Free to a Good Home

Singer Stylist 834

So, who wants a sewing machine? I'm giving one away … This Singer Stylist 834 was the first machine I bought for myself, with my own money (actually, with the first real paycheck I ever got!) … I'm trying not to be sentimental about this (because I really need to get rid of some STUFF) but I *would* like it to go to a good home. So instead of Freecycling or Craigslisting it, I thought I'd try here first.

It's FREE, but there are a few caveats:

— the timing's off, so it needs a visit to the repair shop before you'll be able to use it. Luckily, the sticker on the machine will tell you where to go. Last time I took it in, the tuneup cost $80.

— you have to be able to pick it up, here in Chicago … I won't ship it. This sucker's HEAVY. It does, however, have a carrying case. You have to pick it up before July 15 — I've given myself two weeks to give this away.

— I think I have the manual. Somewhere. I'll try to dig it up. I also have some extra feet for it, but heaven only knows WHICH feet, and WHERE. They will also be the target of some sewing-room archaeology.

I made a lot of clothes with this machine, and I think it's still good for a couple years' more sewing, if you don't do anything rough (like making jeans or canvas bags). It's simple to use (even without the manual) and friendly for beginners.

If you want this machine, email me (the email address is over there, on the right, towards the bottom of this page) and we'll work out the details.

In addition: I am selling my serger. (I really don't use it, and I'd rather use that space for more fabric or as a spot for the Singer Red-Eye machine, instead.) Serger status: sold.

Also: does anyone do any crafting with circuit boards? I just came across a stash of old etherlink cards … if you want 'em, email me. Those are really light, so I'm happy to ship them. Now, like my innocence, circuit boards gone.

Tucks Everlasting


I don't think I've talked about how much I love tucks. There's no reason for it; I just do. And tucks combined with a Peter Pan collar … whoa, Nellie. (Why is this one too small for me? Why?)

I even love the faux dickey. Weirdly, I don't like real dickeys, but give me a faker version of an essentially fake thing, and I'm all over it.

This one is from Jen at, and I would just like to taunt you all with the fact that when I was in Florida last week I MET JEN. And, as will surprise NO ONE, she is awesome. That is all.

Actually, that is not all; I've been traveling a lot and have realized that I have a strange habit of smiling at people on the street (even in NYC where you're not supposed to). I'm trying to make a list of things/people I will smile at, and here's a start:

  • babies (no brainer)
  • people who are wearing more than two very bright colors at the same time
  • older men (>65) who are wearing non-baseball hats
  • older women (>65) with "done" hair ("ladies", really)
  • anyone wrassling a tantrumy toddler (they need all they sympathy they can get)
  • anyone I catch rolling their eyes at some obliviously rude person, like someone gesticulating with a lit cigarette on a crowded sidewalk
  • robots (okay, I haven't really met any robots on the street, but if I did, I would smile at them. Even if they had their lasers trained on me.

What's your list? Is there anything you used to smile at but don't anymore? I used to smile at young people dressed in full traditional punk-rock garb, but then I realized that smiling at them in the "aw, you're so adorable with your safety pins and your black eyeliner!" way only pissed them off. So now I pretend to ignore them, and they're happy again.

And they can't, they won't, and they don't stop … fauxlero!

Anne Adams 4607

Julie from Sew-Retro Vintage Patterns just sent this to me, and I *wants* it. But it's not my size! (It's B38.) And, as we've already established, I'm way too lazy to grade patterns. Anyone got it in a B36?

Anyway, it's sweeeeet. Look at those pockets! I would definitely coordinate the pocket flaps and the neckline band. I might even go so far as to add another coordinating band around the hem. (My laziness doesn't extend to unnecessary design touches, only to grading patterns.)

Sigh. I hope one of you B38 ladies buys it, makes it, sends me a picture, and wears it in good health to the next meeting of the Fauxlero Club.

Meet Our Advertisers #4: Penny at Antique Dollhouse of Patterns


Here is the fourth in our continuing series of "Meet Our Advertisers": Penny from Antique Dollhouse of Patterns!

How long have you been in business?

THE YEAR 2000! I did not have one pattern or antique doll before the year
2000! My life was uncomplicated before 2000!

What motivated you to go into the vintage patterns (and dolls!) business?

