Sunday, October 18, 2015


I've been working very hard on other sewing projects (I design, make, and sell custom doll clothes for resin ball jointed dolls).

And it has massively cut into my me-sewing time.

I have a pattern drafted out for a pair of 1930s beach pajama pants. Somewhere.

I just ordered two more patterns. A great shirt dress with nifty details, and a box coat. I have a large triple (doll sewing) commission to get through, then two more singles. And nothing more in the pipeline, so I think I can squeeze some sewing for myself in before the end of the year.

Here is an image of the two most recently purchased patterns.

And that's all the time I have right now.

tin tin.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Anne Adams 4857 (jumper and blouse) Updated w/ blouse

There are a number of Anne Adams patterns out there with this number, but very few I have seen are this jumper and blouse pattern.

According to the pattern information, this jumper and blouse were only published in half sizes. A 20 1/2 would have been exactly my measurements (perhaps a bit short in the waist) but the 18 1/2 that I scored from Etsy was easily altered.

With a 1954 Mcalls blouse pattern in green silk!
A proper photo with the matching (black) blouse.

It took me the better part of a day to copy over the original, perforation only, pattern pieces, then alter my copies by about a size up in the bust, two sizes in the hips. I added 1 inch in length to the bodice pieces.
I knew I should do a muslin, but I was pretty confident of my alterations, so I dove into some goldenrod wool in a fine, tight gabardine. I bought a lot of this years ago but just never found the right project. The picture with the blue bedspread behind is a better representation of the color than the pics with the dark green blouse.
Going into the cutting process, I figured at worst I'd have to recut the bodice of the jumper due to length miscalculations.  I cut everything out with pinking shears, to avoid any time consuming seam finishing.
I sewed the major seams and the fit was good. I tried it on over a white blouse from a different vintage pattern, and decided that white was meh. Boring. Dull. Yawn-worthy. 
And I noticed that I had not gotten the front edges of the bodice lined up with the points on the skirt.

I decided that black was the way to go. However, I have no black fabric so I wore a previously made dark green blouse for my DIY photoshoot (blouse is a 1954 McCalls pattern that has gone missing!)
The pattern calls for seam binding the inside edges of the bodice. I have a whole reel of Hug Snug in medium blue. Well. Ha ha ha.
AFTER I had stitched on the Hug Snug, I discovered that the blue made a slight shadow on the bodice. Since the turned under edge was very wide, I just trimmed the binding off with my pinking shears, then stitched the pinked edge down. Waaah! This is what I get for sewing at night under artificial light.
The back neck of the jumper calls for bias binding. Having no suitable color of premade tape on hand at the time, I used a self bias. A bit bulky, but I steamed it into submission!
Honestly, this inside of this jumper is a hot mess. That's OK, it looks good from the outside.

 I stalled out for a few days, for lack of a zipper or premade bias for the waist, but eventually got that done as well. I bought some nearly matching pre-made bias tape for the waist.

I tried the pattern instructions for a lapped zipper (I've never done one, unless modern jeans count) and it was not exactly lapped. But it is neatly stitched so I'm not worried.

I tossed out a question to the We Sew Retro Facebook group, seeking a better understanding of the pattern instructions for the bias facing on the waist. It is mitered, which I understand how to do, but I've decided to sew facing, bodice, and skirt together in one operation next time, flipping the mitered facing down in place. 

The instructions ask you to refer to step 4, where I think they really mean step 3.
You can decide if you like.

I did not add any length to the skirt, figuring that the 3" hem allowed would give me enough wiggle room for adjustments. In the end, I turned up the 3 inches anyway, as the longer length made me look dumpy. (The pic with the white blouse is the unhemmed length).

Could I consider smiling?

Advance 5909, blouse: Updated w/ sleeveless version

I love a classic blouse, and I don't think it gets more classic then this.

I'll apologize here for the lousy pictures. But I keep waiting until I get really good pictures (in my picky opinion) before I'll finish a post. And I am so behind! So cope! I will!
I made two of these in a sleeveless version last summer, and this season I finally got around to trying out my re-sized long sleeve pattern. It was good!

I generally followed the pattern instructions, but used an overcast seam finish to neaten the inside.
At a 40" bust measurement, which is my _high_ bust measure, the shoulders, collar, and armscye fit well. The bust shaping comes from gathers at the front yoke and tucks at the waist. 
I compensated for my larger-than-pattern waist by leaving out the waist tucks, although I did pin them in while admiring the blouse on the dressmaker's form. The dressmaker form never sits down, and so never encounters the splodge effect of excess pounds at the waist!

