Vintage Finds: Button Gauge


Useful things.  Beautiful Useful Things.  That is how I think of vintage.  Another item from a batch of vintage things I picked up, this button gauge isn’t highly decorated or fancy, but somehow, to me, it is still beautiful.  About the size of a 3″x 5″ card it will help me use my button collection by helping to easily check the size of my buttons against the pattern requirements.  Sometimes I wonder if we still have these things in modern versions and occasionally the name of an item is so obvious I can Google it.  Button gauges do exist.  They seem to be rare, a bit costly for what they are and less succinct. It seems like a printable button gauge of this sort should be available somewhere.  Do you have a button gauge?  What vintage things have you found that seem so useful or more beautifully made, but are now practically unheard of?  A couple of my favorites are pockets on dresses (which have been making a comeback) and bra stays-those little ribbon and snap combos that help to keep both your bra straps and the shoulders of your dress in place.

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Type A Craftroom: Planning and Dreaming

This is largely a sewing thing for me. For crochet and stitching I pick up a project and work it until it is done possibly starting another for some reason, but don’t plan out a million projects into the future.  I do have a Ravelry queue and a to-be-stitched folder. This is probably also because sewing is a priority because I’m remaking my wardrobe.


Pinterest boards for:

  • handmade wardrobe ideas-basically pinning patterns I think are interesting
  • crafting plans-patterns for an upcoming event like Kid’s Clothes Week/Selfish Sewing Week/Fall
  • links to inspiration and how-tos for projects (i.e. holiday gifts)


This is an app that apparently does lots of things. I use it as a photo editor and collage maker.  It allows me to visually combine items like patterns, pattern options, notions, fabric, and yarn to give me a quick view of projects I’d like to make.  This can be done without first having purchased the patterns or materials.  Seasonal wardrobe planning is my favorite use of this, but I first used it to plan my sewing and crochet items for the 2016 Outfit Along.   This is also good for checking my color scheme as I build my wardrobe.

Keeping Track

Excel Spread Sheet

Eash season I start a new page of projects with columns to keep track of progress from getting fabric and tracing PDF’s to making alterations and doing finishing work. Some projects get made, some get moved to the new season, some get left for the next time the season comes around and some get left behind.  Being able to revisit this on occassion allows helps to keep my sewing on track. A free garment sewing planner sheet can be found in this old post.


This standard issue app on my iPad and iPod is just a list making tool where I keep a list of the next few projects on my list (particularly items with a deadline).

Follow Up


I use a lined journal to keep track of my makes. Starting at the beginning of the journal, each pattern gets a page (or more) where I note what size I made and any alterations done for each project based on that pattern.  At the end of each project notes on changes for the next version are jotted down.  Starting at the back of the journal each pattern gets notes on fabric requirements.  This is helpful for patterns that have been graded, hacked or that have expansions.  For instance I’ve found 2 2/3 yds. of fabric is enough for an Appleton dress instead of the recommended 3 and a Maxi Washi dress needs 2 more yards of fabric than the regular version, though I’ve also noted how much fabric is needed for a Washi dress and a Washi top with different sleeve and collar options.  This way I don’t have to go back and forth between the Washi and Washi Expansion patterns figuring out the math again each time I make another version.

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You Again


Teeth brushed and ready for bed.  One quick picture before changing out of my dress.

Oh it’s you again, Appleton.

I see that you’ve returned in your 18 G/H bust graded to a 16 waist and hips, like Kit and Datenight, but you’ve decided to be an ITY special rather than your usual Rayon/Lycra mix.  It works for you, but you seem a bit larger.  Maybe a size smaller for ITY next time?  I hear you were a dream to work with even though you had those white bumps that threatened to mangle an iron.  You are definitely going to be the in thing this season.  Welcome to the wardrobe.

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Type A Craftroom: Finding and Working With Things-3 Apps


Sewing patterns, Quilting Patterns and transfer patterns are inventoried using Tapforms on my iPod, which travels with me everywhere.  This gives me a searchable database with info on fabric, notions and sizing.  Downside:  Tapforms should be able to transfer from one device to another via dropbox, but I haven’t been able to make it do so in a functional way.



Upad Folders

PDF instructions for sewing, quilting and crochet are kept in folders on Upad3 organized by craft and then for sewing by type of garment (divided by child and adult).  I use this app in the craftroom to access sewing instructions, stitching and crochet patterns.  All of the patterns show up with Pinterest-like images that I can quickly scroll through.  Tapping the image allows me to access the pattern.


