Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Julie Surprise: Vintage Meets Modern

When my sweet Grandma Krantz passed away a few years ago, I was blessed to inherit many of her lovely things. Books mostly; her house had been quite literally filled with hundreds of books. More books than most of her posterity could handle, though I know that everyone did their best. Even with most of us taking home a stack of books, however, I know that some had to be donated because there just wasn't enough room for most of us to contain them all.

I'm one of her youngest granddaughters and I wasn't as close to her as some of the other family, so I felt happy with whatever of her possessions I was allowed to have. I also acquired lots of fabric, vintage patterns and some pretty vintage clothes that no one else would claim. My mother even let me take a small cross stitch that had my grandmother's anniversary stitched into it. I share an anniversary with my grandma so I thought it was kind of cool.

Even though we will always miss my grandma, it was really kind of an exciting adventure for me to help clean out her home and look through all of her treasures. The kid in me was just giddy to be allowed to look into storage rooms and closets that had been understandably off limits when I was a child. I have always had sort of a romanticized view of such places. Were I live no one really keeps things in their attics, but I had read books about young characters finding treasures in the attics of old houses and I always dreamed that someday I could move to an old house that had an attic for of mysterious chests full of all sorts of forgotten treasures. So yes, as you can see, the romantical little girl inside me was quite giddy to go through grandma's downstairs closets.

But I digress. Just before we left that day, my mother and I went upstairs and were preparing some final boxes and things to take out to our respective vehicles when I looked at the front room bay window and noticed that the lace curtains were still hanging there. I asked my mother if she had plans for those curtains because the wheels in my head were immediately whizzing with the possibilities. She said that they were slightly ripped and stained in some places and would need to be washed because they were dusty, but she told me that if I wanted them I was welcome to them and she would give them to me once she'd had a chance to take them down and clean them. I was thrilled!

Lace is expensive, and vintage lace in such a quantity seemed to me to be a real find! Of course once I got the curtains they sat in my sewing closet for a few years. I would pull them our periodically and stew over the possibilities again. The main thing I wanted to try was to make a lace skirt. Like this one I pinned two years ago.
Although, I think the first real concrete plan I considered for this lace was a year ago when I pinned the image below. I thought it would be a great plan to try making something like this using the lace combined with some old jeans. I'm always messing around with ways to mend/reinvent my old jeans so I figured this would be another fun way to reuse some of that denim. 
The tricky part about this idea was that I wanted the bottom edge to be scalloped but wasn't quite sure if I could pull that off with the shape of this skirt. I looks like this one is actually crocheted into a nice flared, hourglass shape, whereas my grandma's curtains were, of course, just straight. I simply wasn't sure whether the curtains would look as well if I tried to pull off something like this. I guess it was me figuring that out that postponed my use of the lace for yet another year or so.

Then Halloween rolled around this year, and I was determined not to go overboard with the costuming because when I do that, I tend to get burned out and can't seem to get into sewing for another six to nine months and then Halloween is back on the front burner again. So, instead of spending hours on a costume that in the end was going to make me look fat and I would never want anyone to see pictures of (AKA Halloween costume 2013) Instead I used a sailor hat that I'd used four years previous for a different costume and decided to throw together a simple sailor costume from some thrift store finds. 
Cardigan from Savers, White Slacks from D.I. Tank, already owned. Boom.
There. Easy-peasy.

Of course, I had other costumes to make for my family, such as the Flamingo for baby and Barn Owl for my oldest girl. Luckily they were not too complex.
(You might even say they were for the birds. Lol.) 

I was glad when my middle daughter agreed to use a hand-me-down costume from one of her older cousins.
(Which costume, I might add, has a special place in my heart because the main dress was originally my niece's flower girl dress that she wore to my wedding before it became a princess costume.)

Also, I taught my husband to sew buttons so he ended up helping out with a lot of the time consuming part of his own costume. Yes, he does look well, does he not? I think it is at least partly due to the satisfaction of helping to make it himself, but he is so happy with this costume, he says I'll never have to make him another one again. Apparently, he will forever after be Horatio Hornblower for the rest of his Halloween history.

Anyway, so this was probably the least stressful Halloween I've experienced since before I had kids. It was so nice and the best part is that after it was over I was totally still in the mood to sew. 
In fact, since working on costumes required me to tidy up and clean out the (Harry Potter) sewing closet, I found all sorts of old projects and things that have been needing a mend, and because I wasn't burned out on sewing, I have really felt motivated to get things done in there! Since Halloween, I have mended two pairs of my daughters jeans, four pairs of my husbands jeans and one pair of my own. I have also added lace to a shirt of mine that had permanent stains so now it is not only wearable again but much cuter than it was before. (I'll need to post pictures soon.) Anyway, last night I was feeling in the mood to mend a little something before bed and I went into my closet and pulled out this skirt. 
I've had this skirt for so many years, I'm not even positive where I got if from or when. Yet I've always liked the way it fit and the style, though I've sometimes wished it where a bit more interesting as far as color or detail goes. It's a very neutral color. A bit too gray for beige and a big to beige for gray. Anyway, it had been in my sewing closet for at least a year because of some popped seams on the flounce. As I examined what needed to be done with it, it suddenly occurred to me that I had recently found grandma's lace when I had been reorganizing my sewing space and somehow it suddenly clicked in my head that perhaps instead of sewing an entirely new skirt from the lace, perhaps I could simply up the interest on this existing skirt by adding some lace over it. I pulled the lace out and laid it over the skirt to see how it would look and to my utter surprise and amazement the color of the lace which I would have described as off-white or cream blended perfectly with the color of the skirt. I mean, technically the skirt was still a tone or so darker but they appear to be quite well matched in their temperature---Neither one being too warm or too cool for the other. Thus, in my joy at the idea of this new discovery/project, I put it all back into my sewing room and went to bed, knowing that this was going to be a bit more time consuming than a a quick mending of a seam. I could hardly wait to wake up in the morning and get started!

Because this is already such a long post, I thought I'd try making a visual tutorial of a series of images all combined into one long strip, since I actually remembered to document this project. Let me know if you need something more clear. I know it turned out very tiny. I have no idea why it won't show it bigger, but I suppose this has something to do with how tall an image can be  on blogger, and this image is rather tall. Once day I will probably need to go back and just put in each image individually. But as I doubt more that three people will even care, I will wait until I get a request.
Other than the slight flare at the bottom, I think it turned out rather a lot like the skirt pictured below, which I pinned to my wish list a year or so ago. Now I need no longer lust after this lacy loveliness. I have me own!


There you have it! Vintage marries so well with modern, don't you think?