I've looked a little online but haven't found any useful information about it yet though.

What's neat about the body is how it was made. It's just one piece of fabric that is oriented with the grain going horizontal rather than vertical so that the shoulders have no seams.

I've taken measurements and notes about the sweatshirt so that I can try and make one for myself, although sourcing the heavy-weight cotton rib knit fabric for the gusset may be a challenge.

Monday, November 22, 2010


1930's-1940's Tab Collar Denim Work Shirt

One of the things that I've read most often in books and articles about learning how to sew clothing is that you must always make a muslin first when trying something new. What this means is that you shouldn't use your really nice material on something you've never tried before, instead use something cheap, like muslin (or sheets from the thrift store) in case it doesn't work out. This is very sound advice and I recommend it, and one day I hope to follow it. The two times that I've used cheap fabric to test a new pattern I've been so bored with the material that the garments were never finished.

So, this here shirt that I finished last weekend is made with some fabric that I find very interesting, is very rare, and that I probably shouldn't use to try out several new things on.

The shirt is made from unwashed, vintage/antique, narrow loom (29") denim, based on a mid to late 1930's shirt pattern, and uses similar era vintage enameled metal buttons. The fabric is medium weight, has a white/natural selvedge with a pink line, and what makes it particularly neat, to me at least, is that the warp fibers are gray rather than white. I found about 5 yards of this at the thrift store several months ago and I've been waiting for the right inspiration to come to me as to what I should do with it.

I traced the original pattern onto new paper and changed the way the front band attached, tried to modify the fit a little, changed the hem shape, and added more curve and point to the collar. I tried out a few other ideas as well, the most noticeable being the asymmetrical pockets.

Here's the shirt in it's unwashed state

I used gray thread for everything expect light blue for the pencil pocket top-stitching and black thread for the bar tacks.

I also tried to incorporate the selvedge in various places and also tried my hand at making a hem gusset. I haven't actually seem the old style hem gusset in person so it wasn't completely successful this time.

The two button tab collar came out decently, next time'll be a little better

Unfortunately there's an upward pull on the middle which causes these wrinkles to form in the center of the chest. I'm bummed about this, and I haven't yet figured out what's causing it though I suspect it's something to do with the fit at the back of the neck. This is why I need to learn how to make patterns.

The inner collar band is actually a different piece of vintage selvedge denim fabric that I found at the thrift store.

There's some more hidden selvedge inside the smaller pocket. I didn't get a good photo of it, but you can see a bit of it peeking out of the top. Along with some fibers there at the button hole that need to be cut!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rubber Neck

Apparently up until the late 19th century it was still possible to lasso a leopard from a bicycle. Though how one would remain on the bike during this sort of event remains unclear.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chore Coat

I made this chore coat/barn coat about a year ago for a friend in Tennessee. It's one of the first things I made though I just got these images this morning. Since he farms, homebrews, makes sauerkraut, and/or does odd jobs for a living it seemed like a chore coat would actually be a functional item for the guy.

It looks like the sleeves may be a little short

But he said it helps keep his other clothes clean when he goes and gets firewood and stuff.