The app allows me to edit the documents such as marking rows or rounds on a crochet pattern or noting changes I make to a sewing or crochet pattern directly on the pattern.  All changes can be deleted later.


The downside:  Upad3 isn’t available for iPod or (to my knowledge) smartphones.



Cora allows me to inventory my fabric. We have a love hate relationship currently, as I’m only nearly finished inventorying soo much fabric and I want to spend my time sewing instead, but recognize that getting it all done will be worth it.  A photo and info about type, weight, amounts, project ideas and most importantly which numbered bin it’s in keep me in touch with just what I actually have.  Another searchable database Cora helps me match my patterns with my stash.   Hopefully this will help keep my stash under control.  The downside:  Cora doesn’t transfer between devices, meaning I can’t access it on my iPad.

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Vintage Finds: Snaps


These items, which came to me through random lots of sewing things, support the idea that I’m not the only one who loves Autumn.  Do you suppose that Snappy is the name of the clawed kitty who looks like he’s about to pounce?


 Aren’t the little selling points fun? “Oblong holes”? “Rounded edges”?  Little engineering decisions that we take for granted that weren’t always a given.  And the artwork that went into the packaging?  Somehow the little Dritz tomato in the corner that is what one finds these days just doesn’t compare.  The lack of home sewing lost us more than the practicality of many old garments, it lost us simple beauty created by competition between manufacturers and vendors.

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Type A Craftroom: Storage


Physical Storage

Printed sewing patterns are categorized Women’s/Children’s/Men’s/Misc., then stored in numerical or alphabetical order by decade in pattern boxes. They don’t live in my craftroom, but on the upper shelf of my closet.  I dream of someday having a tall bookshelf in my craftroom that will change this.

Printed PDF sewing patterns (cover picture and pattern pieces only) are kept in binders Women’s Children’s/Other and are organized roughly by type of garment. The live in plastic sleeves.

Quilting and Applique patterns are in another binder, also in plastic sleeves.

Crochet patterns have a folder.

Stitching patterns have a file cabinet of their own and are arranged by type of needlework (i.e. hardanger, blackwork), theme (nature, letters and numbers, holiday), extra files are included for completed patterns, which I am unlikely to stitch again, tips and tools, and my favorites to stitch next.

Garment fabric is kept in numbered/lettered bins sorted vaguely by weight/type. The bins are now stored largely on shelves in the closet off the upstairs bathroom. (Thanks to having spent the summer getting rid of baby stuff and cleaning it out.)  One small bin is going to be kept in the craftroom.  It will be my current projects bin, where fabric for my next few projects will be kept.

Quilting fabric is divided. A set of glass doored cabinets in the den hold half yard or larger cuts, the dresser in the craftroom holds fat quarters and interfacing. Charm squares and fat quarter bundles live on a shelf above one of the windows.

Thread lives in an inherited thread cabinet.

Trim and embellishments are stored in some thrifted drawers on top of my cutting table.

Elastic lives in some drawers that may have once housed some sort of index cards. They sit atop the back portion of my sewing table (see photo top).

Zippers, organized by size, are in a fabric shoe/jewelry keeper designed to be hung on the inside of a closet door.


Needles for hand sewing live in the top drawer of my sewing table, for my machine are on a magnetic knife holder attached to the side of my sewing table.

Buttons are kept in jars on a shelf over one of the windows.

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See this room did still function as a guestroom at one point.

Yarn is kept in a Rubbermaid tote.

Roving is kept in a Rubbermaid tote.

Digital Storage

PDF patterns are stored on my computer. I email myself a copy in case of computer failure (the blue screen and I get together daily) and the instructions are kept in an app on my iPad which I work from when I’m sewing.

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Happy Pumpkin Season 


During the fabric inventory some lovely rust colored quilting cotton turned up.   It reminded me of one of several stitching projects that have been sitting in a drawer for a few years now.  Each fall/winter I think I’ll get them finished and don’t.  A much needed inventory break allowed for a couple of quick project: the pumpkin pillow above (I believe the stitch pattern is french country pumpkin.) and some reusable sandwich/snack bags for O’s lunch box.  The latter were a fun way to use some of the zippers I got at our annual EGA auction.  Watch for the next Type A Craftroom post Thursday and a happy pumpkin season to you all.

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