Monthly Archives: June 2012

1912 Ladies Skirt #0162

As part of The 1912 Project  with the Vintage Pattern Lending Library, I selected the Ladies Skirt #0162 and I absolutely adore it.  Other than a few modifications for fit, I basically followed the directions as written and am very pleased with the results.

I’ve requested patterns via email/download for 8 1/2 x 11 sheets.  This has worked out well especially when adjusting…  I find it easy to edit as it’s already in pieces.  To accommodate my 29 inch waist, I added 2 inches to the center of both the front and back panels.  I felt this was the best solution as I was planning to narrow the side gores along the hem and didn’t want to fuss with the side dart placement.  The pattern illustration appeared to have a bit of a ‘hobble’ look, so my plan was to decrease each side gore/hem width by 8 inches starting just below the hip line and tapering the pattern to the hem line.

I tried to replicate the soutache trim as the pattern dictated.  I drew the scroll work design on my paper pattern pieces with a black sharpy marker.  I then pinned my fabric on top and used a Frixion pen to draw the design on my fabric.  I’ve been using this pen for fabric with great results.  They are sold at any office supply store, cheaper than ‘sewing’ marking tools, come in a variety of colors, and a warm iron removes the marks when done.  Be sure to test on your fabric first.  Although I’ve never encountered a problem, I’ve heard it doesn’t remove completely from some fabrics.

Soutache Marking

Soutache Marking

My soutache was 1/8 inch wide and I used about 8 yards, or 2 yards per scroll line.  There was a wonderful ‘how to’ article in Treads Magazine for applying soutache, although it was great for smaller details, not for my 2 yard continuous piece.  For my needs I found it easier to pull and twist the cord where needed, then held it in place with my thumbnail until hand stitched down.  I used tiny back stitches along the inside grove of the cord following my lines down the entire motif.   A couple of spots seemed bumpy at close view, but once complete, I pressed it, and voila’….  the little stiff spots molded into a beautiful curve.  The detail took about 3 weeks of evening sewing but I’m absolutely thrilled with the results.

Skirt Soutache

Skirt Soutache Again

Assembling the skirt went as per the directions, and for the sharply defined back pleat I went with the 1/8 inch top stitch option along the edge.  It really did crisp it up nicely.

Pleat Detail

I also changed the opening for the placket by adding a 1 inch binding to the inside portion, and a 1/2 inch binding on the back of the outer portion.  I then added 1 1/2 inch Petersham ribbon for the waistband, turned it to the inside, and stitched it down at the seams.  With the new placket in place, I had a more substantial base to apply the hook and eyes, and finally the decorative buttons.

Skirt Placket

Well, after weeks of staring at my yellow linen with red soutache, I decided to re-visit my Ladies Afternoon Tea Wrap.  I used the fabric for what was supposed to be the belt of my wrap to cover my skirt buttons.  I’m now planning to make a belt for my wrap with some of the yellow linen so I’m off to the beginning of an actual matching outfit.

Skirt Buttons

I don’t make enough buttons to warrant a professional grade button maker so I use the Dritz variety with shank backs.  I find them difficult on the thumbs when trying to actually punch the back place.  I follow the basic directions up until the pusher section – then I place the flat part at the top of a hammer (the black section – I’m sure there’s a name for it) on the pusher and press with that.  It certainly saves your thumbs when making a large amount of buttons, as is the case with this particular skirt.

The Completed Skirt:

Skirt Front

Hook & Eye View

Skirt Back

My apologies for picture placement.  No matter how I configure them, they get wonky all over the page.  There’s definitely a learning curve for this blogging thing.

Now for the review:


The Vintage Pattern Lending Library, Ladies Skirt #0162, May 5, 1912


Pattern was listed as 25 inch waist and those measurements seem to be correct.  I adjusted the pattern for a 29 inch waist, adding 2 inches each to the back and front center panels worked out perfectly.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on pattern envelope?

Yes, but the illustration appeared a bit narrower than the garment pattern pieces.  To get what I perceived as the pictured effect, I narrowed the hemline overall by 16 inches, 8 inches on each side gore panel.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

The pattern/fabric layout diagrams showed the front and back panel placed one direction and the side gores placed the other.  I made my skirt using 100% linen, so while it may not have made a difference, I still opted to place all pieces in the same direction.  My fabric was 54 inches wide so there was no additional fabric needed to adjust for the layout.  If using directional fabric, you will need to plan for this.