I love dolls (a latent passion) and was in WalMart in the summer of 2000 in
Hood River visiting, and the salesclerk told me about the Barbie doll
patterns and how they were destroyed after 6 months … they then became
collectible. I was hooked and started collecting from that moment on.
Over 100,000 patterns in stock today …

What did you do before this?

I was a secretary for the Government, for the Railways, and I volunteered with the Lions Clubs.

Where are you based?

Fort MacLeod, Southern Alberta, Canada, the first town in Alberta.

More fun questions:

What's the weirdest/best/craziest/most beautiful thing you've ever found?

When I first started on Ebay, I was in a secondhand shop on Vancouver
Island and loved this little blue vase for 10 cents … One of the first
items I listed, and no camera at that time! That little blue vase, I found
out, was one of only 4 in the world made in that color, 4 in green, in yellow and in pink. The new owner was sure one happy customer, he built a case for it and drove down personally hundreds of miles to pick this little vase up. He paid $22. That is what it went on Ebay for with no picture …

What do you have in stock that you can't believe hasn't sold?

My Marilyn Monroe and Elvis costume sewing patterns … doesn't everyone love Marilyn and Elvis?

What do you dream about finding?

A warehouse or Quonset hut to put all these patterns and antique dolls and
costumes and vintage hats and belt buckles, toys, stuffed animals, vintage
jewelry, 18 pattern file cabinets, 100,000 patterns, all my collectibles
all under one roof … Now that would be organization!

What do you enjoy most about working with patterns?
Historic value … and because it is a link with my mother's memory. She
has rapidly declined in the memory area at 85 and it is hard to visit a
parent daily in a nursing home at times. We count pattern pieces together, and many patterns trigger a memory. "Your aunt Nina made that outfit for you when you were three … This is the 1950 coat and hat set pattern … I wore that 1940s two piece peplum suit when I married your dad …" And on and on.. It passes the time while we are visiting. I am sure all mothers at one time sewed to survive. This is our link. I yell out the numbers or the letters and Mom ticks them off on the pattern sheet. And my world is fine when I see that wobbly OK on the back of the envelope.

What do you wish someone would ask you about your site?
"Did you do this all yourself?" Yes, I typed every word, even had to do those 15,000 items twice over, and I set up the website twice over. I love

It's a good day at work when …
The piles of patterns are lessened, when I receive a gorgeous antique doll
in the mail and she is in perfect condition!!! And it is a good day when I
can go through a whole day and someone is not wearing perfume! I am so
allergic to perfume!!

If I ran the internet for a day I'd …
Promote healthy living, living off the earth, being so positive and so
happy. I was born happy and positive and cannot imagine life without
laughter …

The blogs I read (other than A Dress A Day) are …
Marty North, Greenfield Park, Quebec, Canada, area near where I grew up in, and Chambly County High School, and, too. Erin you are the only blog I read about regarding fashion because you are the Fashion Queen!!!

You'd laugh if you knew this about me …
I walk funny (they say) — people can spot me blocks away from my
walk. And I am psychic … my mother, grandmother and myself are born
tealeaf readers (I am now retired).

Time Out

clock dress

I am obsessed with this clock dress that Theresa sent me. It's already gone, of course, from Posh Girl Vintage … and it would have barely fit me anyway (and by "barely" I mean, I could have zipped it up, maybe, if I could renegotiate that whole "breathing" thing with my lungs). If one of you bought it, will you tell me that you love it, and that you wear it every (suitable) day, and that you have given it a special nickname? Please?

The best part, of course, is that scrumptious clock print. I bet I could dig up the requisite clip art and Spoonflower myself some of that, don't you think? Should it be a big border print, like this one, or a smaller scatter print? Over red stripes, and or black and white as they are here?

As a joke, I'd love to wear this dress without also wearing a watch. (Which would, even as a joke, last about ten minutes, because not wearing a watch drives me nuts. I once bought a new watch at the airport because mine had broken in the car on the way over. And it was only recently that I stopped wearing a watch 24 hours a day, including in the shower [I have a lot of Swatch watches].)

Interestingly enough, the clock here is set at roughly 8:23, and not 10:10, as fakey watches usually are now. Which means (at least according to Google Answers) that the print is really and truly old.

While you're mourning the unavailability of this one, you might want to check out some of the other pretty dresses at Posh Girl …

Meet Our Advertisers #3: Marge at Born Too Late Vintage

Here is the third in our continuing series of "Meet Our Advertisers": Marge from Born Too Late Vintage and Born Too Late Vintage Patterns!