I had not added length to my sleeveless versions, and they were just too short for modern rise pants. So I added some length to the body as well as the sleeves for this version. 
I used some modern embossed plastic buttons, and buttonholes made with my Singer Featherweight buttonhole attachment. The buttonholes, despite adding interfacing, are a bit floppy in this fabric, so I think in the future I'll make proper bound buttonholes. Or maybe the thick embossed buttons were not a good choice.
I might lengthen the sleeves another 1/2" but they fit well enough now. The cuffs could stand to be an inch larger, so I stitched the buttons very close to the end of the cuffs.
I left the pockets off the long sleeved version since my pocket placements on the sleeveless ones somehow seem not perfectly placed.

I used a nice Swiss dot fabric, which will be cool and comfortable for summer (or hot flashes!) but is more sheer than I usually choose.

I'll make this again at least one more time, perhaps in a 3/4 sleeve length.

Here's a shot of my sleeveless version (I just used a self bias binding on the arm holes). You can see that this is a shorter version of the body. And I got a SHORT haircut in the meantime!


Saturday, January 31, 2015

My tiny pattern stash

As part of the Vintage Pattern Pledge, I thought I would show you my small collection of vintage patterns. (I also have a lot of reissued Vintage Vogue and others but I really prefer working with the real thing, even if it means I have to resize.)

These are from my mom.

Vogue 8114

Vogue 9259
These I bought in a local thrift/antique store

McCall 7260

Simplicity 4650

These I bought on line

Advance 5909

Marian Martin 9154

Simplicity 2926
And that's it!

I'll be looking for more patterns online as the mood strikes. But I have to really really love them to bring them home.

Friday, January 30, 2015


Well, this is disturbing.

I return to my blog after a summer, fall, and part of winter away and find that many images are missing.

I will replace them soonish. And I'll update this post when I've replaced all the broken links. All the broken images are fixed, except for one blog post. I can't find those images. I will search my phone and tablet and see if I can find them there.

I've pledged to make 5 garments from vintage patterns this year, as part of the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, over on A Stitching Odyssey. See the badge in the sidebar.

And I've pledged to BLOG about them. At which I stink.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Simplicity 4650, dress w/ collar variations

Finally, another vintage pattern (almost) completed. I can't find a 1" wide white plastic buckle (although hot pink would be even better) anywhere, so I used a skinny red belt that I have for these pictures. It looks unfinished without a belt.

I wrote about altering the pattern to my size in this post.

I'm very pleased with this. I took my usual massive shortcuts in construction since this is a throw-away dress (here's hoping it does not get too baggy before the end of summer). I used $1 yard polyester from Walmart. I love the pink - it is a hot pink. I don't care for baby pink, but I like hot pink. I wore the dress all day, even managing a 2 hour band rehearsal (I play trombone) in it. I don't normally wear all-over pink, but I'm making myself try out new things.

I applied fuseable interfacing to the facing pieces, rather than sew-in interfacing to the bodice pieces. I did not hand stitch the back of the bias binding in place, I edgestitched with the machine, so it is not even folded over nicely on the inside. But it looks good from the outside. I machine stitched the hem, not even blind-hemming it. The sleeves are finished with bias facings, as the instructions called for. The side zipper is just inserted in the seam, I did not do a lapped zipper for this.

I have a 1" wide interfaced belt in the pink print waiting for the right buckle. I disregarded all belt instructions and made it by using copious amounts of heat-n-bond (for applique) and a bit of invention.
I cut two 1" wide strips of lightweight heat-n-bond, applied the strips to the wrong side of the fabric, roughly cut out around the applied strips, left the backing paper in place, but turned the edges over and pressed the folds in. Then I removed the backing paper, and ironed the turned edges over the exposed heat-in-bond. I cut another 1" strip of heavy weight heat-n-bond, applied it to the backside of one completed fabric strip, then ironed the other fabric strip over it, making sure the edges lined up nicely. I edge stitched the long edges and turned over one short end instead of making a fancy point.