The seam detail sounded odd.  I thought it was meant to be a fell seam, but then not quite.  I chose to stitch a regular 3/8 inch seam, pressed the seam allowance to one side, top stitched close to the seam, and finally top stitched another 1/2 inch in.  For the closed side of the front panel I pressed the pieces to make the nice ‘L’ shape, pinned in place, and top stitched it together as above.  This may have been what the directions were calling for all along…

Though not an issue for a more advanced sewer, the back kick pleats were a tad confusing.  I was almost tempted to turn them to the outside by the directions given.  I consider myself an intermediate sewer, but I could see this presenting a problem for a beginner.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

On a scale of 1 to 5 – this is a FIVE – I loved it!  I especially loved the soutache trim detail.  Although it took a long time to complete, it was very rewarding to follow the 1912 illustration.  I had forgotten how relaxing and therapeutic hand work can be.

Fabric Used – Butter yellow 100% linen with red cotton/viscose soutache trim.

Pattern alterations/design changes I made

I needed an additional 4 inches for the waist which I adjusted by adding 2 inches along the entire front and back center pattern pieces.  The hip dart worked out perfectly after the adjustment, but I probably should have added 1 inch to all the pieces as I would have liked the button detail to have been a little closer to center.  I also decreased the side gores at the hemlines by 8 inches each to give the skirt a more ‘hobble’ look.  I’ve apparently been watching entirely too much Downton Abbey (if that’s possible?).

In conclusion, this was a fun pattern and I loved the soutache detail.  I’m not sure I would recommend this to a beginner, but for the intermediate to more advanced sewer, it’s a beautiful skirt.  It was so interesting to see everyone’s take on the soutache trim detail.

Next adventure – A blouse and maybe a re-visit of the Afternoon Tea Wrap to complete the look…



Filed under Ladies Skirt #0162, The 1912 Project, The Vintage Pattern Lending Library

A Corset For The Correct Look

Well, it’s been a while but I HAVE been busy.  Projects are complete but the sitting down to blog seems to hold me up.  Lately, tropical storm Debbie has been having her way with us and I thought this VERY rainy day would be a great time to catch up.

I have made my corset, and although it’s not officially part of the Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1912 Project, it seems to me a vital part of it none the less.  Personally, I feel creating period attire just doesn’t work if you don’t have the correct undergarments.  And although I was tempted to ‘modern up’ some of the designs we are receiving, I really wanted to stay true to the 1912 fit.

For my corset I decided to go with Ageless Patterns #1522/1910 Corset Nouveau (Bust 35.5 – Waist 23.5).

Ageless Corset Pattern

The pattern itself does NOT come with directions to speak of.  Enclosed is the pattern, a one page detail about corset construction (from Harper’s Bazar – September 19, 1897), a one paragraph sewing instruction (two if you count the French version), and a heavily photocopied illustration for some techniques.   This was fine for me as I’ve made period corsets before, but for a beginner, I would recommend ‘The Basics of Corset Building‘ by Linda Sparks as a reference.  Linda is the creator of Farthingales, the ‘go to’ place for corset supplies, classes, and wonderful online tutorials.   I absolutely love her book as it takes a beginner step by step through the building process.  Easy to read, easy to follow, I actually used her book for my first corset and still reference it when I forget a technique.

I traced out my pattern pieces from the original pattern and then adjusted the sizing accordingly for my shape.

Corset Pattern Pieces

Corset Pattern Pieces

On my first muslin I adjusted up too large and realized that I needed close to the original sizing – it seemed to make up bigger than expected.  I should have just left the bust size as is, as I did want to be laced in to a 35.5 inch bust.  I also went with lining my corset, a technique fully detailed in Linda’s book.  For all my fabric, I went with an imported coutil, a bit pricier than domestic, but worth it.  When purchasing coutil, look at the weave of the herringbone design – the tighter the weave, the more durable the coutil.  Yes, I think there is a difference, and yes, this is why a muslin is important.

Corset Outside

Corset Outside

Corset Lining

Corset Lining

Lining a corset is not difficult but is more time consuming than applying bone casings along the inside seams for your stays.  Although I went with lacing tape, usually I insert my own grommets, and cover them with stitching so as not to see the metal.  When I do set grommets, I never use hole cutting tools and always opt to use an awl instead.  The unique thing about using an awl is it pushes the threads apart rather than breaking them, keeping the integrity of the fabric intact.  Again, time consuming, but worth it.  There’s something about the process…. I guess you either love it or dread it.

Well this is my corset – sorry, but for now it’s on a display mannequin so the fit is a bit off:

Corset Front

Corset Front

Corset Back

And this is what I envision myself as looking in my corset:

Kate Winslet

I think what sold me on this particular pattern was the hip sections.  It actually seemed the closest to the one Kate Winslet wore in this scene from the movie ‘Titanic”.  I guess if Kate Winslet can pull this off, so can I (yeah, right…. as I chuckle to myself)!!


Filed under Corset, The 1912 Project, The Vintage Pattern Lending Library