How long have you been in business?
Since February of 1999.

What motivated you to go into the vintage & vintage pattern business?

I love the fashions of times past. Back then clothing was made to last and great care was taken in the construction of clothing. I also enjoy sewing with vintage patterns and modern patterns. Sewing allows me to show my creative side. As a plus size woman I like being able to get exactly what I want when I sew. Why pay a fortune for a dress I don't love and that doesn't fit me right? I can custom fit my own clothing and pick out exactly the fabric I want to get the look I want.

What did you do before this?

I worked for the phone company for 20 years and then retired. I then worked as a medical transcriptionist at home for 6 years after I had my daughters. I started out selling their party and holiday dresses and then fell in love with vintage clothing again. I used to wear vintage clothing when I was in high school.

Where are you based?

My shops, Born Too Late Vintage and Born Too Late Vintage Patterns are based at I'm the vintage and antique clothing moderator there as well. Physically, I'm in northeastern Pennsylvania.

More fun questions:

What's the weirdest/best/craziest/most beautiful thing you've ever

I absolutely adore this Fred Leighton hand crocheted ecru gown. I have done fine crochet like this in the past and I marvel at the work that went into this:
Leighton Crochet Dress

What do you have in stock that you can't believe hasn't sold?

I have a variety of mens and ladies fedoras that are in just beautiful like this one.

What do you dream about finding?

I'd love to find a Claire McCardell. My mom was born and raised in Frederick, Maryland, the home of Claire McCardell and I definitely feel a connection with Ms. McCardell.

What do you enjoy most about working with vintage patterns?

When I'm working with patterns I'm listing I really enjoy it when there's a scrap of fabric in the envelope from the former owner or when the former owner has made some notations on the envelope or a piece of paper inside the envelope about what the pattern was purchased for or how the fit of the dress was. That's a treasure to me.

What do you wish someone would ask you about your site?

Why I am selling on Specialist Auctions rather than another site.

It's a good day at work when …

I've been able to get my listings done, sold a few things, received some positive feedback and of course being mentioned on A Dress A Day.

If I ran the internet for a day I'd …
Get rid of the pornography.

The blogs I read (other than ADAD) are …

Always Playing Dress Up (my blog!), Diary of a Mad Fashionista, Zuburbia Vintage Clothing blog, She's a Betty Single Girl Guide and the VFG (Vintage Fashion Guild) blog.

You'd laugh if you knew this about me …

I adore Tom Jones and Sean Connery. Could I have been a Scottish or Welsh lass in my past life?

Fashion Sewing on A Budget … and the Walk-Away Dress!

I was flipping through some of my old sewing books a while back, looking for something (I can't even remember what) and was arrested by this image, which of course is the famous Walk-Away Dress:

walkaway dress in Fashion Sewing on a Budget

If you can't read the caption, it is:

Even a beginner can make a dress like this one successfully, from two old dresses. This pattern is smart, adaptable, and easy to make since it only has a few pieces.

The book was Fashion Sewing on a Budget, and I have to say it's one of the more helpful of the ancient titles that I've accumulated. I think because it takes a "learning by doing" approach, which is the learning style I've always favored. (You make more mistakes, but you learn more from them!)

The online copies I've linked to above, on Amazon, are fairly pricey but my copy is marked "$1-" on the flyleaf and I'm sure I've seen this many a time in thrift stores and used book sales. Keep an eye out in those places, if you want it.

I still haven't made the Walk-Away dress, myself. I keep reading other people's reviews and can't decide whether to try it, and, if so, in what fabric … and, of course, where to put the pockets!

Everything Shows Up On eBay Eventually

Luella for Target bag

I think it was two years ago that I fell in love with this bag from Luella Bartley's Target line. It has lots and lots of pockets and it's bright yellow: of course I loved it!

I bought one (the only one my Target had) and looked for it at the other Targets in Chicago, but of course I didn't find one — everyone loved this bag. So, once it was clear that I was going to wear it into little tiny bits (and I did; I broke the top zipper and washed it until it was more of a grayish mustard color than yellow) I started an eBay search for it.