The fit is acceptable, considering I will never use this particular incarnation of the pattern again (the original size should fit me well when I'm done losing weight). I had done a full bust alteration which turned out to be too baggy on the sides of the dress, so I just took a larger dart there. Which makes the tip of the dart a bit strange, as the dart is now quite wide at the base and relatively short. The print of the fabric helps hide this. As does my cardigan habit.

The next version I make of this dress will have the lovely wide collar included.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Marian Martin 9154, wrap dress with scallop details (Updated!)

New photos (same as added to Sew for Victory 2.0 Flickr photopool)

Finished with olive buttons in back.

I am new to grading patterns up to fit me. Previously, I've just stared longingly at too-small patterns. I've done two so far: this was actually the second one. The first one (a 1954 Vogue dress) is cut out waiting for some more free time.

I'm using the Threads article on pattern grading as a guide, where you slash and spread along specific vertical and horizontal lines. No way am I a 34 bust. More like a 40 high bust. So that's a lot of sizes to alter past!
More, I think, then a novice is supposed to.

I have always wanted a back wrap dress, like the famous Swirl dresses, and this dress is sort of maybe close. It has a V neck in back (Swirl dresses generally don't) but I like it anyway.

My first muslin (just the two bodice and two facing pieces) was very troubled, with a huge annoying ripple on the back, more on one side than the other.

My husband pronounced it "Wonky."

I pondered this for a few days, eventually concluding that my attempts at drafting the pattern up were not at fault, but rather my lopsided shoulders were.

So I made it difficult on myself when making the yellow flowered version.

I started by making the pockets, then assembling the skirt, then interfacing and attaching one of the set in belt pieces.

Then I staystitched the living daylights out of the bodice piece, proceeding on to the four darts in bodice pieces.

Then I did the scallops on the front, attached the facings to the front and back (yes, the fronts are back were not stitched together yet), sewed the side seams (still no shoulders seamed together, ugh), sewed the bodice to the belt and skirt, roughly pinned the shoulders in place, tried the dress on, fixing the dress' overlap at the shoulders so the back of the dress lay nicely with no wonky ripples.

Whew? Followed all that? Basically, I made the dress backwards from the directions.

The right shoulder (as I wear it) is about like the pattern pieces were supposed to go together, but the neck-line edge of the left side is an inch further overlapped than the pattern called for.
Then I finally sewed the facing together and to the neckline, stitching the scallops down after that.

I took numerous shortcuts on this, machine stitching (badly!) the bias down instead of sewing by hand, and machine stitching every turned edge: sleeves, back skirt, hem, even if it came out ripply and weird. I don't have two matching buttons on hand that are large enough for the back waist, so it is pinned in the pictures. What a hatchet job!

Because my waist is a bit large still, the dress does not overlap as much as it ought, so my husband stuck a pin in the bottom of the V to keep my bra band from peeking out. I'll add an interior button and hole when I get around to it, I can take the button off when I don't need it any more and the hole will be under the overlap anyway. I believe I can wriggle into the dress with the bottom-of-the-V button fastened.

I used some super cheap polyester? rayon? mystery fabric from Walmart's discount bin for this wearable trial run. At $1.50 / yard how could I go wrong? Well, um, errrr.

I decided to go with olive green for the bias trim on the scallop details. The only type I had was double fold which was far to heavy for the thin and cheesy fabric.
For the pockets, I interfaced the top edge with lightweight fuseable. (Same for the facings). I'm not sure it helped the bias binding process very much. So I used The Power of Steam to get the pockets to behave. I did not interface the shoulder scallops. No easier, no harder than the pockets. Jury's out.
I also took some tiny tucks at the Vs between the scallops, to make the scallops more scallop-ish.

Yes, that was handsewing. I also handsewed the final placement of the shoulder overlap. Thank goodness for 15 minutes of Mega Piranha on the SyFy channel.

So I can't say it is done, but I can say it has a lot of promise.

I like the set in belt, which defines my waist a bit. I like the scallop details - even the pockets, which I might modify to protrude  a little less next time. I even like the yellow flowered print, something I was very unsure about to begin with.

The pockets are very high up on the skirt. Awkward to get my hands in there. Are they supposed to be that high?

When I graded the skirt, I added length through the middle of the pocket as well as the skirt. I may move that grading line to above the pocket altogether and return the pocket to a 3/4" shorter condition.

I'm pleased with this pattern and my attempt here. I'm looking forward to trying more vintage patterns as I have the time.