I used the keywords "Luella yellow" and yesterday my search finally came up gold. (Or, rather, yellow.) Some seller dug up a new-with-tags version and put it up, and five hours later it was (notionally) mine. (I still have to wait for it to come in the mail, and I just realized I didn't remember to have it sent to my PO Box. D'oh! Time to email the seller …)

So my recommendation to you is to save those eBay searches (check out this page if you need help) and keep renewing them. Everything shows up on eBay eventually. You just need to be patient.

Meet Our Advertisers #2: Janet at Lanetz Living

McCalls 9540

Here is the second in our continuing series of "Meet Our Advertisers": Janet from Lanetz Living!

How long have you been in business?
Started on Ebay in 1999.

What motivated you to go into the vintage pattern business?
I dealt mostly in Ephemera (old paper) and would buy from estate liquidators. I often purchased 50# at a time and these lots often included vintage "Paper" sewing patterns. I was fascinated with the illustrations and they sold extremely well. I began searching them out and pretty soon I started getting lots of emails wanting me to buy estate lots of patterns and so it began …

What did you do before this?
Stayed at home and tried to spend every dime my husband made. (He told me to make my own "dimes"!) He was quite happy and really thought I would only sell enough to keep my grandchildren in toys and clothes and visits from "Nani". He was shocked by the way the website took off in 2006. I now work 40-60 hours a week with full time help. I am having a ball!!!

Where are you based?
20 miles west of Wichita Kansas in a small farming town.

More fun questions:

What do you have in stock that you can't believe hasn't sold?
A better question for me is "What I had that DID sell!!" Some pretty wild patterns go out of here on a daily basis. Ha!

What do you dream about finding?
Vogue Designer patterns … from a store that went out of business 50 years ago and have been secretly tucked away in a dry climate free from bugs waiting for me to find them!! Come home to Mamma!!!

What do you enjoy most about working with vintage clothes and vintage sewing patterns?
The customers from around the world. I love to hear their stories of why they are purchasing them. I often post them on the website.

It's a good day at work when …
We get all the orders filled and out the door and a new gallery is listed and I still have time to make dinner for hubby.

You'd laugh if you knew this about me …
I don't sew.

Janet is having a sale: Take 15% off. Enter the code "15" in the discount box on the shipping page when you check out. Expires Sunday night June 22nd at 11pm CST. (Send her well-wishes for her grandson Chandler's speedy recovery from surgery while you're at it …)

Linktastic Thursday!

Michael Miller Word Search Cream

Jane sent this fabric, which is on sale at Hancock's of Paducah … she also sent earlier some even better alphabet fabric from Fashion Fabrics Club … which is now unavailable. (I'll take my own pic and post it when mine arrives.) She also sent this text-based fabric, if you just can't get enough typographical goodness.

Kathy found this pattern at a yard sale for 33 1/3 cents (she got three for a dollar).
Simplicity 3233
Needless to say, I love the pockets.

Speaking of pockets, Kim sends this brilliant Sesame Street video about their social importance. (Watch for the ├╝ber-Seventies carpenter pants pockets.)

Nancy found near-perfect ginkgo fabric from Marimekko. I can see I'll have to start a special savings fund for this one. (Warning: site loaded badly in Firefox 3.)

Cookie found the fauxlero to end all fauxleros, at the Antique Dollhouse of Patterns:

Butterick 9262

I think that pattern is also a dirigible hostess dress, for sure, from the late, waning, Pan-American days of the industry.

Heather sent this wonderful ruffly number.

Melissa sent this comma necklace. Want.

Kate in Texas sent this really cute bee fabric from Hart's Fabrics — which doesn't let you link directly to items, frustrating! So search on "bee" if you want to find it.
bee fabric
I would make a very serious tailored dress out of this … it's $8.99/yard and only 45" wide though, so maybe not this week.

Another "not this week" fabric (I missed the auction!) is this:
swiss dot fabric
I have not a single, solitary idea what I could have made out of it, though, even if I had gotten to the auction in time, since it was only 4 yards of 36" wide … from seller emt-mom-70.

Marilyn wants to know if there are charities that would take her cedar chest full of wool fabric … and I'd like to know if there are charities that would like a lot of cotton scraps, since mine are getting outrageous, and — let's be honest — the chances of me making that charm quilt I keep muttering about? Are infinitesimal.

I haven't seen the Sex and the City movie yet (I know!) but HotPatterns (spoiler alert) has a related pattern … now I think I really should go see it.

But not today. Today I have 500 emails to answer. Wish me luck!